Chicagoland REACH Lab Showcase

Virtual Event – On a Friday afternoon in October three Chicagoland Real Estate associations and the largest MLS in Illinois hosted the first event in what is anticipated to be a series of events showcasing what can happen when titans of industry collaborate working towards the same goal: supporting REALTORS®.

Kate Sax , VP of Professionalism and Career Development at Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®, introduced Zach Wahlquist, Katrina Bressler, and Michael Gazdzik. Zack is the Chief Operations Officer for Chicago Association of REALTORS®; Katrina is the Director of Customer Experience for Midwest Real Estate Data, LLC (MRED); Michael is the Director of Information Technology and Support for North Shore-Barrington Association of REALTORS® (NSBAR). These four organizations make up the Chicagoland REACH Lab. REACH is the #1 accelerator in real estate and backed by the National Association of REALTORS®.  

The Chicagoland REACH Lab celebrated three up-and-coming mobile applications from various organizations. The common thread for all these featured speakers is simple: identifying solutions to help make business operations for REALTORS® and association members faster and more efficient. 


Leading off the virtual event is guest speaker and CEO of Shaker, Chris Lucas. Chris offers his mobile app titled Shaker for the purposes of streamlining REALTOR® transactions and team management. Chris identified his application as a “central command center” featuring a boutique experience for all users. Shaker has smart automation for items such as task lists, calendar events, emails, texts, MLS, and document synching. Additionally, Chris and Shaker have integrated DocuSign, Sky Loop, and Dot Loop as part of their subscriber experience, limiting the need to duplicate otherwise time-consuming data entry. Finally, as a team leader on Shaker you can set goals for your agents as needed plus measure them monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Visit their website to further investigate and download the Shaker app.


Evan Knowles, Co-Founder and CEO of Symba was the next presenter. Evan sees Symba as the personal financial tool for all agents, ensuring their fiscal wellbeing. Agents face a rising number of challenges in the real estate world, and their complexity continues to grow. Prominent topics include being a 1099 employee, changes in pay rates, 100% commission based income, complicated taxes, insurance, retirement planning, and bookkeeping. As a result, agent turnover or “churn” can become a serious issue quickly because of the market vulnerability, brokerages changing staffs, and the expanded IRS budget to hire more auditing agents. Symba simplifies and organizes an agent’s financial portfolio by managing their pipeline and commissions. In real time, with an agent bank account linked, Symba will calculate brokerage splits, referral fees, and tax estimates for each deal. Finally, Symba will also calculate year end taxes. Whether using a CPA or not, Symba will save hours on what would normally cost hundreds of dollars in fees for gathering, calculating, and exporting tax documents such as itemized expenses, 1099 forms, and closed transactions. Symba may be purchased yearly or monthly. For more app information, and how to download Symba visit their website

Neighborhood Pal

Hanan Eldahry presented next, and for her featured real estate app, she brought to light Neighborhood Pal. Showing the surrounding neighborhood for real estate agents has always been a difficult process until now. Hanan invented this app while she was trying to buy a house herself. Agents using this application will create a personalized experience for their clients to the tune of virtual neighborhood car rides, street view walks, and narrated video tours of landmarks and commerce centers. Why choose Neighborhood Pal instead of being on location? Good question, and the answer is even better. Zero commute times, flexible scheduling, curbing the rising cost of gas, limited parking availability, and having a contactless option for touring houses and neighborhoods right from your phone. Hanan explains Neighborhood Pal as a video production app wrapped around a real estate app, with all the tools and personnel needed to create vibrant, narrated videos. Neighborhood Pal is currently a month-to-month subscription. Neighborhood Pal can be found and downloaded here.

Chicagoland REACH Lab will be hosting more collaborative virtual presentations and showcases, so please be sure to look at the Chicagoland REACH Lab page to follow our next installment of up and coming REALTOR® and Real Estate agent tools and technology. 

Do you have an eye for helpful technology looking through the Real Estate lens? Click here to become an Innovation Scout with Chicagoland REACH Lab.