On March 22nd, the Massachusetts House of Representatives approved legislation regulating short term rentals. 

Prior to passage of the bill, an important amendment was offered by Representative Kevin Honan (D-Brighton) at the request of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) and adopted. The primary concern GBREB officials had expressed with the bill was that it appeared to confer tenancy rights on short-term occupants. GBREB believes that it is crucial that this statute clearly provide that licensees or lodgers are not to be treated as “tenants” and shall not be entitled to any rights or protections afforded pursuant to state law.

The adopted amendment clarifies the status of short term occupants and ensures that they are not inadvertently afforded tenancy rights. In addition, the amendment clarifies that an owner would not be responsible if a tenant were to use the premises for short-term occupancy. Rather, it would be the responsibility of the person offering the apartment for short-term use to collect the taxes and comply with the Statute. An amendment clarifying that provisions of chapters 186 and 239 relative to real estate and summary process would not apply to short term rentals was ultimately adopted. 

Additionally, the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®- which opposes the legislation- had offered two amendments which did not get accepted. The first amendment, sponsored by Dan Cahill (D-Lynn), would clarify language to ensure that REALTORS® who collect rent and taxes from renters would be able to pass those funds on to the owner, without incurring any tax filing obligations. The second amendment, sponsored by Representative Tackey Chan (D-Quincy), would strike a provision that would allow cities and towns to restrict short-term rentals by passing by-laws or ordinances that would include a limit on the number of days an owner may rent out a home or requiring that each home is an owner’s primary residence.
House Votes To Approve Short Term Rental Legislation
Do you know a great REALTOR®? A rock star affiliate member? A distinguished industry veteran? If so, please consider nominating them for one of GBAR's Member Recognition Awards! Each year we recognize our members for their active volunteer involvement, charitable acts, and business success with our five awards: Good Neighbor, Affiliate of the Year, Andrew F. Hickey Distinguished Service , REALTOR® Spirit and REALTOR® of the Year Awards. 

We know that we have many outstanding REALTORS® and Industry Affiliates in our association, and we’re counting on you to help us identity and celebrate them at our Annual Awards Breakfast, which will be held on Friday, June 22 at the Venezia Restaurant in Boston. Please save the date and visit the Awards Nominations page to learn more about each award and submit a nomination today! All members can submit a nomination and the nomination process ends on May 1.
Help Us Recognize Our Best!
Earlier this week, MassHousing announced the launch of a new down payment assistance program which will help make homeownership more accessible to more prospective homebuyers and allow qualified first-time homebuyers to finance up to 100 percent of the purchase price of their first home, as opposed to the current financial assistance rate of 97 percent.

This program is available to low-, moderate- and middle-income buyers throughout the state and is MassHousing’s response to the record-low inventory levels, rising home prices, high rents and student loan debt that has become a statewide issue. 

“MassHousing’s new down payment assistance program will help ensure that homeownership remains accessible to working families, by allowing creditworthy homebuyers to buy their first home with little to no down payment requirement,” said MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay said. “By boosting the buying power of low-, moderate- and middle-income households, MassHousing will support investment in neighborhoods, help the state’s workforce remain rooted in Massachusetts, and advance the Agency’s mission of confronting housing challenges facing the Commonwealth, to improve the lives of its people.”

The program still maintains some of MassHousing’s standard requirements, including a minimum credit score, debt-to-income qualifications and prospective homebuyers must attend a homeownership education class. Additionally, there are annual household median income limitations of:
$103,400 in eastern Massachusetts
$85,700 in Worcester County
$67,200 in Berkshire County 
MassHousing Announces Down Payment Assistance Program
On Tuesday, February 13th, representatives from the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) testified before the Boston City Council Committee on Government Operations regarding Mayor Walsh’s proposal to regulate short term rentals.   

The primary effect of the proposed Ordinance would be to establish a registration system for all short-term rentals and to impose limitations on such rentals in the City of Boston.

The Ordinance initially establishes three (3) classes of properties.  
1. Home Share Units: are tenant/owner-occupied dwellings in which the tenant/owner will not be present during the short-term rentals.  
2. Limited Share Units: are tenant/owner-occupied dwellings in which the tenant/owner will be present during such rentals. 
3. Investor Units: are non-owner-occupied dwellings.  

