By Ginger Downs, RCE, CAE, IOM
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Association of Realtors
Realtors are not in the business of panicking over sensationalist media headlines, which have habitually taken to inciting hysteria over higher foreclosure rates, predatory lending and lower home sales. Quite frankly, a “perfect” market where everyone involved gets everything they want for the price they want without a moment’s anxiety is, well, nonexistent. That is not to say that we aren’t taking the current market’s flaws seriously. We also take seriously the media’s responsibility to keep the public aware of local business conditions, and understand that often includes running worrisome features, which can instigate a buzz. However, when it comes to helping consumers navigate this market’s tricky waters, I like our strategy better.
ETHICS AND EDUCATION
No matter how the market is behaving, we are committed to serving our clients throughout Chicago ethically and honestly, as well as continuously perfecting our knowledge of how to conduct business in today’s real estate climate.
The Realtors Real Estate School (RRES) at the Chicago Association of Realtors central office offers courses that pertain to current real estate trends and dilemmas in Chicago, such as “Foreclosures” and “Green Building Concepts.” Our 17,000 Chicago Realtors are encouraged to keep their certifications up-to-date in order to more effectively serve their clients in today’s market. What many Chicagoans may not know is that several of the courses taught at RRES are open to the public.
We feel that encouraging anyone in Chicago to participate in classes like our “Foreclosures” course fosters healthy public knowledge taught by real estate experts who have substantial experience conducting business in any climate.
Along with educating ourselves and the public, upholding good business ethics is the most important responsibility a Realtor has. Predatory lending is an example of the recourse of unethical business practice; families will feel the repercussions of the dishonest actions of their lenders for years to come. Realtors not only uphold a Code of Ethics sanctioned by the National Association of Realtors, but they are required to take a two and one-half hour “Code of Ethics” training course to maintain their license. Realtors are held to high standards in every transaction they complete.
Like all markets, the real estate industry ebbs and flows. There will always be ups and downs as there are now. While new home sales may have dropped in August, we also received the encouraging news that median home prices are steadily increasing. Additionally, it is equally promising to see office vacancy rates in Chicago at record lows.
Amidst any volatile condition, Chicago’s educated, ethical and adaptable Realtors are ready and able to conduct fair and professional real estate transactions. That may not make headlines, but that isn’t our goal. Serving our clients is, and I can assure you, no matter what the headlines say, that will never change.
THE CHICAGO ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS (CAR), “THE VOICE FOR REAL ESTATE IN CHICAGO” SINCE 1883, REPRESENTS THE BUSINESS INTERESTS OF MORE THAN 17,000 REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS IN CHICAGOLAND. CAR IS LED BY A VOLUNTARY BOARD OF DIRECTORS, ELECTED BY THE MEMBERSHIP, WHO WORKS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH A PROFESSIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF.