GBREB NEWS

Massachusetts Vaccine Information Resources

Massachusetts is currently Phase 1 of the MA COVID-19 vaccine distribution timeline and Phase 2 is projected to start in February.  Phase 3 is projected to start in April and the majority of residents will fall into this phase.  

Visit When can I get the COVID-19 Vaccine?to find out if you are eligible and where you can be vaccinated. As Massachusetts moves through the prioritization phases, additional information on where, when, and how to get the vaccine will be announced publicly and posted on the Covid-19 website.  This page is updated frequently.

For information on where you can get the vaccine based on your eligibility status, visit COVID-19 vaccine locations for individuals currently eligible to be vaccinated | Mass.gov.  The webpage includes a map of COVID-19 vaccination locations for individuals currently eligible to be vaccinated. Each location includes information on how to schedule an appointment.  At this time, the Department of Public Health is not scheduling appointments directly. 

For other Frequently Asked Questions including vaccine safety, eligibility and other common questions, please visit COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions | Mass.gov.

Information for COVID vaccine providers including vaccine guidance, prioritization and trainings can be found at www.mass.gov/CovidVaccineProviders

 

Vaccine Information
GBREB

 

Article Courtesy of Inman News
By: Adam Hergenrother

Talented real estate agents want to grow and see their path forward. Here’s how I suss out leaders and nurture their leadership growth

“The days of top down, command and control managerial leaders are a thing of the past. Today’s leaders are vulnerable, collaborative, aspirational, and inspirational. Today’s leaders are globally connected and community focused,” I wrote in an open letter to leaders.
Continuing on that thought train, today’s leaders are just as committed to their inner growth and spiritual lives as they are to spreadsheets and bottom lines. Today’s leaders are building empires and leaving legacies.

If you are a leader in charge of growing and developing other leaders, this can feel like a tall order. And it is. Leading other leaders is not something anyone should take lightly. It’s a responsibility and a privilege. 

Often, we leaders look at top performers and assume that those are the agents we should be pouring into and developing into the next generation of leaders. But that’s not necessarily true. Great players (top real estate professionals) don’t always make great leaders, and that’s OK.

Take Michael Jordan, for example. Perhaps one of the greatest basketball players of all time with six championship wins. As an owner of the Charlotte Hornets, his record is less impressive. A great basketball player needs to become a different person to lead a team. Not everyone should go down that path. 

That said, talented individuals want to grow, and they want to see their path toward additional income, exciting projects, more significant challenges and a bigger life. I like to start agents off with two options: the individual contributor path and the leadership path. 

Individual contributor path

The individual contributor path looks like a top agent who loves sales, working with clients, negotiating, and closing deals but at some point will want some additional leverage in their life as they continue to crush the sales game. Great! 

That might look like creating opportunities, either at the brokerage level or on the team, for them to have a showing assistant or a personal assistant to keep doing what they do best (and what they enjoy the most) — working with clients.

It’s all about leverage. It’s hard to hire and train staff, so give your individual contributors the leverage by taking this off their plates, and doing the hiring and training for them. Make your agents’ lives easier.

Leadership path

Now, let’s dive into the leadership path. The leadership path looks like someone who wants to achieve success through others. They don’t necessarily want to continue working with clients and would prefer to build a team of sales agents, operational staff and other leaders around them to handle the day-to-day business. One path is not better than another. They are simply two different jobs, and people gravitate toward one over the other. 

Once you have identified which agents genuinely want to go down the path of leadership (or if they have raised their hand and expressed the desire to move down that path), the work begins for both of you. 

If your agents have their minds on leadership and leadership on their minds, they’ve got to ask themselves if they are willing to change and grow into the person they need to be (which takes years of purposeful effort). 

Ask prospective agent leaders the following questions. These are great questions to run through if you’re thinking about tapping an agent on the shoulder for a leadership opportunity. Heck, ask yourself if you are leading from this place too! 
Are you willing to go above and beyond the daily job requirements? 
Are you a team player? 
Are you willing to consistently put the good of the team and the company above your individual success? 
Are you leading yourself first by creating a daily routine of journaling, reading, meditating, exercise, etc.? 
Are you teaching others how to think differently by asking powerful and purposeful questions? 
Are you role-modeling the behavior of a leader? 
Are you adding massive value to others and intent on making someone else’s life better? 
Do people come to you regularly for leadership advice and guidance?

Were you able to answer “yes” to all of these questions about your agent leaders (and yourself)? Good. You’re on the right track. Did you discover that they still have some work to do? Great. It’s not going to be easy, but awareness is the first step. Now it’s about taking the steps needed to develop influence and build their leadership skills.

Here are some specific ways to grow agent leaders in your brokerage or on your team: 

Host a book club 

Your output is only as good as your input. Whether that’s a book club, audio series or podcast, getting agent leaders engaged in the conversation is vital. Let the books (or other content) do the heavy lifting. 

You simply need to facilitate the conversation, ask great questions, and encourage your agent leaders to share both in the group and with others. That is leadership. Here are some fantastic book recommendations from readers, a list of 2019 top reads (a 2020 list is coming) and books for new agents.

Create an agent leadership council 

Does your brokerage or team have an agent leadership council? Our Keller Williams offices and our team each have one. If you don’t, it’s a great time to tap into your agent leaders to create one.

The council’s responsibility is to weigh in on decisions that could affect all agents on your team or in your brokerage and proactively come up with ideas to better serve the company as a whole, including wellness challenges, additional administrative services, community outreach, to financial restructuring and more. 
See who show ups and takes the lead on committees or initiative. Those are your future leaders at a larger level. 

Host monthly leadership masterminds 

Many brokerages and teams host agent masterminds where they dive into script practice, contracts, negotiations, best practices for prospecting, etc. But what about leadership masterminds? These mind-melds could be combined with monthly book clubs or not. 

