Chicago Welcomed AREA-Uganda’s President

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It is common knowledge that visits from local partners to the USA, either as Participant Training Programs, commercial exchanges, or fact-finding missions can broaden visitors’ vision and help unlock business opportunities. Serving as the President of the Association of Real Estate Agents-Uganda (AREA), Andrew Mukiibi’s visit to Chicago was not only a confirmation of the validity of the merits of immersing someone into our work environment but also a genuine evidence that the education exchange process was also happening to us.

During our first meeting with Zachery Benjamin, International Market Development Manager at the Commercial and Global Services Department of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), Andrew learned about NAR’s cooperating associations; these are professional real estate groups representing practitioners around the world which have entered into cooperating agreements with NAR. Mukiibi discovered the local powerful system in which NAR is founded. The NAR-US has the three levels (local, State and National) with 54 State Associations and more than 1,400 local Associations; all of which focus on both Association growth and leadership development. This model could be an effective tool for the growth of AREA by incorporating fledging local associations into the national umbrella.

Upon arrival of IRPFCEO Norm Flynn, Andrew shared with us the main strategic objectives of the Government of Ugandan (GOU): education, land, oil and tourism. For this reason we stopped by at REALTOR University and NAR Library so that Andrew could familiarize himself with the programs offered by both entities: the first on-line Master Program in Real Estate and a specialized library with paper and on-line books and commemorative information dating back to the early 1900s.

Norm Flynn, Andrew Mukiibi Norm Flynn, Sylvia Luchini, Andrew Mukiibi
The last session of the first day served as a forum to discuss the needs of the Uganda Property Management community and how best to address these. AREA , IRPF, and the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) are working together to offer a Successful Property Management course on November 13, 2014 financed by the IREM Foundation and raised by IRPF. The use of social media as a tool to become more productive property managers will be a signature element of this course. This training will be followed by the 3rd Real Estate Conference in Uganda, which will expand, among other topics, on women property rights issues. The IREM Foundation and the Women’s Council of REALTORS® are proud sponsors of this important event.

During the morning of Andrew’s second day in Chicago, we hold a meeting with Ginger Downs, Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago REALTOR Association (CRA). It was a terrific opportunity for Ginger to share her wealth of knowledge as an Association Executive. She offered tips on how to generate income with standardized forms, what arguments to use to convince agents on the benefits of the MLS, and how she involves developers and other professions involved in real estate to help support educational activities for the Association. And when Andrew asked if CRA would have discarded books that could be shared with AREA, she promised to ship these to Uganda. One of Mukiibi’s goals for his 4-year tenure as President of AREA is the establishment of a library. CRA’s books could well be the first volumes of AREA’s Real Estate library. Ginger Downs, Andrew Mukiibi, Sylvia Luchini Ginger Downs, Andrew Mukiibi

After having planning meetings with Mukiibi, we met with Michele Cohen, Chief Executive Officer of the REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI). As earlier mentioned, GOU considers land issues of great importance and it is rolling out a Land Policy which has been mainly financed by the World Bank. Andrew encouraged RLI to think creatively to expand its reach. Courses on Land Management and Transfers could be extremely beneficial for AREA’s stakeholders. RLI and IRPF will work together with AREA to propose relevant land courses to the Minister of Land. With their support, AREA and IRPF and other local partners could meet the knowledge gap on land issues.

Andrew’s visit was enlightening to him and us. He now has ideas for membership growth, added services through the use of standardized forms and benefits of the MLS, tips to involve developers to sponsor educational courses, and the possibility of starting AREA’s Real Estate Library with donated books from CRA. It was informative to us as well because it offered the opportunity to partner with NAR Affiliates to help meet a Real Estate educational gap.

– Sylvia Luchini

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