New in 2019, GBAR will be highlighting our Platinum Partner Sponsors via industry-focused articles, which contain information for our REALTOR® members. Below is our first in our series this year, presented by Metro Credit Union.

Metro Credit Union is a leader in residential mortgage lending, offering a wide variety of mortgage products that meet the varied needs of borrowers, including purchase mortgages, refinances, and home equity loans. With a focus on first-time homebuyers, we offer ongoing Informational seminars and multiple programs including HomeReady™, HomePossible® and Operation Welcome Home. The Portfolio Plus Mortgage, one of the more innovative programs available, was specifically created to give those with less savings but good credit the chance to become homeowners. Our credit union also participates in many government programs including the FHA, MassHousing and At Home mortgage programs.  Most mortgages are kept in-portfolio and are serviced by our team in Chelsea, Massachusetts, providing our members with local service and support. Visit for more information about our mortgage options.

Do you know about 100 million Americans have chosen a credit union for their banking needs?  What is a credit union, and why should you join Metro?

A credit union is a member-owned, community-oriented, not-for-profit financial institution. Banks and credit unions work similarly, but have different goals. You are a customer of a bank, but a co-owner of a credit union. Because banks are for-profit institutions, their goal is often to generate profit for their stock holders. Credit unions are nonprofits whose goal is to help their members. 

Metro Credit Union was founded on the principal of People Helping People.  As part of their mission, our credit union gives back to its local communities by volunteering and supporting local organizations. The credit union’s earnings are returned to members in the form of better rates, lower fees, and competitive products and services. By design, all credit unions are democratically run, and as a member you have the opportunity to vote on important topics at membership meetings. Unlike at large financial institutions, credit union boards are comprised of democratically-elected volunteers who are not paid.  

There are many benefits to joining Metro: lower loan interest rates and fees, higher savings rates, and access to trusted professionals who help members plan for their future. Plus, the credit union offers tools and services geared towards increasing members’ financial wellness. These include free credit report monitoring, free seminars on important financial education topics, and workplace banking programs. And deposits are fully insured with combined deposit insurance through the National Credit Union Administration and the Massachusetts Credit Union Share Insurance Corporation, offering our members peace of mind in knowing their deposits are protected.  

In addition to comprehensive mortgage loans, Metro offers home equity, car, and business loans, and credit cards, as well as different types of insurance and investment programs. Our credit union offers the full range of deposit products including checking accounts, savings accounts, Christmas and Vacation Club Accounts, certificates of deposit, and money market accounts. Plus, with a My Reward Checking account, members enjoy no ATM fees nationwide and even internationally! 

Becoming a member of Metro is easy.  All that is required is a $5.00 deposit, which is considered your share of ownership in the credit union.  You are eligible to join if you live, work or have a place of business in Barnstable, Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, or Worcester county in Massachusetts, and Rockingham or Hillsborough county in New Hampshire.

Interested in joining a banking institution that values members over profits? Achieve your financial goals and join the more than 213,000 members who enjoy the benefits of Metro Credit Union! Visit or call 877.696.3876 today!

Don't Overlook Credit Unions as a Mortgage Lending Provider

On June 11, the Massachusetts Legislature and the Baker-Polito Administration officially enacted legislation to delay the start of employer and employee contributions to the Paid Family and Medical Leave program (PFML) by three months to October 1, 2019.

This delay will allow employers across the Commonwealth more time to prepare their organizations and workforces for PFML. Please read below to see how this delay will affect you and your responsibilities under the law.
Required Withholding Now Starts October 1
The start date for required PFML contributions is now October 1, 2019. On that date, employers must begin withholding PFML contributions from employee qualifying earnings.  Employers will be responsible for remitting employee and (if applicable) employer contributions for the October 1 to December 31 quarter through MassTaxConnect by January 31, 2020.
Contribution Rate Change
The PFML law requires that the Department adjust the contribution rate to offset the shorter period for collections that will result from the three month delay. As a result, the total contribution rate has been adjusted from 0.63% to 0.75% of employee qualifying earnings. This adjustment will ensure that full funding will be in place for the commencement of benefit payments in January 2021. 
Timeline Extended for Required Employee Notices
Employers now have until September 30, 2019, to notify all covered individuals of their rights and obligations under PFML. Check the Department website at in the coming days for updated notices to provide to your workforce.
Timeline Extended for Exemption Applications
Employers that offer paid leave benefits that are at least as generous as those required under the PFML law may apply to the Department for an exemption from making contributions. Employers will now have until December 20, 2019, to apply for an exemption that will excuse them from the obligation to remit contributions for the full period commencing with the October 1 start date.
PFML Regulations Will Be Final and Effective on July 1, 2019
The final regulations will be posted on the Department website at on Monday, June 17, 2019. The regulations will be formally published under the title 458 CMR 2.00 DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE. MAR will provide further updates after the regulations are posted.
More about PFML
Beginning in 2021, PFML will provide temporary income replacement to eligible workers who are welcoming a new child into their family, dealing with a serious illness or injury, caring for an ailing relative, or dealing with complications resulting from the military deployment of a family member. The program is funded by payroll-based contributions from employers, employees, and certain contract workers.

If you are interested in more information about PFML, a webinar on the issue is available here.  If you have any questions or would like help understanding your responsibility under the law, please call the MAR legal hotline at 800-370-5342 or email at
Three Month Delay Approved for Massachusetts Paid Family & Medical Leave Act

Annual GBREB Scholarship Event

For additional information, please visit the Foundation page, here
Annual GBREB Scholarship
Increases in sales of single-family detached homes and condominiums kept the Greater Boston housing market red hot in July despite appreciating home prices and a short supply of homes for sale according to data released today by the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® (GBAR).
Sales of single-family detached homes increased from 1,560 homes sold in July 2017 to 1,651 homes sold last month. This is a 5.8 percent increase in sales volume and ranks fifth best all-time for homes sold for the month of July in Greater Boston. The condo market also experienced a sales increase last month, rising to 1,250 units sold from the 1,168 units sold in July 2017. This 7.0 percent increase makes for the fifth most-active month of July for the condo market in Greater Boston. Additionally, this is the first time since April that both markets had a year-over-year increase in closed sales. 

“The market remains red hot and two of the key factors driving sales are the strong local economy and favorable demographics, including large numbers of millennials looking to entry the housing market for the first time after years of renting or living in the home they grew up in,” said GBAR President Marie Presti, broker/owner of The Presti Group in Newton and Stoneham. “Prices continue to meet new heights month after month, but that hasn’t slowed down buyers as many are eager to purchase a home while mortgage rates remain low.  We simply don’t have the inventory needed to satisfy demand, so it remains a great time to list your home for sale here in Greater Boston,” she added.  

In fact, median prices in Greater Boston reached record-high monthly figures in both markets. The single-family home median sales price rose 7.7 percent from $601,500 in July 2017 to a new record price for July of $647,680 this year. Likewise, the condo market saw a 13.2 percent increase to $600,000 last month, up from $530,000 in July 2017. 

“The Greater Boston housing market is among the most desirable in the country right now for buyers as well as investors, and that’s evident in the strong appreciation in home prices over the past year, and the fact that many are willing to pay top dollar to purchase a home here,” observed Presti. 

The inventory shortage has continued into July as active listings of single family homes fell 8.0 percent from 3,011 in July 2017 to 2,770 last month. Additionally, inventory of condos fell 1,723 units last month from 1,923 in July 2017, which is a 10.4 percent drop.  

For additional information regarding July 2018 Greater Boston Housing statistics, including our new interactive housing market data dashboard, visit the Monthly Housing Market Reports page.
Strong Demand Fuels Steady Gains in Boston Area Home Sales, Prices in July

Monday 3/18 & Tuesday 3/19 Public Hearing On Wetlands By-Law and Real Estate Sales Tax

The Boston City Council will be holding two public hearings next week of interest to the real estate industry.    Both hearings will be held at Boston City Hall in the Iannella Chamber, 1 City Hall Square 5th Floor.  Members of the public are welcome to attend.

WHAT:  Wetlands ByLaw
DATE:  Monday, March 18th
TIME:  11:30
Docket #0250 - An ordinance protecting local wetlands and promoting climate change adaptation in the City of Boston.
SPONSORS:  Councilors Wu, O'Malley, Flaherty, Edwards, Essaibi-George, Flynn, Janey, McCarthy, Zakim and Campbell

WHAT: Real Estate Transfer Tax
DATE:  Tuesday, March 19th
TIME:  2:00 p.m.
Docket #0187 - A hearing regarding a petition for a special law re: An Act Authorizing the City of Boston to Establish an Investor and Commercial Properties Transfer Fee.
SPONSORS:  Edwards, Janey, Wu, Ciommo, Essaibi-George, Flynn, Garrison, O’Malley, Zakim and Campbell

Boston Wetlands, Real Estate Sales Tax Hearing

The Greater Boston Real Estate Board Scholarship has been established to provide scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000 to graduating high school seniors who reside in Boston or the Greater Boston area.

