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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 mass.gov/CovidHousingHelp  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: Andrea V. Brambila


The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) will consider a policy requiring multiple listing services to display buyer broker commissions on their listing sites and in the data feeds they provide to agents and brokers at its annual conference next month, but will not consider any policies related to lockboxes.

NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board, which is part of its Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee, held a meeting on Oct. 5 to discuss policies to put forward to the full MLS committee for a vote on Nov. 13 at the Realtors Conference and Expo in San Diego, California.

Last month the advisory board approved several policies the trade group will consider, including a request from real estate brokerage giant Realogy to change a rule regarding listing broker attribution as well as rules regarding buyer agents touting their services as “free,” filtering listings by commission or brokerage name and broker back office feeds. The proposed policies regarding buyer agents and filtering listings by commission were inspired by a now-scuttled antitrust settlement between NAR and the U.S. Department of Justice.

The settlement would also have required NAR to repeal any rule that discourages MLSs or MLS participants from publishing or displaying to consumers compensation offered to other MLS participants and would have mandated that MLS subscribers provide information about such compensation to their clients.

In the wake of the settlement, at least 65 MLS have changed their rules to allow public display of buyer agent commissions.

Would require MLSs with listing sites, but not agents or brokers, to display buyer broker commission

NAR policy currently allows MLSs to prohibit disclosing to prospective buyers the total commissions offered to buyer brokers.

Now, NAR, which has more than 1.4 million members, will consider a proposed policy, MLS Policy Statement 8.8, that requires MLSs with public-facing websites to display the buyer broker commission and requires MLSs to include the buyer broker commission in their Internet Data Exchange (IDX) and Virtual Office Website (VOW) feeds, but does not require that the brokers and agents using the feeds display the buyer broker commission. IDX and VOW websites display a pooled set of listings from the MLS.

The proposal reads:
MLSs must include the listing broker’s offer of compensation for each active listing displayed on its consumer-facing website(s) and in MLS data feeds provided to participants and subscribers, and must permit MLS participants or subscribers to share such information though IDX and VOW displays or through any other form or format provided to clients and consumers. The information about the offer of compensation must be accompanied by a disclaimer stating that the offer is made only to participants of the MLS where the listing is filed.

According to the advisory board’s meeting minutes, the rationale for the proposal is that “[d]isclosure of the offer of compensation to buyer agents (including non-agency relationships defined by state law) will reinforce transparency for the clients and consumers working with MLS participants and subscribers in a real estate transaction.”

Any proposals approved by the MLS committee would then go to the NAR board of directors, who will meet on Nov. 15. If the board votes in favor of the policies they would go into effect Jan. 1, 2022 and MLSs would have until March 1 to implement them.

No lockbox changes for now

The NAR-DOJ settlement would also have required NAR to adopt a rule that requires all member boards and MLSs to allow any licensed real estate agent or agent of a broker, to access, with seller approval, the lockboxes of properties listed on an MLS.

Discount real estate brokerage REX Real Estate, which is licensed but is not Realtor-affiliated, has been particularly vocal regarding the elimination of rules that limit lockbox access to Realtors, calling such rules “anti-consumer.”

The MLS advisory board, which has no further meetings planned before NAR’s conference, decided not put forward any lockbox-related policies this time around. Instead, the advisory board discussed establishing a new joint “Work Group” with NAR’s Professional Standards Committee “to review the ethical obligations and MLS policies, including reinforcing the duties set forth in Article 3 of the Code of Ethics, and further ensuring that all brokers have access to listed properties consistent with the sellers’ or owners’ authorization,” the meeting minutes said.

NAR work groups are typically composed of a subset of committee members who study an issue in depth and may propose related changes. Article 3 of the Realtor Code of Ethics requires Realtors to cooperate with other brokers except when cooperation is not in their client’s best interest.

“Please note that the discussion referenced was about ensuring that all brokers have access to properties, not specifically lockbox access,” NAR spokesperson Mantill Williams told Inman via email. “If a Work Group is formed, we anticipate that its purpose will be determined later this year or in early 2022, and that it will consist of representatives of the Multiple Listing Service Policy Committee and the Professional Standards Committee.”

Amendments to proposed policies

The advisory board also voted to slightly amend two of the proposals that will go before the full MLS committee in November. The policy proposal for a single MLS data feed now reads (underlining indicates additions):

Policy Statement 8.6: That MLSs must offer a Participant, or their designee, a single data feed in accordance with the Participant’s licensed authorized uses.