These masterminds are a great time to bring in guest speakers — from inside or outside the industry — to discuss topics such as how to recruit and hire talent, financial management, leadership principles, how to hold team members accountable, time management, personal growth plans and more. 

Invest in coaching 

Coaching is one of the best investments you can make in yourself or a team member — both in the short and long term. There are many different types of coaching — including sales and productivity coaching, life coaching, leadership coaching and more. 

Agent leaders can benefit from a coach who challenges their thinking, calls them out on their bad habits and behaviors, encourages them to have uncomfortable conversations, and serves as a sounding board when the tough leadership decisions come up. A coach can help your agent leaders grow faster. 

Focus on personal growth 

I saved the best for last. Growing great agent leaders means that they first have to lead themselves, and the best way to do that is to create an intentional personal growth plan. Start with helping your agent leaders map out a morning routine, complete with success habits such as meditation, journaling, exercise, yoga and more. 

From there, start building out the ideal daily schedule to maximize your agent leaders’ ability to learn, work and play daily. 

True leaders are rare, and the world needs more of them. If you are in a position to develop other leaders, don’t take that responsibility lightly. Leadership is the ultimate test of vulnerability and perhaps one of the greatest gifts you can give to the people around you. 

When others are sitting back resting on their laurels, keeping their heads down and their mouths shut — be bold. Be brave. Stand up, and lead. And along the way, you will grow other leaders. 

Adam Hergenrother is the founder and CEO of Adam Hergenrother Companies, the author of The Founder & The Force Multiplier, and the host of the podcast, Business Meets Spirituality.
How to Grow Agent Leaders Within Your Team or Brokerage
GBAR
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Andrew Bearen

There are many facets to consider when working with buyers who want to go the new construction route, especially with COVID, tariffs and uncertainty at play. These questions tackle some major issues clients could face

Representing the best interest of clients is always a challenge, but when builders use their own contracts, it’s especially difficult. Many builders are adopting the TREC New Construction Contract or the standard contract from the Home Builders Association, but most large builders have created their own.

All the contracts contain similar provisions, but finding the information in a 26-page contract created in 8.5 font is hard. Agents need to set good expectations, and asking good questions of the builder is the first step.

Agents need to know the most critical information that a client might need. The following is a quick list of the most important questions to ask pertaining to the new home transaction.  

Often, the seller’s representative is more willing to speak without the client present, so agents should address the questions to the seller’s representative and later disclose the answers to our clients. If there are any further questions or concerns, the client can always consult with an attorney.

Questions about the contract include:

How does the builder document procuring cause?
Are there any other fees or charges after the contract is signed?
What are the buyer incentives, and what are the restrictions on those incentives? Can we use our own mortgage company and title company?
What does the contract say about earnest money and canceling the contract? If there is a dispute, what is the procedure, and what are the rights of the customer? What buyer’s specific performance is required by the contract in regards to closing?  
In the contract, what builder specific performance is outlined including quality and closing date?
What is the warranty on the home? What is the procedure for warranty claims?  How quick are repairs made?

Here are questions about the process as stated in the contract:

Are there any restrictions on a customer using a home inspector? How will the builder respond to the inspector’s report?
How are change orders handled, and what are the additional charges?
Is there anything on the lot survey other than standard utility easements?
It is not in the best interest of any party to have verbal agreements. Will the builder put everything in writing throughout the process, including the “punch list” with items to be completed before closing?
What is the builder’s definition of a complete home? What is the builder’s standard of finish out quality? Can the buyer preview a property that is set to close at the end of the month to see an example of finish out quality

Many agents are intimidated by representing their client in a new home construction transaction. There are too many variables, and no builder does things the same way as another. There is a lot of room for error.

This list, though not exhaustive, should address the major issues a client might face. Agents who do their due diligence will be able to represent their client as competently as possible.

Andy Bearden is the managing broker with Insight Realty Network in Texas.
10 New Build Contract Questions Every Agent Should Ask
GBAR
After years of advocacy, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) is celebrating the passage of a new housing production law! The Housing Choices law implements zoning reform to help cities and towns approve smart growth zoning and affordable housing by lowering the required vote threshold for a range of housing-related zoning changes and special permits at the local level from a two-thirds supermajority to a simple majority. This will make it easier for municipalities to rezone for denser, transit- or downtown-oriented, new housing development. 

Additionally, the Massachusetts Legislature approved the creation of a new zoning type that will allow for increased production near MBTA stations and other public transportation hubs, as well as $60 million in new affordable housing funding as part of a larger economic development bill signed in the final days of the 2019-2020 legislative session.

Significantly, GBREB/GBAR and the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® not only worked tirelessly to support the Housing Choices measure, but also led a coalition of industry groups to oppose two onerous provisions of the economic development bill that would have hurt property owners. Most notably, the legislation sent by the state lawmakers to the Governor’s desk included “Right of First Refusal” language that would have required multifamily property owners at the time of sale to provide tenants with the opportunity to purchase the dwelling. If passed, this provision would have caused significant delays in the property transaction. However, GBREB, MAR and other industry groups worked successfully to urge Gov. Baker to veto this provision of the bill which he did on January 14. The economic development bill also provided for a new surcharge for hotels and motels, but REALTOR® advocacy efforts helped to protect short-term rentals from having to pay this additional fee.

Finally, Gov. Baker vetoed language in the legislation that would have sealed all records in eviction cases from public view, a move backed by GBREB. In taking the action, the Governor explained that the provision would have allowed for the sealing of no-fault eviction cases, but also cases where a tenant endangers others or engages in criminal activity. “Keeping this kind of information sealed is unfair to landlords and creates unnecessary risk for other tenants,” Baker stated. 




New Housing Production Law Passes
GBAR
After years of advocacy, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) is celebrating the passage of a new housing production law! The Housing Choices law implements zoning reform to help cities and towns approve smart growth zoning and affordable housing by lowering the required vote threshold for a range of housing-related zoning changes and special permits at the local level from a two-thirds supermajority to a simple majority. This will make it easier for municipalities to rezone for denser, transit- or downtown-oriented, new housing development. 

