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Embracing 2013

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Zeke Morris is the president of the Chicago Association of Realtors.

Zeke Morris is the president of the Chicago Association of Realtors.

How good it is to begin a year with so much opportunity! For those of us in real estate, the start of 2013 is a welcome departure from news about challenges to news of opportunities.

From my perspective, as a managing broker on the city of Chicago’s South Side and president of the Chicago Association of Realtors, “partnerships” are emerging as a dominant factor for success in the New Year. Through partnerships we will continue the slow but steady improvement we’re seeing in commercial and residential real estate, nationwide.

In Chicago, cooperative efforts among governmental offices, housing organizations and citizen groups are bringing fresh approaches to some of the longstanding ways we’ve had of doing business in real estate – routines that are proving less effective in a new economy. In one effort, for instance, Realtors have allied with the International Council of Shopping Centers Illinois Governmental Relations Committee and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association to visit Chicago city aldermen and discuss promoting retail attraction and retention in their wards.

Realtors and other intermediaries are playing pivotal roles in bridging small business owners with city programs to help local commercial enterprises get back on their feet. Strong community business districts are great news for nearby residential real estate. This is the type of cooperative approach that moves everybody forward.

Nationwide, Realtors have also joined forces with government and grassroots programs to counsel distressed home owners and steer them toward the right resources to keep their homes, or to swiftly and successfully navigate the distressed sales process. In Chicago and elsewhere, Realtors have been essential partners to cities implementing Neighborhood Stabilization Programs, assisting distressed home owners and helping buyers invest in target properties.

Also in many cities, Realtors are working with veteran services groups to make it easier for returning U.S. troops to obtain financing and purchase homes that fit their individual needs.

Moving ahead, I expect the development of partnerships to continue and make progress toward revitalizing our nation’s neighborhoods and commercial areas, and ensure healthy communities continue to thrive. Larger conversations bring urban planners, public transportation experts and others into the mix, but that level of cooperation is needed to change our outdated approaches to serving property owners’ needs.

In 2013 and beyond, entrepreneurs will require new tools and technical assistance programs to be successful, creative thinking and openness to cooperative efforts. I look forward to helping lead the way, along with my innovative fellow Realtors. Step up and get involved! Embrace the opportunities ahead.

Ezekiel “Zeke” Morris is the 2012-13 president of Chicago Association of Realtors and the managing broker/principal of Keller Williams Realty C.C.G. – Hyde Park. He can be reached by phone at 773.536.1600.

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