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BOMA Boston August ENews

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We Are Apartments
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
Amid a short supply of inventory, rising mortgage rates and higher prices in the condominium market, sales of single-family homes and condos softened in February in Greater Boston, according to data issued today from the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® (GBAR).

Sales of single-family detached homes saw a year-over-year decline of 14.4 percent in February as 504 homes were sold compared to the 589 homes sold in February 2016. This year’s sales total the tenth highest figure on record, with the month’s record high of 665 homes sold coming in 2007. The condo market experienced a more modest decline in sales, falling 3.8 percent from 473 in February 2016 to 455 last month. Last month’s condo sales total is the ninth highest on record, with the record-high of 642 also coming in 2007. In addition, both markets fell short of their historical monthly sales averages of 535 (single family) and 467 (condos).

“Sales could have been much stronger had the inventory been up. Unfortunately, we’ve noticed that potential sellers have become more reluctant to list their homes because they are apprehensive that they may not be able to find another home themselves,”said GBAR President Melody Skye Roloff, an agent with Exit Realty Beatrice Associates in Middleton. “Our local housing market is seasonal though, and it is our expectation that as we get into the spring market, more homes will be available and our market will hit its stride again.”

The median sales price of single-family homes dropped slightly to $505,000 last month, down from the record-high February price of $517,500 from last year.Despite this 2.4 percent drop in median sales price, last month was the second highest median sales price on record for February. Meanwhile, the condo market experienced an increase in median sales price, from $449,000 in February 2016 to $515,000 last month. This is a 14.7 percent increase and is a record-high median sales price for the month of February.

With prices at or near record levels, and mortgage rates ticking up, we saw an increase in the volume of entry and mid-level homes sold last month which led to the lower median sales price,” added Roloff. “Also with the median price of a condo nearly equal to that for detached homes, first time buyers are turning their focus to the single-family home market, making for strong activity in the starter home sector. For those looking to trade up, it’s a great time to put a home on the market.”

Indeed,active listings, or, the number of properties available at the end of the month, dropped significantly in both markets. The single-family home market had 1,891 active listings at the end of February 2017, which was a 35.2 percent drop from the 2,918 last February. Similarly, the condo market active listings fell 27.6 percent from 1,756 in February 2016 to 1,273 last month.

For additional information regarding February 2017 Greater Boston Housing statistics, including our new interactive housing market data dashboard, visit our Monthly Housing Market Reports  
Short Supply Cools February Housing Market in Greater Boston
Earlier this week, more than 90 GBAR members and a collective 400 REALTOR® members from across the Commonwealth gathered at the Massachusetts State House in Boston for REALTOR® Day on the Hill. Annually, this event is a great opportunity for our members to meet with their legislators to voice opinions on a variety of bills that have the potential to impact property owners and the real estate industry.  Among the lawmakers who met with our members this year were Rep. Shawn Dooley, Rep. Denise Garlick, Rep. Jay Kaufman, Sen. Richard Ross, Rep. Jeffrey Roy, and Rep. Thomas Stanley.

The program featured a keynote address from Massachusetts State Senator Karen Spilka, who spoke to housing affordability concerns and emphasized that we need to do all we can to encourage new housing construction and help families afford new homes. 

In this vein, we are actively seeking member volunteers to serve in the role of GBAR Town Monitor for their hometown or a community in which they work, or as a State Political Coordinator (SPC).  In the role of Monitor, members agree to be the local eyes and ears for our association – paying attention to and reporting on issues and proposals being considered at town meeting, council gatherings, and municipal board/committee meetings, such as the Board of Health, Planning Board, and ZBA.  Individuals who assume the role of an SPC will serve as liaisons between their state Senator and/or Representative and our association. Ideally, the SPCs will be those who have pre-existing relationships with a legislator and will be the REALTOR® organization’s primary face and contact to coordinate meetings with the public officials to discuss legislation and public policy issues. 

By having GBAR members connected to and regularly communicating with state legislators, and others dedicated to monitoring discussions and votes at local government meetings, our association will be in a much better position to respond and/or get involved in matters impacting property rights, housing affordability, and  construction or expansion of residential and commercial developments.

