The Chicago Association of REALTORS®, the “Voice for Real Estate” in Chicago since 1883, represents over 17,000 members from all real estate specialties including commercial sales, development, property management, appraisal, auctions and residential sales.
A few weeks ago, I struck up a conversation with a cab driver named Sam. We got to talking about our lives and he told me his story: originally from India, he moved to Indiana, and recently here, to Chicago. He talked about how much buying a home here meant to him and his family – it was a source of pride and the culmination of all his hard work.
That’s what we do: we help people realize the American Dream. Homeownership is more than an investment; we connect people with a place they can call home, a place they build their lives and where their memories are made.
Our conversation turned to “disruptors.” As a cab driver, Sam understands disruption well – taxi usage is down 41 percent thanks to ridesharing. There are drivers and companies willing to work for less who don’t have the same regulations and training; even so, Sam’s industry is forever changed.
That is our world. New companies pop up every day looking to monetize what we do by simplifying the process. Rather than wait for the next Zillow, we need to be proactive – to understand that while there are threats to the industry, it is up to us to define our value. And that’s where our association comes in – to help us raise the bar and deliver value to our clients every day, so our place in the future is secure, because being a member of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® means something.
We are so fortunate: our career choice affords us much opportunity. The only limits we have are the ones we place on ourselves. That is why I’m here – I’ve made a commitment to you, our members, and to our industry – to be a part of safeguarding our future, elevating our expectations, stoking the fires of collaboration and celebrating our diversity.
Yes, there are challenges ahead, but we are ready for them. The taxi industry has changed; ours has, too. But so long as we are actively engaged, and we confront these challenges head-on, with a united front, we will weather the storms and persevere.
I am proud and honored to serve you as our association’s 134th President and I look forward to working with you in the year to come.
Rebecca Thomson, 2017-2018 President of the Chicago Association of REALTORS®