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The Importance of a Realtor Who’s Active in the Community

The Importance of a Realtor Who’s Active in the Community

  • Matt Shrake
  • 11/1/23

When you’re buying or selling a home in Chicago, you’re really not just executing a transaction for four walls, a roof, and the amenities within.

OK, yes, that is what you’re technically buying and selling. But for all practical purposes real estate involves interacting with a specific Chicago neighborhood, micro-market, political ward, and any number of other complex social structures and relationships within that community.

While it’s true that homeowners are more likely to become involved in a neighborhood group or civic organization, according to a 2013 Georgetown study, the benefit to the community of homeownership can sometimes be exaggerated. For example, homeowners are no more likely than renters to join a sports or religious group.

However, what’s not exaggerated is the larger community’s impact on your quality of life in your new home, or the community’s impact on who may be the best target market for your property’s sale.

And this is why it’s great to have a Realtor like Matt Shrake who not only knows the community but has a long history of being active in it.

Community Impacts

Some of the ways the local community can impact your quality of life in your new home include:

  •       Local Politics
  •       Business Environment
  •       Development
  •       Local Organizations
  •       Schools
  •       Parks
  •       Resources

Local Politics

Let’s start with one of the unique features of Chicago: its system of 50 wards and alderpersons. You can easily look up your ward and alderperson by address on the City of Chicago’s website. But simply knowing the name of your representative is only a beginning.

Knowing about them and how to navigate the system in which they operate is another thing entirely. The alderman or alderwoman in charge of your ward can have a great impact on what happens to your property and the properties around you, as well as your taxes, utilities, public health, safety, and more.

Having a real estate agent who knows, or at least knows how to get, the right information about how different alderpersons and local politics may impact your property is essential. Matt Shrake has decades of experience in this area.

“They’re the ones who get things done,” Shrake said, “All the way down to street cleaning, what you can potentially build, getting a city sticker for your car, getting a sign on your business, and so much more.”

Business Environment

Knowing the business environment of your new neighborhood is an important but often overlooked aspect of buying into a community.

Does your new locale feature the kind of businesses you need or regularly want to frequent? Can you easily access them within a few minutes without getting into your car? Or will you need to drive far to find the types of things you need in your daily life? 

Having an agent like Matt can help you take full advantage of one of Chicago’s greatest advantages: full service neighborhoods. There is no reason to live somewhere that doesn’t have everything that’s important in your daily life. 

And beyond what you think you want now, Matt will ask probing questions – and pick up on things you say throughout your working relationship – that will allow him to proactively connect you with the perfect new home. And when it comes time to sell, the same types of insights will help you promote your property in the most attractive ways to the most number of buyers


Having a good idea about some of the bigger developments that may be planned or authorized in and around your property can be extremely important to buying or selling property in Chicago.

Certainly, nobody can stay on top of everything going on in Chicago real estate development. There is a reason and a history behind each property, and real estate cannot be learned from a data sheet. The black and white numbers on a page only tell a very limited, colorless story. But a Realtor like Matt Shrake who is active in the community can pick up on things that may slip by other real estate agents, and alert you to them as appropriate for your situation.

Local Organizations

There are so many local organizations in Chicago and more popping up all the time. It really helps to know which organizations may already be notable within the area in which you live.

And Matt Shrake has been active in a variety of Chicago community organizations for years. Whether you want to become more active yourself, or need a connection to someone in a particular specialty, Matt likely has the right person to refer you to.


For schools in Chicago, simply looking up a ranking or a list isn’t always enough. Knowing the ins and outs, history, and changing impacts of schools can be even more important.

Matt Shrake and his hundreds of clients have had years of experience with all types of Chicago schools. This means Matt doesn’t just know the schools, but also how some of them have evolved over the years. He can share his own knowledge and personal experiences, and also refer you to other families he’s worked with who can share a more intimate snapshot of pros and cons of your various possible choices.


There are many different parks for many different uses in the City of Chicago. Knowing where you need to go for a particular type of activity is great. Whether it’s a particular sport, type of exercise, or space you need, the nearness of a park that can accommodate your lifestyle can be critical to a new homeowner and an important selling point.

Matt Shrake has been active not only in volunteer coaching youth and high school sports and serving on various athletic league boards, but also in many other recreational endeavors throughout The Windy City.


Finally, there are so many community resources that impact quality of life in Chicago that any list would certainly leave something out for someone.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

For better or for worse, Chicago is a city of boundaries. Public school attendance boundaries, locations that are just a little too far from the lakefront exercise paths or an el stop, two commutes from the Kennedy or Dan Ryan Expressway during Cubs or White Sox season, or a heavy industrial location that becomes a ghost town at night and on the weekends are examples of things potential buyers and sellers can’t quantify on their own. 

Of course, that’s exactly why, whether buying or selling, you really want someone like Matt Shrake on your side who brings not just a wealth of real estate experience but years of activity in Chicago’s great communities.

Contact Matt Shrake Today

Whether buying or selling real estate – if it’s in Chicago – you want to turn to Matt Shrake.

Contact Matt at [email protected] or  773-294-2667.

Or visit his website: shrakegroup.com.

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