If you have the knowledge, passion and communication skills to be an industry advocate and voice for fellow REALTORS®, or know someone who does, please consider submitting a Candidate Nomination Form for yourself or a colleague. There are several elected leadership positions available for 2019, including the offices of treasurer, vice president and president-elect, as well as six seats for two-year director terms. We also are seeking candidates to serve on the boards of directors for GBREB, MAR and NAR. It’s our strong desire that the association's leadership reflects the diversity of business models and licensee population we serve.

To learn more, access the qualifications and duties of all elected leadership positions and our online Candidate Nomination Form. To ensure eligibility for 2019, nominations should be submitted by August 10th.

Nominations Sought for 2019 REALTOR® Leadership Roles
According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) newly-released Commercial Real Estate International Business Trends Report, nearly one-fifth of REALTORS® practicing in commercial real estate closed a sale with an international client in 2017, and 35 percent said they have experienced an increase in the number of international clients in the past five years.

The top countries of origin for buyers were China (20 percent), Mexico (11 percent), Canada (8 percent) and the United Kingdom (6 percent). While sellers were typically from Mexico (20 percent), China (15 percent), and Brazil and Israel (both at 10 percent). Florida and Texas were the top two states where foreigners purchased and sold commercial property last year, while Massachusetts was the fourth most popular buyer and seller destination.

“The profile of smaller commercial markets is continuing to rise as many foreign investors are attracted to smaller-sized properties in secondary and tertiary markets, bringing REALTORS® confidence that increased sales and leasing activity will continue to occur in 2018,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Since 2016, world economies have regained their footing and have pressed toward higher ground. Global economic output increased in 2017, and commercial real estate continues to be a healthy investment for global investors,” Yun added.

For more information on this report, please click here
Bay State Among Top Five States Targeted by International Commercial RE Buyers

On Friday, June 22 we held our Annual Awards & Networking Breakfast at the Venezia Restaurant in Boston. At the event, we honored and recognized several of our members for their business accomplishments, charitable works and successes over the past year. 

This year’s GBAR Member Recognition Awards recipients are:
REALTOR® of the Year: Jason Gell, Boston’s Luxury Properties, Brookline
Good Neighbor Award: Tanisha Salmon, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Jamaica Plain
Affiliate Member of the Year: Deb Frank, Metro Credit Union, Chelsea
REALTOR® Spirit Award: Kristin Hilberg, Keller Williams Realty Boston-Northwest, Concord
Andrew F. Hickey Distinguished Service Award: Carolyn Chodat, Classic Properties, REALTORS®, Medway

During this year’s program we also recognized several members who achieved life member and REALTOR® Emeritus status, as a result of meeting the organization's volunteer service criteria and terms of membership thresholds. 

Life Membership
o Tim Garvey, Century 21 Commonwealth, Winchester
o Judy Moore, Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, Lexington
o Rick Nazzaro, Colonial Manor Realty, Reading
o Jan Triglione, Premier Realty Group, Reading

REALTOR® Emeritus
o William Copithorne, Sweeney & O’Connell, Arlington
o James Joly, Boardwalk Real Estate Corp., Reading
o James Savas, Century 21 Adams Lawndale, Belmont
o David Wluka, Wluka Real Estate Corp., Sharon

Congratulations to all our award recipients! Click here for photos from the event!

Congratulations to our 2018 Awards Recipients
The deadline to submit an application to be considered for an appointment to a Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) committee in 2019 has been extended to July 31, 2018. If you have not yet signed up, there is still time to select the MAR committee you wish to serve on in 2019. Click here to log in for access to the committee request form. To access the MAR Portal, you need your National REALTOR® Database System (NRDS) number which you can find here .

MAR Committees Include:
Audit Committee
Charitable Foundation
Consumer Awareness Task Force
Education Committee
Finance Committee
Forms Content Advisory Committee
Government Affairs Committee
Investment Committee
Member Benefits Committee
Professional Standards Committee
Special Events Task Force
Young Professional Network
MAR Seeks Committee Volunteers for 2019
The GDPR, short for the General Data Protection Regulation, governs how websites and businesses treat data that belongs to residents of the European Union, regardless of citizenship. This regulation applies to businesses and organizations around the globe, not just members of the EU. The GDPR requires an affirmative “opt in” to allow companies to collect website user’s personal data, rather than the traditional opt out we have all become accustomed to. The goal of the GDPR is to give back control of personal date to individuals by granting the following rights: 

• The right to be informed that data is being collected and how it is being used;
• The right to object; 
• The right to access that data; 
• The right to change the data; and 
• The right to have the data erased. 

These changes likely mean that the “Terms of Use” on most websites will need to be updated to explain what data is being collected on the site and how to request that your information be forgotten. Additionally, in order to obtain the “opt in” or affirmative consent required by the GDPR, a pop-up window or “lightbox” feature can be used with a box or button for the user to click prior to proceeding to use the site. Furthermore, the GDPR requires notification within 72 hours of a breach to authorities in each country where users are affected.  
While it may seem like these regulations wouldn’t apply to the typical real estate agent here in the United States, it is strongly advised to implement these updates as the potential fines for a breach of confidentiality are significant – up to $20 million Euros or 4% of a company’s annual global income, whichever is greater. The GDPR applies to the collection of the following information: name, phone number, address, e-mail address, IP address, cookie identifiers, location data, genetic information, mental/psychological information, economic information, cultural information, and any information pertaining to a person. If you have a website with an IDX, a newsletter sign up form, a listing request form, a “contact us” form, or any place where a user inputs their information on your website, you need to make sure you are GDPR-compliant.  

These regulations under the GDPR became effective May 25, and while the GDPR may not apply to all real estate businesses, we recommend that you speak with your website vendor to discuss what data is collected and whether you should to update your website to become complaint these rules. It is also recommended that you speak with your insurance company to determine whether you would be covered in the event of a breach. 

For more information, please visit the links below: 
How Does the GDPR Impact My Business?
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
The U.S Department of Labor (DOL) has finalized its long-awaited Association Health Plan (AHP) rule to expand the definition of “employer” to include “working owners.”  This change allows real estate professionals and other self-employed individuals to participate in association health plans.  A key provision, forwarded for inclusion in the rule by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), will allow many REALTORS® who have access to coverage through a spouse to be eligible to choose an AHP option.  

The ruling is a major step forward for NAR’s long-standing advocacy efforts to expand AHP eligibility to independent contractors.  This ruling allows NAR to keep up its ongoing program to evaluate potential options for expanding REALTORS® options for access to health insurance coverage.  It does not mean that a REALTOR® AHP will be available in the near term, but action continues to explore such options.  

The road from the DOL ruling to the availability of an AHP is long and not without potential detours.  Legal and other challenges could delay implementation of the rule. NAR has been advocating for an AHP solution for decades as a means to expand access to health insurance options for REALTORS® and this final rule makes AHPs one-step closer to achieving that goal. The result of our advocacy efforts, the strategic recommendations of our Member Benefits Team and consultations with health insurance experts have positioned NAR to analyze a potential AHP option in a comprehensive process to help secure best quality health insurance at the most affordable price for all of our members and their families. NAR wants to caution its members that the development of an AHP will be a long process and may not meet the health insurance coverage needs of all members. 

For more information, visit NAR’s Health Care Reform topic page which contains a number of resources on NAR advocacy efforts concerning health insurance availability, including policy statements, Congressional testimony and comment letters to regulatory agencies. 
What the Association Health Plan Rule Means for REALTORS®
Through GBAR’s partnership with Placester, members now have access to a variety of resources to build your online presence and industry knowledge. This is a tremendous new member benefit with free articles, ebooks, infographics, and videos to take your real estate marketing to the next level 

From education resources like webinars, podcasts and blogs to personal marketing, branding and lead generation materials, these are can’t-miss tools for REALTORS® looking to learn new ways to build their business. Additionally, Placester offers free, templated websites for REALTORS® that allow you to launch a professional, mobile-ready website to strengthen your brand and highlight your success. If you're not up online yet, you will want to consider this unique member benefit.
Partnership with Placester Offers Resources, Free Templated Websites
The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) has joined with the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) and several other real estate groups, as well as the Massachusetts Municipal Association, on a coalition letter to all members of the Massachusetts House of Representative and Senate urging their support of legislation on housing production.

The letter expresses strong support for H. 4290, An Act to promote housing choices, which in its current form is a unique opportunity to increase the much-needed supply of housing in Massachusetts. The letter also addresses the housing affordability issues facing Massachusetts, arguing that complicating or increasing housing costs through legislation would worsen the existing problem. 

Notably, the letter quotes the UMass Donahue Institute saying, “the challenge for Massachusetts going forward will be to address the housing, transportation, and infrastructure constraints that make it more difficult for the workers who will be needed to fill these positions to relocate to the state and meet the needs of growing employers. While this challenge is not new, the price of inaction is high and rising.”

To read the full coalition letter, please click here.
REALTORS® Sign Coalition Letter in Support of Housing Production Bill
Steady price appreciation, rising interest rates and a shortage of homes for sale in Greater Boston resulted in slower sales of single-family homes and condominiums in May according to data released today by the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® (GBAR).

Sales of single-family detached homes experienced a modest 2.4 percent decline in year-over-year sales in May, as 1,217 homes were sold compared to 1,247 homes sold in May 2017. Despite this softening of sales, this was the fifth highest sales volume on record for the month of May and reflects a 43 percent increase over the 853 homes sold in April. The condo market had a similar cooling in sales volume as 1,060 units were sold last month, which compared to 1,091 condos sold in May 2017 is a 2.8 percent decrease. This was the eighth highest condo sales volume in May and reflects a 23 percent gain in units sold from 859 one month earlier. 

“The market remains red hot as we head into the summer, with dozens of prospective buyers turning out for nearly every new home that comes on the market,” said GBAR President Marie Presti, broker/owner of The Presti Group in Newton.  “We’ve seen a steady increase in new listings over the last several weeks, which is helping to address the pent-up demand in our market.” 

Notably, new listings increased for a second consecutive month in both the detached single-family home and condo markets. The single-family market saw an increase on 9.6 percent in new listings, increasing from 2,287 in May 2017 to 2,506 last month. Likewise, the condo market saw a 7.5 percent increase in new listings, from 1,617 in May 2017 to 1,738 last month.
Because of this strong demand, median sale prices have continued to soar in Greater Boston, and both the detached single-family home and condo markets reached all-time record-high prices last month. Single-family homes sold for a median sales price of $629,000, which is a 5.4 percent increase on the May 2017 median sales price of $597,000. Similarly, the condo market experienced a 4.8 percent median sales price increase from $525,000 in May 2017 to $550,000 last month.

“The competitive climate in the current market along with today’s tight supply have contributed greatly to the rapid price appreciation we’ve experienced,” observed Presti.  “With inventory numbers not yet level with demand, we’re seeing multiple offer situations with regularity. In both markets the typical property is selling above the original list price set by the homeowner.”
The most recent data shows the sold-to-list price for detached single-family homes rose to 101.1 percent this past May, while condominiums sold for 102.3 percent of the original list price in May.

Short supply continues to be the main hindrance to sales growth in the Greater Boston housing market, as active listings declined slightly in both markets last month. Active listings of single family homes dropped 5.3 percent 3,254 homes for sale in May 2017 to 3,080 last month. Condo listings fell a modest 0.3 percent last month, from 1,960 units listed in May 2017 to 1,955 last month.

For additional information regarding May 2018 Greater Boston Housing statistics, including our new interactive housing market data dashboard, visit the Monthly Housing Market Reports page.
Greater Boston Home Sales Remain Strong in May, Inventory Catching Up

After several years of discussion, the Boston City Council passed legislation regulating short term rentals in the City of Boston. The primary effect of the proposed Ordinance would be to establish a registration system for all short-term rentals and to impose limitations on such rentals in the City of Boston.

A "Short-Term Rental" is defined as the use of a residential unit by a person for less than 28 consecutive dates. Also, licensed rooming houses, licensed bed and breakfasts, units offered under certain circumstances for person receiving medical treatment and their families, and short-term business/institutional stays of at least ten days, are all excluded from this Ordinance.

