Broker-owners / Designated REALTORS® / MLS Participants all have different needs, concerns and interests from the general membership. With our market dynamics changing, we understand that the decisions you have to make on a daily basis are more complex than ever before and the profit margin for the average office is shrinking in this competitive market.
Here then, are the tools and latest news about risk reduction practices to help keep your office operating at peak efficiency and in adherence to local, state and national laws as well as structures and resources to help you succeed!
Business Summaries by Topic
|Budgeting||Business Planning||Business Taxes||Company Structure|
|Independent Contractors||Licensing||Office/Personal Assistants||Office Policies|
|Opening a Business||Real Estate Quiz||Sales Meetings||Trademark Firm Name|
Sandy Carroll, CEO
Update March 27th
We hope this message find you doing well. We want to start with a recap of the main principles we talked about during our membership webinar this week – that brokerages must make ALL of the decisions about how agents are operating during the State of Emergency. There are liability and business concerns that can only be decided at a brokerage level, determining how each individual agent will represent their company and the brokerage’s clients during this time.
All policies must, of course, be made within the scope of our Governor’s orders. We do not want any agent to take our, MAR or MLS messaging as permission to do ANYTHING without first consulting with your broker to ensure you’re practicing within your office guidelines and policies. There are many ways that real estate agents can practice safely while serving the best interest of your clients. (we’ve linked to some suggestions!)
The Governor has declared real estate to not be essential in the state of Massachusetts except as it relates to the settlement process for transactions underway, yet they did still provide quite a bit of leeway to serve your clients.
Berkshire REALTORS / MLS General Recommendations:
- According to the Governor’s directive, physical real estate offices cannot be open during this time. Only the owner can enter the office to handle essential duties such as picking up mail, handling financial matters, securing files and things of that nature.
- Even though they are allowed, we join the state association and other MLSs in the US in recommending that both broker open houses and public open houses be postponed until after the state of emergency, for the protection of all parties.
- We recommend that brokers expressly advise all agents that they should not enter a home unless there is a compelling reason to do so for the client’s urgent benefit. Operating remotely when possible is the safest for all. We also recommend that agents who are allowed by the broker to provide in-person activities only do so with the consent of their client.
A broker holds a great deal of liability and responsibility to their agents, their clients, their community and their families. We are not providing legal advice, only items for consideration. The information provided is based on information known to us today (subject to change), and only as a resource to help craft broker guidelines. The Governor’s directives are are laid out extensively online at Mass.gov and it is the individual brokerage’s responsibility to determine the policies and guidelines that their agents must follow. We recommend that, given the seriousness of the State of Emergency, you call the MAR Legal Hotline with questions, and as always, speak to your own firm attorney.
As a way to assist, we have created three resources to help illuminate the scope of issues to be considered to serve clients safety.
We know there is a lot to take in, and hope these lists are helpful in considering how all aspects of your business can be transitioned to online service, or can be performed safely for all involved: Think about the many professionals in the transaction process who always worked “face-to-face” that have made the leap to working online – Realtors® can too, with a bit of creativity and learning (link to education calendar)!
We wish you safety and good health. We are in this together – apart. Let us know if we can provide any assistance to you / your firm and we hope to “see” you on our membership call next Wednesday at 11 a.m.
Update: March 24, 2020
Yesterday, Governor Baker issued an order that requires nonessential businesses and organizations to close their physical workspaces and facilities to customers, workers and the public, today Tuesday March 23, 2020 @ noon. This will last until Tuesday, April 7th, and all businesses are encouraged to continue operations remotely in the interim.
Governor’s Order In Basic Terms:
We just finished a meeting with the leadership at the State Association (MAR) yesterday and the current policy for real estate is unclear. Until we know more, it is suggested that no in-person real estate activities should take place after noon tomorrow, with the exception of essential settlement and closing services, which is considered clearly defined as exempt from these requirements.
Limits to Real Estate Services as of 3/24/20 @ Noon:
You should note that our state association has been trying to get clarification from the Governor’s Office, but as of right now, we believe the Governor’s order should be interpreted to mean that, as of Tuesday, at noon:
- All real estate offices should be closed.