More information including manuals and applications for both the Town Monitor and State Political Coordinator roles are available from our website. If you have questions or are interested in applying, you may contact Town Monitor/SPC Task Force staff liaison Kevin Butler at kbutler@gbreb.com
Seeking Volunteers for Town Monitor & State Political Coordinator Roles
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
Fannie Mae has increased its debt-to-income (DTI) ratio from 45 percent to 50 percent which is a significant change which will ease the home buying process for homebuyers carrying student loan debt and can help them qualify for a home mortgage loan.

Recently, Charlie Dawson of NAR Government Affairs and Jonathan Lawless of Fannie Mae sat to discuss these changes and the effects it has on the housing market nationwide. They discuss how these changes aim to help homebuyers when someone else is paying their student loan or other debt. Today, these debts count against the homebuyer, even though someone else is paying them. Thus, if homebuyers can document someone else is paying these debts, Fannie Mae will exclude them from the DTI calculation. Lastly, with the rise in debtors, lower student loan payments were getting ignored in underwriting which counted against your DTI. Now, Fannie Mae will use the payment the borrower is actually making, not what was included in the original repayment agreement.

For more information, please watch this short video from NAR.
NAR Welcomes Fannie Mae’s Increase in Debt-to-Income Ratio
Solar panels on the roof? What are some things that you should know about the panels? 

The first thing to do is to determine whether the panels are owned by the seller or if the seller is leasing them from the solar company. This will make a big difference in their value and any possible complications that may arise.

Your seller has told you that the panels are owned by the seller, what does this mean?

Since the panels are owned by the seller, they should be factored into the price of the home just as any other asset would be. It would be prudent to search for comparable homes with owned solar panels as well.
A solar renewable energy credit (SREC) also should be considered when valuing the asset. An SREC is created for every megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity produced by a solar generator. SRECs allow a seller with a solar array to use electricity that is produced by the panels and then separately sell the SREC to a utility company. Some solar owners use SREC brokers to handle the sale, so if you have a seller who is part of a ten year SREC Program they may consider selling their future credits through such a broker. If a seller does this, they would then value their solar panels based on the energy savings that they provide.
Buyers, on the other hand, should be asking sellers if they are part of an SREC program and whether the SRECs will be transferred with the panels. If they are, a buyer also would want to know what the average annual output of the panels has been so that they can properly value them.

Your seller has told you that the panels are leased. How does this change your analysis?

If the panels are leased, it can be a bit more complicated. When representing a seller with leased solar panels, agents should recommend that the seller contact the leasing company right away to let them know that they are planning to sell the home. In fact, some solar companies have set up departments specifically to work on lease transfers. The solar company may reference a UCC-1 that has been recorded with the property. A UCC-1 acts as a lien against the solar equipment on the property and is used by the solar companies to protect their interest in the leased panels. These finds should be recorded at your local registry of deeds. It is important to know whether or not a UCC-1 has been recorded with the property because some lenders may have concerns that the UCC-1 will take priority over the mortgage in the event of a bankruptcy. Some companies will remove the UCC-1 filing and then replace it when the new mortgage is recorded.

In the end a seller has three options when dealing with leased solar panels: they can buy out the lease; transfer the lease to the new buyer; or attempt to transfer the panels to their new home, although this option may only be available in rare occasions.
You are representing a buyer who is interested in buying a home with leased solar panels, how will this affect the sale?

For those REALTORS® representing buyers interested in a home with leased solar panels you want to remind your clients to factor the monthly lease cost when determining whether or not they can afford the home. The buyer’s lender is likely to consider this when making a determination on their loan. Also, buyers should review their credit scores because the solar leasing companies are going to ensure that the buyer can assume the costs of the lease before they approve a transfer.

Learn more about solar panels and other forms of renewable energy while earning your GREEN Designation GREEN Designation with GBAR on June 20 & 21. This course covers how to measure energy and home performance, shows you how green features can increase property values and the many high performance features that come with smart home technology.

