New 2017 Mandatory Agency Disclosure Form

All Realtors® should be aware that the Board of Registration for Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons has issued a NEW Mandatory Agency Disclosure Form. The form’s official title is the Massachusetts Mandatory Real Estate Licensee – Consumer Relationship Disclosure. The form is designed to provide the same kinds of disclosures to consumers while clarifying and simplifying some aspects of the old form. We put together a Q&A below to help you understand the changes. You should start using the new form immediately.

Q
: Why did the Board of Registration issue a new agency disclosure form?

A: the Board of Registration wanted to make the form easier to use while still providing the required agency disclosures for the customers and clients that Realtors work with. To do this, the board convened a subcommittee made up of experts including practitioners, attorneys, and real estate instructors to look at the current form and suggest changes.

Q: What is different in the new form?

A: The form accomplishes the same objectives as the old form, but some of the language in the form is new and the layout is different. Similar to the old form, the new form states that it is not a contract, but now that text is bold and underlined.

The form still requires licensees to select either “Seller’s agent,” “Buyer’s agent,” or “Facilitator.” You will notice that the section below this has changed on the new form. Now licensees will need to check a box indicating if their office is working as a designated agency office or a non-designated agency office.  This is intended to alert the consumer (buyer or seller) whether other licensees associated with your office will also be the consumer’s agent.  (Because facilitators are not agents of either the buyer or seller, this second check off does not apply to them.)

Once you have disclosed that you are a seller’s agent or a buyer’s agent, you will then need to check off the box that describes your office policy.

  • If the policy of your office is only to offer “single agency” your relationship between the brokerage firm and the consumer (buyer or seller) will be the same for every agent in your office.
  • If the policy of your office is to appoint individual associates as “designated agents” for the seller and to appoint other individual associates as “designated agents” for the buyer, then you should check the Designated Agency box, disclosing that the agency relationship is limited to the designated individuals.

Remember, before an agent may be appointed for the opposing party in a Designated Agency scenario, written consent must be obtained from the buyer and seller.  Consent may be obtained, in advance, in either a listing agreement or in a buyer agency agreement, or in a later consent form.  Finally, this consumer relationship disclosure form, by itself, is not a consent to designated agency.

The new form has also corrected a deficiency in the old form regarding situations where a licensee works in a designated agency firm and wants to show his/her listing to a customer. In those instances, there was not a way to disclose this to the customer on the old disclosure form.

Q: I am in the middle of a transaction and have already used the old form. Do I need my client to complete a new form? Also, what happens if someone uses the old form now that the new form is in effect?        

If you have used the old form while it was still in effect, you have met the requirements to disclose your agency relationship with customers and clients and so a new form is not needed.  For any future usage, the new form is currently in effect and should be used with all customers and clients moving forward.  Copies of the form can be downloaded from the Board of Registration’s website and is currently being made available in all MAR electronic forms platforms. MAR has been informed that the Board is not planning to discipline licensees for using the wrong form in the near future. The Board of Registration will hold their next meeting on March 21st and we will share any updates on this information at that time.

Q: Where can I find a copy of the new form?

A: The form is now available on the Board of Registration’s website http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/licensee/dpl-boards/re/ under the section entitled “application and forms.” MAR is currently working to include the new form in all electronic forms platforms as well as paper versions.

Q: When does the form become effective?

A: The form is currently in effect and you should use it when having a personal meeting to discuss a specific property with a client or customer.

Q: How long must my brokerage firm keep a copy of the executed brokerage disclosure form?

A: Three years. This requirement has not changed.

Q: Has anything changed regarding the timing of when I need to use the form?

A: No, this has not changed. Regardless of your relationship with the buyer or seller, all licensed brokers and salespersons must present the brokerage disclosure form at the first personal meeting to discuss a specific property.

Q: What if the consumer refuses to sign the form?

A: The process if a consumer refuses to sign the form remains the same:

  1. Make a notation on the form where indicated;
  2. Provide the consumer a copy of the form; and
  3. Keep the other copy for your file.

Q: Why isn’t there a box to check as a dual agent?

A: Dual agency arises when there is a conflict caused by representing both the buyer and seller.  By itself, disclosure of an agency relationship with either the buyer or seller cannot be a conflict. Before a licensee may act as a “dual agent,” written consent must be signed by both the buyer and seller. Consent may be obtained before it is known for certain that dual representation will actually occur (either in a listing agreement or a buyer agency agreement) or once it becomes known that the licensee represents both the seller and prospective buyer. If consent was obtained before it was known that a dual agency situation has arisen, a notice must be given to the buyer and seller to advise them that dual agency has actually occurred.

 

Ed Levine Receives Massachusetts Realtor® Distinguished Service Award

ed_levineEd Levine of Fine Properties, Inc. in Shrewsbury has been named recipient of the MAR Milton H. Shaw Distinguished Service Award for 2016. The award was presented at MAR’s Professional Awards Reception, which was held in conjunction with the Association’s 2016 Conference and Tradeshow at the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut.

First awarded in 1984, the Milton H. Shaw Distinguished Service Award is presented annually to one Realtor® member or staff executive who has demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities and volunteered countless hours of personal time to serve on state association committees and participate in MAR activities.

Jody O’Brien is 2016 Massachusetts Real Estate Educator of the Year

jody-obrien_smallThe Massachusetts Association of Realtors® announced today that Jody O’Brien, state-certified continuing education instructor of the RE/Education Company in Andover, has been named 2016 Massachusetts Real Estate Educator of the Year. The award was presented at MAR’s Professional Awards Reception, which was held in conjunction with the Association’s 2016 Conference and Tradeshow at the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut.

This is the second time that O’Brien has been named Massachusetts Real Estate Educator of the Year, having received the inaugural award in 2003.

Kelly Catallo and Lisa Farnworth Win the 2016 Good Neighbor Award

img_1669The Massachusetts Association of Realtors® announced today that Kelly Catallo and Lisa Farnworth were named MAR’s 2016 Good Neighbor Award winners for their work on behalf of Boston Children’s Hospital and the Department of Children and Families, respectively. The Good Neighbor Award recognizes Realtors® for their community activism. The award was presented at MAR’s Professional Awards Reception, which was held in conjunction with the Association’s 2016 Conference and Tradeshow at the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut.

Michelle Haggstrom Named 2016 Massachusetts Realtor® of the Year

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The Massachusetts Association of Realtors® announced today that Michelle Haggstrom, a Realtor® at Keller Williams Realty North Central in Leominster is the Massachusetts Realtor® of the Year for 2016. Haggstrom was presented the award at MAR’s Professional Awards Reception, which was held in conjunction with the Association’s 2016 Conference and Tradeshow at the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Conneticut.

Haggstrom is the 2016 President of the North Central Massachusetts Association of Realtors®. She serves on the board of directors, finance, executive, government affairs and technology committees.

 On that state level, Haggstrom is a member of the Board of Directors, Forms Content Advisory and Government Affairs Committees. She was also appointed to the Diversity Task Force.

A Realtor® since 2011, this is the second straight year that Haggstrom was honored by her local Association as its Realtor® of the Year.

Sandra Berkenbush Wins the 2015 Good Neighbor Award

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The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) announced today that Sandra Berkenbush of Stone Ridge Properties in Newburyport was named MAR’s 2015 Good Neighbor Award winner for her work on behalf of Cruise for a Cure, an annual dinner cruise on the Merrimack River that raises money for cancer research. The Good Neighbor Award recognizes REALTORS® for their community activism. The award was presented at MAR’s Professional Awards Reception, which was held in conjunction with the Association’s 2015 Conference and Tradeshow at the Hilton DoubleTree in Danvers.

In 1991, Berkenbush’s 11-year-old daughter was being treated for osteosarcoma at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) at Children’s Hospital. She was so thankful for her daughter’s recovery that in 1994 she launched Cruise for a Cure to raise money for the Claudia Adams Barr program, supporting scientists at the DFCI who are conducting basic cancer research. This past spring, DCFI awarded Berkenbush with a Lifetime Achievement award for donating $250,000 through her work with Cruise for a Cure.

Cruise for a Cure has grown since its inception, from raising $4,000 annually to an average of $15,000 today. In addition to creating the event, Berkenbush is responsible for coordinating donors and sponsorships, organizing lead-up events and completing all the paperwork and banking. Each year, Berkenbush makes sure to handwrite thank-you notes to everyone who participated in the Cruise.

In addition to Berkenbush, Susan Callahan of Century 21 Commonwealth, Billerica, Mark Harris of Signature Associates Inc. Real Estate, Pittsfield and Leonette Strout of Keller Williams Realty, Beverly were awarded 2015 Good Neighbor Award Honorable Mentions.