- All open houses should cease.
- Business dealings and property showings should be conducted electronically / remotely.*
- Agents are reminded to loop their broker in when transmitting legal documents via Ziplogix, Dotloop or Docu-sign.
- Virtual showings and all interactions to be on-line for the protection of all in our community.
* Note: At this time, the Governor’s order considers Settlement and Closing services to be essential, so work on existing transactions under agreement can proceed using extreme caution for anything not performed electronically / remotely. You must limit your exposure to others, follow strict sanitary procedures and work to protect our community from transmission. (ie. Go open the door for the appraiser, wipe it down, but don’t go in) Communication between industry professionals is critically important for closings in progress, so please make sure you are staying in contact with your client’s key providers.
For those concerned if general MA real estate is clarified as “essential” at some point forward, you should know that last night Connecticut released the rules and it is FAR from business as usual. CT Realtors®, while considered essential unlike NY Realtors®, are severely limited in scope in the service of their clients most pressing real estate needs.
It’s so important that all real estate agent’s actions are socially responsible when working to serve their client’s most urgent immediate housing needs. Safety in all you do is critically important to help our communities heal, safeguard our clients and protect the health of others.
MLS Help for Brokerages:
Last week, the MLS allowed and encouraged videos and virtual tours to replace in-person showings and open houses. Given that this new order by the Governor affects all properties in the MLS, today the leadership suspended the Berkshire MLS showing requirement policy until April 8th as well, allowing you to leave your property active in the MLS despite the inability to show.
Also, FlexMLS programmers are working furiously to add an option for agents to enter a link to a “virtual” or “online” open house / tour. In the meantime, you can use the branded/unbranded tour fields and the Realtor-to-Realtor remarks with a link to your tour. For those that already have videos or have had seller send you a video, here is quick link to a How-to Upload to YouTube to get a link to share easily. We are working to schedule an online class covering video how-to ASAP as well.
Other Industry Professionals Tied to the Settlement and Closing Process:
Currently, we’re keeping tabs on all of the organizations that are involved in the closing process, and here is a brief update that we know of as of today. With everything that is happening I’m sure you realize that this changes minute by minute so look for more frequent updates as this progresses and call your client’s service providers direct with pressing matters:
- Registries are still recording title, with limited access. Electronic submissions accepted (and encouraged) in all three registries in Berkshire County. There is limited drop-off or mail options.
- Mortgage lending is considered an essential service, so most banks and mortgage companies continue to operate and have been doing so electronically for some time.The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also placed a 60 day moratorium on foreclosure and evictions (through May 16) for FHA single family mortgage borrowers and Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) borrowers. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has also directed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to do the same, while many individual lenders are offering individual relief to consumers.
- Many lawyers are remaining open as essential service providers, but in limited capacity. We’ve been informed that the majority are having seller’s pre-sign closing paperwork when possible and severely limiting office access. They have noted that many Realtors® have requested to accelerate closings, which is not practical in most instances. In most pending transactions, closing can still occur as long as the parties are not under quarantine or already have a notarized power of attorney on file. All are asking for the utmost accommodation and flexibility in these transactions. No one should be present unless required to be, and even then, only in critical circumstances and with sanitary protections in place.Note: On 3/17/2020, we shared the Real Estate Bar Association of Massachusetts OPTIONAL addendum for COVID-19 available to all in PDF format, as an addendum to our original Berkshire County Standard Purchase and Sale Agreement. Extension of Time for Performance COVID-19 (PDF) Today, MAR also let us know they are releasing an addendum tomorrow afternoon as well that will be worth reviewing and sharing.
- Many Appraisers are honoring appointments with precautions, and using MLS photos when possible and taking advantage of the Fannie/Freddie provisions mentioned below and using outdoor photos when possible. They ask that doors be open, sanitizes available, no people etc…Today FHFA directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to allow the use of appraisal alternatives to reduce the need for appraisers to conduct interior property inspections for eligible mortgages through May 17, 2020. This should alleviate recent concerns over transaction delays due to a lack of appraisers able or willing to enter properties to conduct interior inspections. Full Announcement Available Here
- Home Inspectors are mixed, with some no longer accepting appointments and others working on a very limited basis. They noted that they are unable to work at all in NY state at this time.
