Learn more about the Illinois REALTORS® from our association’s early years to current day advancements.

The Early Years
The 1920s
The 1930s
The 1940s
The 1950s
The 1960s
The 1970s
The 1980s
The 1990s
The 2000s

IAR holds its seventh annual convention in Moline, Ill., in 1923.

Illinois REALTORS® held its seventh annual convention in Moline in 1923. One of the primary missions of the association was to provide training and networking opportunities to members.

The History of Illinois REALTORS®

One can say our country was a very different place in 1916 than it is today, but the unity of our founding members has carried forth a tradition with each succeeding decade. Today, 29 local boards and associations comprise the Illinois REALTORS®, formerly known as the Illinois Association of REALTORS® (IAR).

While the membership base of the association has expanded to include over 50,000 members, the programs and services have continued to evolve to keep pace with the changing characteristics of our members. As members, you can be proud of the many achievements of the past 100+ years and look forward to the progress the future will bring.

The Early Years

1916 Articles of IncorporationMorgan Fitch, past president of the Illinois REALTORS® and National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), writes in Joe Brittain’s Dream Child Grows Up, a historical prospectus published by the association in observance of the 50th anniversary in 1966: “In 1916, real estate transfers had exceeded all records. Building volume was at an all-time high. Money was cheap, real estate loans as low as four percent were commonplace and the U.S. government obligations were two percent. The big challenge in every community in the smaller cities was well as Chicago was street improvements, transportation and schools. In Chicago and in other prospering towns around the state there was a growing concern over another form of taxation: the property tax.”

And, a statewide alliance was soon to be a natural. Over the luncheon table and in the committee meetings of the Chicago Board of REALTORS®, appointed a committee consisting of leaders in the Chicago Board to enlist support on a statewide basis for a statewide alliance. They would find a quick response in towns around the state. In May of 1916, the Chicago, Rockford, Aurora, Peoria and Danville boards banded together as the Real Estate Association of Illinois with the stated objective: To unite brokers, agents, dealers and owners for the purpose of formulating, promoting and enforcing high standards of ethics with relation to transactions in real estate. Dues were set at $1 per member, with an initiation fee of $1.

William C. Johnson

William C. Johnson

And on this historic day in 1916, the association elected its first officers with Col William Johnson (Danville) elected president; Frank Horner (Rockford) vice president; and Joseph Brittain (Chicago), secretary. The moving force behind the association was Brittain, who lived to carry the burden of the organization for a full decade.

In the infancy of the association, Johnson and Brittain would travel from town to town in Illinois paying their own expenses, trying to arouse interest in real estate organizations, seeking to inspire pride among real estate agents, hoping to raise the practice of real estate to a professional level. Their intent was to inspire the real estate brokers of the state to abandon their policy of business isolation and to envision the real and lasting benefits of a compact organization. Joe Brittain would later become president in 1920. Joe Brittain organized the first Annual Convention on June 14, 1916.

The 1920s

In 1921, the First World War is over and the nation turns its attention to making money. Prohibition was the law in 1920. The decade ends with Black Thursday on Wall Street, October 24, 1929. Illinois population in 1920 stands at 5,638,591.

  • In 1921, at the Peoria Convention, the association established the office of executive secretary. In the following year, the office of state association was permanently established in Chicago. Through the courtesy of the Chicago Board, office space was furnished at the Chicago Real Estate Board.
  • Joseph Brittain

    Joseph Brittain

    The Illinois Association of Real Estate Boards drafted and secured the passage of the Broker’s License Act of Illinois. While the Act was amended in 1925 and subsequently many years thereafter, the Act in its basic form has been of great value in establishing standards for the real estate profession in the state of Illinois.

  • The “Rent Control” bill, known as the Kessinger Bill, was up for passage at this time. The association worked to defeat this bill. At that time, the bill was considered “one of the most dangerous bills from the standpoint of real estate ever considered by the legislature.”
  • A major rezoning law was passed by the Illinois Legislature. Even though it was originated with the Chicago Board, it would have failed passage had it not been for a statewide alliance of local boards. The legislation resulted in permanently establishing residential and business areas where and when adopted; stabilizing values and adding millions of dollars to the value of Illinois real estate.
  • In 1923, dues were set at $5 per annum for each active member, payable semi-annually in advance.
  • In 1926, the association is comprised of 50 boards representing 2,350 members with a budget of almost $12,000 per year.
  • In 1928, Charles Jackson of Rockford was chosen president because of his experience in finance. He secured the services of the first professional secretary, former president and highly respected REALTOR® Ralph Field of Galesburg, placing him in full charge of the Chicago headquarters. The association began to establish a well-planned legislative program.
  • Henry G. Zander of Chicago serves as president of the National Association of Real Estate Boards.
  • IAREB Logo

    IAREB Logo

    Because of the leadership, knowledge, experience and ability demonstrated by President Jackson during his first term, he was unanimously re-elected president at the Rockford Convention in 1929. He immediately announced as one of the principal parts of the state association program for 1930, the reduction of taxes on real estate.