And the policy proposal for a broker back office feed now reads:

Participants are entitled to use, and MLSs must provide to Participants a Brokerage Back Office Feed per the Data, Use and Terms established below:

“Data” means all real property listing and roster information in the MLS database, including all listings of all statuses available to all Participants in the MLS, but excludes (I) MLS only fields (those fields only visible to MLS staff and the listing Participant), and (ii) fields and content to which the MLS does not have a sufficient license for use in the Brokerage Back Office Feed.


The latter change “further defines and explains the listing information that is to be available as part of the Brokerage Back Office Feed,” the advisory board said.
 
Buyer Commissions In, Lockboxes Out--When NAR Votes Next Month
GBAR
Article Courtesy of : Inman News
By: Danny Brown

Now that some semblance of normalcy has returned and open houses are back, we should all be rethinking how we hold and host them. Of course, we need to take health and safety measures seriously — that’s a prerequisite to everything we do now.

First and foremost, an open house is an opportunity to showcase your brand, personality, knowledge and style. There is no single prospecting tool that is more effective and impactful.

You are the host everyone is coming to greet, and this is your time to shine. If you are not taking the time to prepare and set up your open house properly, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to connect with buyers, sellers, brokers and neighbors. So, when it comes to open houses, here are the eight things you need to keep in mind.

1. Pre-game prep

An open house is like a performance, and you need to harness your energy so you can perform at your peak. Do not stay out late and party the night before and show up exhausted or hungover. In fact, do the opposite. Hydrate the night before like a professional athlete does before a game.  

Make sure you get a good night’s sleep, and be well rested. In the morning, practice stretching or get a yoga or pilates class in. You can also go on a light jog or hike. You are going to be on your feet for three to four hours, so preserve your energy, and do not make Sunday morning your hardest training day of the week.

I made the mistake a few times of going for a long run and showing up to my open house with blisters, limping and wincing in pain. Also, have a healthy, hearty breakfast or brunch, and pack healthy snacks or a lunch to bring with you.

2. Know your stuff

Do not show up to an open house and expect results if you are not prepared to be an expert in that particular neighborhood or price point. Make sure you know all of the relevant comps and even the history of sales around the house for the past five years.  

Know the price of the last tear-down, the price of the new construction homes and the average price per square foot. It’s imperative to come armed with knowledge of an off-market listing in the area or an upcoming listing that no one knows about.

You have to know more than the neighbors and buyers walking in the door, and you have to showcase your expertise, which includes knowing the restaurants, shops, schools and whatever else is going on in that neighborhood.

3. Signage

An open house is an opportunity to advertise at no cost. Invest in as many signs as you can afford, and put them out on strategic corners. Put out 20-plus signs if you can!

If you don’t want to do the grunt work, pay a sign company or someone else $60 to put out your signs at 8 a.m. and pick them up at 8 p.m. 

In the early days, I used to get up at the crack of dawn on Sunday, tape on the property address and put out signs. I always came home with cuts on my hands. I hated it, and eventually, I bit the bullet and realized that a sign company was a cost of doing business and a great ROI. I look at it as 12 hours of free advertising and branding!

4. Activate the space

Appeal to all of the senses at your open house, and set the right mood. Light a candle that smells good — something light and natural that is not nauseating.

Play music in the background, but know your audience. Do go nuts and blast Eminem or risk offending some folks. (But then again, you might find that one client who is a diehard Slim Shady fan, and instantly became their broker of choice.)

Open up the windows to get fresh air, turn on the lights and lamps, and have bottles of cold water and healthy snacks in the kitchen. If it is a hot summer day, turn on the AC; if it’s cold, turn on the heat. Activate the space. 

5. Make it a virtual open house

Since COVID-19, began many buyers have become uncomfortable with coming to open houses, so it is critical to livestream them on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Make sure the lighting is good, and there are no sound issues. I often get to the open house 30 minutes before it starts or the day before and shoot a video tour, room by room, and post it on YouTube so that buyers can access the tour 24/7. Also, that way, you expose the property to a much larger audience.

6. Read the room

An open house is a time to let your personality shine and connect with people. That said, you need to be protective of your energy and focus, and make sure you do not get distracted talking to nice people who want to monopolize your time and energy yet will never buy, sell or refer your business in a million years.

Of course, be polite to everyone, but you have to read the room and make quick decisions about who to spend time with. You also do not want to oversell the listing if they are not interested.  

You need to be nimble and shift gears quickly, and bring up other properties that may be a better fit. This truly is an art that takes years of practice. The more open houses you do, the better you will get at it. 

