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January 2013 Happy New Year! I can’t believe we’re about to welcome in a New Year. Thankfully 2012 ushered in the beginning of the housing market recovery and 2013 holds the promise of that trend to continue. A few positive statistics from 2012: Closed Sales in the WRAR area were up 21.3% over 2011 which was very close to what Massachusetts experienced at 21.9%. Our median price in Central Massachusetts declined slightly, down by 1.3% to $222,000 from last year; however, the state had a slight improvement -up 0.04% to $297,500. Oh, if we only had Boston prices in Worcester!

INSIDE THIS ISSUE: President’s Message




Membership News


Installation Event Pictures


CREST Updates


Legal Corner


Market Update


“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.” ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

As we kick off the New Year many of you will be thinking about making New Year’s resolutions. When you do you should include things you want to personally achieve as well as your professional goals. To get the process started, think about it this way: At the end of 2013 when you reflect on everything that has happened during the year, what would you most like to have achieved? From a professional perspective - How many buyers and sellers will you have helped buy or sell a house? How much money will you have made? What investments? Personally - Have you planned your personal time and blocked it out on your calendar? Planned a vacation or time to be with family and friends? Unfortunately, most New Year’s resolutions fall flat and are distant memories within the first few weeks of the year. Why is that? It’s been clearly documented that people that write down their goals have a far better chance of achieving them than people that just think about them. So, this year I’d like to challenge you to WRITE down your resolutions and goals and put them some place where you can see them every day. As Winston Churchill said “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail.” Here’s to a great year. I’m looking forward to being your President and leading WRAR in 2013. I thank you for your vote of confidence and promise to do my best to fulfill our new mission statement and strategic plan in the coming year. Happy New Year!

Your Success is our Business!


Rochelle Jonswold, 2013 WRAR President

Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS®


Mon WRAR Office Closes at 3:00 pm on New Year’s Eve


7 9-11:30 Quad Ethics Webinar








3 MAR Media Training

4 9-11 Executive Comm Mtg


8 MLS Training (Register with MLS)

9 9-10 Finance Comm 10-11 Board of Directors Mtg.

10 9:30-12 Quad Ethics



WRAR closed

10-11:30 Comm, Chairs Meeting



15 9-11:30 WCR/ RPR Training

16 9-3 New Member Orientation

17 18 5:30-9 Community Development Corp.





23 8-8 CEU classes

24 6-10 Pre-license Course

26 9-5 Pre-license Course


30 1-3:30 Quad. Ethics

31 6-10 Pre-license Course

25 9-11:30 Quad Ethics Webinar

WRAR closed 27


5-7 Hill Team Assoc Homebuyer Seminar

Dues Raffle Winners! Congratulations to the winners of the 2012 Membership Dues Raffle! A small investment paid off BIG for these members! Grand Prize:

Fran Koliss of Paramount Realty, N. Grafton—FREE 2013 DUES (Local, State & National) - a $578.00 value! Second Prize: Mark Porter of Exit Realty Partners, Shrewsbury—FREE Local Dues - a $272.00 value! Third Prize: Sarah Gustafson of Coldwell Banker, Sturbridge—$100 Towards any 2013 WRAR Event or Education! Thanks to all who participated in the raffle. Proceeds went directly to the WRAR Scholarship fund.

Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS®


MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE Welcome to our Newest Members

The MAR Technology Helpline

New Applicants

One of the most valuable technology benefits to REALTOR® members is the MAR Technology Helpline, a FREE service available exclusively to Massachusetts REALTORS®, MAR affiliate members, and local REALTORS® association staff.

Paul Mendes

Century 21 Commonwealth


Joan Rudman

ERA Key Realty Services


Louis Sparanges

RE/MAX Professional Assoc.


Beth Ann Travis

Coldwell Banker Res. Brokerage


Deborah Williams

RE/MAX Professional Assoc.


First Eastern Mortgage

130 Cedar Street, Milford

Liberty Mutual Insurance

771 Southbridge Street, Auburn

New Affiliates Jim Flynn Urszula Prominski

Reinstated Members Michelle Williams

ERA Key Realty Services

Transfer Members Jane Cheetham

Coldwell Banker Res. Brokerage


Joan Fallon

DCU Realty


Bruce Gallant

Century 21 Realty Team


Amy Gerrish

RE/MAX Professional Assoc.


Terri Kelley

DCU Realty


Walter O'Hearn

Realty Executives Tri County, Inc. Bellingham

Lili Plavsic

Coldwell Banker Res. Brokerage


Les Rudman

ERA Key Realty Services


DID YOU KNOW: There is a dues waiver for REALTORS® and their spouses called into active military duty. Please contact Lisa Sprague., Membership Manager, for details at 508-832-6600, ext. 230.

Dues Payments—Late Fees!

Office Visits

Please note that late fees go into effect as of January 1. There will be a $60 late fee automatically added to your unpaid account on January 1; that amount will increase to $75 on February 1. Please make every effort to pay your dues in a timely manner. Contact Lisa Sprague Membership Manager, with questions at 508-832-6600. Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS®

The Tech Helpline offers toll-free access to a staff of trained technology counselors who can help you to resolve problems with software and hardware installations and operations for Windows, Macintosh and Palm Pilot systems; Internet connection issues; computer compatibility with printers, scanners, digital cameras and other new business devices, and basic functions of electronic forms software, such as MassForms™. The staff specialists operating MAR's Tech Helpline are available Monday-Friday, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m via the toll-free phone line.


The Membership Committee has developed a 20minute 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

INSTALLATION OF 2013 OFFICERS & DIRECTORS Our Installation of Officers & Directors took place on Thursday, December 13, at the Wachusett Country Club. Congratulations to our new President, Rochelle Jonswold, and to our new Executive Board and Directors. It was a beautiful night, full of fun and celebration, made possible by the generosity of our sponsors: ♦ Presidential Sponsor—Wells Fargo Home Mortgage ♦ Executive Sponsors— Bank of Canton, The Law Office of Harry Kotseas, and MLSPin ♦ Dessert Table Sponsor—Keller Williams New England Region ♦ Business Sponsors—First Eastern Mortgage and Herbert Landy Insurance Thank you for your generous support. Special thanks to Chris Whitten for DJ-ing the event and making it extra fun!

Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS®



Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS速


CENTER FOR REAL ESTATE STUDIES & TRAINING Upcoming CEU Courses for January All classes, unless otherwise noted, are held at the Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS® CREST School, 492 Washington Street, Auburn, MA 01501. WRAR Members in good standing receive FREE LOCAL CEU’s! Tuition for non-members is $30 for each 2hour CEU. You may register for classes online at or by calling the WRAR office at 508-832-6600. Please note that during the winter months, we follow the Auburn school system for opening. If they are closed, we are closed. During weekends, announcements will be made on WTAG. As always, use your best judgment. January 23

Course Code


Course Name

8:00 - 10:00 am Gary Bourque


National Economic Trends in Real Estate Professional

10:00 - 12:00 n Gary Bourque


Appraisal Process

12:00 - 2:00 pm Gary Bourque



2:00 - 4:00 pm

Jo Ann Szymczak


Residential Rental

4:00 - 6:00 pm

Jo Ann Szymczak


Title V

6:00 - 8:00 pm

Jo Ann Szymczak


Zoning & Building Codes

Ethics Classes Added REALTORS® are required to complete ethics training of not less  than 2 hours, 30 minutes of instruc onal  me within four‐year  cycle. The training must meet specific learning objec ves and cri‐ teria established by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REAL‐ TORS®.                   

Are you Interested in Becoming an Instructor?

The current four‐year period ended Dec. 31, 2012.  As such, those  who did not complete the training requirement are now suspend‐ ed.  To be reinstated in good standing, the class must be taken  and a reinstatement fee must be paid. 

If so, then the MAR Instructor Training Program is for you! MAR will be holding a three-day program designed to prepare instructors of real estate education to develop course content, organize course layout and instructional methods and deliver courses effectively to maximize adult learning.

To assist you, we have added some addi onal make‐up classes.   The cost is $30, whether you are enrolling in a webinar or live  class.  Register at or call 508‐832‐6600. 

Dates: Times: Price:

Monday, January 7, 9:00‐11:30am—Webinar 


Thursday, January 10, 9:30am‐12:00n—Live Class 

Friday, January 25, 9:00‐11:30am—Webinar 

Wednesday, January 30, 1:00‐3:30pm—Live Class 

You may also take the class online at NAR free of charge.  You will  not receive CEU’s for their online instruc on.  Go to for more informa on. 

Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS®


February 5-7, 2013 See Schedule Below $525 for members; $625 for nonmembers MAR Headquarters 600 Hickory Drive, 4th Floor Waltham

Schedule February 5, Day One: 8:00am - 5:30pm (homework assignment – 1-2 hours additional) February 6, Day Two: 8:30am – 7:00pm (homework assignment – 2-3 hours additional) February 7, Day Three: 8:30am – 5:00pm For more information and/or to register, visit the MAR Calendar of Events.


Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS速


LEGAL CORNER MAR Legal Hotline Michael McDonagh, MAR General Counsel, and Ashley Stolba, MAR Staff Attorney

New England Living: Snow Removal

Among the steps that every property owner should take are to:

Q: As a property owner, do I have a legal obligation to remove snow and ice from my property?

(1) review insurance policies to be sure that there is adequate coverage; (2) determine whether contractors or others hired to remove snow and ice have insurance; and (3) be vigilant when there is newly fallen snow or when temperatures allow melting and refreezing. If complete clearing is not possible, warning signs may be appropriate. Clients that have specific questions regarding their duty to clear snow should consult with their attorney.

A. Yes. All Massachusetts property owners have a duty to use “reasonable care” for the protection of visitors, and are thus legally responsible for the removal of snow and ice from their property. As you may recall, this was not always the case. Prior to the SJC ruling in Papadopoulos v. Target Corp. in July 2010, property owners would only be held liable for injuries resulting from “unnatural accumulation” of snow. If an owner chose not to clear snow and ice from the sidewalk or parking lot, it was a valid defense that the injury was caused by nature, i.e. by a natural accumulation of snow and ice, not by the negligence of the owner.

Q. My client owns a multi-family and insists that he has no responsibility for removal of snow except for clearing the sidewalks as required by municipal ordinance. Is he correct?

The Papadopoulos case changed the antiquated rule to expand the duty of property owners to remove snow and ice from their property. In December 2002, Papadopoulos slipped and fell on a patch of ice in a Target parking lot, which had been plowed almost clearly, with much of the snow moved to the medians. He slipped on a piece of ice that had frozen to the pavement. The ice had either fallen from the snow piled on the median or had formed when snow melted and ran off the pile and then refroze to the pavement of the parking lot. Papadopoulos sued both Target and the snow removal company.

A. No. The landlord is responsible for removing snow on the property. Many landlords attempt to pass this responsibility onto their tenants by writing a provision into their leases; however, this practice may not protect the landlord from liability. The Massachusetts sanitary code provides that the “owner shall maintain all means of egress in a safe, operable condition” and that all “exterior stairways, fire escapes, and egress balcony, shall be kept free of snow and ice.” Massachusetts law also provides that any provision in a rental agreement that waives the protections given by the sanitary code is void, as it is against public policy. Taken together it would appear that the landlord cannot assign this responsibility in a lease. However, the law is unclear on the matter. The sanitary code does not cover driveways or sidewalks; therefore, logic would suggest these could be assigned into a lease. If a landlord decides to form a side agreement with a tenant to compensate them for snow and ice removal they should carry workers’ compensation insurance as these tenants are now employees of the landlord. Again, clients that have specific questions regarding their duty to clear snow should consult with their attorney.

The Superior Court held that the ice had been a “natural accumulation,” which, as a matter of Massachusetts law, barred him from prevailing on his negligence claims. On appeal, the SJC eliminated the “natural accumulation” defense, allowing Papadopoulos to prevail on the claim that the property owner failed to use reasonable care, and which failure caused the injuries. The Court did not set a “bright line” test to explain how much time an owner has to act, nor did it indicate the effect of the temperature range, nor did it state at what depth the snow must reach before any action is required. Whether the property is a single family home, apartment building or shopping area, each case will depend on its own facts to determine whether the owner acted reasonably.

Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS®


2013 Directors & Staff Members 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 Erica 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 Executive VP, Colleen Pappas Membership Manager, Lisa Sprague Programs & Events Coordinator, Jacki D’Innocenzo Staff Accountant, Maura O’Connor Administrative Assistant, Lynne Walls

Please LIKE our facebook page at WorcesterRegionalAssociationofREALTORS.

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

Make a New Year’s resolution to GET INVOLVED with your board! Join a committee and make a difference in your career and your community. Contact Colleen Pappas or Lisa Sprague at 508-832-6600 for more information on how you can join a committee.

Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS®


Connections - January 2013  
Connections - January 2013  

"Connections" - The Monthly Newsletter of the Worcester Regional Association of REALTORS®