Legislation to allow communities the ability to impose a new sales tax on homes and commercial properties is getting increased attention on Beacon Hill, where two prominent leaders in the Massachusetts House of Representatives recently expressed their interest in considering measures to create transfer taxes.  That’s concerning, given that transfer taxes would add to the already high cost of housing in Greater Boston and create an additional obstacle to housing production.  It’s also problematic since this type of tax discriminates against home buyers and sellers, singling them out to pay for initiatives that benefit the community at-large.  

However, nearly one dozen communities – including Arlington, Boston, Cambridge, Concord, Medford and Somerville – have introduced or are considering bills to impose a new tax on residential and commercial real estate transactions, and Gov. Healey’s housing bond bill, aka the Affordable Homes Act, includes language that would allow any community in the state to create a new tax of 0.5% - 2% on the portion of a home or commercial building sold that exceeds $1 million.  The Greater Boston Real Estate Board and REALTOR® Association oppose the passage of these measures, and you can add your voice to urge their defeat as well.  To participate, simply respond to the recent Call-For-Action on Transfer Taxes issued by the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® urging state legislators to oppose the creation of a new sales tax on homes and commercial property. By doing so,  a pre-drafted letter outlining industry opposition to the various legislative proposals will be sent to your state senator and representative.   
Add Your Voice to REALTOR® Call-For-Action on Transfer Taxes
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Jimmy Burgess

In a market where agents must be expense-averse, Jimmy Burgess writes, generating leads that only have an expense if money comes in can make a lot of sense

With the slowdown in the number of transactions, a lot of agents are looking for ways to generate leads while maintaining a budget. If this is you, the solution might be companies that provide leads with no upfront fees.

The process begins with these companies capturing the leads, nurturing them to a point where they are ready to begin working with an agent, then referring the prospects to agents in their network. In exchange for the leads, the companies do not charge any upfront fees, but they do receive a referral fee at the time of closing. The referral fees can vary from 25 percent up to 40 percent, but with no upfront cost, many agents find these lead sources extremely attractive.

The key to success with these referral-based companies is communication and conversion. They require consistent communication about how the process is progressing with the referred leads. They also want to see the conversion of these leads to closings because the only way they make money is through successful closings. The better your communication and the higher your conversion rate, the better the quality and number of leads you will receive.

Each of these companies have areas they specialize in and specific qualifications to be eligible to participate in their programs. The key is matching your talents, experience and expertise with the clients these companies will be referring to you. If your expertise lines up with their prospects, they may be a lead source that can take your business to a higher level of success.

Rocket Homes 

Rocket Homes is a subsidiary company of Rocket Mortgage, America’s largest mortgage lender. The leads they refer are mortgage-approved, have a verified purchase time frame, and are exclusively referred to you.

The requirements to join their network are that you must have a minimum of 24 months of experience as a full-time agent and have closed a minimum of eight transactions in the past 12 months. In addition, you must complete their Verified Partner Agent training program.

If you’re looking to increase your buyer leads, Rocket Homes is a great place to start.

Redfin Partner Agents

Redfin has a program called Redfin Partner Agents where you can keep your license with your existing brokerage and they will send you buyer and seller leads. Just like the other programs mentioned in this article, they receive a referral fee at the time of closing, and there are no upfront fees for these leads. The referral fees paid vary by state, but for Florida as of the writing of this article, they range from 33 percent to 40 percent depending on the sales price.

The requirements for their program include having an active license that is in good standing with your local MLS. They also state that you should have “your fair share” of closed transactions with proven excellence based on their client surveys. The Redfin website states they’ve had 85,000+ clients buy or sell with their Partner Agents.

55places.com Partner Agent Program

55places.com is a website that provides details about 55+ communities all over the country. They partner with agents approved specifically for their program, each specializing in particular communities. The program looks for agents with extensive knowledge about a community’s HOA, floor plans and amenities.

They require prompt response to new leads and consistent communication with the company throughout the buying process. If you specialize in active adult living communities, 55places.com might be the lead source you’ve been seeking.

Veterans United Realty

Veterans United Realty is a subsidiary of Veterans United Home Loans. They focus on referring veterans and military families with agents who have VA experience and a willingness to go above and beyond in their customer service.