7. Safety first

Always have a safety plan at an open house. Make sure a family member, friend or fellow agent knows you are hosting an open house, and make a plan to call them a few minutes after the open so they know you have left safely. 

It is also important to hide your valuables or purse so someone does not snatch it while you are showing a buyer the gym in the basement level. Of course, you need to alert your sellers that they need to clear out all valuables, medications and jewelry, or at least hide everything well.

If the home is large, you should have another agent or assistant helping you. It’s always safer to have two people hosting the open house when possible. I remember a few years ago, there was a thief coming into open houses and taking flat screen TVs off the wall and running out. It happens, so be alert. 

8. Follow up, and play the long game

You must follow up with any good leads after the open house or no later than the next morning! It is best if you have an upcoming listing or an off-market opportunity to discuss with them as buyers are hungry for new listings and pockets they have not heard about.  

Be prepared to cultivate the lead, and be patient if they are not ready to pull the trigger. Most buyers take a year or two — and sometimes more — to take action, so add them to your database, set up an auto notification, stay in contact with them, and invest in your future business. 

I have had a few instances where I have received a call from someone I met at an open house five years ago who wanted me to come list their house. This business is a marathon, not a sprint. 

If you are going to commit three to five hours on a Sunday where you can be enjoying yourself or spending time with your family and friends, make the most of it. If you follow the steps above you will put yourself in a position to have success.  

Of course, there will be Sunday afternoons where you are not feeling it and can’t muster the energy or enthusiasm. I have been there many times and have kicked myself for wasting my time when I could have been resting or doing something fun.

If you are not up for doing the open house right, you are better off not doing it at all. Like everything in life, the more you put in the more you get out. 

Danny Brown is a luxury Realtor with Compass in Los Angeles, California.
8 Ways to Get The Most (Leads) Out of Your Next Open House
GBAR














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 mass.gov/CovidHousingHelp  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
GBREB
Article Courtesy of:    

Discrimination and Fair Housing issues, both real and alleged, can take many forms. It is, or should be, a topic of concern for all real estate professionals.  The topic is prevalent in today’s news with stories of racial bias in property appraisals resulting in inappropriately low valuations for Black and minority owned properties. Concerns of bias and discrimination are not unique to the appraisal profession and have roots in real estate that go back decades. Few local or federal laws were in place to allow equal access to home ownership or funding for many decades. The Fair Housing Administration was established in 1934 but did little to create greater opportunity for home ownership. Its guidelines relied on local ordinances and real estate boards to determine how loans would be made, all but formalizing the red-lining of minority neighborhoods and communities. The consequences of red - lining were enormous, affecting public housing policy and even relocation of neighborhoods for highways and other government projects. 

In 1968, the federal government enacted the Fair Housing Act, though initially with no enforcement capabilities. The Act prohibits discrimination in most housing due to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability, and a substantial list of prohibitions is noted. More can be found about the Fair Housing Act here.

It would be easy to assume that only the most egregious instances of discrimination and bias exist in the real estate industry today. While those are the events that make the headlines, such as the recent appraisal bias allegations, real estate agents continue to be sued or receive complaints due to actions that seem far less severe. In fact, E & O claims alleging Fair Housing Discrimination are on the rise. Many of these allegations (remember that a Claim and lawsuit is only an allegation of wrong-doing) do not result from clear or deliberate acts of bias or discrimination – though those unfortunately exist in abundance. Many allegations seem more benign, less intentional, but still trigger serious consequences. Some professional services create more risk, including property management, leasing, eviction and “cash for keys”.  Many other complaints are triggered by careless comments and assumptions, and even attempts to be helpful. Examples include describing a neighborhood as “family friendly” to a single buyer; telling a handicapped person that they would be unhappy in a multi-level home; providing erroneous information on the acceptance of service animals on a property; failure to provide documents and communications in a person’s native language; failure to, or creating the appearance of, limited availability or opportunity to buyers of color, sexual orientation, etc. As in so many circumstances that result in problems for agents, moving away from verifiable fact and information about a property, and venturing into opinion and conjecture is both avoidable and potentially catastrophic.

Most Errors & Omissions policies for real estate firms offer Fair Housing and Discrimination coverage, though it is typically a separate and specifically-defined coverage with liability limits that can be different (less) from the policy’s main liability coverage. To trigger a Fair Housing Claim, the allegation must allege a violation of some federal, state or local regulation or law related to equal housing opportunity, Civil Rights violation or the Fair Housing Act. Because Fair Housing coverage and resulting Claims are limited in both policy language and liability protection, a clever Plaintiff attorney would also most likely bring suit against some other aspect of the agent’s actions and policy coverage.  A conscientious agent would be wise, and considerate, to avoid this double jeopardy.
 