Additionally, the Massachusetts Legislature approved the creation of a new zoning type that will allow for increased production near MBTA stations and other public transportation hubs, as well as $60 million in new affordable housing funding as part of a larger economic development bill signed in the final days of the 2019-2020 legislative session.

Significantly, GBREB/GBAR and the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® not only worked tirelessly to support the Housing Choices measure, but also led a coalition of industry groups to oppose two onerous provisions of the economic development bill that would have hurt property owners. Most notably, the legislation sent by the state lawmakers to the Governor’s desk included “Right of First Refusal” language that would have required multifamily property owners at the time of sale to provide tenants with the opportunity to purchase the dwelling. If passed, this provision would have caused significant delays in the property transaction. However, GBREB, MAR and other industry groups worked successfully to urge Gov. Baker to veto this provision of the bill which he did on January 14. The economic development bill also provided for a new surcharge for hotels and motels, but REALTOR® advocacy efforts helped to protect short-term rentals from having to pay this additional fee.

Finally, Gov. Baker vetoed language in the legislation that would have sealed all records in eviction cases from public view, a move backed by GBREB. In taking the action, the Governor explained that the provision would have allowed for the sealing of no-fault eviction cases, but also cases where a tenant endangers others or engages in criminal activity. “Keeping this kind of information sealed is unfair to landlords and creates unnecessary risk for other tenants,” Baker stated. 




New Housing Production Law Passes
GBAR

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Check out the January edition of the MAA Insider featuring highlights from past events, information on upcoming events plus local and national multifamily news.

 Read the January MAA Insider. 
MAA Insider - January 2021
MAA

 

Many of the “core documents” to a real estate transaction have retention requirements codified in regulations:

Agency Disclosure: 254 CMR 3.00 requires brokers to retain the Massachusetts Mandatory Licensee-Consumer Relationship Disclosure, as well as Consent to Dual Agency Disclosures and Designated Agency Disclosures for a period of three (3) years from the date of the notice.

Escrow records: 254 CMR 3.10(b) requires brokers to maintain records of all funds held in their escrow accounts. Such records should include the date the money was received, the source of the funds, the date the funds were deposited, check number, the date of withdrawal, and “other pertinent information concerning the transaction … and to whom the money belongs.” Copies of checks deposited into and withdrawn from the escrow account should be maintained for three (3) years from the date of issuance.

Lead Paint: 24 CFR § 35.175 requires brokers to retain the Lead Paint Form for three (3) years. HUD recommends maintaining lead paint notification and disclosure forms, as well as inspection, remediation and, maintenance records indefinitely due to the liability associated with lead paint.

Rental Documents: 254 CMR 7.00 (2) requires the following items to be retained for a period of three (3) years:  the Tenant Fee Disclosure, from the date on which the notice was provided; “all rental listings and written documents that demonstrate the availability of an apartment at the time it is advertised for rental” from the date on which the apartment was rented; and “a copy of any check, money order and written cash receipt for any fees, deposits or payments made by a prospective tenant or actual tenant” from the date of issuance.

Regardless of the specific retention requirements noted above, it is a good idea to keep all transaction documents for seven (7) years. This includes, but is not limited to: listing agreements, buyer representation agreements, purchase contracts, and communications with the client(s) and other broker(s). The statute of limitations for most contract actions is six (6) years, so it is important to retain documents for at least this long to protect your interests in any potential lawsuit. Certain documents, such as corporate records, partnership agreements, audit reports, general ledgers, tax returns and deeds should be kept permanently. In most cases, it is acceptable to store these documents electronically, as long as you are safely and securely backing up all of your data. Brokerages should work with an attorney and/or accountant to develop and maintain a record retention policy for their office(s).

Written by: Justin Davidson, General Counsel; Catherine Taylor, Associate Counsel; and Jonathan Schreiber, Legislative & Regulatory Counsel, Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®
What Records Am I Required to Maintain?
GBAR

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

 Read the January BOMA Enews.

January 2021 E-News
GBREB

 

Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Erica Ramus
 
It's the start of a new year, otherwise known in the broker world as agent musical chairs season. This month, brokers will watch as agents switch brokerages back and forth as they chase promises of more leads or higher splits or lower fees.

If you’ve been a broker or manager for a few years, you learn to watch for signs an agent is getting ready to leave. Here are a few telltale signs to look for in your agents’ behavior.

Change in attitude 

This sign is an easy one to spot. Cranky or whiny agents are easy pickings for recruiting brokers. An agent who complains at the closing table that things are not all rainbows and roses at his office might find himself being recruited by the co-operating agent’s broker later.

“Find their pain” is one way brokers get inside the heads of agents they are targeting. 

An agent who comes to the office talking about higher splits at other offices or a certain fee at your brokerage might be comparing compensation plans, thinking they will make more money at a different firm.

The split or fees are only one component of what makes a perfect office fit, but it’s the easiest way to compare offices when searching for a new place to work. Once a competing broker plants the seed of doubt, it can be hard to weed out a dissatisfied salesperson.

Change in routine 

This “tell” requires you to pay attention to your agents and know their habits. Someone who suddenly doesn’t have the time to make sales meetings might be avoiding face-to-face interactions with you or the staff. If agents who generally come into the office daily or weekly don’t seem to be around much anymore, they might be distancing from the office on purpose.

Brokers who can see the back-end of company CRM platforms can check who is logging in daily and who has stopped contacting leads. Check your transaction management software to see who is putting together new deals. If someone working in the system regularly now rarely logs in, they could be planning on transitioning to a new office.

Change in deal flow 

Look at current listing inventory and pending sales. An agent who routinely closes two deals a month who has nothing in the pipeline might be closing out his or her last few transactions with you. A strong listing agent who hasn’t brought in a new listing in a while or who is quietly withdrawing listings might be cleaning up his or her plate to start fresh at another firm. 

