NAR blog: Barrington agent doesn’t want you to become another victim

REALTOR® Celeste Barr of Keller Williams Success Realty in Barrington, Ill., wants colleagues to trust their intuition so they can avoid becoming a victim of crime, and she’s relating her experience to make the point.

Barr shared her thoughts with Graham Wood, a senior editor of REALTOR® magazine following Arkansas REALTOR® Beverly Carter’s death. Wood relayed her advice to fellow REALTORS® in the NAR “Speaking of Real Estate” blog. Read the story and her reasons for speaking up.

Here are a few excerpts from Barr’s email to NAR:

  • “Back when I was a newer agent in 1991 – I had only been in the business for two year(s) – I, too, was attacked.  A ‘buyer’ attacked me in the basement of a home.  I got away.  I was one of the lucky ones.” 
  • “If I were to give any advice to anyone in our community of REALTORS®, it would be to listen to your gut more.  We’re all so eager to get the next deal; we’re not listening.  Even as our gut is screaming, we think it won’t be us.” 
  • “Plan ahead and have a way out, even if all you have is a lame excuse to leave.  You really need to keep a safe zone between you and the client.”

REALTORS® back five more state rep candidates in NE Illinois

The Illinois REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) has provided direct contributions to five pro-REALTOR® candidates in the northeastern quadrant of the state and encourages you to vote for the pro-REALTOR® candidate in your district on Nov. 4.

These Illinois House of Representatives candidates are pro-business, pro-private property rights, low tax and pro-growth on issues that affect the business of real estate.  RPAC Trustees consider them “Opportunity Races:”

  • 20th House District — Rep. Michael McAuliffe (R)
  • 37th House District – Margo McDermed (R)
  • 43rd House District – Rep. Anna Moeller (D)
  • 61st House District – Rep. Sheri Jesiel (R)
  • 75th House District – Rep. John Anthony (R)

For each candidate, we provide several reasons for your support:


  • A lifelong resident of the 20th, McAuliffe has been a member of the Illinois House since 1996.
  • He represents the city of Chicago and all or parts of Schiller Park, Niles, Rosemont, Park Ridge, Des Plaines, Norridge, Harwood Heights and Franklin Park.
  • He is the Republican Spokesperson for two committees (Health Care Licenses and Veterans’ Affairs), and serves on five others (Public Safety Appropriations; Health Care Availability and Access; Public Utilities; Tourism & Conventions; and Museums, Arts & Cultural Enhancements). 
  • McAuliffe has been a longtime REALTOR® champion on IAR initiatives and on issues our association advocates on behalf of private property owners.


  • This Will County Board member is vying for an open seat with no incumbent in District 37, which includes parts of Cook and Will counties as well as all or parts of Orland Hills, Orland Park, Tinley Park and Oak Forest.
  • McDermed was a strong opponent to any fire sprinkler mandate for new construction in unincorporated Will County.
  • She has been open to concerns expressed by REALTORS®.
  • She supports reducing income tax and property tax burdens so more Illinois residents can buy homes and remain in them.
  • She is a strong proponent of private property rights.


  • Moeller was sworn in on March 2014.  The 43rd District includes all or part of Elgin, Barrington Hills, Carpentersville, East Dundee and South Elgin. 
  • A former Elgin City Councilwoman, Moeller serves on committees for: Transportation (Vehicles & Safety); Public Safety (Police & Fire); State Government Administration; and Economic Development.
  • She supported IAR’s initiative to create a clear and fair formula for calculating the amount to be paid by purchasers of foreclosed condominiums.
  • She supported changes to the Real Estate License law regarding regulation of brokers who do a Broker Price Opinion (BPO) and/or a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)


  • A former Benton Township Chairman, Jesiel was sworn in July 2014 following the resignation of Rep. JoAnn Osmond. The 61st District is in Lake County and includes all or part of Antioch, Lindenhurst, Beach Park and Zion.
  • She is a lifelong resident of the Zion-Winthrop Harbor Area.
  • Residing near the state line, Jesiel feels very strongly about the need to address Illinois’ tax policy to encourage people to stay in Illinois.  She is also very concerned about high property taxes and feels that the expansion of our tax base is important.
  • Jesiel touts her business and educational background and states that her experience in corporate headquarters, not-for-profits and business start-ups are needed in state government.


