Referral Central

Woman whispering to her friendAll real estate professionals rely on referral business, just as so many other customer-oriented sales professionals. Realtors® rely on referrals from their customers and clients and they need them from their fellow agents. But did you know you have access to a very special feature called Referral Central as part of your membership to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors®?

It’s really easy to access Referral Central. All you need to do is take full advantage of what your Realtor® association has to offer! Let me tell you a story:

I took part in a committee meeting a while back and the topic of discussion was the value of membership and understanding why members join the association. One member of the group explained that the most emphatic moment for her to understanding the value of membership was watching her husband work as a volunteer leader in the association, travelling to different events and meetings across the state. It was a poignant moment because he came back from those meetings with one overwhelmingly huge benefit – referrals.

You can contact your local, state or national Realtor®  Association, begin volunteering on a committee for 2018 by signing up here, and work your way from there as a boots-on-the-ground volunteer.

However, you can also act now and see immediate results (well, you’ll have to wait a couple of months). How? Instant networking is at your fingertips at the annual MAR Conference & Tradeshow happening September 25-26. It is the best-kept secret that the two-day conference provides not only great courses and events, but also two days of networking and referral building.

Just picture it. You are walking through the halls of the convention center—this year’s venue is the beautiful Sea Crest Hotel in Falmouth—and say you are from Newburyport, chatting with a fellow member from Shrewsbury. You attend the same class together and chat a bit more after the class only to find out that this member has a buyer looking for waterfront property on the North Shore. Of course, you have great properties as your listings! This type of exchange happens all the time at our conferences.

Plus, you don’t have to worry about grabbing the time in between classes to connect with fellow members because there are networking events built in to the conference. Get to know your fellow Realtors® at the welcome reception, the tradeshow networking reception or the annual after-hours party, Realtor® After Dark. This year we’re even offering a clambake to take advantage of all the Cape has to offer and celebrate our New England roots.

Association volunteering and attending the annual MAR Conference allows you to reap the benefits of “Referral Central.” Your access is yearlong through other association involvement but you can’t miss the greatest hub of activity that happens once a year. You won’t be sorry.

Massachusetts Median Home Prices Cross the $400,000 Threshold for the First Time

Front Porch Of Resedential Home With Autumn DecorationsThe median price for a single-family home hit an all-time high in June and went over $400,000 for the first time. Both single-family homes and condominiums saw a drop in sales in June from last year. Inventory also reached the lowest level for the month of June since MAR began recording the data in 2004.

Read more in the full June 2017 Closed Sales Release.

  • June single-family home sales went down -4.8% over last year (6,614 sales in 2017 from 6,948 sales in June 2016)
  • June single-family median prices went up 7.9% year-over-year (to $410,000 in 2017 from $380,000 in June 2016)
  • June condo sales went down -5.6% and median prices went up 3.3% (to $361,500)
  • Inventory in June went down -32.4% to 13,973 and condominiums available down -27.9% to 3,820
  • SF listings added to the market in June went down -7.3% over last year. (7,904 from 8,529 in 2016)
  • Condo listings added to the market went up 0.4% over last year. (2,863 from 2,852 in 2016)

Government Affairs Update – Second Quarter of 2017

Massachusetts State House - Freedom Trail Site - Boston, Massachusetts, USA

The second quarter of 2017 has been busy for MAR Government Affairs. After a slow start, the legislature briefly picked up the pace before closing out the quarter focused almost entirely on the issues of marijuana and the state budget.

The budgeting process for fiscal year 2018 drew the interest of Realtors® when the Senate included two concerning provisions in its annual budget. First, the Senate included a section that would have expanded the room occupancy tax that hotels charge guests, to the rental of private homes for less than 90 days. Under this proposal, homeowners would be required to comply with onerous business regulations and administrative burdens that were never intended for the average homeowner. A home is not a hotel and a homeowner who leases her cottage for a week or even a day would be required to abide by the requirements as detailed in the Senate proposal.

The Senate also included a provision that would have increased the Community Preservation Act surcharge on recording fees from $20 to $45 per document, resulting in an increase of hundreds of dollars. This would have further exacerbated the inequitable manner of funding the CPA with recording fee surcharges. In effect, purchasers of homes and other properties are paying to fund the CPA, which provides benefits to the entire community.

