Realtor LogoREALTOR® is a federally-registered trademark reserved exclusively for members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and its affiliated state and local chapters.  Members abide by a Code of Ethics that holds them to standards of practice that exceed state licensing law, differentiating them from non-member agents.  To find a local REALTOR® or to obtain the most accurate data on homes listed for sale or sold in your area visit REALTOR.com.

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As REALTORS®, we are guided by a Code of Ethics that holds us to a higher standard of practice than state licensing law and sets forth our duties to clients, customers, the public and fellow REALTORS®. In an increasingly competitive market place, it is imperative that we not only abide by the code, but also use good judgment, and treat each other with respect, professional courtesy and proper etiquette. Whether you are new to the REALTOR® association, or are a seasoned veteran of the industry, continuous, professional conduct is necessary in our field.

For these reasons, I want to share with you NAR’s Pathways to Professionalism, which lists some of the many practices of courtesy and conduct that we should be incorporating into our daily business. Included on the list are ways we can do better business by respecting the public, the property and our peers. By following simple steps such as the golden rule, and treating others with respect, we can ensure we are all on the path to success.

With our reputations being at the very core of our business, it is vital that we present ourselves in a professional manner. This short video, titled, “A Pathway to Professional Conduct: Respect Starts Here” gives a great overview of just how important it is to maintain professionalism in every aspect of our work. I encourage you all to take the time to watch this video and go forth to practice courteous and respectful business behavior.

Melody Skye Roloff BPOR, CBR, LMC, PMN, SRES
2017 GBAR President
Pathways to Professionalism
The deadline to submit an application to serve on a National Association of REALTORS® Committee in 2018 is Tuesday, May 23. Members may submit up to five committee applications and receive up to five endorsements per applicant. Click here to begin the NAR Committee Application Process.

For those currently serving on an NAR Committee please remember:

-Current committee members are NOT automatically considered for reappointment. A member currently serving on a committee whose term expires in 2017 must submit an online application if he/she would like to be considered for service in 2018. 
-Members who have a continuing term that expires in 2018 or 2019 do not need to submit an application to remain on the committee.
-Current Vice Chairs do not need to submit an application to ascend to the Chair position of that committee.

 Click here for a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the NAR Committee Appointment Process.
NAR Committee Application Deadline Approaching
On Thursday, March 16th, President Trump released the "America First - A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again"The budget does not include many details, but is more an outline of President Trump’s spending proposals. House and Senate appropriations committees will review the budget proposals and will develop the final budget documents for the President's signature.

Of interest to NAR, the budget would cut $6.2 billion from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; and proposes eliminating the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, Choice Neighborhoods, HOME Investment Partnership program and Self-help Housing programs (SHOP). These programs provide resources for states and local communities to provide down payment assistance, home renovation, rental assistance and development. The budget does make provisions to continue the FHA mortgage insurance program.

In addition, the budget cuts nearly $1 billion from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), including:

$190 million in federal funding for flood maps to “instead explore other more effective and fair means…”; without flood maps, communities and property owners would not know where to insure or build, potentially putting taxpayers on the hook for increased post-disaster financial assistance.
$667 million in FEMA grants for states and local governments to mitigate (elevate, flood proof, relocate, buyout) properties and communities out of harm’s way.
It also proposes a new user fee for NFIP policyholders to “ensure the cost of Government services is not subsidized by taxpayers”

The budget focuses largely on defense spending and border security. Congress is beginning to consider the FY2018 budget, and will take this proposal into consideration. NAR will work with Congressional Appropriators to advocate for adequate funding for programs important to REALTORS®.

President Trump Budget Blueprint
How Trump Budget Affects Real Estate
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

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
 

Events

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Real Estate Professional Ethics (Webinar)
Aug 23, 2017
Webinar
Rentals: The Right Way!
Sep 06, 2017
Hampton Inn
319 Speen St.
Natick, MA
GBAR YPN Event
Sep 07, 2017
200 Legacy Pl.
Dedham, MA
 

Partner Sponsors

Calendar

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Real Estate Professional Ethics (Webinar)
Webinar
9:00am
 
Rentals: The Right Way!
Hampton Inn
8:30am
 
GBAR YPN Event
200 Legacy Pl.
5:00pm
 
Conducting Open Houses & Developing A Safety Plan (Webinar)
Webinar
9:00am
 
Real Estate Pre-License Salesperson Course - Reading Office
GBAR Member Training & Service Center
6:00pm