MAR Opposes Energy Scorecard Bill

MAR issued the news release below in response to An Act relative to consumer access to residential energy information that was filed by Governor Baker on Tuesday, April 3. MAR opposes mandatory energy scoring at the time of transfer.

Massachusetts Realtors® Oppose Energy Scorecard Bill Requiring Mandated Energy Scoring at Time of Sale

Bill will not improve energy efficiency, will hurt moderate-income homebuyers and restrict needed inventory reaching the market.

WALTHAM, Mass. – April 3, 2018 – The Massachusetts Association of Realtors® (MAR) came out today in opposition to An Act relative to consumer access to residential energy information, because it won’t meet its intended goals of improving energy efficiency in the Commonwealth. As written, the bill will cause harm to moderate-income homeowners, and further hurt a housing market starving for inventory.

“Realtors® are for energy efficiency, but the mandatory nature of this bill won’t do what its supporters hope it will,” said 2018 MAR President Rita Coffey, general manager at CENTURY 21 Tullish & Clancy in Weymouth. “The key to increasing energy efficiency in Massachusetts is through incentives and not mandates. Programs like Mass Save that provide incentives is the right way to go.”

Massachusetts has distinguished itself as the most energy efficient state in the country every year since 2011, according to the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, which is produced by the American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy. The state’s success can be linked to the success of the voluntary Mass Save program.

According to MAR housing data, the number for homes for sale in Massachusetts has been going down for 72 of the last 73 months. This lack of inventory has pushed median home prices to their highest level on record. A mandatory energy audit required prior to a home being listed for sale would further restrict inventory levels at a time when more homes are needed to meet demand.

“Massachusetts is starved for housing inventory. In fact, it’s so severe, that we’re seeing the lowest number of homes on the market since we’ve been tracking this data,” said Coffey. “This scarcity is increasing home prices to a point where many first-time homebuyers are being forced out of the market and deciding to look in other states to buy a home.”

Energy Score: Another facet of this bill that MAR opposes is the requirement that each home that is listed for sale receive an energy efficiency score. Realtors® work to protect their clients and counsel their buyer on the benefits of having an energy efficiency inspection of a home they intend to purchase. Buyers are then able to use that information as they see fit. However, the mandatory nature would unfairly penalize moderate-income homeowner who cannot afford to make upgrades to improve the home’s score.

“This energy efficiency score would really stick it to moderate-income homeowners with older homes who can’t afford upgrades,” said Coffey. “Not every 53-year-old home is the same and to put an energy efficiency rating on them won’t improve energy efficiency.”

About the Massachusetts Association of Realtors®: Organized in 1924, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors® is a professional trade organization with more than 24,000 members. The term Realtor® is registered as the exclusive designation of members of the National Association of Realtors® who subscribe to a strict code of ethics and enjoy continuing education programs.

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How I stay on Top of the News in Massachusetts

Newspaper and digital tablet on wooden table

How do we have time for reading when we’re too busy liking Facebook posts, snapping Instagram selfies or playing Candy Crush? (ok, not sure anyone plays it, but I continue to get invitations to join!) Of course, I’m being a little facetious when I say that, because when it comes to being busy, Realtors® are some of the busiest people I know!

So how do you keep up with goings on in Massachusetts if you’re busy dealing with clients, lawyers and appraisers etc.? If you were asking yourself that very question, let me give you an answer by sharing what I use to make sure I know what’s going on at Beacon Hill and around the state.

I subscribe to three different emails. Each accomplishes essentially the same thing and it really comes down to personal preference. I suggest giving each a try and picking the one you like best. And if there are others out there that I might have missed, please let me know in the comment section as I’m always on the lookout for new sources too.

The Daily Download
This daily newsletter is produced by CommonWealth Magazine, which is published by the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank typically identified as MassINC.

MASSterList
MASSterList is published by Jay Fitzgerald and Keith Regan, two seasoned political reporters who know their way around Beacon Hill politics. This newsletter is described as providing a wide-ranging summary of the latest news on Massachusetts politics, public policy, and government that is curated from a rich array of sources, both conventional and niche.

POLITICO: Massachusetts Playbook 
POLITICO describes itself as the national global news and information company at the intersection of politics and policy. The Massachusetts edition of the Playbook is written by Lauren Dezenski’s and is described as the “must-read rundown of what’s up on Beacon Hill and beyond.”

What are your Facebook ‘reactions’ telling you?

It’s been almost a year and half since Facebook introduced its expanded reaction buttons (February 24, 2016 to be exact). If you don’t know what I’m specifically talking about by name, you will when you see the buttons below:

As a user of Facebook, I felt these were a great addition to the news feed. The additional buttons give you more specific ways to react to a post. I’m not sure about you, but I always felt a little strange “liking” sad posts such as when a pet died, etc.

So why after more than a year am I bringing this up? I’m bringing it up because I feel there are good insights in those reactions that Realtors® can take advantage of when it comes to creating relevant content for current and future clients. And I don’t think many people are taking advantage of the information that is there.
Continue reading

Do you love the ‘Like’ Button? If so, Proceed with Caution

Close-up of business group keeping thumbs up

Have you ever heard of “Like farming?” No? Neither did I until very recently (not that it’s new.) I thought it might be a good idea to spread the word on what this practice is and why you should be aware of it the next time you’re scrolling through your Facebook news feed.

What is “Like farming?”
Here’s a good definition from ThatsNonsense.com:

“Facebook like-farming, in its simplest sense, is the process of attempting to get likes, shares and followers using exploitation, manipulation and/or deception.”

What this really means is that any time you like, comment or share something that you don’t quite know where it comes from, you’re at risk for being farmed.

Once these posts get a lot of “likes,” the scammers behind the posts are then able to start posting spam that shows up in your news feed or links to more malicious sites that might try and steal your personal and/or financial information.

What Can You Do?
The simple answer is really read what your scrolling past and understand where it comes from before hitting “Like.” Don’t fall for the emotional photos or posts that tug at your heart strings and ask you for something such as “help me reach one million likes” or “comment on this photo and see what happens.” The list goes on.

And finally, just because you like something doesn’t mean you have to “Like” it.

For more information, here are some good articles the explain the scam in greater detail.
Everything you need to know about Facebook Like-Farming by Craig Charles, thatsnonsense.com
Don’t click ‘like’ on Facebook again until you read this by Kim Komando, Komando.com
Why You Should Be Careful About What You ‘Like’ On Facebook by Amit Chowdhry, Forbes.com

MAR President responds to Boston Globe Editorial ‘Pass the home energy audit measure’

Yesterday (7/28/16), the Boston Globe published an editorial in favor of mandatory energy inspections and grades “Pass the home energy audit measure.”

While MAR supports the goals of the bill to bring more energy efficiency to the Commonwealth, the Association opposes provisions that call for mandatory energy inspections and grades prior to a home being listed for sale. Below is the letter to the editor submitted to the Boston Globe by MAR President Annie Blatz in response to the editorial. For more information on MAR’s position, go to www.NoEnergyGrade.com

If only it were that ‘simple’

Annie Blatz, 2016 President, Massachusetts Association of Realtors® and Branch Executive at Kinlin Grover Real Estate, Cape Cod.

As a Realtor® for over 31 years and the 2016 president of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors®(MAR), I vehemently disagree with the Boston Globe’s editorial “Pass the home energy audit measure.”

Realtors® support energy efficiency and actively promote the voluntary Mass Save program to clients on both sides of a transaction. Common sense tells us to allow buyers to request the information that they find important, not mandate a one-size-fits-all program.

The Globe is correct that the consumer should be protected when buying a home. In fact, they already are. A buyer is free to have a home inspection, to request utility bills and have an energy audit done. No other attribute of a home is scored by the government.

What this bill will do is add another layer of bureaucracy and delays to an already complicated real estate transaction. This isn’t good for the economy or our inventory-starved state.

Finally, despite what the Globe believes, these requirements would negatively impact low- and moderate-income homebuyers. It’s not “concern-trolling” on our part, it’s the experience of over 22,000 members dealing first-hand with the unintended consequences of past “simple” requirements.

What’s being said in the media: Future Indicators Report

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the articles and posts that resulted in the release of our September 2015 Future Indicators Report. We’ll continue to update this post as more articles come in.

Wednesday, September 14, 2015

Real estate: Massachusetts pending sales, prices up
Masslive.com

Massachusetts Home Buying Remains Strong through ‘Back-to-School’ Season in September
RealEstateRama.com

Thursday, September 15, 2015

Mass. pending home sales remain strong
Sentinel & Enterprise