Remember to always use caution when advising clients about solar panels. The Attorney General published the following helpful informational sheet on solar panels: http://www.mass.gov/ago/news-and-updates/press-releases/2016/advice-to-homeowners-considering-solar-panels.html. 
How To Advise Your Homeowners About Solar Panels, Earn Your GREEN Designation
The spring housing market got off to a strong start as sales of single-family homes and condominiums rose in March, following a mild winter, steady incoming job growth, and high buyer demand according to data issued today by the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® (GBAR).

Sales of single-family detached homes saw a 5.6 percent increase in year-over-year sales in March, as 825 homes were sold compared to the 781 homes sold in March 2016.This is the fifth highest sales total on record for the month of March and is the highest sales total since the record 1,001 homes sold in March 2007.  Likewise, sales of condos rose 7.1 percent from March 2016 to last month as 810 condos were sold compared to 756 the previous year. Last month’s condo sales total was the fourth highest on record,and similar to the single-family sales, was the highest sales total since the record 950 condos sold in March 2007.

“March is historically a telling month for how the spring market is going, and with positive sales numbers we experienced last month and buyer demand we’re seeing,it’s clear that we’re set for a very busy market,” said GBAR President Melody Skye Roloff, an agent with EXIT Beatrice Realty Associates in Middleton. “The modest temperatures and mild winter we experienced has allowed the spring market to hit its stride earlier in the year.”

As with sales, median sales price of both single-family homes and condos increased last month. The median sales price for a single-family home in Greater Boston increased 17.5 percent from $472,500 in March 2016 to $555,000 last month.Similarly, the condo market median sales price rose 8.6 percent, up to $520,000 from $478,750 in March 2016. Both median sales prices are record highs for the month of March.

“In both markets we saw a significant increase in mid- to high-level homes sold last month, which has resulted in these new record high prices,”said Roloff.“Regardless of price point, we continue to face a shortage of inventory in all sectors of the market, so for those looking to trade-up or put their home on the market: now is the time.”

Active listings continue to lag behind demand by quite a margin. Single-family homes active listings fell 36 percent from 3,588 homes for sale in March 2016 to 2,296 last month. Likewise, active listings of condos dropped 28.8 percent to 1,501, down from 2,107 in March 2016.

“The continued decline of the number of days to off market is indicative of just how much demand there is in the marketplace right now, “added Roloff. “Homes are continuing to sell in short turn around and our market would be thriving even more if the inventory kept up with this frenzy of activity.”

Indeed,the days to off market total has fallen in both the single-family and condo markets last month. In the single-family housing market, the days to off market total fell 22.4 percent from 58 days in March 2016 to 45 days last month. Additionally, that number fell from 43 to 38 for the year-over-year for March in the condo market.

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 Housing Market Hits Its Stride in March
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: www.marealtor.com

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
Earlier this spring, the Boston City Council Committee on Government Operations held a public hearing on the "Jim Brooks Stabilization Act", also known as the "Just Cause Eviction Bill”. The Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) testified against the bill before Committee which would restrict property rights of homeowners while granting rights to tenants who have no title or ownership interest in the units where they reside. As drafted, GBREB asserts that the Brooks Act will have a negative affect on property values, lead to a significant reduction in capital investment in apartment and multi-family housing production, and is largely unnecessary since Massachusetts law already affords tenants some the strongest protections available.
During a subsequent working session, the Committee discussed narrowing the bill to focus on three goals: to educate tenants on their rights, to ask landlords to notify the City regarding evictions and, to improve data collection on evictions in the City. 

