State to hold free real estate cyber security conference Nov. 14 in Springfield

Make sure you and your clients are protected at closings. (Bigstock Photos)

Illinois REALTORS® are invited to “Cyber Security Issues Related to the Real Estate Closing Process,” from 9 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

MCLE credit will be awarded to attorneys.

The event is sponsored by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), in partnership with:

  • Illinois REALTORS®
  • National Association of REALTORS®
  • Illinois Land Title Association
  • Illinois Credit Union League
  • Illinois Bankers Association
  • American Land Title Association
  • Greater Midwest Lenders Association
  • Illinois Mortgage Bankers Association
  • Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association
  • Community Bankers Association of Illinois and
  • Illinois League of Financial Institutions.


Global Business Council sets up meeting on land titles with Serbian delegation

Illinois REALTORS®’ Global Business Council facilitated a meeting with Serbian real estate professionals and members of the title industry at the Chicago Association of REALTORS® on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. At left are Mike Randick, Illinois sales manager for Stewart Title; Michael Maksimovich with Maksimovich Associates; Carmen Carbonara, business development officer for Stewart Title. On right are Serbian real estate professionals including Ervin Pašanović; Branislav Petrovic, Slaviša Pešik and Zana Petrovic.

A delegation of Serbian real estate practitioners got a chance to learn about best practices in the title industry this week.  

The meeting was facilitated by the Illinois REALTORS®’ Global Business Council, and was held at the association’s offices at the Chicago Association of REALTORS®. Joining the meeting were attorneys for Stewart Title and Maksimovich Associates.  

The delegation continues to build relationships in Illinois. With building and other economic development, members of the delegation said it was important to be able to share information back in their country.  

The group also hoped to be able to increase cross-border relationships and investment.  

Downs honored with Magel Award at NAR Board of Directors meeting

Chicago Association of REALTORS® CEO Ginger Downs is honored for her service and as being named the recipient of the William R. Magel Award for leadership. Her association presented her with flowers at the Illinois REALTORS® reception on Sunday.

Chicago Association of REALTORS CEO Ginger Downs was recognized for being the recipient of the 2017 William R. Magel Award for association leadership at the National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors meeting Monday.  

Downs, who will retire next year, was honored for a lifetime of work guiding associations in Chicago and in the Seattle area. The award is one of the highest NAR can bestow on an association leader.  

Ginger Downs is presented the 2017 William R. Magel Award by NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall at the national association’s Board of Directors meeting on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017.

Downs had been honored at the Illinois REALTORS® reception on Sunday. The announcement she had been named to get the award was made at the NAR Midyear Meetings.  

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get this honor,” Downs said at the board meeting held in Chicago as part of the NAR Conference and Expo.  

Downs was executive vice president of the Seattle/King County REALTORS® and the Portland Board of REALTORS® before coming to Chicago in 2005.  

In her speech, Downs had a list of things association executives should do, including:  

  • Treat each other with dignity 
  • Be a life-long learner 
  • Be prepared and understand the roles of an organization and its elements.  
  • Seek diversity 
  • Learn to forgive.  
  • Guide others to realize their potential.  
  • Look at yourself before criticizing others.  

Tax reform plan would hurt homeowners, REALTORS® tell Sen. Durbin

Illinois REALTORS® met with Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., on Monday to discuss how a proposed tax reform plan would hurt Illinois property owners. REALTORS® Sue Miller and David Hanna represented the association. Photo: Conor Brown

Illinois REALTORS® met with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin on Monday to tell him how a proposed tax overhaul would hurt homeowners.  

Illinois REALTOR® Sue Miller discusses the impact of a tax reform plan with members of the media at a press conference in Crystal Lake, Ill., on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. From left are: Heartland REALTOR® Organization CEO Jim Haisler, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, Miller, McHenry County Board Chair Jack Franks, Homebuilders Association of Illinois Vice President Bill Ward and REALTOR® Dave Hanna. Photo: Conor Brown

REALTORS® Sue Miller and David Hanna told Durbin that as drafted the bill would have huge impact Illinois, which has some of the highest property taxes in the country.

Illinois REALTORS® delegation was introduced by Jim Haisler, CEO of the Heartland REALTOR® Organization.  Illinois REALTORS® Local Government Affairs Director Conor Brown and Bill Ward with the Homebuilders Association of Illinois attended the session.

The current version of the tax plan caps the deduction for property taxes at $10,000, a move that would hurt many in high property tax areas such as McHenry County.  

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks told Durbin that the $10,000 cap would result in a tax hit even for those who own relatively modest homes.   

The National Association of REALTORS has voiced strong opposition to the bill as drafted. While the organization states it is not against tax reform, the way the legislation has been drafted would hurt property owners and decrease home values.  

Among concerns is a mortgage interest deduction limit of $500,000, an amount that is not indexed to inflation. That means the policy’s impact on property owners will continue to worsen over time.  

Other elements of the plan are worrisome, too.

In addition to doing away with the deduction for state and local taxes, mortgage interest deductions for second homes would go away, as would deductions for interest on student loans and medical expenses.  

Media outlets covered a press conference after the meeting in Crystal Lake. Durbin shared his concerns about the tax reform plan.

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Durbin said

Eliminating or gutting state and local tax deductions will hit Illinois hard—resulting in double taxation for a third of the families in our state.” 


Global Business Council gets top honors at NAR conference

Illinois REALTORS®’ efforts to raise awareness of global real estate were honored on Saturday at a reception at the NAR Conference and Expo in Chicago.

The association’s Global Business Council was recognized with the Platinum Global Achievement Program Award for its work on behalf of the industry.

According to the notification letter:

“Your council has shown the highest level of service to its global members by consistently providing them with the tools they need to handle international real estate in addition to connecting your council to the global community in your area.

REALTOR® Alex Ruggieri

Illinois REALTORS® has had a growing international presence in recent years. The association annually participates in the MIPIM real estate conference in Cannes, France, one of the largest in the world, and it has a thriving Consulate General Liaison Program which matches Illinois REALTORS® with Illinois’ international delegations to provide real estate information.

The association also recently partnered with the state’s public-private economic development agency, Intersect Illinois, to help market the state in Japan earlier this year.

The 2017 Global Business Council chair is REALTOR® Alex Ruggieri, and the vice chair is REALTOR® Vicky Sampah. In 2018, Sampah will become chair, and REALTOR® Maurice Hampton will become vice chair. The staff liaison for the Global Business Council is Sharon Gorrell.