Advocacy goes global

This week the IAR leadership and staff participated in a education event for the Republic of Ghana, which sent representatives of its Parliament to learn how Illinois regulates and practices real estate.

Hosted by IAR member, Vicky Sampah, a Ghanian, this day-long event included several speakers and provided the delegation with an enormous amount of information on license law, continuing education, finance, public/private partnering, multiple listing service, association structure and several other components.

The Republic of Ghana currently does not have a regulated real estate industry and this has caused problems and uncertainty in its marketplace.  Sampah made a commitment to her home country to help lead an effort to formalize and professionalize her industry.  She has already been successful in organizing a professional trade organization there and is working with the National Association of REALTORS® on a bilateral agreement.  Her passion and commitment has resulted in her ability to host key decision makers from Ghana in the United States so they can learn and understand how a balanced regulated industry can contribute to much success in a national economy.

The IAR highlighted different areas of the industry through presentations by the IAR Leadership Team. Jim Kinney, President, Mike Drews, President-Elect and Doug Carpenter, Treasurer shared information on how to represent buyers and sellers as well as the importance of professional development and education to become the “trusted advisor” of real estate consumers. Bill Caton, Vice-Chair of the IAR Commercial Committee gave a presentation on the importance of including commercial real estate in their efforts in addition to sharing information on his role as a broker-owner and how to run and manage a real estate office.

IAR Director of Governmental Affairs Greg St. Aubin and IAR Housing Policy Advisor Sharon Gorrell also contributed to the discussion. St. Aubin spoke on some of the components of the proposed draft of their licensing act in addition to the importance of collaboration with the industry they are going to regulate.  Gorrell spoke about housing finance and how the state of Illinois and the federal government expand access to mortgage lending through down payment programs and loan options through IHDA and FHA.

Another component to the program was a presentation from a member of the Illinois Legislature. Illinois State Rep. Marcus Evans (33rd District) presented the “Government Perspective” on regulating an industry, the importance of a healthy and inclusive housing market and why housing plays a huge role in economic development for a state and a nation.  As the Chairman of the Economic Development and Housing Committee of the Legislature, he made some important points on affordable housing, senior housing and the importance of the IAR’s involvement in the legislative process.

Also participating in the day were: Kate Sax, Director of Ethical Practices, Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®; Midwest Real Estate Data CEO, Rebecca Jensen; and Katie Stouffs-Grimes, Stacey Moncrieff and Joe Schneider from the NAR Global and Commercial Division.

The delegation will also meet with CCIM and REALTOR® University while here in the United States.

REALTORS® participate in Chicago legislative symposium

(l to r) Tracey Taylor, Greg Mitchell, Howard Brookins, Walter Burnett, Leslie Hairston, Rod Sawyer, Michael Scott, Jr., Toni Foulkes, Will Burns, David Moore, Pat Dowell and Mark Buford.

The Chicago Association of REALTORS® (CAR) and the Dearborn REALTIST® Board co-hosted a Legislative Symposium for the City of Chicago’s City Council Black Caucus at U.S. Cellular Field (home of the Chicago White Sox) last week.

Dearborn is keen to address the inequities that plagued the housing market generations ago and used this opportunity to make sure the history is understood so it is not repeated.  Dearborn had more than two dozen members in attendance with one of the most esteemed being Frank Williams, previous president of both CAR and Dearborn. Williams personifies the bridge that was made between the two organizations and how important is to make sure these type of joint events continue.

Current Dearborn President, Tracey Taylor also a former officer of CAR provided opening remarks.  CAR volunteer leadership was represented by Sarah Ware, Vice Chairperson of Public Policy and current and future board members, Sonia Anaya and Nykea Pippion-McGriff.

Photo courtesy of Bigstock

Two presentations were made by Dearborn REALTIST® Board Members Mark Buford and Gerald Williams (Williams currently serves as CAR Fair Housing Forum Chairperson). The presentations were titled, “Democracy in Housing” and “Driving Community Economic Growth: Opportunities for Chicago Communities.”

