Realtors do so much more than list and sell property. They are also community builders, dedicated to improving their towns, cities, states and country. They do this, in part, because it’s good for business. Now more than ever, it is critical for Realtors to get involved and speak about the stability that a sound and dynamic real estate market brings to our communities.

Utilizing advocacy tools and resources from the Illinois Association of Realtors, the Peoria Area Association of Realtors (PAAR) has been playing a constructive role in the protection of real property rights for many years. The advocacy tools available to the PAAR include: legal analyses, public opinion polling, and the ability to mobilize affected property owners and businesses.

A recent example of the PAAR’s advocacy was its involvement in the Peoria City/County Health Department’s overhaul of its septic system ordinance. Working in collaboration with other stakeholders, Realtors were successful in helping to persuade the Peoria County Board to substantially revise its originally proposed ordinance, which was strongly opposed by the PAAR due to its negative impact on real estate transactions and private property rights.

Instead of adopting the original ordinance, the county board created an “Onsite Wastewater Work Group,” its members consisting of stakeholders interested in providing advice in order to construct a more reasonable policy, including two Realtors. After nearly nine months of work, the group advanced an improved version of the septic ordinance—one that protects private property owners and improves public health—and the Peoria County Board adopted that ordinance in November 2013. Throughout this process, the PAAR was able to offer substantive changes which further protect the rights of property owners and protect real estate closings in Peoria County. The PAAR also conducted survey/polling work on this issue.

As the “Voice for Real Estate in Illinois,” the Illinois Association of Realtors and Peoria Area Association of Realtors work to ensure a healthy business climate in the state. Without our active participation in policy debates, local government budgets and ordinances could put up barricades to business and threaten private property rights. Because most budgets of local government are dependent on property taxation, Realtors and their clients have an important stake in how they are put together and how the money is being spent.

Realtors value and appreciate the relationships they have with their elected officials at all levels of government. Realtors are constituents, but perhaps more importantly, they facilitate the entry of new constituents—homeowners, renters and businesses—into the community. From City Hall to the Illinois Statehouse, our elected officials are making decisions that have a huge impact on private property rights. And Realtors are involved because it’s good for the economic and social well-being of all citizens. iBi

Dallas Hancock is CEO of the Peoria Area Association of Realtors.