The restrictions imposed on short-term rentals depends on the above classifications. Initially, it should be noted that a “Short-term Rental” is defined as the use of a residential unit “for a tenancy of thirty or fewer consecutive calendar days for a fee.”  As to “Limited Share Units”, there is no restriction on short-term rentals.  “Home Share Units” may be “offered” for short-term rental 365 days per year, but the unit may not be booked for more than ninety (90) days per year.  Finally, “Investor Units” may not be offered for short-term rental more than ninety (90) days per year.  

In addition, certain units are prohibited from being used for short-term rentals.  These include so-called “affordable housing” units, units which are designated as “Problem Properties” or “Public Nuisance Properties”, and residential units which have three (3) or more violations of this Ordinance or of municipal ordinances, noise laws, trash disposal, or similar violations within the past six (6) months. Licensed lodging houses, bed and breakfasts, and units leased to non-profits for temporary housing of medical patients and their families are exempt from this Ordinance. Any “Short-term Rentals” that do not comply with the foregoing restrictions would constitute a violation of the Ordinance.

In addition to these limitations, the Ordinance would establish a mandatory registration system for all properties offering Short-term Rentals, including all three classifications of units (Home Share, Limited Share and Investor), as well as lodging houses and bed and breakfasts. The registration forms will require the operator to disclose their name, address, relationship to the owner (i.e. agent, tenant, owner), and the classification of the unit.  The operator must also certify that it follows the other technical requirements of the Ordinance, including that they have legal authority to enter into Short-term rentals, the unit is compliant with all Codes, and that such rental does not violate any lease or condominium by-laws.

To read more about this legislation, the registration system, fine structure, and GRBEB’s stance on this issue, please click here.
Boston Seeks to Regulate Short Term Rentals
On Monday March 5th the Cambridge City Council rejected enacting local by-laws that would restrict the sale of property by a vote of 6-3. Specifically, the measure proposed creating a right of first refusal that would allow tenants to join together and purchase their residential building should their landlord decide to sell. Cambridge City Councilors who opposed the measure were Mayor Marc C. McGovern, Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, Craig A. Kelley, Alanna M. Mallon, E. Denise Simmons, and Timothy J. Toomey, Jr.

The Cambridge proposal was similar legislation pending at the State House, Bill H. 3017, An Act to Preserve Affordable Housing Through a Local Option Tenant’s Right to Purchase.
GBREB has strongly opposed H.3017 which is modeled after the Tenant Opportunity Purchase Act (TOPA) law in Washington D.C.  The Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) has raised numerous objections to the creation of a right of first refusal law including complicating loans and clouding title insurance, complicating previously routine transfers of interest among individuals, families or business entities that own housing and delaying the sale of homes and multifamily property.

Although, H.3017 was referred to a study at the State House effectively stopping progress of the bill for this session, discussions are still ongoing in Somerville on how to advance the issue locally.

Click here to read more about the vote.
Cambridge Rejects Tenant Right of First Refusal on Mutli-Unit Property Sales

Earlier this month, the Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB) adopted sections 1, 2, and 4 of the Fourth Exposure Draft of Proposed Changes to the Real Property Appraiser Qualification Criteria at a public AQB meeting in Washington, DC.
Here is an overview of the adopted sections:
Section 1. Revisions to the college-level education requirements for Licensed Residential and Certified Residential.
No longer require a Bachelor's degree for Licensed Residential
Certified Residential requires one of the following:

•      Bachelor's Degree in ANY field
•      Associate's Degree in Business Administration, Accounting, Finance, Economics, or Real Estate
•      Completion of 30 hours of (1) relevant coursework, or (2) College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams (3) or some mix of both

Section 2. Alternative to Bachelor's Degree requirement for Licensed Residential to become Certified Residential
Must have 5 years’ experience
•       No disciplinary action within the past 5 years
Completion of specific additional education 

Section 4. Reduction of Experience Hours
Licensed Residential: 1000 hours in 6 months
Certified Residential: 1500 hours in 12 months
Certified General: 3000 in 18 months

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) previously submitted a comment letter to the AQB in response to its draft, concerning some of the proposed changes. NAR agreed with the removal of the degree qualification and replacing it with the core curriculum credit hours, as well as the education requirements for certified residential appraisers. However, NAR expressed concern that a reduction in experience hours could have an impact on the quality of incoming appraisers and has asked that prior work experiences count towards education requirements.

