Business for a Better World: Picket Fence Realty
Q: Describe your company.
A: Picket Fence Realty is an independent real estate brokerage, not a franchise of a larger Realtor brand. It is purposefully independent and focused on serving the immediate suburban area.
Having been real estate appraisers for 20 years, our approach is based on a strong valuation process coupled with very personalized service, whether working with buyers or sellers. We have been referred to over the years as a "boutique" office.
We are celebrating our 25th year as Picket Fence Realty, continuing to expand the reputation we have built over thousands of relationships and transactions. It was never our goal to be the biggest office but simply to always do our best, respecting our client's equity, and earning their trust. That responsibility has never been lost on us.
Q: What will your company's main challenges be in the next year?
A: The current challenge for our marketplace is to help buyers find a home. The unprecedented low inventory of homes for sale has buyers competing against multiple bidders to secure a home, often within hours of it being listed. Making sure we get the most recent listings, as well as homes that might not have hit the market yet in front of our buyers, is critical. Additionally giving them the best strategies to get their offers to stand out and accepted is something we work very hard on; we are proud of our success rate.
Q: What's the hottest trend in your industry?
A: Since the onset of COVID-19 two trends have developed. The first is people putting more focus on the outdoor living spaces. Backyard pools have reached a whole new level of demand.
Secondly, with more folks not returning to typical offices, having dedicated workspaces in a home is now in high demand.
Q: Is your company minority-owned? Woman-owned?
A: Yes, Sue Duchek is the President of Picket Fence Realty.
Q: What does your company do regarding DE&I (diversity, equity & inclusion)?
A: As a member of the National Association of Realtors, we are committed to assisting clients of all backgrounds. While the home-buying market is highly competitive at the moment, we welcome clients of all races, religions, cultures and sexual orientation as we understand the importance of diversity in the communities we serve. We work to provide optimum service to anyone who puts their trust in us and we support initiatives that local communities have launched to create more diversity in their population.
We also know that many seniors who have spent their lives in Arlington Heights need assistance when selling their home in today's market. Many want to remain in Arlington Heights. Picket Fence Realty been recognized with the Senior Residential Specialist designation by the National Association of Realtors. The SRES designation is important in that it signifies we are able to focus particular attention to the unique needs of seniors in the market.
Q: Does your company donate time or money to any philanthropic causes? If so, what causes?
A: From the very beginning, Picket Fence Realty has immersed ourselves in our community. Being born and raised in the area, our commitment to our community and those in it, is a cornerstone of all we do.
As we are celebrating our 25th anniversary in business, we are partnering with SALUTE and the Memorial Day 5K run/walk by donating $2,500. NWSRA, Dollars for Scholars, Hope NOW, Journeys, Clearbrook, Senior Center, Metropolis and Lions are just some of the organizations we regularly support. The Rotary Club of Arlington Heights remains the organization we actively participate in, dating back to 2002.
Owners Paul and Sue Duchek have also held leadership roles as President of the Chamber of Commerce, Chair of Arlington Heights Economic Alliance Commission, Rotary Board members, Senior Center Inc. Board, and Historical Society Board President.
Q: Does your company do anything else to make your community better?
A: Giving back to our community has been woven into our fabric from the very beginning. Through our Rotary Club, for the past two and a half years our office has shopped for eggs and cheese twice a month for the Wheeling Township Food Pantry. For years, Picket Fence Realty has arranged the Rotary Holiday shopping for Arlington Heights families in need, and the Thanksgiving baskets program through Rotary.
Sue has been a judge for the Hersey Pitch Night since its inception. As Sue and Paul are high school sweethearts and graduated from Hersey this event is always a special one for Sue.
Q: What do you do to make your business a good place to work for your employees?
A: While we don't really have employees as we are all independent contractors, we are a tight-knit group. Some truly are family, but all feel like family. We love where we work and we love what we do for a living.
Q: Do you have a business mantra?
A: Committed to our community, to our clients and to character.
Q: What is one interesting fact about your company that most people may not know?
A: Picket Fence Realty purchased our office at 113 South Arlington Heights Road in 2000. That year the Chamber of Commerce had the Ponies On Parade in celebration of the Arlington Million. We purchased a pony -- Esperanza (which means hope) -- and we had her painted like a matador. Esperanza was placed outside of LaTasca. We devoted the $2,000 proceeds of auctioning Esperanza off to Hope Now, a local charity. The first business that was at our location was Hope's Chest.
We hope to enjoy many more years serving our clients and our community.
113 South Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights
Industry: Residential Real Estate
Annual revenue: $35M in Sales
Number of employees: Picket Fence Realty is owned and operated by Arlington Heights residents Paul and Sue Duchek. The remainder of the team is comprised of brokers and independent contractors, many of whom have been with us for a number of years.