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REALTORS® who engage in hate speech or discriminatory conduct even outside of their real estate practice could face disciplinary action under the Code of Ethics. The National Association of REALTORS®’ Board of Directors on Friday approved a proposal intended to hold members to a higher standard of ethics in everything they do. The board meeting was held during the virtual 2020 REALTORS® Conference & Expo. NAR President Vince Malta called the passage of the proposal “a monumental moment for NAR” in reaffirming its commitment to fair housing.

The changes go into effect immediately but do not retroactively apply to members’ past activities or actions. REALTORS® who make discriminatory remarks, on their business or personal social media accounts, can be subject to disciplinary action.

NAR’s Professional Standards Committee first developed the new rules this past summer after nationwide social unrest following the death of George Floyd. Local, state, and national REALTOR® associations reported receiving an “unprecedented” number of complaints about members posting hate speech on social media.

“I applaud NAR’s Board of Directors and our Professional Standards Committee for their efforts to raise the bar on the professionalism and private speech of America’s 1.4 million REALTORS®,” Malta said Friday. “Combating and overcoming bigotry and injustice starts with each of us. REALTORS® today took tangible steps to ensure we are held to the highest possible standard while providing a mechanism of enforcement for those who violate our new policies.”

The new rules extend Article 10 of the Code, which already prohibits discrimination in professional services and employment practices, to include discriminatory speech and conduct. Article 10 prohibits REALTORS® from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The new Standard of Practice, 10-5, will now state: “REALTORS® must not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets, or slurs” against members of those protected classes.

The board also approved a revision to NAR’s bylaws to expand the definition of “public trust” to include all discrimination against the protected classes under Article 10, as well as all fraud. Going forward, associations will be required to inform their state real estate licensing authority of final ethics decisions that hold REALTORS® in violation of the Code in instances involving real estate–related activities and transactions where there is reason to believe the public trust may have been violated.

Prior to approval, the hate speech proposal was reviewed and thoughtfully debated by members. Some suggested the Code shouldn’t change, and instead, the proposal should become a conduct suggestion. Others expressed concern that the new standard could be viewed as violating the First Amendment right to free speech. NAR, however, is a private association that is supported by member dues and, therefore, has the ability to impose ethical duties on its membership, according to FAQs from the Professional Standards Committee.

Other board members welcomed the no-tolerance policy against hate speech, saying that discrimination on the part of any real estate professional reflects poorly on the entire membership. Board member Maurice Hampton, speaking in favor of the proposal, said the nation’s 1.4 million REALTORS® are “not looked at as individuals. We are looked at as a whole. We have a fiduciary duty to protect the REALTOR® brand.”

Board member Boyd Campbell, echoing support for the proposal, said the policy should not be looked at as solely a race issue. It applies to protecting all classes outlined in Article 10 of the Code. “We have a choice to be a REALTOR®. And if you choose to be a REALTOR®, you have certain qualifications, characteristics, and duties that you have to fulfill,” Campbell said.

Any complaint alleging a violation of Article 10’s prohibition on hate speech can now be brought to a hearing panel at a local REALTOR® association. Members accused of violating the standard of practice will be given an opportunity to present their case and defend themselves before the hearing panel, which would weigh the specifics of the alleged violation, whether the comments were made inadvertently or unintentionally, and whether the member has any previous ethics complaints. NAR’s professional standards policies include a defined process of checks and balances to protect members and evaluate potential Code violations.

NAR’s Professional Standards Committee will continue to develop case interpretations to assist members and professional standards enforcement volunteers understand the Code. NAR has produced training and resource materials to assist leaders with understanding and implementing the changes and will roll those out in the coming weeks
In ‘Monumental Moment,’ NAR Cracks Down on Hate Speech
REALTORS® who engage in hate speech or discriminatory conduct even outside of their real estate practice could face disciplinary action under the Code of Ethics. The National Association of REALTORS®’ Board of Directors on Friday approved a proposal intended to hold members to a higher standard of ethics in everything they do. The board meeting was held during the virtual 2020 REALTORS® Conference & Expo. NAR President Vince Malta called the passage of the proposal “a monumental moment for NAR” in reaffirming its commitment to fair housing.

The changes go into effect immediately but do not retroactively apply to members’ past activities or actions. REALTORS® who make discriminatory remarks, on their business or personal social media accounts, can be subject to disciplinary action.

NAR’s Professional Standards Committee first developed the new rules this past summer after nationwide social unrest following the death of George Floyd. Local, state, and national REALTOR® associations reported receiving an “unprecedented” number of complaints about members posting hate speech on social media.

“I applaud NAR’s Board of Directors and our Professional Standards Committee for their efforts to raise the bar on the professionalism and private speech of America’s 1.4 million REALTORS®,” Malta said Friday. “Combating and overcoming bigotry and injustice starts with each of us. REALTORS® today took tangible steps to ensure we are held to the highest possible standard while providing a mechanism of enforcement for those who violate our new policies.”

The new rules extend Article 10 of the Code, which already prohibits discrimination in professional services and employment practices, to include discriminatory speech and conduct. Article 10 prohibits REALTORS® from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The new Standard of Practice, 10-5, will now state: “REALTORS® must not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets, or slurs” against members of those protected classes.

The board also approved a revision to NAR’s bylaws to expand the definition of “public trust” to include all discrimination against the protected classes under Article 10, as well as all fraud. Going forward, associations will be required to inform their state real estate licensing authority of final ethics decisions that hold REALTORS® in violation of the Code in instances involving real estate–related activities and transactions where there is reason to believe the public trust may have been violated.

Prior to approval, the hate speech proposal was reviewed and thoughtfully debated by members. Some suggested the Code shouldn’t change, and instead, the proposal should become a conduct suggestion. Others expressed concern that the new standard could be viewed as violating the First Amendment right to free speech. NAR, however, is a private association that is supported by member dues and, therefore, has the ability to impose ethical duties on its membership, according to FAQs from the Professional Standards Committee.

Other board members welcomed the no-tolerance policy against hate speech, saying that discrimination on the part of any real estate professional reflects poorly on the entire membership. Board member Maurice Hampton, speaking in favor of the proposal, said the nation’s 1.4 million REALTORS® are “not looked at as individuals. We are looked at as a whole. We have a fiduciary duty to protect the REALTOR® brand.”

Board member Boyd Campbell, echoing support for the proposal, said the policy should not be looked at as solely a race issue. It applies to protecting all classes outlined in Article 10 of the Code. “We have a choice to be a REALTOR®. And if you choose to be a REALTOR®, you have certain qualifications, characteristics, and duties that you have to fulfill,” Campbell said.

Any complaint alleging a violation of Article 10’s prohibition on hate speech can now be brought to a hearing panel at a local REALTOR® association. Members accused of violating the standard of practice will be given an opportunity to present their case and defend themselves before the hearing panel, which would weigh the specifics of the alleged violation, whether the comments were made inadvertently or unintentionally, and whether the member has any previous ethics complaints. NAR’s professional standards policies include a defined process of checks and balances to protect members and evaluate potential Code violations.

NAR’s Professional Standards Committee will continue to develop case interpretations to assist members and professional standards enforcement volunteers understand the Code. NAR has produced training and resource materials to assist leaders with understanding and implementing the changes and will roll those out in the coming weeks
In ‘Monumental Moment,’ NAR Cracks Down on Hate Speech
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Cara Ameer

This industry is always moving fast. As a result, agents have become experts at crafting responses that can buy them time, leave the door open or get them to a desired outcome. Here are a few
 
Real estate is a 24/7 business that’s constantly reacting to what’s happening at the moment. Someone is always waiting for a response on something somewhere. Perhaps a new property came on the market that a buyer wants to see as soon as possible. In that case, the agent may need to do some fancy footwork to rearrange his or her schedule or get another agent to pitch in.

What if another buyer the agent was already planning on showing 14 homes to — with tight showing times and lots of logistical hoops — wants to add six more properties to the tour? And when agents puts a new listing on the market, it’s not uncommon for their phones to start blowing up with questions and showing requests.

All to say, as an agent, you have to juggle a lot. Sometimes, you just need to breathe amid the chaos to buy yourself some time, regroup and figure out what’s next. This can be tough to do when everyone is in your face demanding answers right this second. So, here are 11 bluff tactics agents use with buyers, sellers and each other.

1. ‘I’m in a meeting, at an appointment, in the dentist chair, climbing Mt. Everest [insert excuse here], etc.’

This tactic is a generic way agents attempt to buy time until they can get back to someone. They may be truly tied up, doing something they want to do (God forbid) or simply need some time to assess what’s happening or look into something so they can respond with a plan. Maybe they just haven’t gotten to whatever it is that’s being asked of them quite yet.

2. ‘I’ll get back to you’

This is a very generic answer that buys an agent time, but it might also be a way an agent chooses to blows someone off. There are no specifics given with this answer — which often leaves the person on the other line feeling like the check is in the mail.

3. ‘That one is not available or is already sold’

This one can be a common response tactic to overly inquisitive buyers who ask about every house they come across — no matter where they saw it. They constantly send links from umpteen websites asking about one listing or another.

These listings end up being properties the buyers haven’t received from MLS listing feeds because they’re already under contract, sold and closed, or are located in a totally different area the agent knows the buyers aren’t interested in. The agent might’ve grown weary of individually checking into each one.

However, the one needle in the haystack that the buyer still insists on seeing right this second is in some far-flung place, may be difficult to show or worse yet, is offering a co-op commission, which basically means they don’t want another agent involved.

While agents have an ethical obligation to show a home their buyers want to see, they can decide what is or is not worth their time compensation-wise. Rather than bluff, they may be better off explaining the situation the buyers while offering to refer them to someone who will show them the home.

4. ‘We’ve had someone who has come back a few times and is very interested’

Well, there’s always that on any property that’s been sitting for awhile. Is a listing agent really going to say there’s currently no interest? There could have been someone who came back a few times, like several months ago. However, if they were “very interested,” they likely would have made an offer by now. And if they already did, it was probably low and didn’t go anywhere.

This is also a common tactic used by builder site agents when a buyer is looking at a spec home or considering building on a particular lot. It’s hard to know if it’s true, but if the buyer currently looking at the home is interested, it might propel them to move forward with an offer sooner rather than later for fear of losing out.

5. ‘Another agent said they are writing an offer’

This answer is often in response to the question: Are there any offers expected or on the table? It could be true, it could be a bluff, or it could be somewhere in between. In any case, it causes the other agent and buyer to feel a bit of urgency when it comes to submitting an offer, and the kind of price and terms they come in with.

6.  The ‘no-response’ response

This one happens all too often in response to questions from consumers, agents and especially real estate-related vendors trying to solicit an agent for business.

Agents who are constantly solicited by vendors get a hall pass on not responding, as those calls, texts and emails can be downright harassing at times. Phone numbers that agents block simply come up with another configuration to dial and text, and the cycle just repeats itself.

When a buyer’s agent asks a listing agent if there are any offers received or in the process of being negotiated, the listing agent often blows the request off. Meanwhile, the buyer’s agent is multitasking to set up multiple showings, knowing that homes are selling quickly and proceeds in scheduling an appointment because the buyer is pushing to get in. The buyer’s agent will have to quickly ascertain what’s going on when his or her buyer wants to make an offer.

Of course, they hear that there are now several that have been submitted. The listing agent doesn’t have to tell the other agent how many offers they have — or anything about them, really — but a basic response that lets them know if any offers were received always helps.
The same “no response” often happens when asked if there have been any inspections on a property after it falls out of contract and comes back on the market. Instead of offering answers, the silence only raises more questions.

Another scenario is when a consumer who’s a prospect contacts an agent and wants to see a property at a specific time and then won’t work with the agent to find a mutually agreeable one. When the consumer keeps insisting on a specific time or won’t provide the agent with answers to basic questions — such as if they are working with an agent, have a house to sell first or have been pre-approved for a mortgage — the agent stops responding.

Another surefire way to get a “no response” is when a prospect literally blows up a listing agent’s phone, calling and texting continuously.  Ditto when another agent becomes overly aggressive about a property that another agent has listed and won’t stop calling or texting as if the agent didn’t get their message 10 times ago. They just might not be able to respond right at this second.

7. ‘The seller is out of town, out of the country or can’t be reached’

Some of this may be lessened due to the pandemic, but this typically happens when a hot new listing hits the market, the showings stack up and the offers come rolling in.

The answer from the listing agent is that the seller is out of town (how convenient) and unavailable. They typically say they will let everyone know when the agent will be meeting (via phone, in person, etc.) with the seller to review offers. Could it happen? Potentially. The chances of it randomly being the situation? If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.

8. ‘I reached out to the [other agent, HOA, inspector, contractor], etc. but haven’t heard back yet’

Agents always have a lot of follow-ups on their plate. Other agents, buyers and sellers continually ask questions. They often expect instant answers. “Have you heard back yet?” is common to a question that was just asked an hour ago.
In some cases, agents might be tied up with 10 other things, and may not have had a chance to ask the question to the property party as of yet. Alternatively, they could still be waiting on an answer despite several follow-up attempts.

9. ‘The contractor/plumber/roofer said they would send it to me’

This is a common response when the contractor has failed to send the written estimate, invoice or receipt for work completed. The agent or seller responsible has followed up many times — with no response from the contractor.

The agent who doesn’t want to let the other side know the contractor is MIA simply says this to buy some time. Of course, getting this information is always ultra time sensitive, so a repair agreement can be reached, contingency lifted, reinspection completed and a closing scheduled.

The contractor usually comes through but not until the very end, when nerves are frazzled, and the agent is on the verge of a breakdown, (because they have 20 other jobs, or they took the weekend off to go fishing and didn’t have a chance to write it up.)

10. ‘It’s in process’

Whatever “it” is, it’s in process. This could mean an answer to whether or not the appraisal has been ordered, the appraiser has gone out to the house, a repair is being done, the loan approval was obtained, and the seller is moving out or having the home cleaned.

Details are vague as to if “it” has actually started, is underway or even going to happen. Trusting in this answer may be tough as the agent on the other side will need more to go on than that. However, that’s the best you’re likely going to get from the agent who’s relaying this answer. They may not be one for details or pressing the party that’s handling “the process” for more information.

11. The over-the-top dramatic story 

Whatever the issue at hand is, the agent relays that the buyer or seller were in some sort of a situation. Perhaps they’ve made offers on and lost out on 10 homes over the last month. Maybe they walked away from being under contract on three different homes due to horrific inspections.

Alternatively, maybe they had a bad selling experience in the past, which is why the seller is only showing at a certain time — with the listing agent present and cameras monitoring movement in every room.

Whatever you can think up, the other agent will describe a situation that’s much worse than your wildest imagination to push for what they want. Whether it’s true or not is anyone’s guess. The truth may be a watered-down version that’s somewhere between the amped-up story and reality.

The real estate business is fast-moving, and things are always changing. No matter the market, there are always a myriad of hoops and circles associated with whatever it is you’re trying to do. Getting answers or information can often be frustrating, time-consuming and never at the speed you desire.

As a result, agents have become quite astute at responses that can buy them time, leave the door open or help create the outcome they desire. If you are an experienced agent, you’ve likely experienced all of these and then some. If you are new, save this as a guide when dealing with the masses in your market. When you hear these responses, it might help you discern what’s really going on and adjust accordingly.

Cara Ameer is a broker associate and global luxury agent with Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
11 Common Replies Agents Use to Buy Time or Leave the Door Open

 

Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Bernice Ross

Real estate can be a highly rewarding business — provided you have certain behavior styles and personality traits. These questions are highly predictive of whether a newbie will do well in this industry

Are you new to the real estate business and would like to know your odds of succeeding? Are you a broker-owner or manager who would like to recruit and retain more new agents? There is a profile of new agent success. Here’s what you need to know.
 
Target Training International (TTI), the California Association of Realtors, Texas Realtors and the Real Estate Simulator have all conducted extensive research on the correlates of success in real estate. Based on this research, the questions below are highly predictive of whether a new agent will make it in the industry. 

How the scoring works:

On questions No. 1-9, the more “yes” answers an agent has, the more likely he or she is to succeed as a real estate salesperson. Agents with scores from 7-9 are very good candidates. Anyone who scores 4 or less is probably a poor fit for sales but may be good in an administrative, technology or compliance role. 

1. Do you have enough income to support yourself for 6 months with no commission income?

Inadequate capitalization is the No. 1 reason new agents leave the business. Typical startup costs are approximately $2,000, and even if you sell a house on Day 1, it still takes about 60 days to close. Even the most talented new agents seldom see their first commission before three to four months. 

2. Do you plan to work full-time?

Real estate success requires a full-time commitment. The probability part-time agents will succeed is only about 2-3 percent. To maximize your probability of success, save up enough money so you can work six to eight months with no commission income. Alternatively, consider working as a salaried assistant or joining a high-producing team where you will have a more a more reliable income stream.

Questions 3-7 reflect real estate behaviors associated with key sales predictors from the TTI’s DISC assessment, which also includes the Personal Interests, Attitudes and Values (PIAV) assessment. 

There are four primary behavioral styles: dominance, influencing, steadiness and compliance. The fifth factor, “utilitarian,” is from the PIAV.