Due to the relocation of active duty military, Veterans United Realty does generate listing referral opportunities as well. If you’re an agent who has expertise serving veteran clients, this could be a productive lead source for you and your business.

ReadyConnect Concierge Program from Realtor.com

ReadyConnect Concierge is a program owned by Realtor.com that connects with online leads immediately after they are generated. They screen the leads for intent to buy, price point, location and timeline. Once the prospect has been screened, a message is pushed out via SMS or their app to a group of agents in their program. The first agent to respond is immediately connected via a live phone introduction to the prospect.

ReadyConnect Concierge has to originate at the brokerage level, but once the brokerage sets the program up, agents of all skill levels can receive leads. They reward agents that respond quickly and that provide consistent communication.


HomeLight is a website that connects prospective buyers and sellers with professional, highly qualified agents in their referral network. The process starts by creating a HomeLight profile outlining your professional achievements. HomeLight then utilizes its algorithm to match the prospects with agents based on the historical information of their past transactions, geographic expertise, price points from past transactions and other transaction-related metrics.

The referral fee paid to HomeLight is 33 percent, but with no upfront fees, the ability to generate buyer and seller leads through HomeLight makes sense for many agents.


UpNest is a site that provides homeowners with a process where they can receive 2-5 listing proposals within 24 hours of their proposal request. Once you are included in UpNest’s program, you will receive requests for listing proposals along with other agents as they come in.

Your listing proposal will include your commission rate, the services you provide and your customer reviews. The prospect also has access to a video greeting from you, which is highly recommended. 

UpNest has a referral fee of 30 percent at the time of closing, and the referral fee is for any and all sales or purchases made by the prospect within 24 months of submitting the original proposal.

Depending on your area and your listing expertise, UpNest could be a reliable source for ready-to-list seller leads.

In a market where agents must be expense-averse, generating leads that only have an expense if money comes in can make a lot of sense. If you’re looking to increase your leads and minimize your upfront expenses, these companies provide a path to profitability.

Jimmy Burgess is the CEO for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida.


7 Budget-Friendly Lead Sources With No Upfront Fee

GBAR Monthly Minute- March 2024

In this special edition of the Monthly Minute, GBAR President Jared Wilk discusses the proposed NAR settlement in the antitrust lawsuits that take issue with the MLS Cooperative Compensation rule and broker commissions. Please watch to learn more about how this settlement may impact your business, how to plan for the future, and more.

Discussing the NAR Lawsuit Settlement


The recently announced settlement has raised several questions regarding access to mortgages and the ability to finance agent commissions. In short, under the settlement, buyers still have the same options when it comes to compensating their representative. That is, the listing brokers can compensate the buyer broker, the seller can compensate the buyer broker, or the buyer can compensate their broker directly. Buyers should still be able to get financing from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FHA under these scenarios, reports NAR. However, none of these agencies will allow the buyer to finance a commission into the mortgage at this time. The VA has not addressed whether it will change its requirement prohibiting VA buyers from paying the commission.

Will buyers still be able to obtain a mortgage after the settlement?

 Yes, based on our interpretation of the regulations, buyers should still be able to get financing from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FHA if the listing broker compensates the buyer's broker or if the seller pays the buyer's broker directly. However, none of these agencies will allow the buyer to finance a commission into the mortgage at this time. NAR is working to get clear verification on this point.

Based on information in the guides that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA provide to lenders, nothing has changed the ability of buyers to get a mortgage through them.  Each of these agencies specifies limits on how much a seller or broker can contribute to the buyer to pay for services typically paid by the buyer.  These payments to the buyer are called interested party contributions (IPCs). The agencies exclude fees "traditionally" or "customarily" paid by the seller from the IPCs.  These IPCs may vary from 3% or up, so adding a commission could take up room otherwise used for closing cost or rate buydown concessions. Thus, despite being a seller concession on the sale contract, a seller paid commission is not included in the IPC.  This interpretation is not expected to change when this settlement is complete.

However, if sellers paying the buyer agent's commission ceases to be the norm in the future, regulators will need to change the definition of IPCs to exclude seller-paid commissions or raise the IPC limit.