Even if an agent is not planning on switching firms, you should be aware of each agent and their pipeline. This opportunity is perfect to re-recruit and let agents know you are concerned about their success and want to help them achieve their goals.

Change in communication  

If you have more than one agent in the office, you’re going to have different personalities and communication styles. Some agents might check in with the broker or manager only when they have a problem. Others enjoy a regular phone call or in-office meeting to go over deals and issues. 

Becoming quiet or checking in less is an obvious red flag. But when an agent who is typically more distant starts calling the broker more often, what’s up? They might be seeking out attention without coming right out and saying this is the case. It could be a form of expressing their dissatisfaction. 

For example, one broker started receiving calls from an agent who had been with the company for almost a decade. She told the broker that they never really talked much anymore and asked questions about how the brokerage distributes leads. These were subtle signs that she was dissatisfied with their relationship and had one foot out the door. 

When you notice one (or more) of the four red flags above in one of your agents, take note of how you feel. Are you relieved? Some agents just don’t fit your office culture or are downright liabilities. Let them go, and help make their transition out the door easy. But if you are concerned and don’t want to lose the agent, take steps to keep them in the fold. 

Let them know you are worried because you’ve noticed a change. Ask if there are particular concerns or problems with which you can assist them. For example, if they want more leads, offer to coach them on how to fill their funnel. 

People cite “more money” or higher splits as the main reason they consider switching brokerages. It’s never that simple. Most importantly, your agents want to know you care. Be there to support them, take their calls, and coach them to success. We talk a lot about recruiting. Remember: Re-recruiting your salespeople is also a form of recruiting. 

People rarely up and quit with zero warnings or red flags. Don’t be so busy that you don’t know what’s going on with your agents. If you pay attention and show you care about them as people (not just as transaction closers), hopefully, you’ll have less agent churn no matter what the season is.

Erica Ramus, MRE, is the broker/owner of RAMUS Real Estate. You can follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.
4 Telltale Signs an Agent is Planning to Exit Your Brokerage
GBAR
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Carl Medford


Here's how to differentiate and showcase your value from the get-go at the listing appointment:
 
Somewhere along the line, our society has transitioned from being service-based to commodity-based. With service no longer anticipated in most areas of our lives, we focus on securing commodities in its place. 

If we can reduce anything we want to a basic commodity, then regardless of what it is (an appliance, a phone or even a car), the natural progression focuses on getting it at the lowest possible price.

For example, we now call the service stations of yesteryear gas stations. Instead of going for service, we search for the station with the lowest fuel prices and pump our own gas.

Rather than going to one location for a full-service experience, including auto repairs, we have segmented repairs into basic components (commodities), such as oil changing stations, brake replacement companies and so on. Once again, we search for the company that will provide the commodity we want for the lowest possible price.

In a commodity-based world, sellers now search for real estate agents who will sell their house for the lowest possible commission. I frequently hear, during listing presentations, “You guys are all the same. You provide the same things as everyone else I’ve talked to — why should I choose you?”

In short, everything we do as agents to sell a home has become a commodity rather than a service. If sellers cannot discern the difference between us, they will naturally search for the lowest possible price.

Ironically, most agents counter this argument by insisting that their level of “service” is better than the others — all the while missing the fact that sellers don’t see the “services provided” as service at all. They are seeing the overall package provided by a listing agent as a commodity.

Although the standard “package of services” provided by any specific agent might vary from market to market across the country (property prep, staging, professional pictures, 3D tours, brochures, open houses, social media advertising and so on), at the end of the day, sellers still see the package as a commodity.

If this is true, if you wish to preserve your commission, the goal in a listing appointment is to demonstrate to the seller how you provide much more than a basic commodity. Here are our three recommendations:

1. Start with your value proposition 


A value proposition is a concise statement that: 
1. Clearly defines the differences between you and everyone else
2. Definitively states why they should do business with you

Many agents have a value proposition that states they provide the best service. The fundamental problem with “service” is it is largely intangible. Although a commodity is concrete — you can see it, touch it, measure it — service is difficult to measure. You know excellent service when you receive it, but how is it qualified or quantified?

Rather than focus on service, identify the typical pain points in transactions in your market, and state how you can uniquely alleviate the stress. 

For example, have you ever tried waving down a New York City cab, only to feel frustrated while trying to communicate where you want to go and annoyed when the cab driver only takes cash?

Then Uber’s value proposition makes total sense: “Tap the app, get a ride. Uber is the smartest way to get around.” 

Uber further clarifies how it diminishes typical taxi pain points, “One tap and a car comes directly to you. Your driver knows exactly where to go. And payment is completely cashless.” Regardless of how you view Uber, its value proposition is brilliant.

2. Follow up with stories

Everyone loves a great story. It is one reason online reviews are so valuable — they are past clients explaining, in short stories, why working with you was so awesome. That alone is the No. 1 reason you should be actively working to build as large a review base as possible. The larger the number of positive reviews you have, the greater the pool of stories available to tout your value proposition.

When a seller asks me why they shouldn’t just go with a discount broker, one of the stories I share is about a vacant listing targeted by our local homeless population. The seller, an elderly lady, had already relocated to a distant retirement home and could not be a meaningful part of the solution. Also, we were upgrading her functionally obsolescent house so it would sell for top dollar. If we were going to put the home on the market, we would have to resolve the issues.

Directly behind the property was a right-of-way that housed a homeless encampment whose occupants kept breaking in, stealing our improvements (including 20 existing solar panels), knocking holes in walls and so on. 

It was not an easy process, but we prevailed. The first evening we had our temporary occupant in place, a local community member climbed the back fence and headed toward the house.

He beat a hasty retreat when he discovered our occupant standing on the back porch with a wooden sporting implement in his hands.

We finished the upgrades, professionally staged it at our expense, took a full range of pictures, including drone footage and a Matterport 3D tour — and sold it within a week for substantially over asking price, setting a new high for the neighborhood.