- Fire Departments: In case you missed it, the Governor released an executive order allowing for the 90-day extension of the smoke/carbon permit requirements. Signed Order re Alarms Inspections (pdf)
- Water Readings: Many town halls are closing, so water meter readings may be an issue on pending transactions in communities where remote readings or drive-bys can’t be performed.
- Insurance is also considered essential, so they are writing polices, but not accepting walk-ins.
Update Monday, 3/23/2020
Governor Issues Non-Essential Businesses to close/work remotely until 4/7/2020. Thank to all those who have questions about the Governor’s message today ordering nonessential businesses and organizations to close their physical workspaces and facilities to customers, workers and the public at noon on Tuesday. There is an essential workers list. This will last until Tuesday, April 7th at noon, and all businesses are encouraged to continue operations remotely. We are in the middle of New York state who has expressly declared real estate to be NON-essential, and Connecticut where real estate is considered ESSENTIAL. Where does that leave us? We are working on it, and have reached out to our state association for guidelines as well.
Many services you provide are still able to be fulfilled, through remote meetings, communication vehicles and online contracts and forms. As you know, last week the MLS already allowed and encouraged videos and virtual tours to replace in-person showings and open houses. Beyond that, we will keep you posted as this emerges.
We are confident that our Berkshire Realtors® have been working primarily electronically during the past week and will continue to do so during this order. Let us know below if you are interested in another Zoom meeting to discuss what we find out! We will keep you posted on the details as we know them. Stay safe!
Fannie Mae Update: Appraisal Requirements Flexible
During this COVID-19 national emergency, in many cases lenders are unable to obtain an appraisal based on a full interior and exterior inspection of the subject property. In response, Fannie Mae is allowing temporary flexibilities to appraisal requirements. They are working closely with Freddie Mac under the guidance of FHFA to offer these temporary measures. The Lender Letter shared provides information about the following:
- Temporary appraisal requirement flexibilities: allowing exterior-only inspection appraisals or desktop appraisals
- Desktop appraisals: allowing for purchase transactions when an interior and exterior appraisal is not available
- Exterior-only inspection appraisals: allowing for purchase and refinances of Fannie Mae-owned loans
- Revisions to the scope of work, statements of assumptions and limited conditions, and appraiser’s certifications: requiring modified language to be used with exterior-only and desktop appraisals
- Additional form instructions for appraisals: requiring identification of “exterior” or “desktop” on the interior and exterior reports
- Identification of a Fannie Mae loan: reminding lenders about our Loan Lookup tool to identify Fannie Mae-owned loans
- Appraisal waivers: encouraging lenders to accept waiver offers when eligible
- Delivery requirements: changes are not required at this time in Loan Delivery ▪ Completion reports (Form 1004D): allowing alternatives when a Form 1004D cannot be obtained
- HomeStyle® Renovation and HomeStyle Energy requirements: requiring traditional appraisals for these transactions
Effective: These temporary flexibilities are effective immediately for all loans in process and remain in place for loans with application dates on or before May 17, 2020. Full Details
MAR Releases New Tools for Realtors®: COVID-19 Website and Video
Releases new website www.MARCOVID19.com and video for Commonwealth Real Estate Matters
New York State to Shut down Real Estate Showings and Offices as of Sunday Evening
Earlier today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered the closure of all offices for non-essential businesses. Previously, the governor limited staffing to 50%, followed by 75%, and now 100% workforce reduction in non-essential business offices. The governor specifically mentioned real estate activities in his press conference stating, “I don’t know who you think you’re going to rent an apartment to now anyways if you kick someone out…by my mandate you couldn’t even have your real estate agent showing the apartment. Same with commercial tenants.” As such, it is believed that all showings and open houses will be prohibited after Sunday evening. Furthermore, all brokerage offices will also need to close Sunday evening. Licensees are still able to work from home.
