By Chicago Association of REALTORS® President Antje Gehrken
There’s no better feeling than negotiating the best deal for your clients because you know they are trying to build something bigger for the future. I’m proud to be leading the Chicago Association of REALTORS® this year. As the market takes a breath and returns to seasonal trends following the frenzied pace of the past 20 months, we are here to provide you resources and tools to help you navigate whatever the new year may bring, so you can experience even more incredible moments in 2022.
Networking and connections are a critical part of our business – and we’re helping make it easy for you. We’ve planned over 100 events in the year ahead – everything from economic updates to development tours, commercial hot topics and fun summer socials – to help you make the connections you need, when you need them. These are excellent opportunities for you to also get (mostly) free tools and information to help you in your business planning and execution. And if you see me at an event, I hope you’ll come say hello!
I’m super passionate about real estate advocacy and the impact we can have on our communities through our lobbying efforts. Make a goal this year to do a few things: register to vote (the easiest way you can make your voice heard), and RSVP to one of our Coffee with Your GADs meetings. They’ll be both online and in person. It’s such an incredible way to get a first-hand look at the impact and power of the REALTOR® voice in City Hall, Cook County, Springfield and Washington, DC. Plus, our government affairs directors bring legislators directly to these meetings – so you can share your thoughts and concerns with them face-to-face. Truly, our efforts help to protect and empower private property rights – and your involvement is both critical and welcome.
CAR leads the country in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, and I’m incredibly proud to be leading an organization so laser focused on elevating all Chicago REALTORS®. Inclusion is all of our responsibility. You can see the results of our years of work in this area through our Board of Directors, which reflects the diversity of our city, and our diversity committee, the 77, which provides a voice for every one of our neighborhoods. This year, we’re taking the next step, by hosting our first Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summit in the spring. I hope you’ll join us to better understand how we can all make a difference and move the needle for both our industry and our neighborhoods.
We have an incredible tool to help you supercharge your marketing on social media: Photofy. We’re continuously adding new content for you to help educate your clients and stand out online, with professionally designed graphics that highlight your event attendance, professionalism and value as a market expert.
This summer, we debuted a consumer website: BuySellOwnChicago.com; this year, we’ll be adding neighborhood profiles for all 77 of Chicago’s neighborhoods, with hyper local information and market statistics to make your jobs even easier, along with new, fresh content that underscores both your value as a REALTOR® and the importance of private property rights.
In case you missed it, our newest product, Legal Library Pro, streamlines the commercial forms and contracts process through live editing, tracked changes and auto-population. Even better, this program also saves you money on attorney fees. There’s a Chicago REALTOR®-specific discount, so please don’t delay signing up! It will transform the way you manage your contracts process, I promise.
That’s not all – we’re also working on a brand-new ChicagoREALTOR.com that will help better deliver the content you need, when you need it. Enhanced search, content libraries, event and class registrations and more will be debuting in the coming months – and I’m so excited for how this will transform your member experience 24/7 online. We’ll also be rolling out improvements to our online education registration platform, including expanded learning tracks, gamification and easier registration and navigation. These improvements will help you get the professional development you need, right at your fingertips.
Don’t forget: you can always follow us on social media @ChicagoREALTORS for business tips and news you need to know and easily share Chicago real estate news with your sphere.
I’m excited to champion these initiatives in the year to come – I believe these tools will help us all grow and be even better REALTORS® for our clients and communities.