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September is Realtor® Safety Month. See safety tips inside.

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Inside this issue of Bay State REALTOR®

More from MAR »

2  From the Editor One Thing... REAL ESTATE @ WORK 3 3  What’s in Your Dream Neighborhood? Shelby O'Hare 4    Real Social Which Social Media Platform Is    Right for You? Teah Hopper

6  Trending Topics: Staying Safe on the Job Sabrina Lapointe

   8   Removing ‘Rose Colored Glasses’ when Evaluating Cash Flow Pro Forma in Commercial Real Estate Investment Justine Snyder

10 5QW: Five Questions With Robert Siciliano   

Realtor® Safety

11 Massachusetts is in the Top Five Major Destinations of Foreign Buyers

» Massachusetts Association of Realtors®Facebook

LEGAL NOTES 12   12  Legal Realtor® Staying Out of Trouble With Rental Vouchers Stephen M. Perry, Esq.

15  Notes from the MAR Legal Hotline FEATURE 16 16 Finishing Strong Sabrina Lapointe

MEMBER VOICES 21 21 Commitment to Excellence (C2EX) 22    President’s Message Will I See You There? Anne Meczywor

23 Calendar     


ADVERTISER DIRECTORY NAR.....................................IFC PROS...............................................5 NEREN MLS.......................................7 A-Z Environmental............................9 Accustar....................................9 ASAP.........................................9 Pearl Insurance...............................11

Osterman Propane...........................13 NAR..............................................14 RMS Mortgage.................................20 NAR..............................................24 MassHousing.................................IBC Exit Realty......................................IBC MLS PIN...........................................BC

September/October 2019


{from the editor}

One Thing…




As I type this column, I’m sitting in my hotel room in Kansas City, Missouri getting ready for the start of the 2019 Communications Directors Institute. This is an annual event when Realtor® Association communications professionals get together to learn about and share the latest trends in the communications field. Whenever I go to any type of conference like this, I have one goal. That goal is to leave with at least one thing I can put into use the moment I get back to my office. If I get that one thing, then I always feel like the experience was worth the time away from home and work. It really doesn’t matter what that “one thing” is. It could be a new tactic, platform, or even a new connection with a colleague I didn’t have. What matters is that I don’t leave without something I can use. Fortunately, spending time with my communications friends and colleagues usually results in me heading back to Waltham full of ideas. This year my approach will be the same, but with an additional responsibility. Not only am I attending, but I’m also presenting. While it’s always an honor to speak in front of my peers, this time they’ll be looking to me for their “one thing!” Putting together my presentation gave me the opportunity to look at what I do (and what I want to do) in terms of what will best help my colleagues. But I also found an additional benefit; looking at what I do in a new way. Hopefully, my colleagues feel the same way, but just going through the exercise was beneficial. What’s your approach to getting your “one thing?” If you’re attending the MAR Conference & Trade Show this September in Springfield, then I think the odds are pretty good you’ll find one, if not more. If you’re not going (and even if you are), check out this month’s feature, “Finishing Strong,” by Sabrina Lapointe on page 16. In her article, Sabrina hears from several conference speakers who provided tips for maximizing the fourth quarter by the type of Realtor® you are. Regardless of whether you’re a newer agent, a seasoned agent, or broker/owner, you might be able to find your “one thing.”

September Is Realtor® Safety Month: The National Association of Realtors® has designated the month of September as Realtor® Safety Month. Obviously, you need to be vigilant every day, but for this issue, we spoke to nationally known security expert (and Massachusetts resident) Robert Scilliano in our 5QW column on page 10 to get some useful security tips that we hope you’ll keep in mind. However, that’s not all because we’ll be providing useful safety information all month. Check our blog on and our social channels.





Rita Coffey, CRB, LMC

What’s in Your Dream Neighborhood? BY SHELBY O’HARE When your clients describe their dream neighborhood to you, what features do you see being the most popular? A strong school system? Various entertainment options? Accessible public transportation? Bike lanes? Ethnic and cultural diversity? As you’ve probably seen, the idea of a dream neighborhood is different among your clients, with maybe some similarities across the board. These might vary in Massachusetts, but nationally, there are a lot of commonalities between the ideas people have of their dream neighborhoods. According to a recent survey by ImproveNet, the top five features that Americans said “must” be included in a dream neighborhood are:



Sabrina Lapointe ART DIRECTOR

Sharon Womble

1. Grocery Stores

However, only 30 percent of Americans live in their dream neighborhood, with 50 percent saying their dream neighborhood is in a nearby town. Many people seem to be making strides to living in their dream neighborhood, settling close by for when they’re ready to make their dream a reality. The lack of Americans living in their dream neighborhood could be due to family reasons, financial constraints, inconvenience, or any other reason. At the end of the survey, all

respondents were asked if they make an effort to improve their current neighborhood. Fifty-nine percent responded that they did take action to improve their neighborhood and of those, nearly 50 percent did so by supporting locally-owned businesses or by cleaning up trash. If 70 percent of Americans don’t already live in their dream neighborhoods, they are showing that they are trying to make the best out of their current situation by taking measures to make where they live their dream neighborhood.


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 2019. 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

2. Park Space

3. Strong School  System

4. Fine Dining Restaurants

5. Fast Casual Restaurants 2

Bay State REALTOR®

September/October 2019


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}

Which Social Media Platform Is Right for You? BY TEAH HOPPER As the list of social media platforms continues to grow, we often feel pressured to join each and every one. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s stressful to maintain a well-polished account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Trying to manage so many accounts can leave you feeling burnt out and takes all the fun out of social media.

Here’s a secret: You don’t have to be on every single platform! It’s too overwhelming and most likely isn’t necessary for your business. Instead, identify your social media goals and who you are trying to reach with your message. What do you want to accomplish and who is your target audience? Answering these two questions and keeping them top of mind will help you identify which channels are best for you and your brand. With those items in mind, let’s look at the most popular social media platforms out there right now.

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, with 1.3 billion users around the age of 25-44. If you are creating any video, then you should have a YouTube channel. Here are a few reasons why: ¡ YouTube yields valuable SEO benefits. It is owned by Google, so YouTube videos often appear organically in Google search results. ¡ YouTube videos are easy to embed or upload onto almost any website, from Facebook to LinkedIn to blogging sites. This allows you to seamlessly incorporate video marketing across all of your platforms. ¡ By 2022, it is projected that video traffic will make up 82 percent of all internet traffic. Build your video marketing strategy now to stay on top of the trends.

Twitter has 330 million users age 18-49, and it allows you to have real-time conversations with them. If you choose to use Twitter, feel free to tweet more than once a day, aiming for at least three. Each social media platform is unique – with its own audience, set of rules and language. I recommend starting small and developing and implementing your content social media strategy on one or two platforms before trying to take them all on.

BONUS TIP: Set up a personal profile and get comfortable using the platform before using it for business. This will help you get the lay of the land.

Twitter Twitter is good for real time content, such as livetweeting an event or quickly sharing breaking news. It is also an excellent way to build expertise within your industry and can lead to relationships with other businesses and Realtors® across the country.

Teah Hopper is a social media strategist and the owner of Teah Hopper Consulting. For more social media tips from Teah, follow Teah Hopper Consulting on Facebook or check out her blog at

Facebook With more than 2.3 billion users, Facebook is the most popular social media network. It can target almost anyone because its users are both male and female and range from age 27-65+. With the ability to share text, photos, and videos, Facebook gives you plenty of opportunities to build relationships with your audience. Because of Facebook’s wide reach and its ability to house so much content, it’s a great starting point – especially if you have limited bandwidth. Many Realtors® opt for a Business Page, which allows you to target your audience via Facebook ads. To make the most of Facebook, post consistently (at least once a day) and aim to Go Live weekly!

Instagram With 1 billion users, Instagram is one of the fastest growing platforms. It’s especially popular with the 18-29-year-old market and has great organic reach. Instagram is all about sharing photos, although it does have live video capabilities and a “story” feature that is similar to Snapchat. Instagram is a wonderful creative outlet for brands, as it allows you to carefully build your feed to reflect a certain personality or aesthetic. If you choose to use Instagram, be sure to take advantage of hashtags. 4

Bay State REALTOR®

Hashtag 10-20 relevant terms. This can get your post seen by users posting similar content or with similar interests. Use a mix of common hashtags, (#realestate #realtor #realtorlife) to help your post get seen, as well as local hashtags, or hashtags that are specific to your brand (#Berkshirerealtor #worcesterliving).

LinkedIn If you want to build your reputation as an industry leader, LinkedIn is a good place to be. It has 500 million registered members who range in age from 18-65+. With them, you can network and share industry news. On LinkedIn you can have a personal profile and a company page. I recommend both – but definitely start with your own profile! Share informative blog posts or articles, market statistics or how you’re adding to your growing team. This is your online business card, resume, and a great place to expand your network and sphere of influence. September/October 2019


{trending topics}

Staying Safe on the Job

"Last year, 33% of Real Estate Professionals said they experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or the safety of their personal information." - NAR

BY SABRINA LAPOINTE Picture a totally empty house, sometimes in a desolate area, no witnesses, sometimes no one within earshot, and you’re just one lone wolf Realtor® awaiting strangers to enter your open house. You’ve all been there before. Hopefully an unsafe situation has never presented itself and never will – but in the off chance that it does, here are some tips to help keep you safe. Because September is Realtor® safety month, we wanted to get you up-to-date with the latest trends in safety.



Thankfully, technology has allowed for the creation of safety apps to protect you from potential threats. For example, KATANA Safety ™ is a personal security system that attaches to your smartphone. According to the NAR safety resources page, “the layered system bypasses a locked screen by triggering a loud audible alarm or pushing a discreet silent panic button. A 24/7 Response Center is alerted and contacts the appropriate emergency services with your GPS location. They may also activate your Circle of Seven, a network of your colleagues in your KATANA Safety app.”

These creative solutions go beyond smartphone apps. Prop Lock is used to mitigate the risk posed by closed doors. Working in real estate, you pass through doors in countless homes every single day. Prop Lock is a safety lock that keeps doors propped open and prevents someone from maliciously creating a confined space.

after you’re in the car, or waiting for you in the car while you’re running errands. ¡ Don’t get stranded. Always keep your car’s gas tank filled above a quarter-tank. Also, keep the following safety tools in the car: A charged cell phone, a battery jumper, a spare tire, and a roadside emergency kit that includes a flashlight and flares. ¡ Check in often. Let your office and family know when, where, and with whom your appointments will be and when you expect to return. Make it your policy to check in every

hour when you’re with clients. If you don’t call to check in, the office should call you right away.   ¡ If you choose to carry a weapon with you for self-defense, ensure that you have received the proper training and licensing required of that specific weapon. When the average person thinks about real estate as a career, they probably don’t think of it as a stereotypically dangerous occupation. But you can probably all think of a time or place where you felt unsafe or vulnerable. Many Realtors® have been fortunate enough to say they have never been in an unsafe situation on the job. However, it is important to be cognizant and to have a safety protocol in place. Unlike many typical office jobs, you spend most of your work day meeting with new clients, showing properties, constantly being on the road to new locations. Luckily, there are a number of trending apps and gadgets out there to help keep you safe. Take advantage of these apps and gadgets, and maybe even take a self-defense course. If nothing else, it might provide you with some peace of mind. MAR does not endorse any products mentioned in this article.

Self Defense

Another safety app to consider is FOREWARN. FOREWARN allows agents to work safer and smarter by instantly verifying a prospect’s identity and potential risks prior to a face-to-face engagement. The way it works as stated on its website, is “with information such as a phone number or name, agents can verify a prospect’s identity, criminal records, bankruptcies, liens, judgements, address history, and property records all in one place.” 6

Bay State REALTOR®

There are many options out there for a self-defense method. Being aware of your surroundings and taking precautions to be in control is good first step. NAR’s article “Defensive Behavior: Safety Tips Just for You” explores some important lessons on safety listed below. ¡ Be in the driver’s seat. Always use your own car when showing a property so you stay in control. If a client insists on driving, let him take his own car and follow behind you. Also, remember to lock the doors whenever entering or leaving your vehicle to prevent criminals from attacking September/October 2019


¡ A  n estimate of the market value (MV) of the propertyis the market price the property will most likely sell for.

Removing ‘Rose Colored Glasses’ when Evaluating Cash Flow Pro Forma in Commercial Real Estate Investment BY JUSTINE SNYDER, 2019 president, Realtors® Commercial Alliance of Massachusetts  urrently in Massachusetts there is a glut of inventory and available commercial space, very much C the opposite of the residential market. The commercial inventory status and changing requirements of the modern investor’s portfolio demands that the Commercial Realtor® has the skills to perform more sophisticated due diligence of future gains, and a thorough analysis of the deal.

In commercial real estate, there are three major market-types and they all interact and impact each other. 1. The Space Market which is the market for the occupancy and usage of build space or the rental market;

3. The Asset Market, this is the market dealing with the selling and buying of owned real estate assets as investments by investors, and this asset market is the focus of this article.


Bay State REALTOR®

¡ Sensitivity analysis is a projection on how the future investment may perform differently from the current expectation. This is the “what if” analysis and can help an investor to quantify the magnitude of the risk involved in the purchase and its future performance. It is also used by lenders who are thinking of committing capital to the project or loaning money on whether to grant the money or not. Lenders are conservative in the possibilities of negative outcomes in the investment. Cash flow pro forma is the basic tool for conducting the sensitivity analysis. Sometimes this is referred to as the “crash testing” pro forma. Other times it is coined “the hair cut”.

For more information on joining the Realtors® Commercial Alliance of Massachusetts (RCMA) or questions about commercial real estate, contact Justine Snyder, 2019 RCMA President at

¡ Conduct an ex ante performance attribution: this process lets the investor review the expected internal rate of review (IRR) before purchase. The investor can evaluate components that add up to the total projected IRR. This can help investors compare the purchase with other potential purchases i.e. which property might have a bigger yield versus those which might have higher growth to match their portfolio requirements.

2. The Development Market where new space is built using investor capital; and

Investment properties are usually purchased one property at a time and the price is negotiated between the buyer and the seller for a unique property. One of the significant factors in determining the purchase price is the cash flow that it will generate. A key question to ask is “how much is this property worth?” Almost any property purchased at a low enough price would seem to be a good investment, but even a really well-priced property could be a bad investment if it cannot generate cash flow in the long run. The best solution

¡ An estimate of the investment value (IV) of the property which differs from investor to investor, but signifies how much the investor would be willing to pay for the property which could be different from the market value.

property was bought. Using the actual pro forma, an investor can determine the actual IRR based on the true operating expenses ratio to gross rental income and vacancy losses. It is a great tool to analyze and compare property managers and to improve performance. Biases and wishful thinking can be very damaging when purchasing investment property and lead to disappointing and even portfolio threatening results. It is important to be accurate, forthright, and use scrupulous figures in creating an unbiased projection of cash flow on an investment property. Human nature has a part in generating numbers that are hopeful and “rosecolored”. It may even be unintentional from parties wanting to make the deal. Commercial Realtors® can help their clients remove the “rose colored glasses” and avoid such mistakes.

¡ C  onduct an ex post analysis. This looks at the realized results. At this point an investor knows the actual is to produce an accurate cash flow pro forma. Cash Flow Pro Forma: The cash flow pro forma is the basic analytical tool that investors use to quantify the expected net cash flow from an investment. Using this tool, an investor can forecast the future net cash flow stream that the property will provide. A standardized framework exists in the accounting world based on financial accounting rules, which is then customized for the property itself. Cash flow pro formas are actually a lot more complex when performed with

accuracy for most properties. Sometimes, these are performed without a whole lot of thought put into them. I’ve seen them made up on the spot by the owner or reviewed where the numbers don’t make any sense at all. If you want to know what you are truly looking for in an investment property, consider these rules of engagement. For a cash flow pro forma in real estate to be done correctly you will need these following standard terminologies (as defined by the MIT School of Architecture and Planning, a lecture on Cash Flow Pro Formas Module 3 - 2018):

To advertise in Bay State Realtor®, contact Julie Lewis at (508) 612-4841 or September/October 2019



Five Questions With Robert Siciliano

Massachusetts is in the Top Five Major Destinations of Foreign Buyers

Realtor® Safety This issue’s "Five Questions With" features ProtectNow’s cyber social identity protection instructor, Robert Siciliano.


What are some of the risks Realtors® face on a daily basis?


A. There are unfortunately many risks that Realtors® face on a daily basis, from their information being targeted in a security breach to becoming victims of physical and violent crimes. An agent would not need to dig deep to find horrific stories of fallen agents.


What are some steps Realtors® should take in protecting their safety during an open house?

A. There are many options including incorporating the buddy system, having a sign-in sheet, having a visual notification on the entranceway that says "sign-up and ID required” or "video surveillance in use." Actually incorporating video surveillance within the property, such as a Dropcam, Ring or others, will allow the agent themselves to be able to stay near the doorway and not have to go too deep into the property. This way, potential buyers check out the home on their own.

What are some warning signs that a person could be a potential threat?

A. These warning signs in the physical world generally aren’t very obvious. However, an agent’s intuition might be able to sense potential threats. In other words, when someone (a potential threat) means to do the agent harm, that threat is sending off negative energy. That negative energy metastasizes in incongruent physical body language. This can be odd facial expressions, body language, and eye contact that when received by the agent's intuition says “something is wrong.”


What is the better option: fight or flight?

A. Your first and best option is avoiding or removing yourself from a potentially dangerous situation if you sense that something is wrong or you feel fear. However, if an agent is backed into a corner in a compromising situation negotiating may work, but it generally



#4 doesn’t. Studies show that resistance, whether verbal, yelling and screaming, or physical, fighting back, in as much as nine out of 10 situations can be effective in getting out of a dangerous situation. What are some apps you recommend for safety? A. Apps that provide location information and have the ability to send off a notification for assistance have some value. Keeping in mind that it is just an app, and the agents brain is their best offensive weapon. Running away and screaming is also effective, fighting back is sometimes necessary, so know your options prior to relying on an app by itself.

Illinois Indiana

5% New Jersey

Massachusetts China



Top Five Destinations for Chinese Real Estate Investors* 1. California ................................. 34% 2. New Jersey .................................8% 3. Illinois ........................................5%

The median purchase price among Chinese real estate buyers was:

$454,900 * information provided by NAR

4. Massachusetts ......................5% 5. Indiana .......................................5%

ROBERT SICILIANO, CSP, the #1 Best Selling author and creator of the "Cyber Social Identity Protection" (CSI Protection) certification/designation and CEO of Safr.Me, is serious about teaching you and your audience fraud prevention and personal security.

In 2018, foreign investment in the Boston market reached

$3.5 billion

(up from $2.7 billion in 2017). Additionally, Boston ranked as the #10 market in the U.S. for overall net-lease investment totaling $1.71 billion in 2018. * Boston, along with New York City, San Francisco, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Columbus and Los Angeles, received the most foreign capital out of all U.S. cities last year.

* information provided by Boston Real Estate Times Bay State REALTOR


September/October 2019


legal notes T R A N S L AT I N G T H E L A W F O R Y O U a certain rent range. Once they’ve identified a unit that they would like to rent, the landlord can screen the tenant in essentially the usual manner, but should not disqualify the tenants based solely on insufficient income to pay the full rent, as the tenants will be paying a portion of the rent, and the government will be paying the rest.

{legal Realtor ®}

Staying Out of Trouble With Rental Vouchers BY STEPHEN M. PERRY, ESQ ., Casner & Edwards, LLP

The Process: Once the agent has

In today’s column we are going to look at a longstanding feature of Massachusetts non-discrimination law that is not well understood. This law has more applicability to rentals than to sales, so if you rarely do rentals, this may be a good time to catch up on this law.

For almost 50 years, Massachusetts has prohibited landlords and their agents from discriminating against the recipients of public housing assistance, including those using Section 8 vouchers. A Supreme Judicial Court decision in 1987, involving Boston’s storied landlord, Harold Brown, left some ambiguity as to what the law prohibited and what it allowed. The Court was receptive to the landlord’s defense that he was not discriminating against those on public assistance, but simply refusing to agree to certain unfavorable program requirements, such as a prohibition against collecting the last month’s rent in advance.

Legislative Changes: The Legislature apparently didn’t like the Court’s ruling. In 1990 it amended the statute to make it unlawful not just to discriminate against recipients of public housing, but also to refuse to rent to someone because of any requirement contained in a public assistance or rental subsidy program. That remains the law today. Accordingly, it is unlawful in Massachusetts for a landlord or an agent to refuse to rent to someone simply because the prospective tenant is going to use Section 8 vouchers, or similar public subsidies, to pay a portion of the rent. It is equally 12

Bay State REALTOR®

unlawful to refuse to rent to someone because the landlord does not want to deal with the red tape or special lease provisions that the housing subsidy program entails. A press release issued just last fall by the Massachusetts Attorney General shows that not all Massachusetts brokers or landlords understand this statutory prohibition. The press release included a description of two separate enforcement actions against real estate agents for discriminating against section 8 participants.

The Enforcements: In one of the cases, the agent told a tenant that the landlord did not accept Section 8 vouchers. The Attorney General slapped the agent and landlord with a $10,000 fine. This perhaps sounds like an egregious violation – until one considers that even today, on the Boston Housing Authority’s website, there is a sentence that reads, “Voucher holders are responsible for finding an apartment that accepts Housing Choice vouchers in the private market.” This wording, by the agency that administers the program, certainly makes it sound like landlords can choose not to accept the vouchers. The BHA lifted its misleading language from the federal

screened the prospective tenants in a non-discriminatory manner, the landlord or agent contacts the applicable local housing authority, which reviews the rent for reasonableness. If the proposed rent is deemed too high, the landlord can presumably rent the property for the full amount to someone else without violating the law. If the rent is deemed reasonable, the housing authority will also make sure that the lease conforms to program requirements.

government’s program description. While federal law does not require landlords to accept Section 8 vouchers, refusing to accept them in Massachusetts, and several other states, is unlawful. In the other case brought against a real estate broker, the agent told the tenant that an advertised rental unit was still available. The prospective tenant then asked if Section 8 was okay. The broker replied that the unit was not approved for Section 8. This was deemed unlawful discrimination and resulted in a $10,000 fine against the agent and landlord. It seems unlikely that the broker intentionally violated the law. Most likely the broker was confusing Section 8’s private voucher system, where there are no such preapprovals, with projectbased Section 8 housing, where a housing project has been specifically constructed and maintained as section 8 housing. The Attorney General’s enforcement actions against real estate brokers arose under Section 8’s “Housing Choice Vouchers” program. There are no preapprovals of units under this program. Rather, the individuals and families who have received the vouchers are free to search for and select units within

Certain lease provisions are not allowed, and a special Section 8 rider must be attached. The landlord must accept these lease provisions. Then, an inspector is sent out to the property to ensure that it meets program safety standards. If all goes well, the landlord signs a contract with the Section 8 housing authority as well as the approved form of lease with the tenant. The family pays its designated portion of the rent, and the housing authority directly pays the landlord the balance. What if the unit fails the inspection? There do not appear to be any published Massachusetts cases directly addressing this issue. If repairs are needed to bring the unit up to code, or to address a safety hazard, it would be legally risky and probably unlawful to refuse to make them. However, if the requested repairs are

more in the nature of an upgrade, it seems questionable that the landlord would have to make them without being allowed to increase the rent. It is a gray area. Obviously, in a hot real estate rental market such as exists in the Boston area, many landlords might prefer to avoid the perceived hassle of involving a local housing authority in the rental process and complying with housing assistance program requirements. This may tend to put the broker in the middle, but the legal requirements are clear: if a prospective tenant identifies an available rental property and wishes to have part of the rent paid for through a voucher program, the real estate agent must counsel the landlord that compliance with program requirements is mandatory. You don’t want to be the subject of the Attorney General’s next enforcement action.

Homes beyond the reach of natural gas are taking advantage of propane. Whether new construction, renovations, or even older homes switching away from fuel oil, propane is leading the way. The next time your listing includes a propane tank, remember the endless possibilities with propane. High efficiency heat – up to 96% AFUE means more heat from every gallon and less heat wasted up a chimney. In fact, high efficiency gas boilers and furnaces no longer require a chimney. Endless Hot Water – Tankless water heaters save energy when not in use and can provide endless hot water for showers, dishes and laundry. Precise cooking – Instant on and precise control gives home gourmets and busy parents the ability to prepare every meal perfectly. Standby power – Never worry about losing electricity again. Propane fueled generators turn on instantly with reliable starting in every weather.

September/October 2019


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: What, if anything, do I have to disclose to prospective buyers about conditions that are outside the four corners of the property? A: There is no bright-line rule that limits an agent’s disclosure obligations under Chapter 93A to the geographic boundaries of the property. We received guidance on this issue from the Supreme Judicial Court in the case of Urman v. South Boston Savings Bank. Chapter 93A does not impose a duty to disclose unless there is actual knowledge of the defect. However, the court did not limit the duty to disclose to conditions within the property lines. Instead, the court found that in appropriate circumstances, off-site physical conditions known to an agent may require disclosure to prospective buyers if: 1. The condition is unknown and not readily observable by the buyer; 2. The existence of the condition(s) is of sufficient materiality to affect the habitability, use, or enjoyment of the property; and 3. The condition makes the property substantially less desirable or valuable to the objectively reasonable buyer. The duty to disclose off-site conditions is typically limited to conditions which are “rooted in the land,” such as groundwater contamination, rather than so-called “transient social conditions.” Transient social conditions may include things like the quality of schools and noisy neighbors. Agents should discuss the duty to disclose with their sellers and explain the potential liability for failing to disclose certain facts. All disclosures should be made in writing so that there is documentation of when and to whom disclosure was made. Q: Is it legal to include a date certain in a listing when

all offers will be presented to the seller? A. Yes, an agent may hold off presenting offers to a seller so long as the delay is the result of a lawful instruction from the seller. 254 CMR 3.11(d) states “All offers submitted to brokers or salespeople to purchase or rent real property that they have a right to sell or rent shall be conveyed forthwith to the owner of such real property.” Further, the Realtor® Code of Ethics, Standard of Practice 1-6, requires that all offers and counteroffers be presented as quickly as possible. The law allows the seller to set the parameters, which includes specifying a date certain for all offers to be presented. However, it is important to remember that this decision must be the seller’s. An agent may not unilaterally make a determination to hold all offers until a date certain or place any other limitations on the presentation of offers. It is recommended that any seller instructions be reduced to writing to mitigate potential liability. If there is a concern that a listing agent failed to present an offer to their seller, a buyer’s agent has the authority, under Standard of Practice 1-7, to request in writing that the listing broker provide written confirmation that the offer was submitted, or that the seller has waived the obligation. This does not place a requirement on the seller to formally sign the “rejection” portion of an offer but places the onus instead on the listing agent to confirm that they have complied with the law. The information and services 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 800-370-5342 or e-mail at legalhotline@marealtor.

September/October 2019




Have you ever watched a TED Talk and left feeling revitalized and empowered to go forward and crush your goals? Well, imagine a Ted Talk on steroids, and you have the annual

Marki Lemons Ryhal

MAR Conference and Trade Show. This year features 13 impactful speakers with expertise and focus in all different areas of real estate. This conference and trade show is a tool for you no matter what your role or position is. Below you will find tips and tricks from three

The New Realtor® (0-5 years)

of the conference speakers on how to grow your

Marketing expert Marki Lemons Ryhal has earned several sales awards, the Realtor® Achievement Award, and the President’s Award from the Chicago Association of Realtors®. Always up to speed on the latest and greatest social media trends, Lemons Ryhal shares some wisdom new agents like yourself can apply to start off your careers on a strong note and keep it going. Lemons Ryhal says new agents can level up their social media game by focusing on one thing in particular: video. “Nothing performs like live streaming video, period. So, in Facebook and Instagram, you have both. Right now, stories are the fastest growing form of content: you have stories on Facebook, and you have stories on Instagram.”

client base with an important emphasis on finishing the fourth quarter on a strong note. Each of the speakers were asked to provide information for either: “The New Realtor®,” “The Seasoned Realtor®,” or the “Broker-Owner.” Hopefully you’re attending the conference and will leave with lots of new ideas, contacts, and energy, but just in case you can’t make it to the conference, this is a chance for you to get a little taste of what is being offered.


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While the fourth quarter is coming to a close, you are looking to end the year on the strongest note possible. This can be done in a number of ways including, “sitting down to create your business plan for the next year,” said Lemons Ryhal. “You don't want to start your business planning January 1st, you actually want to start at the end of the year, plan that content, and build the momentum. So come January 1st, you're actually running with a plan and not just starting to run.” After hashing out your business plan, LemonsRyhal also encourages you to do one minute of vertical or horizontal video content per day. One minute of video content is equivalent to 1.8 million words. So, every single day you should create a minimum of one minute of video content. Decide whether it's going to be vertical or horizontal. The value of vertical video is that in order to be relevant in the news feed, you have to add content to a story once every 24 hours or they will not see you there.” She continues, “video and vertical video are things that we need to focus on now and into the future in order to build content that's engaging using Facebook, because that's where consumers are telling you all of their business and in real time.” The value of using Facebook goes beyond reaching just your Facebook audience, “not only does Facebook own Facebook, they also own Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. So, if we look at the largest platforms with the most engagement and what is trending now, Facebook essentially controls or has the biggest market share.”

September/October 2019


SESSIONS setting, “Don’t be afraid to set expectations and then to uphold them. The most fulfilling part of the broker-owner role for me is watching everyone on the team surpass their own expectations of themselves and of their income.” Farmer shared how she helps her agents grow and retain their client base. “Our biggest tip is just to develop as many relationships as possible and to always be out and about in the community, at networking events, and filling free time with seeing people and deepening our connections with them.” Broker-owners heading into the fourth quarter may want to consider an approach Farmer has found beneficial, “We do a semiannual retreat, and quarterly meetings to get everyone re-focused and back on track after seasons of burn-out, vacations, life events, and chaos. Our weekly coaching of the agents and holding them accountable, and then holding ourselves accountable to each other has been the most beneficial practice we’ve found.” Be selective about who you have join your team and make sure to establish strong relationships with those you choose, “[in our business] we do not want to have lots of agents – we want to have lots of deep relationships with the agents we have, and we hand-select the people we invite to join based on balancing strengths, weaknesses, availability, team mentality, and experience.” The more passionate you are about your work as an agent, the more that will show through to your clients. “Watching what people need, what motivates them, and what they are looking for out of their career, and then catering your coaching style is both rewarding for everyone, and also fulfilling. It’s fun to bring other people up with you and to mentor/guide them, and I think that mentality and attitude truly resonates with our clients, as our agents truly love what they do.”

get fully trained on it and make it the central hub of everything you do. With all the competition in the marketplace now, if you aren't following up with your leads in the long term and staying in touch with your past clients every few months, they will almost definitely use another agent the next time they buy or sell because there are just so many options available to them at all times. Another important component is putting in the necessary effort to maintain a relationship with everyone in your CRM. “Your relationship has to run deeper than just being the person that helped them buy or sell their last house. They need to see that you have consistently made an effort to serve them past the closing table for them to feel any real loyalty and obligation to you. The lifetime value of a client runs far beyond their current purchase, but you won't see that value if you sit back and expect your book of business to call on you anymore. The times are changing.” Jared James

The Seasoned Realtor® (5+ years) Jared James, owner of the coaching company Jared James Enterprises and author of Get out of YOUR Way, is recognized as one of the most influential people in the real estate industry. He has built one of the largest training programs in North America and has many tips for you to succeed. No matter your situation as a seasoned Realtor®, Jared James has some tips and tricks about how to polish your skills and compete. “It's important to follow and stay in tune with your consumers and their needs and wants. It's amazing to me how long it took so many seasoned agents to adopt e-signatures as a normal way of doing business and kept giving their clients their fax numbers, because it was what the agents were used to,” said Jared James. Beyond adapting to new technology, it is important to consider your customer’s needs before they seek out another agent. “We are living through a time right now when all that matters is the experience your customer has with you, because if it isn't easy and concise, they have way too many other options to choose from and aren't nearly as loyal as they used to have to be. Pay attention to what they want, what you lack and what you need to adopt into your business for their sake, not just your own.” Going into the fourth quarter, James says putting in the effort to work on your CRM is a necessity. “If you do nothing else before this year ends, get a CRM in place in your business, 18

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Sasha Farmer

Broker-owner Whether you work independently or employ other agents, you have put in your due diligence getting to know the ins and outs of the industry. Residential Realtor® in Charlottesville, Virginia and Vice President of Montague Miller & Company, Realtors®, Sasha Farmer weighs in with some tips. Farmer has experience implementing aggressive marketing strategies to help give broker-owners a leg up on their competition. As you know, a large part of being a broker-owner is leading a team of people and keeping them motivated. The question is, how do we keep our agents motivated? Farmer encourages goal

HIGH PERFORMANCE GREEN HOMES Andrew Consoli Learn about LEED and the Green Building Council which considers people, planet, and profit.

CLEAR BOUNDARIES SAFETY CERTIFICATION Christine Beckwith Learn how to keep yourself safe in the real estate world with essential work place, cyber, travel, and home protection safety tips. This session includes self-defense practices from a professional bodyguard.

BUILD YOUR BRAND WITH VIDEO Kevin Tengan With today’s technology, it is easier than ever to create videos that have the potential to reach an audience of hundreds, thousands, or even millions. Learn storytelling skills and camera techniques to help create compelling video content that builds influence and turns your audience into a source of business.

HOUSING MARKET AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: TRENDS AND OUTLOOK Lisa Sturtevant Lisa Sturtevant provides an in-depth look at the national and state economic conditions and explains how the economic and demographic trends impact the housing market. You will also learn about housing demand, home prices, and housing affordability in Massachusetts.

THE REAL ESTATE SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING PLANNER Marki Lemons-Ryhal Stop getting stressed out about what to post online. Create a 12-month marketing calendar of relevant content that connects you to the businesses and community. Discover resources that supply content and wake up knowing what to post and when to post it.

CAP RATES AND NOI: THE SECRET TO SELLING INVESTMENT REAL ESTATE Robert Nahigian For the residential or beginning commercial broker, you have sold a home to a buyer who owns a small leased retail or medical building. You have a chance to sell a commercial investment property. Are you shaking with anxiety? Learn the tools to determine valuation and the intricacies of net operating income in simple and understandable terms. Bring your calculator if you want to practice!

September/October September/October2019 2019


Members Take: Commitment to Excellence

Member Benefit Spotlight

You know the industry is always changing. What are YOU doing to keep up and adapt to the evolving industry? If you’re unsure how to answer that, C2EX is a good place to start. The C2EX program isn’t your typical class or course, it’s an endorsement available to Realtors® who want to distinguish themselves in all areas of real estate. C2EX is a free tool at the fingertips of MAR members to measure proficiency in different elements of real estate. Brushing up on industry knowledge not only makes you a better Realtor®, but also puts you ahead of your competitors. Most importantly, it gives you credibility and allows your clients to see how much you care about your professionalism.

Identity theft is everywhere around us. You can be a victim and not even know it — until you check your credit report.

Join the Realtors® below and unlock your highest potential.

Here are a few ways to prevent theft: 1. All your devices need to be updated with the latest version of your operating system, browser, antispyware and a firewall.

Linda Kody, Broker, Kody & Company, Inc. Q: What made you decide to do C2EX and how would you describe your experience with it as an instructor? A: As a committee member for Professional Development and Professional Standards at NAR, and as a Broker/Owner and instructor, it was important that I not only support the program, but have a working knowledge of what was available to Realtors®. The program builds on our knowledge and gives tips and self-tests so that we are always able to improve. I love telling new agents about the program as a way to improve their knowledge base and professionalism. Seasoned agents can find out how well they do on the selfassessments, and it’s often a surprise at what they missed. I like that the program can be worked on a desktop or mobile device, and can be done in short spurts. It often raises questions and gets conversation started about current events and topics like antitrust, fair housing, and cyber security.

2. Password management is key. No two accounts should have the same password. 3. Wi-Fi needs to be secure in the office and in public. Use only secure encrypted Wi-Fi.

As a real estate professional, your name, phone number and email address are out there. Protect yourself and your clients: 1. Check your credit report twice a year. 2. If you’re expecting a new credit card and it hasn’t arrived, follow up on this. 3. Go to to check your records to make sure all looks well.

One easy way to protect yourself is to subscribe to Identity Guard®

A: The technology assessment forced me out of my comfort zone and helped tune my skills. However, the Code of Ethics is like every Realtor's® Constitution! Working in the field you are aware of so many violations and having a firm grasp of the articles and their application allows me to practice with confidence and knowledge. I have put so much of what I have learned into practice. The field of real estate has changed dramatically over the past two decades and if you don't continue to evolve using new tools and technology it creates a barrier to success.

Q: What made you decide to do C2EX and would you recommend it?

Identity Guard is an identity theft protection service with comprehensive 3-bureau monitoring of credit, SSN, internet and black markets, and more to provide subscribers with alerts when certain activity that could indicate fraud is detected and early warning detection against unauthorized account openings. MAR members can get member only rate via: member-benefits ®

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Q: Which assessment did you learn the most from? (Real Estate Law, Code of Ethics, Article 10, Technology, Safeguard Privacy, etc.) How did you put it into practice?

Patrick Kennedy, Keller Williams Pinnacle Central Realtors® Association of Central Mass, Realtor® for six years

4. Review your financial statements carefully every month.


Dia Trancynger, Associate at Landmark Residential Wellesley Hills, MA

A: I looked at C2EX as an opportunity to see where I stood as a professional. I believe as professionals we should always be learning. Sometimes that means revisiting things you might already have learned in the past to be sure you are sustaining a solid foundation. Going through each module was eye opening as I learned there were things I needed to brush up on. I would recommend C2EX to other Realtors® as a way to help show they are always striving to be the best. I feel the reason C2EX is worth taking is that it is a free way to take your professionalism to the next level.

September/October 2019


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

{president’s message}


Will I See You There?


BY ANNE MECZYWOR It’s no secret that Realtors® are well-trained, up-to-date experts. And that doesn’t happen by accident, or by the continuing education requirement. This happens because we strive to learn more, be more, and do more. We aim for excellence and to be the absolute best in the business. It works well that our Association’s primary goal is to help you be the best professionals you can be. This issue is filled with information about our upcoming MAR Conference & Trade Show. You may have overlooked this topic before, but I’m asking you to take a second look. You might not have known all that the Conference & Trade Show has to offer to you and the affect it can have on your business.

“...the things I did put into practice benefited my business almost immediately." Ok, I need to confess why I know about the type of impact this conference and trade show can have on your career. My first years as a Realtor®, I didn’t go to the conference. I didn’t think it was a “big deal” or worth taking time away from showing


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properties and meeting with prospective clients. It truly was a case of not knowing what I was missing. I wasn’t involved with MAR at the time so there was also a part of me that didn’t believe I was “welcome”. When I finally did attend my first MAR conference, I was blown away and kicked myself for not attending sooner. In fact, I haven’t missed a single one since. The first time I went, I felt welcome from the moment I stepped through the door and approached the registration desk. The staff members were smiling, professional, and they gave me a great overview of the days’ events. There were several options for speakers and program tracks. Almost every room I entered was filled, and the speakers were top notch. My note taking was fast and furious and I vowed to put all these great new ideas to practice. Of course I couldn’t put them all to use, but I did internalize them and left with an attitude that there was a LOT out there that I needed to learn. And the things I did put into practice benefited my

business almost immediately and continue to do so. Whether you are an experienced broker or a new agent just starting out, you will find that you will get a great return on your investment in both time and money. With all that being said, I would like to personally invite you to register and attend. You’ll get to strengthen your skills, talk with vendors about new products that make you better at your job, meet fellow professionals, network across the Commonwealth, (referrals happen when you meet other Realtors® outside your backyard!) be informed about industry trends and things that will impact your business, and, most of all, get energized and excited about what you do. Remember, we help people with the single biggest financial investment most will ever make. It’s a big responsibility that takes great skill, care, and constant learning. With the conference and trade show, MAR gives you a very impactful resource to be a better professional. I really hope to see you there.

September 9 MAR Board of Directors Meeting

September 24 – 25 NERC Conference & Trade Show

MGM Mass Mutual Center, Springfield, MA

Foxwoods Casino, Springfield, CT

The Board of Directors will meet at the MGM Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, MA to discuss the management of the association, with regard to the governance, business, finances, and property of the corporation.

This year’s New England Realtors® Conference (NERC) will be held at Foxwoods Casino in CT. 2020 NAR Region 1 Vice President Gene Fercodini welcomes you to Connecticut for the Annual New England Realtors® Conference! The deadline to register is September 10. For more information visit the NERC website.

September 9 MAR Awards Dinner

MGM Mass Mutual Center, Springfield, MA Join your fellow Realtors® at the MGM Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, MA for an evening of dinner, networking, and the presentation of the following awards: Milton H. Shaw, Good Neighbor, and Realtor® of the Year!

September 10 – 11 MAR Conference & Trade Show

MGM Mass Mutual Center, Springfield, MA Double down on your real estate career. Join us for our annual two-day conference at the MGM Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, MA. Featuring keynote speaker Crystal Washington along with Marki Lemons-Ryhal, Sasha Farmer and many more!

October 24 & 29 GRI 202 Building a Foundation MAR HQ 333 Wyman Street, Waltham, MA 01760 Build your real estate foundation by learning the intricacies of building codes, condo management, and smart development. This two-day course will teach students how to distinguish different architecture, understand the appraisal process, differentiate types of condos/co-ops/timeshares, understand zoning and building codes, and familiarize clients with smart growth and green awareness.


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Bay State Realtor® Magazine - September/October 2019  

Bay State Realtor® Magazine - September/October 2019