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The Massachusetts Landlord Survival Guide  is an invaluable tool to help new and longtime owners succeed. Simple, fast and an informative legal resource, the Landlord Survival Guide is the source for owners to navigate the common pitfalls of being in the rental business. Covering topics from fair housing, discrimination, evictions, owners duties, tenant rights, and more, this book is the ultimate resource with all the information you need in one place.
 
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Housing Market Data Dashboard- Members Only

The Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® (GBAR) housing market data dashboard is an interactive platform which provides 24/7 customizable search and reporting capabilities for active inventory and sold properties in the detached single-family home, condominium, and multi-family housing markets. The dashboard is a powerful, new resource for REALTORS® that enables agents and brokers to monitor, research and report on current market performance and historical trends to their clients and customers. Specifically, it allows you to track variations in sales, selling price, inventory levels, market time and more on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis, and filter the data and trend lines by geographic area (region, town, neighborhood), property type, price range, lot size, living area, and number of bedrooms.  There is also a dashboard for market pricing analysis, and a separate dashboard for a one-page town summary

Data in the dashboard is populated from the MLS Property Information Network (MLS PIN) for the previous four years, and is available for nearly 90 communities in Eastern Massachusetts, including all 64 communities in the GBAR jurisdiction. 

IFRAME TO MARKET SNAPSHOT

Monthly Housing Market Data

As part of our effort to monitor housing market activity in metropolitan Boston, GBAR compiles a monthly data report which provides insight into the current performance and longer-term trends within the residential(detached single-family home and condo) and multi-family housing markets in the GBAR jurisdiction. Within these reports we follow key performance indicators (KPI) of housing market activity on an annual and month-to-month basis.

To view and download the latest one page data reports offering monthly snapshots of residential market activity for any of the 351 communities in Massachusetts follow this link , then follow the instructions to log-in to the members-only section of MARealtor.com.

2021

           January:  Housing Market Insights ReportNews Release | Housing Market Recap Video
           February: Housing Market Insights Report | News Release | Housing Market Recap Video
           March:  Housing Market Insights Report | News Release | Housing Market Recap Video
           April: Housing Market Insights Report News Release | Housing Market Recap Video
           May: Housing Market Insights Report | News Release | Housing Market Recap Video
           JuneHousing Market Insights Report | News Release | Housing Market Recap Video

2020

2019

 2018

2017

 

Housing Market Data & Dashboard
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Check out the June edition of the MAA Insider featuring highlights from past events, information on upcoming events plus local and national multifamily news.

Read the July MAA Insider. 
MAA Insider - July 2021
MAA

Did you miss our May Newsletter? Read about upcoming BOMA Boston events, news, and educational opportunities!

Read the July BOMA Enews.

July 2021 E-News
BOMA
Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Justice withdrew from its consent to a settlement agreement reach with NAR last year that resolved issues raised by the DOJ concerning brokerage commissions and the MLS system.  As a result of this unprecedented move, NAR has announced that the proposed changes to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and MLS rules that it had agreed to implement as part of the settlement are on hold. 

The revisions that were to be implemented include the following:

1) The amount of compensation offered to buyers’ agents for each MLS listing be made publicly available;

2) Changes to Standard of Practice 12-1 of the Code of Ethics to definitively state that buyers’ agents cannot represent their services as free to clients;

3) MLS rule revisions to re-affirm that MLSs and brokerages must provide consumers all properties that fit their criteria regardless of compensation offered or the name of the listing brokerage.  Notably, this would prohibit MLS listings from being filtered based on compensation amount or the name of the listing broker or agent;

4) A new requirement that with seller’s prior approval, licensed real estate agents be given access to the lockboxes of properties listed on an MLS, even if the agent does not subscribe to the MLS. 

For REALTOR® reaction to the DOJ’s decision you can read the NAR statement from President Charlie Oppler and view a video issued in response to the DOJ Settlement action from NAR”s Legal staff. 


DOJ Reneges on Settlement Previously Reached with NAR
GBAR
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Lillian Dickerson 

Here are 10 hypothetical situations to help illustrate how you can avoid some very real legal and ethical problems

New to the industry? Get started with everything you need to know about the early decisions that’ll shape your career, including choosing a brokerage, learning your market, creating an online presence, budgeting, getting leads, marketing listings and so much more. If you’re a team leader or broker-owner, New Agent Month will be jam-packed with resources to help your new hires navigate.

Even the most earnest real estate agents can accidentally make a false step that could end in an ethics violation, a lawsuit or even revocation of their license. That’s why it’s vital to understand ethical issues and potential legal problems — especially if you’re a brand new real estate agent.

Take a look at the following common hairy situations agents encounter and the potential consequences.
 

Scenario 1

A potential buyer is especially concerned about the risk of termites at a property you’re representing. She asks if the home has ever incurred any damage from termites, to which you respond, “no, none.”
But you fail to mention that there has been evidence of the presence of termites on the property in the past, though they’ve never caused any significant damage to date.

 
Verdict: You could be at risk of a lawsuit, or even of losing your license.

Agents who misrepresent a property, mislead clients or fail to disclose property defects quickly make themselves vulnerable to being sued.

If the aforementioned potential buyer ultimately buys the home, then months later starts seeing termite damage on their property and is perplexed as to why, they will likely come back to the listing agent and blame them for failing to disclose the presence of termites.

The seller or listing agent could also potentially be liable even if failing to disclose termites to the buyer was not intentional. Other common related items that an agent can get into trouble for not disclosing include foundation issues, improvements made without permits or leaks.

Common misrepresentation issues also include property boundaries or issues with roofs, or even an agent’s relationship to the buyer, seller, or anyone else involved in the transaction.
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Scenario 2

Your buyer is thrilled with the “perfect” home you’ve helped them find, and you meet up on a Friday afternoon to collect their earnest money for escrow.
You take their check, put it in a safe interior pocket in your work purse, and promptly forget all about the check until you notice it in your purse the following Tuesday.

 
Verdict: You could be sued and potentially have your license revoked if you have a pattern of similar mishandling of funds.

Earnest money needs to be deposited into escrow in a timely fashion, and agents should not take this lightly. They should also avoid moving money around, not keeping up their books, or borrowing money from clients (a big no-no). The bottom line is, when it comes to handling clients’ money, keep it organized, and get it to the appropriate parties as quickly as possible.
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Scenario 3

An agent calls you regarding a property you’ve listed, which currently has an accepted offer — with contingencies. The agent wants to know what the status is on offers and contingencies, and you curtly reply, “I’m not at liberty to discuss.”
 
Verdict: You’ve just committed an ethics code violation.
Article 3 of the Realtor Code of Ethics states: “Realtors shall cooperate with other brokers except when cooperation is not in the client’s best interest. The obligation to cooperate does not include the obligation to share commissions, fees, or to otherwise compensate another broker.” As such, you’re obligated to disclose if an offer has been expected and what the current status is in case the agent and their client want to submit a backup offer.
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Scenario 4

Your clients are shopping for homes in a new city and want to know crime rates in different neighborhoods to help them make their homebuying decision. So, you generate crime reports with a variety of crime statistics on every neighborhood in the city and provide them to your client.
 
Verdict: You’ve committed an ethics code and fair housing violation.
Such practices that might potentially sway a buyer toward wanting to live in one neighborhood versus another are considered steering under the Fair Housing Act and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) ethics guidelines. To avoid a potential slip into steering, agents can be sure to do things like suggest listings to clients based on a home’s objective features or price point and refer clients to third parties if they have questions about things like schools or ethnicities in a neighborhood.
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Scenario 5

Your seller receives a buyer love letter in one offer on their home that hits them in a personal way — the buyer couple reveals that they have two kids the same age apart as the seller’s, and the seller now envisions their family growing up in their home. The seller accepts their offer, and later on, a competing buyer who is single learns that the seller accepted the offer of the other buyer because they had a family.
 
Verdict: The seller and/or listing agent could be sued, and this is a fair housing violation.
When buyers give away personal details in buyer love letters that might sway sellers, it opens up sellers to liability in a fair housing lawsuit. At a Realtors Conference in 2020, Barbara Betts, broker-owner of the Betts Realty Group and a director of the National Association of Realtors, the California Association of Realtors and the Pacific West Association of Realtors, suggested that listing agents speak with their sellers about not accepting these kinds of letters at all because of their potential for liability. Of course, if letters only discuss the merits of the house buyers are hoping to win, that’s a different story. But it’s impossible to know the content of a love letter in advance.
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Scenario 6

You notice a property pop up in the multiple listing service (MLS) that checks off all the boxes of what your buyer wants in their new home. But, you also notice that the listing agent works at a discount brokerage known for offering lower than the typical cooperating compensation for buyer’s agents. So, you decided not to alert your client to the listing. There are plenty of other listings out there anyway.
 
 
Verdict: This practice could quickly get agents sued if they’re caught, and it’s considered a fair housing violation.
In fact, several Houston-area real estate agents were recently targeted in lawsuits by REX Real Estate when the discount brokerage acquired recordings of agents revealing that they wouldn’t show buyers homes listed by the discount brokerage because of the smaller commission they would receive. Buyers have a right to know about all the potential options available to them.
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Scenario 7

You list a property and clearly state in the MLS that no showings will be available on the property until a certain date the sellers have specified, when they plan to go on an extended vacation. The day before the sellers were supposed to leave, they mention to you that they left early and have already vacated the house. A potential buyer had reached out to you wanting to see the house ASAP, so you contact them and let them know you can now show them the house this afternoon, a day before you said on the MLS it would be open for showings.
 
Verdict: You have violated the Realtor Code of Ethics.
Realtors are obligated under the Realtor Code of Ethics to cooperate with other brokers, unless it’s not in their client’s best interest. By showing the home yourself a day before publicly stating when it would be available to see, you’re misrepresenting the availability of access to the property and going against their obligation to share information about the property and make it available to other brokers.
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Scenario 8

You’ve hit a bit of a dry spell and could really use some new leads. You remember an old leads list you have in your database from before you started a texting plan through your CRM, and think, “Bingo! Why didn’t I text these leads before?” You add their cell numbers into your texting campaign plan and wait for those leads to warm on up.
 
Verdict: You’ve just done something illegal and made yourself vulnerable to a lawsuit.
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations, consumers must give their consent to receive marketing communications. Just because someone opted in to receive communications from you previously does not mean they now want to start receiving new text messages from you. “That is a major no-no,” Robby Trefethren, an inside sales agent (ISA) coach at Hatch Coaching, told Inman. “You are opening yourself up to major legal and financial liability, and I don’t recommend doing that to anyone.”
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Scenario 9

Your client is interested in a property and have poured over the listing multiple times, but really wish they could get a video tour of the home before deciding whether or not to go see it in person.
The only problem is, the listing doesn’t have any kind of video or virtual tour of the home with it. You tell your clients, no problem, you can go visit the property for them and take some videos on your iPhone while you’re there to pass along to them.
 

Verdict: You’ve made yourself vulnerable to a lawsuit.
By recording video footage of a home without the seller’s consent, you’ve given them the option to take legal action against you. Sure, it’s possible that the listing agent just didn’t have the tech or know-how to create a video tour of the home, but it’s also possible that the sellers did not want to have video footage of their home on the internet. Without asking, you have no way of knowing.
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Scenario 10

Some friends of one of your current clients reaches out to you because they’re unhappy with their current Realtor, whom they say, “Just isn’t getting the job done.”
Because you are responsible and kind and want your clients to see that you’re willing to help their friends, you tell them you’d be happy to help out and are sorry their current Realtor isn’t doing their job right.
 
Verdict: You’ve just violated Article 16 of the Realtor Code of Ethics.
If a client already has a representation agreement in place with another Realtor, you’re violating Article 16 by agreeing to work with them before their existing contract with the other Realtor expires.
It is, however, permissible to discuss with someone like this who reaches out to you what you could do to help them once their existing contract does expire.
“If they make incoming contact to me, I absolutely can have a conversation about what I will do for them after their contract has expired,” Betts told attendees at the aforementioned Realtors conference in 2020. “You cannot talk about right now. You cannot tell them their Realtor isn’t doing their job.”
10 Scenarios That Can Result in Ethics Violations, Lawsuits or Worse
GBAR

 

Article Courtesy of: Inamn News
By: Andrew Chishchevoy

When systems don’t talk to each other, your brokerage suffers. So what can you do?
 
Data silos are a (mostly) silent weight that slows your business, reduce your profits, and make people mad. I say “mostly” silent because you probably hear the sounds of data silos around your office.

“These spreadsheets are killing me.”

“I still don’t have everything to process commissions because the transaction data hasn’t been entered yet.”

“We have to redo the contract because of a typo when the transaction was entered.”

“I wasn’t in the office to finish that data entry.”


Leading brokerages have been working to eliminate these data silos over the last few years. This is a critical business process improvement that you’ll need to address just to keep up. You don’t want to get stuck in the past and get left behind.

So what exactly is a data silo? It’s simply any place where important data is NOT accessible easily to all who need it. And, it can harm productivity, teamwork, and cost you financially.

The most common data silos we see in brokerages are caused by software that handles a step in the process, but that does not talk to the software that handles the next step. Transaction management to commission payouts is a big one of these.

Maybe your brokerage has a transaction management system, but then you have to manually enter all the commission data into a spreadsheet to calculate the disbursements.

The same holds true for moving all that financial data from transactions and commissions into accounting. Or bringing listing data from a CRM or MLS into your transaction management system. Or pushing data from the back office into a reporting system, such as Realogy Dash.

Every time data hits a wall in the process, you are in a data silo.

What problems do data silos cause?


Data silos can have a negative impact on your business. Here are some of the problems they cause:
Decreased productivity and morale—you are slower to close transactions, slower to disburse agent commissions, and slower do everything else
Mistakes and errors—leaving you with bad or missing data that can cause rework and compliance problems
No business overview—you have no holistic view of your business and its health
Increased costs—you are paying for a lot of rework and duplicate manual work

So how do you fix this?

The good news is that data silos are a technology problem, not a people problem. And fixing the technology will make your office staff and agents happier and more productive. Here are things to look for in technology solutions that eliminate data silos.

Consolidate multiple business functions in one platform—transaction management, commission calculation, accounting, and even agent management, are all related and all have overlapping data
Integrate your tools—after consolidating, you’ll still have a couple different systems and you’ll want them to be able to talk to each other through an “out of the box” integration or an API
Provide access from anywhere—it’s 2021, there is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be able to access your systems securely from anywhere with a web browser or mobile app
Seek robust reporting—getting all your data into one place allows you to get that holistic view of your business, so look for systems that provide flexible reporting

If you don’t fix your data silos…

You will probably continue on for a while before the weight pulls you all the way down. Other brokerages will be moving faster, closing faster, paying faster, making fewer mistakes, and retaining great staff and agents. Don’t get stuck in the past. Don’t get left behind.
Are Data Silos Are Dragging Your Brokerage Down? Here’s How to Fix It
GBAR
GBREB and MAR are urging legislators to consider a more permanent online notarization law. In 2020, in response to the pandemic, Massachusetts temporarily allowed electronic notary services. 

Under the Act the notary, the client, as well as any participating witnesses, must be physically located in Massachusetts at the time of the videoconference and must sign the documents by hand in ink.

Several states have fully authorized remote online notarization which permits notarization by video using a third-party technology platform.  Many of you may be familiar with the proposed Federal Secure Notarization law which NAR supports.

It sets the floor—not the ceiling—for use of remote online notarization and does not prevent states from passing their own laws or setting their own regulations.  If lawmakers are unable to reach an agreement on how to modernize the process before the Act expires June 15, they will likely extend it for a few months to give all the parties time to reach a compromise.

For additional information, view this article from Banker & Tradesmen

We will keep you appraised of any further developments.
 
GBREB, MAR Urge for More Permanent Online Notarization Law
GBAR
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Jimmy Burgess


Here are 7 activities to help you implement a new strategy each day over the next week
 
The most successful real estate agents don’t do things exactly the same way, but top producers share a framework that allows them to grow their businesses. These seven practices will help you leverage your time to grow your business like top producers do. 

1. They grow themselves

Top producers focus daily on growing their knowledge of how to be the very best version of themselves. They constantly search for new ways to conduct business with a focus on working better and growing faster. They tend to be early adopters who identify innovative ideas and test them to see how they work. 

Agents who listen to podcasts, participate in training, read books and watch YouTube videos about best practices benefit from the wisdom and experience of other people, and top producers use those ideas to grow themselves consistently.

As things begin to reopen following COVID, real estate conferences will provide excellent opportunities to network and learn new ways to improve your business from other agents. Nothing replaces time spent with other agents who are looking for ways to grow their business. Top producers search out mastermind groups where ideas are plentiful.

Be aware, too, that accountability plays a vital part in growth, and those agents who seek mentors and coaches will likely see the best gains because they’ve surrounded themselves with people who have accomplished what they hope to do themselves.

