The Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) and Metro Housing|Boston are teaming up to help property owners and tenants who are having trouble paying rent and mortgages due to the pandemic. On Saturday, October 16, we are hosting an event to help building owners and tenants complete and submit applications for assistance. GBREB and Metro Housing organized this workshop in response to the number of families and individuals living in areas served by the two organizations who earn less than 80 percent of median income, and have fallen behind on their rent or mortgage payments because of a housing crisis caused, at least in part, by COVID-19.

Landlords who own up to 20 housing units can apply directly for rental assistance on behalf of eligible residents. Tenants can also apply directly. These tenants and owners may be eligible for an emergency assistance payment for up to 18 months of rent, but they are either not aware that programs exist or if they are aware are unable to complete an application without being assisted.

This event is for property owners and individuals who have made an advance appointment and have all necessary documents. They will meet with a trained REALTOR® volunteer who will assist them in preparing and electronically submitting the application.

Event Details

Saturday, October 16, 2021
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
The Community Room at Metro Housing|Boston
1411 Tremont Street, Boston, MA (opposite of Roxbury Crossing MBTA Station)
*Pre-registration is required to attend this event*

Who Should Attend?

Tenants & Prospective Tenants
Are you behind on your rent or mortgage? You may be eligible for financial assistance to help pay for: rent or mortgage arrears, utilities arrears, and upfront moving costs. Attend this FREE workshop for help on how to properly complete the application for Financial Assistance.

Landlords/Property Owners
If you are a landlord or property owner applying for assistance on behalf of a tenant, the tenant must complete the Tenant Consent Form.

REALTOR® Volunteers
We are also seeking REALTOR® volunteers for this event, who will provide tenants with assistance in preparing and electronically submitting the application. A one hour virtual training will be offered prior to the event. If you are interested in volunteering for this event, please contact Elyse Libeskind at [email protected] or 617-244-9303

COVID-19

According to a new city-wide mandate in Boston in effect on 8/27, this event will be a masked event - meaning that regardless of vaccination status, everyone will need to wear a face covering.      We will also be making every effort to space out from each other to encourage social distancing.   Should the event  not be able to be held for COVID-19 related reasons. the event will be postponed and rescheduled for a future date.   This event will not be held virtually.

Registration

Please register before Wednesday, October 13 by contacting Elyse Libeskind at [email protected] or 617-244-9303.

 

 
GBREB & Metro Housing Boston Financial Assistance Workshop
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Marian McPherson
 
Over the past year, the worsening imbalance between supply and demand has pushed homebuyers to the edge. Bidding wars and seller-friendly concessions have become the norm as buyers vie for their chance to own a home, even if it’s far from what they originally hoped for.

Although bidding wars are slowing and asking prices are leveling out, NerdWallet’s latest market analysis shows buyers are still feeling the pressure to do whatever it takes to purchase a home, which, unsurprisingly, can lead to dissatisfaction and regret.

“There are many reasons a buyer might regret their home purchase, or aspects of it,” the report read. “And in 2021, even more than in the past five years as a whole, the risk of buyer’s remorse is high. The heavily tilted seller’s market means most buyers are making sacrifices in order to successfully close on a home.”

Here are a few ways to make sure your clients don’t rue the day they bought their home.

Encourage buyers to separate wants from needs


The first issue for homebuyers, NerdWallet said, is the breakneck pace homes are being snapped up. Prior to June 2020, the five-year average for days on market was 41 days. However, that average has plummeted to a mere 18 days as low-interest rates keep buyers on the playing field.
 

To avoid wasting time during the home search, NerdWallet suggests buyers take more time to calculate a reasonable purchasing budget and create a list of wants and needs, so they can quickly identify the home that has everything they need, even if some of the bells and whistles are missing.

“Get specific: Know which features you’re willing to compromise on and what’s out of bounds in regards to [the] sales price,” the report read. “Making decisions such as ‘Do we really need a third bedroom?’ or ‘Can we afford another $50,000?’ on the fly is risky, at best.”

Don’t sacrifice everything

Although parsing the difference between a buyer’s wants and needs is important, NerdWallet noted the best way to avoid regret is resisting the urge to dismiss everything on the nice-to-have list.

“The number of homes on the market has fallen by about 55 percent from September 2019, when it last peaked, according to residential listing data from Realtor.com,” the report noted. “The supply of homes being offered for sale is paltry, so buyers are unlikely to find one that satisfies their wish list.”

“Being flexible is a must in this market, but sacrificing too much could leave [buyers] with a home that’s a far cry from the one [they] envisioned,” it added.

Ask buyers what their most important wants and needs are, and be willing to search longer or even pause the homebuying process if you foresee more-fitting inventory coming down the pipeline in the upcoming months.

Pull back on exorbitant offers and waiving contingencies

The past year has been an unusually strong sellers’ market where buyers are even battling over clearly overpriced homes. When offering four or five figures above the asking price hasn’t been enough, some buyers have resorted to waiving contingencies — a move that can come back to bite.
 
