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GBREB Volunteers and Metro Housing Boston Team up to Help With Rent Relief Efforts

The Greater Boston Real Estate Board and Metro Housing|Boston are teaming up to help building owners and tenants who are having trouble paying rent and mortgages due to the pandemic.  They will be hosting an event on Saturday, October 16 to help those in need to complete and submit applications for assistance. GBREB and Metro Housing will host the event for property owners and individuals who have made an advance appointment and have all of the necessary documents. They will meet with a trained Realtor® volunteer who will assist them in preparing and electronically submitting the application.

If you need help but cannot attend the workshop, visit  to get connected with regional agencies that can help you apply for funds and stay in your home.   In addition, DHCD has also provided a list of frequently asked questions  for owners about accepting state rental assistance. 
Teaming Up With Metro Housing Boston


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Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Tom Toole

Just by getting on the phone, you can generate new leads and build your own listing inventory. The business is that simple. The people who have the most conversations and go on the most appointments sell the most houses

The real estate inventory shortage continues, with countless agents competing for too few listings. So, how will you take charge of your own inventory?

Instead of waiting for sellers to come to you, leverage the listings you already have and build your own inventory. Let potential sellers know about the work you’re doing, and establish yourself as the real estate expert in their neighborhood.

1. Use circle dialing

Reach out to the homeowners in an area where you’re already working and deliver value. Let them know that you’ve listed a home, you’re hosting an open house, you’ve gone under contract or you’ve closed a home, or share general neighborhood sales activity.

If, for example, you sold a home after getting multiple offers, you can use that information to deliver value to the other owners in the neighborhood using a script similar to this one.

Congratulations on the fact that your home’s value just went up. This is Tom Toole with RE/MAX Main Line and the Tom Toole Sales Group, and we just sold the Wolf family’s three-bedroom, two-bath property down the street after receiving four offers on the house. How does your home compare to their house?

Make sure that you use the name of the homeowner in your communication because these owners will likely know your customers, and using a name personalizes your message.

At this point, the person on the phone may tell you that their house is larger or smaller, and then you can continue the conversation.

The buyers who lost out on that home still want to buy in this neighborhood, so I wondered whether you have any interest in selling your home.

Because you’re the agent with the most recent sale in the neighborhood, you can establish yourself as the expert in the area. And now you can work to help the buyers who lost out on the deal, and you can help the existing homeowners begin a conversation about selling their own homes.

From here, you can begin the normal process of qualifying the client and working to build rapport.

2. Leverage your phone’s contact list

Instead of beginning with the first name on the list, scroll all the way down to the bottom because those are often the people we never call. Craft a relevant message that you can share with the people on your list. Here’s an example: 

Hey Nick, it’s Tom Toole. I realize things have been pretty crazy this year, and I wanted to see how you and your family are doing.
Add questions like, “how has the work environment been?” If they have kids, ask about school. Have a human conversation, and do not talk about real estate. (Think FORD script: family, occupation, recreation, dreams.)

Remember, these people know you’re a Realtor, so if they have questions about the market or if they have a need, they will ask you. This is the opportunity to provide value by being the knowledge broker and knowing the market.

They may ask you about the market or something else related to real estate, and you’ll have a great opportunity to provide value in the form of information.

These people in your phone book will include family, friends, past clients and other people in your sphere of influence who already know, like and trust you. The list might also include mortgage brokers, estate attorneys, or accountants, and other people you have helped your clients or with whom you have done business.

Bonus tip: Start at Z in your phone book, and work your way up because everyone always starts at A in the contact list.

3. Take advantage of your CRM

Identify all the long-term leads you haven’t talked to in a while, qualified leads that you’ve previously engaged and past clients who have been in their homes for a while. Send them this simple text:

 Hey Nick. The holiday season is already here and the spring market is just around the corner.  Question: have you had any thoughts about selling during the coming year?

The fact that this has been one of the most seller-friendly markets in history gives you reasons to engage those people who are thinking about selling.