We are happy to report that, because of MAR’s advocacy on these issues, the budget compromise agreed to by the House and Senate does not contain either of these proposals. It is important to note, however, that both proposals still exist as separate legislation and are currently working their way through the legislative process.

In addition to addressing the proposed room occupancy tax provision in the Senate budget, the Joint Committee on Financial Services also held three hearings on a different bill that would tax short term rentals at varying tax rates. Realtors® from across the Commonwealth testified at hearings in Lenox, Barnstable, and Boston on the impact that such a tax would have on homeowners who only occasionally rent their homes. This will continue to be a big issue as the legislature heads towards an August recess. Thank you to all of the Realtors® that showed up to testify at the hearings.

The legislature held two hearings on An Act improving housing opportunities and the Massachusetts economy, the H.O.M.E. Bill. President Paul Yorkis, MAR Legislative & Regulatory Counsel, Justin Davidson and representatives from the Greater Boston Real Estate Board testified first before the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government and highlighted some of the key provisions of the bill that would aid in the production of much needed housing in Massachusetts. Just a few weeks later, President Yorkis, Government Affairs Committee Chair Steve Medeiros, and MAR Past President Corinne Fitzgerald testified before the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business, once again advocating for the passage of the H.O.M.E Bill.

On June 13th MAR General Counsel and Director of Government Affairs, Michael McDonagh testified before the Joint Committee on Revenue in opposition to proposals to create a transfer tax on the sale of real estate. Transfer taxes would create an entrance or exit fee to homeownership and would have serious implications for the Massachusetts housing economy. These taxes single out home buyers and sellers and raise the bottom line price of many homes by thousands of dollars.

President Yorkis continued to represent Realtors® at the Department of Environmental Protection’s Title 5 Stakeholder meetings. The purpose of the meetings is to have outside experts and interested parties that represent a variety of interests and viewpoints provide advice to MassDEP on what modifications should be considered.

In June, the Governor’s Lead Paint Advisory Commission met to discuss proposed changes to the lead regulations in the Commonwealth. The proposed amendments are intended to improve organization, clarify regulatory requirements, rescind unnecessary or outdated requirements, and implement a standard for lead poisoning and a blood lead level of concern used by the CDC and most states. Of note to those in the deleading field, they also propose to remove the deleading standard for a small number of surfaces, specifically some surfaces currently considered “accessible/mouthable”, which could substantially reduce deleading costs.

In May, thousands of Realtors® attended the 2017 Realtors® Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo in Washington, D.C. It has never been more important for Realtors® to remain engaged in advocacy initiatives and have our unified message and voice heard on Capitol Hill. As long as Realtors® continue to remain steadfast in working together, great strides will be made to protect the American Dream of property ownership and the real estate industry. This year Realtors® met with members of Congress to discuss tax reform, flood insurance, and protecting sustainable homeownership.

At its May 10th meeting, the Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons once again discussed the use of the new Massachusetts Mandatory Real Estate Licensee-Consumer Relationship Disclosure form. MAR had requested clarification regarding use of the old form once the new form was released. The Board confirmed that there will be a two-year grace period before any action would be taken against agents using the old form during a transaction. Despite the approved grace period, MAR still strongly suggests that all agents use the new form released by the Board in January of this year.

Over 400 Massachusetts Realtor® -members traveled to the State House on Wednesday June 14th to participate in the 32nd annual Realtor® Day on Beacon Hill. The annual lobbying day gave Realtors® the opportunity to discuss with their legislators the key issues that impact consumers, housing and the economy. State Senator Karen Spilka (D – Ashland), Chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, provided the 2017 keynote address. Thank you to all who attended.

Kevin Sears of Springfield was awarded the 2017 Private Property Rights Award at Realtor® Day on Beacon Hill on June 14th. The award is given to Massachusetts Realtors® whose outstanding efforts in advocacy have helped the Association achieve its objectives of increased access to homeownership and preservation of private property rights. Congratulations to Kevin.

