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What steps can a listing agent take to verify that the person contacting them is really the owner of the property? 

There have been an increasing number of reports in Massachusetts relating to fraudulent sellers. Often, these scams are attempted on vacation properties or vacant properties because the legitimate owners may not be routinely physically present at the property. Some indicators of a potentially fraudulent seller are:

• They say are out of state/country and cannot meet in person;
• Refusal to engage in a video conference;
• Insistence on selling the property fast;
• Willingness to sell below market value.

If faced with a situation where perhaps the lead seems too good to be true, or there are some red flags, a diligent listing agent should:

• Seek advice from their broker;
• Request identification from the seller(s);
• Do a records search – do the names match?
• Insist on a video call;
• Do an internet/social media search for the seller(s).

If the seller is legitimate, they will likely be agreeable to the efforts to verify their identity and ownership status of the property. In those situations where the person is attempting to perpetrate a fraud, taking these additional steps will likely act as a sufficient deterrent to the scammer. 

Failure to engage in proper due diligence by the listing agent could result in significant damages to the listing agent, the brokerage, the owners of the property, and the buyers.
Courtesy of the MAR Legal Team.
Red Flags & Tips for Dealing With Property Scammers


Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Andi Blackwell

You can create a safer, more positive culture in your office, even if you're not the one who's actually in charge

It’s an unfortunate fact of modern life that many people no longer feel safe, even in their own neighborhoods and workplaces. The events and discussions of the past few months reflect a growing anxiety and an ongoing lack of trust in the people and institutions we used to feel were on our side. Bad behavior can happen anywhere — at a conference, in the office and at the highest levels of the industry.

For almost 100 years, it’s been established that safety is a basic human need, second only to food, water and shelter. In a world with increasingly stressful headlines and market changes, here are three ways you can create a culture of safety in your office, even if you’re not in charge.

1. Explore and practice self-regulation

 Self-regulation is an important component of emotional intelligence. It allows you to be more aware of yourself and others, and can help you to optimize your behavior in reaching your long-term goals. Most importantly, self-regulation allows you to manage your thoughts, feelings, and actions, even when faced with a difficult situation, or traumatic event. 

Two common strategies for self-regulation are mindfulness and reframing. In this context, mindfulness is not a meditation, but rather an awareness of being present in the moment without judgment.

Imagine hearing an agent on the phone with frustration in their voice. When you’re being present without judgment, you don’t jump to an assumption that they are frustrated with you or the deal. You understand that people are complex beings with much going on. It may have nothing to do with you.

Reframing is a strategy that allows you to reinterpret the situation you’re in to change your emotional response. In every situation we walk into, we bring the sum of all of our experiences. As real estate agents we brag about our experience as a good thing, but it can also carry with it assumptions, frustrations and emotional history.

While real estate remains a field of heightened stress, using self-regulation strategies means your emotional state won’t be at the whim of every phone call. You can also learn how to use these new strategies to assist others when they are in a dysregulated state. By being a more regulated and present individual, you can contribute to the general peace of an office.  

2. Advocate for clear safety policies both inside and outside of the office

Is it safe for an agent to meet someone alone at a vacant house? In what circumstances may it be? If your office does not have established best practices for safety, advocate for that to change. Safety policies are not a guarantee, but having these policies in place shows that the agents’ lives are as important as their livelihoods. It also provides an opportunity for an ongoing conversation that will continue to be needed.

Best practices for safety aren’t just needed outside the office. Eighty-one percent of women and 43 percent of men report experiencing some sort of sexual harassment or assault in their lifetime. Seventy-one percent of Black Americans have experienced racial discrimination or mistreatment. Nearly half of LGBT workers will have experienced workplace harassment in their life.

So what do you do to maintain safety within the office? All Realtors are subject to Code of Ethics 10-5 regarding hate speech, but many agents say enforcement is still needed. Most agents are independent contractors that don’t benefit from Title VII federal protections, but no one would argue that a real estate office should be a place where discrimination is accepted.

That said, each office or agency should seek legal advice to craft an office policy regarding discrimination and how to enforce it with integrity to secure the trust of their agents. Independent contractors should also remember they are always able to seek an office whose policies conform to their values.

3. Encourage different business perspectives in the office

Real estate is an industry where there is no one way to be successful. Inman’s articles are filled with agents who have created successful businesses via a wide variety of marketing techniques. Yet there are agents who believe you have to do a specific activity “to be successful.”

We now know that consistency is the key to a successful business. It is not the activity you pick, it’s doing it consistently, often enough and long enough, to reap the rewards. That is why it is extremely beneficial to bring different business perspectives into your office and embrace the many paths to success.