3. Are you willing to door-knock and cold call if that’s what it takes to succeed?

“Yes” answers indicate a high “D” (dominance) individual with high drive and a high likelihood of success. These get-it-done types are emotionally resilient and have little trouble coping with rejection — two key factors highly correlated with real estate sales success. They are seldom detail-oriented.

4. Are you comfortable striking up a conversation with strangers?  

“Yes” answers indicate someone who scores high on the “I” (influencing) factor. They enjoy meeting and connecting with strangers, which is a key skill when it comes to prospecting. 

Please note: According to TTI, only 5 percent of the total population has the D-I combo, but almost all top salespeople do.

5. Are you comfortable with an unpredictable environment where your schedule varies from day to day and where you will may have to work evenings and weekends? 

According to TTI, approximately 60 percent of the population scores high on the “S” or steadiness factor. These individuals are slow to trust, prefer predictable working hours and a predictable salary — all of which make commissioned sales challenging for them.

Note that teachers typically score high on the “I” and “S” factors and are often well-suited for real estate. They enjoy people, they’re good at solving problems, and their ability to create a lesson plan is transferrable to creating a business plan.

6. Would you prefer to be out networking rather than trying to figure out how to improve your website or working on a spreadsheet? 

Being face to face is critical for real estate success. “Detail” people — those who would rather work on their website or spreadsheet than being face to face — typically score high on the “C” or compliance factor. They make excellent accountants and computer programmers, but seldom do well in sales.

7. Are you a bottom-line person who focuses on how a technology, strategy or idea will help you get better results in your business?

High scores on the utilitarian factor are the best predictor of real estate sales success. Studies conducted by TTI show high scores on the utilitarian factor predict sales success in the United States at the 72 percent level, regardless of the person’s behavioral style. 

For recruiters: Any new agent with high scores on the “D,” “I” and utilitarian factors is highly likely to become a top producer.

8. Do you have a ‘learning mindset’ and constantly seek ways to improve yourself? 

The two Texas Realtors’ New Agent studies showed having a learning mindset was key predictor of whether a new agent would succeed. This is also the case for top producers as well.

Avid learners constantly seek to improve themselves, stay up to date on laws, technology and other changes. The Texas studies also showed agents who shortcut the pre-licensing training almost never succeed in the business and are often a major liability for their brokers. 

9. Are you actively involved with your community, your place of worship, local charities or in other activities that help others?

“Yes” answers indicate a top characteristic shared by a substantial majority of top-performing agents. According to Steve Kantor’s research in Billionaire Real Estate Agent – Lessons Learned, about two-thirds of these mega-producers cited being active in their community as a key factor in their success. 

10. What are your income expectations for your first year in the business?

The two Texas Realtors’ studies showed very few agents make more than $25,000 their first year since it takes time to develop their pipeline of leads, put properties under contract and close them.

Encourage agents to think of their first year in real estate more as an apprenticeship to learn the business. This is another reason it is important for agents to be adequately capitalized. 

Real estate can be a highly rewarding business provided you are a self-starter, can handle rejection, are emotionally resilient, and can handle the irregular hours and income fluctuations.

Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. If you’re ready to List & Sell Real Estate Like Crazy, learn more about how to do it https://realestatecoach.com/training/list-sell/ If you’re a new agent who wants to successfully compete even against even the best agents, check out our online new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent 

10 Questions That'll Predict Whether a New Agent Will Make It
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By; John Giffen

An assistant can be the best thing you can do for your business so that you can take it to the next level

As a productive real estate agent, you probably spend between 10-12 hours each day working on and in your business. If you are at a point where you feel your real estate business might not be growing the way it should because your daily tasks are overwhelming you, then it might be time to consider hiring an assistant.

To keep your business moving forward, you need to determine what administrative duties you could delegate to someone else. By doing so, you will have more time to focus on the revenue generating segment of your business, which includes prospecting, interacting with clients and leads and closing your transactions. Also, an assistant can free up your schedule so you can have more personal and family time.

A good and reliable assistant can handle many tasks for you and your clients. Some of their responsibilities can include posting to your social media sites, assisting in preparing buyer and listing presentations, managing your marketing efforts and handling your transaction paperwork.

If they hold a real estate license, they can do even more for you. Licensed assistants can manage incoming leads, show property for you, host open houses and complete transaction paperwork.

How to know if you need an assistant

How do you know if it’s time to hire an assistant? I recommend you consider hiring an assistant (preferably one who is licensed) when you are closing between two to four deals each month or at least 25 consistently over a 12-month period.

Another clue that you need assistance is that you are becoming increasingly more frustrated and exhausted by trying to keep everything organized and getting your work completed and on time. This type of stress and anxiety can impact how you come across to your clients, peers and family.

One late afternoon, I walked by the office of one of my top agents Alex and noticed he was holding his head in his hands. “It looks like you’re having a tough day,” I said. He said, “Yes, and I am up to my ears in paperwork!”
After we spoke for a few minutes, I encouraged him to consider getting someone to assist him with paperwork and organizing his contract-to-close process.
He took me up on my advice, and a couple of weeks later, he had a part-time assistant helping him with listing and contract paperwork. Alex’s stress level was reduced, and he seemed so much happier to 

If you are unsure if you need an assistant, begin tracking all of your daily activities for the next month. You might be surprised at the amount of work you are currently doing.

From the list you create, you should be able to determine what activities an assistant could oversee. These activities should be incorporated into the assistant’s job description. Another benefit of this exercise is seeing what in your business you might be able to streamline or eliminate.

Preparing to hire an assistant

Before hiring an assistant, make sure your real estate business is in order. Review the following to determine if the time is right to bring an assistant on board:

• You must know the financial situation of your business concerning its profit and loss. Can your business plan and budget support another person right now? If it can, you need to establish the salary or hourly rate you will pay the assistant. If you are not sure what the compensation should be, ask other agents in your firm who employ assistants.
• Create a written job description outlining the duties and responsibilities of the assistant. Without a detailed job description, you will not effectively assimilate an assistant into your business and ensure he or she is doing what you need for them to do each day.
• Be willing to delegate some of your daily duties and responsibilities to someone else. This can be difficult for someone who likes to be in control — especially Type-A personalities. If you cannot let go of some of the work you are doing now, it might not be the right time for you to hire someone.
•Set aside time in your schedule each day during the first month or two to train an assistant. You cannot throw them in the deep end and expect them to swim. You will need to plan an organized training schedule, so you know what to cover with them each day. A properly trained assistant makes for a happy and long-term employee.
• Your lead generation and customer relationship management systems should be in place, so you can quickly explain how it works and transfer the responsibility over to your assistant.
• You must be proficient in all the forms and documents you use in your business. This includes listing and sales contract paperwork and brokerage forms. You need to be able to explain all the forms you use in your transactions and why they are used.
• Be aware of what an unlicensed assistant can and cannot do. Most state real estate commissions have a specific list of the “do’s and don’ts” for an assistant who does not hold a real estate license. I suggest you hire an assistant who is already licensed or someone who will be licensed soon after he or she begins working for you.
• You must be willing to terminate the assistant if he or she does not work out. Firing employees has been the hardest thing I’ve done as a manager. Don’t let someone stay on board if they are not doing what you need them to do for you. Send them on their way, and find a replacement.

The decision to hire or not hire an assistant is up to you. However, as you work with more prospects and clients and close more transactions, you will discover you cannot get to everything you need to accomplish during the day. An assistant can be the best thing you can do for your business so that you can take it to the next level.

John Giffen is Director of Broker Operations for Benchmark Realty, LLC in Franklin, Tennessee.  He is the author of “Do You Have a Minute? An Award-Winning Real Estate Managing Broker Reveals Keys for Industry Success.” and host of the Broker Insights Podcast available on all major podcast platforms.
Is It Time For You To Hire An Assistant?
Coming soon: Up to $25,000 in down payment assistance for first-time buyers in Gateway Cities and Boston 

MassHousing is preparing to launch its most generous down payment assistance program yet.

Currently, qualified buyers can obtain down payment assistance of up to 5% of the purchase price or $15,000, whichever is less, if they qualify for a MassHousing mortgage

It is already a remarkable advantage for cash-strapped buyers in a high-cost state. 

In the coming weeks, eligible buyers will benefit from even more down payment aid.  First-time buyers who purchase a property with a MassHousing loan in a Gateway City or in Boston, can obtain down payment assistance of up to 5% or $25,000, whichever is less. The maximum assistance for buyers in all other communities will remain at $15,000.

There are 26 Gateway Cities in Massachusetts. They range from larger cities like Worcester and Lowell to smaller cities like Springfield, Brockton, Westfield and Quincy, for example.

