Ten Realtor® New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year from MAR! I thought that a good theme for my January blog post would be, what else…the dreaded New Year’s resolutions. As CEO, I get a lot of questions from Realtors® about how they can get more involved, be more attuned to what’s going on in the industry, and how they can boost their business. Here are the answers I give them, in a single post. If you take all these steps, I assure you and your business will have the best year yet.

10. ANTICIPATE change. There are some possibly big challenges (and opportunities) ahead this year. Mortgage interest deduction. Flood insurance. Taxes. Energy. First-time homebuyer savings. Student debt effects. The Realtor® “R” should also stand for “read”. Schedule time on your calendar to read the latest industry news and forecasts from reliable sources, rather than just scattershot Tweets and Facebook posts.

9. GET AHEAD of your state continuing education or Realtor® Code of Ethics training requirement by getting it done early this year. No kidding.

8. SUPPORT your community with at least one charitable endeavor this year. Remember, you’re in a relationships business. Join your fellow Realtors®  in assisting association programs like the Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, Big Brother-Big Sister, homeless shelters, food drives, holiday gift drives and many other programs. Add a fourth leg to the above “balance” table with service to the community this year.

7. LEARN something new this year. Courses leading to GRI, CRS, CRB, CCIM and the like are structured ways to learn profitable skills while adding marketable designations to your business card. (Go to the National Association of Realtors® designation page to learn about all the designations that are offered).

6. ATTEND something new this year.  Again, real estate is a relationships business–even more so across market areas. This industry abounds in networking opportunities, including the state and national Realtor® Conventions, NAR’s Legislative Conference, MAR’s Day on Beacon Hill, local association events, and a variety of other industry events. If you’re already a frequent flier, then make this your year to “bring a friend.”

5. ADVANCE the industry a few more steps forward. Look for committee volunteer notices around June and sign-up. Talk with your local Association Executive about being a town monitor or joining an SPC (State Political Coordinator) or FPC (Federal Political Coordinator) team (we love our acronyms). We know the importance of maintaining balance between your family, business and your industry responsibilities. Just remember that all three support your career balance.

4. REACT. Actually spend the five minutes it takes to respond to Realtor® Call for Action messages this year. Although we reserve these alerts only for the most critical issues facing your livelihood, a paltry 10-15% of Realtors® take time to respond with messages to their legislators. C’mon, we can do much better than that in 2017.

3. INVEST in RPAC. At least $25 fair share investment…but doesn’t your career success indicate a step-up to Major Investor this year?

2. ENGAGE your audience. MAR has done a lot in the past few years to step up our social media and online presence. We are committed to the mission of providing you with the latest news about the industry and data on your community. The good news is, you can share that information with your followers to establish yourself as the expert in your area. For example, share the local market updates in your town or the monthly statewide home sales data to impress your audience and educate your clients. Give us a follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to get the latest.

1. COMMENT below. Let us know what you’re planning on in the new year to boost your business, expand your network, give back and reach out this year. We look forward to reading your resolutions!

New Year, New Surprises

Person silhouette standing in 2017 on the hill at sunset

The other day, a co-worker asked me if I had any New Year’s resolutions planned. After I told her that I hadn’t planned anything in particular, I realized that others didn’t ignore their New Year’s duties like I had.

This realization became clear when I looked at our planned ITI (Instructor Training Institute) course we have scheduled for January. We sold out all 18 seats and the students seem eager to start! When we originally scheduled ITI for this past summer, we didn’t have a single person sign up for the course. We waited and waited, until we finally decided to cancel.

What changed? This time of year is one of the busiest and even though the class is scheduled after the holidays, it can still be hectic for those getting back into their daily routines. But perhaps these students have the new year in mind? Perhaps they have resolutions planned for some type of life/education revamp?

If you’re stuck or ready to learn something new here are some programs and websites you can explore that can lead to interesting perspectives or possibilities in the new year:

1. MAR has planned three GRI (Graduate Realtor® Institute) courses for 2017 so far, starting in January. This is a comprehensive program that covers many real estate topics. The semester kicks off with GRI 302: Expanding Your Base on January 12 & 16, 2017.

2. Lynda.com is a website I use frequently. Even though a membership is required, this site seems to have courses and tutorials on everything! I’ve even taught myself how to edit videos in Final Cut Pro through Lynda. It’s worth the membership– especially if you want to learn something new easily and in timely manner.

3. Many members forget that any live webinar we’ve done in the past has been archived on the MAR website. The webinars cover a variety of topics from Board of Registration regulations to data breach and cyber crime information. This is a fantastic way to learn something useful in a timely manner too. Even better, it’s free if you’re an MAR member!


Continue Your Real Estate Education with New Online Courses

ContinuingEd_blogtitleMAR is excited to announce two new online continuing education courses.

There are now nine total courses that MAR members can access for free through the Learner Library.

Learn more about the new online courses:

Investment Property Basics (RE29RC07)

This online course gives step by step tools and investment forms that students can immediately work with. Investment Property Basics also reviews the intricacies of net operating income in simple, useful terms, and dissects capitalization rates and how they are developed. Overall, the course can help REALTORS® enhance their revenue stream.

International Real Estate and Brokerage Practices (RE71C11)

This course will assist REALTORS® with negotiating, greeting and folding under pressure with international real estate buyers and sellers in Massachusetts. It will explore how brokerage and professional services are delivered in other countries and the differences of compensation methods. Agents can better understand buyers, sellers, tenants or landlords from other countries and learn how international real estate brokerage compensation methods differ from the U.S. model.

To access MAR online CE courses:

Create Leaner Library account here.

If you already have an account, login here.