The implementation date of the changes to the Real Property Appraiser Qualification Criteria is set as May 1st, 2018.

Appraiser Qualification Changes to Take Effect May 1
This year, GBAR has partnered with The CE Shop, the leader in online real estate education.  We know our members' time is valuable and trying to stay on top of business and family priorities can be a challenge--especially as your license expiration date nears.  

That's why we've partnered with The CE Shop--to give you more flexibility and control over how to meet your Continuing Education requirements.  All our members benefit from our co-branded course website. This means you have a one-stop shop that lists the course subject and describes each in full detail, so you know what's offered before you enroll. Visit the GBAR CE Shop website at any time to review and purchase the courses you want.  You can start your course immediately or come back to it later. 

The CE Shop's courses not only provide the most relevant and current information, and are delivered in user-friendly language, but you can pause and bookmark any time where you left off in a course.  Return to your learning environment when you have the free time to do so. Visit the CE Shop today and check out the site and to leverage our partnership's monthly promotional discount for Greater Boston REALTORS®.

Don’t forget as a GBAR member, you also have access to free CE webinars, called Manageable Mondays offered once each month. Visit our education & events page for details on upcoming webinars.
Create Your Own Schedule with The CE Shop
We have all learned that there is only one way to say the word REALTOR® correctly.  Some of us have been chided into correcting our pronunciation from three syllables to two (REAL-tor, not REAL-i-ter or REAL-a-ter), but once you learn the right way to say REALTOR®, you never forget.  The same applies to use of the REALTOR® trademark and logo.  Once you learn how to use them properly, you begin to notice when others don’t, and how such improper use dilutes the value of our brand.

How Well Do You Know the REALTOR® Trademark?

Members of the National Association of REALTORS® are licensed to use the marks and logo relating to their real estate business.  “Real estate business” includes real estate brokerage, property management, real estate appraising, land development and building.  See how much you really know about the REALTOR® marks and logo by taking this short quiz.

The rules for proper use of the REALTOR® marks and logo apply to any and all media.  Whether the marks are used on signs or newspaper ads, letterhead or flyers, websites or e-mails, the rules remain the same. Members may only use the REALTOR® marks and logo in connection with their name and the real estate business to identify themselves as members of NAR. A short video produced by NAR explains this very well.

The long and short of it; if you can replace the word “REALTOR®” with the word “member” and the meaning stays the same, you are using the mark correctly.  The correct use of the term “REALTOR®” must always include the registered trademark (not copyright) symbol and be capitalized.  The term “REALTOR®” means “member of the National Association of REALTORS®”.  It is therefore, not appropriate to say that you are a “Professional REALTOR®”; an “Experienced REALTOR®”; or a “True Realtor” (sic) as this dilutes the power of the trademark and does not correctly distinguish you as a member of the National Association of REALTORS®.  Similarly, writing “Jane Deerfield, Commercial REALTOR®” would not be correct.  A correct way to write this would be “Jane Deerfield, REALTOR® - specializing in Commercial Real Estate.”  Thus, if the word “member” cannot logically be substituted for the term “REALTOR®”, use a clarifying phrase instead.

Additional information and tools can be found at www.nar.realtor. GBAR members are encouraged to help educated their fellow REALTORS® in ensuring compliance with the guidelines described above.  Questions, comments or complaints about improper use of the REALTOR® marks and logo can also be directed to the GBAR Brokerage Counseling Hotline at 617-399-7869.
Improper Use of the REALTOR® Trademark Dilutes Its Value

REALTORS® should be aware that negotiations through text and email may bind clients to an agreement. Therefore, great caution should be used when communicating through these means unless the agent has the "express actual authority" to bind their client through such means. Express actual authority means that the client has explicitly indicated through words and/or actions that the agent may act to bind the client. Such actions may be verbal, but preferably should be documented in writing.