See Fannie Mae's selling guide, Part B3-4.1-02, Interested Party Contributions and Part B3-4.1-03, Types of Interested Party Contributions (IPCs). Also, see pp. 420 of the Fannie Mae Selling Guide: "Typical fees and/or closing costs paid by a seller in accordance with local custom, known as common and customary fees or costs, are not subject to Fannie Mae IPC limits."

See FHA's discussion of IPCs and exclusion of seller paid real estate commissions here.

Can real estate commissions be financed?

Financing commissions is not feasible under the current structure of the residential mortgage finance system, and there is no clear short-term legislative or regulatory fix. NAR is working to get clear confirmation on this point.

• Banks would treat such a loan as a personal loan that would have higher rates and they would limit access to those loans to borrowers with better credit profiles.  Furthermore, that personal loan would add to the buyers' liabilities and make it harder to qualify for the mortgage they are seeking.

• Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA do not allow commissions to be added to the balance of the mortgage. Simply put, investors will only lend against the asset they can take back and sell in a foreclosure. An investor would not be able to take back and sell the commission for a service like real estate brokerage.

• Finally, there are significant limits to adding commissions to the mortgage rate.  Several rules that make up the foundation of mortgage finance would need to be changed by the regulators and Congress.  Those rules took years to develop, implement, and refine, and changing them could take years, potentially a decade or more.

Commissions & Buyer Financing After the Settlement
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Darryl Davis

Your reputation precedes you in every meeting, showing and negotiation, coach Darryl Davis writes. Every interaction either enforces it or enhances it

The stakes are high in real estate, and your reputation is your most valuable asset. As a real estate coach with 30+ years of experience navigating the ups and downs of the market, I’ve witnessed first-hand how easily an agent’s reputation can be tarnished by common pitfalls that could easily be avoided.

While there are some mistakes that many know to steer clear of, there are others that agents can inadvertently fall into without realizing it. Here are seven critical mistakes to avoid to ensure your reputation remains solid and your career thrives.

1. Lack of communication

Effective communication is the keystone of any successful real estate transaction. Failing to promptly and clearly communicate with clients, colleagues and other vendors in the industry can lead to misunderstandings, missed opportunities, dissatisfaction and even deals falling through. 

Protip: Always keep your clients in the loop, respond to inquiries in a timely manner, and maintain open lines of communication so you can answer questions, clarify information and keep the transaction running smoothly. 

2. Unethical behavior

This might seem like a no-brainer, but ethics should never be compromised. Cutting corners, misrepresenting properties (regardless of the reason) or engaging in any form of dishonesty not only violates professional standards across the board but can also lead to serious legal repercussions — not to mention the devastating loss of trust among clients and peers. 

Protip: By upholding your integrity in all your dealings (even when it seems difficult), you build a solid reputation of reliability and trustworthiness.

3. Inadequate market knowledge

Clients rely on you for your expertise and insight into the real estate market. Failing to stay updated on market trends, property values and legal requirements can severely impact your effectiveness as an agent.

Your clients hired you because they trust and like you, and failing to have a full grasp of the real estate market leads those clients into thinking they might be better off as a FSBO. 

Protip: Continuous training, skills development and staying up to date on industry developments are crucial for providing informed advice and helping clients make sound decisions.

4. Poor online presence

In today’s digital age, your online presence speaks volumes about your professionalism and credibility. Negative reviews, unprofessional social media posts, or poorly maintained websites can deter potential clients looking for someone who has their act together! 

Protip: Actively manage your online reputation by encouraging positive reviews, maintaining professional social media profiles, and ensuring your website reflects your expertise and professionalism.

5. Neglecting client needs

Your success as a real estate agent hinges on your ability to meet or exceed your client’s expectations. Neglecting their needs, failing to listen to their concerns, or pushing your own agenda can lead to dissatisfaction and damage your reputation. There is no faster way for you to lose the trust of your clients than when the client believes the only thing you care about is your commission. 

Protip: Always prioritize your clients’ interests, listen attentively, and work diligently to achieve the best outcome for them. 

6. Overpromising and underdelivering

One pitfall that agents frequently find themselves in is when they promise a lot and deliver little. Setting unrealistic expectations, overpromising results to clients and then failing to deliver can severely damage your credibility.

This is one of the biggest reasons that homeowners choose to sell on their own — they see what agents do (or fail to do) and believe they could do a much better job themselves. 

Protip: Be honest about what you can achieve, manage expectations effectively and work hard to deliver on your promises. Seize opportunities to go above and beyond for your clients.

7. Ineffective networking

Real estate thrives on relationships with fellow agents and clients alike. Neglecting to build and maintain a strong professional network can limit your opportunities and growth. Referrals are common among agents, but no agent can refer to you if they don’t know who you are. A strong network not only brings new business but also enhances your reputation in the industry.

Protip: Engage with colleagues, participate in industry events and foster relationships with clients and other professionals.

Avoiding these seven pitfalls is crucial for any agent who wants to maintain and enhance their reputation as a real estate agent. Your reputation is a reflection of your professionalism, integrity and dedication to your clients. Without taking the time to guard your reputation, it can slide downhill before you realize it.

By focusing on ethical behavior, continuous learning, effective communication and client satisfaction, you can build a lasting and respected career in real estate.

Remember, your reputation precedes you in every meeting, showing and negotiation; every interaction either enforces it or enhances it. Protect it fiercely, nurture it carefully and it will be the foundation of your success.

Darryl Davis is the CEO of Darryl Davis Seminars.

7 Pitfalls That Can Ruin Your Reputation as a Real Estate Agent
Article courtesy of: MAR Legal Hotline

An unrepresented buyer attended my open house and scheduled a follow up showing with me. I answered all their questions about the property and now they want to submit an offer using a buyer’s agent. Can I tell the buyer they can’t use their own agent at this point?

Answer: No. A buyer may choose who they want to represent their interests in a real estate transaction, and a listing agent has no authority to deprive a buyer of that right. In situations such as this, however, there may be a question of procuring cause. While the listing agent may not be obligated to compensate that buyer broker, they are still obligated to cooperate, unless it is not in the best interests of the client (See Code of Ethics, Article 3).
REALTORS® must take care to not allow issues pertaining to compensation to interfere with their clients’ interests. While brokers may discuss and negotiate compensation at any time during the transaction, if at any point the situation becomes antagonistic, those discussions should be placed on hold until the transaction has closed. However,  if there’s ever a question of a potential commission dispute, make your broker-owner aware of it as soon as possible.

Buyer brokers are encouraged to use Buyer Representation Agreements with every buyer client they are working with. Having such an agreement is particularly beneficial when a buyer broker is invited into a transaction where their ability to be compensated as the procuring cause may be in question. Having such an agreement in place does not eliminate the buyer broker’s ability to seek compensation from the listing broker, or otherwise through the transaction, but provides a layer of protection for that buyer broker’s interests in receiving compensation for their efforts in a transaction.

Unrepresented Buyers at Open Houses
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Jimmy Burgess

Jimmy Burgess shares 10 specific prompts designed for real estate agents that will help you generate leads, grow your business and serve your clients at the highest level possible

ChatGPT continues to get better and better. This article shares 10 specific prompts designed for real estate agents that will help you generate leads, grow your business, and serve your clients at the highest level possible.

The following prompts are easily copied and pasted, but understanding how to write an effective prompt yourself provides the knowledge needed to take your business to a new level. Rajeev Sajja, my co-host of The Real Estate AI Flash on Apple Podcasts, has developed an easy-to-follow formula for writing effective prompts utilizing the acronym R.I. S.E.

Although you may not use this complete formula in every prompt, the framework is helpful in providing ChatGPT the information it needs to give you the best response possible. This is a breakdown of the formula you can utilize:

R – Role

What role do you want ChatGPT to play? In the first prompt below, the first sentence that says, “Act as an expert real estate agent business coach,” is the role.

I – Input

The input you provide helps ChatGPT get a better idea of the goal for the prompt. In the first prompt below, the second sentence where it says, “I am a real estate agent that would like to generate two listings per month in 2024,” is an example of the input.

S – Specifics

The specifics help ChatGPT understand additional details about what you are trying to accomplish through the prompt. In the first prompt below, the third sentence where it says, “I currently generate listings from geographical farming and sphere of influence referrals,” is an example of specifics.

E – Expectation

The expectation you provide helps ChatGPT understand what it is you want it to do or what you expect to be able to achieve from the response to the prompt. In the first prompt below, the last sentence where it says, “Provide me with 20 strategies that can help me generate the seller leads needed to take the two listings per month that I’ve set as my goal,” is an example of an expectation.

Hopefully, this formula will help you write better prompts and, in turn, receive better responses. Now, let’s get to the prompts that we are getting results with right now.

1. Listing lead generation idea prompt

If you’re looking for ideas on how to generate listings this year, this is an example of a prompt that will help.

Act as an expert real estate agent business coach. I am a real estate agent that would like to generate two listings per month in 2024. I currently generate listings from geographical farming and sphere of influence referrals. Provide me with 20 strategies that can help me generate the seller leads needed to take the two listings per month that I’ve set as my goal. 

As with all these example prompts, adjust them to reflect truths about your business and don’t be afraid to test a number of different versions.

2. Buyer lead generation idea prompt

If you’re looking for buyer lead generation ideas, this prompt will provide 20 options.

Act as an expert real estate marketer and provide me with 20 creative ways to generate real estate buyer leads in the current market environment.

3. Google Business Profile review generation prompt

Reviews on your Google Business Profile page add credibility and an opportunity for organic lead generation. This prompt will help you craft an email that will get you the reviews you desire.

Act as an expert copywriter specializing in working with real estate agents. My goal is to increase the number of reviews on my Google Business Profile Page. Provide me with an email to past clients thanking them for their business and asking them to click on the link provided to leave a Google Business Review. The tone for the email should be conversational and gratitude-driven based on them doing business with me in the past. Also, provide me with three email subject line options for this email.

4. LinkedIn article for seller lead generation prompt

LinkedIn continues to prove itself as an underutilized lead-generation platform. This prompt will help you craft a blog post that the LinkedIn algorithm will love.

Act as an expert real estate copywriter and provide me with an SEO-optimized LinkedIn article with seven things a seller should do before listing their home for sale in [your city] in the spring. No. 7 in the article should be to call me for a free, no-obligation valuation analysis and a list of things that can be done to the home prior to listing it to maximize the sales price.

5. Social media content creation idea prompt

Are you struggling with content creation ideas? This prompt will help you grow your audience and influence in your local market. Although this example mentions Instagram, simply substitute your platform of choice for comparable results.

Act as an Instagram expert specializing in creating content for real estate agents. Provide me with 20 Instagram post ideas that will showcase me as the local real estate expert in [insert your city]. The goal of these posts is to increase engagement with the actual posts and followers of my page.

6. Business growth plan prompt

Do you have a goal to grow your business in 2024? This prompt will help build a plan of action that can make it happen.

Act as an expert real estate business coach. My goal is to increase my real estate sales business by 20 percent in the coming twelve months. Ask me as many questions as you need to understand my current business so you can provide me with strategies and a plan of action that will help me achieve my goal of growing my business by 20 percent in 2024.

7. Social media bio optimization prompt

The key to expanding your reach on social media is to gain followers. This prompt helps you optimize your bio in a way that encourages people to find your page and to follow you.

Act as an Instagram expert specializing in helping real estate agents grow their Instagram following. Ask me any questions you need that will help you write a compelling bio for my Instagram page that will increase my follower count.

8. Client appreciation ideas prompt

One of the best ways to generate referrals is to show your clients how much you appreciate them. This prompt will keep you top of mind when the opportunity for them to send someone your way arises.

Act as an expert real estate marketer specializing in showing past client’s appreciation. Give me 20 creative ways to say thank you and show my appreciation for those past clients and their business.

9. MLS description prompt

Pictures are what capture potential buyers’ attention, but in many cases the MLS description is the deciding factor on whether they decide to schedule an appointment to see the home or move on to the next listing. This prompt makes sure your MLS description helps your listing put its best foot forward.

Act as an expert real estate copywriter specializing in writing MLS home descriptions. Provide me with three MLS descriptions with one written in a conversational tone, one written in a professional tone, and one written in a luxury tone. Use the previous MLS description below for details of the home, but make sure the descriptions you provide are unique. Here is the previous MLS description: [insert previous description]

Once it provides the three options, show them to the homeowner and ask which they prefer and if there is anything additional they think you should highlight in the description.

10. Price reduction marketing plan prompt

As the market normalizes and days on the market increase, the need for price reductions will return to the market. This prompt provides ideas you can mold into a price reduction marketing plan for the homeowner that you can provide with the price reduction request. This plan of action provides the seller with confidence that the price reduction along with your proactive marketing plan will help them get the home sold.

Act as an expert marketer specializing in real estate marketing for homes with a recent price reduction. Give me 20 creative ways to market the home that will get it the exposure needed to get the home sold.

ChatGPT is available for everyone, but not everyone will take advantage of the opportunities it presents. Invest the time to learn this innovative technology and not only will you not be left behind, you will separate yourself from your competition.

Jimmy Burgess is the CEO for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida.

10 Powerfully Effective ChatGPT Prompts for 2024
Whether commissions can be paid to an LLC depends on how the LLC is established and by whom. First and foremost, Massachusetts real estate licensing laws prohibit the sharing of fees, commissions, or other valuable consideration with an unlicensed individual. This restriction extends to corporate entities, such as LLCs, which must be validly licensed. For a corporation to become licensed, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 112, Section 87UU mandates that a partner or officer of the corporation hold an individual broker’s license. This means that the corporate entity must have its own corporate broker’s license in addition to the officer’s individual broker’s license. If the principal no longer holds an active broker's license, the corporation also loses its valid license.

As a result of this requirement, salespersons may never receive real estate commissions through an LLC or other corporate entity. For individuals with a broker's license, setting up an LLC to receive commissions is possible, provided the entity is properly licensed, which includes obtaining a separate broker bond.

Courtesy of the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® Legal Team.
Can Commissions Be Paid To An LLC?
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Darryl Davis

As we continue to watch the unfolding of change and challenges in our industry, what we know is that the real estate agents who not only will survive — but also thrive — will be those with advanced skill training.

With the National Association of Realtors reporting it’s largest decline in membership in a decade, the message is clear: Adapt and enhance your skills or risk falling behind. We want to share some key strategies for success with a focus on training that agents must embrace in 2024 to excel in today’s ultra-competitive market.

1. Comprehensive skill training

Top-tier training in communication, negotiation, and marketing skills is the first must do. Agents who want to stay ahead, stay compliant, and stay in business can’t rely on old skills and strategies.

This should be the year of training — as much as possible. Seminars, webinars, workshops, courses, mentorship programs — all of which can help shorten learning curves and give you technical and relationship-building advantages as well as additional confidence to meet prospects and clients armed with knowledge and skills to do the best possible job for them.

2. Mastering digital marketing

In an increasingly digital world, proficiency in digital marketing is crucial. Agents should focus on creating a strong online presence with solid branding, leveraging social media with a balance of personal and business posts, and utilizing digital tools to reach and engage with a wider audience.

However, don’t use these tools to replace the human connection, but rather to enhance those connections.

3. Effective networking strategies

As they say, it’s all about who you know. Building and maintaining strong networks of agents, vendors and clients alike is more important than ever. Agents should actively engage in industry events and local community activities, developing these connections for opportunities and referrals.

4. Utilizing advanced technologies

Embracing technologies, such as artificial intelligence, can significantly enhance the buying and selling experience for clients. Regardless of your experience (or lack thereof) with these advanced tech tools, agents should take the time to learn how to use them. There’s no shortage of training and options!

5. Exceptional customer service

Outstanding customer service remains a cornerstone of real estate success and the hallmark of a great agent. Agents must focus on building trust and long-term relationships through attentive, empathetic, and personalized service, especially in the wake of the negative press that has been so prevalent recently.

Transparency, advocacy, communication and honesty are game-changers. Being a great agent is more than a successful transaction. It’s cultivating connections that withstand the test of time.

6. Strategic marketing techniques

As you know, (but not all clients do), selling a home is more than just sticking a sign in the yard. It’s about getting as many buyer’s eyes on it as possible. Agents need to employ specialized marketing techniques and have a solid understanding of the target audiences. Agents must also understand how to use data analytics to create more effective campaigns.

7. Effective time management

Time management is more than just balancing multiple clients and listings. Balancing prospecting, lead generation, social media posting, and reaching out regularly to past clients are all imperative.

All of these things require excellent time (and life) management skills. Agents should use productivity tools, such as a CRM and automated social media posting, as well as prioritize tasks to maximize efficiency.

8. Lead generation and client retention

Generating new clients doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be as easy as wearing your name tag in public and striking up a conversation or two.

Simple conversations in line at the market, the bakery, and even Home Depot can turn into amazing new clients and referrals.

Maintaining strong relationships with existing clients means staying top-of-mind. Once again, this is where a CRM and systems can help even the busiest of agents keep contacts from falling through the cracks.      

9. Staying informed on market trends

This industry can change on a dime (and has), and agents should stay abreast of market trends and real estate news to coach their clients accurately and adjust strategies for conducting their business.

Agents who don’t have a clear picture of what is happening in the market will quickly fall behind and be left without answers when news-savvy consumers have questions. 

Related reading: 49% of agents sold either 1 home or none at all in the past year: CFA

To be a top-performing agent in 2024, prioritizing skill development will be your best way to adapt to the changing market. Remember, success in real estate isn’t just about sales numbers. Serve, don’t sell. Coach, don’t close.

Although those may seem like semantics to some, they have made all the difference in how consumers perceive and communicate with our members. No one wants to be “sold” in today’s world. They want advocates and trusted resources and to know that the professionals they align with have integrity levels they can count on. 

This year, stay committed to your personal and business growth, be agile and ready to adapt to our evolving industry in whatever form it takes, continue to provide exceptional value to your clients and keep them first and foremost in your business. After all, this is a people business, and they need you more than ever.

Darryl Davis is the CEO of Darryl Davis Seminars.
9 Action Steps to Grow Your Business in 2024
Housing & Homeless Assistant Grants Available

Do you have a housing-related non-profit close to your heart?

Please consider submitting an application for a 2024 Housing & Homeless Assistance Grant to support them with a grant of up to $2,500. These grants are available to housing-related 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, which provide shelter, food and clothing, mortgage and/or rental assistance, home buyer counseling or other similar support in one of GBAR's 64 towns and cities or in a community where a member firm is located. For more information this initiative, including eligibility and deadline to apply, please visit the GBAR Charitable Giving page.

Placemaking Grant Program

In partnership with NAR, we offer these grants to help make our communities better places by creating new, outdoor public spaces and destinations on unused or underutilized sites. Grant limits have been expanded to allow for larger project budgets and new project types including trailheads, playgrounds, pocket parks, community gardens, downtown gathering spots, and many more. If you can think of a space in your market area that could use our support, click here to learn more. 
Charitable Grant Applications Available!
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Darryl Davis

Transparency and communication are more important than ever before. Darryl Davis offers essential talking points for your next commission conversation with sellers

In the wake of the landmark legal ruling against the National Association of Realtors (NAR), homeowners and industry professionals alike are re-evaluating the conventional practice of sellers paying commissions for both the buyer’s and seller’s agents. This verdict has sparked a nationwide debate, questioning the fairness and efficacy of this long-standing tradition in the U.S. real estate market. 

While the outcome of the lawsuit may not immediately revolutionize existing practices, it does open a critical dialogue about the distribution of commission costs. I want to explore the benefits that sellers reap from adhering to the traditional model, shedding light on the advantages of this practice becomes more pertinent than ever, providing sellers with compelling reasons to continue shouldering both sides of the commission.

This won’t change the outcome of the lawsuits, but it should give you some compelling ways to articulate the benefits to the seller for paying both sides of the commission.

In the United States, the seller almost always pays the commission for both the selling and buying agents, a practice that has been much scrutinized with lawsuits continuing to pop up.
However, this approach has been a cornerstone of real estate transactions for decades. Understanding the benefits of this practice is crucial, especially in the current climate of legal and regulatory challenges.

