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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


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.


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,” 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

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, 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

Education & Events

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GBAR Legal Live! - Live Webinar
Sep 24, 2021
Live Webinar
GBAR New Member Orientation- Agency Webinar
Oct 06, 2021
GBAR Webinar
Real Estate Professional Ethics - Webinar
Oct 15, 2021
Live Webinar Course
Manageable Monday Closing And Settlement - Webinar
Oct 18, 2021
Roadshow Virtual Event Webinar With The Boom Team!
Oct 21, 2021
Live Online Event
Facebook Live
Economic Expectations - Webinar
Oct 27, 2021
GBAR New Member Orientation- Agency Webinar
Oct 28, 2021
GBAR Webinar
Manageable Monday Lead Paint - Webinar
Nov 15, 2021
CE Webinar - Fair Housing Training- City Of Boston
Dec 06, 2021
Live Webinar Course


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GBAR Legal Live! - Live Webinar
Live Webinar
GBAR New Member Orientation- Agency Webinar
GBAR Webinar
Real Estate Professional Ethics - Webinar
Live Webinar Course

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