Well into the 21st Century, REALTORS® are recognized as leaders of economic development and neighborhood improvements. REALTORS® have a fiduciary motivation in seeing neighborhoods thrive. Good schools, safe communities and amenities, such as coffee shops and cuisine of various price points, are things all REALTORS® want.  Having them on the south side and west side of Chicago is good for all of Chicago.

After the presentations, the audience was addressed by Black Caucus Chairman Roderick Sawyer of the 6th Ward (Greater Grand Crossing, West Chesterfield and Chatham). Future initiatives and synergies between the Dearborn REALTIST® Board and the Black Caucus include crafting a legislative agenda.

CAR was glad to provide the assistance needed to make this meeting happen. Dearborn President Taylor said, “The Dearborn REALTIST® Board would like to express its gratitude for the collaboration on this and future events.” The meeting was one of the tenets of the strategic partnership agreement executed by CAR and the Dearborn REALTIST® Board.

Aldermen in attendance included:

  • Pat Dowell (3rd Ward),
  • Will Burns (4th Ward),
  • Leslie Hairston (5th Ward),
  • Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward),
  • Greg Mitchell (7th Ward),
  • Toni Foulkes (16th Ward),
  • David Moore (17th Ward),
  • Howard Brookins (20th Ward) and
  • Michael Scott, Jr. (24th Ward).

Crain’s reports REALTOR® opposition to ad tax in Illinois

Crain’s Chicago Business has a story about a coalition of business and trade groups – including IAR – mobilizing a fight against a proposed ad tax. Quoted in the article is IAR President Jim Kinney, who says IAR is supportive of an effort to solve the state’s fiscal crisis but the ad tax idea is not a good way to go about it.

The IAR is one of several groups opposed to the concept, including the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association, the Illinois Press Association, the Outdoor Advertising Association of Illinois and the Motion Picture Association of America. This coalition created a website to fight the proposal and seven members of the press association have published editorials against it.

In the Crain’s article, Christopher Mooney, director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois predicts that Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders will propose and pass legislation that establishes an advertising tax. He thinks they will present it to voters as something that must be done to raise revenue.

REALTORS® discuss real estate issues, economy with local government officials

(l to r) Kyle Remblake, Dennis Brim, James Ford, Charles Dryer, Tom Joseph, Diane Abell and Tim Ryan

Country Club Hills Mayor James Ford, IAR Local GAD Tom Joseph and three members of the Government Affairs Committee for Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® came together with a pair of other local government officials for a roundtable discussion about municipal inspections, economic development, escrow, housing and more.

Included in the meetings were Government Affairs Committee Chair Tim Ryan (broker-owner of Real People Realty in Mokena), Dennis Brim (broker-owner Prestige Partners in Country Club Hills) and Diane Abell (Coldwell Banker in Flossmoor). In addition to Ford, other government officials included city administrator Charles Dryer and building commissioner Kyle Remblake.

In April, Ford was one of 40 individual candidates in Illinois who won local campaigns with IAR support, either through RPAC, Opportunity Races or Independent Expenditures. Ford’s campaign was aided by Independent Expenditure – assistance that isn’t coordinated through the candidates. In addition, IAR helped 70 percent of the local candidates win, and helped pass a property tax rebate/sales tax increase. Also, IAR helped defeat four home rule referenda and a real estate transfer tax.

LaHood, Mellon advance to September special election

Illinois Sen. Darin LaHood and Robert Mellon won the Republican and Democratic primaries, respectively Tuesday, and advanced to the Sept. 10 special election for the 18th Congressional District.

The two are fighting for the right to replace former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, who resigned his post earlier this year amidst questions about use of campaign and taxpayer funds.

The National Association of REALTORS® is supporting LaHood, who represents Illinois’ 37th Senate District and serves on the Senate committees on Criminal Law, Executive Appointments, Judiciary, Licensed Activities, Pensions and Revenue.

LaHood, a former federal prosecutor, collected 31,319 votes to defeat Michael Flynn of Quincy (12,559) and Donald Rients of Benson (1,231) for the Republican nomination in the 19-county district, according to the Springfield State Journal-Register. Mellon, a high school teacher, defeated Springfield School Board member Adam Lopez 4,538 to 3,054 to get the Democratic nomination.