As an agent, it is your job to be the knowledge broker and pass on what is happening in the market. You cannot leave it up to the consumer to know, and when you internalize that mission and come from a place of help, it shines through in your dialogues. It is an easy and effective way to get buyers and sellers off the fence. 
By simply getting on the phone, you can generate new leads and build your own listing inventory. The people who have the most conversations and go on the most appointments sell the most houses. The business is that simple.

Do the work that other agents aren’t willing to do, and you can drive sales now and well into the future, regardless of inventory shortages.

Tom Toole is the founder and team leader at Tom Toole Sales Group. 
3 Proven Tactics For Overcoming the Inventory Shortage
As you may know, the free forms benefit provided to you as part of your membership dues through partnerships between the National and Massachusetts Associations of REALTORS® and zipLogix is changing. At the end of this year, NAR will discontinue the zipForms™ member benefit, and MAR has chosen a new, alternative provider – Remine Docs + – to offer free access to its MassForms Library. At GBAR, however, we’ve opted to keep this important member benefit on the zipForms™ Plus platform.
Specifically, the GBAR Board of Directors has voted to continue delivery of the GBREB Standard Forms Library on the zipForms™ Plus platform for at least two more years (2022-2023), and will partner with LoneWolf (which now owns and manages the zipLogix brand) to provide and service this product. What does this mean for you? As a GBAR member, you will have continuous, uninterrupted access to your current zipLogix account, transactions history, and forms files. There will be no new log-in account or credentials to set-up, no need to back-up or transfer files, and no additional cost to you. You will have access to both the desktop and mobile versions of zipForms™ Plus for GBREB Forms and MassForms™, and your membership dues remain the same for 2022.
Notably, for those who use the Digital Ink e-signature tool, broker transaction management tool - zipTMS, or other items available in the suite of products offered to agents and brokers, you may purchase them separately through LoneWolf. Meanwhile, for those who want choice and may wish to explore and use the Remine Docs + product, you will be able to find the Greater Boston Real Estate Board’s Forms there as well.
To learn more, register and attend this week's GBAR Legal Live session which will include a discussion on access to the GBREB Forms Library  on various forms platforms as well as language and content revisions on existing forms. Register here.
GBAR Retains zipForms Plus Member Benefit

Congratulations to the 2021 BOMA Boston TOBY & Industry Award Winners!

Click here to view the TOBY & Industry Awards video.
Click here to view photos from the evening.

See you at next year's TOBY & Industry Awards! 

Announcing the 2021 TOBY and Industry Award Winners!


Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Bernice Ross
From need-to-know statistics to predictions about the future, Bernice Ross recounts the most important takeaways from NAR's Realtors Conference & Expo. Here's what you need to know
REALTORS® from across the world convened last week at the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Conference & Expo in San Diego — vaccinated, masked up and ready to face the challenges ahead in 2022.
There was plenty of good news on the economic and legislative fronts, the new 2021 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers revealed some startling findings, and CoStar provided the fireworks as it proclaimed its core value proposition loud and clear: “Your listing, your lead.”

Here’s the lowdown on what happened and you need to know.

NAR successfully defends the 1031 Exchange

Realtors were ecstatic to learn NAR had defeated the Biden’s administration attempt to eliminate 1031 Tax Deferred Exchange.
Kudos to NAR’s leadership and all the Realtors who fought this at the grassroots level. Not only did they stop it, NAR’s chief economist, Dr. Laurence Yun, went on to say, “There is no proposed bill in D.C. to remove it.” 

2021 is a banner year for the industry despite the pandemic

According to Dr. Yun, “Once the numbers are counted up at the end of December, we will find out home sales this year would have been the best in 15 years since 2006.” 
These numbers are a tribute to the resilience and perseverance of the Realtor community as it came roaring back from what is arguably the greatest disruptive event of our lifetimes. 

Supply chain issues expected to improve in 2022

When Americans received their stimulus checks, they went on a buying spree. The problem was that factories were still closed due to the pandemic. The result was there was nothing in the pipeline.
Dr. Yun expects supply chain issues to improve in 2022, although the worker shortage will continue to be an ongoing challenge for the entire economy. 

Need-to-know stats from the 2021 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

NAR just released its 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Here are some of its most important findings.   