  • Also in 1929, the association is marred by the death of Jackson, who was traveling on his way home from an emergency tax meeting in Chicago when his car slipped off the road and he was killed instantly. Soon after the lost of its president, the association affairs when for the worse. The real estate business had fallen on hard times, boards broke up and disbanded. Members were discouraged and disillusioned. Mortgages were foreclosed. The panic which was said could never come again was sweeping the state like a prairie fire.

The 1930s

During this decade, the association suffered its worst test of fate due to the Great Depression gripping the entire nation. Industry transactions were at a near standstill, thus, members could not afford to pay dues. America’s farmers struggled to hold onto their farms while the Great Plains suffered a two-year plague of dust storms. One Oak Park REALTOR®, Cora Wright, served as secretary of the association during the Depression, and is credited with saving the organization from bankruptcy. She was also the association’s first female officer. In 1930, the Illinois population was 7,630,654.

  • Cora Hawkins Wright

    Cora Wright

    In 1930, every meeting of the association board of directors would feature debate on how to collect back dues, eliminate expenses or redistribute the dues assessments. To help the suffering members and boards, dues would actually drop to $3, but still boards were having trouble collecting. Oak Park could not pay because its money was tied up in a closed bank, and Springfield paid for five members and sought reinstatement.

  • In 1931, the Illinois Association of Real Estate Boards (IAREB) creates an arbitration committee to settle matters in dispute between members of different boards and investigated complaints. REALTORS® Tax Conference convenes in Springfield to work out suggestions for tax relief. In a February 18, 1931 article in the Illinois State Journal, Illinois Governor Emmerson’s special message on the revenue situation is quoted: “real estate is carrying 80 percent of the total tax burden. Intangible personal property, which is at least equal in value to the value of real estate is paying but 10 percent of the taxes.”
  • A survey conducted by 20 real estate boards in the state indicates the general public is again becoming interested in the purchase of farmlands. Remarks one Springfield member: “Good farm land is selling for around $100 to $125 an acre. Poor farmland sells for $35 to $65 per acre.” IAREB sponsors the first Farmland Conference in Moline on December 5, 1931.
  • Registered brokers in Illinois drop from 14, 124 in 1928 to 10,838 in 1931, a loss of 23 percent in four years. Since 1928, there were 57 real estate boards organized in Illinois. In 1931, out of 57 boards, 32 are inactive.
  • In 1932 the association is in dire straights. The Bloomington board proposed to the state association to drop dues from five dollars to three dollars per year and shortly disbanded. Others would follow, including the Kankakee County Board and Libertyville. A meeting held on July 15 gave Illinois REALTORS® officers three choices: 1) Disband the Illinois Association of Real Estate Boards; 2) Pay the Chicago Real Estate Board a portion of the estimated revenue and have them administer the affairs of the state association; 3) move the office to Galesburg and operate within the budget. The association chose the third option, closed shop in Chicago and moved its headquarters to Galesburg.
  • In 1933 Congress passed the Home Owners Loan Act to save homes by providing refinancing for mortgages to aid lending institutions.
  • In 1934, Hugh Potter, president of NAREB, in a powerful address at the 17th annual convention of IAREB at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Springfield, gives particular mention that Illinois is one of a small number of states throughout the United States that has made progress in tax reform.
  • The association headquarters is moved back to Chicago to the Chicago Real Estate Board offices in 1934.
  • In 1934, the Federal National Mortgage Association is formed to create a secondary mortgage market.
  • In 1935, the campaign for lower taxes was renewed. Educational courses were sponsored. New boards were started. Amendments to the license law were promulgated. Home shows were sponsored, home ownership was advertised and a new slogan posted “Buy Real Estate Now.”
  • The restlessness of the Chicago Board was not so easily stilled and the resentment at the idea of paying two-thirds of the association cost with only one-third voting power finally resulted in the association adopting an agreement that 25 percent of all state dues be segregated for legislative lobbying expense.
  • In 1935, the association had 900 members with an annual budget for the year of $2,700.
  • In 1937 the U.S. Housing Act creates funds for experimental public housing projects administered through local housing authorities.
  • In 1938, IAREB housing committee conducts a study on costs of building a home in the state. Construction costs averaged $7,616 in Decatur; $7,376 in Rock Island; $8,110 in Peoria and $6,720 in Elgin.

