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GBREB Foundation raises record amount for student scholarships in 2017

On June 2, 2017, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board Foundation held its annual scholarship breakfast where almost 50 college scholarships were awarded to students from the Greater Boston area.  The scholarships are “Last Dollar In,” scholarships designed to complement and provide additional resources to a student without affecting the financial aid they receive from their school. 

Ron Druker was awarded the Humanitarian of the Year Award for his passionate commitment to education, the arts and improving the quality of life for people in the Greater Boston area.  John Barros, the Chief of Economic Development for the City of Boston was honored as a “First One,” which an award is recognizing that he was the first person in his family to attend college.  In addition, 15 students received summer internships in the real estate field at a host of commercial and residential real estate companies in Boston.   

The Greater Boston Real Estate Board Scholarship Fund was established in 2012 with the goal of helping economically disadvantaged young people attend and graduate from college by providing them with scholarship assistance and financial aid counseling. In order to accomplish their mission, GBREB partnered with uAspire, a Boston-based organization that has been helping students from low-income families find an affordable path to a postsecondary education since 1985.

Now in its fifth year, the GBREB Foundation has awarded over $500,000 in 'last dollar' scholarships that are granted for the purpose of filling the gap between students' financial aid and the costs of college beyond tuition – such as room and board, computers, books and supplies to graduating seniors in the Greater Boston area. Scholarships of $1,000-$5,000 are awarded to students each spring based on financial need, academic achievement, leadership, extra-curricular involvement, and short written essays, and are guaranteed for two years. These scholarships can sometimes be the determining factor as to whether or not a low-income student will attend college.

The GBREB Foundation Scholarship Fund Leadership Breakfast, first held in 2015, was envisioned as a way to honor the students receiving the GBREB Foundation scholarship awards as well as the donors who contributed to the fund. Now held annually, the breakfast simultaneously recognizes Massachusetts business, government, education, nonprofit and community leaders with the uAspire First One Award, given to those individuals who were the first in their families to graduate from college and make noteworthy contributions to their field and society at large.

GBREB Foundation


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Earlier this month, zipLogix announced that come September, that its zipForm® Plus transaction management platform will integrate HomeKeepr. HomeKeepr is a comprehensive application built for real estate professionals that enables them to connect clients with their most trusted home-service providers.

"We are continuously thinking of ways to help our customers enhance their reputation as trusted real estate experts," said zipLogix™ Chairman of the Board Mark Peterson in a press release. "With HomeKeepr integrated into our zipForm® Plus platform, our customers will have the ability to recommend various home services to their clients, setting themselves apart from competitors as a well-rounded resource for the entire home buying experience."

zipForm® Plus agents can sign up for the free service and create their HomeKeepr profiles in advance by clicking here and you can access your GBREB Forms via ZipLogix here on our website.
zipLogix to Integrate HomeKeepr with zipForm® Plus App
We are getting closer to our fifth annual GBAR Roadshow Conference & Expo, on Thursday, October 19 at the Four Points by Sheraton in Norwood. This year’s event features three informative sessions on a variety of topics geared towards guiding you on the path to success. We also are welcoming Jean Chatzky as our keynote speaker this year who will share her vast financial experience with us and leave us all with successful strategies to manage our health and finances.

The morning starts with an informative session by Hoss Pratt, a nationally-known authority and speaker on how real estate brokers and agents can supercharge their businesses, will focus his talk on time management and how to manage it before it manages you. His presentation will teach you strategies on how to better utilize your time and skills to convert prospects into clients and your fence sitters into sellers.

As you know, the inventory shortage in our market is a major obstacle. Our next presenter, Maura Neill, is a fellow REALTOR® as well as a national speaker and instructor who is going to share strategies for how to run a real estate business in a low inventory market. From handling multiple offer situations to addressing the psychology of an unrealistic seller, Maura’s session will have can’t-miss information that is extremely pertinent to our marketplace. 

The final session speaker is Jimmy Mackin, the co-founder of the Boston-based digital marketing company Curyator. Jimmy and his team specialize in Facebook marketing and advertising and during the Roadshow, Jimmy will share how to master Facebook lead generation and conversion. As today’s digital landscape continues to grow, creating and fostering an online presence is vital and this presentation will show you how you can use targeted ads and content on Facebook to your current, prospective and future clients and how to reap the benefits.

I’m particularly excited for our keynote speaker, Jean Chatzky. Many of you may know her from her work as the financial editor on NBC’s TODAY show, but she is also an award-winning personal finance journalist, the personal finance ambassador for AARP and hosts the podcast “Her Money with Jean Chatzky”. Jean is going to share with us tips and tools for financial wellness and strategies on how to balance health with finances, as well as some best practices for how to prepare for retirement. With appearances on Oprah and in Money Magazine, Jean is now bringing her financial knowledge to the Roadshow—you don’t want to miss this!

The Roadshow also features an expo hall full of affiliates and exhibitors which provide great networking opportunities and more chances for you to expand your business and make new introductions. You don’t want to miss out on this exciting day so be sure to visit our Roadshow website to find our more information. Our early-bird special pricing ends September 8, so take advantage of our lower price and register today!

GBAR President
Melody Skye Rollof BPOR, CBR, LMC, PMN, SRES
Roadshow Presenters to Guide You to Business Success
NAR has issued a text message scam alert for two specific types of notifications that are being generated recently that are attempting to get members to pay fees or fines. One of the scams alleges an ethics violation and seeks payment of a fine and the other informs the recipients that they have won a prize form NAR and are subject to paying a sales tax. 

Both of these instances are detailed here, and you can visit NAR’s Data Privacy and Security webpage for more information on these and other scams.

Please be on high alert for these scams as well as any and all potential email, text and online fraud.
REALTORS® Targeted in Text Message Scam
Lobbyists for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) are optimistic that the House of Representatives will pass a bill reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program set to expire Sept. 30. The House bill meets all of NAR’s objectives, Jamie Gregory, NAR’s deputy chief lobbyist, told attendees on Monday at NAR’s Leadership Summit for local association executives and presidents held in Chicago. He is hopeful that passage in the House will help spur Senate action to improve its version of the bill. The Senate six-year extension bill does not address access to private market insurance and several other reforms supported by NAR. “The most critical thing is to get the House bill moving,” he said. On Tuesday, August 22, NAR will issue a Call for Action to REALTORS® in support of the critical need for long-term reauthorization of the flood insurance program. 

Make sure you are up to speed on the issue, so you can speak convincingly and with authority to your Members of Congress, and watch this brief video from 2017 MAR President Paul Yorkis about the CFA.

We urge you to participate in next week’s call for action and to please consider supporting the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC).
Participate in NAR’s Flood Insurance Call for Action
Amid a long-lasting short supply of homes for sale, the median sale price of both single-family detached homes and condominiums continued to steadily climb in July while sales eased for the fourth consecutive month according to data released today by the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® (GBAR).

Sales of single-family detached homes softened slightly last month as 1,533 homes were sold compared to the 1,605 homes sold in July 2016. This is a 4.5 decrease in volume which ranks seventh in all-time homes sold for the month in Greater Boston, and is slightly above the historical monthly average on 1,494 homes sold. The condo market experienced a more modest decline of 1.0 percent, dropping from 1,159 units sold in July 2016 to 1,147 last month. This was also the seventh highest sales total for the month of July and sits just above the historical monthly average of 1,132 units sold. 
“It remains a strong seller’s market. The inventory shortage continues to be a dominant factor, creating fierce competition in most price points and requiring buyers to act quickly,” said GBAR President Melody Skye Roloff, an agent with EXIT Realty Beatrice Associates in Middleton. “Prices continue to rise to new heights month after month but the recent softening in sales doesn’t seem to reflect any measurable drop in buyer demand. Rather, it simply points to an insufficient supply of homes for sale to satisfy those in the market to buy.”

Indeed, median prices in Greater Boston reached record-high monthly figures in both markets. The single-family market median sales price rose 5.2 percent from $575,000 in July 2016 to the record $605,000 median pricethis year. Likewise, the condo market saw a 7.1 percent increase to $530,000 last month, up from $495,000 in July 2016.

The inventory shortage has continued into July as it hit both markets as single family homes inventory dropped 23.7 percent from 4,002 in July 2016 to 3,055 last month. Inventory of condos had a lesser drop, falling to 1,912 units last month from 2,218 in July 2016, which is a 13.8 percent drop. 

“Even with this continued short supply, homes are very quickly going under contract this summer, even with the prevalence of bidding wars, buyers remain confident and demand is high,” added Roloff.

In fact, buyer motivation is very high, as evidenced by the decline in days to off market in both markets. In the single-family market, homes are spending 43 days on market, compared to 56 days in July 2016, a decline of 23.2 percent. The condo mark in July saw units on market for an average of 36 days, which is a 16.3 percent decrease from the July 2016 average of 43 days.

 For additional information regarding March 2017 Greater Boston Housing statistics, including our new interactive housing market data dashboard, visit the Monthly Housing Market Reports page

Greater Boston Home Prices Hit Record High In July
So you’ve been heard about the Massachusetts data security regulations and want to know how they apply to REALTORS®.

In 2010, Massachusetts enacted comprehensive data security and protection regulations. The regulations apply to any person or business that collects, owns, or licenses personal information of a resident of the Commonwealth, including employees. Personal information includes a person’s first and last name in conjunction with their social security number, driver’s license number or state issued ID card number, or financial account number including credit or debit card numbers. Personal information does not include information that is lawfully obtained from publicly available information. 

