By Susan M. Renfrew
News headlines over the past months have been filled with gloomy statistics and conflicting predictions of the Massachusetts and national housing markets. These discouraging reports have sparked many of you across the state to voice the need to provide more local and pertinent data to consumers, as well as the need for education in specific topics relative to current market conditions.
And these needs are being addressed by the local, state and national levels of the Realtor® organization. You may have already seen or heard the new NAR public awareness campaign ads on national television and radio. Aimed mainly at home buyers, the ads demonstrate the historical long term investment value of real estate and the large role homeownership plays in building wealth for American families. MAR has launched a complementary effort aimed at promoting local market data. MAR’s campaign reinforces the message that all real estate is local; encourages consumers to contact a Realtor® professional about their local market; and provides data to help consumers understand the facts as they apply to Massachusetts markets. MAR will be utilizing the mediums of cable TV and local print elements, combined with Internet based methods and “social media” such as podcasts, blogs, and YouTube.
This year’s MAR campaign also implements a first time opportunity for local associations to participate in a matching funds grant program. Local associations will be given the opportunity to apply for matching grant money to help pay for additional consumer awareness efforts they initiate locally to bolster NAR and MAR messages. This combined effort by the three tiers of the Realtor® organization should reach every corner of the state, and take advantage of a variety of media channels.
Another way that MAR is assisting members in this challenging market is to provide professional development opportunities with specific market segments in mind. Thus far, we’ve offered two sessions of the Loss Mitigation Certification (LMC) program to over 170 Realtors® in Massachusetts. This course is designed to provide guidance and information on the complicated transactions facing foreclosures and short sales. With more planned regionally in the coming months, the LMC Certification positions Realtors® to provide the best possible advice and assistance to these homeowners and to advise buyers interested in taking advantage of these types of market opportunities.
In this issue, you’ll also find extensive information on handling foreclosures, short sales, and REOs in the feature story (beginning on page 16) which provides tools for members to effectively assist their clients in need of these types of sales.
And finally let’s not forget that another effective way for members to capitalize on market changes is to take a “back to basics” approach to their business. MAR is working on a GRI Master’s series to offer opportunities for veteran Realtors® to refresh some fundamental skills and habits, which may make the difference between surviving and thriving in 2008. Look for more information on the launch of this series in a future issue.
The Realtor® organization is working hard to reinforce your job experience through education and information resources, and by providing quality consumer information that will help you succeed this year.