The Committee also discussed bifurcation of the Brooks Act into a local Right’ Ordinance and a Notification Home Rule petition. The local city rights ordinance would take effect upon passage by the council and approval by the Mayor. It would require a landlord to serve a ‘City Rights Notice’ along with a notice-to-quit, non-renewal or notice that a fixed term lease will expire. The City notice would include information as to “basic housing rights and resources” and contacts for tenants’ right organizations. The City Termination Notice Home Rule petition would be passed by the Council and sent to the State House for further consideration. The second bill would require a change in state law before taking effect. If the bill is approved by the Council Representative Chyna Tyler had indicated she would sponsor the bill.
The Council could either refer these matters to committee for a public hearing or suspend the rules and vote to approve them at the next regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, August 23. Watch future issues of the GBAR Informer for any new developments and updates on this issue.
Committee Aims to Narrow Focus of Boston’s “Just Cause” Eviction Bill
A local oil company is offering $200 gift cards to REALTORS® in my office in exchange for referrals. Is this a RESPA violation?  

No. The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) prohibits real estate professions from accepting things of value in exchange for referring clients to a settlement service provider. Because the oil company is not a settlement service provider, RESPA does not apply in this situation. Generally, services that occur after closing are not considered settlement services. For example, moving companies, gardeners, painters, decorating companies and home improvement contractors are typically not considered settlement service providers.  
So, what is a settlement service provider?  The National Association of REALTORS® defines a settlement service to include any service provided in connection with a real estate settlement including, but not limited to, title searches, title examinations, the provision of title certificates, title insurance, services rendered by an attorney, the preparation of documents, property surveys, the rendering of credit reports or appraisals, pest and fungus inspections, home warranty companies, services rendered by a real estate professional, the origination of a federally related mortgage loan, and the handling of the processing and closing or settlement.

Before you undertake any activity with a settlement service provider or accept any payments, goods, or services from a settlement service provider, you should speak with an attorney familiar with RESPA and make sure the activity is compliant with state and federal laws.

Do you have to tell your clients that you will receive a gift card in exchange for referring them to the oil company?

Yes, under Article 6 of the Code of Ethics. The Article states that REALTORS® “shall not accept any commission, rebate, or profit on expenditures made for their client, without the client’s knowledge and consent.”
You’ve heard a lot about Zillow and RESPA lately. Is Zillow violating RESPA with their co-marketing agreements?   

Zillow’s co-marketing plan allows a real estate agent to share the cost of an ad on its website with a preferred lender. From this, leads generated through the website can be shared between lender and real estate agents. Although questions have been raised on how this practice comports with RESPA, to date, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has not issued any guidance in regards to whether Zillow’s co-marketing program is a RESPA violation. Generally, lead forwarding between agents and lenders can be legal but the more specific the information is that is contained in the lead, the more likely it is to be a payment for a referral, a practice that is prohibited by RESPA. Selling a lead to a lender for a buyer who is about to make an offer on a property is not recommended.  Best practice is to buy or sell leads that are simple lists of contact information. Anything beyond simple contact information could be considered a referral and thus a RESPA violation.
Avoiding RESPA Violations

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 housingreports@gbreb.com.

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 MARealtor.com

Monthly Housing Market Reports & Data Dashboard


REFA Annual Fall Conference

REFA's Annual Fall Conference will be taking place on Friday, September 15th at the Boston Harbor Hotel. The 2017 Fall Conference will consist of one Keynote Session followed by two Panel Discussion Sessions. 

New Speakers have been announced for the Urban or Suburban: What Are The Drivers Behind the Decisions panel:

Andrew H. Hoar, President, Co-Managing Partner, CBRE | New England / Advisory and Transaction Services


Andrew Maher, Founder and Managing Director, Anchor Line Partners
Alexander A. Randall, Partner, Goodwin Procter

More Panelists and panel content to be announced soon!

For More information about this year's Fall Conference event and speaker line-up, please click here

REFA Fall Conference - New Speakers Announced!

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


Save the date for the 29th Annual REFA Gala!

This year, REFA will be holding the 29th Annual Gala on Wednesday, October 4th at the Westin Copley Place, Boston from 5:30 - 9:00 PM. REFA will be honoring Stephen Karp and Steven Fischman of New England Development with the Robert S. Swain, Jr. Distinguished Service Award.

For more information, please visit the REFA Gala site

29th Annual REFA Gala

Upcoming Events

2017 CBA Charity Golf Outing
Dedham Country Polo Club