2. They use the hot-sheet 

Top producers live by the hot-sheet, and it should be an essential part of every agent’s daily activity. Top producers notice the new listings coming on the market, and they also watch the homes that are going pending and the sales data of the homes that have closed. This data gives them the opportunity to stay on top of any trends or shifts in the market.

But the primary use of the hot-sheet is to send new listings out to prospects who are ready to buy. Top producers keep their hottest buyers informed about new properties, price changes on homes that meet their search criteria, and how recent sales might impact their home values.

Top producers who utilize the hot-sheet to provide timely details about relevant properties for their prospects build deeper relationships. It also provides the opportunity for one transaction to lead to a lifetime client.

3. They create and modify systems 

 

Time is often the most significant challenge you’ll face in your work, and the top agents constantly seek ways to systemize their activity. By creating and consistently modifying those processes, top producers make better use of their time by looking for ways to do more work with less effort.

There are countless tools available to help us streamline things like sending handwritten communications and staying in touch with your top prospects. The agents who leverage those tools will likely see growth in their businesses as a result.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the enormous amount of systems your business needs. Make a list of the tasks you repeat, and put one system per month in place. 

Maybe this month, it’s a checklist for closing out a listing. Next month, maybe you create a pre-listing packet. Perhaps the third month, you implement an automated past-client follow-up system. 
If you just focus on one system per month, you will have a more efficient business poised for more growth and less work at the end of a year.

4. They send out CMAs

Top producers send out CMAs daily to various people: past clients, listing prospects, people within their sphere of influence or people in their database. Specifically, video CMAs allow you to stay in touch with your top prospects and give them information about the value of their homes in the current market.

Each 5- to 10-minute video takes about 30 minutes to create as you walk the prospect through recent activity, comparable homes in their area, and estimated closing costs to help them truly understand the potential value of selling their homes. 

Agents who send one of these each day will stay top-of-mind for their prospects. And when those owners decide to sell, they’ll have an opportunity to list these properties.

5. They make outbound calls

Real estate revolves around conversations, so though you can use texts, emails or other forms of outreach, there must be a phone conversation before any transactions happen.

Top producers don’t wait for things to come to them. Instead, they initiate conversations with past clients, people in their sphere of influence and their current prospects. They also use techniques, such as circle prospecting, to connect with the people in the area they are farming. No matter who they call, rest assured that top producers have real estate-related conversations every day.

The lesson is that if you want to have more closings, simply have more real estate conversations.

6. They add to their databases

Your database is the lifeblood of your real estate business. Your ability to add to it and then effectively communicate with the people in it will determine your future success. 

Top producers add new people to their database daily, but having an extensive database isn’t their only focus. They also purposefully communicate with their database to build rapport with the people in it.

Top producers add people to their database through several strategies, including open house attendees, farming efforts, circle prospecting conversations, door-knocking, online lead generation, or simply meeting people in the community. No matter which strategy you use, consistently adding to databases is a daily practice for top producers.

Once you’ve added people to the list, use weekly communications to help them begin to know, like and trust you on a deeper level. The more personalized your outreach is, the more likely you are to build relationships with your database.

The key is to systemize the outreach so that you’re consistently connecting and providing value, which will lead to more business.

7. They use to-do lists

Top producers stay in charge of their day by ensuring that they engage in the right activity instead of doing things that won’t grow their businesses. 

They create to-do lists before leaving the office each day or before they go to bed each night. They wake up in the morning with a plan for how they will grow their business that day.

To grow your business, adopt the practices that top producers use to maximize their time and make the most of their efforts. This list has seven activities to make it easier for you to implement one a day over the next week into your business. By doing so, your business will look more and more like the top producers in real estate, and soon after, your results too.

Jimmy Burgess is the Chief Growth Officer for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida. Connect with him on Facebook or Instagram.
7 Daily Habits of Top Producers That'll Bolster Your Business
GBAR

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GBAR New Member Orientation- Agency Webinar
GBAR Webinar
1:00pm
 
2021 MAA Red Sox Outing
5:30pm
 
MAA Golf & Tennis Tournament
Dedham Polo And Country Club
 
Annual Awards & Networking Breakfast
Venezia Restaurant Boston
9:30am
 
BOMI Managing The Organization
Live Virtual Course
2:00pm