4 more ways for REALTORS® to stay safe and protect their customers

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) designates September as REALTOR® Safety Month and offers the following safety tips for your customers, colleagues and you:

  1. Tell your sellers: DON’T leave personal information like mail out in the open during showings and open houses. Be sure to put away and lock up your laptop and any other expensive, easy-to-pocket electronics and jewelry before all showings.
  2. Tell your clients not to show their home by themselves. Alert them that not all agents, buyers and sellers are who they say they are. Have them refer all inquiries to you.
  3. Be safe when shopping online. Make sure the website uses secure technology by verifying the URL on the checkout screen begins with https. If it doesn’t do not type in your credit card information.
  4. Have a crisis management plan for your office. Include events such as power outages, natural disasters, workplace violence, acts of terrorism and the outbreak of contagious diseases.

The NAR offers numerous safety resources to help real estate professionals safeguard client data and to protect themselves from attack or injury.


Morning Minute: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers guidance on credit following Equifax data breach

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advises Americans to take steps to protect their credit in: “Top 10 ways to protect yourself in the wake of the Equifax data breach.”

Freezing your credit, reviewing your credit report at least annually and setting up fraud alerts are just a few ideas offered.

In other headlines:

August brings higher Illinois home prices, lower sales amid tight inventory

The summer’s competitive housing market extended through August with lower seasonal inventory driving home prices higher, but tempering total home sales, according to Illinois REALTORS®.

Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in August 2017 totaled 16,196 homes sold, down 3.4 percent from 16,771 in August 2016.

The statewide median price in August was $200,456, up 5.0 percent from August 2016, when the median price was $191,000. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

“The summer selling season was marked by high demand and lower-than-ideal inventories, said Illinois REALTORS® President Doug Carpenter, ABR, AHWD, GRI, SFR of Mokena, managing broker of Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group in Orland Hills. “The data show homes are selling at a lightning-fast pace, which speaks to how quickly consumers are prepared to move to get the home they want.”

The time it took to sell a home in August averaged 48 days, down from 55 days a year ago. Available housing inventory totaled 60,462 homes for sale, an 11.4 percent decline from August 2016 when there were 68,240 homes on the market.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.88 percent in August 2017, a decrease from 3.97 percent the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In August 2016, it averaged 3.44 percent.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single-family and condominiums) in August 2017 totaled 11,660 homes sold, down 3.9 percent from August 2016 sales of 12,139 homes. The median price in August 2017 was $239,900 in the Chicago PMSA, an increase of 4.3 percent from $230,000 in August 2016.

“The uncertainty in the Illinois economy over the last two years has contributed to a dampening of housing demand in contrast to the generally positive outlook in the rest of the country,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois.  “At the same time, declines in inventory are still exerting upward pressure on housing prices and thus reducing affordability.”

According to the data, forty-two (42) Illinois counties reported sales gains for August 2017 over previous-year numbers, including LaSalle County, up 26.5 percent with 148 units sold; Will County, up 5.5 percent with 1,149 units sold; and Sangamon County, up 4.4 percent with 286 units sold. Fifty-two (52) counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Peoria County, up 12.6 percent to $128,000; Lake County, up 11.8 percent to $255,000; and Kane County, up 10.2 percent to $234,950.

The city of Chicago saw a 4.5 percent year-over-year home sales decline in August 2017 with 2,716 sales, down from 2,844 in August 2016. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in August 2017 was $285,000, up 5.2 percent compared to August 2016 when it was $271,000.

“With the improvement in the economy, people decided to enjoy their summer and the disposable income in their pockets,” said Matt Silver, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and partner at Urban Real Estate. “While this contributed to a slight slowdown in year-over-year sales, the market is on track and poised for a strong autumn; days on market continue to decline, and our year-to-date sales are higher than last year’s. Energy and attention is shifting to the housing market and the opportunities therein.”

Sales and price information are generated by Multiple Listing Service closed sales reported by 28 participating Illinois REALTOR® local boards and associations including Midwest Real Estate Data LLC data as of Sept. 7, 2017 for the period Aug. 1 through Aug. 31, 2017. The Chicago PMSA, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.

Illinois REALTORS® is a voluntary trade association whose more than 47,000 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. In addition to serving the professional needs of its members, Illinois REALTORS® works to protect the rights of private property owners in the state by recommending and promoting legislation to safeguard and advance the interest of real property ownership.

Find Illinois housing stats, data and the University of Illinois REAL forecast at www.illinoisrealtors.org/marketstats.

Magazine article highlights friendship started at REALTOR® Conference & Expo

Staying open to meeting new people helped Illinois REALTOR® Dan Wagner at the 2012 REALTOR® Conference & Expo in Orlando, and it continues to help him today. Register now.

The September-October edition of REALTOR® magazine quotes Wagner, “When you go to these conventions, you have to be open to meeting new people. Get out of your comfort zone; don’t just hang around people you know.”

Shuttle diplomacy with the president,” recaps how Wagner and Florida REALTOR® Tom Salomone — who later became the 2016 NAR President — became friends after a spontaneous conversation on a shuttle ride. Their friendship has helped both personally and professionally. Read more.


Oct. 1 deadline coming for three REEF scholarships


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REALTORS® applying for the Past President’s Scholarship, the Roxanne Malo Scholarship and the Margery D. Shinners Scholarship should submit their applications, letters of recommendation and any other materials so they arrive in by Oct. 1.

Send your scholarship materials to: The Illinois Real Estate Educational Foundation, P.O. Box 2607, Springfield, IL 62708.

The Past Presidents Scholarship is for Illinois REALTORS® – and Illinois residents – who want to pursue the: Certified Residential Broker (CRB); Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS); Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM); Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI undergraduate only); or REALTOR® Association Certified Executive (RACE) designation. Download the application.


The Roxanne Malo Leadership Scholarship Fund is for individuals wishing to further their education through leadership training in a real estate related field. Scholarship grants may also be awarded for leadership training by: a junior college, college or university; the Illinois REALTORS®; the National Association of REALTORS®, its institutes, councils or societies; a local Chamber of Commerce; the American Society of Association Executives or similar organizations. Download the application.


Margery D. Shinners Scholarship was established for women wishing to study association management. Scholarships will be awarded for training programs offered by: the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE); Chicago Forum; the Illinois Society of Association Executives (ISAE); the Illinois REALTORS®; the National Association of REALTORS®; or a higher educational institution. Download the application.