  • Anthony was appointed as state representative in August 2013 following the resignation of Rep. Pam Roth. The 75th District includes portions of Kendall, Grundy, Will and LaSalle counties and all or part of the municipalities of Minooka, Channahon, Morris, Seneca, Marseilles, Sheridan and Plano.
  • Prior to his appointment, Anthony served as a police officer and deputy sheriff. 
  • He is on the powerful House Judiciary Committee where many transactional and legal issues affecting real estate and private property rights are heard.  He also serves on the Human Services Appropriations, Business Growth and Incentives, Energy and Insurance committees. 
  • He supported IAR’s initiative to create a clear and fair formula for calculating the amount to be paid by purchasers of foreclosed condominiums.
  • He backed changes to the Real Estate License law regarding regulation of brokers who do a Broker Price Opinion (BPO) and/or a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).
Read the previous Opportunity Race stories about:

(Contributions are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. The Illinois REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) collects contributions from members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) for political activities. A portion of each contribution will be used for state political activities; at least 30 percent will be used for federal campaign purposes. The federal portion will be charged against an individual’s federal contribution limits under 2 USC 441a. Contributions are VOLUNTARY and refusal to contribute does not affect membership rights. A member may contribute more or less than the suggested amount. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the Board’s official website or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.)

Know the facts before you vote for Home Rule on Nov. 4

Illinois REALTORS® want residents in communities considering Home Rule to understand the ramifications.

Should residents in Crestwood, Lynwood, Matteson, Barrington, Lake Zurich and other Illinois communities be concerned about supporting Home Rule?

Source: Crestwood website

The answer is a resounding “yes,” no matter what backers of these measures say. Making such a broad change can have a huge impact on the cost of living in a community and the economic viability of its governance.

Learn more about Home Rule with this Q & A.

So, what is Home Rule? The Illinois Constitution allows a municipality to become a home rule unit if the voters approve it in a referendum if it has fewer than 25,000 residents. A municipality automatically becomes a home rule unit when its population reaches 25,000. The move allows a community to incur debt and loosens restrictions on implementing transfer taxes on real estate.

What are the tax implications of becoming a Home Rule community? A broad range of taxation options are available to Home Rule municipalities. Prior to 1997, Home Rule units could freely adopt a real estate transfer tax. But in 1997, a new law went into effect which put a limit on this. Home Rule units must go to a referendum to get a transfer tax adopted or increased. Except for this limitation—and a few others that are set forth in state law—home rule units are free to enact any kind of tax (except an income tax) they want. Home Rule units are even exempt from the Property Tax Caps law.

What about debt?  Home Rule allows a community to undertake long-term financing of infrastructure projects. This can be good for a community and it can attract new businesses. This is a genuine benefit to being a home rule unit as economic development is important for all Illinois communities. However, the question of how the debt will be managed and financed is an important issue for citizens in existing home rule municipalities or those who are considering becoming a home rule unit.

What are the dangers associated with adopting home rule? Some home rule municipalities have abused their powers by attempting to control property transfers through point-of sale inspections and imposing regulations regarding: inspections of apartment buildings and vacant homes; landlord-tenant relationships; and crime prevention measures. Some home rule units have passed property demolition taxes, unfettered impact fees and excessive fees with the inspection programs. What’s this mean to the home buyer or seller? More costs in a state where a common complaint is that the costs of living are already too high.

Why is this such a big issue for REALTORS®? There are more than 41,000 REALTORS® in the state. Their clients are sensitive to any change in regulation and taxation, and increases in both areas could scuttle deals, make it less attractive to locate in a community or in some cases price a property owner or would-be buyer out of the market. REALTORS® want affordable, quality housing for anyone wanting to realize the American Dream of homeownership. They also want to make sure that commercial interests are served by making sure the costs that can be a barrier to job creation are as low as possible. Layering on the potential for additional taxes and regulation undercuts these missions.

What about specific examples where Home Rule status hurt municipalities?  How about five examples:

  • In 1998, Highland Park enacted a $10,000 residential “teardown tax.” In 2005, Evanston passed a similar tax. In 2008, Highland Park considered increasing its tax to $25,000.

  • Several home rule municipalities have adopted what is known as a “zero-dollar transfer tax.” While there is no direct taxation cost to the seller, this is an attempt by the municipality to block a transfer in order to enforce building code regulations. (The municipality will deny issuance of the transfer stamps.)

  • With some pre-sale home inspection ordinances, the municipalities will require an escrow deposit from buyers of “AS IS” properties that have totaled as high as $40,000.

  • Impact fees in several municipalities are imposed for libraries, police cars, fire protection equipment and “public art.” No statutory authority exists for these fees but these municipalities claim their home rule status as the authorization.

  • Since 1988, pursuant to a home rule ordinance, a tenant in Chicago is entitled to “damages” and attorney’s fees if the landlord did not return the correct amount for interest on the security deposit.

Can’t a municipality raise my taxes now without Home Rule status? Certainly, it can. But not being a Home Rule community makes it more difficult to add costs and regulations onto property owners. It also can make sure that the community can’t take on debt, which has led to notable financial crisis in some communities.