After completing my story, I ask the seller a simple question: “Do you know of any discount agent who would do what we did?” Then I stop talking, sit still and look at the sellers until they respond. 

3. Finish with distinctions that set you apart

With everyone purportedly providing the same service level, and with consumers seeing that service as a commodity, there must be something else separating you from the pack. In my case, I leverage experience.

Most sellers see commissions as the penalty they must pay to get their home sold, and therefore, they strive to keep that penalty as low as possible. 

In contrast, we help sellers understand that the commission is the investment they make in securing the most experienced team in the region. With that experience comes access to an entire bench of professionals, including our in-house Transformations Team, Staging Crew, Listing Team and more. Additionally, we have more experience negotiating than almost anyone else in the region because of our volume.

I ask sellers a simple question: “If you are going to have Lasik surgery, are you more interested in getting a rock-bottom price from someone offering discounts to get business, or do you want someone with extensive experience? Would you be willing to trust your eyes to someone with limited experience, or do you really want someone with extensive proven results?” 

In most cases, sellers tell me they want the experience. At that point, I ask them, “If that is true, are you willing to trust your largest financial transaction to an agent with less experience?”

Although not everyone can use their experience to distinguish, newbies can claim their office’s or mentor’s overall experience. In reality, every agent has their own unique superpower they can leverage — some careful strategic thinking can help you identify your distinctions.

In our new commodity-based world, the choice is simple: Remain a commodity and face continued downward pressure on your commissions, or learn to effectively separate yourself from the rest of the pack by developing and sharing an engaging value proposition, telling stories that demonstrate your value, and effectively communicating your superpower.

Carl Medford is the CEO of The Medford Team.
Defend Your Commission! 3 Steps For Showing Sellers You’re Worth It
GBAR

The BOMA Affiliate Spotlight promotes the excellent service and valuable products of BOMA Boston's Affiliate members. 
The BOMA Affiliate Spotlight promotes the excellent service and valuable products of BOMA Boston's Affiliate members. To be featured, please contact Courtney McHugh, cmchugh@gbreb.com

2021 BOMA Affiliate Spotlight Companies
January Affiliate Spotlights

United Services of America, an AffinEco Company 
Click here to view their Affiliate Spotlight Email


2020 BOMA Affiliate Spotlight Companies
September Affiliate Spotlights
Pritchard Industries 

Click here to view their Affiliate Spotlight Email
Usource

Click here to view their Affiliate Spotlight Email
HETI 
Click here to view their Affiliate Spotlight Email


October Affiliate Spotlights
Able Services

Click here to view their Affiliate Spotlight Email 

November Affiliate Spotlights
Sullivan Engineering

Click here to view their Affiliate Spotlight Email

 Citron Hygiene
Click here to view their Affiliate Spotlight Email

December Affiliate Spotlights
Maintenance Contractors of New England 

Click here to view their Affiliate Spotlight Email
Usource
Click here to view their Affiliate Spotlight Email


 

BOMA Affiliate Spotlight
GBREB
On December 31, Governor Baker signed into law Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2020 into law, which makes important changes to the requirements associated with sending a Notice to Quit. The New Law also affords tenants the right to seek a stay during such time as they have a pending application for rental assistance.   It was attached to the late arriving General Appropriation Bill, as lawmakers attempted to get the budgeting cycles back on schedule for fiscal 2022.  

During the budget deliberations, GBREB monitored over 2,000 Amendments that were offered including 777 Amendments that were filed in House and 475 offered by lawmakers in the Senate.  Among those that were not included which GBREB opposed were amendments to extend the eviction moratorium, establish a real estate sales tax, dilute 40B, and require anyone who cleaned a drain to be licensed.

For a memorandum highlighting the new requirements as well as guidance on how to comply with the new law, click here.
New Eviction Protection Law Amends Notice to Quit Requirements
GBAR
On December 31, Governor Baker signed into law Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2020 into law, which makes important changes to the requirements associated with sending a Notice to Quit. The New Law also affords tenants the right to seek a stay during such time as they have a pending application for rental assistance.   It was attached to the late arriving General Appropriation Bill, as lawmakers attempted to get the budgeting cycles back on schedule for fiscal 2022.  

During the budget deliberations, GBREB monitored over 2,000 Amendments that were offered including 777 Amendments that were filed in House and 475 offered by lawmakers in the Senate.  Among those that were not included which GBREB opposed were amendments to extend the eviction moratorium, establish a real estate sales tax, dilute 40B, and require anyone who cleaned a drain to be licensed.

For the first time in 25 years the legislature amended its rules allowing them to continue working in a lame duck session through the end of the year.   The current two-year legislative cycle will end on January 5th and new lawmakers will be sworn in the next day to begin a new two-year session.  GBREB will be providing a subsequent update on several big bills before the legislature including a climate change and emissions reduction bill and economic development bill once time for debate expires at midnight on January 5th.

Please visit the Legal/Advocacy section for updated and guidance on how to comply with the new law. 
 
New Eviction Protection Law Amends Notice to Quit Requirements
GBAR
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Bernice Ross

Want to be more profitable in this upcoming year? Here's how to work smarter, reduce expenses and find ways to make the best possible use of your time

When it comes to profitability, most real estate professionals are focused on revenues or gross commissions. What many agents miss, however, is how they can be more profitable by working smarter and cutting expenses. If you would like to increase your profitability in 2021, here are 10 great strategies to start your year off right.

1. Calculate how much you earn per hour

Begin by looking at your Schedule C on IRS Form 1040 or your LLC/corporate tax return. Take the net income you report to the IRS, and divide it by 2,000 (i.e. 40 hours per week for 50 weeks) to determine your actual earnings per hour. (This is your after-tax, hourly rate of profit per hour.) 

If you’re earning more than minimum wage, are you still doing minimum wage tasks like filling brochure boxes, dropping off your dry cleaning, addressing mailers, etc.? If so, you are working for minimum wage. This reduces your profit because you could use that time to engage in revenue-producing activities such as prospecting, going on listing appointments or presenting offers.