The Committee on Government Operations made several changes to the bill including allowing owner adjacent units to be rented for 365 days a year.  Under a prior version of the bill owner adjacent bills were capped at 120 days a year. The bill also added a requirement that the Commissioner of ISD report on the effectiveness of the new law beginning on June 30, 2019. Three amendments to the bill were also added including a sunset provision allowing residential units with executed leases for short term rentals to operate through September of 2019. Mayor Walsh has indicated he plans to sign the bill into law.

Please stay tuned for a member update from GBREB regarding the specific provisions of the law once it is signed by Mayor Walsh.

Short Term Rental Bill Passes In Boston

The GBAR Brokerage Counseling Line has received an increasing number of calls from members requesting information about setting up a Team and what are the Massachusetts regulations that cover Real Estate Teams within a brokerage. Other questions received, which are equally pertinent include advertising and worker classification issues by Teams and what rules or laws must be followed.

REALTORS® are subject not only to the licensure rules of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but also by The REALTOR® Code of Ethics and any local statutory or regulatory rules. Although a handful of states have implemented specific laws and regulations governing real estate teams, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has not yet legislated any team-specific laws or regulations.
Even though no current laws or regulations surrounding Real Estate Teams in Massachusetts have been codified, there several rules (laws, regulations and Articles of the Code of Ethics) governing REALTORS® licensed in the Commonwealth that are of particular importance to teams.

When working in or managing a team, it may be easy to run afoul of these rules:
  1. Real estate salespersons must be associated with a broker (254 CMR 3.00)
  2. Real estate commission fees may only be paid to a broker (254 CMR 3.00)
  3. Salespersons are prohibited from advertising in their own name and all advertisements must include the name of the broker (254 CMR 3.00)
  4. REALTORS® shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations. REALTORS® shall ensure that their status as real estate professionals is readily apparent in their advertising, marketing, and other representations, and that the recipients of all real estate communications are, or have been, notified that those communications are from a real estate professional. (REALTOR® Code of Ethics, Art. 12)
  5. The name of the REALTOR® firm must be disclosed in a reasonable and readily apparent manner in all advertisements (REALTOR® Code of Ethics, Art. 12, Standard of Practice 12-5)
  6. Salespersons and brokers other than the Brokerage firm are prohibited from holding client funds, (254 CMR 3.00)
  7. Agency disclosure issues including undisclosed dual agency (254 CMR 3.00); and
  8. Non-licensed team members performing real estate activities reserved for licensees only (MGL c. 112, § 87RR).

*The following is meant to be representative, but is not an exhaustive list of all rules (as defined) pertaining to real estate Teams. Consultation with your legal advisor is recommended prior to setting up any real estate Team

"Broker" when defined above means the brokerage firm with which the Team is affiliated. Any commissionable transactions will always belong to the Brokerage firm, not the team as the Brokerage is the entity with which the public is engaging and because the team is not a separately licensed brokerage firm. It is also important that all advertising and communications with the public include, in a prominent manner, the name and contact information of the Brokerage firm, in addition to that of the Team.

Although the broker of record for a brokerage firm may have different policies and procedures for Teams separate from agents under their direct supervision and training, a broker of record may share, but cannot delegate its responsibility for supervision solely to a Real Estate Team or Team Leader. Ultimate responsibility for the action of all sales agents and broker-associates affiliated with the brokerage firm lies with the broker of record. Ultimately, “the buck stops here” with the broker of record, as he or she is both liable and responsible for the actions of all agents and team members affiliated with the brokerage.

In summary, if running a Team, remember one key thing: You are not a brokerage, so do not hold yourself out as one. Failure to adhere to these rules and regulations could result in an investigation by the Board of Registration, an ethics complaint, or even a 93A lawsuit from a disgruntled or potentially deceived client.

For more information, please see a selected list of articles and resources below, or contact William G. Mullen III, Esq, GBAR Legal Counsel & Director of Risk Management at 617-399-7842.

Teams: Important Considerations Regarding Real Estate Teams in Massachusetts


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