How Education Can Build Your Business, GRI Graduates Explain

With every new year comes new education classes, events, and networking opportunities for REALTORS®. The Graduate REALTOR® Institute (GRI) is a series that is always being updated with the latest trends, tech tools, and real estate information from every platform, every year. In 2015, Massachusetts had over 15 members finish all six two-day classes and now they can call themselves REALTOR® Institute Graduates.

As you’re planning your new education schedule for 2016, keep this question in mind: What can these classes do for you and your business? The following grads asked themselves the same question and after completing the program, can answer confidently what the GRI series has done for them.

bryan-grad“Consumers are very savvy when they are buying or selling a home these days. I have a renewed confidence in my abilities as an industry professional and feel prepared to go out and compete and cooperate.” – Bryan Szelza, Jamaica Plain



y.s Kim-GRAD“Earning the GRI has given me the know-how needed to succeed in this fast-changing real estate market and has equipped me to serve my seller/buyer clients at the highest level of excellence. “- Y.S Kim, Framingham



DavidBoyle-GRAD“During the classes, we had real-life discussions about certain topics and out in the field, I have encountered some of those same scenarios. Now, with the knowledge and confidence learned at GRI, I am able to tackle these issues correctly and appropriately. I would recommend taking the GRI courses to anyone either just entering the industry or if you have been doing real estate for a long time.”- David Boyle, Groton

arruda-grigrad“Primarily it’s helped my business because I now have a significantly higher level of confidence when it comes to dealing with daily questions.”- Mathew Arruda, New Bedford

Shopping for Coverage Policies: Factors that Affect Your Premiums

Agents, brokers, and other real estate professionals aren’t alone in facing the threat of lawsuits. However, as a member of the real estate industry, you do face unique risks that require comprehensive insurance coverage. Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance policies are designed to protect you from lawsuits that relate to the following mistakes and violations, among others:

  • Allegations of Breach of Contract
  • Failure to disclose property defects
  • Negligence

Of course, it is important to make sure your agents and employees do everything within their power to prevent these claims in the first place. However, lawsuits can happen to any firm. It is your responsibility to secure insurance coverage to protect your firm from financial ruin. As you shop for coverage and debate the benefits of different policies, remember that the following four factors will ultimately affect the price of your premiums.

The Size of Your Firm

How many people work for your real estate firm? How much gross revenue does it generate? How many transactions do you process? These questions are crucial in determining the final cost of coverage, because your exposure depends your firm’s number of transactions. Your insurance policy must cover each individual who works for you, as well as the transactions that make up your firm’s revenues. The more transactions your firm completes, the more chances there are for errors to take place.

Of course, the size of any business will directly affect its risks and insurance needs, but it’s especially influential in the real estate industry because your transactions are larger and your contracts are more comprehensive. The more detailed a real estate transaction is, the more possibility there is for an error or omission to occur. Firms that buy and sell high-value homes should also expect that they would have to contend with higher dollar claims more than firms that do not deal with luxury home real estate transactions.

The same is true if you have more employees, because each additional employee will need E&O coverage. However, your firm will also be able to make more sales, handle more clients, and pursue more leads than a competitor with fewer agents. If this is the case for your agency, you will need a higher standard of protection, including E&O coverage.

The Type of Business Your Firm Handles

The type of real estate transactions your firm performs will influence how much your E&O insurance costs. If your agency handles any other type of real estate business beyond residential, your premiums will be higher than a firm that solely works with residential clients. Premiums are higher for firms that handle commercial properties and the magnitude will depend on how much of your business is with commercial clients. The mix of your firm’s commercial and residential transactions will impact the premium to varying degrees.

The Location of Your Firm

Where does your firm operate and where are the properties that you sell? Location, as the saying goes, is everything in the real estate industry. It dictates your business costs and strategies for a variety of different reasons. Your client’s location is related to property taxes, building codes, and other special considerations. Many of the specific legal obligations often depend on city or county laws as well as state laws.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, each state determines its own insurance requirements and litigation laws. If you sell properties in a state where judges have more legal freedom to award substantial damages, your insurance company must be prepared to help you pay these higher costs. Your premiums will reflect the likelihood of large E&O claims, as well as the requirements that prevent or enable these lawsuits in the first place.

The Claims History of Your Firm

Your firm’s claims history is going to play a role in how much you have to pay for your current coverage. Insurance premiums are influenced by how much of a risk your business is, and if you have a history of high value claims or a history of frequent claims, you are a greater risk. This means that your insurance premiums are going to be higher. On the other hand, if you do not have an extensive claims history, your premiums will be lower than a firm that does, because you are a lower risk client.

Protect Your Real Estate Business with E&O Insurance

Insurance prices obviously are not the only – or even the biggest – reason to minimize risks and prevent common real estate mistakes at your firm. Your reputation depends on your competence and integrity. However, if you want to offset future costs and make sure lawsuits cannot destroy your company irreparably, make sure you purchase E&O insurance that accommodates every possible risk.


The best technology tools for selling real estate | GRI 301


Learn about the best technology tools for selling real estate, as well as how to be a paperless agent. Instructor Deb “on the Web” Agliano will give you her top apps and sites that help agents make more sales.

Students will also learn how to set themselves apart online and how to produce real estate videos (including the opportunity to try one in class), develop a social media strategy and handle online reputation management.

Register for the two-day class today.

GRI 301: Technology
Dates:Part 1: Nov 3 8:00am-5:30pm
Part 2: Nov 10 8:00am-4:30pm
Where: MAR, HQ 1400 Main Street, Waltham
Instructor: Deb Agliano
Price: $250 ($125 per part).

For more information and registration visit the MAR events page.