One agent may not feel safe door knocking but can flourish on social media. Another agent may not be comfortable with the lack of privacy on social media but is very successful with open houses. Allowing and encouraging a variety of different methods provides different avenues for agents to build their businesses while also meeting their needs of safety.

Agents in offices can request information and speakers on different marketing practices. If that’s not something their office provides, another way would be to create a mastermind with like-minded agents. 

These three points are just a few ways you can contribute to a culture of safety. Of course, we are all aware that there are no guarantees when it comes to safety. Each agent still deserves to build a life and a business where they can feel safe. As a basic need, it is frankly essential for the individual, and therefore the office, to thrive.

Andi Blackwell partners with her husband as real estate agents at eXp Realty (and they still love each other). She’s a third-generation agent and Certified Trauma-Informed Coach who focuses on teaching classes and finding ways to improve agent and client outcomes. 

3 Ways to Create a Culture of Safety in Your Office

Do you have the cutest pet?

Now is your chance to submit your pet in GBAR’s RPAC Pet Contest because REALTOR® Pets Are Cool and RPAC helps promote and protect homeownership.

Send in your pet’s photo, name and a brief description of them to [email protected].

Then, Register Your Pet Here!

GBAR Pet Contest!
Tucked into this year’s Massachusetts state budget was a new statute, codified as Chapter 239, Section 15 of the General Laws, protecting tenants facing an eviction for non-payment of rent while an application for emergency rental assistance is pending. In essence, the law makes permanent a temporary measure which expired earlier this year. 

“Emergency rental assistance” is defined to mean financial assistance provided to a residential tenant under the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition program or any other program administered by the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities, a municipality or a nonprofit entity using public funds to cure a rent arrearage or subsidize moving costs, including the payment of a security deposit.  

A judge presiding over a residential summary process eviction action must grant a delay for such period as the judge may deem just and reasonable if, either at the time the answer is filed by the tenant or on the date the trial is scheduled to commence: (1) the tenancy is being terminated solely for non-payment of rent; (2) the non-payment of rent resulted from a financial hardship; and (3) the tenant demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the judge, that an application for emergency rental assistance is pending. The judge may, however, elect to consider any meritorious counterclaim brought by the tenant.

No eviction may be ordered until the tenant’s application for emergency rental assistance has been approved or denied. 

Court administrators will be required to file monthly reports with legislative leaders, including data on how many delays have been granted, the average duration of the delays and how many landlords and tenants have been represented by legal aid services. 

As always, members are advised to consult their own attorneys for more information.

Philip S. Lapatin
Holland & Knight LLP
August 9, 2023

New Law Delays Residential Evictions
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Nick Schlekeway

The best real estate agents and the people who operate at the highest levels of the industry are not tactical, they are strategic

Last week I wrote about the first pillar to success, personal development. Today, I’m going to talk to you about the second pillar to success, strategic planning. I use the word “strategic” for a very specific and important reason.

Real estate tends to be a very tactical and very short-term industry. People in our industry, unfortunately, seem to have a hard time looking out into the future.

The best agents and the people who run this industry are not tactical, they are strategic. They make decisions based on what they want to happen in the next five years, not the next five months. They look far beyond the next closing or the next sales cycle. They look to the future they want to create for their lives, the vision they see for their family, and the multi-generational wealth they are going to build. 

You’re a business owner, not a salesperson

Salespeople work on transactions, business owners work on their business, and they have a strategic plan for doing just that. While there is certainly nothing wrong with being in sales, most of us got into this industry and went 1099 so that we could build a business. OK, so what is your plan? A dream without a plan is just a damn wish.

The best strategic plan is the one that you understand and that you can follow. It is also the one built on proven models that have been tested in real life. Let’s pause right there because this is critical. Not only do you not have to come up with your own plan from scratch, you shouldn’t. Do not reinvent the wheel, and do not think that you are so special you cannot learn from the mistakes of those who have come before.

The starting point for your plan is to go find people who are doing what you want to do and talk to them about how they got there. The same information is found in books and podcasts covering the habits, systems and stories of successful agents. 

Here are some (not all) of the most important items to include in your planning:

It’s absolutely critical that you understand some kind of budget, some kind of forecasting. You don’t have to have a spreadsheet with 20 tabs on it, but you have to have some idea of the following:

• How much money you’re going to spend on marketing
• How much money you have available to pay your bills
• How much you want to have available to invest in income-producing assets each year

Most importantly, for real estate agents (especially new ones), how much money do you need to set aside for taxes? The tax man cometh, and one way or another, you always have to settle up with The Man.  

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
What are your KPIs and how are you going to use them to drive progress? The most obvious KPI for anyone in sales is prospecting phone calls, but some others include:
• content pieces delivered (newsletter, social media, podcast, etc.)
• buyer/seller consultations
• open houses
• one-on-one meetings with high-net-worth individuals
• CMAs or equity updates for people in your farming area

The most important KPI to understand and to track is for every agent to understand how many leads they need to generate each month in order to hit their sales goal for the year, with an understanding that those leads are a result of the activities listed above.  

Speaking of goals, what are your goals for the month, the quarter, the year, and the next two to three years? Yes, sales goals, but also goals for how many listings you want to take vs. buyers, average sale price, specific markets to break into, specific people or groups to start working with, etc.

Your goals should be the benchmarks you need to hit in order to continue progressing in your strategic plan. All of it should be driving you to the future you want to create. Your vision.  

What sales systems do you need to create or rip off and implement in your business to increase efficiencies or customer service? I highly recommend ripping them off since we work in an extremely simple industry, and you likely won’t be able to think of anything that has not already been thought of and implemented by someone else. 

When it comes to systems like preparing a listing for market or moving a buyer through the sales funnel, someone is already doing it at a high level. Just copy them. 

Strategic assets
What strategic assets do you need to acquire in order to execute the long-term plan? This could be your own office space, it could be a specific tool or technology asset, it could be a strategic lead generation asset like building the organic SEO on your website so that it generates five leads a month or building the reach of your social media to the same purpose.

It could be the purchase of all of your own staging furniture (and a designer to place it), or it could be hiring a marketing director to take your marketing to the next level. What are the strategic assets you need to acquire that will help catapult you? 

A quote to ponder
“Strategic planning is worthless – unless there is first a strategic vision.” — John Naisbitt

A good plan should be simple and easy to follow. For me, this means it needs to fit on one or two pages. Maybe you need, or like, a bit more detail, but I would be cautious about getting into the weeds. While we should know where we are going, we never know exactly how we are going to get there, and the route always takes unexpected twists and turns.

One of the biggest tragedies of this industry is the number of agents who failed simply because they were either too ignorant or arrogant to follow the map that successful agents have already drawn. Create your own map and enjoy the rewards.

Nick Schlekeway is the founder of Amherst Madison, a Boise, Idaho-based real estate brokerage.

Why Having a Strategic Plan is the Secret to Peak Performance

GBREB, Massachusetts Housing Coalition and the Massachusetts Homebuilders and Remodeler’s Association Take Action to Oppose 2024 Rent Control Ballot Question

The Greater Boston Real Estate Board, Massachusetts Housing Coalition (MHC) and the Massachusetts Homebuilders (HBRAMA) and Remodeler’s Association recently took the first step in opposing a 2024 ballot initiative to bring back rent control. 

Before a question can be put before the voters, it must take clear several procedural steps. One of the first steps is a review by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office to determine if complies with Article 48 of the Massachusetts Constitution. As part of that review, GBREB, MHA and HMRAMA recently submitted a legal memorandum outlining concerns that the question did not meet the constitutional muster to move forward. 

Attorney General Andrea Campbell then has about a month to decide which of the over 40 questions on a wide variety of topics should advance.  

The ballot question process is independent of legislation currently pending at the State House to bring back rent control including the recent home rule petition in Boston filed by Mayor Michelle Wu.

Click here to see an explanation of how a voter referendum is added to the ballot in Massachusetts.

Please visit for more information.

GBREB, Others Take Action to Oppose 2024 Rent Control Ballot Question

Education & Events

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The Boston CRE DEI Summit
Sep 28, 2023
155 Seaport Bldv
Pancakes & Politics Legislative Breakfast
Oct 12, 2023
Bear Hill Golf Club
2 North Street
Manageable Monday: Brokerage Relationships Webinar
Oct 16, 2023
Zoom Meeting
Sustainability Symposium
Oct 18, 2023
Four Points By Sheraton
1125 Boston-Providence Turnpike
Norwood, MA
Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA) Certification Webinar
Oct 19, 2023 - Oct 20, 2023
GBREB College Career Showcase
Oct 19, 2023
Virtual Via Zoom
Economic Expectations
Oct 25, 2023
Federal Reserve Bank
600 Atlantic Ave.
Real Estate Professional Ethics Webinar
Oct 27, 2023
Marketing The Listing Certificate Course Webinar
Oct 31, 2023 - Nov 01, 2023


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The Boston CRE DEI Summit
Pancakes & Politics Legislative Breakfast
Bear Hill Golf Club
Manageable Monday: Brokerage Relationships Webinar
Zoom Meeting

For easy access to one of your top member benefits, check out our new RPR page!