Massachusetts legislators, Realtors® and many citizens are urging Governor Baker to adopt a similar non-essential business policy, but so far he has not done so. If you’d like to reach out and make your voice heard, here is the link to Governor Charlie Baker’s Office and social media accounts.
Temporary Deferral of Smoke/Carbon Inspections: Thank you MAR!
As we work to solve emerging issues in the closing transaction process due to the COVID-19, the difficulty of obtaining smoke and carbon smoke detectors was a concern. MAR legislative staff sprung into action and was successful in working with the Baker Administration on a solution that allows transactions to continue throughout the state of emergency, while protecting the health and well-being of our fire department personnel.
Due to their efforts, Governor Baker has issued an executive order allowing smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm certificate inspections as required under Sections 26F and 26F½ of Chapter 148 of the General Laws to be deferred so long as:
- The Parties to the sale or transfer have agreed in writing that the buyer assumes responsibility for equipping the property with approved smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.
- The buyer agrees as a condition of taking title to equip the property with approved smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms immediately upon taking title.
- An inspection as otherwise required under sections 26F and 26F½ occurs no more than 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted.
This is why advocacy and industry leadership is such a critical part of your REALTOR® membership. Thank you for the tireless efforts of MAR legislative staff! Stay safe, everyone!
P&S Addendum: It’s an option only an OPTION
On 3/17/2020, we shared the Real Estate Bar Association of Massachusetts addendum for COVID-19 available to all in PDF format, as an addendum to our original Berkshire County Standard Purchase and Sale Agreement. THIS IS AN OPTION FOR YOU TO USE, AND IS NOT A MANDATE. As we stated wen it was released: “Mike Shepard, Board Legal Counsel, recommends that if you have an active Purchase and Sale agreement in place now, please make sure that you share this addendum with your client’s attorney. They will advise on the necessity of executing this or not. There are so many moving components to a sale, it is our best advice to speak with YOUR CLIENT’S counsel sooner rather than later on pending deals. If you are having issues, you should only get in touch with Mike Shepard if he represents your client in a transaction – he cannot wade into another Attorney’s transaction. If you are currently negotiating a transaction, we highly recommend that you include this addendum with the Standard Berkshire Purchase and Sale Agreement. Extension of Time for Performance COVID-19 (PDF)
You can upload this PDF to whatever forms provider you use – this was the quickest way we could get it into your hands.
New MLS Policy: Virtual Showing Allowed Temporarily in Response to State of Emergency
In light of the extraordinary situation that is unfolding around the Covid-19 pandemic and social-distancing measures that have been enacted during the state of emergency, a listing may remain “active” in the Berkshire MLS as long as the property is available for either of the following: (1) physical, on-site viewing of the listed property by potential buyers with a cooperating broker; or (2) virtual showing (which could mean live or pre-recorded video of the listed property, not a photo slideshow), during which the listing broker or agent is available to answer any questions that a cooperating broker may have about the property. You may post a URL for a virtual showing or a virtual open house into the “Showing Instructions” field of your listing. If the property is not available in either manner described above, then you should temporarily withdraw your listing until it meets one of these criteria. Normally, a listing may be “active” only if the listed property is available for physical, on-site viewing. The virtual-showing allowance described above is a temporary allowance that we are making in light of the current, unprecedented crisis. We will communicate to you once the situation improves enough to resume the usual policy on showings.
New Calculation of DOM: Not Counting Withdrawn Days!
Aligning our statistics and proper listing tracking is important to maintain accurate data, and we are so pleased to share that we requested FlexMLS programmers reduce our DOM (Days on Market) calculation by any time spent “withdrawn” because it was not “on the market”. the DOM should be accurate to the time only on the active market. As of today, all listings that are withdrawn will stop the DOM clock and it will restart when made active. Additionally, overnight, the programmers will be updated existing listings that had withdrawn periods to update them to calculate the same way. This will ensure our data is accurate and uniform.
