CHICAGO – Four young brokers who enjoyed remarkable success during their first full year in real estate sales were saluted by RE/MAX Northern Illinois as 2016 Rising Stars during its 40th Annual Awards Ceremony held last month at Navy Pier.
Rising Star honors are given each year to RE/MAX broker associates who have held a real estate license for less than 18 months and whose productivity during the past year was clearly exceptional for a newcomer to the industry. Only the most talented and successful new agents take home this award.
The 2016 honorees were Carlos Alers, RE/MAX of Barrington, Barrington, Ill., Kamal (Simran) Arora, RE/MAX Professionals Select, Naperville, Ill., Natalie Renna, RE/MAX Vision 212, Chicago, and Ivan Zamudio, RE/MAX Horizon, Elgin, Ill.
Alers not only won Rising Star honors but followed it almost immediately by getting married, making for an exciting February. He joined RE/MAX a year ago, but was already quite familiar with the real estate industry, having left DePaul University as a junior to start his own mortgage brokerage, which he has operated for the last 14 years.
“I decided to get my real estate license because I saw an opportunity to add value to real estate transactions with my understanding of the financial side of things, and that has been the case, especially with commercial properties,” said Alers. He noted that commercial properties account for about half the transactions he completed in 2016.
A Chicago native, Alers now lives in Fox River Grove, Ill., where he moved to be closer to his parents. While much of his mortgage and real estate sales activity remains in Chicago, Alers affiliated with RE/MAX of Barrington because it’s close to home and offers exceptional resources to its brokers.
Arora, a long-time Naperville resident, was a corporate consultant for a major oil company before pursuing a real estate career after her second daughter was born.
“I wanted to have time to spend with my baby, but the travel demands of my consulting job made that difficult,” Arora recalled. “I’d always had an interest real estate, and my husband encouraged me to give it a try. It was a great decision.”
Once Arora had her license, she chose RE/MAX.
“I wasn’t looking for a job, I wanted my own business. RE/MAX is ideal for that, and Rich and Jen Conte, who operate our office, have been wonderful mentors.”
Renna moved to Chicago in 2010 after earning a business degree in finance, marketing and real estate from the University of Wisconsin and began a career in pharmaceutical sales. A Gold Coast resident, she decided to change careers after meeting Jason Palermo, broker/owner of RE/MAX Vision 212.
“I couldn’t be happier with the change,” said Renna. “I love running my own business, and it lets me use every facet of my educational background. Best of all I work with many buyers and really appreciate that they let me help them take such a major step in their life. Selling pharmaceuticals was just a job; being a RE/MAX broker is so much more meaningful to me.”
Ivan Zamudio is following in the highly successful footsteps of his mother, Esther Zamudio, who has been a top producing RE/MAX broker for three decades. Ivan, however, continues to live something of a double life, working 30 to 40 hours a week as a fire fighter in nearby Pingree Grove while doing real estate brokerage as a member of his mother’s sales team, which includes two other brokers and two assistants.
“It’s exciting to be part of a great team, and that certainly helped get my real estate career off to a fast start,” he explained. “I’ve lived in this community all my life, so I can offer our clients a lot of local knowledge.” An Elgin resident, Zamudio and his wife have one son with a second boy expected in June.