“The newly enhanced ‘Workforce Advantage’ mortgage with down payment assistance from MassHousing will make it easier for buyers who have struggled to save for a down payment,” said Mounzer Aylouche, MassHousing’ s Vice President for Home Ownership. “This is an extraordinary opportunity for buyers who have been left out of the home buying process due to the continually rising prices of homes and condos in recent years.”

The more generous down payment assistance is the most obvious of several new features, but buyers will get other benefits from the new loan as well. 

MassHousing will pay the borrower’s mortgage insurance premium, so buyers will have no MI payments. But, since they will still have mortgage insurance in place, they will receive MassHousing’s proprietary job-loss protection (called MIPlus). It gives the homeowner peace of mind knowing that MassHousing will make the principal and interest payments for up to six months if the homeowner becomes unemployed and is receiving unemployment benefits. More information on MIPlus is available here. 

The enhanced down payment assistance comes in the form of a 0%, deferred loan that is only due upon sale or refinancing. The borrower will only make monthly payments on the first mortgage loan.

MassHousing offers other statewide mortgage loans with varying income limits and down payment amounts. For example, a purchase and renovation loan combines the purchase of a property as well as the financing for upgrades. It is perfect for the fixer-upper, which comes with a lower price but the need for immediate renovations.

Interested in having one of MassHousing’s home ownership experts contact you for a virtual presentation to your team?  Send an email to homeownership@masshousing.com. For more information on the many affordable home financing products and services from MassHousing, visit masshousing.com
 
MassHousing Prepares to Launch New Down Payment Assistance Program
GBREB NEWS

HELP FOR PROPERTY OWNERS AND TENANTS IMPACTED BY COVID-19

Did you know that you may be eligible for state assistance with paying your rent or mortgage? If you have lost your job or income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Housing and Community Development has programs for low-income renters and homeowners that will help you with past due rent or mortgage payments, as well as future housing costs. 

Visit mass.gov/CovidHousingHelp  to get connected with regional agencies that can help you apply for funds and stay in your home.   In addition, DHCD has also provided a list of frequently asked questions  for owners about accepting state rental assistance. 
 
Summary of the Eviction Diversion Initiative:
The Eviction and Diversion Initiative (EDI) is designed keep people safely housed during the pandemic as we approach the end of the Massachusetts Eviction Moratorium. EDI contains $171 million in resources that include a $100 million commitment for RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition), with an increased benefit cap of $10,000, and $13 million for legal assistance for low-income tenants and owners as they navigate the eviction process. The initiative also includes a commitment to streamline the RAFT application process, provide additional support for the regional housing administering agencies, and allow small owners to apply directly for RAFT benefits.  
Eviction Diversion Information
On Saturday October 17, 2020, the Massachusetts Eviction Moratorium which has been in place since April will officially expire.  GBREB has been working tirelessly on this issue talking with Legislators, the Governor, the Courts and Housing Providers. A press release was issued by the Governor establishing a SafetyNet called the Eviction Diversion Initiative as the Moratorium expires.    

What this means for members:


Residential Evictions may proceed subject to the requirements of the Federal Moratorium
Commercial real estate evictions will no longer be affected by State or Federal CDC Moratorium law and may proceed through the legal process. 

Some of the key components include:

• $100 million in emergency rental assistance through the RAFT program and an increase in available grant amounts from $4,000 to $10,000 per household, in-line with our recommendation since this summer’s Week of Advocacy. The benefits of this program will be available to property owners with up to 20 rental units and upon application by the property owner, with resident consent. Both of these elements are in-line with our advocacy to increase protections for property owners with more than four-units and to empower property owner to apply for aid (currently RAFT only accepts applications from residents). Acceptance of RAFT assistance requires the preservation of tenancies for 6-months or, for households with school-age children, the longer of: 6-months or until June 2021.
• Up to $12.3 million to provide both property owners and residents with access to legal representation and related services during the eviction process. 
• Nearly $50 million for post-eviction rapid re-housing.
• Expansion of Housing Consumer Education Centers and pre-court community mediation. Keep an eye out for more information on how MAR will be playing an active role in providing mediation assistance statewide.

Summary of the Eviction Diversion Initiative

The Eviction and Diversion Initiative (EDI) is designed keep people safely housed during the pandemic as we approach the end of the Massachusetts Eviction Moratorium. 
EDI contains $171 million in resources that include a $100 million commitment for RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition), with an increased benefit cap of $10,000, and $13 million for legal assistance for low-income tenants and owners as they navigate the eviction process. The initiative also includes a commitment to streamline the RAFT application process, provide additional support for the regional housing administering agencies, and allow small owners to apply directly for RAFT benefits.  This should help tremendously with some tenants who have had difficulty in the application process.  The Administration is also kicking off a public communication campaign to help ensure residents know about these available resources. There will be more to come in the days to follow as the plan unfolds, and GBREB will keep you updated on the latest developments.  

Read the Administration's Overview & Press Release


 
MA Eviction Moratorium Set to Expire
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Clarence Webb

In our current market, listing agents are finding their clients being met with multiple offers on their home. To ensure both sides leave the transaction happy, here are a few tips for effectively handling multiple-buyer situations


Bidding wars are a listing agent’s dream and a buyer agent’s nightmare. In our market’s current state of low inventory, sellers are finding that their homes are receiving multiple offers from prospective buyers.

In Northwest Indiana, it’s unlike any time I can remember. Along with traditional movement, we’re seeing an exodus of Chicago residents looking to escape the busy and populated city life to settle down in more rural areas. The result? Less sellers and more buyers.

Our recent focus has been to guide and counsel our agents on how to properly and effectively handle multiple-buyer situations, where both the seller and buyer leave the transaction happy. Here are a few tips and tricks for listing agents to look out for when their clients are met with multiple offers on their home.

1. Keep your sellers informed and prepared

We always remind our agents that their sellers will likely go through a challenging, emotional journey when they list their home. Their house is filled with countless memories and milestones — and letting go isn’t always an easy process. We have to make sure they’re ready by preparing them with the right information and guidance they need.

Ensure you inform them about market conditions and expectations for the upcoming transaction ahead of time. It’s critical that clients are fully aware of what may come, including the flurry of activity that multiple bids can bring.

While it may be exciting, I urge our agents to prepare their sellers for the shock of potentially getting strong offers within hours of the sign first going into the ground. When offers start pouring in (we’re seeing as many as five in just a matter of hours), we don’t want our sellers to feel overwhelmed by all of numbers and figures coming at them at once. 

We also tell our agents to be prepared. If they understand what may come, they can expect it. It’s similar to when we hear athletes say they prepare by imagining what the game and atmosphere will be like. Being prepared supports peak performance — for athletes and agents.

2. Be mindful of the aggressive buyer 

In the current state of the real estate market, we see a large majority of both buyers and sellers making accommodations toward reaching a common goal during the negotiation period. 
 
However, some buyers will use this period of uncertainty to apply pressure and speed up the process by giving the seller a 12-hour deadline to respond to their offer. 

We encourage our agents to communicate directly with the buyer’s agent to reduce the time-crunch stress. Instant communication is not only a strong negotiation tactic but also helps maintain a good relationship with your agent colleague.

The ultimate goal is to take the fight out of the battle by letting buyers know where you stand on their offer as soon as possible. If a time-sensitive offer is good, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more prep time before moving into the contracting phase. 

3. Look for the net price

The price on the first page of a contract may sound appealing, but what really matters is the net price — the dollar amount the sellers are essentially leaving with. We see this play out as it relates to the wide variety of loan preapprovals out there right now.

For example, if the buyer wants to utilize an FHA loan, the seller may be required to do repairs on the home, which can come out of their pocket. Gathering all of the facts and numbers for the client is extremely important to make sure they receive the best offer that best fits their needs.

4. Time is of the essence 

One of the more interesting things that we see with multiple bids is that agents are not negotiating on price. Instead, they are negotiating on time. 

Agents are doing a great job in setting a solid price that fits with comps and expected appraisals. At the same time, buyer’s agents are doing a great job presenting acceptable offers, usually avoiding “low-ball” offers.

When negotiating the terms of an agreement, the time of possession has become one of the most critical terms. We’ve seen deals fall apart because both sides struggle to agree on timing. Therefore, many of the concessions sellers are making is to ensure they have enough time before leaving for their next home. Those extra days can be even more important than a higher price.

As agents in today’s market where buyers and sellers are up against a clock, we need to focus on preparing and helping navigate buyers and sellers through the transaction, which now includes the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Today’s environment demands preparation, real-time communication and, most importantly, the recognition that taking the time you need through each negotiation can lead to success. 

Clarence Webb is a 14-year real estate industry veteran and responsible broker at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Connections.
Overwhelmed With Multiple Offers? Here's How to Handle Them Better
 

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