This scholarship will be guaranteed for two years.  Applicants will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated Academic Achievement
  • Leadership Experience and Extra-Curricular Involvement
  • Demonstrated Financial Need
  • Short Answer Response and Essay Response

In order to apply for this scholarship you MUST:

  • Be a class of 2019 graduating high school senior
  • Reside in Boston or the Greater Boston area (click here again to check to you live in this region) or see the list below:

Acton, Arlington, Ashland, Avon, Bedford, Bellingham, Belmont, Boxboro, Brookline, Burlington, Cambridge, Canton, Chelsea, Concord, Dedham, Dover, Everett, Foxboro, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Lexington, Lincoln, Malden, Mansfield, Maynard, Medfield, Medford, Medway, Melrose, Millis, Milton, Natick, Needham, Newton, Norfolk, Norwood, North Reading, Randolph, Reading, Revere, Sharon, Sherborn, Somerville, Stoneham, Stoughton, Stow, Sudbury, Wakefield, Walpole, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Wellesley, Weston, Westwood, Wilmington, Winchester, Winthrop, Woburn, and Wrentham. 

  • Submit a 2019-2020 FAFSA
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident

The deadline to apply is April 1st.



GBREB Foundation Scholarship Deadline April 1
Atricle Courtesy of: Inman News
Written by: Teke Wiggin

Creative use of tech support, stock options, health insurance, financing and legal support can all help solidify a long-term brokerage-team relationship.

Whether you’re a rookie agent, a rising team leader or an established veteran broker, we can all benefit from sharpening our skills. Follow our “Back to Basics” series to learn fundamental strategies, tactics, philosophies and more from real estate pros across the industry.

Real estate agent teams are growing rapidly in number and strength. The trend is causing soul-searching among many brokerages.

In a sense, teams compete with brokerages. They can siphon off commission revenue generated by less experienced agents that would have gone to brokerages in the past. They’re also largely independent businesses — fickle and sometimes willing to defect on short notice.

Yet because teams can reel in so much business, many brokerages are nonetheless scrambling to build warm and cozy nests for them. Some newer firms have taken off like rocket ships thanks partly to their team-oriented focus.

Dangling attractive commission splits is, of course, a tried-and-true way to grab the attention of top producers. But there are plenty of other techniques that brokerages are using to hook and retain teams. Here are nine of them.

1. Stock options and signing bonuses

Given how much commission revenue teams can haul in, some brokerages are handing out big bucks to lure and lock them in.

One way is to pony up fat signing bonuses. Stock options are another. Options can be particularly alluring to team leaders when they are paid out in exchange for recruiting new agents.

That’s because recruiting is often part and parcel of running a team. So rewarding leaders for conducting business as usual can be a strong draw. EXp Realty and Fathom Realty are among firms that have found success with tying stock options to recruiting.

2. Revenue sharing 

Brokerage revenue and profit-sharing programs typically also reward existing agents for recruiting new agents. They do this by giving the existing agent a portion of the subsequent commission revenue generated by the new agent.

Like stock option recruitment rewards, these programs are particularly attractive to team leaders because leaders routinely bring on new agents. Keller Williams Realty popularized the idea with profit-sharing. And eXp Realty has put a new spin on it: revenue-sharing.

“If I close a sale today, theoretically, revenue share could be paid out at the same time,” explained Russ Cofano, former president of eXp World Holdings. “But that can’t be done in the profit-sharing scenario because you don’t know what your profit is [until later].”

Profit-sharing tends to be “less transparent, less immediate and a smaller number at the end of the day,” he added.

3. Health insurance 
Team leaders often nurture their juniors with leads, training, support and business tools. Brokerages that offer discount health insurance plans would allow leaders to make sure their rank and file are taken care of as well.

Many brokerages will claim to offer health insurance, but what they’re really offering is access “through a fancy webpage and a link to an insurance broker,” said Leslie Ebersole, a real estate consultant, in the Facebook group Inman Coast to Coast.