"Apparent authority", which is determined by analyzing the actions of the client and whether those actions would cause a third party to reasonably believe that the client intended to be bound by the actions of the agent, is why extreme caution should be used when negotiating via text and email as you may bind your client into an agreement; irrespective of whether or not there was intent to do so - thereby creating potential liability for the client and the REALTOR® agent.

If it has been determined that an agent does in fact have the authority to bind their client, the electronic communication must still satisfy Massachusetts law and the statute of frauds in order to be binding. The statute of frauds is a legal doctrine that requires contracts for the sale of land to include all essential terms and be in writing signed by the party against whom enforcement is sought. Emails or text messages from an agent laying out the specific terms of a deal may be sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the statute of frauds. In fact, even incorporating by reference to a document containing the essential terms may be sufficient.

Two recent court cases support this assertion. In 2012, the Massachusetts Superior Court ruled in Feldberg v. Coxall that the parties could be bound if the material terms of the agreement were present and the parties had the requisite intent to enter into the agreement. Furthermore, it held that signature blocks in emails could meet the signature requirement. In May 2016, a Massachusetts Land Court ruled that a series of text messages can satisfy the Statute of Frauds and bind parties to a real estate transaction.

The 2016 case, St. John's Holdings, LLC v. Two Electronics, LLC , involved a dispute between two businesses for the purchase of a commercial property. Over the course of several weeks the parties negotiated an unsigned "Binding Letter of Intent" through their respective brokers via email and text messages. Included in an email exchange, which included the brokers’ respective email signatures, was an email from the listing broker stating that the seller was "ready to do this." The listing broker then followed up with a text message to the buyer’s broker, telling the buyer to sign the Letter of Intent, as prepared by the seller, and submit a deposit, which the buyer did. Some of the text messages included signatures on a first name basis, but not all of them did. During these negotiations, however, the seller received and accepted a higher offer from a different buyer and refused to sign the Letter of Intent with the buyer. Immediately, the buyer sought to enforce the Letter of Intent in a Massachusetts Land Court, arguing that the Letter of Intent was binding based on the exchange of emails and text messages between the real estate brokers and included all material terms of the contract. The seller, on the other hand, argued that the text messages were merely negotiations and further, did not include the required signature from the seller.

The judge sided with the buyer, ruling that the text messages, in addition to the emails, satisfied the statute of frauds and amounted to a binding contract. In reaching his decision, the judge considered all of the email and text messages as whole. "Under the Statute of Frauds, multiple writings relating to the subject matter of the agreement may be read together as long as the writings, when considered as a single instrument, contain all the material terms of the contract." Additionally, he held that the signatures in the text messages were enough to authenticate the seller: "Typing their names at the end of certain messages containing material terms, but declining to do so for more informal discussions, is indicative that the parties chose to be bound by those signed communications."

What REALTORS® Can Do to the Protect Themselves
Unless a client has expressly authorized you to make an agreement on their behalf, REALTORS® should consider including a disclaimer at the bottom of emails that include proposed terms for an agreement. Adding a disclaimer, such as: "Nothing in this email is intended to create a binding contract for the purchase or sale of real estate. The sender of this email does not have authority to bind a client [buyer or seller] to an agreement via written or oral communications, including by email." when it accurately describes the agent’s authority, will avoid unintended consequences of email communications.

When communicating through text message, it is wise to make similar statements in the beginning of the negotiations. An even wiser approach would be to discontinue negotiating terms through text messages all together.

Can an Email or Text Message from a REALTOR® Bind a Client to a Transaction?

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

Read the March BOMA E-News

March E-News
Despite plummeting temperatures and seasonal interruptions, the Greater Boston housing market showed little few signs of cooling down in January, as home and condo sales remained near record levels and home prices continued to rise amidst a continued shortage of supply of homes for sale, according to data issued today from the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® (GBAR).