The 2 most important statistics for your business
Do you know what percentage of buyers and sellers only interview one agent before they decide to list or purchase? 

In 2020, 67 percent of the buyers and 75 percent of the sellers only interviewed one agent. In the new 2021 profile, 73 percent of the buyers and a whopping 82 percent of the sellers only interviewed one agent!

These numbers are incredibly important given that the first agent who meets with the buyer or seller in person is the agent who gets the business. 

The No. 1 takeaway here is that as soon as you receive a buyer or seller lead, your highest priority must be to set a face-to-face appointment, even if they’re not planning on transacting right away.

With buyers, the goal of the meeting is to build your relationship by helping them by having them check their credit report for errors, seeing if they will qualify for down payment assistance, and beginning the mortgage pre-approval process. Of course, you will also be able to determine whether the buyer is also a potential seller. 

Here’s why this is incredibly important. According to the 2021 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends, 51 percent of all buyers owned their previous residence. If you’re working with baby boomers, those numbers range from 65 to 85 percent

In other words, if you didn’t follow up on 50 buyer leads this year, you missed the opportunity to meet with at least 25 potential sellers. 

In terms of setting a meeting with the seller, explain that the purpose of the meeting is to provide them with an updated valuation of their property plus some additional information and reports. Two excellent sources of these reports are and 

If the seller is purchasing in the area, update them on market changes and any changes in interest rates, and assist them in beginning the preapproval process.  

Other important findings  

A major drop in how long sellers stay in their homes 
For the last decade, the median length of time sellers stayed in their homes has hovered between nine to 10 years. This year, that number dropped to eight years. This number hasn’t been this low since 2010.

A new high for median prices: 100 percent of asking price
2021 set another record. For the first time since NAR started tracking these numbers in 2002, the average sales price in the U.S. was 100 percent of the listing price.

Average market time plunges
According to the 2021 profile, there has also been a major decrease in market time: 
“For all sellers, time on market decreased this year to a median of just one week, from three weeks in 2020. Time on the market and the ratio of sales price to listing price have a strong relationship; generally, the longer a home is on the market the greater the discount from the listing price upon sale … Sixty-two percent of sellers reported their home was on the market for two weeks or less.”

Referrals still reign supreme 
Seventy-three percent of the sellers either knew or worked with the agent based on a referral. 

FSBOs: a dying breed
It is becoming increasingly difficult for FSBOs to sell without the assistance of an agent. Only 7 percent of all sellers were FSBOs, however, only 3 percent didn’t know the buyer vs. 4 percent who already knew the buyer.
The 4 percent who knew the buyer includes intra-family transfers due to death, divorce, conveying part of the ownership interest to children, etc. 

Stop worrying about iBuyers
According to the 2021 Profile, “While the survey asked about iBuyers as a selling method, less than one percent of sellers used these online only programs.”

Fireworks from CoStar

Make no mistake about it — CoStar intends to become a dominant player in the residential real estate tech space. Its branding was everywhere at the conference.
The company had a huge booth where it hosted a Tesla and vacation giveaway. Its banners were everywhere, and plus, it posted its ads on vacant buildings in the Gas Lamp Quarter as well as on the convention buses.
As you prepare for 2022, you must make setting face-to-face appointments your top priority, whether it’s a buyer or seller lead, past client or someone in your referral database. Strive to be top-of-mind. Remember, 73 percent of the buyers and 82 percent of the sellers hire the first agent they see face to face when they’re ready to transact. Make sure that agent is you!

Bernice Ross, president and CEO of BrokerageUP and, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at and her new agent sales training at

11+ Takeaways From NAR’s Annual Conference

Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Jimmy Burgess
If you control the listings, you control the market. If the majority of your business is coming from buyers, you are a real estate salesperson. But, if the majority of your business is coming from listings, you are running a real estate business. Huge difference! 

After 27 years in real estate, I can confidently say that generating more listings comes down to these seven steps. Follow these steps, and you’ll never be listing-poor. 

1. Build a real estate database filled with homeowners

Whatever we focus on expands. Are you focused on growing your database with homeowners? If so, then you now have the foundation for generating more listings.

