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Who is the 2019





Who is the 2019




Inside this issue of Bay State REALTOR®

More from MAR »

2  From the Editor Thank you, Karen! REAL ESTATE @ WORK 4 4   Real Social Why Posting Consistently Matters

The Edge You Need to

 on Social Media Teah Hopper

6  Trending Topics: The Present and Future of Voice  and AI Tech Sabrina Lapointe


9  Five Ways We Can Start Improving Our Communication Skills Sabrina Lapointe

10    5QW: Five Questions With Alicia Sasser Modestino,  Ph.D.    Housing Production and Affordability

» Massachusetts Association of Realtors® Facebook

 12   Generational Trends Report LEGAL NOTES 14   14 Legal Realtor® Getting Paid When The Deal Doesn’t Close

Stephen M. Perry, Esq.

 16    Notes from the MAR Legal Hotline 17     Realtor® Advocate

More than 40 Oꢀces


More than 400 Agents

18 2019 Awards of Excellence

More than 200 Cities and Towns   MEMBER VOICES 22


  22 President’s Message In a Flash Anne Meczywor 23 MAR Charitable Foundation Disburses Fall Round of

Housing Grants; Are You Grateful for a Realtor® YouKnow?

24  Calendar; NCMAR Wins Charitable Gift Basket Challenge

2 1 5

3 4 6

8 9

7 11 10 12


An Association for Independent Real Estate Oꢀces ADVERTISER DIRECTORY Realty Guild....................................IFC Weichert.....................................3 EXIT Realty........................................5 Fairway Mortgage..............................7

Osterman Propane.............................8 RMS Mortgage...................................8 A-Z Environmental...........................24 MLS PIN.......................................... .BC

Photo Credit: Atlantic Photo

On the front cover, top to bottom, left to right: Realtor® of the Year Nominees: 1. Justine Snyder, 2. Bob Caron, 3. Janet Murray, 4. Melody Skye-Roloff 5. MAR President Anne Meczywor 6. Susan Callahan 7. Susan Wright 8. Barbara Osborne 9. Jan Pellegrini 10. 2019 Realtor® of the Year Greg Kiely 11. Kathy McSweeney 12. 2018 Realtor® of the Year   Kate Lanagan-MacGregor 13.    MAR CEO Theresa Hatton

November/December 2019


{from the editor}

Thank you, Karen! BY ERIC BERMAN It took me a while, but I found it! After flipping through several years’ worth of back issues of BSR, I came across the first “From the Editor” column ever included. The column debuted in the July/August 2010 issue.


Anne Meczywor, ASR, CBR, CRS, AHWD

I decided to undertake this search because the column was written by former BSR Editor in Chief Karen Dumond. If you don’t know Karen, she was most recently MAR’s Chief Operating Officer, and, this September, she retired from MAR after 28 years. Over her time at MAR, Karen held many roles. But when it came to the magazine, her editor in chief title almost understates her contributions to its success. She was more like the magazine’s mother, because she certainly treated it like it was one of her kids. The decision to add the “From the Editor” column wasn’t taken lightly by Karen. However, I can tell you that I was all for it for two reasons. The first was that it gave the magazine a voice from behind the curtain so-to-speak. Second, Karen is a very good writer and I knew our readers would enjoy hearing from her. So, what did Karen write about in her first column? The title was “Midyear Resolutions” and it covered a range of topics such as the availability of the Home Buyers Tax Credit. Do you remember that? She also looked at the market and advertising campaigns of both the National Association of Realtors® and MAR. And she ended her first column by encouraging members to work some new goals into their “midyear” resolutions. Thank you, Karen, for all that you did for BSR and for me.


Awards Season:

(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.

What makes this one of the most fun issues to put together is that we get to feature the recipients of three MAR awards. We presented these awards at our annual Professional Awards Reception that took place at the MGM Springfield the night before the MAR Conference & Trade Show. Go to page 18 to meet this year’s recipients.

I always wanted to be... If you ever watched the TV show Seinfeld, you might recall that there are several episodes in which George Costanza either pretends, or wants to pretend, to be an architect. Well, I can’t say I’ve ever gone as far as George, but in my mind, I want to “pretend” to be an economist. So, I probably get a little too excited when we have economists as part of the magazine. This issue is one of those times. In our 5QW column, we ask Professor Alicia Sasser Modestino, Ph.D. to talk about her work on housing and workforce development at Northeastern University’s Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy.





Sabrina Lapointe ART DIRECTOR


Julie Lewis (508) 612-4841

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Massachusetts Association of Realtors® 333 Wyman Street, Waltham, MA 02451-1139


Bay State REALTOR®

November/December 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} 4. You will stay top of mind.