The 1940s

In 1941, Congress declares war on Japan. The association begins to rebound. Boards that disbanded suffering the fates of the Depression in the 1930s were now reorganizing. National rent control that originated during World War II serves as one of the issues to mobilize REALTORS across the country. As the nation saw the end of the War, consumers became “house hunger” and show eagerness to buy. The Illinois population in 1940 is 7,897,241.

  • Local boards are organizing and, as of 1940, 37 boards exist in the state with 619 members downstate and 725 in Chicago. Dues are four dollars per head. The association had $5,000 to spend that year and Newton C. Farr of Chicago serves as president of the National Association of Real Estate Boards.
  • In 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds rent control and the Democratic National Convention is held in Chicago. Franklin D. Roosevelt secures the nomination.
  • In 1945, World War II ends. Association dues were raised to $5. A membership drive resulted in 352 new members bringing the total membership to 1,939. The budget ran to $12,000 per year including such luxuries as a publication named Spot Light, a president’s travel allowance and a membership roster.
  • In view of the travel and convention restrictions imposed by the ODT to expedite the war effort, the usual 1945 annual business meeting of IAREB was cancelled.
  • Ferguson Building

    Ferguson Building, courtesy of the Sangamon Valley Collection at Lincoln Library

    In 1947, Morgan Fitch, past IAREB president, becomes president of the National Association of Real Estate Boards. Public housing will serve as the predominant issue of his administration.

  • In 1948, the need for a full-time administrative officer for IAREB could no longer be resisted. Charles Kellem from Joliet assumes the duties as executive vice president at a salary of $500 per month. Shortly thereafter, the association headquarters moved from Chicago to Springfield at 522 East Monroe Street (Ferguson Building). Office space was difficult to find but was eventually secured at $65 per month as opposed to $100 in Chicago.
  • Also in 1948, the National Association of REALTORS® passes an addition to its bylaws that a member of a local board must also be a member of the state and national association. In 1949, the National Public Housing Act passes Congress and provides for low-income housing and urban renewal.

The 1950s

America turns its attention to the East, where the Southern Republic of Korea is invaded by North Korean forces. Once again, American is fighting overseas. The 1952 election sets Republican Dwight Eisenhower against Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson on the democratic ticket for the presidency. The nation experiences population shifts with the evolution of the baby boom generation, bringing an expansion to the housing market. The association prepares itself to enter a new decade to lobby against rent control, public housing and tax issues. The Illinois population is 8,712,176.

  • In 1951, public chousing and rent control come to the forefront again with the approval of President Truman’s National Production Act. The law permits communities to negotiate with the federal government before controls are imposed or reimposed.
  • IAREB president Chase conducts the first Sales Caravan Tour to ten boards in September of 1953.
  • IAREB endorses the establishment of a National Mortgage Association with regional associations to be privately owned and financed and to function as a secondary mortgage market facility.
  • The National Housing of 1954 is approved with the intent to stimulate home construction and ownership and eliminate public housing.
  • Ronald Chinnock from Illinois becomes president of the National Association of Real Estate Boards. He seeks decontrol of interest rate ceilings on government insured or government-backed loans.
  • In 1955 the REALTOR® of the Year Award is created on a national level.
  • Robert Cook

    Robert Cook

    In 1955 the association increases membership dues from $5 to $10 for the purpose of expanded the services of the organization and need for funds to promote legislation affecting the real estate business.

  • Robert E. Cook is hired in 1956 for the newly created position of Executive Vice President of the Illinois Association of Real Estate Boards.
  • The Chicago Bar Association vs. Quinlan/Tyson is filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County in 1957. The suite to enjoin the corporate real estate brokerage firm from engaging in activities allegedly constituting authorized practice of law.
  • Affiliate membership category is added to the state association membership policy in 1957. The new membership category is designed to increase the membership, increase revenue and set up a safeguard against unionization.
  • In 1958, an associate membership class is created. Individual licensed salesmen who are associated with active members of member boards and have a membership status in a member board shall be called Associate members. They shall be entitled to participate in the activities of the association, except the right to vote and hold elective office with annual dues set at $5.
  • In 1959, IAREB creates a Committee of Transportation as a subcommittee of the Legislation Committee. Over 300 cities have been left without bus service and petitions are being filed by every major railroad for abandonments under the 1958 Transportation Act. The association develops a proposed statement to the Illinois Mass Transportation Commission supporting the creating of metropolitan area transit districts in each metropolitan area responsible for planning, developing and operating the various elements of a transportation system.

The 1960s

Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy emerges as the leading candidate for the President election. The decade would see the end of segregation, while America again goes to war. The Vietnam War divides the nation. The United States signs the first Civil Rights Act of 1964, forbidding discrimination in the sale, lease or occupancy of residential property. The housing plight and rights of minorities become public issues for this decade. IAREB adopts new policies to educate members about the new laws governing real estate. The Illinois population is 10,081,158.

  • Rich Port

    Rich Port

    In 1961, Rich Port, chairman of the Legislative Committee outlines legislative initiatives for the year including requirement of a high school diploma or certificate as a prerequisite for taking the brokers examination.

  • IAREB extends its official recognition and approval of the formation of a state chapter in Illinois of the Women’s Council of REALTORS®.
  • The Association prepares strategy against increasing spread of “quick take” in eminent domain.
  • In 1962, the association becomes aware of a number of high pressure land sale schemes being pursued in Illinois through use of radio, TV, newspaper and other advertising media by operators who generally are not qualified nor recognized in the industry. Association cautions the public against the purchase of any unseen property however attractive it may seem. In addition, the association calls upon duly constituted law enforcement officials to investigate and prosecute any promoters of subdivided lands which resort to fraud, abuse of confidence or misrepresentation.
  • In 1963, IAREB president is authorized to appoint a board of governors to proceed with the proposed plan for the Illinois Real Estate Institute and to develop the written qualifying exam.
  • The Illinois Condominium Law of 1963 provides for new type of housing.
  • The first session of the Illinois Real Estate Institute is held December 6-12, 1964, at the Pere Marquette Hotel in Peoria with 231 in attendance.
  • In 1965, the typical buyer of a new home with a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration is 31.4 years old, has an annual income of $7,572 before taxes and spent $16,263 for the home.
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Renewal is created to regulate federal programs.
  • In 1966, IAREB president M. Edward Smith: “For the first time in our history we have passed the 8,000 mark in membership. Also for the first time in our history, every county in the state has a board with which to identify itself.”
  • IAREB celebrates its 50th anniversary in 1966.
  • On January 26, 1966, the Illinois Supreme Court hands down a decision on the 10-year-old Quinlan & Tyson case. In its decision, the court in effect upheld the final decree permitting real estate brokers to complete the form of preliminary contract of sale customarily used in the community.
  • On March 23, 1966, the Illinois Supreme Court denied the petition of the Chicago Bar Association for a rehearing of the decision handed down by the Supreme Court in January in the Quinlan/Tyson lawsuit. The association enters Broker/Lawyer Accord.
  • 1964 Illinois Real Estate Institute Advertisement

    IAREB’s Illinois Realtor Institute brochure, c.1964

    In a special message to Congress on April 28, 1966, President Lyndon Johnson urges enactment of the Civil Rights Act, which includes as Part IV of the suggested legislation, the outlawing of any discrimination in the sale or rental of housing on the grounds of race, color, religion or national origin.

  • On October 26, 1966, representatives of the IAREB, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association and the Chicago Real Estate Board sign an agreement on the proper role of the broker and lawyer to real estate transactions.
  • First class of the Real Estate Institute graduates.
  • In 1966, designation of MRI, Member of REALTORS® Institute, is changed to GRI, Graduate REALTORS® Institute.
  • In 1967, IAREB supports passage of an anti-block busting bill. The legislation prohibits the solicitation or inducement of sale solely on the basis of race, color, religion or national origin. IAREB also supported legislation making it a public nuisance to annoy or intimidate a person about to sell or buy or who has sold or bought a residence or other real property.
  • In 1968, Illinois kicks off year-long Sesquicentennial observance, 150th anniversary: “150 years of the good life in Illinois.” Over 1,500 celebrations and observances marked the anniversary of the 21st state’s admission into the Union in 1818.
  • On January 1, 1968, the federal stamp act on conveyances terminates but in its place a state stamp act, entitled “The Real Estate Transfer Act” will become effective, imposing a state tax on the privilege of transferring title to real estate by deed.
  • NAREB authorizes Realtron Corp. to test a computerized real estate listing service.
  • The Fair Housing Act, Title VIII, of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 is enacted.
  • The Illinois Real Estate Educational Foundation is formed in 1968.
  • IAREB authorizes the Million Dollar Club for Associates in Illinois.
  • NAREB recommends a written qualification sheet on every prospect who visits a REALTORS®’ office.
  • In 1969, the outmoded USURY law with a 7 percent mortgage interest ceiling in Illinois has resulted in a severe shortage of mortgage money in Illinois. Emergency legislation was introduced to the legislature to raise the USURY limit on mortgages in the state of Illinois. The ceiling was raised from 7 to 8 percent with VA and FHA exempt from any ceiling.
  • The National Institute of Real Estate Brokers develops the designation of Certified Residential Broker and Commercial Investment Member to help identify residential property specialists and those who work in the commercial investment field.
1971 Institute Course