You should fill your database with friends and family members who own homes in the areas you service. You should include:
Your past buyers.
Owners you’ve met at open houses.
Past expired listing homeowners.
Homeowners in your farm area that you have communicated with.

The way I think about a homeowner database is very systematic. Although we have not been in a typical market environment for more than 18 months, the National Association of Realtors says 10 years is the average length of time a homeowner stays in a house in a normal market. 

On average, 10 percent of your homeowner database will sell each year. No one gets 100 percent of the listings from the potential listings in their database, but following the steps in this article should allow you to convert 50 percent of the homeowners in your database into listings when they decide to sell.

Your database should provide an average of five listings per 100 homeowners per year using this formula. If your goal is to list 20 homes this year, your goal should be to build a database of 400 homeowners.

The more homeowners you add to your real estate database, the better. This group of homeowners provides the opportunity to communicate and add value to them consistently. Communicate consistently to generate new and future listings.

2. Automate the process of sending them comparable home sales activity

We live in the information age. The more pertinent information you provide homeowners, the more top-of-mind you will be when their time to sell arrives.

Because the market is constantly changing, providing real-time information about homes, like the homeowners’, that come on the market and sell is an ideal way to provide them with relevant details about their home’s value.

Your MLS provider and most websites provide automated systems that will email someone properties meeting the criteria you set. These automated property details are a systematic way to add value to the homeowners and keep your face and name in front of them. Every homeowner in your database should have this consistent communication piece in place.

3. Email the homeowners in your database a monthly newsletter

Stay top-of-mind by consistently sending a monthly real estate newsletter to your database. Ask yourself what information the recipient of your newsletter would find educational or entertaining.

It should be a mix of real estate information and community highlights. Identify the areas you want in each month’s edition, and build an email template that is easily utilized each month. The ideal email newsletter for me includes three parts.

The top of the email includes a video of me reviewing the market developments from the previous month. This allows me to speak directly to everyone in my database. It shows my understanding of the market and gives me the ability to connect with the readers more deeply through the video.

In the second portion of the email, I highlight an upcoming local event or a “my favorites” list. Highlighting the local event usually involves a short paragraph introducing the upcoming event linked to the event’s website. The “my favorites” list is very popular with the people in my database. 

A few examples of these lists include:

My 5 favorite date-night restaurants in (your city)
My 3 favorite coffee shops in (your city)
My 6 favorite lunch spots (your city)
My 7 favorite things to do on a rainy day in (your city)
My 4 favorite places for meeting friends in (your city)

The third portion of the email allows me to highlight properties and any new listings taken that month. This allows me to expose the new listings to the buyers in my database and show the homeowners in my database that other sellers are choosing me to list their homes for sale. 

Monthly email newsletters are a great way to add value to your database consistently.

4. Leverage the tool Homebot

One of the best ways to provide valuable insight to homeowners is by giving them a detailed financial breakdown of their home as an asset. Homebot uses advanced analytics to provide a monthly breakdown of the home’s valuation, the amount of equity the homeowner has, options on refinancing and many other insightful details. 

This is the most complete asset evaluation tool I have ever seen for homeowners and a key tool for adding value to homeowners.

This monthly report is uniquely insightful for the homeowner, and it comes branded from you. Homebot is another way to add professional and consistent value to the homeowners in your database.

5. Send an unsolicited CMA every 6 months

I mentioned Homebot above, but providing a personalized CMA every six months personalizes your service to the homeowner and makes a tremendous difference.

The most personal way to really connect with the seller is to utilize a tool like BombBomb or Zoom to record your screen, with your face visible in a smaller box on the screen, and go through the numbers on video with the homeowner — the most effective way I know to generate listings in today’s market environment.

I sent one unsolicited video CMA each day I worked in the fourth quarter of 2018. I did 72 of these during the quarter. Within six months, I generated more than $11M in listings directly from these CMAs I emailed to past buyers, homeowners who had indicated they might sell in the next few years, or homeowners in the neighborhoods I farmed.

