Illinois REALTORS® looking for volunteers for ombudsman program

Illinois REALTORS® who serve as ombudsmen met in Naperville June 1, 2016 to discuss the program and how it can best serve members and the public. Pictured here are front row (left to right) Illinois REALTORS® Rebecca Carraher, Bob Floss, Chris Read, Kim Noyes, Yvonne Seffer; back row, Terry Umecker, Wayne Paprocki, Ginger Westin, Georgia Pierini, Kim Trammel, Linda XXXX, Eleanor Nastepniak, Joan Sandrik, Debbie Hymen, Steve Hudson and Matt Difanis. Photo by Matt Difanis

Illinois REALTORS® has a team of ombudsmen who work to resolve disputes involving members and the public. Pictured here are front row (left to right) Illinois REALTORS® Rebecca Carraher,  and ombudsmen Bob Floss, Chris Read, Kim Noyes, Yvonne Seffer; back row, Terry Umecker, Wayne Paprocki, Ginger Westin, Georgia Pierini, Kim Trimmel, Linda Pilmer, Eleanor Nastepniak, Joan Sandrik, Debbie Hymen, Steve Hudson and Matt Difanis. (Photo by Matt Difanis)

Illinois REALTORS® for several years have operated an ombudsman program which acts as a first call for assistance when questions or disputes arise from real estate transactions.

The service is only available for those working with a REALTOR® in a transaction. The dispute-resolution service can be between a consumer and a REALTOR® or among the association’s members.

But to make it work, volunteers are needed who have a passion for working with the public and a knowledge of professional standards. You an apply by filling out this form by Oct. 15, 2016.

The program is a fast-growing component of the association’s Professional Standards effort, which works to make sure members uphold the highest standards and follow the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.

Here’s how it works.

  • A consumer or REALTOR® member fills out a form explaining the nature of their question or dispute.
  • Illinois REALTORS® assigns the case to an ombudsman.
  • The volunteer ombudsman works with the consumer or REALTOR® to resolve the dispute.

The program has had significant success in its first few years of operation. It allows REALTORS® a chance to solve problems before they become bigger issues, and it gives the public a neutral third-party professional to talk to. Many disputes actually just stem from miscommunication, and the ombudsman can serve a vital role in clarifying facts and processes.

Interested in the program but have questions? Call Becky Carraher at 217.391.4803.

Final stretch: Illinois REALTORS® to hear Trump speak at RNC on final night

The view from the Illinois delegate section of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

The view from the Illinois delegate section of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Photo: Mike Drews.

Illinois REALTORS® had a (nearly) front-row seat for one of the most-talked about speeches of the night on Wednesday at the Republican National Convention, that of former presidential candidate and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

And they will attend the session tonight which wraps things up for the party nominating process.

President Mike Drews and President-elect Doug Carpenter were on the convention floor in Cleveland sitting in the Illinois delegate area for the speech.

“People were pretty restless,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter said the experience of going to the convention, which ends Thursday night, has been “unbelievable.” Illinois REALTORS® have had a chance to meet with a host of policy makers.

“This has been a very beneficial experience, to meet face to face with state and national level people,” Carpenter said. “We have built some relationships and partnerships at many levels in terms of advocacy.”

Carpenter and Drews have passes to be inside the Quicken Loans Center in Cleveland to hear the keynote speech by Donald Trump.

The association’s delegation heads back home Friday, but they won’t be in the state for long. They ship out for the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia which is next week. Illinois REALTORS® has a practice of sending delegations to both conventions in presidential election cycles.

From the floor: What it’s like at the Republican National Convention

 

Illinois REALTORS President Mike Drews at the microphone on the floor of the Quicken Loans Center at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Illinois REALTORS President Mike Drews at the microphone on the floor of the Quicken Loans Center at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

The days start early and end late, but it’s a small price to pay for getting a first-hand look at a National Political Convention.

Illinois REALTOR® Blog caught up with President Mike Drews as he was about to go to a state delegation luncheon to ask about his first full day in Cleveland.