“The outside insurance broker has no obligation to enroll people with prior medical conditions and redirects applicants to the state ACA [Affordable Care Act] website/providers,” she said.

The independent contractor status of most agents has traditionally restricted brokerages from offering employer-like plans that could be cheaper. But health care reform announced in June of last year has opened the door for Realtors to create group plans that could be more affordable than what’s on tap in government marketplaces.

Compass and Fathom Realty claim to offer coverage that actually can save their agents money.
To pull this off, Compass partnered with a benefits company, IdilusHR, that offers access to insurance, as well as other benefits such as dental, vision, etc. “While pricing varies nationally, the program offers value through a combination of  price, lower annual out-of-pocket expense and access to national PPO network,” a Compass spokesperson said in an email.

Fathom Realty CEO Joshua Harley said Fathom did it by contracting with an independent brokerage to create a “private label” plan. But not all agents can qualify for it.

“Ultimately, we had to choose between creating a plan that worked for every agent but saved no one money or creating a plan that was a fit for 70 percent to 80 percent of our agents but saved them a lot of money,” he said.

Cofano offered one way to target health coverage specifically at teams.

“I am not very close on this subject but there could be a possibility for a [team leader] to cover some portion or all of the costs of the insurance through the [team leader]/team member commission split,” he said.

4. Business loans
Business loans are quite the carrot to dangle to team leaders. Compass has been doing this by offering no-interest financing to agents. And it announced plans for its own credit card in November.

“It is my hope that this program will help alleviate the initial financial pressure that comes with looking to grow your teams,” Compass CEO Robert Reffkin said in a company-wide email that explained the loans.

Compass expects to have distributed more than $100 million of this capital to agents by the end of 2019.

“What better way to create retention than have someone owe you money?” Cofano asked.

Indeed, Compass agents are required to pay off the loans in full if they leave the brokerage, according to Compass spokeswoman Gabriella Lourie.

“Compass recognizes, however, that every agent’s situation is unique and is willing to discuss repayment options on a case-by-case basis,” she added.

Business loans represent one perk that Compass is unusually well-equipped to offer due to its massive venture capital funding. Cofano said he has heard anecdotally of other brokerages that have provided similar financing. But none specifically came to mind, he said.

5. Let team brands shine bright — like a diamond
Side, a high-tech brokerage that caters to teams, makes a point of subordinating its brand to that of its teams. Indeed, brokerages that accept a low-profile, behind-the-scenes role can appeal to team leaders. Leaders generally want to own relationships with customers.

“Our website is completely our own branding … I don’t even know if Side has any fingerprint on it at all,” Daniel Risman-Jones, co-leader of Ascend Real Estate, a team with Side, previously told Inman.

6. Make expansion easy

Team leaders can be hungry to charge into new markets. But the process can be tricky if their brokerage isn’t licensed in multiple states. This requires teams to partner with firms in other locales on a case-by-case basis, often a cumbersome process, according to Cofano.

Streamlining this relationship-building can be one way to please team leaders. Another is to simply get licenses in many states.

“A brokerage company like eXp can offer frictionless expansion to other markets because eXp is the broker and not a franchise,” Cofano said. “I believe that is a big reason they have successfully recruited teams from some well-known franchise orgs.”

7. Reduced commission caps for team members

This is pretty straightforward: “Many companies will offer reduced caps to team members, which results in the team member generating more team commission income that the [team leader] can take a piece of,” Cofano said.

8. Provide team-oriented technology
This is becoming a must for forward-looking brokerages, according to Cofano.

At the least, brokerages ought to offer internal communications platforms to teams. The most popular options are Slack or Microsoft Teams, he said.

Customer relationship management systems and accountability software geared toward teams, such as Sisu and FirePoint, are also highly valued by team leaders, said Brandon Doyle in the real estate Facebook group Inman Coast to Coast. Doyle is a co-leader of the Doyle Real Estate Team, a Maple Grove, Minnesota-based team at RE/MAX Results.

Matthew Rathbun, executive vice president of Coldwell Banker Elite, recommends the following team toolbox: for virtual assistants; Follow Up Boss for customer relationship management; FiveStreet for lead management; Trello for task management; Slack for team communication; Grasshopper for phone communication; and SiSu for production tracking; and G Suite for email.