Illinois REALTORS® attend GRI Course I in 1971

The 1970s

The last of American troops pull out of Vietnam by 1972. Energy at home becomes the crisis of the mid-seventies, as the Arab nations move to reduce the production of oil. The nation experiences historically high unemployment rates. Concern for our nation’s environment becomes a priority for the association. By the end of the decade, conditions for the housing market grow exceedingly tense as the USURY rate on Illinois mortgages creates credit tightening. The association rallies to eliminate the state’s USURY rate on mortgages. Illinois’ population is 11,113,976.

  • The board of directors of the National Association of REALTORS® adopts Code of Equal Opportunity in Housing in May 1972.
  • Groundbreaking Adloff Building

    1972 groundbreaking for Illinois REALTORS® Plaza: CEO Bob Cook; 1973 IAR President Vincent Penza; leading agent and building manager Leonard Sapp; architect Donald Ferry.

    Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Illinois REALTORS® Plaza occur on December 3, 1972.

  • In 1973, association president REALTOR® Vince Penza: “As association president, I visited every board except one and returned to several boards many times. The highlight of my year was the announcement at the Illinois REALTORS® Convention that the sale of limited partnerships for financing the Illinois REALTORS® Plaza was complete. Over $233,000 was raised the first day of the convention in October. Additionally, over 10 percent of the membership attended the 73rd annual convention.”
  • The REALTOR®-Associate membership class is created by the National Association of REALTORS® bringing these individuals under the umbrella of membership.
  • The license law rewrite supported by the association establishes the position of Real Estate Commissioner to be appointed by the state Director of Registration and Education.
  • New license law also creates Real Estate Recovery Fund for innocent people who have lost considerable sums of money through fraud or a variety of acts committed by a licensee. A person so defrauded may be reimbursed to a maximum of $10,000.
  • In a special delegation meeting held on March 6, 1973, the Illinois Association of Real Estate Boards officially becomes known as the Illinois Association of REALTORS®.
  • Bills opposed by Illinois REALTORS® and defeated during 1973 included: objectionable landlord-tenant legislation, extension of quick-take, severe restrictions on real estate contracts in varying forms, mandatory land or cash donations as a condition of subdivision plat approval.
  • Leyden Board of REALTORS® becomes the first all REALTOR® board in Illinois.
  • In 1974, in his acceptance speech as Illinois REALTORS® president, Douglas Caron says: “We can look with pride at our growth in membership. In 10 years our association has grown from 4,500 to 15,180 REALTORS®, REALTOR® Associates and Affiliates. We have graduated 1,037 GRIs from our Institute, offering the best Institute in the country.”
  • Illinois REALTORS® hosts its first Capitol Conference for members in 1974.
  • The association formally adopts the NAR Code of Equal Opportunity and pledges to take such action as necessary to implement said Code in letter and spirit throughout Illinois.
  • Governor Dan Walker signs legislation raising the USURY limit from 8 percent to 9.5 percent for one year, hailed by real estate, home builders and financial leaders throughout the state as a great step in providing much needed homes for people unable to receive mortgages because of unavailable funds.
  • May1974 Magazine cover IAR plaza

    1974 IAR Plaza building

    April 18, 1974, – Illinois REALTORS® Plaza building dedicated.

  • NAR signs Voluntary Affirmative Marketing Agreement with the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act takes effect June 20, 1975.
  • Robert Hintze, the 1976 Illinois REALTORS® president: “1976 is the 200th anniversary of our great nation but it is also the year when the association celebrates 60 years of service to the real estate industry and property owners in Illinois.”
  • The National Association of REALTORS® announces the purchase of a 10-story building, located at 430 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago as the new home of the association, at $6.5 million transaction.
  • Governor Walker signs into law a bill to give the state of Illinois a one and a half year extension of the 9.5 percent USURY ceiling in 1976.
  • Beef For REEF

    BEEF for REEF fundraiser at the 1975 convention.

    Illinois REALTORS® sponsors the first Spring Conference in Mount Vernon in April.