“When pitted against an all-cash offer for asking price or above, buyers who must borrow might try to entice the seller by taking dangerous risks, like forgoing a home inspection,” the report read. “But 10 percent of homeowners who have purchased in the past five years regret not getting a pre-purchase home inspection, and 13 percent of these recent buyers say they regret discovering their home had significant problems in need of repair.”

Before making an offer, NerdWallet said, it’s important to know your buyers’ purchasing threshold and be willing to walk away from a deal that could cause major headaches in the future. “Winning isn’t everything. Don’t let the competition pressure you into forgoing important protections or going over budget,” the report added.

Stop buyers from stretching their budget to the max

Many homebuyers, especially first-timers, don’t understand that just because they’ve been pre-approved for a certain loan amount doesn’t automatically mean they can afford it. Although they can afford a monthly mortgage, additional homeownership costs such as appliance repairs and purchases, regular maintenance and insurance could easily push them over the edge.

“Five years ago, in July 2016, homes were selling for $245,100, or $278,100 in today’s dollars, according to data from the National Association of Realtors,” the report read. “Now, the typical sales price is $360,000, nearly $82,000 more [and] incomes have not kept up.”
“What this means is a buyer’s money won’t go as far today,” it added. “Add to that the ongoing costs of homeownership, and it’s clear how quickly home buyers can get in over their heads.”

To avoid regret and possible foreclosure, help buyers create a holistic budget that accounts for their mortgage and the costs for maintaining their home on a monthly and annual basis. That will give them a more realistic idea of how far they can go to get the home they want.
4 Ways to Ensure Buyers Don't Regret Their Purchase
GBREB NEWS

Improvements Coming to Boston Fire Inspection Process

Under the leadership of Boston Fire Department Commissioner Jack Dempsey, Fire Marshall Joseph Shea and his team at the Boston Fire Department, BFD is poised to introduce new technology to alleviate many of the pain points for REALTORS® in the smoke and co detector inspection process.   The team at BFD has secured funding for the project and is working with the City of Boston’s Chief Information Officer to implement the new system. BFD has been researching technology in other jurisdictions including the City of Quincy, which is very similar to the new portal in Boston. It is hoped that the new system will be fully operational by January of 2022. 

GBREB continues to have dialogue with the BFD regarding changes members would like to see incorporated including accepting new forms of payment.  Currently BFD is required by the City of Boston to only accept bank checks and money orders which they hope to address by allowing credit cards.

In addition to the new portal, BFD has worked to retrain staff on customer service including responding to emails and messages with questions on inspections. After hearing from several members that closing attorneys were rejecting inspection certificates without unit numbers, GBREB also raised the issue with BFD.  BFD promptly responded by investigating the issue and found that when the addressing system does not have a unit set up by the city it is the accepted business policy to list the unit number in the comments section.  Training was also conducted with BFD staff on the issue of unit numbers.   On September 1, BFD also decreased the wait time for inspections by going back to its morning and afternoon hours.   

As a reminder the Boston Fire Department allows for a smoke certificate to be good for 90 days, unlike the Commonwealth of Massachusetts which only allows for 60 days.  REALTORS are encouraged to apply for an inspection as soon as the property is listed. This will allow for plenty of time to get the inspection done and allow for corrective action when the home does not pass.  According to BFD an average of 275 inspections are conducted each week. At this time all inspection requests are now easily accommodated.
Improvements Coming to Fire Inspections In Boston
As we navigate the ups and downs of the pandemic and the real estate market, we want to let you, our current and potential Realtor partners, know about an important new MassHousing objective.

Over the next five years we intend to build up the percentage of MassHousing loans made to Persons of Color each year from 34% today to 50% in 2026.

Over the last year and half, many social and economic disparities have received attention. One of the most dramatic is that the home ownership rate for People of Color is only about half of what it is for white homeowners in Massachusetts.

MassHousing is committed to doing its part to change that.

In the coming weeks and months, we will be reaching out to the Realtor community to help build greater public awareness of MassHousing’s affordable home mortgage loans.

In the meantime, we hope you will re-familiarize yourselves with us, by visiting our website masshousing.com, following us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and staying in touch with us.

One last thing. We just updated our list of top lenders and loan officers who are originating the most MassHousing loans. Check the list out here

We invite you to contact the members of our Relationship Management Team if you would like to learn more about how MassHousing and Realtors can work together. You can reach them at 1-888-843-6432 or at [email protected].
 
MassHousing Announces Plan to Increase Loans to Persons of Color

 

Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Erica Ramus

With the market starting to cool, now's a good time to check in with your agents. Are they on track with their goals? Here's how to make the most of agent check-ins and successfully plan for the upcoming year
 
As we head into September, now is the time to check in with your agents and see how they are doing with their 2021 goals. Many agents simply wanted to make it through 2020 and overcome the difficulties of selling houses during COVID-19.

Hopefully, your agents set realistic goals for 2021, and you’ve been tracking their progress throughout the year. With the inventory shortage issues of 2021, buyer’s agents may be short of their goals, while seller’s agents with strong listings may be ahead of the game.

No matter where your individual agents stand, now is the time to check their sales stats and sit down with them to plan for 2022. Here are four steps I take each year with my agents.

1. Assess agent stats

Pull stats for each agent, and compare them to the prior year. I do this for the entire brokerage as a group and then for each individual agent. See if you can spot any trends.

This is harder this year because 2020 and 2021 definitely were not normal years. But in general, you’ll be able to see up or down trends, and you’ll hopefully spot problems before they turn into bigger issues.

I run these numbers at the end of each quarter. If you see an agent who typically closed six sides a quarter in 2019 and dropped to four per quarter in 2020, you might attribute it to the pandemic. Did production increase again in 2021, or did it drop to two per quarter this year? 

2. Schedule agent check-ins

Brokers and managers should make every effort to plan a face-to-face check-in with every agent at least once a quarter. Virtual brokerages and larger offices may find this difficult, but if you have 20 agents or less (as most firms in the country do), this shouldn’t be too challenging.

I have 11 agents, and I check in regularly with each one. More than half of my agents are in the office at least three times a week. The others may live farther from the office or prefer to work from home, which is fine.

The ones who come in regularly have assigned desks. I manage by walking around and sitting with whoever happens to be in the office on any given day. We talk about current clients and files.

Sometimes, problems come up in these discussions that my agents may not normally pick up the phone to call me about. However, because we are in the office at the same time, they’ll often mention their concerns and issues, and we’ll mastermind them together. 

When it comes to agents who only stop in to drop off files or use the conference room, I will call them at least twice a month to just see how they are doing and if they need any help. I have had brokers tell me they leave their agents alone if they are quiet, assuming everything is fine. I have a more hands-on approach.

3. Create a custom coaching plan

During my check-ins, I ask if there is anything they need help with or what their pain points are. This lets the agents know the staff is there to support them — and that I’m there to help them achieve their goals. 

During a recent check-in, I discovered an agent was struggling with one of our software platforms, and their paperwork was falling behind because of it. I was able to sit with that person and show them shortcuts and best practices to speed up their use of the system.

In another chat, I learned that an agent’s slipping production numbers was due to the fact that he had taken on several other non-real estate projects and side jobs. This led to a difficult conversation about focus and deciding if he would be better off as a part-time agent in another office, as our office only hires full-time professionals.

Once you know where the pain points are for your agents and what’s going on in their personal lives that may be affecting production, you can sit down with them and create a plan to coach them to success. In my office, one size does not fit all. We don’t have one sales playbook or training path. With 11 agents, customized mentoring works for my office. 

4. Start building for 2022

Before we know it, we’ll be moving into cooler weather and pumpkin-spice-everything season. In my area, sales cool down the end of August then pick up a little in September. Then, we slow down the closer we get to November and the holiday season.

That’s why now is the perfect time to look at your firm’s trends for 2019, 2020 and what you have to date for 2021. Where do you want to be in 2022?

In my September meetings with agents, I start the planning process for next year. Although we don’t know what the inventory situation will be like next year or what the COVID-19 virus will look like, we should know what worked — and what didn’t — in 2021. Make adjustments to your marketing and agents’ business plans to take into account this uncertainty.

Finally, an in-person check-in with each agent right now might clue you into agents who are feeling restless or unhappy with the office or their production in general.

We see agents the fourth quarter of each year start looking at other offices and considering a brokerage change. You may be able to see this coming before it happens if you have your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the office and the mood of your agents.
 
Erica Ramus, MRE, is the broker/owner of RAMUS Real Estate.
Are Your Agents on Track? 4 Steps for Keeping Them on Goal
Article Courtesy of: Banker & Tradesman
By Diane McLaughlin | Banker & Tradesman Staff 

Mortgage lenders using Fannie Mae’s systems will soon be able to consider rental payment history when deciding whether to approve a loan, a change that could help increase minority homeownership.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency said in a statement on August 11th that Fannie Mae will update its systems to consider rental payment history in its risk assessment processes, giving borrowers an opportunity to benefit from having a positive history of making rental payments included in underwriting decisions.  There is no additional burden for the borrower or the lender to use this feature, the FHFA said.

“For many households, rent is the single largest monthly expense. There is absolutely no reason timely payment of monthly housing expenses shouldn’t be included in underwriting calculations,” Acting Director Sandra L. Thompson, said in the statement. “With this update, Fannie Mae is taking another step toward understanding how rental payments can more broadly be included in a credit assessment, providing an additional opportunity for renters to achieve the dream of sustainable homeownership.”

In a separate blog post today, Fannie Mae CEO Hugh Frater said the change would be made to the Desktop Underwriter platform and represented “one important step in correcting housing inequities and encouraging the housing system to develop new ways to serve all of society safely and fairly.”

Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey found that Black consumers identified insufficient credit score or credit history as the single biggest obstacle to getting a mortgage at a rate of 29 percent compared to 18 percent for white consumers. Frater said 20 percent of the U.S. population had little or no established credit history, with people of color disproportionately represented in that demographic.

“While credit history is a key element in evaluating a borrower’s ability to make a mortgage payment, building credit in the United States is not an equitable endeavor,” Frater said. “Most ways to establish credit involve student loans, credit cards, or parental co-signers. But, people of color are statistically less likely to use these forms of credit to manage their financial lives.”

Starting Sept. 18, borrowers can give lenders permission to use bank account data to identify 12 months of consistent rent payments. But rental payment history will not hurt borrowers, Frater said, because any missed or inconsistent rental payments would not negatively affect their ability to qualify for a mortgage.

“This technology innovation is a ‘win-win’ for renters looking to own a home,” Frater said. “That is, there is no way it can hurt their credit score, and it will only be used to help eligible homebuyers qualify for mortgage credit.”
Frater added that a recent sample of applicants who had not owned a home in the past three years and did not receive a favorable recommendation through Desktop Underwriter showed that 17 percent could have been recommended for a mortgage if rental payment history had been considered.
 
Fannie Mae to Add Rental Payment History to Lending Platform
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Jimmy Burgess

Here’s a handy list of video ideas that every agent can — and should — easily make to reach out to more potential buyers and sellers and keep in touch with past clients:
 
Many of us know we should be shooting more videos to connect with our potential clients, but we aren’t sure what those videos should be about. The good news is that other agents around the country have likely created some of the same videos that will help us grow our business.

I’ve generated a list of 21 videos that real estate agents can use to market their businesses by connecting with buyers, sellers and past clients. I’m going to break these into groups of videos including videos to attract sellers, videos to attract buyers, videos to attract both buyers and sellers, and videos for past clients.

If you search for each of these titles on YouTube, you can get an idea of how other agents are using them, adapt them to your own local market and build your own videos that provide value to your audience.

How to attract sellers

1. 5 things to do before listing your house in (your city)
This video is designed to capture the attention of future sellers early in their process. Highlight the steps they can take to dress their house up for the selling process, like removing clutter and improving landscaping.

Include all the things you routinely tell people at a listing appointment, and publish the video with a call to action that invites viewers to contact you for a free, no-obligation conversation about how they can sell their homes for the highest price in the shortest period of time.

This video gives you the ability to capture the attention of future sellers just prior to putting their homes on the market.

2. 5 biggest mistakes sellers make in (your city)
This video should highlight the common mistakes that you’ve seen people make when selling their homes.

Explain mistakes like overpricing the home, failing to prepare for showings and other missteps that will negatively impact the sales price and time frame for selling a home.

3. Should I sell my house in (your city) right now?
Use this content to identify two groups of people: those who are considering selling their homes now and those who will sell sometime in the future. Break down the market for your potential clients and help them understand what is happening at this moment in time, and also help them understand what you anticipate in the future of real estate.

Of course each seller’s personal situation will differ, but we can help them understand the factors that are at work in the market.

4. Unsolicited video CMAs
You can target these videos to people who have expressed an interest in selling their homes, your past buyers, homes in your farm area or anyone you know who owns a home.

You’ll gather information about the home’s value, record your screen to show the homeowner that the information is current, and send it to homeowners with a call to action that invites them to call you for a no-obligation consultation.

I sent out 72 of these in a three month period and generated $11 million from the effort, and I believe it’s one of the best strategies available to agents who want to grow their business.

How to attract buyers

5. 5 reasons you shouldn’t buy a home in (your city or farm neighborhood)
This video will attract people because of its negative headline, but Trudy VanHorn with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Panama City Beach put a spin on it, so it’s really all about the positives of the neighborhood. Include language like this in your video: Don’t buy in this neighborhood if you hate having sidewalks that wrap around the entire neighborhood.
 
Don’t buy in this neighborhood if you hate being surrounded by families, because this area is full of small children and a variety of age groups.

The clickbait title will draw them in and present the positives of the neighborhood you’re farming.

6. 5 things you should know before buying in (your city or farm area)
Share general demographics about the area to educate buyers before they move to a specific area.

Provide the average size of houses, the distance to popular destinations in the area and other details about the neighborhood, so potential buyers can decide whether the area is a good fit for them.

7. What people love about living in (your city or farm area)
These videos allow you to highlight the amenities of a neighborhood, like swimming pools, workout facilities, walking trails or other features that current residents love.

These videos also establish you as the expert on that neighborhood so that people who see your content on social media will think of you when they’re ready to buy or sell.

8. What people hate about living in (your city)
In these videos, be honest about the things that people dislike about living in a certain neighborhood. Is it the heat and humidity? The traffic? The weather?

Your honesty about the things that people dislike will earn you credibility with your audience. Instead of telling them only the good in an attempt to sell them something, give them all the information they need to make an informed decision. They’ll trust your honesty.

9. Should I rent or buy in (your city or farm area)?
This video will also highlight a certain neighborhood, and it will help your audience weigh the costs of living in a particular area and potentially put themselves in a better financial situation.

What is the average rent in the neighborhood? How much is the average mortgage payment? This video will help you explain the benefits of homeownership, and it will also help you identify first-time homebuyers who can become your customers.

10. Coming soon
You should create one of these videos for every single listing that you take because they allow you to create excitement about properties that are coming on the market and identify those people who are interested in buying.

Say something like this in the video:
I’m out in front of this great new listing, and we’ll have photos of it in just a few days, but if you’d like more information about this three-bedroom, two-bath house in [list the neighborhood], reach out to me, and I’ll send you the details before it hits the market.

This is a great way to identify potential buyers without being salesy, because you’re giving them information they can’t get anywhere else.

How to attract both buyers and sellers

11. My favorite place
Highlighting your favorite restaurants, parks and local attractions helps you share the lifestyle of your market. These videos will allow you to engage with potential clients because everyone loves to hear about the best places in the area. These videos should be heavy on information and low on real estate sales details. Mixing up your video content with market information and market highlights is a winning recipe.

12. Neighborhood sales update
Review the sales that have taken place in the neighborhood you’re farming over the last three to six months. Share information about the homes that are actively on the market at the time of the video as well as pending contracts and homes that have recently sold.

These videos will keep you top-of-mind with homeowners in the neighborhood as well as the buyers who want to live there. By positioning yourself as an expert about the neighborhood, you’ll consistently have a flow of both buyers and sellers for that particular farm.

13. Overall market update
You should share this information at least every quarter, but I recommend that you provide it monthly to let your audience know how the current market numbers related to sales activity, average sales price and average days on market compare to the same time last year.

These videos will position you as the expert in the community, and they will help your audience know, like and trust you.

14. Check this out
These videos work well on social media, allowing you to share an amazing kitchen or an incredible outdoor space or some other aspect of a property. You can include a call to action for the people who want to see more of the house to click a link that drives them to your website or some other information about the property.

People love to see what’s happening in other houses — sometimes to get ideas for their own house or even because they’re dreaming of making a move. These videos are a great way to drive traffic to your website or to a specific property.

15. Open house walkthroughs
Record a video walkthrough every single time you host an open house, and use it to promote the event in the hours before it starts. The people in your audience may be interested in seeing the house in person, and some people in your audience may not be able to come to the in-person event.

These videos will help you increase your traffic the day of the open house and add the potential for someone who may not be able to attend the open house to watch the video instead. You may also grab the attention of potential sellers who appreciate your efforts on behalf of your current customers.

16. My favorite transactions
We tend to attract what we focus on, so by sharing the story of our favorite transaction, we’ll be telling the story of clients we enjoyed working with. You aren’t meant to work with everyone, so if you’re sharing the stories of the people you enjoy working with the most, you’ll draw more of those clients in the future.

17. My funniest transaction
Transparency can earn you credibility with people, so tell the story of the transactions that potential buyers or sellers will find humorous. People do business with people they like. These videos help share your likeability in a way that will draw potential clients.

18. My worst transaction
Use these videos to tell the story of transactions that were rife with major obstacles, and then explain how you overcame them. Drama draws a crowd, so some people will check out your video just to hear what happened.

What’s more, you’ll also build credibility as you explain how you kept things on track despite the challenges. Show people that you’re capable of handling anything that comes your way in a transaction — and you’ll grab the attention of potential buyers and sellers.

19. Frequently asked questions
Start by identifying the questions you get asked every day. For example, here are a few things clients often wonder about:
How do I get qualified for a loan?
What should I know about making an offer on a home?
What does an inspection time period look like?
How much down payment do I need to buy a home?

Make a video that answers your frequently asked questions before people even ask them — and you’ll inspire confidence in folks who will, one day, buy or sell their homes with you.

How to reach past clients

20. I was in the neighborhood
Keep in touch with past clients, and stay top-of-mind by letting them know you were thinking of them as you passed through their neighborhood. Drive to the home you helped a client buy, and if the car isn’t in the driveway, knock on the door.

If they don’t answer, shoot a video of yourself in front of the house. Say something like this in the video:

Hey! I was in the neighborhood and I stopped by, but you guys weren’t here. Just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you. I hope you still love your house and let me know if I can help in any way. Take care, and I’ll talk to you soon.

It’s a high-impact video that they’ll remember when they get ready to sell, and it will keep you top-of-mind if they know of friends or family who are in the market as well.

21. Reasons I love referrals
Tell the stories of past clients who have sent referrals your way and explain how much you appreciate their efforts. Then tell the story of how those referral customers became your friends as a result of the transaction.

Everybody loves a great story, and this is a soft way to stay on people’s minds for referral opportunities.

Use these 21 ideas to generate videos and as a jumping-off point to spark your own creativity and add your own spin. The value of videos in your business has never been more important, and with every day that goes by, their value increases. Now is the time to lean into video creation if you’re looking to grow your business.

Jimmy Burgess is the Chief Growth Officer for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida.
21 Creative Video Concepts to Reach More Buyers and Sellers
Article originally appeared in: REALTOR® Magazine
By: Melissa Dittmann Tracey

They may need to enter into a leaseback agreement with the buyer while searching for another property, but there can be unforeseen risks if the contract isn’t structured carefully.

For sellers, it’s more difficult than ever to get the timing right between the sale of their current home and the purchase of their next property. Low inventory, high prices, and quick transactions work against them as buyers, so many sellers may need extra time to figure out their next move. One solution is to ask for a leaseback agreement, (also known as a Use and Occupancy Agreement) , which allows the seller to stay put and rent the property from the buyer after the sale. Such an agreement is typically meant for a short period of time—a matter of days or a week. But in this feverish market, some agreements are stretching to a few weeks or even months, which can pose problems if they’re not structured to account for various risks, says Deanne Rymarowicz, associate counsel at the National Association of REALTORS®.

Some sellers are delaying their search for a new home until they’ve sold to avoid the need for contingencies, which can undermine a person’s competitive edge in today’s market, says Michael “Smit” Smith, C2EX, RENE, a sales associate with Windermere Real Estate who is licensed in Arizona and Washington. Of course, that strategy also can land sellers in housing limbo. Sellers often have little time to organize a move, as the typical home sold in just 17 days in June, according to NAR data.

Leasebacks, also known as post-possession occupancy agreements, not only help sellers but also can give buyers an advantage in bidding wars. “In this market, buyers are putting these in to sweeten their offers in a multiple-offer situation,” Rymarowicz says. “Sellers are selling their homes so quickly that they may not have even started packing.”

But—and This Is a Big ‘BUT’…


These agreements turn home buyers into landlords and sellers into tenants. Giving a seller a few extra days to move out is fairly common. “But it’s when we’re talking about more than a few days that there’s a lot more to consider, like any potential risk of loss, insurance, and rent,” Rymarowicz says. For example, should the buyer charge a security deposit? Do any state or local landlord rules apply—particularly if the seller-turned-renter is staying longer than 30 days? Here are some tips to keep in mind when your client needs to enter into a post-closing occupancy agreement.

Put everything in writing.
Buyers shouldn’t let sellers retain possession of a home for any amount of time without an agreement in place that lays out all the conditions. Your clients may need a short-term lease agreement in place while drafting a longer-term contract if the seller plans to stay for 30 days or more, Rymarowicz says. Leaseback agreements should spell out the length of the rental period; the amount of rent per day, week, or month, if applicable; penalties for late payments; who pays for utilities; the buyer’s right to access the property; and the seller’s duties to maintain the home while they’re living there. The agreement may stipulate that the buyer has the right to inspect the property and ensure no damage was done.

Double-check insurance coverage.
An insurance agent can help clear up any confusion about who’s responsible for what if the home is damaged during the leaseback period. For example, who has to pay if the water heater breaks or a tree limb falls on the roof? The responsibility likely will fall on the buyer as the new homeowner. However, the seller isn’t off the hook. Once becoming a tenant, the seller’s previous homeowner’s insurance policy no longer applies, Rymarowicz says. “The seller will need to talk to an insurance agent to discuss converting it to a renter’s policy to ensure their possessions are still covered,” she adds. Also, buyers should ensure that there are no gaps in their insurance policy during the leaseback period. Otherwise, they’ll need to carry supplemental insurance, like fire coverage.

Charge a deposit.
The buyer may want to charge a refundable security deposit just like a landlord would. Damage to walls, for example, can occur when the seller finally moves out, and a deposit can offer protection against any losses. Consider whether the security deposit should be held in escrow or released to the buyer at closing. A security deposit can also send a message to the seller: This isn’t your home anymore, and you’ll be on the hook for damages like any tenant would.

Get the lender’s approval.
Many lenders won’t accept leaseback agreements that are longer than 60 days, at which point the home can be classified as an investment property instead of a primary residence. Investment properties come with different loan terms—and, typically, a higher interest rate. Make a lender aware of any leaseback arrangements up front to make sure the buyer’s loan won’t be put in jeopardy.

Know the risks.
Buyers must have safeguards in case a seller refuses to leave at the end of the leaseback period, though this situation rarely occurs, real estate pros say. Still, it’s increasingly a possibility in an environment where many people are taking advantage of eviction moratoriums, Smith warns. With this in mind, buyers may ask sellers to waive their rights as tenants under current COVID-19 protections. As another safeguard, buyers may hold a portion of the home sale amount in escrow and release it to the sellers once they finally move out.

Consult an attorney.
A real estate attorney can review any post-possession occupancy agreements, particularly those that stretch beyond a few days, to help minimize the risks. “The longer [the time period] these agreements are structured for, the more both parties will need to think about avoiding potential issues that could arise,” Rymarowicz says.

In Massachusetts, GBAR Attorney William G. Mullen III, Esq. notes that these are commonly referred to as a Use and Occupancy Agreements, or a U&O, and have been used by buyers and sellers for years. While the document typically is only a page or two long, Attorney Mullen cautions that you ask an attorney to prepare these documents because there are many legal pitfalls that go along with this type of agreement. It must not establish a tenancy agreement between the seller and buyer, the lender must give permission for it and insurance companies must also consent. Otherwise it could be considered a commercial property loan with a higher interest rate and/or, an insurance company could challenge a claim for the house burning down after the closing because the documents indicated it was the new buyer's primary residence without a rental tenancy. As such, while it is a valid negotiating item, it must be properly prepared by both the sellers and buyers attorneys. For further general information, you can contact the GBAR Brokerage Counseling line at 617-399-7842 or emailing [email protected]

What if Your Sellers Have Nowhere to Go?
The Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® (GBAR) invites you to submit a candidate application form for yourself or a fellow REALTOR® to serve as an officer or director of GBAR, or become a director from GBAR to GBREB, the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® and/or National Association of REALTORS® in 2022. We are looking for creative, energetic and vocal industry professionals who are willing to do the work necessary to expand our menu of programs and services, elevate the association's voice and stature with the media and lawmakers, and enhance customer service and outreach to better connect with members. Simply review the position descriptions and if you or a colleague qualifies, submit a nomination! 
  