Sending unsolicited CMAs is a way to exceed the homeowner’s expectations and generate more listings.

6. Make personalized phone calls every 3-6 months

People do business with people. Email or mail will never replace personal conversations. Depending on how close they are to selling, build relationships that will lead to listings by calling the homeowner every three to six months.

Make check-in calls to generate conversations and build relationships. Start by asking about family, but always ask about their home at some point during the call.

The scripts I used when asking about their home were fairly straightforward. 

Here are a few examples:
“It has been a few months since I checked-in. Are you all still loving your house?” 
“You mentioned six months ago that you all might be considering a move in a couple years. I just wanted to check-in to see if anything has changed.”
“With everything we’ve been through over the past 18 months, a lot of people are reevaluating what they want in a home. Have you all considered repositioning to a home that might better fit your family?”

Nothing ever happens until there is a conversation. Phone calls are a crucial part of the process for generating more listings.

7. Utilize an Adwerx sphere of influence campaign 

The best way to stay top-of-mind for the homeowners in your database is to be everywhere they look. Adwerx provides that opportunity with their sphere of influence campaign. 

Here’s how it works: 
Go to the Adwerx website and begin a sphere of influence campaign.
Configure your ad with the template they provide, including your name, photo, branding, tagline and phone number. 
Upload the names and email addresses of the homeowners in your database.

Adwerx will then retarget the homeowners and follow them wherever they go online, from CNN to Fox News. Whether they visit sites like ESPN or The Wall Street Journal, Adwerx will place your ad on almost any site they visit.

The retargeting campaign is not that expensive compared to the potential return through just one listing a year.

By executing these seven steps, you’ll be top-of-mind for your targeted homeowners, and you will generate more listings.

Jimmy Burgess is the Chief Growth Officer for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida.

7 Simple Steps for Getting More Listings in 2022
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Bernice Ross

For almost two decades, real estate professionals have been told they will be disintermediated by technology innovation.

Zillow’s decision to stop its iBuying operations is more than just a response to the extreme volatility of the Zestimate and their inability to accurately forecast prices. It’s a recognition that real estate investing, real estate brokerage, and mortgage are fraught with problems that technology companies seldom encounter.

When Zillow first launched in 2006, I wrote several columns citing the inaccuracy of the Zestimate. As a result, Zillow founder Rich Barton invited me to join him for lunch at the 2007 Real Estate Connect to discuss Zillow’s business model in more depth. 

Zillow stood by that promise until  they launched their iBuyer program, Zillow Offers, which they first piloted in 2017 as Zillow Instant Offers. At that point they were no longer advertisers. They were now competing directly with agents to obtain the listing.

In January 2021, Zillow launched its brokerage operation to streamline their iBuying process. They hired salaried agents to work with sellers who were seeking a cash offer from Zillow Offers. Zillow Home was the broker of record.

According to the Real Deal, Zillow made this decision to grow their revenue. When they initially launched the iBuying business in 2017, no one anticipated the pandemic, the labor shortages, and the severe problems in the supply chain that impacted Zillow’s ability to rapidly purchase, update and the sell their iBuyer inventory.

The result had undermined the accuracy of their Zestimates. On a recent earnings call with investors, Barton stated, “Our observed error rate has been far more volatile than we thought possible.”

He later added that, “Fundamentally we have been unable to predict future pricing of homes to a level of accuracy that makes this a safe business to be in.”

Zestimates: A thorn in the side of Realtors since 2006

Since their launch in 2006, Zillow’s Zestimates have been a thorn in the side of agents and for good reason. One of the most common objections agents still face today is, “But Zillow says my house is worth more!”

Unfortunately, very few agents know how to successfully defend against the Zestimate. One clever agent I interviewed back in 2007 overcame the Zillow objection by saying, “I don’t give estimates — I give exactimates.”

Today the best approach is to quote the values generated by other AVMs (automated valuation models) including HomeSnap, and The Chase Home Value Estimator Evaluator. You could also include offers from iBuyers such as Opendoor.

When you present sellers with several different AVM values, they are usually confused as to which value is correct. At that point, take out your CMA and explain how you arrived at your price based upon your square footage CMA and local market knowledge.