Advantages of seller-paid commission for sellers

• Increased buyer interest: When sellers cover the commission, the property becomes more attractive to a broader range of buyers. This is particularly beneficial in competitive markets, where every advantage counts.
• Potential for higher selling price: Because buyers don’t need to reserve funds for commission, they might be willing to offer a higher purchase price.
• Faster sale of property: By removing the extra financial burden on buyers, sellers often enjoy quicker sales, reducing the time their property spends on the market.
• Simplified negotiation process: With commission costs off the table, negotiations can focus squarely on the property’s price, streamlining the discussion.
• Reduced financial burden on buyers: This approach makes properties accessible to a wider pool of buyers, some of whom might have limited available cash for upfront costs.
• Enhanced seller reputation: Sellers who cover commission costs are often viewed as more motivated and cooperative, traits that can attract serious and qualified buyers.
• Streamlined transaction process: The transaction becomes less complex with fewer parties negotiating over commission payments, leading to a smoother overall experience.

Here’s the deal. Until we get more direction from the “powers that be” on what and how buyer’s agents should be paid, we should probably keep doing what we are doing — but with a lot more transparency and better communication skills with everyone involved.

The practice of sellers paying the buyer’s side of the commission in the U.S. real estate market has deep roots. While recent legal challenges have put these practices under the microscope, it’s clear that this method offers multiple advantages for sellers.

From attracting more buyers to potentially fetching higher selling prices and ensuring a quicker sale, the benefits are significant. As the industry navigates these legal waters, understanding the rationale behind this practice helps in appreciating its value in the complex world of real estate transactions.

Additionally, NAR provides several resources to help you discuss compensation with consumers:

Darryl Davis is the CEO of Darryl Davis Seminars.

7 Perks of Seller-Paid Commission to Share With Homeowners
The Greater Boston Association of Realtors’® (GBAR) Diversity Scholarship Program was created in 2023 to provide training and financial support to members of racial minority groups who aspire to a career in real estate.  By establishing this scholarship program, it is our hope to promote an inclusive environment within the local real estate industry in which the population of licensed real estate professionals mirrors the diversity of home buyers and homeowners residing in the 64 communities in the Greater Boston region served by GBAR.  

Each year, the association will seek to award a minimum of 10 scholarships to cover the cost of attending the real estate salesperson pre-licensing course, the registration fee to take the salesperson’s licensing exam twice (if necessary), and first-year of membership dues to join the Greater Boston, Massachusetts and National Associations of Realtors®, for those who affiliate with a Realtor® member firm of the GBAR.  GBAR has partnered exclusively with the New England Real Estate Academy to provide pre-licensing course instruction to scholarship recipients, which includes 20 hours of online training via webinar and 20 hours of self-directed study, digital and audio versions of the “Principles of Real Estate Practice in Massachusetts” instruction manual, and access to a monthly study group, quizzes and a practice final exam.  

Scholarship recipients will be provided three months from notification of selection to enroll in the salesperson pre-licensing course and six months from the date of enrollment to complete the course.  Course fees will be paid in advance by GBAR, while the license exam fee will be reimbursed to scholarship recipients following completion of the examination, provided appropriate documentation is provided, and application for Realtor® membership with GBAR is made within 60 days of passing the licensing exam.

If you are interested in applying for a GBAR Diversity Scholarship, we recommend reviewing the eligibility and application criteria cited below prior to submitting an online application.  Applicants should be aware that an interview with the scholarship selection committee is part of the application process. 

The deadline to submit an application is March 1, 2024.  For questions, contact GBAR at 617-423-8700 or 617-224-9303.

Scholarship Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants must be:
- At least 18 years of age;
- A legal U.S. resident and permanent resident of Massachusetts;
- Residing in one of 64 communities in the Greater Boston Real Estate Board/GBAR jurisdiction;
- A member of a racial minority.  Racial minority is defined as a person of race or national origin that is African American, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern American, Native American.
- Able to satisfy the requirements for licensure for real estate salespersons set by the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers & Salespersons;

Scholarship Application Criteria:

- Complete the required scholarship application on or before March 1st.
- Submit two personal letters of recommendation;
- Students currently enrolled in a pre-licensing course with New England Real Estate Academy are ineligible to apply;
- Individuals shall interview with the scholarship selection committee as part of the application process

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GBAR Announces Diversity Scholarships Program


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