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For more than two decades, REALTORS® from across Massachusetts have been making their voices heard among state representatives and senators at the annual REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill.  If you've never been, we urge you to attend on June 9 to meet with your current Representative and Senator.

This free event takes place at the Massachusetts State House beginning at 9:30 a.m. and will feature a keynote address by Massachusetts Speaker of the House Representative Robert DeLeo.

Among the legislative priorities REALTORS® will be championing this year are bills aimed at: creating a registry of foreclosed homes and a “second hand metal registry” aiming to keep scrap metal thieves out of vacant homes; giving municipalities the option of selling municipally owned vacant and underutilized properties on the open market; clarifying a landlord's obligation to pay for the cost of moving and storing tenants' property during eviction; and prohibiting city/town from restricting rates of development or issuance of building/special permits within specified time frames without a reasonable cause.

For a full list of legislative priorities click here.

REALTORS® are encouraged to pre-register by calling (617) 423-8700 or faxing in the registration form


That's right – register before July 4 for the 2009 GBAR Awards and Networking Dinner and you'll pay only $60 (with parking included)! But if you wait, you'll end up spending $75. So many of you asked us to hold this year's program aboard the Spirit of Boston like we did in 2007, and we decided it's a perfect way to say so long to another New England summer.

During the docked cocktail hour we'll honor the recipients of the REALTOR® of the Year Award, the Andrew F. Hickey Distinguished Service Award and the Good Neighbor Award. Afterward you can look forward to a seated dinner, cocktails and lots of dancing! To buy tickets click here. For sponsorship and advertising opportunities click here. Want to nominate someone for an award? Click here for the nomination packet.

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GBAR member David Peretti of Hammond Residential in Winchester has been awarded the NAR Distinguished Service Award (DSA), which was established in 1979 to honor REALTORS® who have provided outstanding contributions and service to the real estate industry and their local communities. The award is considered the highest honor an NAR member can receive; David will be just the 75th REALTOR® to receive this prestigious honor. 

David has been a REALTOR® since 1971 and member of GBREB since 1982.  He is a past president of the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) and has represented the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® (GBAR) at the MAR Board of Directors for the past 20 years.  A member of the GBAR Nominating Committee for the past two years, he is a past chairman of the GBREB Publications and Communications Committee, and has served on the GBREB Finance Committee and GBAR Business Planning Work Group in recent years.  Peretti also is a past president of the North Central Massachusetts of REALTORS®, where he also served as secretary, treasurer and chairman of the Finance Committee in the mid-to-late 1970s. 

On the national level, Peretti has been a director for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) since 1988 and served as the NAR New England Region Vice President in 1992.  A member of the NAR Executive Committee on three separate occasions, he chaired the NAR Election Reform Task Force in 2007, and served as vice chairman of both the NAR Finance Committee and its Public Advocacy Advisory Committee in 2005.  He also has held three terms on the NAR Extended Leadership Team, where he has served as a committee liaison between leadership and numerous organizational committees, sub-committee and member forums.

Congratulations David!

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Several U.S. House members have introduced bills reflecting their support for the homebuyer tax credit and urging that it be expanded and extended. NAR is saluting their efforts, but has not endorsed any particular approach. The bills have differing details, but, taken together, all would have beneficial effects on the housing market. NAR anticipates additional bills in the near future. The bills introduced so far:
  • H.R. 2562: Ron Kind (D-WI) and 3 bipartisan co-sponsors. The bill extends the tax credit through December 1, 2010, but limits the extension to individuals who served for 3 months or more in the military during 2009.
  • H.R. 2606: Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). The bill expands the credit to all purchasers, not just first-time purchasers. The bill extends the credit through December 31, 2010. Her bill also eliminates the repayment feature that applies to the $7500 2008 tax credit.
  • H.R. 2619: Kenny Marchant (R-TX). The bill makes the credit available to all purchasers and also extends the credit through June 30, 2010. The bill also provides a temporary $3000 tax credit that has the effect of refunding the closing costs associated with refinancing a mortgage, so long as the refinanced amount was no greater than the outstanding balance on the mortgage being refinanced.

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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced last month a program that allows borrowers to use the first-time homebuyer tax credit for a down payment or closing costs on a FHA-insured mortgage. The Secretary said "We think the policy is a real win for everyone, ensuring that borrowers can tap into the numerous organizations that are already part of the FHA network to receive this additional benefit."

The details of the program were announced in Mortgagee Letter 2009-15. Government entities and instrumentalities of government may provide a second mortgage. Currently, 10 state housing finance agencies offer a product buyers can use that will effectively monetize the tax credit for down payment purposes. These states are Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. State Associations are encouraged to work with their respective housing finance agency to implement similar programs. The 3.5 percent down payment may also be a gift from a family member, employer or nonprofit, charitable organization.

The original guidance permitted lenders and HUD-approved nonprofits and lenders to offer bridge loans via second lien financing or short term loans. Guidance released allows lenders to offer the monetized tax credit for down payments in excess of 3.5 percent, closing costs and interest rate buy downs. Mortgage industry leaders have indicated that this type of product may not be immediately available to consumers. Lenders will need some time to develop documentation for what will effectively be personal loans to the home buyer.

Mortgagee Letter 2009-15: Using First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credits >
NCSHA State HFA Programs >

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