Joliet REALTORS® and affiliates partner to promote homeownership


Nearly 50 housing-oriented organizations came together on Saturday, Sept. 9 to laud the benefits of homeownership at the Second Annual Joliet Housing Expo in Joliet.

Real estate professionals, mortgage lenders, attorneys, title company representatives, insurance company representatives and home inspectors were on hand to answer questions and provide expertise on the home buying process. Additionally, representatives from the Joliet Public Library District, Rialto Square Theater, Will County Forest Preserve, City of Joliet and the YMCA attended to promote Joliet’s quality of life.

The Housing Expo was sponsored by the Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® through a National Association of REALTORS® Housing Opportunity Grant. The First Midwest Bank and Neighborhood Loans sponsored a portion of the marketing materials. Approximately 100 attendees learned about Joliet’s Down Payment Assistance Program and other homeownership incentives during a presentation from First Midwest.

Also attending and supporting the event were city officials, including Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, City Councilman Mike Turk and City Councilman Don “Duck” Dickinson.

Watch for Illinois REALTORS® August housing report tomorrow

Geoffrey J.D. Hewings

Wednesday morning, Illinois REALTORS® will release its August 2017 housing report, with data breakdowns for the state of Illinois, city of Chicago and the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA). Also included will be a housing market forecast by Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois.

Members of the statewide association can access member-only market statistics by using their passwords.

REALTOR® siblings organized their own supply drive for Texas flood victims

Volunteers pause during the supply drive organized by REALTORS® Joyce Zelazik and Frank Klimala.

Homer Glen REALTOR® Joyce Zelazik admits she’s still in awe of the community response to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts she helped organize a few weeks ago.

“It was just a beautiful community effort,” says Zelazik, who works for Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group in Homer Glen.

After eight days of work, Zelazik and her brother, REALTOR® and trucking company owner Frank Klimala, had garnered enough support to fill a 53-foot long semi-trailer with bottled water, Gatorade, non-perishable food, bleach, cleaning supplies, diapers, toilet paper, towels, light blankets, pet food and toiletries.

“At the beginning, we posted on our Facebook page that we wanted to collect certain kinds of items to help the flood victims around Houston,” said Zelazik. “We didn’t feel like we needed any more volunteers (than the family, friends and colleagues who’d already committed to help). But during the final weekend, the people came and they came and they came. Some stayed all day long and volunteered to watch the trailer so nothing would happen to the contents. Some even came back to help the next day. It was very organic.”

How they made it happen

By far, organizing the effort was the most time-consuming, difficult and necessary part of the process, she says. Zelazik needed to determine what items were needed, find a safe place to collect them, a secure place to keep them and a reliable person or organization to receive them in Texas.

Klimala arranged for a trailer to be parked at the Homer Glen collection site and paid a driver to transport the donated items to Texas.

Through a mutual friend, Zelazik found a reliable contact in a Willis, Texas pastor who used to live in the Joliet area. The pastor found a warehouse to store the donations. Later, church volunteers drove smaller trucks to the warehouse and distributed the necessities to flood victims in smaller nearby towns where aid workers had not been yet.

Help comes from many directions

(l to r) REALTOR® Ed Prodehl, Sandy Prodehl, REALTOR® Joyce Zelazik and REALTOR®Frank Klimala during a break in the Homer Glen supply drive for Hurricane Irma victims.

Homer Glen area businesses, including Coldwell Banker, provided donations and support. A Big R store guided local volunteers toward needed items that could be purchased in the store. One donor gave 75 five-gallon buckets full of cleaning supplies one day, then came back the next day with 90 more.

A view inside the back of the Homer Glen truck shows numerous buckets filled with cleaning supplies and boxes of other donated items.

One volunteer, who worked for a company that manufactured backpacks, helped fill numerous backpacks with school supplies for children who’d be starting the school year under duress. Another woman drove from Wisconsin to pitch in after reading about the project on Facebook.

Real estate professionals from around the area joined in to help. Zelazik noted that she had nieces and nephews as young as six years old volunteer, and that a wide variety of people participated. Even after the project was complete, she was receiving text messages asking when the next one like it will begin.

Seeing so many different people come together to help flood victims far away renewed her faith in her fellow man. “I had the time of my life that weekend. It was hard work. It was hot, and it was sweaty. But it was good. I have never seen such a beautiful, spirited community effort.”


Just when you thought your credit score was improving . . .


Bigstock Photo

This last week and a half has been full of headlines regarding the most recent cybersecurity incident. As a real estate practitioner or consumer, your credit score and access to credit is integral to your ability to participate in our economy.

For several years, the National Association of REALTORS®, Asian Real Estate Association of America, National Association of Real Estate Brokers and National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals have been engaged at a national level on credit reform both within regulatory and legislative realms. Those efforts, in addition to pressure from many states attorneys general, have resulted in positive change for some. As of July 1, reforms have been implemented that would cut down the incidence of reporting mistakes of tax liens and civil judgments.

However, just when credit policy takes a turn in the right direction, wham!, we are hit with another major security breach.  As you likely already heard, Equifax, Inc. has been hacked and it’s possible you are a victim.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is working on helping Illinois consumers address the issue by both putting pressure on Equifax to respond and protect consumers. In a press release, she is giving information on where to go on the Equifax website for help and sharing some pointers on how to protect yourself.

As an industry that is tirelessly involved in advocacy efforts on credit policy and helping people become homeowners or find perfect properties for their businesses, we know just how important your credit score and your identity is.  Be proactive, check your credit score regularly and watch your accounts. It is far better to catch something sooner rather than later.

Illinois REALTORS® support Legacy Awards in Springfield

Dennis Bringuet, president of Ace Sign, accepted a Legacy Award from the Springfield Business Journal earlier this week at the Illinois REALTORS® building in Springfield. Brinquet accepted the award with three generations of his family. The business started in 1940.

Illinois REALTORS® sponsored this year’s Legacy Awards, presented by the Springfield Business Journal. The awards honor local businesses and individual business leaders for their commitment to the Springfield community and historic preservation.

Congratulations to all recipients including Ace Sign Co. in the category of 51-100 years in business. Ace created the signage for the Illinois REALTORS® building in 2007 and again in 2016 for the historic name change.

Other award winners included:

Fletcher Farrar, editor of the Springfield Business Journal, thanked Illinois REALTORS® for hosting the event. He shared the importance of a thriving local business community and how the leaders at the event leaving a legacy for future generations through their involvement in historic preservation and commitment to keeping their businesses in Springfield.

Fletcher Farrar, editor of the Springfield Business Journal, thanks Illinois REALTORS® for hosting the event.

The Vachel Lindsay Association receives the 2017 Historic Preservation Fund of the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln grant of $7,500. The home is located across the street from the Illinois REALTORS headquarters and just south of the Governor’s Mansion. The grant will fund repainting of the exterior of the home as part of the Illinois Bicentennial celebrations.