The take-aways: Excitement is building. Security is incredibly tight. And it’s interesting to note the stage management that comes along with producing an event such as this one.

The speeches: Drews and President-Elect Doug Carpenter got access yesterday to the convention floor where they had a chance to see the afternoon speakers.

Top orators for Drews were Marcus Lattrell, who was decorated for service fighting the Taliban; U.S. Rep. Greg Waldenof Oregon and Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts.

“I would gather as we get to the session tonight as, things will ramp up,” said Drews. “I think the people will on main floor are going to get more excited.”

Drews said he was struck by the diversity represented during the afternoon session. He said it was clear the GOP was making an effort to tell the story of a party that is inclusive.

Stage management: When everyone gets up to cheer, it may be because there are “carnival barkers” urging the crowd on. Drews said he and others in the delegation noticed officials who had the role of making sure excitement was evident.

“When they needed applause or standing ovation they had you get up and cheer, Drews said.

Connections can happen anywhere: On the bus on Sunday a reporter exchanged numbers with Drews to keep tabs on the Illinois delegation.

At the morning breakfasts there’s practically a roll call of GOP congressional representatives, including Adam Kinzinger, Peter Roskam and Rodney Davis, to name a few.  After the reception, Drews ended up chatting with Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin.

“Relationships are definitely continued here,” Drews said.

A speaker this morning was Corey Lewandowski, formerly with the Trump campaign who spoke glowingly of his former boss. A lunch yesterday featured Ohio Gov. John Kasich, according to reports.

Security is insanely tight: Drews said there are sharpshooters on rooftops, and at times buses into the convention area have a Homeland Security officer aboard.

“There are no protestors anywhere around us,” Drews said. “Along the lakefront the expressways were shut down. It was really kind of spooky,”

Drews said he’s run into squads of police officers from across the country. They all travel together in groups of five or more for security reasons. “Everywhere there are three or four layers of security.”

What’s next: After a breakfast and a lunch with the Illinois delegation, Illinois REALTORS® will have reserved seats in the Quicken Loans Center. Unless someone can finagle better passes, they won’t have the floor access they did last night to see speeches on the theme of improving the U.S. economy.

 

RNC Day 2: Illinois REALTORS® make more connections with policymakers

Illinois REALTORS® President-elect Doug Carpenter and President Mike Drews meet with U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Tuesday, July 19, 2016.

Illinois REALTORS® President-elect Doug Carpenter and President Mike Drews meet with U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Tuesday, July 19, 2016.

This morning Illinois REALTORS® got to meet with U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger at the state breakfast.

The morning meeting begins a day at the Republican National Convention that will be devoted to economic issues.

Last night, Illinois REALTORS® Mike Drews and Doug Carpenter were on the convention floor with delegate passes to see the opening night speeches.

 

Early start for Illinois delegation attending Republican convention

 

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Illinois REALTORS® breakfasted with members of the state’s delegation to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Monday, July 18, 2016. Left to right are: Immediate Past President Jim Kinney, state Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider, President-elect Doug Carpenter, President Mike Drews, Director of Governmental Affairs Greg St. Aubin and Illinois Republican National Committeeman Richard Porter.

Members of Illinois REALTORS® delegation to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland started their day with a breakfast attended by state policymakers.

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Illinois REALTORS® Immediate Past President Jim Kinney poses next to a row of bikes used by security officials at the Republican National Convention. Photo: Greg St. Aubin.

The breakfast is a tradition at the event, and kicks off a week of festivities for those attending the convention.

The attendance at the Republican event will be followed next week by Illinois REALTORS® going to Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention.

Illinois REALTORS® sends a delegation to the conventions each presidential election year because of the access that members have to policymakers in a more informal setting.

The Illinois REALTORS®' delegation meets with U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis in Cleveland.

The Illinois REALTORS®’ delegation meets with U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis in Cleveland.

According to Greg St. Aubin, director of governmental affairs, the association is one of the few lobbying groups to send representatives to the conventions.

The association’s members are expected to get some access today to the arena where the convention is being held.

Tonight, the association is scheduled to hold a reception for Illinois officials attending the convention.