Sunday June 26th 2016

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REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill Recap| The Wednesday Word

13529139_10154887328297506_2101616727979380665_nOn June 21, 2016, over 400 Massachusetts Realtors® traveled to the State House to participate in the 31st annual “Realtor® Day on Beacon Hill.” Realtors® discussed key issues that impact consumers, housing and the economy. The 2016 keynote address was provided by Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.

To read the full press release, please visit: https://www.marealtor.com/news/press-releases/2016/06/22/over-400-massachusetts-realtors-converged-on-beacon-hill-to-push-for-land-use-zoning-reforms-and-mortgage-debt-relief

(Please note: This blog post was prepared by MAR Legal Staff: Michael McDonagh, General Counsel; Ashley Stolba, Associate Counsel; and Justin Davidson, Legislative & Regulatory Counsel)

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Get ready for 360° views on Facebook | Social Media Monday

Facebook announced this month that the platform will start rolling out 360° photos worldwide. The images are meant to be immersive, allowing the viewer to feel as if they’re really there. A few clicks will allow the viewer to look up, down and do a full turn from one location. The best part is that they can be taken with a regular smartphone–just take a panorama  or use a 360° camera app.

Our minds are already buzzing with the application in the world of real estate. How about a 360° view of the master bedroom? Does a regular old photo just not do the view from the backyard justice? 360° photo could be a neat addition to your open house and listing repertoire.

Realtors® , have you experimented with 360° photos? Do you think it’s just a fad? Let us know in the comments below.

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REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill Briefing: Land Use & Zoning Issues | The Wednesday Word

12802814_10154557034337506_7894024781621756710_nCALL FOR ACTION REMINDER – You should have received a Call for Action from MAR President Annie Blatz urging your State Senators to oppose S.2311. If you have yet to respond to this CFA, please do so immediately!

The 21st Annual REALTOR Day on Beacon Hill is just TWO weeks away! To help you prepare to attend REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill at the Massachusetts State House on Tuesday, June 21, we continue with Wednesday Word blog posts that discuss the 2015-2016 Legislative Issues. This post gets into the details of the zoning bill that MAR opposes.

ISSUE: Massachusetts is currently dealing with a severe housing crisis due in large part to a low rate of housing production which has not kept pace with population growth and needs. Highlighted below are three examples of how S.2311 would negatively impact housing production in Massachusetts
S.2311 An Act promoting housing and sustainable development
Sponsor:
Senator Wolf (D-Harwich)
Legislative Actions to Date:
Currently before the Senate. Debate scheduled for June 9, 2016.

Development Impact Fees
Issue
: This section would add a new Section 9E to the Zoning Act, which would establish statutory authority for municipalities to impose development impact fees for water, wastewater, stormwater management, solid waste, roads, and parks and recreation.

Why Realtors® Oppose Development Impact Fees: Development impact fees involve complex legal, planning, and economic principles that are not adequately addressed this legislation. Development impact fees increase the cost of new development, especially for residential projects, which will reduce the number of projects that are economically feasible. To the extent that the increased development costs are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices, impact fees also make housing less affordable. In states that have authorized impact fees by statute, impact fees are the exclusive means for local governments to address capital facilities and services needs to serve growth in communities. By contrast, the proposed legislation would not prevent a municipality from imposing both development impact fees and other burdensome and costly mitigation requirements as a condition of development approval.

Inclusionary Zoning

Issue: Inclusionary zoning would authorize municipalities to impose mandatory inclusionary zoning requirements upon development projects, provided that “municipal affordable housing concessions” (e.g., density, floor area ratio, or building height bonuses) are provided for affected projects.

Why Realtors® Oppose Inclusionary Zoning: By expressly authorizing municipalities to impose mandatory inclusionary requirements, the legislation would unfairly burden developers with the substantial costs of fulfilling society’s obligation to ensure the availability of affordable housing. It would significantly impact the cost of development in these municipalities, and would necessarily increase the cost of market rate housing to the detriment of first-time homebuyers and others looking to move into or remain in the community, who do not qualify for subsidized housing. The burden to provide affordable housing options should either be shared more broadly, or provided on a voluntary basis in response to meaningful incentives consistent with a plan for the creation of such housing.

Minor Subdivisions

Issue: This would establish a “minor subdivision” process that would replace the approval not required (“ANR”) process in cities and towns that choose to adopt a minor subdivision ordinance or bylaw.

Why Realtors® Oppose a Minor Subdivision Process: This opt-in approach would result in a patchwork of subdivision controls across the Commonwealth in which some communities have an ANR process and others have a minor subdivision process. Eliminating the use of ANRs would be significant because land divisions that formerly would have qualified for ANR would now be subject to review in a minor subdivision process, or full subdivision review. This type of review would involve additional time, less certainty, and more burdensome conditions than the current ANR process. While the concept of a minor subdivision on an existing street may be a good one in the abstract, it should not come at the expense of the sole means of expeditious land division under ANR endorsement.

Please be sure to visit the MAR Government Affairs page and Day on the Hill Facebook event for additional information.