Why Posting Consistently Matters on Social Media

If you post regularly, your audience will see your posts in their feed every week. This helps you to stay at the top of their minds. I don’t know about you, but I am forgetful and need to be reminded of things often! Staying top of mind ensures that when someone needs services that you provide, you are the first person they think of. This leads to more connections, more leads, and more sales! Just as your social media goals are different from your competitors, so too is each social media channel. Therefore, there are no exact rules for how often you should be posting on social media. The most important thing is to find a schedule that works for you and stick to it!

BY TEAH HOPPER Social media is ALL about consistency. One of the most important things when it comes to having success on social media is posting consistently. In fact, I think it may be the most important thing. I often see Realtors® get excited about social media and post every single day consistently for a few weeks and then…nothing! They don’t post for days or even months. It’s such a shame to start out strong and then lose all that momentum. Posting consistently – and sticking to it – is one of the best ways to strengthen your social media presence. Here’s why consistency is so important.

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

1. The algorithm favors it. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube— all of these channels look for and favor consistency. This means that they prefer accounts that post regularly. You can choose what works best for you, from posting three times a week to once a day, but you must develop your posting schedule and stick to it. When creating a schedule, aim to post on the same days of the week—for example, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday—and post at the same time of day as well. When you post consistently, the algorithms will favor your posts and more people will see them. day of the week, every week. Your followers will be more likely to comment, share and engage on your posts when you post consistently—from both a frequency standpoint and a topic or messaging standpoint.

3. It will be easier on you.

2. You’ll see increased engagement. When you post regularly, and especially if you post about the same topics on certain days of the week, your audience will expect and look forward to your content. For example, if you are planning to go live once a week, do so on the same 4

Bay State REALTOR®

We are creatures of habit and routine. When you can outline your weekly posting schedule with what and when you are going to post, it becomes much easier to manage. With a schedule, you won’t struggle to find time to post or be stuck deciding what content to share at the last minute. An organized schedule takes the thinking out of social media and makes it a part of your routine. It helps me to think of social media schedules like a budget. When you have a plan for how you are going to spend your money, you enjoy spending it. Setting guidelines actually gives you more freedom! In the same way, when you know what and when you are going to post, social media becomes fun.

November/December 2019


Artificial Intelligence (AI)

{trending topics}

The Present and Future of Voice and AI Tech BY SABRINA LAPOINTE It can be tough to keep up with the constant new trends in technology. It seems every day there is a new product, app or device we are expected to be up to speed with. You are no stranger to our tech-centric world. In fact, we know many of you have turned to new methods to level up your technology game.

Voice-Activated Devices Many brokerages have turned to voice-activated devices such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant in their business. You live an incredibly fast-paced life, but with the help of voice assistants, you may be able to conduct even more home tours. Certain brokerages are testing out the waters by setting up several Alexa devices throughout different areas of the home. These devices are programmed to explain features about that specific room. To make things


Bay State REALTOR®

even more fool-proof, signs are posted alongside the device prompting buyers with what to ask. Signs will say something like “Say: Alexa, tell me about the kitchen.” Many buyers are already accustomed to the voiceactivated devices as 53 million American adults report owning a device of their own. With millennials now being the largest generation of buyers, it’s important to tailor your sales efforts more to technology trends. Appealing to the millennial buyer pool largely means revamping your sales strategy by implementing more of a tech-focused approach.

Another major tech trend we see on the rise is the use of artificial intelligence (AI). AI is a new form of intelligence demonstrated by machines designed to think and respond like humans. AI allows for the use of 24/7 chatbots. Chatbots are software designed to conduct conversation through typing. These chatbots can help answer your clients' questions no matter what day or time they come to your website with a lead. Many chatbots are equipped with answers about everything from square footage to the types of appliances in a home. The purpose of a chatbot is not to replace you, but rather, to provide a quick and convenient resource when you are unavailable to answer questions.

email. You’ll also be able to access detailed reporting that shows ad performance and specific insights about who the ad has reached.” The list of new tech trends stretches far beyond AI and voice assistants. While you certainly don’t need to hop on every new tech trend bandwagon, it’s not a bad idea to read up on what’s out there (or ask your handy voice assistant) and see what appeals to the majority of the buying pool: millennials.

Another functionality AI offers is creating better ad campaigns for lead generation. AI takes the headache out of self-created ad campaigns and does the job for you. According to an article by NAR titled “4 Ways AI Can Make Your Business More Efficient”, “AI-based software can automatically generate suggested ad campaigns by detecting your new listings and upcoming open houses in the MLS. With every new lead, the system then notifies you via a text message and

November/December 2019


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.

Five Ways We Can Start Improving Our Communication Skills

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.


BY SABRINA LAPOINTE Communicating is something we all do throughout our day and yet few of us have actually perfected the art.

Endless Hot Water – Tankless water heaters save energy when not in use and can provide endless hot water for showers, dishes and laundry.

about your inbox for the time being and give your client your undivided attention. It isn’t easy to keep technology away when so much of our lives exist inside it. I’ll be the first to admit, I find myself resisting the urge to check my phone as I feel it buzzing in my pocket. However, the more you focus on the person in front of you, the more they will grow to trust you.