Fair Housing, Discrimination and Errors & Omissions Insurance
GBAR
Article Courtesy of: Inman News

From disconnected tools to lack of database privacy, here’s how your tech might put your brokerage at risk.

We all know that technology alone isn’t enough to recruit and retain top agents and teams to your brokerage. Certainly, other factors such as agent splits, broker leads that support agent growth, quality of training and support, culture, and vibe are all important. But what has become abundantly clear, over the last few years especially, is that technology can positively influence every one of those factors.

After working with hundreds of thousands of agents across the industry, we have a pretty good understanding of what drives agents to your brokerage, and what drives them away. Some of these reasons are simple to solve, some are foundational. But no brokerage can ignore the top 6 tech reasons agents might hang their license elsewhere:

1. Too much disparate tech.

On average, agents use 10-15 different tech tools to power their business. That’s 10-15 different logins, 10-15 different passwords, and 10-15 opportunities for incomplete data to flow from one tool to another (assuming there is data flow). Consolidate these tools (yes, these platforms exist) and give your agents one place to get business done.

2. Everything is manual.

Providing no easy way to automate and streamline your agents’ busy day hurts both of you. Effective lead follow-up and staying in contact with their SOI is critical—without it, you’re supporting a productivity killer. Make sure your tech provides trusted and engaging lead follow-up and ideally behavioral automation to keep your agents WAY ahead of their competition.

3. It doesn’t offer true team functionality.

Teams are here to stay, and sometimes they are the lifeblood of a brokerage. Do you support teams with the tech they need to operate independently, but still connected to your brokerage ecosystem? If they have to look elsewhere for the tech they need, you stand a good chance of seeing them walk away. Your tech platform should be designed with a true sub-account structure for teams and team-specific functionality for branding, database independence, and independent lead routing. While this was tough to find in the past, technology has evolved and platforms like kvCORE offer teams everything they need to optimize and scale under the brokerage umbrella.

4. The database doesn’t offer privacy.

One of the less talked about but critical features that many brokerages gloss over is the real insecurity agents and teams feel if their hard-earned SOI contacts are not kept private. If they fear their database could get shared, or lost if they leave the brokerage, you can be assured they won’t adopt your technology. Make sure you offer them database independence.

5. There’s a mobile gap.

To power your agents’ businesses, you need to meet them where they are: on their smartphones. Your tech needs to feature full CRM functionality on every type of mobile device, plus look for added benefits like those you find in the kvCORE mobile app, like auto-dialers, integrated open house apps, and more.

6. There’s no balance between ease of use and training.

If agents aren’t adopting your tech solution and you think it’s solely because agents aren’t doing training, think again: the best technology doesn’t need hours on end of training. It should be easy to use and so intuitive that agents start seeing results with little to moderate help. Make sure you seek out the best tech partner that brings you the perfect blend of user-friendly tech (check their adoption stats) as well as stellar training and support (check their customer satisfaction stats).

Is your technology killing adoption and retention or does it offer real value to your agents? You’ll know if your agents are happy and recruiting other agents to join your brokerage.

At Inside Real Estate, we’ve seen agents flocking to brokerages using kvCORE, and more importantly, getting real bottom-line results—higher productivity and more listings. Take a look at thousands of user reviews that make it the #1 rated real estate brokerage platform in the industry, and grab a demo of kvCORE to see what you might be missing with your current technology. kvCORE boasts a 76% adoption rate vs. the 20% industry average.
Top 6 Tech Reasons Agents Leave Your Brokerage
GBAR
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Check out the October edition of the MAA Insider featuring highlights from past events, information on upcoming events plus local and national multifamily news.

Read the October MAA Insider.
MAA Insider - October 2021
MAA
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Santiago Arana


Listing not getting enough traction? Well, the good news is that there's a buyer out there for every home. Sometimes, all you need to do is freshen up the photography, copy and marketing. Here are a few tips to consider
 
Even in a sizzling market, there are some homes that, for whatever reason, just don’t seem to resonate with buyers at first glance. However, I am a big believer that there is a home out there for everyone and an owner for every home.

So, when the tough gets going, you have to get creative and breathe life back into your lingering listing to find the right buyer. Here, you’ll find five ways to refresh the listing and your approach to the sale process, without you or your client having to spend a fortune.

