Weeks after Mokena REALTOR® Doug Carpenter was announced as the 2020 Illinois REALTOR® of the Year, he was still receiving congratulatory messages from colleagues and friends.

“It continues for awhile,” said Carpenter, a broker for Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group in Mokena. A 35-year real estate veteran with more than 20 years of involvement at the state association level – including serving as 2017 state president – Carpenter has built relationships with REALTORS® from throughout Illinois.

Carpenter recently talked about the people, the activities and events that have shaped him and his career to date.

What does it mean to be selected as the Illinois REALTOR® of the Year?

There is nothing quite like it. It is one of the highest honors you can receive. At the time of the announcement, I was totally in shock. I kept thinking there are others who deserve this more than I do. I was just hoping to walk up to the podium and say thank you without stumbling. My mind was going in a million different directions. I’m not involved with the association for recognition. I do it for the love of the association.

*How did you start your real estate career?

I was in a sales management job for Indiana Glass Company, and after my position was eliminated, I started taking real estate classes and joined ERA Real Estate in Homewood. I was new to the area and had to build my client base from scratch. After a year in the business, they asked if I was interested in management, which I was. I earned a broker’s license and led a group of 22-23 people. It was an established office with good people and a good market.

*Did you have any mentors or people who played influential roles in your career?

The owner of ERA Real Estate – Dave Colmar – was a great mentor to me. Another mentor was Coldwell Banker Regional Vice President Jim McEneaney, who helped me learn about company structure, succeed at recruiting and develop general leadership skills.

What came first for you – involvement at the local, state or national association of REALTORS®?

I started with the local association and became involved with local committees. Then George Patt, who was the executive officer with the Greater South Suburban Association of REALTORS® got me involved at the state level. At the time, he was the president of the Illinois Real Estate Education Foundation (REEF). He encouraged me to stay involved. Meanwhile, I ran for secretary-treasurer of the local association and won. I moved up the leadership chain and became 1997 president and ROTY the next year. From there, I became more involved with the state association. In 2001, after our local association went through several mergers with other local associations, I was elected president of the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®.

Doug Carpenter is congratulated by his colleagues after being announced 2020 Illinois REALTOR® of the Year during the association's Public Policy meetings.
Doug Carpenter is congratulated by his colleagues after being announced 2020 Illinois REALTOR® of the Year during the association’s Public Policy meetings.

*How has your association involvement benefitted you?

I see first-hand how issues affect consumers, communities and real estate professionals. I’ve had a desire to always learn, and to be a part of changes in processes. I’ve tried to get people involved at the local level and many became leaders in their own right. For example, Dale Taylor. He got involved. He eventually became Mainstreet president, and last year the National Association of REALTORS® selected him for a Good Neighbor Award.

*What do you remember about your first real estate sale?

I remember it was a young couple buying their first home. They were so happy with their purchase … I could feel their excitement myself. I’ve always been excited for my customers. It’s satisfying. You live the moment with them. When I worked as a manager, I got a very similar feeling when I helped brokers succeed. I enjoy watching them grow, building their businesses. It’s very satisfying.

Has the way you measure success changed with all the different experiences you’ve had as a REALTOR®?

Success is in knowing what to do. Satisfaction comes in doing something right. For example, success can be helping new agents get themselves up and running as soon as possible. When it comes to association work, you can experience different types of satisfaction. You can feel it when you help develop a new program or help make a change. You learn and grow through each committee you serve on. Once I reach a goal, I’m not going to stop. I’m going to help wherever I’m needed and do whatever I’m asked to do.

*Can you describe your style?

In general, I’m very outgoing with people. I’m just interested in what they have to say. I like building offices with good, solid agents. I’m not a person who draws attention to himself. I’m more of a team builder. I like working together, collaboration. It doesn’t always have to be my way.

You were the first Illinoisan to reach the RPAC Hall of Fame. What moved you to support RPAC so generously so soon?

Dick Crosby got me really involved in supporting RPAC. He explained why we needed to help RPAC. As a result, I saw the real need and importance of it. I was proud of being the first Illinoisan in the RPAC Hall of Fame, but it wasn’t necessarily about me. It was about Illinois. Hopefully I inspired others to support RPAC too. And now that we’ve earned the RPAC Triple Crown three years in a row, let’s keep it going.

What advice do you have for people coming into the real estate business today?

Stay current on all things daily, whether it’s education or marketing yourself and your business.

What are the biggest challenges in the real estate industry today?

Technology is always a challenge because it changes constantly. Focus on what works for you. Market yourself properly. Stay current on changing business models. Keep association work in front of newcomers.

What’s the best thing that real estate has done for you?

Building friendships and relationships with people over the years. We help people build careers and find homes. I love seeing people happy and enjoying success. After all, we’re helping people with the biggest purchases in their lives.

Doug Carpenter is a broker for Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group in Mokena

Carpenter served as the 2017 Illinois REALTORS® president. He is a broker for Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group and has a managing broker license. He’s been active in all levels of the REALTOR® organization. He twice served as president of his local association and was the CEO of Three Rivers Association of REALTORS®. He’s a current member of the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® and has been awarded the local association’s Key Award. He is a long-time member of the Illinois REALTORS® Board of Directors and has served on numerous committees, working groups and task forces. In 2009, he received the Illinois REALTORS® Distinguished Service Award. He’s earned ABR, AHWD, GRI and SFR designations.