UPDATE 3/19/20: Central Berkshire Registry: Ready for Homework
Today, Patsy Harris, Register of Deeds, Berkshire Middle District reported some important updates. While their building is closed to the public, they are accepted limited submissions in person (through the door with call ahead) and encouraging all to use electronic submission. Given that the future is uncertain, they have been allowed to use and have been testing a process that has enabled registry staff members to record deed transfers from their homes. Until ordered otherwise, they are working with a skeleton crew here at the registry and if ordered to vacate the building, not only will your option to hand-deliver documents cease, but it will also preclude us from receiving any mail delivery whatsoever. At this time, there are no options to electronically register any Land Court documents at this registry, and Patsy doubts that situation will change during this crisis.
The Northern Berkshire Registry is currently open and accepting documents both in person and electronically (obviously electronically is preferred). As things change, they will determine how to proceed. We are awaiting a call back from the southern Berkshire registry.
Have a Newbie Waiting for the Test: Salesperson and Broker License Testing Closed
In the event you get any inquiries from those wanting to sit for their Salespersons/Brokers test, PSI and has now closed their test locations. Here is a PSI site for update (warn you this site has been experiencing long load times). Thanks to Commissioner Kim Allard for this information.
What’s being worked on legislatively? So much being done behind the scenes
We know MAR has been working legislatively on many issues. They are pursuing stop-gap help from the Governor to assist in transactions where the fire departments are unable to perform smoke/carbon inspections. (We don’t believe this is an issue in Berkshire County as of yet). We have asked MAR to push for immediate consideration of a Permit Extension Act to alleviate the concern of current permit-holders that are economically unable to undertake construction to implement the permits before expiration. This whole crisis is a game changer and extra time seems only fair, so much money and sound development is at stake. Our NAR is working to make sure independent contractors are included in any provision to help those who’s income is impacted by COVID-19. As also reported, we know that there was a push by the legal community to have remote, online, video meeting closings, but no forward motion on that as of yet. We will keep you posted.
Update Sent 3/18/20
Breaking news: Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) providing support to American workers, families, and businesses, including the expansion of paid sick leave and family medical leave. It also includes refundable tax credits for small businesses and self-employed individuals to cover the cost of the leave.
NAR’s advocacy team continues to urge Congressional leaders to include support for self-employed professionals and other small business owners. This was included in the final bill. Download details NAR outlined for REALTORS) (PDF)
P&S Addendum: Business is still happening!
As we were examining addendum language to deal with delays caused by COVID-19, we were fortunate to have the Real Estate Bar of Massachusetts send a sample through our Board Legal Counsel. We have made this REBA form available to all in PDF format, as an addendum to our original Berkshire County Standard Purchase and Sale Agreement. Mike Shepard, Board Legal Counsel, recommends that if you have an active Purchase and Sale agreement in place now, please make sure that you share this addendum with your client’s attorney. They will advise on the necessity of executing this or not. There are so many moving components to a sale, it is our best advice to speak with counsel sooner rather than later on pending deals. If you are currently negotiating a transaction, we highly recommend that you include this addendum with the Standard Berkshire Purchase and Sale Agreement. Extension of Time for Performance COVID-19 (PDF)
You can upload this PDF to whatever forms provider you use – this was the quickest way we could get it into your hands.
Closing Issues: What are the issues, you ask?
Currently, the registries in Berkshire are still recording title which is great news. For the registry to accept electronic recordings – it does require registry staff to be present to accept, review, approve and record title. Should the registry be fully closed, that could halt the recordings. Should that happen, Mike Shepard, Board Legal Counsel advises that the lawyers involved will look to the title clause paragraph 18 in our Standard Purchase and Sale Agreement absent any addendum.
We also know a group of attorneys in the Boston area are working on an emergency executive order for Gov. Baker to sign which would temporarily authorize remote or virtual closings using such technology as Zoom and Docusign, but that has not be issued as of today.
Mike Shepard also wants to remind you that there are limitations with powers of attorney. Some buyers and sellers under quarantine (or reluctant to appear in person) are requesting that their lawyer signs for them For those under quarantine, assigning a power of attorney requires notarization, so that is not an option. There are also other factors at play, so don’t assume this option will work without discussing it with the attorney and lender first.
