Eleven Takeaways From the 2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

November 28, 2022

- By Jessica Lautz

This is an NAR contributing article by Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights, Jessica Lautz. Picking up the 2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers can be a daunting task. There are 142 pages of content, and many charts span the 41-year history of the data set. This post helps you wade through some of the more striking changes. Here are a couple of things to note as you dive in: The data collection period of this report is from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. Over that period, the housing market has shifted from a low-interest rate, low-inventory environment with bidding wars and frenzied activity to a higher interest rate but still low inventory environment. This report is only among primary residence buyers and does not include investors or vacation buyers. OK, let’s dive in! 1. First-time…

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The Economic Development Bill is Back

November 11, 2022

- By The MAR Legal Team

Though the two-year formal legislative session ended in August without finality on several significant housing pieces, the Legislature continued its work during informal sessions to reach a compromise on the much-awaited economic development bill. And we continued our advocacy. Earlier this week, the Legislature passed an updated compromise bill (H.5374) containing several important housing elements MAR supports:  Funding – the bill contains just under $450 million in funding for housing production and related services. That’s a big number and a clear demonstration that Legislators are taking seriously the state’s housing needs. At the same time, it represents less than 12% of the funding allocated in this bill. It’s a win for housing, but one we hope to build on in 2023.   Some noteworthy line items include:  $100 million for production of below-market housing for first-time homebuyers and socially disadvantaged individuals …

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Notes From the Legal Hotline: November 2022

November 2, 2022

- By The MAR Legal Team

Q: If a transaction falls apart and there is a dispute over the release of escrow funds, can the seller place the property back on the market and go under contract with a new buyer? A: Maybe. It is a best practice to fully resolve any outstanding issues with the failed transaction prior to placing the property back on market and proceeding with a subsequent purchaser. Unfortunately, not all situations are able to be resolved in a timely manner. If this is the case, the seller should always be advised to consult with their legal counsel to determine whether they are at risk of any legal liability if they move forward with a new buyer. The question becomes whether the dispute is solely over the disbursement of the escrow funds, or whether there is a dispute relating to the underlying…

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November is Designation Awareness Month

November 1, 2022

- By NAR

Designation Awareness Month was established in 1994 to encourage members to start or complete an officially endorsed designation or certification through NAR or one of its Institutes, Societies, and Councils. During this month, NAR has discounts for many of the online courses offered through REALTOR® University School of Professional Development & Continuing Education. Get Involved Each year in November, NAR provides Designation Awareness Month logos to share with your local association members. Discounts for online courses are offered during November on nar.realtor/education. Resources Designations and Certifications Article: REALTOR® Income With Designations Continues to Rise

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Updates to the MassForms™ Library

October 13, 2022

- By The MAR Legal Team

At its September meeting, the MAR Forms Content Advisory Committee made several important updates to the MassForms™ Library:  Prospective Tenant Application (#400)  The Committee elected to rename this form from “Prospective Tenant Information Form” to “Prospective Tenant Application” so that the name more accurately depicts the nature of the form. The Committee also removed all references to “spouse” as well as asking the specific date of birth and social security number for other occupants. The removal of these items will help to protect our REALTOR® members from potential liability under the Fair Housing laws.   2. Escalation Provisions in Offers (#520A)   The Committee adopted new language under Paragraph 3 that provides additional clarity to the process used when an escalation clause in an offer is invoked. Additional language was also added to a second page of the form for a seller…

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Notes From the Legal Hotline: October 2022

October 3, 2022

- By The MAR Legal Team

Q: Can a brokerage operate as a designated agency on a per-transaction basis? A: No, because of the way agency relationships in real estate transactions work, the type of agency a brokerage practices must be consistent for all transactions. A brokerage may elect to transition from traditional agency to designated agency, or vice versa, as an office policy, but the type of agency practiced at any given time must be consistent amongst all transactions. A brokerage may not switch the agency it practices from one transaction to the next. In a “traditional agency” brokerage, each licensee in the office has the same relationship with each client. This means that when one agent within an office represents a seller and another agent within the same office represents a buyer, dual agency is created. In order to proceed in this scenario, both…

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Convention Safety: 5 Things You Must Add to Your Safety Checklist

September 6, 2022

- By Tracey Hawkins - NAR

This is an NAR contributing article. Real estate agents have several opportunities to attend conventions throughout the year. We often talk about safety while working, however, protecting yourself while attending conventions, while in hotels and touring new cities, is just as important. Please review the following tips and make them a part of your “Safety Plan” while attending your next convention. 1. Listen to your gut If you have a bad feeling about a hotel, the location, the staff, or anything, listen to your gut. If something doesn’t seem right once you are in the room, listen to your instinct. If the staff or other visitors cause you concern, pay attention to your sixth sense. If the room is not in a secure location, i.e. heavy foot traffic, loitering outside entry door, or in an isolated part of the facility,…

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Notes From the Legal Hotline: September 2022

September 1, 2022

- By The MAR Legal Team

Q: The financing contingency date in the contract has passed and the buyer has not informed us of whether they received a commitment – is the deal dead? A: Not necessarily. The passing of any contingency date without an extension or notification of withdrawal by the buyer simply means that the contingency is no longer available to the buyer, but the deal may proceed. If the buyer has not obtained an extension and then is unable to obtain financing to purchase the property, the buyer may terminate the transaction, however, any deposit funds may be subject to forfeiture as liquidated damages to the seller. As a best practice, buyers and buyer agents should always be certain to maintain open lines of communication with the seller and seller’s agent and request an extension if there is any question about their…

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Housing Production Law Becoming Reality

August 10, 2022

- By The MAR Legal Team

In December, we provided an update on the draft guidelines for the MBTA Communities program created by last session’s economic development bill. The program requires that certain municipalities that benefit most from Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority service have at least one district of a reasonable size where multifamily housing can be built as of right – meaning that the development is not subject to discretionary municipal special permitting decisions if it meets established requirements.  On August 10, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) released Compliance Guidelines and related materials to assist communities that fall under this program. The final guidelines incorporate several changes including:  Revised Community Categories: MBTA Communities are now categorized as rapid transit, commuter rail, adjacent, or adjacent small town. The “bus service” category has been eliminated.  Significant Adjustments for Small and Rural Towns with…

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End of Session Legal Update

August 8, 2022

- By The MAR Legal Team

And just like that, with the stroke of midnight on July 31st another successful two-year legislative session came to a peaceful close … or something like that. So, what really happened is: time stopped (officially) and the Legislature continued long into the night and following day. They reached landmark compromises on gun control, infrastructure bonding, mental health reform, and sports betting legalization legislation, but ultimately were unable to complete the economic development bill (H.5034/S.3030). Though that bill had seemed to be heading towards enactment over the last several months, recent discussion around a 1986 statute requiring the state to return certain surplus revenues to taxpayers created new concerns that Legislators were unable to resolve at the 11th hour.   What did we support in the economic development bill?  Increase viability of starter home zoning: Both the House and Senate versions included…

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