2. Eliminate ‘nonproductive opportunity costs’

When a buyer doesn’t purchase from you, you have incurred a “nonproductive opportunity cost.” In other words, you gave up cold calling, holding an open house or some other activity that could have generated income for your business. 

To illustrate this point, if you earned $50,000 this year, your hourly rate is approximately $25 per hour. Spending four hours at an open house that produces no leads has an “opportunity cost” of $100, plus the cost of operating your vehicle to get there, refreshments and any prospecting pieces you may have used. 

To reduce these costs, carefully track which activities consistently generate leads and which activities generate little — if any — income. Be ruthless about eliminating activities with no return, no matter how much you think you should do them. Remember, the less time you spend on nonproductive opportunity costs, the greater your profits will be. 

3. Focus on referrals

Top producers consistently report that most of their business comes from referrals, past clients and other people in the sphere of influence.

Yet, when it comes to how most agents spend their marketing dollars, they often spend a large portion of their time and money developing new sources of business rather than strengthening their referral database. To be more profitable, focus on building referrals from your existing sphere of influence. It takes less time and yields better results.

4. Profit is always temporary

Each quarter, challenge your assumptions about how you conduct your business by experimenting with new ideas, new niches and new processes. Profit is always temporary.

To keep your profitability strong, constantly monitor market activity to identify shifting patterns, and be willing to try what’s new. Invest at least 1-5 percent of your gross revenues in making mistakes, taking time away from the business to do strategic planning and learning new ideas.

5. Limit your marketing spend to 10%

Limit your marketing and promotion budget to 10 percent of your gross revenues. Rather than paying for expensive print mailing or online lead generation programs, use your telephone, email, social media, video and Zoom to keep in touch with your client base. Being in regular personal contact with those you know yields the best results.

6. Buy in bulk

Items to buy in bulk include postcards, door hangers, computer supplies, paper products as well as personal items you use at home. Watch for sales on products you use regularly, and buy a six- to 12-month supply. This saves time and money because you don’t have to make several trips to purchase the same products or spend time reordering them online. 

7. Save time, money and energy by reducing drive time

The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to work from home. Once the vaccines become readily available, will you be going back to the office, or will you continue to spend more time working from home?

The current IRS mileage deduction for 2020 is 57.5 cents per mile. If you cut your mileage by 50 miles per week by working at home and doing all your errands before or after appointments, you can save almost $1,500 per year, not to mention the reduction in time and stress. 

8. Cut ‘market time’ by pricing your listings correctly

The shorter the time your listings are on the market, the greater your profit will be because you will spend less time and money on getting them sold. 

9. Have clarity about what your buyers really want

Decrease time spent showing buyers property by conducting a thorough “buyer’s interview” to determine their most important needs as opposed to their “wants.”

A “need” is something the buyer must have if they are to purchase. A “want” is something the buyer would like to have but is not an absolute necessity. Having clarity about what your buyers are really looking for saves you both time and money. 

To find out what they want, the best question to ask is: “Tell me about your favorite house from your childhood.” They may say they want a midcentury modern house, but emotionally, they’re more likely to fall in love with the house that looks most like their childhood favorite.

10. Be proactive about seeking client feedback

Ask for your client’s input during the transaction and after it has closed. Be proactive about discovering what your clients are really feeling and experiencing. By identifying potential problems early on, you can avoid having to clean them up later. It also requires significantly less time and effort. 

In addition, always survey every client when his or her transaction closes. Ask what you did well, but also ask about what you could have done better. By constantly monitoring what your clients are experiencing and always working to improve your customer service, you not only can be more profitable, you’ll also increase client loyalty and gain more referrals.  

In terms of being more profitable in 2021, work smarter, reduce expenses and constantly search for ways to make the best possible use of your time.  

Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. If you’re ready to List & Sell Real Estate Like Crazy, learn more about how to do it https://realestatecoach.com/training/list-sell/ If you’re a new agent who wants to successfully compete even against even the best agents, check out our online new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent 
10 Strategies for Being More Profitable in 2021
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Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Bernice Ross

The best way to make your lead generation dollars go further is to laser focus on your top three lead generation activities that produce the highest number of closed transactions. 

In The E-Myth Revisited, Michael E. Gerber discusses the importance of “working on” your business as opposed to just “working in” your business. 

“Working in” your business references all you do to deliver real estate services to your clients. “Working on” your business references taking time to evaluate where you are concerning your business plan, which activities are generating the best return, as well as where to alter your focus due to market shifts. 

Most top producers schedule “working on time” at least once a month. Many do it once a week. Regardless of what you decide, here are the key factors to consider. 

1. Make getting face-to-face your most crucial lead generation goal

No matter what type of prospecting you do, your most important goal is to be the first agent to speak to the sellers when they decide to sell. Based on the NAR 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, here’s the reason:

“Seventy-seven percent of recent sellers contacted only one agent before finding the right agent they worked with to sell their home.” 

This finding has been consistent for many years. The first agent to discuss listing the home gets the listing 77 percent of the time. 

Consequently, speak daily with at least five of your past clients or sphere who are most likely to transact or send you a referral. (Five a day, for 30 days is 150 contacts.) You can do this by phone, face-to-face, or on video platforms such as Facebook Live, Skype, or Zoom. 

As you “work on” your business, calculate how many of your closed transactions resulted from a phone call or face-to-face prospecting activity. No matter what you do for lead generation, increasing your face-to-face interactions (even if it’s virtually) will help you close more transactions. 

2. Put 67% of your money and prospecting time here

The NAR Profile also highlighted the importance of being the first agent a seller or buyer interviewed:  

“Sixty-seven percent of sellers found their agent through a referral from a friend, neighbor, or relative or used an agent they had worked with before to buy or sell a home.” 