  • According to NAR, 1976 had a record 4.2 million home sales.
  • Ralph Martin, 1977 association president recalls: “During the year 1977, IAR commissioned an evaluation study by the American Society of Association Executives. Major recommendations included changing the format of the Illinois REALTOR®, eliminating the second vice president position of the association and increasing the REALTOR®-Associate participation. During this year we also saw the start of political affairs nights at local real estate boards.”
  • Illinois REALTORS® joins NAR in “Neighborhood Revitalization Program” designed to restore and preserve America’s neighborhoods.
  • 1978 in review by Walt Schlemer, association president: “We are now more than 31,500 strong. We have also shown significant growth in participation by the members. Last spring, for example, Illinois sent the largest delegation of any state association to the Legislative Conference of the National Association of REALTORS® in Washington, DC.”
  • The Illinois REALTORS®‘ Governmental Affairs program was cited for excellence in management and received the Grand Award for Management Achievement from the American Society of Association Executives.
  • In 1978, the Illinois Supreme Court rules in Andruss vs. Evanston that local governments do not have the right to license and regulate real estate agents. This case assures the continuation of uniform, statewide standards fro regulating and disciplining real estate agents and prohibits multiplicity of licensing fees and other restrictive controls on the business. The victory establishes the state government as the sole authority to license and regulate real estate brokers in Illinois.
  • A campaign is initiated to support legislation urging Congressional action in curbing the IRS’s plan to identify all real estate salespeople as employees rather than as independent contractors. The Revenue Act of 1978 signed into law by President Carter on November 6, 1978, contained a REALTOR® provision which required the IRS to abandon its campaign. It also prevented the IRS from assessing back tax liabilities against such brokers.
  • Illinois Department of Registration and Education announces method for regulating rental finding services in the state. Services are to be regulated under the Illinois Real Estate Brokers and Salesmen License Act. Any person in the business of providing a rental finding service must be a licensed real estate broker.
  • Illinois law now requires signatures of both spouses on contracts involving thesale of real estate, unless proof is provided that the property is “non marital property.”
  • At the 62nd Annual Convention in 1979, Bob Haas is installed as the 1979 president of the association. In his inaugural address, Haas remarked: “Working together, the members of our association have done much to advance the professionalism of our real estate industry. We are united and we are strong because of the individual efforts and contributions of each and every member.”
  • Illinois REALTORS® creates the Presidents Club—a new achievement award available for the one, two and three million dollar sales producers. The Presidents Club replaces the former Million Dollar Club of the association.
  • Illinois Real Estate Educational Foundation holds its first banquet on September 6, 1979, in Chicago. The banquet was held to honor Illinois’ 1979 REALTOR® of the Year Robert E. Cook, CAE, executive vice president of the association. Syndicated columnist Jack Anderson addressed over 400 members present.
  • Residential mortgage money is again available in Illinois, due to emergency legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Thompson. The emergency measure temporarily suspends the state’s USURY law, which had limited the amount of interest a lender could charge for home mortgage loans in Illinois for at least two years.

The 1980s

1981 Unbroken Spirit Annual IAR Convention

1981 IAR Convention: Unbroken Spirit was the theme

The housing industry suffers the worst recession since World War II as homebuyers are priced out of the market by high mortgage interest rates. Married couples with both spouses working emerge as the predominate trend in American households. High unemployment and interest rates take their toll on the Illinois economy early in the decade, while nationally Reaganomics begins trimming the fat from the federal budget. The 1980 Illinois population is 11,426,518.

