Anyone lucky enough to be in the third floor conference room at the Illinois REALTORS® building between Feb. 1 and 7 had a front-row seat for the demolition of the old YWCA building on the northwest corner of 5th and Jackson streets. The building has been taken down to make way for a future urban park and pedestrian walkway that will connect the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and the Illinois State Capitol.
Review of the city’s recently passed budget, including operating budget highlights, investments in infrastructure, rental inspections, code enforcements, property tax levy and historic tax credits for the redevelopment of Peoria’s downtown were among the topics discussed Tuesday afternoon by Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich and about 50 REALTORS®.
The event was organized by the Peoria Area Association of REALTORS® (PAAR).
REALTOR® Jeff Kolbus, Downtown Development Council board member, introduced Urich, who provided REALTORS® with information on community programs and future initiatives, said Local Government Affairs Director Kristie Engerman.
Also, Urich explained how REALTORS® could play an important role in the city’s and the region’s future before he answered questions from the audience. The REALTORS® shared concerns with property taxes, inner city neighborhoods and schools directly impacting the local real estate market. All agreed continuing and increasing the collaborative efforts between the city and the PAAR were important for everyone.
Illinois REALTORS® celebrated a victory for residential property owners in the village of Indian Head Park in southwestern Cook County when the village board approved the elimination of resale property inspections last week.
Effective Nov. 11, the vote reinstates the rights of Indian Head Park property owners to sell their property without village inspections and eliminates the municipality’s $200 inspection fee, according to local Illinois REALTORS® Governmental Affairs Director Tom Joseph.
“This is a real win for us,” says Joseph. “It’s very difficult to get municipalities to change a law once it is passed. The Indian Head Park mayor told me that a similar situation in the village of Brookfield played a positive role in Indian Head Park’s decision.”
The village of Indian Head Park will rely on final water meter readings and enforcement of its property maintenance code to meet the goals of its resale inspection program.
To read about the Brookfield’s 2015 decision, go here.
The Quad City Area REALTOR® Association (QCARA) drew almost 400 people to a bipartisan political event last week in Davenport, Iowa as two presenters debated whether Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton would have a more positive effect on REALTOR® issues if elected president.
A pair of local REALTORS® presented opposing arguments during “America’s Future” at the Golden Leaf Banquet Center, to QCARA members, attorneys, business partners, home builders and members of local political parties. Time was also provided for networking and personal discussions.
“Our main purpose of the event was to hear and discuss how the current nominees from both parties will lead our country focusing on REALTOR® issues,” said QCARA CEO Sharon Carlson. “Bill Gluba (RE/MAX River Cities) represented the Democratic Party and Scott Kelling (Mel Foster) the Republican Party. Their presentations dealt with history, how their parties view our issues and what direction each candidate wishes to take our country. I have never been prouder to be a part of the Quad City real estate industry.”
Carlson credited committee chairs Katie Sommers, Greg Rediger and Kelling with good planning and execution of the event, and thanked both the Illinois REALTORS® and the Iowa Association of REALTORS® for supporting the event with grant money. She thanked the local American Legion for presenting the colors and local singer Jack Carey for performing the national anthem.
“The conduct and respect shown during the program was as expected from our great real estate community, spectacular! It was a night to be proud of!” said Carlson.
Organizers wanted members to remember the importance of educating themselves about local, state and federal candidates for elected office and to understand the strength of the REALTOR® Party in standing up for the rights of property owners and REALTORS®. Although the REALTORS® may endorse and support some candidates through Opportunity Races and Independent Expenditures, neither the national nor the state associations will endorse candidates in the presidential elections.
In addition to emphasizing safety at Thursday’s Egyptian Board of REALTORS® general membership meeting, many past presidents were recognized for their contributions and a new board of directors was installed. This year is the local association’s 80th anniversary.
Former presidents at the meeting included: Rex Rowland, Marianne James, Ayn Bartok, Jan Mandis, Dave Thompson, Bill Schafer, Paula Hill and J. David Thompson.
The new board of directors included: President Teresa Camarato, President-Elect Suzanne Wood, Secretary-Treasurer Cindy Bevis, Immediate Past President Marianne James, Paul Coons, Bob Davenport, Robert McGovern, Ted Popov, Cheryl Ruzich, Nancy Siegmund, Chris Sisulak and Brian Wood.
Ayn Bartok was announced as the 2016 Egyptian REALTOR® of the Year.
Palmer shares safety statistics with members
Egyptian Account Executive Charay Palmer shared a one-page sheet of safety facts with members who attended Thursday’s meeting in Marion. The U.S. Department of Labor compiles annual statistics on fatalities for those who work in real estate, rental and leasing. In 2014, the number of deaths was 88, compared with 66, 64 and 63 in the three previous years.
From the National Association of REALTORS® 2016 Member Safety Report she shared the following facts. More than 58,000 REALTORS® were given the survey and 5.3 percent participated:
- 39 percent of REALTORS® have feared for their safety or the safety of their information;
- of the members who carry self-defense weapons, 21 percent carry pepper spray and 16 percent carry a firearm;
- 42 percent of members use a smart phone safety app to track their location and alert colleagues in an emergency;
- 44 percent of broker offices have safety procedures for their agents (56 percent don’t);
- a typical REALTOR® meets 50 percent of prospective buyers or sellers they don’t know in their office or in a neutral location.
Guest speaker Carl Carter Jr. shared some information about his mother, murdered Arkansas REALTOR® Beverly Carter, about the investigation and trial that followed her death, and some ideas to help REALTORS® reduce the risks of physical harm on the job.
His comments included:
- His mother was his best friend, raising him since she was age 16;
- 12 years before his mother’s murder, one of his brothers died in an accident;
- “Safety is tough because sometimes it’s tightening up on things you already know;”
- When a situation doesn’t feel right “you have my permission to be rude” and safely get out of the situation;
- Ask strangers to come to your office before showing a property;
- Make copies of their identification, including photo IDs;
- Conduct showings with more than one agent;
- Be careful profiling “bad guys” because sometimes threats come from people you’re comfortable with;
- Men can be victims of violence, too.
Illinois REALTORS® President Mike Drews also added a few quick tips he uses when showing properties:
- Always allow prospective buyers to enter rooms first;
- Let visitors view basements and attics on their own.