Click Here for Position Overviews
Click here for Online Application/Nomination Form
  
Deadline extended to Friday, August 27
  
Questions? Please contact John Dulczewski at [email protected]
2022 Leadership Applications Open Until 8/27
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Bernice Ross
 
It’s August, and the fall selling season is only a few short weeks away. If you want to maximize your production for the rest of the year, you have to carefully target how you’re spending your marketing dollars.

Don’t know where to begin? Start the process by pinpointing which lead generation activities are currently generating the most closed business, determining what activities need to be eliminated, and substituting at least one new source of revenue to grow your business. 
Lead generation is the lifeblood of the real estate business. To effectively focus your marketing, devote 80 percent of your time to the lead generation activities that are generating the most closed transactions. Devote the other 20 percent of your time to unique lead generation activities that are seasonal in nature, are tied to local events or add a new niche for your business. Here’s what to do.

Which 3 lead generation sources are currently generating the most closed deals?

As I mentioned earlier, go through your closed transactions for the past six months, and make a note of which lead generation activity generated each transaction.

For the rest of 2021, spend at least 80 percent of your time and marketing dollars on the top three niches for your business. (If you’re not currently tracking this data, start doing so now!)

Marketing strategy No. 1
Hold a client appreciation event featuring one of your clients who has done something extraordinary for the community. If there is no one in your contact database, honor those in your community for their work with a local food bank, helping the homeless, rescuing animals, etc. Invite your clients who share the same interests. People are drawn to and want to do business with those who are like them.

Another approach is to gather pictures from newspapers and other sources that were taken 50-150 years ago. Interview a local historian about a notable property, and post it on social media.

Be sure to include real estate ads with homes for sale and their prices. Almost everyone enjoys talking about how much real estate values have increased, plus this approach helps to establish yourself as an expert in the area. 

Is it time to add a new niche to your business? 

The “law of attraction” says, “You attract who you are.” For example, if you served in the military, you will probably attract clients who have also served in the military. Here are four niches to consider that account for 61 percent of the total buyer sales:

Veterans: 18 percent (2 percent are active-duty military).
Single females: 19 percent.
Multigenerational households: 12 percent.
Senior citizens: 12 percent.

Marketing strategy No. 2
Did you know that both first-time and repeat buyers can obtain down payment assistance, especially if they are veterans, educators, firefighters, health professionals or work in law enforcement? 

Down Payment Resource (DPR) aggregates local, state and national down payment assistance programs on its site. According to the Rob Chrane, the founder of DPR:  

Down payment assistance is money to help homebuyers get into a home by helping them accumulate their down payment and closing costs. Down payment assistance programs are administered by Federal, state, and local housing finance agencies, nonprofits, as well as some employers.
 
For example, when my brother was preparing to sell his house a few months ago, I found over 25 different programs were available for his property on the DPR website. Those programs represented up to $125,000 in potential assistance based upon the buyer’s qualifications. 

Your marketing campaign is simple: Want to buy a house but need help with your down payment? Contact Jane Agent at 800-555-1212 to learn more

Set a face-to-face appointment as quickly as possible 

No matter what type of lead generation you use, the first agent to meet with the potential client is the one who gets the business. According to the 2020 NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers, 67 percent of the buyers and 77 percent of the sellers hired the first agent they met with face to face.  

Consequently, even if a potential client is not ready to transact for several months, make the appointment anyway. Your goal is to prepare them to transact. For buyers, this can include checking their credit report for errors, investigating if they qualify for down payment assistance or obtaining preapproval for their mortgage. 

For sellers, review the steps required to prepare their property for sale, the various types of marketing you will use, as well as examples of before and after staging. At this appointment, you could take pictures of their property and then virtually stage it with a company such as BoxBrownie. This is a powerful way to secure the future listing.

Marketing strategy No. 3
Visit your current and past clients, and ask for a testimonial about what’s great about living in their area. Post these on your website, LinkedIn, YouTube and other social media sites where you are active.

Wrap up the meeting by thanking them and then asking, “Is there anyone else you know who would also be willing to give me a video testimonial about what’s great about living in this area?”

Every time someone agrees to give you a testimonial for the area, bring them a gift card or other small token of your appreciation. Once you wrap up, ask if they know anyone else who would be willing to give a testimonial for what’s great about living in this area. Be sure to send the videos to each person who helps you.

Three primary benefits for using this approach include:

You are getting a warm, face-to-face introduction to a potential client for the price of a gift card.
Most people will post your video to their social media sites, which puts you in front of a whole new group of potential leads.
Google interprets these testimonials for the area as testimonials for you!

Understand what to eliminate

Unless one of the following strategies was in your top three revenue-producing lead generation activities in 2021, stop wasting time and money paying for print newspaper advertising, home books and home magazines. They generate virtually zero closed purchases as indicated in the NAR chart below.