The detached single-family home market saw a slight decline in sales in January as 787 homes were sold last month compared to the 836 homes sold in January 2017. This is a 5.9 percent drop; however, it is the fifth highest sales total on record, and remains above the 15-year historical sales average for January of 699 homes sold. In the condo market, sales experienced a more modest decrease in sales volume of 2.2 percent last month from 624 condos sold in January 2017 to 610 sold last month. This was also comfortably above the monthly average of 537 sold condos and is the fourth highest sales total on record for the month. 

“The cold winter weather and distractions of the holidays did little to diminish buyer interest and enthusiasm over the past month,” said GBAR Marie Presti, broker-owner of The Presti Group in Newton. “If anything, with inventory in short supply, buyers appear more motivated than ever with a new home at the top of their shopping list for the new year,” she added.
Indeed, inventory lagged as active listings in both markets experienced significant declines last month. Active listings of single family homes fell 24.3 percent from 2,014 homes for sale in January 2017 to 1,525 on market last month.  Likewise, the condo market saw a 19.9 percent decline in active listings, dropping to 1,173 on market from 1,465 units on the market in January 2017. 

Not surprisingly, with the drop in available listings, the median sales price of single family homes increased to $551,000 last month, an increase of 6.0 percent from the January 2017 median sales price of $520,000.  Likewise, the condo median sale price rose 3.0 percent from $505,000 in January 2017 to $520,000 this year.  These are both record high median sales prices for the month of January.

“For those looking to get maximum value for their home, today’s record high home prices make the upcoming spring market an ideal time to consider listing a home for sale,” stated Presti.  The growth in home prices isn’t particularly bad news for home buyers either, according to Presti.  “The steady price appreciation occurring in the market is not excessive.  It is justified and appropriate given the limited supply of homes for sale, so most industry observers believe there is little risk for a price bubble at this time,” she asserted.  

With mortgage rates still low, most buyers remain unfazed by the upward pressure on housing costs, Presti noted.  As a result, she predicts another active spring selling season.   “There’s an urgency for many buyers to purchase a home before mortgage rates get much higher, and that fact along with this winter’s modest snowfall should provide an early start to the spring market,” she commented. 

For additional information regarding January 2018 Greater Boston Housing statistics, including our new interactive housing market data dashboard, visit the Monthly Housing Market Reports page. 
Greater Boston Home Sales Remain Steady, Prices Rise in January

Each year since 2000, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has recognized 30 members across the nation, under the age of 30 who have demonstrated innovative business savviness, skill, success, creativity, leadership and community involvement throughout their early real estate careers.

This week, GBAR members Randy Horn of Compass Massachusetts in Boston and Nicole Rideout of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty in Boston were named as part of the 50 finalists vying for a seat in REALTOR® Magazine’s 30 Under 30 Class of 2018.    

Starting next Friday, March 16 and through 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 23, members of the public can vote (once per every 24 hours) for their favorite finalist to receive the Web Choice Award. The finalist who receives the most votes is guaranteed a spot among this year’s 30 Under 30. The magazine’s panel of judges will select the remaining 29 honorees from the finalists. The 30 Under 30 Class of 2018 will be featured in the May/June issue of REALTOR® Magazine.
GBAR Members Named as Finalists for REALTOR® Magazine’s 30 Under 30
Following the passage of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a news release clarifying that in many cases, interest paid on home equity loans remains deductible under the new tax reform law. Many questions have arisen on this issue, as many media reports on the new tax law indicated that as of 2018, interest is no longer deductible on home equity loans. 
In the release, the IRS stated that “despite newly-enacted restrictions on home mortgages, taxpayers can often still deduct interest on a home equity loan, home equity line of credit (HELOC) or second mortgage, regardless of how the loan is labelled.” The key factor is that the proceeds of such loans must be used to buy, build, or substantially improve the taxpayer’s home that secures the loan.  Interest on a home equity or other loan used for personal living expenses (e.g. paying off credit card debt, education, or vacation expenses) would not be deductible.

For more information on tax reform, visit NAR’s homepage on the issue.
IRS Clarifies Home Equity Loan Interest Deductibility

John F. Dolan III Named President of Commercial Brokers Association

John F. Dolan III, a Senior Vice President at McCall & Almy in Boston, recently was sworn in as the 2018 president of the Commercial Brokers Association, which represents more than 400 members in the commercial real estate brokerage community throughout Massachusetts.