Based on this finding from NAR, devote at least two-thirds of your time and money marketing to your sphere and staying in contact with past clients. 

3. Figure out what your top 3 face-to-face lead generators were in 2020

As you can see from the NAR research, getting face-to-face, especially with those you know, can represent a substantial proportion of your business. 

In 2020, which face-to-face or live lead generation strategies did you use? Once you have that list, which three generated the most revenue?  

Next, review the following list for additional ways you can be in live contact with your past clients and sphere in 2021:
Regularly call to see how they’re doing, share something they might find to be of interest, or ask if there is some way you might be able to assist them. 
Send personalized video messages rather than traditional email. 
Go “live” from a sporting event, a street festival or even a city council meeting where they’re discussing a topic that impacts the people in your market area.  
Share a funny video or funny observation that makes others laugh. 
Introduce the people you know to those who could help them with their business or with personal interests such as charitable fundraising, supporting a local school, or volunteering at a local food bank or animal shelter.

4. Ask yourself: What other lead generation activities generated closed transactions? 

If you haven’t done so already, start tracking which lead generation activities generated each of your closed transactions as well as which activities generated the most significant number of new leads. 

5. Rank order each lead generation source 

There’s only one criterion that matters here: the number of closed transactions coming from each different source. Your goal for 2021 is to focus 80 percent of your efforts and marketing dollars on your top three lead sources. 

6. Critically look at your website 

Is your website up to date with your current listings? Can people who are considering working with you find you on the web easily? If you answered “no” to either of these questions, seriously rethink the money you are spending on web marketing and whether you could better spend this money on other more profitable activities.  

7. Dump your bottom 20% completely

The 80-20 rule says the top 20 percent of your activities are responsible for 80 percent of your results. The bottom 20 percent of your activities provide about 1 percent of your total revenue, which means you can eliminate the bottom 20 percent of your current lead generation activities, and it will have virtually no effect on your business. Use this time and money to experiment with new strategies that can give you a competitive edge. 

Once you have completed your evaluation, rework your business plan, so you spend the bulk of your time on your top three lead generation activities and zero percent of your time on the bottom 20 percent. 

Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, 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 BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.
7 Tips for Making Your Lead Generation Dollars Go Further in 2021
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Coming soon: Up to $25,000 in down payment assistance for first-time buyers in Gateway Cities and Boston 

On November 15th, MassHousing launched its most generous down payment assistance program yet.

Currently, qualified buyers can obtain down payment assistance of up to 5% of the purchase price or $15,000, whichever is less, if they qualify for a MassHousing mortgage

It is already a remarkable advantage for cash-strapped buyers in a high-cost state. 

In the coming weeks, eligible buyers will benefit from even more down payment aid.  First-time buyers who purchase a property with a MassHousing loan in a Gateway City or in Boston, can obtain down payment assistance of up to 5% or $25,000, whichever is less. The maximum assistance for buyers in all other communities will remain at $15,000.

There are 26 Gateway Cities in Massachusetts. They range from larger cities like Worcester and Lowell to smaller cities like Springfield, Brockton, Westfield and Quincy, for example.

“The newly enhanced ‘Workforce Advantage’ mortgage with down payment assistance from MassHousing will make it easier for buyers who have struggled to save for a down payment,” said Mounzer Aylouche, MassHousing’ s Vice President for Home Ownership. “This is an extraordinary opportunity for buyers who have been left out of the home buying process due to the continually rising prices of homes and condos in recent years.”

The more generous down payment assistance is the most obvious of several new features, but buyers will get other benefits from the new loan as well. 

MassHousing will pay the borrower’s mortgage insurance premium, so buyers will have no MI payments. But, since they will still have mortgage insurance in place, they will receive MassHousing’s proprietary job-loss protection (called MIPlus). It gives the homeowner peace of mind knowing that MassHousing will make the principal and interest payments for up to six months if the homeowner becomes unemployed and is receiving unemployment benefits. More information on MIPlus is available here. 

The enhanced down payment assistance comes in the form of a 0%, deferred loan that is only due upon sale or refinancing. The borrower will only make monthly payments on the first mortgage loan.

MassHousing offers other statewide mortgage loans with varying income limits and down payment amounts. For example, a purchase and renovation loan combines the purchase of a property as well as the financing for upgrades. It is perfect for the fixer-upper, which comes with a lower price but the need for immediate renovations.

Interested in having one of MassHousing’s home ownership experts contact you for a virtual presentation to your team?  Send an email to homeownership@masshousing.com. For more information on the many affordable home financing products and services from MassHousing, visit masshousing.com
 
MassHousing Launches New Down Payment Assistance Program
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Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Chris Pollinger
Leadership is nothing if it doesn't provide a managerial framework, and management has little help without the vision of leadership. Here are a handful of management responsibilities team leaders need to own as we head into a new year
 
Leaders play a critical role in managing a team and are essential in achieving your vision for your company and setting the tone for your employees. They guide and give feedback to all team members to ensure that they perform their responsibilities. Successful team leaders keep team morale healthy and inspire employees to perform well.

Here are a handful of management responsibilities team leaders need to own as we head into a new year.

Set goals, plan and execute

The objectives set must be achievable, specific and challenging. Team leaders must also communicate objectives inside the team clearly. While being flexible enough to pivot under changing market dynamics, the planning phase needs to provide structure.

Execution and transparency come after target setting and planning. The team leader has to ensure the completion of each objective and goal.

When it comes to protecting the team’s brand, it’s more important than ever. Remember, the brand goes way beyond the logo. It’s mirrored in all that’s related to your team, including every conversation, clothing and each team member’s attitude during every interaction.

Negotiate resources, roles and autonomy

Team leaders need to organize staff activities. Organizing each member’s tasks and focus areas helps ensure that all the team’s efforts are directed toward a common goal. Every individual must feel responsible and mindful of the collective objective. They also must own their individual role and contribution to the team.