 
Marketing strategy No. 4

Most agents track their revenue rather than how much they net after expenses. For example, if you spent $10,000 on internet leads and only closed one deal with a $12,000 commission, you only netted $2,000. When you make the decision about where to spend your money, always make sure you’re comparing net income, not gross income.

Also, here’s a bonus tip. TrueBill is a great site, in my opinion, that allows you to easily manage your money and expenses. You can use it to search for subscriptions that you may not even know you have. To locate these, search for recurring bills that end with 99 cents. This is a great resource to share with your clients as well. 

Help distressed property owners

The foreclosure moratorium was scheduled to end on July 31, 2021, unless Congress decides to extend it. The Biden Administration recently announced additional assistance for homeowners who were still having pandemic-related financial problems.

The list of options is substantial, however, here is a summary of two key programs: 
Homeowners with government-backed mortgages (this includes FHFA, HUD, USDA and VA loans) will have access to about a 25 percent reduction in their monthly principal and interest (PI) payments. The goal is to help them stay in their homes longer. This mirrors programs already in place for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 

The Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) provides $9.961 billion to homeowners impacted by the pandemic that can be used toward making mortgage payments, homeowner’s insurance, utility payments and other specified purposes. These funds are available as an additional resource to the 25 percent reduction of PI payments referenced above. 

Marketing strategy No. 5

With at least 2.1 million homeowners delinquent on their mortgage payments, one of the greatest services you can provide is to get the word out that relief is available. A current list of relief programs for homeowners, renters and investors is available here.

There are several ways to target the owners of properties where the owner may be having cash flow issues or be in default:

Use ListSource to target homeowners and investors who are behind on their mortgage payments. Pricing is based on the number of fields you use, although the average is about $0.31 per lead. This service is provided by CoreLogic.

Use REI Source to locate owners of one- to four-unit rentals who may be struggling with their cash flow due to the eviction moratoriums. 

Here’s a simple marketing campaign that can be used for cold-calling, door-knocking and marketing in print, digitally or on social media.

Need help with your mortgage payments? There is help available! Contact Steve Agent at 800-555-1212 to learn more.

Or for investors: 
Need help making your payments due to the eviction moratorium? There is help available! Contact Steve Agent at 800-555-1212 to learn more.

Use the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) site to locate the specific types of assistance that are available for any leads you generate. Landlords may be able to recover some or all the rent the tenants may owe. 

One of the lessons learned from previous downturns is that any time you can help someone keep their property rather than face foreclosure or have to sell against their will, do so. It’s one of the most powerful ways to build your business.

The bottom line is that August is a terrific month to set yourself up for success for the rest of 2021. Take advantage of it by using the tactics above and make the fall 2021 selling season the best one ever. 

Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.
5 Smart Ways to Spend Your Marketing Dollars
As summer is in full swing with BBQs and backyard events, some common items emerge that are difficult to manage such as propane tanks and fireworks. Propane tanks containing fuel under pressure may explode if the tank integrity is altered, causing severe injury or death. As such, they must not be disposed of in the trash. Instead, tanks can be taken to municipal collection programs or household hazardous waste collections if available. Local companies or scrap metal yards may also accept empty tanks.

Fireworks should be submerged in a large bucket of water and soaked until saturated. They must then be wrapped in two plastic bags or layers of plastic wrap so they do not dry out. The double-bagged fireworks can be disposed of in household trash or taken to the local solid waste facility. Local fire departments may offer other disposal options.

At the end of a party, it is tempting to toss those red plastic cups in the recycling; however, according to the consensus of recycling facilities in Massachusetts, those polystyrene cups should be placed in the trash. However, clear flexible cups are made from a higher-grade plastic and are recyclable when emptied of their contents. If you have questions about what is recyclable in Massachusetts, check out MassDEP’s RecycleSmart searchable Recyclopedia, which is also the source for the above disposal information.

The Center for EcoTechnology (CET) is partnered with Covanta to keep mercury and other difficult to manage items out of the waste stream. CET is an environmental nonprofit that helps businesses and people save energy and reduce waste. Covanta’s Energy-From-Waste facilities in Rochester and Haverhill generate enough electricity to power over 100,000 homes with clean renewable energy.  
Disposing Difficult-to-Manage Summer Items

Rent Resources

If you’re a renter having trouble paying your rent, utilities, or other housing costs – or if you’re a landlord trying to stay afloat with tenants in this situation – help may be available. State and local programs are distributing billions of dollars in rental assistance to help renters stay housed during the pandemic.

Visit the CFPB’s Rental Assistance Finder to find out what this means for you and what you can do.  The CFPB’s site also includes resources to help renters and landlords understand other resources to help navigate various financial hardships related to the pandemic.
Rental Assistance

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GBAR Legal Live! - Live Webinar
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1:00pm
 
GBAR New Member Orientation- Agency Webinar
GBAR Webinar
3:00pm
 
Real Estate Professional Ethics - Webinar
Live Webinar Course
10:00am
 
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9:00am
 
Roadshow Virtual Event Webinar With The Boom Team!
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11:00am