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.

1. Be authentic. Humans best connect with natural conversation. Share experiences and stories with your clients, show them you too, have been through the home-buying or selling process. In doing so, you’re establishing rapport and building trust.

2. Be aware of your body language. Communication goes beyond the words you choose to use. An important part of communication is your body language. Consider the way you are standing. Are your arms crossed? Are you facing your clients? What is your posture like? Are you maintaining good eye contact? These are all things your client will pick up on, subconsciously or not. For example, did you know, that by slightly leaning in when your client is speaking, you're demonstrating attentiveness?

4. Identify the best mode of communication for  each client. Don’t assume your client prefers whatever mode of communication you prefer. Taking the extra step to ask your client if they would prefer a phone call, text, email, or even an in-person meeting shows you are considering their personal lives and what works best for them in terms of their communication. And make sure to add their preferences to your CRM.

5. Keep it short and sweet.

You can also incorporate affirmative movements such as nodding your head or smiling. This signals to your client that you are actively listening and engaged in what they are saying.

3. Avoid distraction. Nothing disrupts a conversation quite like a loud cell phone ringer. Be sure to silence your cell phone. Forget

According to e-newsletter usability studies conducted by Nielsen Norman Group’s (NNG), the preferred length for an e-newsletter is 200 words. Apply that same number to your emails/texts to your clients. Be concise, specific, and to the point. Less is more in this case. Here’s an exercise for you. Try honing in on one skill in particular you seem to be the weakest in and really push to make that weakness a new strength. Try journaling your interactions with clients for a week. Write down what communication skills you think you executed well and which ones you’re still working on. This will help hold you accountable and allow you to keep track of your progress. November/December 2019



Five Questions With Alicia Sasser Modestino, Ph.D.

Housing Production and Affordability

prevent an even larger shortfall in the number of available units that are affordable to low-income and extremely low-income households.

This issue’s "Five Questions With" features Alicia Sasser Modestino, Ph.D. Associate Professor, School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs; Department of Economics

What does Northeastern University’s Dukakis Center study and what is your specialty?


A. As a “think and do” tank, the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy is equally committed to producing stateof-the-art applied research and implementing effective policies and practices based on that research. We conduct interdisciplinary research, in collaboration with civic leaders and scholars both within and beyond Northeastern University, to identify and implement real solutions to the critical challenges facing urban areas throughout Greater Boston, the Commonwealth, and the nation. Most of my work focuses on housing and workforce development —two issues which often go hand-inhand with one another. For example, I recently led a team to produce the Boston Foundation’s Greater Boston Housing Report Card—an annual update on housing affordability and production, including an analysis of zoning regulations and the role that they play in impeding the supply of both affordable and workforce housing. You recently looked at the relationship between housing production and racial segregation, what was something you learned?


A. Despite its largely white, European origins, both domestic and international migration have changed the racial and ethnic composition of Greater Boston over the past several


Bay State REALTOR®

generations. Nine municipalities in Greater Boston are now majorityminority, with more than 50% of their population identifying as non-white in 2017 (Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Lawrence, Lynn, Lowell, Malden, and Randolph). Although the region has diversified over time, people of color are still concentrated in a few areas such that the Boston metro region is consistently among the most segregated of the nation’s 50 largest metro areas. Moreover, economic disparity alone does not explain this pattern of racial segregation. For example, we found that black and Latino Massachusetts residents were far more likely to live in high poverty areas than whites with the same incomes. In fact, residential segregation arises from a combination of a complex set of factors that includes both voluntary choices about where to live as well as constraints on those choices that reflect limitations on the number and type of units that are built, lack of information about housing options, or even outright

discrimination in both renting and lending practices. We find that communities experiencing greater reductions in segregation between 2000 and 2017 were those that permitted more multifamily housing units. So, if we are serious about reducing residential segregation, it’s not enough to just build more housing, we need to build the right mix of different types of housing that is accessible to individuals and families regardless of the socio-economic status or demographic characteristics.


What did you learn during your time as a board member of the

Massachusetts Housing Partnership? A. I have been privileged to serve on the Mass Housing Partnership Board since 2015 and have been nothing but impressed with how the staff fulfill their mission of increasing the supply of affordable housing in Massachusetts. Over the past five years I have learned more about the breadth of approaches to affordable housing undertaken by MHP and its state partners that go far beyond simply funding new projects or preserving existing units. For example, MHP also provides technical assistance to cities and towns to develop affordable housing projects, conducts research into some of the common barriers to production, develops innovative financing models, and offers the ONE Mortgage program as a low-cost option for first-time homebuyers.

What can the Commonwealth do to create more “affordable housing” and more housing that is affordable? A. A logical first step to address this supply crisis would be enactment of Governor Baker’s Housing Choices legislation. While not a panacea, the bill has broad support from planners, local officials, business leaders, and the development community and would bring Massachusetts in line with 41 other states by moving from a two-thirds supermajority to a simple majority vote to adopt zoning changes related to housing production, housing affordability, and smart growth. The Housing Choices bill is an important first step that would empower local housing advocates and strike a more reasonable balance between local land use regulation and the housing needs of Greater Boston and the Commonwealth as a whole.


Recognizing the funding constraints that exist, preserving existing affordability is essential. Our current subsidized housing is at risk due to market rate conversion or lack of investment, and preserving an existing affordable unit is far more cost effective than building a new one. Making greater use of Chapter 40 T, which provides for the right of refusal for state designees to acquire and preserve affordable properties, is essential to

Third, we should expand incentivebased inclusionary zoning which has been shown to be effective in creating new affordable units without public subsidies. In a strong housing market like Boston and Cambridge currently, inclusionary zoning has been effective in creating thousands of affordable housing units and alleviating the concern that development of market-rate housing provides little direct benefit to low- and moderateincome residents in surrounding neighborhoods. For cities and towns in the surrounding suburbs, the challenge is to establish inclusionary zoning requirements and attendant development incentives such as density bonuses that allow sufficient density to make housing development economically feasible; otherwise inclusionary zoning has the potential to worsen our housing situation by discouraging new development. Finally, our research from the Greater Boston Housing Report Card indicates that requiring communities to adopt multifamily zoning in areas suitable for higher-density housing would help improve affordability while also reducing racial segregation. Allowing multifamily housing by right in all single-family zones, as was recently adopted in Minneapolis, is another way that cities and towns can boost production to provide the right mix of housing types.


In terms of housing, what are you looking to study next?

A. My next focus will be to explore the issue of transit-oriented

development. Transportation and housing are currently two of Greater Boston region’s most pressing issues. Building more and diverse housing near public transportation can boost access to transit, improve equity in terms of mobility, and provide greater environmental sustainability. Yet, although multifamily development is increasingly concentrated in cities and towns on the MBTA subway system, this is not the case in suburban communities served by commuter rail. The good news is that nearly 60% of Greater Boston communities are near either the T or the commuter rail and recent development has shifted toward transitaccessible communities, which

"So, if we are serious about reducing residential segregation, it’s not enough to just build more housing, we need to build the right mix of different types of housing that is accessible to individuals and families regardless of the socioeconomic status or demographic characteristics."

is aligned with state and regional policy goals. Yet, on a per capita basis, we are over-producing housing in cities and towns with rapid transit access (which is a good thing) but underproducing housing in cities and towns served by commuter rail (which is a concern). Moreover, the housing in those commuter rail towns is disproportionately single-family with less than half of the units developed in towns served by the commuter rail were multifamily. November/December 2019


What Buyers Want Most From Real Estate Agents By Age

Benefits Provided by Real Estate Agent During Home Purchase Process By Age

Earlier this year, NAR released its 2019 home buyers and sellers generational trends report. The report was conducted by the National Association of Realtors® Research Division. The report studied a wide variety of topics ranging from characteristics of home buyers, home sellers and their selling experience, to home selling and real estate professionals methodology.

Home buyers aged 28 and younger

Home buyers age 29 – 38

Home buyers age 39 – 53

Home buyers aged 28 and younger





Help buyer find the right home to purchase

Help buyer negotiate the terms of sale

Help with the price negotiations

Helped buyer understand process

Pointed out faults with property

Negotiated better sales contract terms

Home buyers age 54 – 63

Home buyers age 64 – 72

Home buyers age 73 – 93

Home buyers aged 54 – 63

Home buyers age 64 – 72

Home buyers age 73 – 93

6% Determine what comparable homes were selling for

6% Help with paperwork


Home buyers age 29 – 38


Home buyers age 39 – 53





Provided better list of service providers

Improved buyer’s knowledge of search areas

Negotiated a better price

4% Help with buyer affordability

For the full report go to: 12

Bay State REALTOR®

November/December 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

{legal Realtor ®}

writing to be bound by less favorable commission terms contained in the purchase and sale agreement.

Getting Paid When The Deal Doesn’t Close

Negotiation Issues and How to Handle Them

BY STEPHEN M. PERRY, ESQ ., Casner & Edwards, LLP The payment of the real estate broker’s commission will usually go smoothly when a real estate transaction proceeds to a closing without complication. But what happens when a purchase and sale agreement is signed, but the transaction fails to close? Can the listing broker still recover a commission for having procured a buyer? The answer depends both on the facts of the transaction and on the terms of the agreements in place between the listing broker and the seller.

To maximize the listing broker’s rights, it is important to use an agreement that explicitly calls for the commission to be paid even when a closing has not occurred. The broker will also want to make sure that the favorable terms of the listing agreement are not superseded by less favorable terms that the broker has agreed to in the purchase and sale agreement. If the paperwork is in order, there may be an opportunity in appropriate situations to collect a commission despite the deal having fallen apart.

Background In the good old days, which in this case means before 1975, a broker was generally deemed to have earned a commission from a seller merely by virtue of having secured a buyer who was ready, willing, and able to purchase the property. The law was clear that the transaction did not necessarily have to be culminated for a commission to be due. But in Tristram’s Landing v. Wait, 367 Mass. 622 (1975), the Court changed the rules. Recognizing that sellers typically expect to pay the broker’s commission from funds obtained in the transaction from the 14

Bay State REALTOR®

buyer, the Court held that unless the broker’s agreement explicitly stated otherwise, a commission would be due only if the transaction closed, or if it had been thwarted by the seller’s wrongful conduct. The Court also warned in Tristram’s Landing that a written agreement that purported to require the seller to pay a commission even where the buyer failed to perform would be set aside if it was unfair or overreaching.

MAR Responds: Right to Sell Agreement Form MAR’s standard form Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement evolved in response to Tristram’s Landing and subsequent cases. The current version says that a commission is earned when the broker procures a ready, willing, and able buyer at the agreed upon terms “whether or

It is very common for the lawyers for the buyer and seller to insert a provision in the purchase and sale agreement stating that a broker’s fee will be due from the seller only “if, when, and as the deed is recorded and the purchase price is paid, and not otherwise.” This restrictive language often goes hand in hand with a provision that says that the brokers identified in the Purchase and Sale Agreement are parties to the Agreement with respect to those provisions that concern the brokers. These two provisions are typically accompanied by a signature line for the brokers. If the brokers sign on the dotted line of a purchase and sale agreement containing the foregoing terms, they will likely be bound by them, and the added protections of the listing agreement will be lost. What should a listing broker do if the parties present such an agreement for the broker’s signature? The broker can ask that the offending language be stricken, or that it be changed to provide that a commission will be payable in accordance with the terms of the Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement. The broker does not have to sign an agreement that lessens the broker’s rights. Hopefully the issue can be addressed at the purchase and sale stage without jeopardizing the transaction.

not the transaction is completed or title passes.” The MAR agreement also states that if the seller retains the buyer’s deposit as liquidated damages, the broker is entitled to half of it, but not more than what a full commission would have been. This provision should pass the fairness test alluded to in Tristram’s Landing because the seller is paying the commission out of funds that the defaulting buyer has provided. MAR’s Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement goes on to state that a broker’s right to a commission under the listing agreement will not be affected by any conflicting terms contained in the subsequent purchase and sale agreement, unless the broker has agreed to those new terms. This provision will obviously not protect the broker’s rights if the broker later expressly agrees in

Buyer’s Rights – Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement Form What about the rights of a buyer’s agent when a transaction does not

close? MAR’s standard form Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement provides for a Success Fee upon the “successful completion of this Agreement.” It does not contain clear and unambiguous language specifying that the buyer must pay this fee even if the transaction does not close. Without such language, Tristram’s Landing and subsequent cases make it doubtful that the buyer’s agent can recover a commission funded by the buyer when the buyer’s inability to acquire the property was attributable to the seller. It would seem that at best in that situation, the buyer’s agent might be able to share in the net proceeds of a claim by the seller’s agent against the seller. If the buyer is the one who has breached the obligation to close, the buyer’s agent would appear to have a better claim against the buyer under the reasoning of the Tristram’s Landing case. Just as a selling broker can recover a commission from a seller if the seller’s wrongful conduct prevented a transaction from closing, a buyer’s agent, if not made whole by a share of the deposit, might have a right to recover a commission from the buyer where the buyer’s wrongful conduct prevented the transaction from closing. As a final clarification, many purchase and sale agreements contain contingencies, which if not met, render the agreement null and void. In situations where an agreement is canceled due to an inspection or financing contingency and not due to either parties’ misconduct, there would typically not be a right to a commission. In those situations, in the final analysis, the selling broker has not procured a “ready, willing and able” buyer, nor have the typical requirements for a payment to the buyer’s agent been met.

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November/December 2019


The Realtor® Advocate 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 have a landlord client who wants to increase the rent on an occupied unit – can they do that? A: Yes, a landlord in Massachusetts may increase the rent on an occupied unit, but the proper way to do that depends on whether the occupant is a tenant at will or has a lease agreement. In the case of a tenant at will, a landlord must give the tenant a Notice to Raise the Rent no fewer than 30 days before the proposed increase will take effect. A longer notice is required in those situations in which a tenant pays rent at periods longer than monthly. The notice must be at least equal to a full rental period. Once a tenant has received the notice, they are not bound to pay the higher amount unless they accept the change. If the tenant does not agree to the higher rent payment, and does not voluntarily vacate the premises, the landlord must serve a 30-day Notice to Quit. To avoid delay in situations where a tenant does not agree to the higher rent, the landlord may serve the tenant with a Notice to Raise the Rent and a 30-day Notice to Quit simultaneously. This method terminates the existing tenancy and offers a new tenancy under the new terms. Where a tenant has a lease agreement, a landlord may not unilaterally change the terms of the lease agreement. The landlord must wait until the end of the lease agreement to increase the rent or otherwise modify the terms of the lease agreement. If the tenant is not agreeable to the new terms, the tenant will be required to vacate the premises at the end of the existing lease. Typically, the lease agreement will dictate the timeframe in which the landlord and tenant must provide notice to the other regarding continuation and/or modification of the tenancy. Landlords may never raise the rent or otherwise modify the terms of the tenancy for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons. Rent increases for tenants receiving housing assistance may need approval from the local housing authority. Q: What can I do to protect myself if I receive a lead paint disclosure form that was incorrectly filled out by the other side? 16

Bay State REALTOR®

A. The hotline has been busy with this question. Keep in mind that it is equally important for both sides of a transaction to correctly complete the lead paint disclosure form. Regardless of whether you represent the seller or the buyer, if you receive a lead paint disclosure form with an error, you should contact the other side immediately to attempt to correct the form. If the other side is unresponsive, or unwilling to make edits, you should memorialize your communication with the other side in writing to create a record for use should an issue arise. Keep this documentation with the lead paint disclosure form in your files for easy access. A common “error” we receive questions on is whether it is a problem if an “x” is placed where the sign says to “check.” The form says to check, so if you can check, you should follow the form’s instructions and use a check. If you are using an electronic platform where the only option is an “x” that is acceptable as long as it is clear what is being marked. A larger concern would be those situations where an “x” or “check” is placed where the form requires initials. Penalties for non-compliance can be significant, so be sure to explain to your clients the proper way to complete the form and correct any errors you find immediately. 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 800-370-5342 or e-mail at

Editor's Note: We thought you’d be interested in reading our most recent issue of The Realtor® Advocate. If you’d like to receive this email newsletter please contact Jonathan Schreiber at Welcome to The Realtor® Advocate! We’re excited to provide you with this new monthly resource containing updates on MAR advocacy. MAR advocates in support of private property rights and sustaining or improving the high quality of life we enjoy in Massachusetts through the promotion of safe and sustainable communities. These efforts are most effective when you are involved. To facilitate your participation, we are pleased to share some of our recent advocacy work. If you are interested in becoming more involved in MAR advocacy, please contact MAR Staff Attorney Jonathan Schreiber,

For much of September, the Legislature focused on education funding reform, leaving us to wait and see what will happen on our issues in the coming months. We continue to predict that the Senate will put forth their climate resiliency proposal this fall, especially in the wake of climate protests in late September. We continue to support GreenWorks, a climate resiliency bill that passed the House unanimously. Recent Highlights: ¡ 9/5 – Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors® Vacation Rental Council meeting – Members provided great insight on effects of the new short-term rental law, helping our continued advocacy efforts on this issue. ¡ 9/6 – Supporting Housing Choices – MAR participated in a discussion with several housing advocacy groups on the Housing Choices bill. We support the bill, which would promote muchneeded housing development by changing the local voting threshold from 2/3 to a simple majority for approving certain zoning ordinances, by-laws, or amendments. MAR met with Speaker DeLeo on September 25 to discuss this bill and our other legislative priorities. ¡ 9/10 – Opposing Transfer Taxes – MAR submitted written comments to the Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government opposing transfer taxes proposed in H.1769.

¡ 9/27 – Advocating on Short-Term Rentals – MAR submitted written comments on proposed short-term rental regulations to the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

A Look Ahead: ¡ 10/1 – Broker Summit and Housing Choices – Mike Kennealy, Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development participated in MAR’s Broker Summit, discussing the Housing Choices bill and opportunity zones with attendees. ¡ 10/7 – Short-Term Rental Advocacy – MAR submitted written comments in opposition to H.2936, a bill that would impose up to an additional three percent tax on short-term rentals located in tourism districts. Following the new short-term rental tax law, this would bring additional administrative burdens on Realtors® and total taxes on these accommodations to just under 21%. ¡ It’s hard to predict what exactly will move and when, but we’re keeping any eye out for more hearings on our bills of interest. Sometime in the fall we anticipate the Senate will release its own climate resiliency bill to counter the House’s GreenWorks proposal.

¡ 9/17 – MAR Government Affairs Committee meeting – GAC reviewed HD.4374, a bill requiring IDs at open houses, ultimately deciding to remain neutral after thoughtful deliberation. ¡ 9/25 – Supporting the H.O.M.E. Bill – MAR submitted written comments in support of H.187/S.96 to the Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses. ¡ 9/20 – Supporting Funding for MAR Priorities – MAR submitted written comments in support of the inclusion of additional funding for infrastructure maintenance and $20 million to the creation of affordable housing and down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers in the proposed Supplemental Budget. ¡ 9/25 – Supporting the H.O.M.E. Bill – MAR submitted written comments in support of H.187/S.96 to the Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses.

MAR CEO Theresa Hatton, Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy, MAR President Anne Meczywor, and MAR General Counsel & Director of Government Affairs Justin Davidson gathered at the broker summit on October 1, 2019 to discuss the Housing Choices bill and Opportunity Zones. November/December 2019




Every year MAR honors Realtors® who have made a significant impact in the industry. This year the Professional Awards Reception took place on September 9th at the MGM in Springfield. Several Realtors® gathered to honor the recipients of the following awards: Realtor® of the Year, Milton H. Shaw Distinguished Service Award, and the Good Neighbor Award.

Greg Kiely of Cape Cod is 2019 Realtor® of the Year Greg Kiely, vice president/brokerage manager at Sotheby’s International Realty – Cape Cod Brokerages, is the 2019 Massachusetts Realtor® of the Year.

Medway Broker Recognized for Her Distinguished Service to MAR Carolyn Chodat, broker/owner of Classic Properties Realtors® is the 2019 Milton H. Shaw Distinguished Service Award recipient.

First awarded in 1984, the Milton H. Shaw Distinguished Service Award is presented to a Realtor® member to recognize and regard distinguished service to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors® over a period of years of continued participation in its activities and loyalty to its purpose. A Realtor® since 1984, Chodat has been a dedicated volunteer for nearly just as long. At the state level she has served on numerous committees over the years, and currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors and Professional Standards. Her service has also included two terms on the MAR Executive Committee as a focus area Vice President. On the local level, she is a director of the Greater Boston Association of Realtors®

and has volunteered and chaired several committees there. In 2018, Chodat was presented with the Hickey Distinguished Service Award from the Greater Boston Association of Realtors®. She also has the distinction of being named not only the Greater Boston Association’s Realtor® of the Year in 1998, but also the Worcester area Association’s Realtor® of the Year in 2002. At the national level, Chodat is currently serving her 11th term as a member of the multiple listing issues and policies committee. She has also served on the professional standards and housing needs committees. Chodat is also an RPAC Major Investor and holds several real estate designations. Carolyn Chodat

Martha’s Vineyard Realtor® Recognized for Her Community Service Efforts Susan Plimpton-Wallo, a Realtor® with Point B Realty in Edgartown was named the 2019 MAR Good Neighbor Award winner for her work on behalf of The Red Stocking Fund.

Greg Kiely, vice president/brokerage manager at Sotheby’s International Realty – Cape Cod Brokerages, is the 2019 Massachusetts Realtor® of the Year. A Realtor® since 2005, Kiely is the current presidentelect of Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors® and the Cape Cod & Islands MLS. He served as his local association’s treasurer in 2018 and currently is a member of the executive committee. Kiely also served on the board of directors of the Greater Boston Association of Realtors® from 2011 to 2016 along with several other committees. At the state level, Kiely has been a member of the 18

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MAR Board of Directors since 2012, is currently the Cape Cod Regional Representative and a member of the executive committee. He currently serves on the leadership development, professional standards, and audit committees. He was also a member of the strategic planning task force. At the national level, Kiely is currently serving on the 2019 Resort and Second Home Real Estate Committee. Kiely is an RPAC Major Investor and is a graduate of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors® and Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors® leadership academies.

Susan Plimpton-Wallo

Established in 2004 and presented annually, the Good Neighbor Award recognizes Realtors® who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to community service through volunteerism and civic and charitable contributions that improve the lives of local residents and make their community a better place to live. The Red Stocking Fund began in 1938 when a local resident knitted six red stockings and filled them with “something to eat, something to wear and something to play with.” Susan and

other volunteers provide clothing, toys, food gift cards, blankets, etc. to over 300 island kids each year. Susan’s responsibilities encompass just about everything from reviewing, approving, and processing all applications, creating lists of items that need to be purchased by volunteers, distributing lists to volunteers, overseeing the volunteers who do additional purchasing, organizing gifts once received, overseeing the sorting and wrapping process among many other small details along the way. Photo credit:Katie Annello November/December 2019





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Barbara Osborne

Jan Pellegrini

Ashmere Realty Inc., Hinsdale

Keller Williams Realty, Beverly



Greg Kiely

Kathy McSweeney

Sotheby’s International Realty, Osterville

Collins & Demac Real Estate, Shrewsbury



Melody Skye-Roloff

Cheryl Malandrinos

EXIT Realty Beatrice Associates, Middleton

Real Living Realty Professionals, Wilbraham



Sean Perkins

Bob Caron

Stone Ridge Properties, Newburyport  

Streamline Realty Group, LLC, Swansea



Susan Callahan

Justine Snyder

Coldwell Banker Res. Brokerage, Chelmsford

Fine Properties, Inc., Shrewsbury



Susan Wright

Janet Murray

Exit New Options Real Estate, Leominster

Preferred Properties, Norwell

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

MAR Charitable Foundation Disburses Fall Round of Housing Grants

{president’s message}


In a Flash BY ANNE MECZYWOR It is such a cliché to note that time has passed so quickly, and here we are already at the end of another year. Yes, I will dive headfirst into that same statement! I want to take a minute to note some of what we have done this year, and what we have set up for the coming years. With a bang, we started 2019 with the search for a new CEO. I'd like to thank the diligent CEO Search Task Force, our consultants, and our human resources outside counsel for a job exceedingly well done! The process culminated when Theresa Hatton accepted the position. To say this was a successful endeavor is an understatement, and underscores that we accomplished great things this year, with a very positive forward outlook into our future as an association. After years of searching, our dedicated Building Task Force found us 18 Washington Street in Foxborough. The negotiations and all the details leading up to closing were, (as we in the business know), part of a complicated process demanding attention to detail, timing, and skill. Under the watchful guidance of Chair George Raymond, we closed on our new headquarters. Since the closing, a new task force was formed to focus on the renovation, chaired by 2019 Treasurer, Dawn Henry. This was another monumental undertaking, but as you read this we are well underway. Both of these task forces performed conscientiously with


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professionalism and dedication to our members. No results could be more tangible than when we open the doors for business in Foxborough! Please watch for a housewarming event in our near future to welcome all to MAR’s permanent home. Our Strategic Planning Task Force combined the efforts of some of the most outstanding professionals across the Commonwealth to create our roadmap for the coming years. This group is remaining together as a Strategic Thinking Task Force as 2020 MAR President Kurt Thompson takes the gavel. Again, we used our great wealth of knowledge to prepare us well for our future. Finally, throughout the year we have been blessed with the efforts of outstanding staff and MANY

volunteers who came together to create and implement our programs and events, and to oversee MAR in every way. They unselfishly devoted time, miles, and energy to making this organization serve you, our members. The list of those involved is well over 100, and growing. We eagerly invite you to join our efforts in 2020. We need you. Not one thing accomplished this year really started in 2019, nor will it end in 2019. Ideas spark, grow, are brought to fruition, and become something else over the course of many years. That is why it is critical to rely on the immense value of past presidents and leaders, while at the same time seeking out and nurture future MAR volunteers and leaders. That continuity and teamwork is what makes MAR so very strong and so very special. I am immensely grateful for the mentoring and guidance with which I was blessed; the energy and promise of those just beginning MAR involvement; and every single MAR member in between. I am honored to have played my role in it this year, but I look forward to all the marvelous things in our future because of the people who make MAR. Job well done, everyone!

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors® Charitable Foundation awarded 14 grants during its fall round of disbursements for a total of $15,000. The recipients are:  Berkshire County Kids’ Place & Violence Prevention Center  Central MA Housing, Donations Clearing House  DDMA / Carolina Hill Shelter  Domestic Violence Ended, Inc DOVE  Friends of Homeless of the South Shore  Homes for Our Troops  Matthew 25, Inc.  Medway Foundation for Education and Medway Public Schools  Pettengill House Inc.  Place of Promise  Plummer Youth Promise  The Haven Project, Inc.  The Psychological Center  Veterans Transition House

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors® Charitable Foundation has awarded more than $425,679 in grants to victims of natural disasters, and to provide financial assistance to Massachusetts-based non-profit organizations, home buyer counseling, and shelter and emergency care services to persons transitioning from temporary to permanent housing. For more information visit

Are You Grateful for a Realtor® You Know? The MAR Gratitude Project was created by the 2018-2019 Leadership Academy as a way to recognize the unsung heroes of the Realtor® community. Honorees must be Massachusetts Association of Realtor® members and must have engaged in or performed a discernable act of kindness/ charity/service outside of their ordinary duties as a real estate professional. Those recognized will receive a small token of gratitude in the mail along with a personalized thank-you card from the MAR President. The Gratitude Project is overseen by a group of Realtor® volunteers who screen nominees each month. Please visit and fill out a short form to nominate a Realtor® you know. November/December 2019


CALENDAR December 17, 2019 Installation of Officers 5:00pm – 9:00pm Devens Common Center 31 Andrews Pkwy Devens, MA 01434

NCMAR Wins Charitable Gift Basket Challenge North Central Mass Association of Realtors® won the annual Local Association Basket Challenge at this year’s conference at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield. All proceeds from the auction go to the MAR Charitable Foundation. This friendly challenge encourages local associations to create a basket of goods to be bid on at the silent auction which takes place during the MAR Conference & Trade Show. Their basket, other donated items, and a memorabilia partner, lead to another great auction. Thank you to all of the associations, members, and sponsors who donated and helped with this great event!

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


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Bay State Realtor® Magazine – November/December 2019  

Bay State Realtor® Magazine – November/December 2019