Dolan has worked at McCall & Almy since 2012, advising and representing office and industrial tenants locally, nationally and beyond. He previously was an Assistant Vice President at Meredith & Grew (now Colliers International) in Boston from 2007 to 2012. Prior to joining Meredith & Grew, he worked for several years in various media and brand management positions, including as a radio producer in Boston and New Business Development Manager at Cramer.

With a very early interest in broadcasting, at age 12 Dolan became a news reporter for WBZ Radio’s Peabody Award-winning “Kid Company” program. Among his notable experiences was traveling to the 1992 Democratic National Convention where he interviewed such well-known attendees as Hillary Clinton, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and then-New York City Mayor David Dinkins. He continued his broadcasting pursuits while a student at Scituate High School as a sports reporter at South Shore radio station WATD.

Dolan has retained his connection to broadcasting, serving for many years as a public address announcer at Madison Square Garden for the Knicks, at TD Garden for the Boston Bruins, Hockey East and Beanpot, and at Gillette Stadium for both the Patriots and Revolution.

Dolan earned both his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees from Providence College. In addition to his role as President of the Commercial Brokers Association, he is a member of the board of directors of the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund, which provides need-based college scholarship aid to students who have demonstrated a strong work ethic by having completed at least two years of service to golf.

About the Commercial Brokers Association

Founded in 1991, the Commercial Brokers Association represents over 400 members in the commercial brokerage community throughout Massachusetts. CBA is deeply committed to providing relevant educational programs, promoting professionalism and cooperation, and creating an atmosphere where knowledge and ideas are easily exchanged.

John Dolan Named President of CBA

GBREB strives to ease the Massachusetts Housing Crisis

The Greater Boston Real Estate Boards continues to work on the issue of producing housing at all price points as a solution to an issue that confront so many people in the Greater Boston area, and especially inside of Route 495. The Commercial Divisions of the Board see this as an issue as they look at market conditions because without adequate housing, the ability of companies to grow and prosper in Massachusetts will be affected which will ultimately impact commercial rental rates. Residential members see a problem of inventory at sale prices that many working families can afford.

As a solution the Greater Boston Real Estate Board has been working for several years with the Legislature and the Mayor of Boston to advance policies that can produce the much-needed housing stock, both in the "for sale" inventory and for rental units as well. The Board is supporting the housing proposal filed by Governor Baker in December of 2017, which will not solve the problem entirely but will help move the Commonwealth closer to a solution. Massachusetts is in a great economic position with a highly skilled workforce, so let's hope that our greatest export is not our hard-working citizens who will be forced to exit because they have no place to live.

Massachusetts Housing Crisis

Would you like to have an active voice in setting policy and being a decision maker for the REALTOR® organization on the state level?

Or, do you know a well-qualified colleague who should be considered for a leadership role with our state association?  If so, we invite you to submit a nomination form for yourself or a fellow REALTOR® for the position of Greater Boston Regional Representative to the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR).

This role serves a two-year term on the MAR Board of Directors and Executive Committee. This elected office holder presides at each regional caucus of the MAR Directors and oversees the coordination of state REALTOR® association objectives and activities. The Regional Representative holds a seat on the GBAR Board of Directors and Executive Committee.

There is an online nomination form available which contains the detailed description of the role and its qualifications, as well as this nomination packet which you can use to apply.

The application deadline is May 1, 2018.

Nominations Sought for MAR Regional Representative

Now that tax time is upon us, many REALTOR® members have been consulting with their tax advisors on how to manage their personal tax situation. The GBAR Brokerage Counseling Line has received many calls from members who have been advised to form a LLC to receive the agent’s commissions.  Although the tax implications and rationale surrounding the formation of a legal entity to collect commission payments requires careful consideration and should be done only after consultation with both legal and tax professionals, the formation of an LLC could weigh in favor of supporting the independent contractor status of the REALTOR® member if such status were to be challenged by a regulatory or tax authority.

While the short answer is that it is permissible for a Massachusetts brokerage firm to pay commissions to a LLC, there are important laws and regulations in the Commonwealth that must be followed in order to do so. 