  • Roy Fair, 1980 Illinois REALTORS® President: “May schedule included 91 trips on behalf of IAR in 1979 and 1980 to boost our members’ confidence and discuss the dues increase that was desperately needed at the time. The Association established a Home Owner’s Alert Committee to alert the owners of real estate to detrimental legislation and ordinances. We also put together, in cooperation with the State Treasurer’s office, a bonding program that was defeated by one vote in the Senate. The legislation passed the following year and has been used since as a viable program for the Illinois Housing Development Authority for below market rate mortgages for first time buyers.”
  • Ralph Pritchard, past president of the LaGrange Board of REALTORS® and IAR is the 1980 president of the National Association of REALTORS®.
  • The Distinguished Service Award of the National Association of REALTORS® is presented to Illinois REALTOR® Robert McGuire by NAR president Ralph Pritchard.
  • Gary L. Clayton named new director of the Illinois Department of Registration and Education.
  • Office of Real Estate Research is established at the University of Illinois through grants from the Illinois Real Estate Educational Foundation. The office becomes a division of the College of Commerce and Business Administration at the U of I in Champaign.
  • Illinois introduces legislation to eliminate the state’s usury law which places an artificial limit on the amount of interest a lender can charge on a residential mortgage loan. The legislation was passed and signed into law. Don Ursin, 1981 president, writes in his annual report, “Removal of the usury law means Illinois home buyers and sellers will not again experience artificial mortgage money droughts which have repeatedly plagued the state’s residential real estate market. In the absence of the legislativelimit on mortgages, interest rates will reflect the actual cost of funds in the current market, and financing will be available to those who need it.”
  • National mortgage interest rates average near 12.5 to 15.5%.
  • Legislation is passed to broaden the investment authority of Illinois pension funds. Expanded investment authority results in as much as several hundred million dollars of additional funds being injected into the residential mortgage loan money market.
  • Illinois REALTORS®becomes first state association of REALTORS® to implement spokesperson training program for its leaders.
  • IRIS, a new MLS corporation, is established by the association in order to design a high technology processing service for the exclusive use of REALTOR® Boards’ Multiple Listing Services.
  • 1981 Thompson
    Leo Sheridan, Jr., 1982 president: “This was the year of seller financing, 20 percent interest and the loss of 40 percent of the membership in the Illinois REALTORS®. It was a year of turmoil in the industry and economic disaster for anyone who had to sell a home, because even if they might have found a buyer few could qualify for a loan. We closed 1981 with approximately 31,000 members and saw the membership drop to about 19,000 by the end of 1982. An industry was devastated by an out-of-control financial system.”
  • After two consecutive years of a diminished market, leaders of the real estate industry speak with renewed and realistic conviction that 1982 will be the year in which housing will lead the nation out of the sluggish economic condition.
  • Illinois REALTORS® is successful in securing legislation clarifying the intent of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. The Act’s scope was limited to the original purpose of protecting the interests of buyers from fraudulent and intentionally deceptive actions by brokers.
  • The association signs Voluntary Affirmative Marketing Agreement on behalf of 22,000 members with responsibilities included for state associations.
  • U.S. Justice Department prepares to challenge the Illinois Joint Real Estate Broker/Lawyer Accord on the basis that parts of the Accord constitute an illegal restraint of trade. Thus, Illinois REALTORS® votes to withdraw from the Accord. The Accord was created to develop an agreement to clarify the roles, relationships and limitations of real estate brokers and attorneys in real estate transactions.
  • Twentieth anniversary of the REALTORS® Institute.
  • Illinois REALTORS® member survey reveals the average member is 48 years old and married and has completed more than two years of college and is a full-time real estate agent whose business is predominantly residential real estate sales. He or she has been with the firm more than seven years, and was previously associated with one other firm.
  • The association adopts policy to proceed with an Errors and Omissions Insurance Program for individual members.

Legal Hotline Brochure

  • Illinois REALTORS® initiates Legal Services program, later called the Legal Hotline. The service is a preventative program aimed at reducing the amount of potential litigation faced by REALTORS®.
  • REALTOR® M. Edwards Smith of Des Plaines receives the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of REALTORS®. State of Illinois institutes use of “green sheets” for real estate transfer declarations. The form is to be filed with County Clerk or Recorder when the deed evidencing the sale is represented for recording.
  • Illinois REALTORS® Board of Directors approves a plan for the association to take full ownership of its headquarters building in Springfield. The action permitted the association to retire all outstanding shares from the Limited Partnership and to take full and direct ownership of the four-story, 40,000-square-foot commercial property.
  • According to Lydia Franz, 1984 president: “It was about this time we began to face the fact that Illinois REALTORS®‘ EVP Bob Cook was really leaving the association—a traumatic experience for us all. I visited 47 boards during my term as president. I was positively euphoric from the beginning of my term to about the time of the summer hiatus. Life, as I remembered it, could resume, but it would never be the same after this very enriching and rewarding experience.”
  • Several bills were introduced in the Illinois legislature which would permit a property tax increase without a front-door referendum; Illinois REALTORS® held over 12 onerous property tax bills.
  • Robert Cook retires as Executive Vice President of the association. When Bob Cook started with the association in 1956, there were just over 2,000 members and in an annual budget of about $20,000. When he retired in 1984, a membership had grown to more than 23,000 and a $2.5 million budget.
  • Gerald Matthews becomes Illinois REALTORS®‘ Executive Vice President.
  • More than $200 million in low-interest mortgages were made available to first-time buyers through three revenue bond programs conducted by the Illinois Housing Development Authority. Suggestions from the association led to significant improvements in the administration of the programs and equitable distribution of mortgage money to qualified applicants.
  • Myron Thaden, 1985 Illinois REALTORS® President: “We won approval of a bill to regulate time-share real estate transactions; prevented passage of a bill that would have radically expanded the state’s anti-solicitation law for real estate agents; and defeated many bills that would have allowed local property tax increases to take effect without direct prior approval by voters in the affected area.”
  • The Illinois Real Estate Times Share Act is created.
  • “The market was in pretty good shape; interest rates were in the neighborhood of 9 to 9½ percent,” says 1986 association president Bill Griffin. “The major project for the year was instituting the errors and omissions insurance for our members. It was gratifying to serve in the position as president in order to help benefit the members.”
  • Gerald Matthews resigns as IAR executive vice president to accept a position as the executive vice president of the Florida Association of REALTORS®.