1. Set the stage

Having the right staging in a home is crucial to capture the hearts and minds of buyers, and if a listing is languishing on the market, it might be time to reevaluate the space.

When potential buyers walk in, they need to see how they would live in the space — where they would relax and watch television, cozy up with a good book or enjoy a meal with their family.

Selling a lifestyle is possible with staging, but it has to be the right staging. For example, you can’t have oversized furnishings in small spaces or small pieces in large spaces. You should also be mindful of mixing the styles of furnishings so much so that it creates too much of a juxtaposition that it is unsightly.

The staging also has to be functional and seasonally appropriate for the climate. As a note, if the home is empty and not staged, you can always use a virtual staging program to create the desired effect for images and marketing material. The same principles will apply to virtual staging as physical staging. (I personally like the Spotless Agency virtual staging services.)

2. Up the curb appeal

Once your interior staging is in order, take a look outside to make sure your listing is checking all the boxes in the curb appeal department. If the grounds need some TLC, encourage your client to invest in a gardening service or to pick up their weed whacker and rev up the lawnmower for a family day in the yard.

Having an overgrown or unkept garden does not create a great first impression and can signal to the potential owner that there is a lot of work associated with the upkeep of the home.

Additionally, look athow the exterior paint, driveway condition and even mailbox are maintained. Sometimes, adding a fresh coat of paint to the exterior, fixing broken pavers, power-washing or replacing a broken mailbox can give an instant improvement to the first look of a home.

Of course, all this work does come with a price tag, so make sure you are able to set realistic goals and expectations with your client.

3. Level up your listing photos

Now that your listing has had a refresh on the inside and the outside, it is ready for its close-up. If you have made significant changes, you will need to have a full reshoot of the home. If not, make sure you capture the best elements of the updates to add to your marketing materials and MLS profile.

Buyers are shopping so much online these days that the first thing they see of the house is typically the listing photos. Make sure you have a full set of good-quality photos that showcase the best parts of the home on hand.

If you want some advice, ask fellow agents to review the images of your listing for their feedback, and check in with your marketing team, if possible. You can also ask fellow agents to show you listings that have sold quickly and take a look and see how your images stack up against theirs.

4. Whip up copy with flair

Now that your images are perfect, it’s time to take a look at the listing copy. Once the images have captured potential buyers’ attention, they will want to read about the home and all the amenities and features it has.

Make sure your listing copy is easy to read with no typos and that it includes all the special elements of the home. Be descriptive where you can so long as word count allows.

5. Consider a marketing makeover

If you have you’re on track with everything that’s mentioned above, but the listing is still not hitting the mark, it’s time to look at your marketing campaign.

Are you getting the home in front of the right set of potential buyers and are you telling the narrative of the home in a way that would resonate with them? These are the first questions I tell agents to think about when it comes time to evaluate a marketing campaign.

I always say that it’s good to be creative and to think outside the box when it comes to marketing. Perhaps all your listing needs is an eye-catching video, a different image on the front of the postcard or a refreshed headline in your e-blast copy.

If a listing is languishing on the market, try taking a look at the staging, curb appeal, listing images, listing copy and your marketing plan. As I mentioned earlier, there is a homebuyer out there right now searching for their dream home — your listing. You just need to make sure that they find each other using these tried-and-true techniques.

Santiago Arana is a managing partner at The Agency, in Los Angeles.
5 Ways to Bring a Stale Listing Back to Life--Without a Price Reduction
GBAR
Join this webinar for an overview and the tops tips for using the refreshed RPR®!

From top to bottom we've given the RPR® platform an updated look and feel, including a new homepage design. We're confident that you'll find the new format a breath of fresh air. Here are some other major highlights:
    •  Create a social media campaign
    •  New property layout
    •  Streamlined searching
    •  New shortcuts
    •  Create target mailing lists
    •  Improved map features
    •  Better integration between Residential and Commercial features
    •  And more!

The simplified site will improve your efficiency so you can serve your clients and customers with less effort, and see better results.

Details:

Friday, October 22 at 10:00 a.m.
Free to Attend

Register Here!

RPR: Refreshed, Redesigned and Rebuilt for REALTORS®
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Economic Expectations - Webinar
Virtual
9:30am
 
GBAR New Member Orientation- Agency Webinar
GBAR Webinar
3:00pm
 
BOMI Design, Operations & Maintenance Of Building Systems 2
Zoom
9:00am
 
RealTour- Rental Voucher Programs: Fact Vs. Fiction
Zoom Webinar
1:00pm
 
Real Estate Professional Ethics - Webinar
Live Webinar Course
2:00pm