Professionals form South Asia real estate organization in Chicago area

(l to r) Tonya Corder, Pradeep Shukla and Tom Krettler.

(l to r) Tonya Corder, Pradeep Shukla and Tom Krettler.

The Association of South Asian Real Estate Professionals (ASARP) held its first Inaugural Gala at the Cascade Banquet Hall in Bensenville on Jan. 29.

The function marked beginning of a new era in the community outreach for real estate professionals. ASARP is organized as a not-for-profit association to reaffirm commitment to provide the leadership the South Asian community requires in order to achieve the cherished objectives of property ownership inside and outside the United States.

Pradeep B. Shukla was appointed President and Kanti N. Patel, Vice President. Other appointed first directors are: T. Paul Chawala, Al-Haroon Hussain, Babubhai Patel, Marsha Collins, Swati Saxena, Suchi Bhagat, Vickey Sampa, Vikram Sarda, Bimal Pandhi, Raj Patel and Nat Zala. Tom Krettler, past president of the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®, administered the oath of office to the new appointees. Also present were Iftikar Sheriff, Tonya Corder (director of NAR and another past president of the Mainstreet) and other invited guests. The Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) was represented by Ann Trandai, president of Chicago chapter.

South Asia consists of eight nations, surrounding and including India: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives. The ASARP is intended to serve members in five major ways:

  1. Educating real estate professionals in the matter of specific needs of this community;
  2. Providing effective outreach to the community by enriching their real estate experience;
  3. Providing effective liaison with local, state and national associations;
  4. Acting as an effective political arm for South Asian professionals; and
  5. Providing effective service tools to U.S. investors for making smart investment decisions in South Asian markets.

Kanti Patel welcomed and introduced the guests. He invited them to join this crusade for greater education, outreach and effective liaisons.

Harsha Shukla explained several reasons for a separate association for the South Asian community. She explained that India is large by many indexes: 1/3 the size (square miles) of the U.S.; the second largest population in the world; the 10th largest economy by nominal gross domestic product (GDP) and the third largest by purchasing power parity.

She noted the Indian middle class is growing and is estimated between 250 to 300 million. With a rapidly developing middle class, non-immigrant Indians are also in a good position to invest in the U.S. Indian Americans or Indo-Americans are Americans of Indian ancestry, representing about 1 percent of the U.S. population. According to the 2014 NAR report on international home-buying activity, buyers from India and South Asia purchased about $5.8 billion in U.S. properties, with a median price of $342,857. Indian Americans purchased mostly single family detached homes but about 6 percent bought for commercial/rental use. Language, cultural, religious and social differences and traits require that the demand of this community are differently perceived and satisfied.

Pradeep Shukla said a two-way bridge has to be built so that U.S. real estate professionals can learn about the different languages, religions and social traits of these communities and so that South Asians can be effectively educated and represented in real estate transactions.

He said the world’s second costliest individual home (the costliest is Buckingham Palace), valued at about $1 billion, is owned by an Indian (Mukesh Ambani) and also Chicago’s costliest penthouse in Trump Tower was also purchased by an Indian (Jatin Shah). Shukla urged members to work as a team to help ASARP succeed in its future endeavors.

Murray leads managing brokers in ‘revolution’


Karel Murray

Managing brokers received the tools to create an “irresistable” office culture, motivate brokers, and to recruit and retain successful brokers at the free “Brokerage Revolution” seminar today at IAR Headquarters in Springfield.

Nationally known real estate speaker Karel Murray led today’s training, recalling staffing challenges she faced earlier in her own career. She urged managing brokers to pay attention to all of their staff members, stating: “I believe your reputation is only as good as the reputation of your worst agent.”

The day-long seminar kicked off with participants identifying traits of the most successful teams, as well as dysfunctional behaviors of unsuccessful teams. Murray led a discussion of the priorities and concerns of brokerages.

See photos of some of the attending managing brokers below.


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Maskel finds rewarding ways to help his community

popcorn machine to local nursing home

Jim Maskel (right) and the Morris VFW Men’s Auxiliary helped raise money for a popcorn machine for a local nursing home.

REALTOR® Jim Maskel of Century 21 Coleman-Hornsby in Morris has found several ways to stay involved in his community while working on his career, volunteering for 20 Grundy County Corn Festivals and giving time during the last 12 years to the Morris Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Men’s Auxiliary.

“I always loved the annual county festival growing up in Morris,” says Maskel, “and in 1995 there were rumors that the festival may not go on. I knew this couldn’t be allowed to happen, so I volunteered to help. In 2003, when the opportunity presented itself, I was elected to the board of directors.”

He has served the festival as: a sponsor, the craft show/flea market coordinator, the entertainment director and vice president. During his time as entertainment director, he booked a variety of musicians and bands, including American Idol contestant Bucky Covington, who was the runner up in season five. Other acts included: the Silhouettes, 7th Heaven, Silver Bullet StL, Libido Funk Circus, Too White Crew, Neverly Brothers, JP & the Cats, Mason Rivers, Arra, Hillbilly Rockstarz, Final Say, Dueling Pianos, Hi Infidelity, the Associates, Petty Cash, Jason & the Haymakers and the Meteors. See the festival’s Facebook page.

Morris VFW Men’s Auxiliary



Maskel, a member of the Three Rivers Association of REALTORS®, joined the VFW in the same year he launched his real estate career – 2003. He wanted to support local veterans. He became the auxiliary’s first secretary.

“Our group has held many fundraisers throughout the years to assist the VFW Post, the veteran groups, and the local Color Guard.  The Men’s Auxiliary was chartered in 2003 under the John Martin Steele Post 6049 in Morris, Illinois, and we do voluntary community service, support the VFW and provide member fellowship,” he says.

“As I am not a veteran myself, it is very rewarding to be able to do something to support the VFW and its members, including the Color Guard,” says Maskel, the auxiliary’s current treasurer.

He serves real estate clients in Grundy, LaSalle, Livingston, Kendall and Will counties.

“I believe that most REALTORS® are community minded, even if it’s in the smallest way,” he says. “It helps in their careers by advancing local initiatives, in turn creating greater communities.”

Watch the IARbuzz blog for weekly stories about the community involvement of Illinois REALTORS® during IAR’s 100th Anniversary year. #MemberMonday

State Senator talks flood prevention with Grundy County residents and REALTORS®

Blustein Rezin 1

Local GAD Gideon Blustein and State Sen. Sue Rezin

REALTOR® members, clients, elected officials and the public participated in State Senator Sue Rezin’s Grundy County Flood Prevention Forum on Feb. 3 in Morris, Illinois.

Serious flooding in 2013 forced the Morris Hospital to evacuate nearly 50 patients and cost LaSalle and Grundy counties more than $150 million. In response, Sen. Rezin teamed up with area leaders to establish the Illinois Valley Flood Resiliency Alliance (IVFRA) to bring communities, local governments and emergency personnel together to prepare for extreme weather events, especially floods.

Flooding and flood insurance present serious issues to REALTORS®. Due to recent legislative changes, private property owners may have seen their flood insurance rates skyrocket. Sen. Rezin and the experts on hand heard impassioned pleas for financial relief. Attendees could receive one-on-one counseling on how to reduce flood insurance rates, and the town hall also served to announce that Grundy County would initiate a coordinated effort to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System which can result in flood insurance premium discounts to residents.

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