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September 22, 2011
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Manageable Monday Webinars
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Contract Law (RE05RC01)

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REALTOR® Member Benefits: Take Advantage of Special Group Rate Pricing for medical, dental, and life insurance coverage, and save on prescriptions and vision care via the REALTOR® HealthCare Program. Learn More.

What REALTOR® Designation(s) and Certifications do you intend to pursue in the next 12-15 months?
(Check all that apply)

 Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR)
 Broker Price Opinion Resource (BPO)
 Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)
 Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB)
 Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS)
 Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI)
 Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES)
 Short Sales & Foreclosure Resource (SFR)
 I Don’t Intend to Pursue Any Designations



GBAR Staff
GBAR Board of Directors

GBAR Committee Leadership



GBAR Honors Members for Volunteer Service  

GBAR presented its annual member recognition awards earlier this week at a dinner held at the Dedham Country Club.  Paul Yorkis, broker-owner of Patriot Real Estate in Medway, earned the association’s top award honor being named Greater Boston REALTOR® of the Year (ROTY).  Also honored were Gary Rogers, broker-owner of RE/MAX on the Charles in Waltham, who was presented with the prestigious Andrew Hickey Distinguished Service Award, Joseph Schutt, an agent with Gibson Sotheby’s International Real Estate in Boston, who earned the REALTOR® Spirit Award, and Louise Olson, of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Cambridge who received the GBAR Good Neighbor Award.  The GBAR Affiliate Member of the Year award went to Greg Giokas, a mortgage loan officer with MetLife Home Loans. Click for full article

GBAR Survey Finds Value of REALTOR® Membership on the Rise

Results from a new GBAR Membership Survey show that the members’ perception of overall value from association programs, services and resources has risen steadily since 2008 when the last survey was conducted by Loyalty Research Center. The most significant improvement in value and performance noted by members was in customer service, education and government affairs activities. The survey also found measurable gains in the percentage of members who indicated an “extremely” or “very good” likelihood to renew their membership and recommend the association to others. For more details and specific results see the executive summary of the 2011 GBAR Membership Survey online at gbar.org.

NAR Urges Passage of Legislation to Extend Loan Limits

Upon return from their Congressional recess, the National Association of REALTORS® has been urging members of the U.S. Senate to pass legislation, S. 1508, that proposes an extension of current FHA, VA, and GSE loan limits through December 31, 2013.  Currently, loan limits for FHA-insured mortgages as well as those secured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are scheduled to expire on September 30, and re-set from 125 percent of the local area median home price ($523,750 in Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth and Suffolk counties) to 115 percent of the local median home price or $465,750.  In addition, current VA loan limits will expire on December 31, 2011. 

An extension of current mortgage loan limits is a top priority on this year’s REALTOR® public policy agenda.  NAR recently sent letters to Congress in support of both S. 1508, and a companion measure in the House of Representatives, H.R. 1754, which goes even further by seeking to make permanent the existing loans limits for FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  REALTOR® leadership also has frequently cautioned federal lawmakers that the pending reduction in mortgage liquidity will increase costs to home buyers and leave many credit-worthy borrowers without access to affordable financing, thereby putting the fragile housing recovery at even more risk.  Furthermore, they note that many lenders have already begun rejecting applications at the current higher limits for fear the loan won’t close prior to the scheduled re-set on October 1st.  With a lack of any substantial private investment in the housing market today, swift action on Capitol Hill to extend the loan limits is critical to promoting homeownership, assert NAR officials.

If you have not yet participated in the NAR Legislative Call-for-Action to Congress urging support for an extension of the current FHA and GSE conforming loan limits, we urge you to visit the REALTOR® Action Center to do so today!

Bill to Boost Real Estate CE Requirements Advances

A bill, H. 123, that proposes an increase in the classroom instruction time required to renew a real estate license in Massachusetts has recently advanced on Beacon Hill. The legislation, filed on behalf of the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®, seeks to increase the number of continuing education course hours needed for license renewal from 12 to 20 hours every two years. It’s been reported out favorably by the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure and has been referred to the state Legislature’s Committee on Steering Policy & Scheduling. The current 12 hour CE requirement has been in place since continuing education instruction for real estate licensees was first mandated in the Bay State in 1999. REALTORS® support the measure as a means to promote increased industry knowledge and professionalism among all real estate professionals by keeping agents and brokers current with laws and business practices and further protecting consumers during the property transaction process.

Mass. Home Energy Scoring Bill Opposed

The Greater Boston Real Estate Board and Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® recently joined together to testify against a bill, S. 1698, that, if passed, would require Massachusetts homeowners to provide prospective buyers with a complete energy evaluation.  GBREB supports the right of homeowners, upon request, to obtain a free energy audit (currently available through the MassSave program).  However, GBREB and MAR oppose public policies that would make home energy audits a condition of sale or transfer, as well as policies and programs, such as pilot initiatives underway in Boston and the Pioneer Valley, that utilize thermal imaging technology to gather information and score the energy use of a person’s home without prior consent.  At present, the measure remains before the state Legislature’s Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy.