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December 2013 Inside this Issue: President’s Message

1

December Month-at-a-Glance

2

Latest News

3-4

Community Action Committee

5-6

CREST

7

Upcoming Events

8-10

Membership News

11-13

Legal Hotline

14

Government Affairs

15-16

Happy Holidays! WRAR Mission Statement The purpose of the Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS® is to: * Provide members with the resources that enable them to serve the public in an ethical and professional manner * Take an active role regarding issues affecting sellers, buyers, tenants and landlords.

President’s Message Happy Holidays! This is my last newsletter as your president. It has been a privilege to serve you and the Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS® this year. It seems like yesterday that I was installed, and in a week we will be welcoming David Stead as your 2014 President. Best Wishes to Dave! We accomplished a lot this year. At the end of 2012, WRAR created a new Strategic Plan with 24 Key Areas that we wanted to accomplish over the next three years. For 2013 we set our priorities on the Top 6 Goals:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

For WRAR to have an effective financial plan in place All activities are Mission driven Strong relations between DRs and WRAR Leadership criteria is established and periodic leadership training is offered Master plan identifies the need for volunteers and the corresponding skills required WRAR website is seen by members as their primary online resource

I’m happy to report to you that we achieved all of these and will continue to monitor them so they stay on track. Our biggest achievement was to make sure that everything we did was in line with our Mission Statement to best serve our members and, through them, their Clients. And have you seen our new Website - it’s awesome. In addition, we also accomplished the next five goals and have plans to accomplish the remaining goals in 2014. In 2013 most of us felt the recovery. In most towns it’s a Seller’s or Balanced market again and there’s shortage of inventory because we’re selling everything on the market in an average of 109 day compared to 124 days in 2012. Thru the end of November we’ve sold 8738 Properties compared to 7828 Properties in 2012 and average sale price $210,407 vs $185,316 for all property types. Single Family sales are up 12.4% and Condos are up 23.5% for the year! Our industry is unique in the way we cooperate and share. Thank you for your professionalism and for being the best co-broker you can be. Thank you for allowing me to serve you in 2013. It was a Pleasure. I encourage you to get involved with your board and your office; you’ll get back so much. Wishing You and Your Families the Happiest of Holidays!

Rochelle Rochelle Jonswold

2013 WRAR President

Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS® 1 www.wrar.org


WRAR MONTH-AT-A-GLANCE December 2013 Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday 6

Saturday

1

2 9:30-3:30 MLS PIN Training

3 9:00 Gov’t Affairs Comm. Mtg.

4 2:00-4:00 Tax Seminar

5 2:00-4:00 Buy Worcester NOW

7

8

9

10 11:30 Women’s Council Installation @ El Basha Restaurant

11 9:00 Finance Comm. 10:30 BOD Mtg. 9:00-10:30 TD Bank Breakfast

12 13 14 11:30-2:30 9:30 Membership Installation of Comm. Mtg. Officers @ Cyprian Keyes

15

16

17 9:30-3:30 MLS PIN Training

18 8:00-8:00 CEU Classes

19

20

21

22

23

24 Christmas Eve

25 Christmas

26

27

28

29

30

31 New Year’s Eve DEADLINE FOR DUES PAYMENTS

WRAR Closed

WRAR Closed

Holiday Hours The WRAR offices will be closed on the following dates so that our staff may enjoy the holidays: • Wednesday, December 25 • Thursday, December 26 • Tuesday, December 31 - Closing at 3:00 pm • Wednesday, January 1

2014 Dues Reminder Dues for 2014 is due by December 31, 2013 to avoid late fees—please don’t wait until the last minute to submit your payment. If your envelope is POSTMARKED by December 31, 2013, you will NOT incur a late fee. If you plan to drop your check off, please note the OFFICE WILL BE CLOSING AT 3:00 PM on December 31. HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE WRAR STAFF!

Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS® 2 www.wrar.org


LATEST NEWS New Website Launched Our newly revamped website was launched on November 20. If you haven’t had a chance to use it yet, we hope that you will take a moment to check it out. If you have used it, we hope you find it to be a more pleasing and user-friendly experience than in the past The site is also now mobilized for viewing on your tablets and smart phones. Please check us out when you have a moment at www.wrar.org While you’re online, please take the time to LIKE our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/WorcesterRegionalAssociationofREALTORS. If you are interested in advertising on our site, please contact Jacki D’Innocenzo at 508-832-6600 x-200 or via email at jdinnocenzo@wrar.org. Or take advantage of our VIP sponsorships and receive bulk advertising opportunities!

Warmest Greetings of the Season and Best Wishes for Happiness in the New Year from the wrar staff

Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS® 3 www.wrar.org


LATEST NEWS Lease Space Available There is a current vacancy in our WRAR Headquarter building on 492 Washington St., Auburn. First floor location with Route 20 street exposure in one of the newest office buildings south of Worcester. This A1 office space will give your business the exposure and proper presence that it deserves. Common area restrooms and an ADA compliant space. MLS Pin List # 71555847.

For further information on the space and bonus, please contact our listing agent, Randy DeVries (508) 320-1145 SPECIAL: The Association is offering a $2000 bonus to any licensee who successfully brings a qualified tenant that results in an executed lease.

PUBLIC DATA

School Rankings

MAPS

Detailed History

Community Reports

Agent Searches Estimated Home Values

What can you find on

?

Gain a competitive edge with The FindSM Application, a new research tool that’s free for MLS PIN customers. Accessible directly from Pinergy, The FindSM Application allows you to research property detail information, create customer reports, research property and ownership data, access property valuation information from multiple sources, and much more.

To use this new service, pull up the details of any property in the Pinergy system and look for these logos: PROPERTY

COMMUNITY

800-695-3000 | www.mlspin.com

Worcester Regional Association of REALTORSÂŽ 4 www.wrar.org


COMMUNITY ACTION COMMITTEE Kudos to our Community Action Committee on their Hat/Mitten/Sock drive which finished off 2013. Thank you for your work all year and special recognition to Mary Stolarczyk and George Simone, Committee Co-chairs, for a successful year. We’d like to thank those members who participated in the packing day on November 15. Your assistance is much appreciated by your fellow members AND the community! Kathy McSweeney, Collins & Demac

Kathleen & Hailey Cooper, Exit Realty Partners

Jeff Brodeur, Era Key Realty

Glen Cronan, Era Key Realty

Karen Bickford, Keller Williams Realty

Karen Thibodeau, Era Key Realty

Sandhya Sathyaraj, Dora Naves & Associates

Gino Bello, Keller Williams Realty

Jayne Diliberto, A.J. Homes

Bryan Davis, Era Key Realty

Mary Stolarczyk, RE/MAX Vision

Kristen Auclair, Liberty Mutual

Karen Richardson, Era Key Realty

Tracey Fiorelli, Janice Mitchell Real Estate

Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS® 5 www.wrar.org


COMMUNITY ACTION COMMITTEE

Are you looking to give back this holiday season? Some of our members are participating in some local area community service projects. If you would like to help out, too, here are a a couple to check out: *The Real Living Results Team together with several sponsors is having a 6 week long food drive to sponsor Veterans Inc. Contact Doreen M. Mullaly at Doreen.Mullaly@realliiving.com *The Jarboe Foundation is seeking to help 100 families enjoy Christmas this year with the “Everyone Enjoys Xmas” Project. Visit http://www.thejarboefoundation.org/ for more information. Happy Holidays to everyone!

Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS® 6 www.wrar.org


CENTER FOR REAL ESTATE STUDIES & TRAINING Upcoming CEU Courses for December All classes are held at the Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS® CREST School, 492 Washington Street, Auburn, MA 01501.. We also hold periodic classes at the Fidelity Bank Building, 478 Mechanic Street in Leominster. WRAR Members in good standing receive FREE LOCAL CEU’s! Tuition for non-members is $30 for each 2-hour CEU. You may register for classes online at www.wrar.org or by calling the WRAR office at 508-832-6600.

Auburn, Wednesday, December 18, 2013 Time

Instructor

Course Code

Course Title

8:00 - 10:00

Jo Ann Szymczak

RE22RC13

Title V

10:00 - 12:00

Jo Ann Szymczak

RE26RC07

Appraisal Process

12:00 - 2:00

Jo Ann Szymczak

RE08RC12

Massachusetts Real Estate License Law & Regulations

2:00 - 4:00

Gene Check

RE16RC13

Zoning & Building Codes

4:00 - 6:00

Gene Check

RE63RC10

Environmental Issues

6:00 - 8:00

Gene Check

RE20R13

Lead Paint

Save the Dates: January CEU Classes will be held on Tuesday, January 14, and Friday, January 24, from 8:00 am - 2:00 pm

CEU Changes for 2014

PreLicense & Broker Courses

Effective January 2014, our 12-hour days of CEU’s will now switch to two 6-hour days, We find that shorter days are more conducive to learning.

The CREST Real Estate School offers Pre-License courses that introduce the fundamentals of Real Estate in preparation for the State of Massachusetts Real Estate License Exams for Real Estate Salespersons and Real Estate Brokers.

CEU classes will remain FREE for all WRAR Members.

We also offer a Broker Course in preparation for the State Broker Exam. Prior to the exam, a salesperson must complete forty (40) hours of pre-licensure broker education AND must affiliate with a broker for three (3) years.

Non members - New for 2014 - Get your 12 education credits for license renewal for only $99.00! Pay all at once and have the luxury of attending the classes you want; at your pace. As always, you may continue to take online courses at the MAR Online Education Center. Contact Lynne Walls at lwalls@wrar.org to schedule your classes. View the complete calendar at www.wrar.org.

The costs are $325 for each class and $50 for the text books. Our next Pre-License Salesperson class and Broker class are scheduled to begin on January 11, 2014 and run on the following Saturdays from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm: January 11, January 18, January 25 , February 1, February 8, 2014 You may register for these online or by calling the WRAR offices at 508-832-6600.

HOLIDAY SPECIAL FOR BROKER COURSE ONLY: Save $25.00 if registered by 12/31

Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS® 7 www.wrar.org


Join us at the most joyous time of year!

2013 Installation of Officers & Directors Thursday, December 12, 2013 Cyprian Keyes Golf Club 284 East Temple Street

Boylston, Massachusetts 11:30 Registration 12:00 Lunch & Program Say “Congratulations” in a special way: Business Sponsor: Business Card Ad in Program - $50 Friends Sponsor: Name & Company in Program - $25

Registration Pricing: Member Price: Nonmember Price: Table of 10:

$30 $35 $275.00

For more info or to register, contact Jacki D’Innocenzo at 508-832-6600 or via email jdinnocenzo@wrar.org. You may also mail or fax this form to WRAR, 492 Washington Street, Auburn, MA 01501 * Fax 508-832-6620. Contact Name:______________________________________________ Company:__________________________________ Billing Address:_______________________________________________ City/State/Zip_______________________________ Phone:___________________________________________ Email:_______________________________________________ Amount Due__________

____Check

____American Express

____Discover

____MasterCard

____Visa

Card No______________________________________________________________ Expiration________________________ Signature_____________________________________________________________________________________________ Luncheon Choice: (If purchasing a table of 10, please indicate attendees and dinner choices on back of form.) _____ Boursin Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce

_____ Baked Scrod with Shrimp Scampi and Lemon Butter

_____ Vegetarian (chef’s choice)

Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS® 8 www.wrar.org


Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS速 9 www.wrar.org


MEMBERSHIP NEWS - Young Professionals Network

YPN

Professional Development & Networking Opportunities for today’s REALTOR®

Young Professionals Network

appy Hour

The Young Professionals Network of the Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS® cordially invites you to their first event!

Two Hours of Apps & Appetizers!

Date: Time: Place: Cost:

Thursday, January 23, 2014 (snow date, Jan. 30) 4:00-6:00 pm WRAR, 492 Washington Street, Auburn, MA $10 optional donation to the WRAR Scholarship Fund includes arm’s length of tickets for gift basket raffle

Learn about the BEST apps for your smartphones & tablets to EXCEL in your REAL ESTATE CAREER! Speakers: Joe Schutt, Chris Whitten and Kathleen Cooper

There’s an app for that! Appetizers, Beer & Wine sponsored by Bryan Larson of Fairway Mortgage, Boston The Law Office of Jessica Albino

Fax this form to 508-832-6620 or email to jdinnocenzo@wrar.org Name:________________________________________________________________________________________ Company:_____________________________________________________________________________________ email:________________________________________________________________________________________ Here’s my donation to the scholarship fund! $_______

Check enclosed_____

Credit Card_____

Credit Card No.______________________________________________________ Expiration_________________ Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS®

10 www.wrar.org


MEMBERSHIP NEWS Top Producer Award WRAR is proud to announce that in 2014 we will be adding a TOP PRODUCER award for sales associates and Teams having the highest levels of production for transactions in 2013! Watch for more information and the application in early January!

Dues Raffle Winner! Congratulations to Linda Volungis of Real Living Barbera Associates in Worcester. Linda paid her dues in October. Although she did not win the October raffle, her name was put back in the drawing for November.

Congratulations!

The early bird gets the worm! Linda won back the Local portion of her dues as November’s winner. We’re sure this will come in handy for the holidays. Congratulations Linda!

Fundraiser in Honor of Marcia Head Raffle tickets are being sold to benefit the Hope Lodge in Worcester in memory of Marcia Head. Marcia touched the lives of many throughout her career. Only 200 tickets will be sold at $50 each. The grand prize is $1,000 worth of scratch tickets frOM the Mass State Lottery. The winner will be drawn at the Installation of Officers & Directors Luncheon at the Cyprian Keyes on December 12, 2013. Please see any WRAR BOD member or staff member to purchase a ticket.

Phone: _____________________ Ticket #A101

Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS®

Thank you for your donation in Memory of Marcia Head

___________________________

Winners need not be present to win.

Address: ___________________

Only 200 tickets sold!

Name: _____________________

Raffle to be held (11/13/2013) Prize - $1000. of scratch tickets from Mass. State Lottery

Proceeds from raffle to benefit The Hope Lodge in Memory of Marcia Head $50.00 per ticket

SAMPLE - nOT FOR RESALE

Ticket #A101

11 www.wrar.org


MEMBERSHIP NEWS New Applicants Darrell Alexander Serena Berube Sargon Hanna Kim McGhee Melissa O’Brien Karen Packard

Exit Realty Partners Sterling Realty Belair Hope Realty & Assoc RE/MAX Advantage1 RE/MAX Advantage1 Open Door Real Estate

Agents Transferred Worcester Sterling Worcester Worcester Worcester Sterling

New Members Jaime Aviles RE/MAX Professional Assoc Shrewsbury John Bartosiewicz Keller Williams-Gr.Worc Worcester Karen Bickford Keller Williams-Gr.Worc Worcester Fred Bush Exit Realty Partners Worcester Martha Convers RE/MAX Advantage1 Worcester John DeAngelis Susan Meola Properties, Inc. W.Boylston Paul D’Elia RE/MAX Professional Assoc Charlton Amber Ellis Coldwell Banker Res.Brok. Worcester Jennifer Garon RE/MAX Professional Assoc Shrewsbury Kimberley Germain Orbit Realty Webster Sean Grady Keller Williams-Gr. Worc Worcester Christine Greige RE/MAX Professional Assoc Shrewsbury Joseph Griffin Champion Real Estate Worcester Delmy Guzman ERA Key Realty Services Auburn Elisabeth Haddad Coldwell Banker Res.Brok. Worcester Barbara Harrington ERA Key Realty Services Worcester Jeffrey Head RE/MAX Advantage1 Worcester Mark Hester ERA Key Realty Services Whitinsville Ross Kenyon Nextage M3 Realty Worcester Katherine LaRose Keller Williams-Gr. Worc Worcester David Leal Keller Williams-Gr. Worc Worcester Doreen Mullaly Real Living Barbera & Assoc. Worcester Ann Mullen RE/MAX Professional Assoc Shrewsbury Robert Osol Cedar Wood Realty Group Worcester John Person Keller Williams-Gr. Worc Worcester Jasmine Randhawa ERA Key Realty Services Worcester Irina Rosario Contreras Hope Realty & Assoc LLC Worcester Joanne Rose Keller Williams-Gr. Worc Worcester Heriberto Salas RE/MAX Professional Assoc Spencer Dana Sampson Century 21 Home Team Sterling Sandhya Sathyaraj Dora Naves & Assoc Hudson Joanne St.Pierre Emerson REALTORS Auburn Ingrid Swift Coldwell Banker Res. Brok. Sturbridge Julie Venincasa Casa Realty Services Westboro Stacey West RE/MAX Prestige Northboro

Transferred Member From Pioneer Valley Association: Michelle McGuigan Quaboag Valley Real Estate Brookfield From Northeast Association: Jose Varghese DCU Realty

Marlboro

Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS®

Kelly Goss CeeCee Wen He Kathleen Cooper Melanie Ethier Armand Belanger Francisco Diaz Barbara Hopkins Vincent Lanzillo Sharon Luce Luis Torres Sarah Vo

Exit Beacon Pointe Realty Northboro Exit Beacon Pointe Realty Northboro Exit Realty Partners Worcester Property Solutions N. Oxford Re/Max Professional Assocs Spencer Re/Max Professional Assocs Spencer Re/Max Professional Assocs Spencer Re/Max Professional Assocs Spencer Re/Max Professional Assocs Spencer Re/Max Professional Assocs Spencer Re/Max Professional Assocs Spencer

MAR launches Returning Veterans Program As a way to say thank you to new and current Massachusetts

REALTORS® who have recently returned from active duty or deployment, MAR recently launched the Returning Veterans Program. Through this program, MAR and many local associations are offering REALTORS® who are recent military veterans free dues for at least a year. To qualify, you need to have returned from active duty or deployment within 36 months prior to the date of your REALTOR® membership application. To apply, you need to submit your DD 214 form for honorably and medically discharged veterans (or equivalent documentation) to your local REALTOR® association. Depending on the date of the membership application, the state dues waiver will be in effect for 12-23 months (balance of the remaining membership year plus 12 months). Contact your Lisa Sprague, Membership Manager, to see if you qualify and thank you for serving!

Office Visits The Membership Committee has developed a 20-minute presentation on the benefits of being a member of the Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS® and is ready to bring this roadshow to your office! If you would like to schedule a visit, please contact Lisa Sprague for arrangements via email at lsprague@wrar.org.

12 www.wrar.org


MEMBERSHIP NEWS New Member Orientation

2013 WRAR President Rochelle Jonswold (seated, second from left) welcomes the newest members of the Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS® at the November New Member Orientation session. The Orientation was sponsored by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage of Worcester.

You are invited to attend a Realtor Information Session & breakfast Learn about TD Bank Real Estate Center, our new pre-approval process and the Right Step options. Wednesday, December 11, 2013 9:00am – 10:30am Center for Real Estate Studies and Training 492 Washington Street Auburn, MA 01501 Please respond by Friday, December 6, 2013 to Christine Duquette at 508-752-5090 or christine.duquette@td.com Hosted by TD Bank in partnership with The Worcester Regional Association of Realtors

Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS®

13 www.wrar.org


LEGAL CORNER - MAR Legal Hotline Michael McDonagh, MAR General Counsel Ashley Stolba, MAR Associate Counsel Justin Davidson, MAR Staff Attorney Q: I have heard a lot of buzz about “pocket listings” and “coming soon” arrangements between brokers and their seller-clients. I remember this being popular many years ago. What is the difference between a “pocket listing” and “coming soon?”

be offered...”. When a property is listed with the MLS, the amount of compensation to be paid to cooperating agents is specified on the listing, and is generally offered to any MLS participant who is the procuring cause of the sale. If the property is sold while not in the MLS, how will compensation be handled with cooperating agents? It is important to have a conversation with your seller to determine how cooperating agents will be paid if the listing is sold outside of the MLS.

A. The terms “Pocket-Listing,” and “Non-MLS listing” generally refer to those listings that are never listed in a Multiple Listing Service. They are different than FSBOs in that the seller engages a broker to sell their property, but the home is not advertised through MLS.

Properties that are advertised as “coming soon” usually refer to those listings that may be listed in the Multiple Listing Service at an upcoming date, but are not currently listed, either because: 1) a listing agreement has been executed and the client has agreed that the property will not be marketed through the MLS until a specified date; or 2) the Broker has engaged an owner in some form of an unwritten or limited marketing arrangement to “premarket” or sell the owner’s property prior to executing a listing agreement with the owner.

Q: My seller-client asked me if he should keep his listing off of the MLS. Why would he want to do this? Are there any ethical or legal obligations that I should consider? A. Celebrities, public figures, and other individuals who wish to maintain privacy may request that you list their property without entering it into the MLS. Although legal, there are certain considerations that should be discussed thoroughly with your client prior to entering into either a “pocket” listing or a “coming soon” arrangement:

1) MLS Rules and Regulations: Upon the execution of the listing agreement, most Multiple Listing Services require that the listing be entered into the MLS within a certain amount of time. If you and your client have agreed to keep the listing out of the MLS, most require an opt-out form be signed by the broker, agent, and the seller, acknowledging that the choice to not market the property in the MLS is the sole discretion of the seller. In the circumstance of a “coming soon” listing, where a listing agreement has been signed, but the seller chooses to not market the property for a specified period of time, most MLSs require an opt-out form for that specified time frame. If the broker and client verbally agree to “pre-market” the sale, with no written listing agreement yet in place, the MLS mandatory submission requirement typically does not kick in. To avoid any confusion, be sure to check with your MLS Rules to be sure you are properly handling the listing. 2) REALTOR® Code of Ethics: All REALTORS® are bound by the REALTOR ® Code of Ethics. For purposes of this discussion, close attention should be paid to Articles 1 and 3. Article 1 states that, “REALTORS ® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client.” Further, Standard of Practice 1-12 specifically requires REALTORS® to discuss with the sellers his or her “company policies regarding cooperation and the amount(s) of any compensation that will

Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS®

Article 3 of the Code of Ethics places on a REALTOR® a duty to cooperate. Further, Standard of Practice 3-10 states that the “duty to cooperate… relates to the obligation to share information on listed property, and to make property available to other brokers for showing to prospective purchasers… when it is in the best interests of sellers...” If your seller is not fully educated on the ramifications of keeping the listing out of the MLS, it could be perceived that by opting out of the MLS, you are not operating in the best interests of your seller because you are restricting the availability of information and showings to outside brokerages.

3) Massachusetts Law: Under Massachusetts license law, agents owe their clients a number of fiduciary duties, including the duties of loyalty and obedience to lawful instruction. As an agent, you work for your client, and it is important that you always work in his or her best interest. Be sure that the decision to opt-out of the MLS is at the sole discretion, and to the sole benefit, of your client – not the other way around.

4) Listing Agreement: Included in the “Broker’s Duties” section of the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® Listing Agreement is the requirement that the Broker “use reasonable efforts in marketing the Property and agrees to list the Property with…a multiple listing service.” As part of your discussions with your client, be sure to point out this clause and allow the seller to decide if he would like it stricken.

In order to both protect yourself and act in the best interest of your client, it is important that the items above are considered. It is recommended that prior to opting out of the MLS, either temporarily or entirely, you make sure that a seller truly understands the advantages and disadvantages of opting out of the MLS, including any options available within the MLS to address their concerns (such as declining Internet display if apprehensive about privacy or non- placement of a lockbox if concerned about security). After full disclosure, make sure the seller voluntarily decides to keep the listing off the MLS. Specifically, you may want to explain to your client that listing a property in the MLS maximizes exposure of for-sale homes to potential buyers and the participating brokers who work with them, advertising the property to a wide range of people generally helps sellers obtain the highest possible price for their home, and when seller’s property is in the MLSs, it is included in its download to various real estate Internet sites that are used by the public to search for properties.

14 www.wrar.org


GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS COMMITTEE 

  





MAR and its REALTOR® Members got their message through on Beacon Hill: That the Commonwealth’s economic house is built on Real Estate, and that economic recovery relies on the strength of the housing market. Here are some of our key accomplishments as of October 31, 2013. GOVERNOR PATRICK’S FISCAL YEAR 2014 BUDGET RECOMMENDATION In January Governor Patrick filed his FY ’14 budget recommendation containing the repeal of three very important tax provisions for REALTORS®. MAR worked tirelessly to ensure that House of Representatives and Senate understood the importance of these provisions detailed below and maintained them in the budget. CAPTIAL GAINS EXCLUSION ON HOME SALES This section of the budget would have removed one of the main ways in which families accumulate wealth for retirement and the purchase of future homes. Had the Governor succeeded in eliminating this provision, the average homeowner would have been subject to a tax bill of over $4,000 just for selling a home. This would be the equivalent of an annual quarter-billion dollar sales tax on homes sales in Massachusetts. LEAD PAINT TAX CREDIT The repeal of this tax credit would have put children at a much greater risk for lead poisoning; particularly those children of low and moderate-income families who own or reside in older homes. The credit is also important as it can help bring much-needed vacant apartments back online that have been kept off the market because they have lead paint. TITLE V TAX CREDIT The repeal of this tax credit would have added significant financial strain on low- and moderate-income homeowners. Without this incentive, fewer people will upgrade failing septic systems which, as a result, would put the environment at significant risk. BROKER PRICE OPINIONS – (BPOs) Successfully Advocated for Amended Language in Legislation As the legislature moved to license and regulate home appraisals, MAR worked to ensure that the committee included language in the bill to allow REALTORS® to continue to offer BPOs without having to acquire an additional license. BPOs and CMAs are an important component of many listings, purchases, and sales that will now be protected as this bill advances through the legislative process. SHORT SALE PROTECTION Successfully Advocated for Amended Language in Legislation MAR effectively lobbied to amend the Debt Management Services bill to allow REALTORS® to continue to work with lenders and sellers in short sales without the fear of violating the law. As drafted, this bill would have prohibited REALTORS® from discussing or negotiating with the seller’s lender to modify the terms of an individual’s obligation to repay a loan secured by a listed property. Absent a change in the bill, real estate licensees involved in short sales would have been out of compliance with the law without having first obtained a new license. HOUSING BOND BILL Successfully Advocated for the Removal of Harmful 40B Provisions The five-year housing bond bill authorized $1.4 billion for housing in the commonwealth. More importantly, however, it originally contained harmful 40B provisions that would have severely weakened the affordable housing law in Massachusetts. MAR successfully advocated to the appointed conference committee to delete those harmful provisions from the bill. Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS®

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2013 BOARD OF DIRECTORS

President, Rochelle Jonswold Pres. Elect, Dave Stead Vice President, Brad Roberts Secretary, Kris Koliss Treasurer, Mary Gale Past President, Diane DeCiccio Jayne DiLiberto, Director Tony Economou, Director Sarah Gustafson, Director Erika Hall, Director Lorraine Herbert, Director Judy Patterson, Director Judy Reynolds, Director Mary Stolarczyk, Director Leslie Storrs, Director Kathleen Cooper, Alternate Tracy Fiorelli, Alternate Gina Lewis, Alternate WRAR STAFF Executive VP, Colleen Pappas Membership Manager, Lisa Sprague Marketing Manager, Jacki D’Innocenzo Staff Accountant, Maura O’Connor Administrative Assistant, Lynne Walls

WRAR office hours are 9:00 am—5:00 pm. For assistance with the MLS Lockbox system, please make an appointment with Lynne Walls at 508832-6600. Please LIKE our facebook page at https://www. fa c e b o o k . c o m / WorcesterRegionalAssociationofREALTORS.

  By doing so you will not only get up-tothe-minute information on everything going on at WRAR, but you will help us to increase our visibility while growing your own business network.

GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS COMMITTEE Flood Hazard Area Information Service Notice to: Citizens, Lending Institutions, Real Estate and Insurance Agents Subject: Flood Insurance Rate Map Zone Information As a public service, the City of Worcester will provide you with the following information upon request.

• Whether a property is in or out of the Special Flood Hazard Area as shown on the current Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) of the City.

• • Additional flood insurance data for the site, such as the FIRM zone and the base flood elevation of depth if shown on the FIRM.

• • We have a handout on the flood insurance purchase requirement that can help people who may need a mortgage or loan for a property in the Special Flood Hazard Area.

The City of Worcester maintains Elevation Certificates for all new construction. If you would like to make an inquiry, please provide us with the street address of the property and if necessary the Assessor’s map, block and lot information. Please call 508-799-1714, there is no charge for this service. MAR urges all REALTORS® to use the following sample disclosure in all future dealings SAMPLE DISCLOSURE: Your mortgage lender [may] [will] require you to purchase flood insurance in connection with your purchase of this property. The National Flood Insurance Program provides for the availability of flood insurance but also establishes flood insurance policy premiums based on the risk of flooding in the area where properties are located. Due to recent amendments to federal law governing the NFIP those premiums are increasing, and in some cases will rise by a substantial amount over the premiums previously charged for flood insurance for the property. As a result, you should not rely on the premiums paid for flood insurance on this property previously as an indication of the premiums that will apply after you complete your purchase. In considering your purchase of this property you should consult with one or more carriers of flood insurance for a better understanding of flood insurance coverage, the premiums that are likely to be required to purchase such insurance and any available information about how those premiums may increase in the future.

Please consider checking off the RPAC box on your dues invoice and giving your fair share so that we can continue our legislative efforts on your behalf.

Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS®

16 www.wrar.org


Connections December 2013