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
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced new products for homebuyers on a budget. For just a 3 percent down payment, certain consumers can now get a loan from both government-sponsored lenders for a home purchase or refinance transaction, which means the agency will finance up to 97 percent loan-to-value. 

Freddie Mac's Home Possible mortgages are also available for as little as 3 percent to 5 percent down, targeting homebuyers in high-cost and undeserved communities. These new products are designed to compete with the low-down-payment options offered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which offers loans for as little as 3.5 percent down for those with a credit score of at least 580. 

Housing prices are on the rise across the country, which has put a strain on first-time buyers. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and Freddie Mac estimate that median price growth will accelerate by 3.5% in 2018, and in some cases will continue to rise faster than income gains over the coming years.

Additionally, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced they are ending their single-family rental pilot program, a victory for NAR who had urged the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to stop the program. Earlier this week, the FHFA ended the program which had provided liquidity to institutional investors to purchase single-family homes for rental housing. The action is consistent with NAR’s long-term position that the companies should maintain their focus on ensuring liquidity for home sales. 

"With inventory shortages facing housing markets across the country, the National Association of REALTORS® has long advocated for the Federal Housing Finance Agency to end its expansion into the single-family rental market and return its focus to promoting a liquid and efficient housing market, as Congress intended. By financing the purchase of thousands of single-family homes for institutional investors to use as rentals, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac compounded on inventory shortages and affordability concerns, which are holding back prospective homebuyers across the country. NAR applauds today’s FHFA decision, and we look forward to continue working with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to help more Americans achieve homeownership going forward," said NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall.
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Lower Down Payments, End Rental Pilot Program
State and Federal lead paint disclosure laws have been on the books for over 20 years and in that time not a lot of changes were made. Yet REALTORS® are still presented with thorny lead paint questions. 

Here’s a rundown of frequent trouble areas:

1. Don’t have a buyer complete a blank lead paint form.       
The law requires the seller to complete the Property Transfer Lead Paint Notification Certification form as part of their disclosure obligation to the buyer. This is the opportunity for the seller to tell the buyer what (if anything) they know about lead paint in the home. The buyer then acknowledges the information by initialing and signing the form. Signing a blank form and submitting it along with an offer does not meet the requirements in the law.  

2. For what properties does the seller use the lead paint form?     
The form should be used for properties built before 1978. If the seller is unsure about when the property was built, they should contact the local building department. Avoid using the form for homes built in 1978 or after as this can be confusing to the buyer. 

3. What about that antique mantel?           
Occasionally, in a post-1978 home, a seller will let you know that they are aware of the presence of lead paint in some part of the home. The common example is the antique mantle over the fireplace.  In this case, the home is built after 1978 so the form itself is not required. However, the REALTOR® would be required to disclose this information to a buyer. 

4. What about a gut rehab?         
If a property was built before 1978, but had a recently completed rehab, a lead paint form should still be used. In the 1998 case, Piers v. Wheeler, the court found a seller and real estate broker liable for stating that a home was “free of lead” after extensive renovations on the house were done, which included the taking down of walls and ceilings, the removal of partitions, the installation of new plumbing and heating systems, the stripping and refurbishing of wood work, and the renovation of the fireplace. Even after all this renovation, lead was found and a child was lead poisoned. 

5. I received two offers on my listing. One asks for a lead inspection and one is waving the inspection.   

Federal law is clear that the seller is required to provide a potential purchaser with an opportunity to conduct a lead inspection or risk assessment before the purchaser becomes obligated under an offer or contract to purchase. A party selling housing, therefore, may not offer or advertise property as being available only if purchasers will not take advantage of the opportunity to conduct an inspection or risk assessment. A purchaser is not required to conduct an inspection or risk assessment and may waive this opportunity in the course of negotiations with the seller.  The purchaser is entitled to a 10-day period to arrange for and complete the inspection or risk assessment, but the parties may mutually agree to a different period of time. If the purchaser chooses to have an inspection or risk assessment, the seller is not required to pay for the cost of the inspection or risk assessment. Typically, the purchaser will pay, but this point is negotiable.  

For more information on how to properly fill out the lead paint form, please click here.
Don't Get Painted Into a Corner with Missteps on Lead Disclosure Law
Earlier this month, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) announced its leadership team for 2019, which features two GBAR members who will service in committee leadership roles at the national level; Andrew Sarno of Medford and Craig Foley of Melrose.

Our 2015 President Andrew Sarno of Medford, was appointed as Vice Chair of NAR’s Membership Policy and Board Jurisdiction Committee. Andrew has served as a member of this committee since 2015 and has been a member of the NAR Board of Directors since 2016. Additionally, he serves as a member of NAR’s Professional Standard Committee and previously sat on the Advocacy Resources/Territorial Jurisdiction Work Group.

Craig Foley, of Melrose, who locally presents the NAR Green Designation courses, was fittingly named Chair of NAR’s Sustainability Advisory Group. Craig previously served as a member of this advisory and served as a member and regional representative for the Land Use Property Rights and Environment Committee. 

Congratulations to Andrew and Craig on these well-deserved assignments! 

Additionally, GBAR will be announcing our committee applications for 2019 in September.
GBAR Members Named as NAR Committee Leaders

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

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

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
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

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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Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR Designation)
Greater Boston Real Estate Board
CE Webinar- Real Estate Professional Ethics
GBAR New Member Orientation (Randolph, MA)
The Lantana
RENE Certification Course (Real Estate Negotiation Expert)
GBAR Member Services & Training Center
CE Webinar- Residential New Construction