Cheers from the Inman community

After struggling with the “Zillow objection” for 15 years, the Inman community welcomed Zillow’s admission that their Zestimates were no longer accurate due to extreme market volatility. Michael Scoffner summed up the mood like this:

“What? You mean you can’t rely on a Zestimate?……shocker! (yawn). You gotta admit that the irony in this failure is epic!”

What’s unclear at this point, however, is did Barton only refer to predicting “future value,” not the present value? The problem is with properties sometimes selling for 10 to 30 percent over asking price, predicting the price where they will sell now has become problematical for almost everyone.

What Zillow didn’t say

Over and beyond market volatility and supply chain issues, Zillow’s foray into iBuying and becoming a brokerage has resulted in headaches that may have played an additional role in their decision to abandon their iBuyer program.

One of the most notable issues may be antitrust lawsuit filed by REX Real Estate against NAR and Zillow that resulted in the DOJ intervening.

On September 2, 2021, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas S. Zilly ruled in REX’s favor, saying the brokerage has provided sufficient evidence to back up their antitrust allegations, which hinge on Zillow’s execution of NAR’s “No-Commingling Rule” to separate non-multiple listing service listings from MLS listings on its website.

CoStar throws down the gauntlet

At Inman Connect Las Vegas, Andy Florance, founder and CEO of CoStar Group, declared war on Zillow’s business model. CoStar is the global leader in commercial real estate information, analytics and news. They also own, and they are now making their move into residential real estate.

In a thinly veiled reference to Zillow, (calling them “Zilter”), Florance drew a parallel of what it would be like if “Zilter” did to your “For Sale” sign what they do digitally to your listing online. He explained it like this:

So, we just put our sign on the front lawn and the “Zilter” van pops up, a guy hops out, and he spray paints over the agent’s name, the broker’s name, and their phone number. Now by law, you must havethe listing agent’s name on the sign. So, he staples a little business card to the bottom where technically you could see it, and then puts a different agent’s name up there on the sign.

What this guy has done is to hijack the listing.

Florance continued the analogy:

The listing agent, who is now really mad, drives off to a showing. When he turns around, however, the dude who sprayed over his sign is now sitting in the backseat tracking where all his showings are. (This is a reference to the fact that Zillow recently acquired ShowingTime.)

Bad for both consumers and agents?

Based upon his interviews and focus groups with buyers from all over the company, Florance is convinced Zillow’s model doesn’t serve the consumer well. Moreover, when a consumer hits that button on Zillow, they’re starting “a relationship with a number five robo caller in the United States.”

Florance went on to say, if they touch that button:

They’ll get shocked with robo calls and texts — it’s a horrible environment.

The buyer also wants to be able to talk to someone knowledgeable about the property, not a robo call center. That experience doesn’t work for the buyers, and it doesn’t work for the agents. The agents obviously do not like having to pay for leads that used to come to them automatically.

CoStar’s model will direct listing leads to listing agent, not to buyer’s agent who is paying a portal for premium placement.

The war is on

In early 2022, CoStar will begin competing head-to-head against Zillow in New York City. CoStar has purchased (which will compete with the and HomeSnap which will compete with Zillow’s agent products.

Zillow currently has a huge strategic advantage over CoStar with consumers. According to, as of October 4, 2021, Zillow is the leading real estate and rental website in the United States with 36 million visits a month.

Barton’s decision to drop the Zillow Offers program and allocate his resources in their core model is a smart move given that CoStar is going on the attack. In the meantime, agents now have a powerful way to counteract Zillow’s Zestimates when they price properties.

It will be fascinating to see if CoStar can successfully prevail against Zillow — popcorn, anyone?
Zillow Drops iBuyer Program, What’s Next?

Did you miss our November Newsletter? Read about upcoming BOMA Boston events, news, and educational opportunities!

Read the November BOMA E-News.

November 2021 E-News
Check out the November edition of the MAA Insider featuring highlights from past events, information on upcoming events plus local and national multifamily news.

Read the November MAA Insider.
MAA Insider - November 2021


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