The licensing of a corporation is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 112, Section 87UU. A license will only be issued to a corporation if the corporation designates a representative to obtain the license and that representative already holds a broker’s license as an individual. Further, the statute expressly prohibits the issuance of a salesperson’s license to a corporation. 

The issuance of broker’s licenses is further regulated by 254 CMR 2.11, which states:

•No licensee may engage in the business of real estate brokering in a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), partnership, limited liability partnership (LLP), association or society unless the entity is licensed by the Board.

•No broker’s license shall issue to a corporation, LLC, partnership, LLP, association or society unless an officer in such corporation, society or association or partner in a partnership is a licensed broker in the Commonwealth and designated as the broker of record for the entity. The broker of record must be currently licensed at all times, otherwise the license of the entity shall cease.

Fees and commissions earned from a real estate transaction may only be paid to a licensed salesperson or broker. As such, any payments to an unlicensed LLC (or other unlicensed entity) are impermissible. If you wish to take advantage of any potential benefits to corporations under tax reform, you must act within the bounds of Massachusetts laws and regulations and should also be aware of the additional costs for licensure of the LLC, as well as any annual reporting and filing requirements with the Secretary of State of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

Can You Set Up a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) to Receive Commission Payments?
In December 2017, the GBAR Board of Directors voted to approve the discontinuation of all standard forms created by the former Eastern Middlesex Association of REALTORS® and available in print or on online in the EMAR Forms Library by April 30, 2018.  Members who are currently using forms offered by EMAR are strongly encouraged to utilize GBREB forms instead.  If your office has paper copies of EMAR forms, you may continue to use these forms, however please ensure that these forms have not been updated by amended language or changes that may have arisen because of statutory requirements.  Please note that the Realtor Training and Service Center in Reading has discontinued the sale of all EMAR forms.
Important Information for Users of EMAR Forms

Click the button below to read the Jan/Feb 2018 RHA NextGen Member Newsletter

Click for Newsletter

NextGen Member Newsletter Jan/Feb

GBREB Foundation aims to eclipse fundraising goals for Greater Boston kids as Mayor Walsh and Arthur Winn will be honored

On June 12, 2018 the Greater Boston Real Estate Board Foundation will hold its annual scholarship breakfast at the Westin, Copley Place. Mayor Martin Walsh will be honored as a “First One,” being the first in his family to graduate from college, and Arthur Winn who will receive the Neighborhood Visionary Award for his passionate commitment to housing and improving the quality of life for thousands of people in the Greater Boston area. They also hope to announce that the Greater Boston Real Estate Board has met is goal of raising 1 million dollars over the last 4 years to help students in Greater Boston attend the academic institutions of their dreams.

The Greater Boston Real Estate Board Scholarship Fund was established in 2012 with the goal of helping economically disadvantaged young people attend and graduate from college by providing them with scholarship assistance and financial aid counseling. In order to accomplish their mission, GBREB partnered with uAspire, a Boston-based organization that has been helping students from low-income families find an affordable path to a postsecondary education since 1985.

Now in its fifth year, the GBREB Foundation has awarded over $500,000 in 'last dollar' scholarships that are granted for the purpose of filling the gap between students' financial aid and the costs of college beyond tuition – such as room and board, computers, books and supplies to graduating seniors in the Greater Boston area.

Scholarships of $1,000-$5,000 are awarded to students each spring based on financial need, academic achievement, leadership, extra-curricular involvement, and short written essays, and are guaranteed for two years. These scholarships can sometimes be the determining factor as to whether or not a low-income student will attend college.

The GBREB Foundation Scholarship Fund Leadership Breakfast, first held in 2015, was envisioned as a way to honor the students receiving the GBREB Foundation scholarship awards as well as the donors who contributed to the fund. Now held annually, the breakfast simultaneously recognizes Massachusetts business, government, education, nonprofit and community leaders with the uAspire First One Award, given to those individuals who were the first in their families to graduate from college and make noteworthy contributions to their field and society at large.

To visit the scholarship website, please visit Click Here

GBREB Scholarship

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