2016 MAR President Annie Blatz invites you to REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill, where REALTORS® will have a chance to network and learn about the key legislative issues that will affect the real estate industry and private property in 2016. Attend the REALTOR® Day on the Hill and make an impact on the legislative process.

REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill is scheduled for:
Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
10:00 to 11:00AM
Massachusetts State House, Great Hall

(Please note: This blog post was prepared by MAR Legal Staff: Michael McDonagh, General Counsel; Ashley Stolba, Associate Counsel; Justin Davidson, Legislative & Regulatory Counsel; and Christine Howe, Public Policy and Finance Coordinator)

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Get ready for Instagram for business | Social Media Monday

Instagram_phone_FB

Instagram has officially announced what has since been merely rumor: business profiles. The new business-centric features that will be offered in the “coming months” include analytics, business profiles with the opportunity to add your address, and an easy mobile advertising platform.

Previously, businesses could tack on advertisements from Facebook to Instagram, but this new feature allows businesses to turn successful posts into ads on-the-go. Facebook and desktop options are still more powerful (using tools like the Power Editor), but Instagram’s new features will untether the advertising experience for businesses.

Of course, Instagram’s relationship with Facebook still remains, so you’ll need to have a confirmed business page on Facebook to begin using the Instagram tools when they roll out.

Read more at TechCrunch.

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REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill Briefing: Energy & Environment Issues | The Wednesday Word

12802814_10154557034337506_7894024781621756710_nThe 21st Annual REALTOR Day on Beacon Hill is just three weeks away! To help you prepare to attend REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill at the Massachusetts State House on Tuesday, June 21, we continue with Wednesday Word blog posts that discuss the 2015-2016 Legislative Issues.

This is the second post in the series and reviews our positions on the following issues: Mandatory Energy Scoring and Wetland Disclosure:

Oppose Mandatory Energy Scoring

S.1761 An Act relative to home energy efficiency

Status: Referred to the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy including an extension until July 1.

Why MAR Opposes S.1761: This bill seeks to require sellers or their agents to perform a Mass Save energy audit prior to listing a home for sale and disclose to any prospective buyer the information in the energy audit at the time of the listing. Additionally, the bill commissions the design and implementation of an energy scoring and labeling system. Over and above having an enormous impact on an individual’s right to freely transfer land, such requirements would negatively affect the real estate industry in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts is home to some of the oldest housing stocks in the country and mandatory energy scoring of such older homes would significantly stigmatize and potentially devalue an individual’s largest investment.

Oppose Wetland Disclosure Legislation

H.150 An Act relative to to the disclosure of wetlands on property

Status: Reported favorably by Joint Committee on Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure

Why MAR Opposes H.150: If passed, the proposed legislation would require real estate licensees to disclose to prospective buyers that a property to be sold is in its entirety or in part a wetland. Requiring brokers to investigate and report to buyers on the various wetland restrictions overlay maps, and provisions in each community would exceed the practice of brokerage as defined in Chapter 112.

As with any other condition affecting real property for sale, buyers are free to ask questions of the seller about wetlands on the property, create contingencies in purchase agreements that allow for an inspection for wetland areas, and research information through public records.  The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS believes that these methods of acquiring relevant information are far superior to legislatively mandating that brokers perform services beyond their areas of expertise and training.  For the foregoing reasons, MAR believes H.150 should not advance.

Please be sure to visit the MAR Government Affairs page and Day on the Hill Facebook event for additional information.

2016 MAR President Annie Blatz invites you to REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill, where REALTORS® will have a chance to network and learn about the key legislative issues that will affect the real estate industry and private property in 2016. Attend the REALTOR® Day on the Hill and make an impact on the legislative process.

REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill is scheduled for:
Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
10:00 to 11:00AM
Massachusetts State House, Great Hall

We look forward to seeing you there!

(Please note: This blog post was prepared by MAR Legal Staff: Michael McDonagh, General Counsel; Ashley Stolba, Associate Counsel; Justin Davidson, Legislative & Regulatory Counsel; and Christine Howe, Public Policy and Finance Coordinator)

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These 10 MA Towns towns experienced the highest increases in sales and price in April

Top-ten_blog_purpleThree towns in Plymouth County experienced high median price increases over last year.

Closed Sales Percent Increase
Median Sales Price Growth Median Price Percent Increase
1. Dalton +550.0% 1. Norwell $788,500 + 73.3%
2. Dover +500.0% 2. Kingston $490,000 + 54.0%
3. Hull +333.3% 3. Franklin $499,500 + 50.2%
4. Swansea +271.4% 4. Wrentham $525,000 + 50.0%
5. Melrose +242.9% 5. Duxbury $591,250 + 49.7%
6. Ware +233.3% 6. Uxbridge $360,000 + 48.5%
7. Uxbridge +225.0% 7. Falmouth $480,000 + 44.6%
8. Dennis +216.7% 8. Holden $339,500 + 37.7%
9. Franklin +180.0% 9. Wayland $884,000 + 37.3%
10. Maynard +166.7% 10. Dalton $175,000 + 36.7%

*A minimum of ten homes must have been sold in each town during April 2016 to make this list.

All data used in the rankings is compiled from the Berkshire County Multiple Listing Service, Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS®, Inc. and MLS Property Information Network, Inc.

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