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The Edge You Need to SUCCEED

More than 40 Oꢀces More than 400 Agents More than 200 Cities and Towns 978.314.9706 realtyguild.com inez@realtyguild.com An Association for Independent Real Estate Oꢀces




Inside this issue of Bay State REALTOR®

More from MAR » www.marealtor.com/news

2  From the Editor '20/20 Possibilities' REAL ESTATE @ WORK 4 3   Starting a Blog Sabrina Lapointe 4   Real Social Why You Need a Content Calendar in 2020 - And My Favorite One! Teah Hopper

6 Trending Topics: Using Social Media Surveys to

Engage Your Clients and Cut Through the Noise

Shelby O'Hare

8 5QW: Five Questions With Ron Phipps  Lessons From the Leadership Chair

9  Infographic: The Real Estate Mantra–Locate Near Public

» Massachusetts Association of Realtors® Facebook



Legal Realtor® Airbnb Begets the Massachusetts Short-  Term Rental Tax Stephen M. Perry, ESQ.

12 Notes from the MAR Legal Hotline


14 From the ‘Bridge’ to Realtor® Leadership


18 Meet the 2020 Leadership Team


      MEMBER VOICES 20 20


President's Message 'I'm Asking' Kurt Thompson

21 What does the Center for Realtor Financial Wellness do? Brittany Schanck

18 19







22 Calendar, MAR Mourns Past President Jack Peckham

24 25 26




14 11 7

6 2




12 8 4

23 MA Local Association wins $10,000 grant for NAR Commitment to Excellence “C3 Challenge,” Subscribe to   MAR Podcasts: Member Benefit Spotlight 24 Get to Know Commercial Real Estate in 2020 Paul Yorkis

*LT = Leadership Team

25 Realtor® Resolutions

*EC = Executive Committee *S = Staff

ADVERTISER DIRECTORY Realty Guild....................................IFC Osterman Propane.........................5 RMS.................................................19

Cover Photo Credit: Atlantic Photo

Beyond the Sale..... .........................22 A c c u s t a r. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 3 MLS PIN........................................ .BC

1. Kurt Thompson (LT) 2. Stephen Mederios (LT) 3. Dawn Henry (LT) 4. Anne Meczywor (LT) 5. Theresa Hatton (LT) 6. Mary D’Ambra (EC) 7. Kate Lanagan-MacGregor (EC) 8. Michelle Haggstrom (EC) 9. Gillermo Molina (EC) 10. Shelby O’Hare (S) 11. Eric Berman (S) 12. Lauren Antone (S) 13. Urszula Moussa (S) 14. Paul Chasse (EC) 15. Rick Sawicki (EC) 16. Melody Skye Roloff (EC) 17. Justin Davidson (S) 18. Caroline Mahiti (S) 19. Katie Gullotti (S) 20. Sabrina Lapointe (S) 21. Catherine Taylor (S) 22. Tina Dixon (S) 23. David McCarthy (EC) 24. Amy Wallick (EC) 25. Zach Ryan (S) 26. Jacquelyn Santini (EC) 27. Paul Ferguson (S)

January/February 2020


{from the editor}

'20/20 Possibilities' BY ERIC BERMAN For the past several years, I have had the opportunity and privilege to interview and profile the incoming president for this annual leadership issue. Before writing the profile, I spend time learning about who they are and what their vision is for their upcoming time in office. And while I know they feel some pressure before they start, I have never once finished my interviews feeling they were stressed about the role. Now, maybe this is my pr/marketing brain at work here, but the new year got me thinking about one type of volunteer leader who could be feeling a once-in-a-lifetime stress (or opportunity) simply because of the date on the calendar: optometrists! Why? Because it’s “2020!” Yes, this is funny, but I’m being somewhat serious too. In a quick search, I found several membership associations beyond just optometrists (I stopped counting after nine) that have members whose professions deal specifically with the eye. I wonder if any of these organizations (or all) are taking advantage of the obvious tie-ins? If so, are they dedicating marketing and creative budgets to it? Are any coming out and saying 2020 is the year of “eye health?”, or “eyeglasses?”, or “vision care” for under-served communities or countries? Will there be special medical symposiums? There is some real opportunity. From a leadership perspective, was there more competition to be the president of the American Optometric Association (or any of the other eye-focused associations) in 2020 than in any other year? If so, did that mean bigger election budgets? I know contested elections at the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) level can be very expensive. Could this date have created a contested election when they typically don’t happen? The more I think about it, the more I’m glad that a simple date doesn’t ratchet up the stress on what is already stressful job for our Realtor® presidents.

2020 Leadership: To meet your 2020 President Kurt Thompson and how his background has trained him to handle stress go to page 14. In addition, you’ll get introduced to both the 2020 Leadership Team and Executive Committee. This leadership issue also features a special 5QW on page 8 with Ron Phipps. Ron was NAR President in 2011 and provides some great insight about what he learned as president and what it takes to be a successful leader.

Not too Early to Plan:. Just because the new year has begun, it doesn’t mean you can’t plan most of your social media content out for the year. In her January/February Real Social column on Page 4, Teah Hopper tells us “Why you need a content calendar?”

Goodbye Jack! Finally, we wanted to let you know that MAR is mourning the loss of 1979 MAR President Jack Peckham, who died this past November at the age of 86. You can read about his 57-year involvement in the Boston Real Estate industry on page 22.

P.S. – Seriously, how cool would it be inducted as member of the 2020 Class of the National Optometry Hall of Fame? They’re accepting applications if you know any optometrists!


Bay State REALTOR®



Stephen Medeiros, CRS, SRES, e-Pro TREASURER




Sabrina Lapointe ART DIRECTOR


Julie Lewis (508) 612-4841 (Publication No. 703-610) ISSN: 0891-5539 Published by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors®, Mailing Address: 333 Wyman Street, Waltham, MA 02451-1139 (781) 890-3700 The Bay State REALTOR® magazine is published bi-monthly (Jan./Feb., March/April, May/June, July/August, Sept./Oct., Nov./Dec.), as a member service. Subscriptions are $2.50 per year for members and are paid out of member dues. Non-member subscription rate is $40 per year. The comments and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, or policies of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors®. Copyright 2020. All rights reserved. Periodical postage paid at Boston, MA. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Massachusetts Association of Realtors® 333 Wyman Street, Waltham, MA 02451-1139

Starting a Blog BY SABRINA LAPOINTE Maybe you’ve thought about starting a blog. Maybe you’ve written a few blog posts, but never fully committed to it. Maybe you’ve never once considered it. No matter where you fall, consistently writing a blog post might be easier than you think.

What the heck do I write about?

Provide advice for buying a historic home.

Put yourself in the shoes of your clients. What would they be interested in reading? Here are some ideas to get you started.

Massachusetts has a high percentage of historic homes. Think about what’s important for buyers to be know about. What are the challenges of maintaining these types of homes? What types of costs might be associated with historic homes? What problems can you expect? On the flip side, what are the pros of owning a historic home?

Highlight a "listing of the week" Maybe one of your listings stands out above the others. If you see a home that has exceptional value, highlight that! Talk about the features of the house that make it unique, functional, environmentally friendly, etc. This will draw some natural curiosity about the listing and get people interested. Be sure to capture good pictures of the house to share throughout the blog post as well. After all – we are visual creatures.

Advice for first-time home buyers. The home buying process is extremely overwhelming for many first-time home buyers. There’s a lot learn. Try to break down this process for those first-time home buyers. Make it seem more approachable. The easier it is for them to digest, the more comfortable they will feel with the process, and the more likely you’ll be their Realtor®!

Suggest things to do in your area. You know what makes your area special. No one knows all the hole-in-the-wall restaurants and bars like you do. You’ve shopped the local stores, you’ve strolled the best areas to walk your dog, the whole nine yards. Sharing this with your audience will build the appeal to your area. Consider it like visiting a city your friend once lived in. You’ll likely ask them for recommendations – be that person for your clients.

Do a profile on your most interesting clients, why they moved to the area, how they like it, etc. Many of your clients may not be super familiar with your area. They are trying to see if the community will be a good fit for them. Hearing from other people who made Ask yourself: the leap to your area and how they’ve If I was in adapted would be good insight. It would the home allow them to see what their future in the area might look like. buying/selling

Overcoming the writers block

process, what would I want to read?

Don’t be discouraged if you face the inevitable writers block. Even the best writers experience this. Take a step back from your computer, your note pad, wherever you are writing. Take a quick walk to clear your mind and ask yourself: if I was in the home buying/selling process, what would I want to read? Secondly, consider creating a content calendar. See page 4. This will help you plan out your topics far in advance. Once you know what your topics are going to be, you can slowly gather notes on those topics over time. When it comes time to write, you’ll be in good shape.

January/February 2020


real estate @ work

N E W S , T R E N D S , & T O O L S F O R R E A LT O R S ®

{real social}

Why You Need a Content Calendar in 2020 And My Favorite One! BY TEAH HOPPER  o you have ideas for your next social media posts written in your notebook, somewhere on your D phone, on the back of a receipt and your hand? We've all been there! Ideas come to you at the most inconvenient times. But if you don’t capture them – you’ll lose them! A content calendar gets all those ideas out of your head and organized in ONE place. As we kick off a New Year, now is the time to map out your social media for 2020.

In my opinion, a content calendar is a must-have tool for social media success. Great social media starts with amazing content. But strong, engaging content doesn't just happen. There’s a lot of work that goes into it - from brainstorming ideas and planning to creating a system for posting consistently. This is where a content calendar comes in! Just like my planner, it tells me what I am supposed to be doing, where I should be doing it and when – on social media. It takes the thinking out of it and allows me to make better use of my time. Here are the top 6 reasons a content calendar will make your life easier - and my favorite one!

1. Content calendars lead to more strategic and  relevant content. When you have a content calendar, you can sit down and plan out your content in advance instead of coming up with it on the fly. If you plan it out in advance, then you can ensure that what you're talking about is relevant to your audience. Without a strategy in place, content is often thrown together last minute, and instead of knowing it is relevant to your audience, you just cross your fingers in hopes that they like it. A content calendar allows you to plan out and create more valuable and strategic social media posts.

2. Content calendars help you get organized. Organization is key. Mismatched lists in your phone, notebook, and the back of your planner are not helpful because these ideas aren’t all in one place. With a 4

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content calendar, you’ll have them in one spot. It will also help you get everything out of your head and onto paper (or in an Excel file, whatever you choose to use). I've worked with so many clients and done numerous trainings on content calendars, and I always get the same comment: Everyone says that creating one makes them feel better, more organized and more free.

3. Content calendars allow you to plan ahead. You will be shocked by how much planning ahead will make your life easier, especially if you're always creating your content last minute. With a content calendar, you always have an idea of what you're going to post. Then, each month you can sit down for an hour or two to create your content and have it ready to go. Gone are the panicked days of having no idea what to post, because you will have it figured out in advance. Planning ahead actually frees you up, and you'll get even better ideas and feel more inspired to create those posts.

4. Content calendars save you time.

6. Content calendars help you delegate.

You are so much more efficient when you have your content planned out. When you already know what you're going to post, you can spend an hour each week to schedule your posts. Content calendars require a bit of time upfront to create, but in the end having a plan will save you so much time and energy. Your weeks will feel lighter and happier once you start using a content calendar.

Planning your posts ensures that you're able to post consistently. Both consistency from the standpoint of messaging, so your message remains the same, and also from the standpoint of timing. Content calendars help you achieve your posting goal, whether it be posting every day or three days a week. And consistency is so important when it comes to social media. There are lots of different ways you can set up your content calendar. You can use a physical calendar, an Excel file or an online tool like Trello. It doesn't really matter what you use as long as it works for you. My personal favorite content calendar has become Google Calendar. I love using it so much that I created a how-to guide, with step-by-step instructions on how to set up your own content calendar on Google Calendar. You can grab it from my website: teahhopper.com. Happy planning!

5. Content calendars help you delegate. Raise your hand if you've ever said, "I wish I could have someone help me with my social media." When you have your content planned out, you can do that! You can put together a team. Or maybe you already have a team, but you're not on the same page. A content calendar allows everyone to get on the same page. Depending on what type of content calendar you use, you could even assign tasks, deadlines and roles to different people so that they can help create and post your content. Content calendars make delegating easy!

January/February 2020


{trending topics}

Trending Topics: Using Social Media Surveys to Engage Your Clients and Cut Through the Noise BY SHELBY O'HARE As you probably know, there’s a ton of content being pushed our way every day. Probably more now than ever before, which is why you can assume your clients are experiencing the same phenomenon. The big question on your mind is how to break through the noise and differentiate yourself from your competitors.

One specific way to increase engagement on social media is surveys. Surveys are not a new concept, but with the evolution of social media, it’s easier to incorporate surveys or polls in your content strategy. Whether you use that information to learn more about the behaviors of your audience, or just to start a dialogue, you’ll start to see a benefit. I’ll share a few of the platforms that have made surveys easier to use, and more fun for your audience!

Facebook ■


News Feed If you have a page for your company or business, you can create a poll for the people who like your page. With these types of polls, you can ask your audience to choose between two options. You have the ability to get creative and make it more eye-catching by adding pictures or

Bay State REALTOR®

GIFs to each of the options. (Who doesn’t like a good GIF, right?) You can also customize the timing of your poll. It can be open for responses for one day, one week, never, or you can customize when the poll will end. It’s worth noting that you can’t make a poll on your personal profile on Facebook. However, if posting a poll on your personal profile makes more sense for you, you will want to use Facebook stories. ■

Stories F  acebook stories can be posted from your personal profile or your company/ business page. Polls in Facebook stories are a similar to polls on your page. It’s a little less flexible because they’re only available for 24 hours, meaning you run the risk of people not seeing them if they are not active on the day you decide to post it. While limiting in timeframe, you have a lot more freedom to be creative. You can either take a picture or video in the moment, or choose media that already exists in your camera roll. If the media already poses a question, you can leave the “ask a question…” part blank. To change the default options, you can click on them and write what you want your audience to choose between.

Customers who feel heard are loyal ones who are more likely to refer you to a friend. Instagram ■

Stories Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, the setup is almost exactly the same as polls in Facebook stories; you have two options for your audience to choose from and the length of the poll is limited to 24 hours. Stories are often used more on Instagram, because the feature on Facebook came after it was already available on Instagram. However, to make sure you’re reaching as many people as possible, you have the ability to share your Instagram story to your Facebook story. You can set up your account to do that every time you post an Instagram story, or you can just decide to share it once.

Twitter ■

News Feed Twitter polls are very straightforward. When you’re crafting a tweet, you have the option to turn it into a poll, and the poll will go out the same way a tweet would. You can have two to four poll options (twice the amount as any other social media polling platform) and you can customize the length of your poll for up to seven days.

Polls can help you build relationships with your audience. Even just by creating a poll and posting it as your Instagram story, shows your audience that their feedback and opinions matter to you and your business. Customers who feel heard are loyal ones who are more likely to refer you to a friend. If done strategically, surveys can reveal valuable information about the wants and needs of your audience. When you have a better understanding of what your audience cares about, it can help you to identify problems you can solve for them and adjust or make marketing decisions based

off those problems. For example, you can ask what topics they want to know more about and use the findings to start producing more curated content. If you use your findings from your surveys to tailor your marketing efforts to what your survey responses suggest, it can and will help you drive more business.

November/December 2019



Five Questions With Ron Phipps

Lessons From the Leadership Chair This issue’s "Five Questions With" features Ron Phipps, ABR, CRS, ePro, GRI, GREEN. Ron is a Broker licensed in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. He first became a REALTOR® in 1978 and has significant experience in Association Leadership. The managing broker for Phipps Realty, Ron works with a talented multi-lingual team. Ron was the 2011 President for the National Association of REALTORS®.


What are some leadership qualities you gained during your time as President of NAR?

A. Patience is the first lesson of leadership. It serves everyone well. Purpose: You must know your why, the why of the organization, and the why of your members. You cannot lead people and create buy in if you do not know them and know their why. Passion: You can overcome most any issue with passionate leadership. Lead with your heart, execute with your mind. Finally, inclusion is not just a good thing to do, it is a strategic thing to do. You will get superior outcomes with a diverse team.


What surprised you most about being President?

A. You need to engage what situations actually present themselves, rather than the things/ projects you really want to do. Stuff has a way of getting in the way of your plans. In 2011, our team was dealing with the great recession. Clear leadership goal: help our members survive and get through the challenge. That took priority. It was not what our team really wanted to do. The team was creative and visionary, we just had to focus those skills differently.

actively engaged in the business to be making the decisions. What surprised me most is that this organization welcomes talent on all three levels. The challenge is determining which doors are the best entries. Which brings me to an important point – have mentors. All of us do, and our success is the result of great mentoring. No leader does it well without great mentors.


What is the most challenging part about leading a team of people?

A. Make sure you hear them: Active listening. They will not follow you if you are not listening to them. Leadership is a conversation. Communication between the leader and the team. You are talking 'with' not 'at' you team members.

Bay State REALTOR®

A. Choose the best people you can find, smarter and more effective than you. Great leaders choose the best and the brightest to work with them. You can handle anything with the right team. Also, make sure you are engaging your professional staff. You can do amazing things when you work together.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

 brokerage or association?


What are the most important decisions you need to make as  a leader?

*Bonus Question*

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to get into a Q3. leadership role in their A. Meet the decision makers and get involved in the projects of your interests, competence and expertise – MLS, advocacy, etc. We need people


Photo credit: National Association of Realtors®

A. Share the credit of success with the team. Own failure. You cannot get to fix, until you assess blame. The President/Chair must assume blame when something happens and move to fix. B. Identify and train your successors. Your greatest 'influence' will be felt in the leaders you bring to the table. Additionally, your successor should do a better job as Chair or President than you did. Effective leaders have more effective successors.


LOCATE NEAR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION Transit-oriented developments within urban areas have become more desirable due to their accessibility to job centers, valued amenities and cost-of-living reductions. These neighborhoods are often more walkable, with more retail density and other amenities,and include a higher percentage of households with less reliance on vehicles. As more people look to reside in these transit-rich areas, the property market is healthy and competitive.

On average, these households spend


less on transportation each year than other households in the region.

Property located within a half mile of Boston’s public transit is worth


more than similar properties not located in close proximity to public transportation

Rents in Boston are


higher at residential properties located near public transportation

Report provided by the National Association of Realtors® and the American Public Transportation Association January/February 2020 9

legal notes T R A N S L AT I N G T H E L A W F O R Y O U

{legal Realtor ®}

Airbnb Begets the Massachusetts Short-Term Rental Tax BY STEPHEN M. PERRY, ESQ ., Casner & Edwards, LLP Little more than a decade has passed since two roommates named Brian and Joe in San Francisco came up with the idea of making their apartment a bed and breakfast by renting out an air mattress in their living room. From this humble beginning was born the behemoth Airbnb. Before long the company had disrupted the entire short-term rental/lodging industry.

In December 2018, in an effort to level the playing field between hotels and online platforms such as Airbnb, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law a bill that extended the state’s room occupancy tax to short-term rentals. The tax took effect on July 1, 2019, but not everyone has had an opportunity to become familiar with it.

Who It Applies To The law applies directly to real estate brokers, as “intermediaries,” when they sign a contract agreeing to collect rent on behalf of the operator of the short-term rental property. Brokers who act as intermediaries have to register with the Department of Revenue through MassTaxConnect if they have not already done so. They are also responsible for ensuring that the operators with whom they contract are registered, and for collecting the tax and submitting the requisite tax returns. However, it is only the real estate brokerage firm or principal broker that needs to register on behalf of all of the firm’s agents and to file the returns and remit the taxes. An individual agent 10

Bay State REALTOR®

whose license is affiliated with a brokerage firm, or with another broker, does not have to separately register or file returns. The new short-term rental tax applies to houses, apartments, condominiums and other furnished accommodations where either a portion of the unit, or all of the unit, is rented out on an advance reservation basis for a rental period that is 31 days or less, at a rental rate of at least $15.00 per night. Tenancies at will and month-to-month tenancies, in which a tenant occupies leased premises without a definite end date, are not subject to the tax.

The Exceptions There are some additional exceptions. The tax does not apply to a “bed and breakfast home,” defined as “a private owneroccupied house where not more than three rooms are let and a breakfast is included in the rent and all accommodations are reserved in advance.” To satisfy the breakfast-isincluded-in-the-rent requirement, can the owner-occupant go south for the winter and just leave a

Keurig and some boxes of cereal on the counter? Or does the breakfast have to be served by someone other than the guest? The answer is unclear. Regardless, it seems ironic that a law designed to regulate Airbnb and its ilk will not apply to Brian and Joe’s original concept of an air mattress in the living room, with breakfast served in the morning, so long as it is carried out in an owner-occupied “house,” rather than in an apartment or condo. Another exemption from the statute is that there is no tax if a unit is rented for no more than 14 days in the calendar year. However, this exception only applies if the owner has registered in advance with the Commissioner of Revenue, declaring the intent to rent the property for no more than 14 days in the year. If the 14 days is exceeded, the tax is owed from day one; the first 14 days would not be tax-free in that situation. There are additional exemptions that are not likely to crop up often in the brokerage context, including for time share properties, for properties


owned by governmental bodies, for accommodations owned by religious, charitable, educational and philanthropic institutions if the lodgings are not open to the public, and for rentals to military personnel traveling on official business.

Tax Rate The amount of the short-term rental tax rate depends on the municipality where the unit is located. In all cases, there is a state excise tax rate, which, including a surtax, is currently 5.7%. On top of this there are a bedazzling array of local options that may increase the tax. 1. Municipalities can extend to short-term rentals their local room occupancy tax of up to 6%, or in Boston, 6.5%. 2. T  hey can adopt a separate “community impact tax” of up to 3% on the short-term rental of “professionally-managed properties” – a somewhat misleading term that simply means that the operator has at least two rental units in the municipality, excluding units in

an owner-occupied single-family, two-family, or three family owneroccupied dwelling. The municipality can also vote to extend the community impact tax of 3% to rental units in an owner-occupied two-family or three-family dwelling. 3. There is a 2.75% Convention Center Finance fee in the cities of Boston, Worcester, Cambridge, Springfield, West Springfield, and Chicopee. And a similar 2.75% tax applies in the towns that are members of the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund, which currently includes only towns in Barnstable County, but Nantucket and Dukes counties have the option of adopting it, as well. Fortunately, the Department of Revenue is maintaining a spreadsheet to assist in determining the taxes due in each specific municipality. It can be found here: https://dlsgateway. dor.state.ma.us/reports/rdPage. aspx?rdReport=LocalOptions.Room_ Tax_Impact_Fee

How does one calculate the rental amount that the applicable tax rate applies to? As anyone who has used an online rental platform knows, the fees that are charged on top of the base rent are ubiquitous in the short-term rental industry. Not surprisingly, the occupancy excise tax on short-term rentals applies broadly to virtually all of the fees assessed to the renter, with the exception of the security deposit. The tax must be paid on items such as cleaning fees, pet fees, booking fees, linen fees, and any other service fees assessed to the renter. If the renter is paying the broker’s fee that would otherwise be due to the broker from the owner, that too would appear to be part of the rent for purposes of calculating the tax. But if the operator of the unit includes add-ons for items not related to the occupancy, such as a whale-watching cruise or theater tickets procured through another vendor, the cost of those items is not included as part of the rent for purposes of calculating the tax. Brokers who collect rents for shortterm rentals must file tax returns and remit the tax payment owed on or before the 20th day of each month, for occupancies in the previous month. It is highly advisable that brokers who engage in such rent collections for short-term rentals enter into a written agreement with the operator of the property spelling out each parties’ responsibilities. MAR is in the process of developing a template agreement that can be used for this purpose. January/February 2020


Notes from the MAR Legal Hotline BY JUSTIN DAVIDSON, ESQ., Government Affairs Director & General Counsel CATHERINE TAYLOR, ESQ., Associate Counsel JONATHAN SCHREIBER, ESQ., Staff Attorney

Q. I’m selling a “Smart Home” and my seller isn’t sure which devices need to stay with the property. Are smart devices considered fixtures? A: It depends. The analysis for determining whether a smart device is a fixture or personal property is not unique. A fixture is typically defined as an item that is permanently attached to the real property, such as a chandelier or window shutters. Items that are not fixtures are considered personal property – or chattel – such as the furniture in the home. Ownership of fixtures transfers with ownership of the house, whereas personal property does not. Many smart home devices, such as an Amazon Echo, simply plug into the wall – or are entirely cordless – making them easily moveable. These types of devices are likely to be considered personal property of the seller. Other smart devices, such as smart switches, smart thermostats, smart doorbells, and security cameras, may be hardwired, which would firmly place them into the “fixtures” category. There may be situations where the seller has a certain affection for a fixture and does not want it to remain with the property. In this situation, the seller should remove it prior to listing, or name it as an exclusion in the listing. In situations where a buyer wants a smart device that may be considered personal property to remain with the house upon transfer, the best solution is to have an express statement in the purchase contract that stipulates what items the parties expect to remain in the home upon transfer of title. If any smart devices are to remain with the property upon transfer, the contract between the parties should stipulate that all accounts that control those devices be fully transferred to the buyer at time of closing. Q: I referred a listing to an agent at another office who promised me a referral fee, but now that the property has closed, they are saying they do not owe a referral fee – don’t we have a contract? A. While verbal agreements of this sort may create a legally binding contract, it is always best to reduce the terms of an agreement to writing. Although referral 12

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agreements are not required by law to be in writing to be legally enforceable, having an agreement in writing ensures that all parties to the agreement have the same understanding of the terms. If a disagreement regarding the terms of the agreement arises, having documentation of the agreement may serve as a valuable piece of evidence. Additionally, salespersons typically do not have the ability to bind their broker to the payment of a referral fee. Any agreements pertaining to the payment of referral fees should be agreed upon in writing by the broker of each company involved. MAR recommends using the Referral Fee Agreement, Form 521 in the MAR forms library, to memorialize any referral fee agreements. Q: What is my responsibility as a homeowner for snow removal? A. All Massachusetts property owners have a duty to use “reasonable care” for the protection of visitors and are legally responsible for the removal of snow and ice from their property. This duty extends to Landlords, who are responsible for snow removal at their rental properties. The sanitary code requires property owners to keep all means of egress free from obstruction. Landlords must maintain all means of egress in a safe, operable condition at all times. This includes keeping all exterior stairways, fire escapes, egress balconies and bridges free of snow and ice. These obligations cannot be negated by any lease provision.

The landlord may only require the tenant to remove snow and ice only when a tenant has an independent means of egress not shared with other tenants, and the requirement is contained in a written lease agreement. Therefore, in situations where there is a single or multi-family home and the occupant has its own exclusive means of egress, be sure to review the lease to determine who is responsible for keeping exclusive means of egress clear of snow. However, placing this responsibility on the tenant may still not absolve the landlord, as the owner of the property, from liability if someone suffers a personal injury on the property due to snow and ice. Every property owner should take care to do the following: 1. Review insurance policies to be sure that there is adequate coverage. 2. Determine whether contractors or others hired to remove snow and ice have insurance. 3. Be vigilant when there is newly fallen snow, melting, or freezing. If complete clearing is not possible, warning signs may be appropriate. Clients that have specific questions regarding their duty to clear snow should consult their attorney. Q: Is a landlord required to screen prospective tenants? A. No, Landlords have no affirmative duty requiring them to screen prospective tenants. However, it is in a landlord’s and their other tenants’ best interests to do so. Landlords may be liable for tenant violations of local bylaws and ordinances regarding noise or other disturbances, as well as for damages or injuries to other tenants and neighbors caused by problem tenants. A Landlord may face legal liability if: s/he failed to discharge a duty of care owed to the victim, the harm was reasonably foreseeable, and the negligence was the proximate or legal cause of the victim’s injury. A best practice is to begin the rental process by having prospective tenants complete a rental application containing basic, non-discriminatory personal information. This form can be found in the MAR Forms Library. Landlords may also choose to complete other screenings such as credit, criminal background, and sex offender registry checks, as well as requesting references from past landlords. A landlord should make sure to get the appropriate consent from a prospective tenant prior to performing any screening. When all screenings are complete, a landlord must assess each prospective tenant individually.

For example, a landlord cannot automatically disqualify all applicants with criminal or sex offender records. If a landlord intends to deny a prospective tenant because of their criminal record, they must provide them with certain information about the denial and an opportunity to correct errors in their record. Prior to undertaking any policy regarding tenant screening, it is advisable that the landlord and/or property manager consult with an attorney to mitigate the risk of liability. Q: What do I need to know about the new tax on short-term rentals? A.The new law expands the state's hotel and motel tax to include the short-term rental of homes (condominiums, single family, multifamily, etc.). Massachusetts is one of the last states to adopt this type of tax. The tax applies to all rentals for a period of 31 days or less, regardless of whether the rental is for recreational, personal, or business use. At the insistence of MAR, the new law only applies to short-term rentals, meaning ordinary tenancies, such as an annual lease or a tenancy-at-will, are not covered by this bill. The short-term rental rate varies by locality and is the total of the following rates: • State: 5.7% • Local: up to 6% (Boston 6.5%) • Cape Cod & Islands: includes additional 2.75% to fund Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund • A community impact fee of up to 3% may be assessed locally on professionally managed properties (Owners of two or more units in one town). The law applies to all rental contracts that were signed on or after January 1, 2019 for stays on or after July 1, 2019. We anticipate that the Department of Revenue will issue guidance on how to handle the tax on bookings made on or after January 1, 2019. Please see https://www.marealtor.com/members/legal-resources/shortterm-rentals for more information and important documents. Witten by: by Justin Davidson, General Counsel; Catherine Taylor, Associate Counsel; and Jonathan Schreiber, Staff Attorney. Service provided through the Massachusetts Association of Realtors® is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship. The Massachusetts Association of Realtors®, by providing this service, assumes no actual or implied responsibility for any improper use of responses to questions through this service. The Massachusetts Association of Realtors® will not be legally responsible for any potential misrepresentations or errors made by providing this service. For more information regarding these topics, authorized callers should contact the MAR legal hotline at 800-3705342 or e-mail at legalhotline@marealtor.com. January/February 2020


From the 'Bridge' to Realtor® Leadership BY ERIC BERMAN If Kurt Thompson had access to the realtor.com app or any number of review sites back in 1997 when he started as a small real estate investor, there’s a good chance he might not be a Realtor® today. While that might be hard to imagine if you know Kurt personally, it was the difficulty in finding a good real estate agent that eventually lead to him getting his license. “The main reason I got into real estate was because I was a real estate investor, looking to acquire rental units,” said Kurt. “Unfortunately, my experience had been mixed when dealing with agents at the time. I had to do so much of the work myself. I did eventually find a great agent, she actually encouraged me to get licensed. So, I did that in 1997 and then bought my first multifamily home.”


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From the ‘Bridge’ to Athol Kurt Thompson was born and bred in the ‘Bridge’, also known as Cambridge, Mass. During the last month of his senior year in high school, his mother became a first-time homebuyer in the central Massachusetts community of Athol, “The cost of a twobedroom, third-floor walk-up with no elevator in Cambridge, was the same cost as a single-family home in Athol,” said Kurt. “My mom said, ‘I didn’t want to be in the city anymore,’ so we moved.

Cambridge>Training Camp>Boot Camp As a student at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, Kurt was a very successful heavy weight on the wrestling team and placed well at both the state and New England meets, “Wrestling was a lot of fun and taught me quite a bit,” he said. “It’s just you alone on the mat with the other guy. There is no team, there is no support, but you still have to think about the team because you have to score to win the meet.” In 1989, Kurt made the short trek from Cambridge over the Mass. Ave Bridge to Commonwealth Ave and Boston University. He was recruited as a wrestler and started in general studies before he made the switch to accounting and ultimately marketing. Kurt enjoyed Boston for two years but made the decision to transfer to Fitchburg State University, close to where his mother was living after she moved from Cambridge. There he transitioned into accounting, and ultimately marketing, and was a founding father of the Eta Tau Chapter of Sigma Pi Fraternity International. At that time as tensions with Iraq lead to Operation Desert Shield and later Desert Storm, he felt the pull of serving his country and enlisted in the Army Reserves at Fort Devens, “That experience in college made me feel like

I wanted to protect the country. I was pretty charged from everything that was going on and the military was the best way to do my part,” he said. “Camaraderie and the ability to coalesce around a mission or an objective and to work with a group of professionals that were committed, at a very deep level, to supporting positive outcomes was huge,” he said. Yet, Kurt quickly discovered that being in the military wasn’t like growing up in Cambridge, where he was surrounded by diverse cultures and thought. “Cambridge has a very unique culture and growing up there, you didn’t realize that the rest of the world wasn’t diverse like Cambridge was. You just assumed that’s the way the world worked. When I got to the military, it was a very different situation. Very few of the people I was with in the Army had that level of global understanding that I received just by growing up where I did,” he said. “It was helpful to hear perspectives from people that had very different experiences and very different views. Sometimes that could be a little scary, sometimes it could be a little interesting, but it did teach one thing; respect was important,” he said. “Even if you didn’t agree, as long as you had a shared vision and you could respect each other, you could get whatever you needed to get done, done.” After basic and advanced training school, where Kurt became an Army Counterintelligence Specialist, he continued to go to college during the week and practice real estate on the weekends, except when he had to drill. Kurt also made a service branch transfer into the Air National Guard after being attached to the 157 Air Refueling Wing out of Pease Air Force Base in New Hampshire.

Realtor® Volunteer Kurt became a Realtor® in 1997 and like many Realtors® who start to volunteer for the Realtor® Association, it happened because another Realtor® took the opportunity to ask Kurt to do it. However, when you’ve been a very active volunteer like Kurt, actually remembering who asked him was difficult, “I think it might have been Darlene Sodano who asked me to get involved at the local level [North Central Massachusetts Association of Realtors®]. And then when she stepped up to president-elect, she asked me to chair finance and become treasurer and it just kept going from there,” he said. Being a successful volunteer leader to Kurt means taking your time to really get to know the organization. He did this by sitting on multiple committees over many years. As a result of this deep commitment and volunteerism, he was recognized as the 2012 Massachusetts Realtor® of the Year. “Being named Realtor® of the Year was a great surprise,” said Kurt. “I love that the award is about contributions to the Realtor® Association and not based on sales. And I really believe that being named Realtor® of the Year opened the door for me to meet many more Realtors® across the state."

A Member-Centric Organization For 2020, Kurt is committed to continuing the work from the last few years of guiding MAR’s transformation into a more member-centric organization. To Kurt, this means that MAR is focused on delivering exceptional services with high levels of satisfaction for all the Realtors®, volunteer leaders, and professional staff who come in contact with MAR,“We’re very good in key areas like government affairs, fighting to preserve private property rights, legal issues, and January/February 2020


delivering education like GRI etc.,” said Kurt. “But what I also want, is for my fellow Realtor®, members to know that we, as an association, care about them and that we’re committed to them on a deep level.” To continue this progress, Kurt is focused on a series of initiatives across all levels of the Association that are designed to rebuild trust and engagement with the members through improved transparency and communication. One idea Kurt would like to roll out is for the MAR Leadership Team to conduct listening sessions across the state. “Communication and transparency start by actively listening to the members and responding in real time. I want to steal a page from the National Association of Realtors® and bring in 16

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Realtors®, volunteers, and members of our real estate family together to discuss the market and what’s important to them."

The Volunteer Experience Kurt is also focused on improving the volunteer experience by working with current and past leaders along with state and local association CEOs to develop and create future leaders in a coordinated way. “It’s important for the organization to have that type of symbiotic relationship, where we honor and pay respect to the leaders that have been there and have developed that base of knowledge, and at the same time, create opportunities for them to inspire the new people coming into the organization,” he said. “Essentially, we need to create opportunities to ‘pay it forward’!”

According to Kurt, there is also opportunities to improve the volunteer experience by following the lead of ISCs (Institutes, Societies, and Councils), “These organizations have been very successful in engaging Realtors® that may not have been involved in the traditional Realtor® structure at local or the state level. They’ve created another pathway for Realtors® to get involved in volunteer leadership. And they’re doing it at a very high level.”

The First for MAR When Kurt’s term starts on 12:00 a.m. on January 1, 2020, he will become the first person of color to be president of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors® in its 96-year history. While he completely understands and appreciates the significance of this moment, his

2020 EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP TEAM From left to right, Treasurer Dawn Ruffini, CEO/ EVP Theresa Hatton, President Kurt Thompson, President-Elect Stephen Medeiros, and Immediate Past President Anne Meczywor (back)

experience growing up in Cambridge has allowed him to keep his eyes focused on the future and creating more opportunity. “I have been fortunate in that color has never been something I had to think about along the way and I strongly believe that the Realtor® Association offers great opportunity for all of our members regardless of race, gender, religion, orientation, or background,” said Kurt.

“As I attend meetings around the country for NAR, I find that there is great diversity both in the composition of committees, and in leadership. That said, I still believe we need to do much more to help ensure that our members and our volunteer leaders better reflect the populations we serve. We need to continue to create opportunities for talented and engaged Realtors® from a diversity of backgrounds to want to enter our industry and participate and contribute as volunteer leaders in the Realtor® Association.”

At Home Kurt has worn many hats as a Realtor® volunteer over the years, and he has chosen to hang them all in Templeton, where he lives with his wife of 17 years Robin and their three daughters: Latasha, 17; Heaven, 16; and Enaya, 12. Templeton is also home to Kurt’s Mother Beverly, Kurt’s Executive Director Diane Guercio, and Listing

Manager Jeannie Murawski, who have all relocated to Templeton in the last three years. “While I love traveling and working with Realtors® from around the state and around the country, nothing is better than being at home with the ones you love! And Templeton has been a wonderful community to call home.” Kurt has led his five-person HomesJustForYou Team at Keller Williams Realty for seven years. While Kurt has learned many life lessons from growing up in Cambridge, his time in the military, raising three daughters, and more hours in volunteer leadership with the Realtors® Organization than he can count, he says it all comes down to one thing, “We need to help empower people, create collaborative environments for them to work together, Inspire them to reach for their highest potential, and together find incredible ways to achieve the goals, objectives, and the mission we have been charged to undertake!”

Immediate Past President Anne Meczywor (left) and MAR CEO/EVP Theresa Hatton (right).

January/February 2020






Dawn Ruffini

Stephen Mederios

Anne Meczywor

Keller Williams Realty

Keller Williams Realty

Roberts & Associates Realty Inc.




AT LARGE DIRECTOR David McCarthy Keller Williams Realty Boston

AT LARGE DIRECTOR Amy Wallick J. Barrett & Company Pride’s Crossing

GREATER BOSTON REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE Melody Skye RolofF EXIT Realty Beatrice Associates Middleton

CENTRAL REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE Michelle Haggstrom Keller Williams Realty North Central Westford


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AT LARGE DIRECTOR Jacquelyn Santini RE/MAX Encore Wilmington

AT LARGE DIRECTOR Kate Lanagan MacGregor BOLD Moves Real Estate Mattapoisett

CAPE COD & ISLANDS REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE Greg Kiely Sotheby’s International Realty Osterville

SOUTHEASTERN REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE Maggie Tomkiewicz Milbury and Company South Dartmouth


NORTHERN REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE Guillermo Molina Coco Early & Associates Haverhill

SOUTH SHORE REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE Mary D’Ambra William Raveis Real Estate Norwell

WESTERN REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE Rick Sawicki Sawicki Real Estate Amherst

ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVE LIASON Paul Chasse Realtor® Association of Southeastern Massachusetts New Bedford

January/February 2020


member voices R E A LT O R ® V I E W S

{president’s message}


‘I’m Asking’ BY KURT THOMPSON 2020 is destined to be a GREAT year for the Massachusetts Association of Realtors®, and we look forward to you being an active part of it! In 2018, we began a quest to create an Association that was membercentric, transparent, and focused on providing outstanding service to our 25,000+ Realtor® members across the commonwealth. In short, your leadership team is committed to not only ensuring that every member has an exceptional experience when engaging with the Realtor® Association, but also that you have the opportunity to participate and contribute as a member of our Realtor® family. We are an Association of members, by the members, and for the members. Our mission is to provide you with the tools, services, and education that will help you to be more successful in your business and help uplift our industry to the highest standards of professionalism.Our Association is strong because of the efforts of so many members like you that care about our industry, adhere to our Code of Ethics, and seek to operate your businesses at the highest possible level. Also, as many of you have discovered over the years, the satisfaction we get from being in the real estate industry as practitioners is greatly enhanced by our connection to the Realtor® Association and each other. The opportunities to engage in meaningful industry discussions, help move forward important initiatives, and participate in shaping our industry is extremely satisfying. Not to mention the


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significant positive impact we have on our members and the homeowners of Massachusetts. I have always felt that volunteer service has given me so much more than I have asked from it. I know my journey has been richer and more rewarding due to the experiences of being a volunteer leader. I have also observed that there has been one common thread that is woven through the fabric of many Realtor® leaders and volunteer members over the years. When asked how they got involved, they simply and inevitably say, “someone asked me to!” A simple spark in a conversation with an engaged

member that helped ignite and inspired their passion to become involved, and lead to their journey as a volunteer leader. So, I am personally asking you to get involved in 2020. If you are not already engaged with the Realtor® Association, please seek us out and find out what your association has to offer you! Sign up for a committee during our open enrollment period. Come out to the MAR convention or take an educational class. Join us for some of the open round table discussions we will be having later this year or respond to a survey and let us know what your thoughts are, and what you would like to see. Also, get engaged with your local Realtor® Association; contribute by sitting on a committee, attend a local networking event, or avail yourself of the educational opportunities to learn about the cutting-edge information, tools and techniques that can help take your business to the next level.

What does the Center for Realtor ® Financial Wellness do? BY BRITTANY SCHANCK

The Center for Realtor® Financial Wellness is a resource designed exclusively to meet the specific financial planning needs of Realtors®. This comprehensive program includes an interactive site, stepby-step guide to help members achieve financial security through planning and diversifying their savings, including gaining access to FREE webinars and upcoming live events in 2020.

How do I access the online platform? Log-in to www.FinancialWellness.realtor using your nar.realtor log-in credentials to access an interactive and robust website offering:

Why was it created? This program started as the result of a pledge by 2017 NAR president Bill Brown to help Realtors® take charge of their personal finances. The vision has now grown into a comprehensive tool to help members budget their finances, invest wisely, and prepare for their financial future.

Why is this beneficial for members? The 2019 Realtors® Financial Planning Report found that only 52 percent of Realtors® are actively saving for retirement; 15 percent reported that this is their retirement career. Twenty-eight percent of members said they are not confident they can retire when ready. Given the nature of our member’s work – and this industry – real estate professionals can face ebbs and flows in their business. Fluctuating incomes, tax issues, and many other financial complexities which are common for the nine out of ten Realtors® that work as independent contractors. As a part of its members-first, Core Values NAR launched the Center for Realtor® Financial Wellness, a resource designed to meet the financial planning needs of Realtors®.

A quick and easy check-up to evaluate your current financial profile

Customized recommendations and personalized goal tracking

A simulation that allows you to practice financial decision-making and see the results in a risk-free way

Calculators, budget planners and work sheets

Education on monetizing your book of business upon retirement

Member-centric education on investing in real estate

What steps should I follow when accessing the site? 1. Take the online assessment. (Please Note: You may only take this once.) 2. Review and manage your personalized financial planning goals. 3. Practice financial planning decisions in a risk-free way under the Financial Journey tab. 4. Explore a robust library of budgeting, retirement and real estate investing resources.

How do I access the monthly webinars? Members can also access FREE monthly Financial Source Webinars, presented by the Center for Realtor® Financial Wellness. These webinars are designed to help

Realtors® understand financial topics on a deeper level. Presenters include subject matter experts who will provide tips, planning options, and an array of valuable information to help Realtors® advance their financial journey. You can find more information about our webinars on https:// www.nar.realtor/cffw/webinars.

What additional resources can I access in 2020? Coming soon! The first Center for Realtor® Financial Wellness live event will be held in California on March, 4th 2020. More details to come on this exciting event.

Where can I find marketing and promotional materials? For further assistance, Realtor® associations and brokerages, can visit nar. realtor/center-for-realtor-financial-wellness/ promotional-materials to help promote this valuable resource to their members. NAR has created a variety of marketing resources to share and all the download files and verbiage is free! ■

Downloadable flyers

■ Digital and print advertisements ■ Social media content ■ Webinar social content ■ Download recorded webinars and PPT


Who can I contact if I have questions? Brittany Schanck, Financial Wellness Manager - Bschanck@nar.realtor.org. January/February 2020


CALENDAR January 14 & 22 GRI 302: Expanding Your Base

MAR Mourns Past President

MAR HQ, 333 Wyman Street, Waltham, MA Students will learn to understand the nuances of industrial, commercial, and international real estate. Handle foreclosures/short sales and expedite closings and settlements. January 14 session will be taught by Linda Kody and run from 8:00 am–4:30 pm. January 22 session will be taught by Robert Nahigian and will run from 8:00 am–5:30 pm.

March 19 & 25 GRI 102: Managing Risk and Avoiding Lawsuits Location: TBD Students will learn to acknowledge environmental issues, avoid liability, keep accurate records, properly disclose information and reduce risk. March 19 session will be taught by Andy Consoli and run from 8:00 am – 12:15 pm, second part of the day will be taught by Anita Hill and will run from 1:15 pm – 5:30 pm. March 25 session will be taught by Anita Hill and will run from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm.

To advertise in Bay State Realtor®, contact Julie Lewis at (508) 612-4841 or Julie@MARadSales.com

MAR mourns the passing of John “Jack” Peckham, III. Jack was a Realtor® and member of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) organization for over 50 years. He was the President of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors® in 1979 and Regional Vice President of the National Association of Realtors®, he also served as Chairman of several committees at NAR. He was 86. Jack was named Realtor® of the Year with GBREB and MAR in 1969 and the GBREB in 1989. Jack worked mostly in the commercial sector and played an integral role in promoting the growth of FIABCI, the International Real Estate Federation. He also authored several real estate books published by Prentice Hall and Harcourt Brace Jovanovich and his latest “Master Guide to Income Property Brokerage” from Wiley Publishing. Jack is survived by his daughter Holly Maulin, son John M. Peckham IV of Delray Beach, Florida, daughter Karen Peace of Colorado Springs, along with grandchildren Madison and Mia Kosel and Tristin Weber, his former wife Joyce Allan of Jackson, NH, and was predeceased by his beloved daughter Lisa Peckham.

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Realtor® Association of Central Massachusetts wins $10,000 grant for NAR Commitment to Excellence “C3 Challenge” The C2EX Challenge was created to encourage both state and local associations and brokerages to get involved and cultivate an interest in the program. Over 150 applications were received and participants were judged on both creativity and results. The goal of the challenge was to increase member engagement in the C2EX program. Other local association finalists included Baldwin Realtors® (Robertsdale, AL), Cheyenne Board of Realtors® (Cheyenne, WY), Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors® (Myrtle Beach, SC), Peoria Area Assocaition of Rea Peoria Area Association of Realtors® (Peoria, IL), and Realtors® of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale (West Palm Beach, FL).

Subscribe to MAR Podcasts MAR is back on its podcast game. We are producing episodes each month about legal information, housing market updates, government affairs updates, as well as uploading our webinars in the form of a podcast. To subscribe to our podcasts, go to bit.ly/ marpodcasts. You can also go to marealtor.com/pod for additional show notes. Happy listening!

Member Benefit Spotlight BY SABRINA LAPOINTE

Your bags are packed, they’re sitting out by your door. Your head hits the pillow, you can barely contain your excitement for your long-awaited trip to the Caribbean. You wake up the next morning, completely nauseous. You try and try to muster up the strength, but you realize, there’s no way you’re making it to the airport. Here is where your travel insurance comes into play. As a Realtor®, there are a number of benefits available to you. Many of these products and services can be enjoyed for free or at a discounted rate including one of our latest member benefits – travel insurance. MAR has expanded its partnership with MyLifeProtected by adding travel insurance. MAR members are now able to protect their trips, either domestic or international, from incidents such as trip cancellation and lost baggage. The coverage also includes multilingual travel specialists and medical evacuation services. Online enrollment makes it easy to protect your next long-awaited vacation or business trip from any unforeseen problems. Life can be unpredictable, things can happen any time that derail your trip, make sure you are prepared.

This travel insurance was launched in partnership with Allianz Travel, a leading travel insurance carrier. Travel insurance covers trip cancellation & trip interruption (up to amount purchased), emergency medical expenses & transportation, as well as 24-hour hotline assistance. Members can enjoy 10 percent off travel insurance. We insure our homes, cars, even sometimes our pets. Why not protect the investment we make in our travel plans? So much of life is unpredictable, travel insurance helps protect you and the financial investment you made in your trip from potential issues.

Helpful Links: HOW TO GET STARTED VIDEOS https://www. allianztravelinsurance.com/travel/video LINK FOR MAR MEMBERS https://mylifeprotected.com/ travel-insurance?MDRefCode=mar-md-web DIFFERENT PLANS OFFERED https://www. allianztravelinsurance.com/find-a-plan BENEFITS https://www.allianztravelinsurance.com/find-aplan/onetrip-prime.htm January/February 2020



With housing inventory continuing to fall behind the demand, I’ve spoken to many residential Realtors® who are anxious to learn about the ins and outs of venturing into commercial real estate. Similar to residential real estate, different areas of the Commonwealth have different commercial real estate practices. Both the Boston and Worcester commercial markets are projected to have substantial activity in 2020, but each market is very different. In Boston, the market is being driven by its institutions of higher education, and bio/pharma industries. In Worcester, activity is being enerated by the arrival of the Boston Red Sox’s Triple A team the Worcester “WOO SOX”. In addition to the building of Polar Park, the team is spurring significant downtown development. Even my MetroWest community of Medway, is gearing up for its single largest economic development project in its history. The project, approved by Town Meeting in November 2019, will be a mixed-use development including a hotel, multi-family residential, and light manufacturing located on 60+ acres.

If you’re interested in commercial real estate in 2020, consider joining the Realtor® Commercial Alliance of Massachusetts (RCAMA). The RCAMA is what’s called an overlay board, and it provides Realtors® with the pathway to success in commercial real estate. We focus on learning how to better represent investors interested in apartment buildings, individuals interested in starting a small business, developers looking for land, or learning how to navigate the zoning bylaws in a community. Another effort by RCAMA in 2020, is working with MLS Property Information Network (MLS PIN) to explore changes to their commercial listing application. The goal is to enhance its commercial platform so that it works more effectively for commercial practitioners, and would

therefore provide better services to sellers. This will not be an overnight process, but an important step forward in enhancing the effectiveness of commercial Realtors®. Upcoming Commercial Events: On February 11, 2020, RCAMA will be offering a one-day hands-on workshop for members and nonmember Realtors® focusing on the Realtor® Property Resource (RPR) Commercial applications. The workshop will be taught by Nathan Graham, RPR Director, Commercial Services. This program has been made possible by a grant from the National Association of Realtors®. Participants will be required to bring their laptop with their RPR login account already established. The program will include breakfast and lunch and will take place in our Auburn, MA classroom located at 492 Washington Street. Participants will earn Massachusetts continuing education credits. The cost of the program is free for RCAMA members and $50 for non-members. For additional information or to register please email Colleen Pappas at cpappas@rcama.com. Please feel free to contact me or any of the other officers with any questions or suggestions at pgyorkis@ gmail.com or 508-509-7860.


Bay State REALTOR®

What are your goals going into 2020? We asked Realtors® from across the state to share their resolutions with us going into the new year. The new year is a great time to start implementing some of the changes you have been wanting to make in your career. Hear what some fellow Realtors® are planning to bring with them into 2020.

Gwen Lawson Leading Edge Real Estate, Reading

"My resolution is to build a team in 2020."

Laurie Drucker RTN Realty Advisors, LLC in Brookline


"To walk at least 15 minutes a day (fresh air and time to think are never a bad thing) and stay married to my business plan longer (before it falls to the wayside)." Lisa Sevajian, Compass Real Estate, Greater Boston Resolution:

"I am no longer measuring success by the GCI (gross commissionable income), I'm solely looking at actual profit." Olga Tsvetkova, Realtor® at Keller Williams Realty, Northampton, MA Resolution:

" As far as I can think about the next year, my resolution is to go above and beyond my comfort zone. To stay current and advance professionally."

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Bay State Realtor® Magazine – January/February 2020  

Bay State Realtor® Magazine – January/February 2020