Gary Clayton CEO

    • Gary L. Clayton, Director of the Illinois Department of Registration and Education, is hired as the executive vice president of the Illinois REALTORS®.
    • Randy Raynolds, 1988 president of the association said: “This year we saw a reorganization of the association internally, which has proven to be a positive addition to the association. Our selection process secured the hiring of Gary Clayton as EVP.”
    • State law creates Smoke Detector Act requiring the installation and maintenance of smoke detectors in all new and substantially remodeled dwellings.
    • Issues Mobilization Political Action Committee is created for support of localized REALTOR®issue campaigns.
    • Legislation is passed to create the state’s first Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Nov Dec 1989 Magazine Web

  • Legislation is passed securing a statewide Home Ownership Made Easy Act, a down payment assistance program for first-time homebuyers.
  • Illinois REALTORS® develops, in conjunction with the Illinois State Bar Association, an example of a Contract to Purchase.
  • Association introduces major rewrite of Illinois Real Estate License Law including provisions for agency disclosure, appraiser certification.
  • Legislation is passed creating the Illinois Responsible Property Transfer Act.

The 1990s

  • The association secures passage of mandatory continuing education legislation for real estate licensees.
  • Illinois REALTORS® opens Chicagoland office.
  • The association sponsors some 22 educational seminars, including the first Commercial / Industrial statewide seminar in Evanston.
  • Illinois REALTORS® Political Contact Network initiates recruitment drive.
  • 1996 – IAR’s website launched
  • 1996 – The association’s nonprofit foundation the Partnership for Homeownership was created and has since helped over 1,600 low-income individuals and families achieve homeownership.
  • Membership reaches record level of 34,552.

The 2000s

    • IAR Building Groundbreaking

      2005 groundbreaking on new Illinois REALTORS® building at 522 S. Fifth St. in Springfield

      Massive REALTOR® Relief programs are waged in the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

    • From 2002 to 2005, the Illinois housing market experienced an unprecedented boom as did the entire country. Home sales and median prices rose and were a driver for the state’s economy.
    • The TheHousingSite.org was created in 2005 as a one-stop resource for REALTORS® and consumers on fair housing laws and resources.
    • Illinois REALTORS® created the HomePower Mortgage Assistance Program in 2005 to help low-income families in over 30 Chicago neighborhoods achieve homeownership.
    • Illinois REALTORS® champions true eminent domain reform in 2006 with passage of the Eminent Domain Act that levels the playing field in favor of homeowners.
    • Protect property billboard

      IAR eminent domain mailer

      In 2006 Illinois REALTORS® launched its Advocacy Initiative, an aggressive, proactive approach to advocacy on issues that affect REALTORS® in local communities and statewide such as eminent domain, sign bans, transfer taxes and more.

    • IAR’s local Governmental Affairs Directors program (or GAD program) expanded to 10 staff dedicated to advocacy on the local level.
    • Membership reaches record level of 60,000.
    • In 2007, Illinois REALTORS® moves to new headquarters in downtown Springfield steps from the state Capitol and the Executive Mansion in May 2007.
    • 100 Pin

      Illinois REALTORS 100-Year Anniversary pin

      In 2016, Illinois REALTORS® celebrated a century of real estate advocacy, education and ethics with members and guests including Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder, who declared April 4, 2016 as Illinois REALTOR® Day, Congressman Darin LaHood, who presented a proclamation honoring Illinois REALTORS® that was read into the Congressional Record and National Association of REALTORS® Immediate Past President Chris Polychron, who spoke of the Illinois association’s role as a leader in the industry and its strong connections to the national association. As part of the event, the association also unveiled its new more modern name, Illinois REALTORS®.

    • In 2017, the association gives its first Lifetime Achievement Award to Daniel L. Goodwin, chairman and founder of The Inland Group of Companies. Among dignitaries at the April 24, 2017, event at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum were Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Michael J. Madigan.
      Illinois REALTORS® New Building

      Illinois REALTORS® current headquarters

    • While the membership base of the association has expanded to include over 47,000 members, the programs and services have continued to evolve to keep pace with the changing characteristics of our members. As members, you can be proud of the many achievements of the past 100 years and look forward to the progress the future will bring.