Similarly, Pat Hiban wrote a story for Inman about five tech tools you could group together for teams that cost just over $1,000 a year.

9. Community and legal support
Analogue support can also endear brokerages to team leaders.

Fathom Realty’s CEO, Harley, says Fathom is developing three types of mastermind groups for teams. The first will teach agents who want to create teams how to structure and hire for them.

The second is for smaller teams looking to take their businesses to the next level. And the third helps top-producing teams pinpoint the best ways to maximize team member productivity, satisfaction and marketing return on investment.

Rathbun, the executive vice president of Coldwell Banker Elite, said his brokerage equips aspiring and existing team leaders with sample team agreements, attorneys who can help with the legal work of setting up and maintaining teams, job descriptions for recruiting team members and team coaching.

“When they are respected, trained and supported, they stay with you and add a lot of value to your firm,” Rathun said about teams.
9 Clever Ways Brokers Can Recruit and Retain Teams

Massachusetts recently adopted a new law taxing and regulating the short-term rental market. The following information should help REALTORS® navigate the short-term rental market under these new laws and regulations. The law, H3454, An Act Regulating and Insuring Short-Term Rentals, governs short-term rentals in Massachusetts. These are defined to include occupancy for a period of not more than 31 consecutive calendar days of accommodations normally used for sleeping and living purposes, including without limitation an apartment, house, cottage, condominium unit or furnished accommodation other than a hotel, motel, lodging house or bed-and-breakfast establishment (all of which are already subject to regulation). Traditional tenancies at will are not covered, nor is the law meant to legitimize short-terms rentals by tenants in violation of their leases.

Short Term Rentals Member Advisory
Top five ways for your brokerage to have success with training

By: Inman Content Studio
Courtesy of: Inman News

Competition for talent in real estate is fierce. And one of the strongest differentiating factors for your brokerage is found in training and continuing education.

It’s something Dan Nelson, VP of Performance Excellence at Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE), feels passionate about and the reason LeadingRE has prioritized educational offerings for its network of 565 brokerages.

How can you be that brokerage that develops agents in a way that no one else will? How can you ensure you don’t lose your best talent because somebody else is providing more effective training?

Here are some things your training program needs in order to attract and keep top performers.

Accountability partners

Accountability means a commitment to learning and growth from the top. For your brokerage to focus on education, it should be woven into the fabric of the organization.

“If your leadership doesn’t talk about how valuable education is, it isn’t important to your company — no matter what your literature says,” said Nelson.

Accountability also means partnering with a designated person who will hold you to your commitment. For anyone who has joined a gym, this will feel familiar. You will make progress and see change by working out regularly on your own. But if you embark on a fitness program with a friend, you will see true transformation.

“You both show up because you’re letting the other person down if don’t,” said Nelson. “You’re performing in front of someone else, which ups your game and drives you to do better. The same is true of learning and training.”

Offer personalized learning

Each of your agents is at a different stage and has different needs. Why would one program serve them all?

The LeadingRE Institute platform offers learning paths that provide custom training based on the agent and his or her goals.

“We have learning paths for leaders and sales associates, as well as paths for marketing and technology,” said Nelson. “But the learning path doesn’t just tell you what content to watch. It organizes the content, so you know the most effective way through. It also helps leaders hold you accountable and ensure you’re getting the value from the courses.”

Brokerages that provide customized learning options see the impact across their organization.

“The most successful training programs deliver a blend of personalized and relevant content that fosters empowerment and accountability at every level. It’s about evaluating the agents in your brokerage to determine their specific needs, and then building a comprehensive and flexible curriculum available at the company level and at the office level,” said Sarah Pelton, VP of Learning & Development, Baird & Warner.

Create micro-learning opportunities

The always-on access we have today has the side effect of shortening our attention spans. And that’s not generationally specific. But rather than rail against the lost art of long-focus, your brokerage needs to create those micro-learning opportunities that fit the lifestyle of a top performer.

Phyllis Brookshire, president, Allen Tate Realtors, offers these tips: “Busy agents respond best to short segments on specific topics so they can ‘grab and go’ with personalized learning. Topics must be extremely relevant and speak to current market conditions and trends. Programs must be accessible and address different learning styles.”

By breaking learning into small lessons, you create more opportunities for achievement along the way, and that keeps your agents engaged and motivated to continue.

Make it relevant

It’s one thing to offer educational materials and training opportunities. It’s quite another to ensure the agents who go through your training understand exactly how the material is immediately relevant to their business.