How REALTORS® can comply:

The statute and regulations require persons or businesses with personal information to develop a Written Information Security Program (WISP). The scope and complexity of the document will vary depending on the type of personal information you will keep and the resources you have available. The WISP must identify the measures that will be taken to safeguard both electronic and hardcopy files. For example, the regulations state that the WISP must specify “reasonable restrictions upon physical access to records containing personal information and storage of such records and data in locked facilities, storage areas or containers.” Additional information, including sample language for REALTORS® is posted on the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) website here:

What sort of information in a real estate transaction would be considered personal?

It is important to recognize that in some real estate transactions no personal information may be collected by the broker. A common example of personal information would be a personal check from a buyer that includes a bank account number on the actual check. When the broker receives the check or a copy, this means that the broker has now collected personal information and needs to ensure that the information is protected in accordance with the regulations. By keeping the application in a locked file cabinet with limited access or redacting the personal information, the broker has taken one step to comply with the regulations. It is advised that all brokers review what information is taken from customers and clients, regardless of the type of transaction. Knowing in advance what information you collect will help you develop your WISP and remain in compliance. It is also important to review all forms and information that is collected from consumers to ensure that no unnecessary personal information is being collected.  

Does your office have to meet the same requirements imposed on large investment banks and other major corporations?

No. The Commonwealth’s Office of Consumer Affairs adopted a “risk-based” approach that directs a business to establish a written security program that takes into account the particular business's size, scope of business, amount of resources, nature and quantity of data collected or stored, and the need for security.  This approach is especially important to those small businesses that do not handle or store large amounts of personal information.
How can you obtain a copy of the new “Closing Disclosure” from your client for your files?

On July 7, 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released the final rule amending the “Know Before You Owe” or TRID mortgage disclosure rule. As advocated for by NAR, the final rule clarifies the ability to share the Closing Disclosure (CD) with third parties, including REALTORS® - a victory for real estate professionals nationwide. The CFPB recognizes the CD as a “record of the transaction,” which is “informative to real estate agents and others representing both the consumer credit and real estate portions of residential real estate sales transactions.” It is likely that the CD would be considered personal information under Massachusetts law. This is because the CD asks for the “loan ID number” which falls within the definition of personal information if in fact it is also the loan number for the mortgage. Care should be taken to ensure that all copies of the CD are reasonably secure and protected. 

Data Security Regulations for REALTORS®
NAR has issued a text message scam alert for two specific types of notifications that are being generated recently that are attempting to get members to pay fees or fines. One of the scams alleges an ethics violation and seeks payment of a fine and the other informs the recipients that they have won a prize form NAR and are subject to paying a sales tax. 

Both of these instances are detailed here, and you can visit NAR’s Data Privacy and Security webpage for more information on these and other scams.

Please be on high alert for these scams as well as any and all potential email, text and online fraud.
Copy 2 of REALTORS® Targeted in Text Message Scam

Data Dashboard

The Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® (GBAR) housing market data dashboard is an interactive platform which provides 24/7 customizable search and reporting capabilities for active inventory and sold properties in the detached single-family home, condominium, and multi-family housing markets. The dashboard is a powerful, new resource for REALTORS® that enables agents and brokers to monitor, research and report on current market performance and historical trends to their clients and customers. Specifically, it allows you to track variations in sales, selling price, inventory levels, market time and more on a month-to-month and year-to-year basis, and filter the data and trend lines by geographic area (region,community, zip code, neighborhood), property type, # of bedrooms, year built, etc.

Data in the dashboard is populated from the MLS Property Information Network (MLS PIN) for the previous four years, and is available for 76 communities in Eastern Massachusetts,including all 64 communities in the GBAR jurisdiction. GBAR members may access the dashboard using specially-assigned password credentials.  If you do not know your GBAR-issued credentials, please email

Monthly Housing Market Data
Additionally, as part of our effort to monitor housing market activity in metropolitan Boston, GBAR compiles a monthly data report which provides insight into the current performance and longer-term trends within the residential(detached single-family home and condo) and multi-family housing markets in the GBAR jurisdiction. Within these reports we follow key performance indicators (KPI) of housing market activity on an annual and month-to-month basis.

January: Housing Market Insights Report |Press Release

February: Housing Market Insights Report| Press Release

March: Housing Market Insights Report |Press Release

April: Housing Market Insights Report |Press Release

May: Housing Market Insights Report | Press Release

June: Housing Market Insights ReportPress Release

July: Housing Market Insights Report

To view and download the latest one page data reports offering monthly snapshots of residential market activity for any of the 351 communities in Massachusetts follow this link , then follow the instructions to log-in to the members-only section of

Monthly Housing Market Reports & Data Dashboard


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