Each person needs to have the resources and autonomy to accomplish his or her objectives. If you find yourself not trusting someone with that authority, you’ve either made a bad hire or have a control issue. Either of those problems will stunt your growth and hamper your efficiency.

Select and empower those on their team

By selecting and empowering people, team leaders can grow their team exponentially. We invest a great deal of time in the recruitment concept as an industry. In most cases, I have found teams set the bar too low in qualifying whom they take on.

When team members are selected, leaders must detect where the person’s strengths are and how to use them effectively. For Inman readers, we have an assessment that you can use at no cost. Shoot me a message, and I’ll be happy to share it.

To inspire the team members, you need to make them feel like an integral part of the overall group. Continually reinforce why they are essential. Look for ways to express appreciation and regularly praise them for their contributions.
Accolades are, without a doubt, more important than compensation for most people.

In the business world, the tendency of many leaders is to focus on the negative. This leads team members to work with less intensity, complain about trivial problems and resist positive change.

On the contrary, the leaders who bring positive attitudes increase the inclination of individual team members not only to improve but to also help their teammates.

Manage relationships

Any leader’s primary responsibility, regardless of how large or small the organization or team, is to make everyone feel great about the team, including clients, team members, other agents in the field and the public.

In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to appeal on a human level by presenting suggestions, discussing strategies and procedures, defining the team’s work and being respectful of others. Your team has become an extension of you. The more you take care of them, the more care they can give to your clients.

In summary, the role of leadership and management might function in different capacities but still be the same in creating an organization. Leadership is nothing if it doesn’t create a systems-based management framework, and management will have little help without the work of leadership as the backbone of values.

Chris Pollinger, partner, Berman & Pollinger, LLC is a senior sales and operational executive skilled in strategic leadership, culture building, business planning, sales, marketing, acquisitions, operations, recruiting, and team building. 

 

4 Essential Management Responsibilities Team Leaders Must Nail
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Article Courtesy of: Banker & Tradesman 

Massachusetts homebuyers will continue to face price escalation, Realtor.com predicts.  The home listings website’s annual housing forecast predicts home prices in Greater Boston will grow 5.7 percent, while those in the Springfield area will rise 4.2 percent and those in and around Worcester will grow 4.5 percent compared to 2020.

At the same time, the report’s authors predict the number of homes sold in each of those three metros will grow in 2021 by 5.4 percent, 8.1 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively.

The biggest contributor will continue to be the record-low mortgage interest rates which have kept buyers pouring into housing markets in Massachusetts and nationwide by the millions this year. The Federal Reserve has signaled it intends to keep its benchmark interest rate low, which in turn will likely keep mortgage interest rates low.

The market will also have to contend with the “healthy” number of Millennials and Gen Zers entering prime first-time homebuying age, the report said. The widespread availability of a COVID-19 vaccine and the economic stability it will bring, the report added, will likely serve to further grow demand among all homebuyers.

At the same time, the Realtor.com researchers write, the declines in inventory that have made housing markets so competitive this year are expected to improve. This and other factors may help slow the pace of home sales somewhat, the authors write, but individual home sales will likely continue to be rapid affairs thanks to the residential real estate industry’s headlong rush to adopt technologies that enable buyers to do more online browsing and data-gathering about neighborhoods before they begin touring homes, speeding up their decision processes.

“We expect affordability to become a bigger challenge. It’s going to make [housing] more expensive,” Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale said in a statement. “[But] home prices will rise slower than this year, on the upper end of what we consider normal price growth.”

The National Association of Realtors’ October survey of its members market expectations found the median Realtor expects Massachusetts home prices to rise between 1 percent and 2 percent over the next three months on a year-over-year basis, while the median Realtor expects the state’s number of home sales to match or exceed last year’s totals over the next three months by no more than 1 percent on the same basis.
 
Realtor.com Predicts Strong Sales, Price Growth for 2021
GBAR
Article Courtesy of: Banker & Tradesman 

Massachusetts homebuyers will continue to face price escalation, Realtor.com predicts.  The home listings website’s annual housing forecast predicts home prices in Greater Boston will grow 5.7 percent, while those in the Springfield area will rise 4.2 percent and those in and around Worcester will grow 4.5 percent compared to 2020.

At the same time, the report’s authors predict the number of homes sold in each of those three metros will grow in 2021 by 5.4 percent, 8.1 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively.

The biggest contributor will continue to be the record-low mortgage interest rates which have kept buyers pouring into housing markets in Massachusetts and nationwide by the millions this year. The Federal Reserve has signaled it intends to keep its benchmark interest rate low, which in turn will likely keep mortgage interest rates low.

The market will also have to contend with the “healthy” number of Millennials and Gen Zers entering prime first-time homebuying age, the report said. The widespread availability of a COVID-19 vaccine and the economic stability it will bring, the report added, will likely serve to further grow demand among all homebuyers.

At the same time, the Realtor.com researchers write, the declines in inventory that have made housing markets so competitive this year are expected to improve. This and other factors may help slow the pace of home sales somewhat, the authors write, but individual home sales will likely continue to be rapid affairs thanks to the residential real estate industry’s headlong rush to adopt technologies that enable buyers to do more online browsing and data-gathering about neighborhoods before they begin touring homes, speeding up their decision processes.

“We expect affordability to become a bigger challenge. It’s going to make [housing] more expensive,” Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale said in a statement. “[But] home prices will rise slower than this year, on the upper end of what we consider normal price growth.”

The National Association of Realtors’ October survey of its members market expectations found the median Realtor expects Massachusetts home prices to rise between 1 percent and 2 percent over the next three months on a year-over-year basis, while the median Realtor expects the state’s number of home sales to match or exceed last year’s totals over the next three months by no more than 1 percent on the same basis.
 
Realtor.com Predicts Strong Sales, Price Growth for 2021
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Check out the December edition of the MAA Insider- featuring highlights from past events, information on upcoming events plus local and national multifamily news.

Read the December MAA Insider.
MAA Insider - December 2020
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