“One of the Learning Pillars of LeadingRE’s Maestro Leadership program is developing a Growth Attitude. We focus on creating a learning environment for the leaders to really integrate an entrepreneurial spirit to leading their branch and their sales associates. Being a branch manager is not just a job. You are the CEO of your XX-million-dollar organization,” said Rosey Koberlein, CEO, Long Companies.

So, as you develop your training program or implement one from a source such as LeadingRE, make it crystal clear not only what your agents will learn, but why it matters to their success.

Everyone in your organization is going to engage in learning in some form or another. Ensuring that learning is essential to your brand and that you have the best tools available can help you build a culture of growth.


Build a Culture of Learning & Growth

Artilce Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Berince Ross

Trying to dodge the flames? Keep these strategies in your pocket

Have you ever encountered a “dragon” in one of your deals? They come in many different varieties — the persnickety business manager or CPA, the testy attorney, the nit-picking inspector, the appraiser who doesn’t know the area, the helicopter parent or the “white knight” agent who insists on making decisions for their client.

If you find yourself facing a dragon, here’s how to tame it and keep from getting burned.

1. The persnickety business manager or CPA

For those agents who work the luxury market, one of the most disheartening things their multi-million dollar client can say is: “Here’s my business manager’s phone number — he’ll be writing an offer for us on this house.”

Taming strategies:
If you’re dealing with a CPA or business manager, just know these people love the numbers. While your luxury client only cares about whether they like the house, the dragon wants the data. Keep this dragon happy by feeding it plenty of details from the following sources:

- Property reports from

- Automated valuations: Along with your personal comparative market analysis (CMA), include the valuations from Homesnap,, Zillow or from your local multiple listing service (MLS) if available. These tools are free.

- Numbers people are usually interested in absorption rates (i.e. months of inventory on the market). When there are five or fewer months of inventory, you are in a seller’s market with increasing prices. Six or seven months is generally a flat or transitioning market. Eight months or more is buyer’s market with declining prices. This data is normally available through your local MLS.

- To really make the numbers dragon happy, use Weiss Analytics, which allows you to add comparable sales to their algorithm. If the dragon disagrees with your price, enter the dragon’s price estimate and the algorithm will incorporate it into its valuation.

2. The testy attorney
Dealing with attorneys is challenging. Some are extremely knowledgeable about real estate law and you’re thankful to have them in your deal as an ally. Then there are those who think they know more than everyone and are out to prove it. Others will insist on rewriting your contract or that you use a contract they have drafted to write your offer. The worst of the lot are those who dissect every minuscule detail in order to drive up their fees.

Taming strategies:

- Today’s affluent clientele expect you to have expert knowledge of the latest luxury industry data and trends READ MORE
To avoid having to fight this dragon, provide him or her with copies of the key transaction documents at the beginning of the process. This includes the purchase agreement, the agency disclosure, mandatory inspection disclosures, plus any other documents typically used in your state or local area. If the dragon has issues, it’s best to surface them up front as opposed to fighting him or her during a multiple-offer situation.

- If your market is experiencing multiple offers, explain that properties are often going over asking price. Provide comparable sales if necessary. Then ask: “If we end up in a multiple-offer situation, how would you like me to negotiate it on your behalf?” If the attorney doesn’t get the urgency in the situation, be prepared for your buyers to miss out on a house or two before they decide to do something about the situation.

- When this dragon starts breathing flames and you know the dragon is wrong, contact the legal hotline hosted by your state association of Realtors for advice. Next, share what you discovered. Even the most difficult attorney will usually listen to the expert attorneys who handle these calls.

- For title issues, most title companies have an attorney or a title advisory officer who can help you sort through the issues and speak to the dragon if necessary.

-Other resources include your office manager, broker and/or company attorney.

- Don’t try to win. Instead, always remind your clients and their attorney that it’s their house, it’s their mortgage and it’s their decision. My role is to be a conduit of information to help you and your clients make the best decision possible.

3. The helicopter parent
The helicopter parent has always tried to control their child’s life and they’re not about to quit when their child is buying a house. In fact, they may not even want their child to leave the nest. If the parent is a detail-oriented person, use the strategies above to calm the flames. If not, here’s what else you can do.

