Hugh Rider literally grew up in the business of real estate. In 1932, his grandfather, Oscar Sehnert, worked as an employee and acquired the business, Realty & Mortgage Co., which was founded in 1906. Rider’s father, Harold, later took over the company from his father-in-law. Rider said real estate always “called” him, and he began working for the family business in 1995.
“I remember ripping apart the old MLS books,” said Rider, 2015 Chicago Association of REALTORS president, co-president of Realty & Mortgage Co. “You used to have to destroy them – That was the rule, so they would save them up for months at a time. There would be stacks of them and you had to shred them all up by hand.”
The real estate industry has provided a living for three generations of Riders. And Rider has certainly followed in his father’s footsteps, as Harold served as president of what was then the Chicago Real Estate Board (now the Chicago Association of REALTORS®) in 1982.
“I’m proud to carry on the family tradition,” he said. “Real estate is what I’ve always known, and I grew up seeing it as a great opportunity. Like most real estate professionals, I love being part of a dynamic business that changes every day. I’m appreciative of the opportunities that the Chicago Association of REALTORS® has provided me in my more than 10 years with the organization. I’ve also been extraordinarily lucky to work with my brother and my dad, providing my career with a great family foundation.”
As the 2015 President of C.A.R., Rider’s goal is to create a “big tent” for real estate groups, so they can work together as one voice of real estate to achieve mutual goals.
“I feel we’re scattered and fragmented since our various trade groups exist independently,” Rider noted. “As president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS®, I’m dedicated to forming more alliances, so we can work together to advance and strengthen the industry, including building greater support for private property rights and other top issues.”
“Our association will also be working to make changes to the city’s Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (RLTO) to allow for judicial discretion,” he added. “Under the ordinance, a landlord who pays interest on a renter’s security deposit one day late or one penny short will immediately owe the renter twice the security deposit plus a security deposit refund. We want an agreement that’s fair to both landlords and tenants, and won’t result in increased costs for both landlords and tenants.”
C.A.R.’s robust lobbying efforts is what really distinguishes the association from the rest. “Our government affairs work touches every aspect of real estate, and we defend policies and push for legislative initiatives that are good for consumers, landlords, agents, appraisers – and for the industry as a whole. The old tag line of the association was “Under all is the Land”, and the current tag line is “The Voice for Real Estate in Chicago.” Those words echo that the efforts of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® are as much about private property rights as anything else. Private property rights touch all consumers one way or another.”
“Recently, we collaborated with the Illinois Association of REALTORS® to block a proposal that would have mandated sprinklers in Cook County, and prevented a high-rise sprinkler mandate that would have crippled our industry and destroyed homeowner’s high-rise condominium values,” Rider continued. “This effort saved both consumers and commercial property owners from exorbitant costs.”
Currently, C.A.R. is taking on the renovation of a Vietnam War memorial park on the city’s West Side to restore it. “I’m very excited about this project. The memorial to those who sacrificed their lives in the Vietnam War has been neglected and become overgrown. As REALTORS®, we strive to be leaders in the community and returning this memorial to a public space where people can visit and remember will be a positive influence in the neighborhood.”
When it comes to finding that perfect balance, Rider pointed out that it’s about balancing the work you love with your other interests. “I love to spend time with my family on the weekends. Spending time on the water in Chicago, and Wisconsin is my favorite pastime. I also enjoy attending my children’s sporting events, including basketball, lacrosse and swimming.”
His favorite song? “That would be Pharrell’s “Happy” – It’s a feel good song you can tap to.”
Over the course of Rider’s 20 year career, one thing he has learned is the value of listening. “Sometimes listening to a problem, or a situation and trying to understand where that person is coming from, often softens or diffuses an issue instead of escalating it. I live by the motto: Your word is your bond. Standing by your word and getting it done will get you further than anything.”