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.

Leasing a hot topic for Illinois housing market

The rental market stands out as the strongest at this time. According to the June IAR Broker Sentiment Survey, 79 percent of Illinois managing brokers surveyed described the rental market as very good or average with expectations for this to continue over the next six months.

In fact, property management questions have been heating up the IAR Legal Hotline including this one: “Do I need a real estate license to engage in property management activities?”

The general answer is yes, according to IAR Legal Hotline attorney Betsy Urbance, assuming those activities include activities that require a real estate license under Illinois license law. For more on this specific topic read the Legal Ease column from the April Illinois REALTOR® magazine.

According to Urbance: “I still continue to get general leasing questions on the hotline. Remember, if your license is sponsored by a broker all your licensed activities— including those related to leasing—need to be done through your sponsoring broker.”

License transition period begins May 1

If you’re an Illinois real estate professional, you’ve been hearing about it for months, but now it’s official — the one-year period to transition to the broker or managing broker license categories begins Sunday and ends April 30, 2012.

The Illinois Association of REALTORS® is there to help you navigate the transition process. At you’ll find details about education requirements,  transition flow charts and  proficiency exam and prep course listings.

Still have questions? Then take a few minutes to watch a video from IAR Hotline Attorney Betsy Urbance as she walks you step-by-step through the different options you have for transitioning.

President’s podcast: What’s new in license law transition, member resources and more

In this video message, Illinois Association of REALTORS® President Sheryl Grider Whitehurst highlights new resources available to members such as the online Risk Management Toolbox and reminds members of the upcoming license category transition period, beginning May 1, 2011 and running through April 30, 2012.

Watch the video to learn more about prep courses IAR has developed to help members prepare for transition proficiency exams, IAR’s recent success blocking legislation in Springfield that would have allowed the state to borrow money from real estate funds and the latest in homeownership advocacy efforts.

Top content from

Looking for last month’s home sales data or where to download a sample office policy? These resources are available at your fingertips from the Illinois Association of REALTORS®. In fact, here are the top visited pages from (Source: IAR 2nd Quarter Hit Report)

  1. REALTOR® Search – Search for a REALTOR® by company name, city, last name and/or foreign language.
  2. CE Lookup – Look up your IAR-sponsored continuing education credits.
  3. Free Downloads – Contracts, forms, consumer brochures and other resources available for Illinois REALTORS® to download in .pdf format.
  4. Career in Real Estate – Understand the various educational options and choices for those embarking on a career in real estate.
  5. – Let IAR be your guide to understanding the rewrite of the Illinois Real Estate License Act of 2000, its rules and provisions.
  6. Market Stats – Find monthly and quarterly Illinois home sales and median prices by county, housing market forecasts by University of Illinois economists and more.
  7. Pre-License Information – IAR licensing and training centers make it easy to start your career in real estate. Learn about pre-licensing requirements and find courses for obtaining your real estate license.

Also be sure to bookmark these quicklinks to stay informed:

NRDS ALERT! You must be a member of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® to access online member benefits. If you are a member and are having difficulties logging in please e-mail