Taming strategies:

- It’s important to determine whether your clients and their parent(s) have a strong, supportive relationship or whether that relationship is contentious. In either event, always keep emphasizing your role as a conduit of information — it’s up to them to work out the decision.
- Assuming that the parent and child have a good relationship, you can make the parent feel as if you and their child are in sync by mirroring and matching the child’s body language. For example, if the child crosses their arms, cross your arms. If the child says, “What a beautiful view,” respond by saying, “It is a beautiful view, isn’t it?” You’re much less likely to receive pushback from the helicopter parent if they perceive that you and their child are in alignment with each other.

4. The nit-picking inspector
While most inspectors are reasonable, every so often you will draw one who cites not only actual issues, but fails to differentiate between needed repairs vs. what is preventative. Worse yet is the inspector who claims there is an issue when there is no issue. Normally, you will not meet this dragon face-to-face, so you won’t be able to tame it. You can, however, put out the flames.

Taming strategies:

- To minimize any burn damage, educate your buyer prior to the inspection about what is normally covered on inspections vs. what is preventative and not covered.

-Also explain that it is OK to ask for more on the inspection report as a strategy to obtain as many concessions as possible. Warn them, however, making too many demands can cost them the deal.

- Explain the benefits of taking a credit for the repairs, i.e., that you can choose your own contractors and be sure the job is done to your satisfaction.

- If the size of the transaction merits it, purchase a one-year home warranty for your buyers. Check with the title officer/escrow closing the transaction to determine if the cost of the warranty can be deducted prior to your commission being disbursed. This means less hassle at tax time and less income to report on your 1099.

5. The white knight agent

“White knights” are agents who decide they are the decision-makers in the deal, not the clients. You can spot these dragons when they say things such as, “I would never let my clients take an offer that low!”

Taming strategies:

- Taming this dragon requires finesse, because you may find yourself negotiating with this individual in the future. Many of the strategies above can be adapted to fit the white knight. When this dragon starts making statements that are wrong, bring in your manager, call the legal hotline and/or get opinions from people who are experts.

- If the dragon tells you that your price is too low, request permission from your buyers to tell the listing agent the following: “My buyers have asked me to have the offer presented without any commentary from you (the listing agent) or me — they really want straight feedback about the buyer’s response. Is that OK with you?”

- The next time you bump into a dragon in your deal, be the one who calms the flames and gets the deal done.

Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP ( and, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager recruiting program, new agent sales training, and her membership program that includes podcasts, videos, and the Office-Meeting-in-a-Box program at


5 Real Estate Dragons & How to Tame Them

2019 Installation of Officers, January 24th


GBREB Installation

Massachusetts SJC Upholds Independent 3rd Party Appraisals

In September GBREB filed an Amicus Curiam , or “Friends the Court” brief in the case of Buffalo-Water, LLC V. Fidelity Real Estate Company LLC.  

In this case the two parties reached a contractual agreement on the purchase/sale of commercial property, with the price being established by a 3rd party appraiser. In this case, Buffalo Water did not like the number that the appraiser arrived at for the sale price and sought to extricate themselves from the transaction.

Under Massachusetts law, judicial review of an independent third party appraisal in a transaction like this was limited to cases of fraud, corruption, dishonesty or bad faith. This case is an attempt to create additional categories to discredit the third party appraisal and thwart a transaction.

The issue on appeal in this case  is whether we should modify this common-law rule and allow a judge to invalidate an appraisal intended by the parties to provide a final, binding valuation of a property where there is the appearance of bias, not on the part of the individual who conducted the appraisal, but on the part of the entity that employed the individual appraiser.

On November 26th,  the SJC concluded that the common-law rule established in Eliot v. Coulter, 322 Mass. 86, 91 (1947),  properly balances the need for fair valuations with the need for finality in the appraisal process, and that an appearance of bias alone is insufficient to invalidate an appraisal. Because the allegations in the complaint, if proved, do not warrant a finding of any violation of the agreements setting forth the terms of the appraisal, or a finding of fraud, corruption, dishonesty, or bad faith by the individual appraiser, or a finding of breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by the defendant, the SJC affirmed the Superior Court judge's order allowing the defendant's motion to dismiss.

The Amicus Brief filed on behalf of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board states that the current law should be upheld and that no new categories or exceptions should be created judicially as that is best left to the Massachusetts Legislature.  The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision upheld GBREB's position.



Court Upholds Independent Appraisals


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