Proponents of efforts to increase housing production in Massachusetts crowded the hearing room at the State House on June 20th when the Joint Committee on Housing held a hearing on bills relative to production. President Yorkis delivered testimony that not only emphasized the housing supply shortage but also highlighted the revenue to the state and municipalities that goes along with housing production.

Massachusetts Pending Sales and Median Price Up Again in June

Single-family pending home sales were up over nine percent in June from last year. Pending condominium sales were also up more than 12 percent. The median price for both single-family homes and condos saw a hike, with the single-family median price rising over the $400,000 mark. Realtors® confidence both in the market and in home prices dipped slightly in June.

June Pending Sales:

Single Family June 2017 June 2016 % Change
Sales 6,723 6,128 9.7%
Median Price $410,000 $380,000 7.9%
  • Pending sales have been up 51 of the last 52 months
Condominium June 2017 June 2016 % Change
Sales 2,596 2,307 12.5%
Median Price $370,000 $349,900 2.9%
  • Pending sales have been up or flat 20 of the last 22 months

Realtor® Market and Price Confidence Indexes:

Confidence Index June 2017 June 2016 %Change
Market 80.73 80.97 -0.29%
Price 71.79 73.87 -2.82
  • The Realtor® Market Confidence Index went down for the first time in 27 months
  • The Realtor® Price Confidence Index went down for the first time in six months
  • Measured on a 100-point scale, a score of 50 is the midpoint between a “strong” (100 points) and a “weak” (0 points) market condition

Read more in the June 2017 Future Indicators Report.


Lead Generation Made Easy with LinkedIn

Lead generation just got a whole lot easier with LinkedIn.

If you’re already using LinkedIn’s advertising tools to drive traffic to your website, for example, then you may have noticed the recent option to “Collect leads using LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms.”

How do LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms work? It’s simple. When a prospective client clicks on your ad, they will be prompted to fill out a form, which will automatically populate with their information from LinkedIn. Because people tend to keep their LinkedIn profiles up-to-date, this ensures that your lead will be accurate and complete. This solves the common problem of inaccurate, abandoned and incomplete lead generation forms that you may be all too familiar with as an advertiser.

After the user fills the form they will land wherever your ad was directed–your website, eBook or webinar sign-up page, for example. You can then export your leads directly from LinkedIn into the CRM or marketing automation platform of your choice.

Learn more in this video from LinkedIn:


We want to hear from you

Have you experimented with LinkedIn advertising in your real estate practice? What do you think of their new Lead Gen Forms? Let us know in the comments below.

Inside MAR’s Committee Selection Process

It’s that time of year again; requests for placement on the 2018 MAR Committees are now available. Committee service is one of the primary ways our members help shape and guide the association’s agenda. We thought we’d provide a look into how that process works, along with a reminder of how you can volunteer.

MAR’s 2018 committee request form is available on our website, You’ll need to log in in the upper right-hand corner. Once you’re logged in, click on “Committees” in your menu.

The committees page has descriptions of all the MAR committees that are available for volunteer requests in 2018. Have a look at them, and when you’re ready, you may click on the text at the top to go to the Volunteer Request Form page.

It’s important that you log in to access this page. You’ll notice your current MAR email address in the last field – this is how your responses get populated to your record. If there’s no address in that field, please fill it in. If the address in the field is incorrect, contact your local board to correct it.

In the form, you’ll put rankings next to the committees you would like to volunteer for. Your rankings are based on your priority; the number “1” means that committee is your top priority, “2” is your second-highest priority, and so on. You may volunteer for as many committees as you like.

When you’re satisfied with your choices, click the “submit” button at the bottom of the page.

Once you’ve submitted your choices, they’ll be entered in our system with your name. If you change your mind, you are welcome to resubmit the rankings as many times as you like, but remember that only your most recent submission will be used to assign committees. You should receive a confirmation email within 24 hours of submitting your rankings.

When it’s time for leadership to evaluate volunteers and form 2018 committees, we’ll use your rankings to inform our choices and assign members to the most appropriate committees. Being specific with your rankings and ranking as many committees as you’re interested in will help greatly in assembling committees for 2018. You might not always get your first choice, but MAR will always try to put our volunteers in positions that will both interest and engage them, and benefit the membership as a whole.