As you know, the closing process is loaded with requirements that involve other professionals. Here is a list of identified processes that could be impacted for you to consider:
- Smoke and Carbon Certificates
- Water readings
- Title V reports, inspections
- Municipal Lien Certificates
- Title searches (where the attorneys prefer to do on-site research)
- Home Inspections
- Review of properties’ open permits
- Recording of Deeds
- Flood elevation certificates
- Certificates of Occupancy
Locally, we have heard that trying to get smoke / carbon detector permits can be challenging in some municipalities as only non-essential work is allowed whereas others are scheduled without delay. Please note: for those with pending transactions, permits are good for 60 days, so schedule accordingly. Make sure your wood stove permits are in place too. The Board of Health is quite busy right now, and this is impacting title v inspections.
We’ve also heard rumors of delays due to moving companies, remote staffing causing limited functionality, and buyers/sellers under quarantine or afraid to venture out.
We can only suggest common sense – try to solve problems where you can by reviewing the steps mentioned above, help your clients make alternative arrangements if needed and use your professional expertise to bring calm and reason to situations that may be scary for you clients. We are all in this and working together, and that will see us through.
Open Houses: Should we host them?
We have been asked many times about hosting open houses. While it is a business decision made between you and your sellers, we remind you of the governor’s ban on gatherings of more than 25 people and the President’s advise to not to gather in groups of more than 10. Since we fully expect your open houses to be hugely popular, take this under advisement.. and if hosting, limit attendance accordingly and do not serve food or drink. Note that all personal interactions should be handled according to the CDC recommendations to ensure the safety of your clients, your open house guests, and yourself.
Showings? What is the Board’s recommendation?
Your seller should be directing if/when you have showings for their property. The Board only advises how best to handle each situation. If your seller does not wish to continue to show during the statewide shutdown due to Covid–19, currently scheduled to go through April 6th, you can simply you can make that comment in the remarks of your listing and change the status to withdrawn. You can then change that listing back to active when the showings will begin. Simple.
If you plan to continue showing, take all precautions recommended by the CDC to protect yourself, your clients and your cooperating brokers. It is critical that you remember your fair housing obligations and make sure that if your seller directs you to limit showings based on pre-established criteria (recent travel, for example), you are required to ask the same questions of ALL buyers (via their buyer broker) and not target any group specifically.
The City of Worcester put out showing guidelines for REALTORS that we thought had some good suggestions:
- Encourage an “eyes only” policy so the buyer and/or agent doesn’t touch surfaces or handles in a home, and;
- Have sellers open all doors prior to showing, to limit others having to touch handles throughout the entire house.
- Ask all parties to sanitize hands on entry and exit and provide the wipes, sanitizer or wash facility to do so.
- No food or drink allowed during showings
- No use of bathrooms by buyers or agents.
- If you ask buyers and agents if they’ve traveled recently or are feeling sick before entry into a home, make sure you ask ALL the same questions on a uniform basis. (fair housing!)
Best advice of all: Counsel all clients to have flexibility whenever possible. Everyone is doing their best to stay safe and
Board Functions: The show must go on!
We will be hosting all committee and workgroup meetings as planned, but online. We have call-in Zoom meetings set up for all, so that you can participate fully. Sign-on instructions were sent, and will be sent again to those on each committee:
- Contracts & Forms Committee on March 31st @ 9:30 a.m.
- Clear Cooperation Contract & Forms Meeting on March 31st @ 11:00 a.m.
- DR Workgroup meeting on April 9th, 2020 @ 9 a.m.
- MLS Board of Directors Meeting on April 1st @ 9:00 a.m.
- Government Affairs & Town Monitor Meeting on April 1st @ 2 p.m.
- Board of Directors Meeting on April 8th @ 9:00 a.m.
We will make a determination for all meetings after April 8th as we get closer, but a call-in option will be made available for sure.
REALTOR Education: The Future is Online!
As you know, we’ve been hosting webinars for some time. We will continue with that schedule and have added more programming coming up. All live programs have been cancelled. Did you miss a past webinar? We have been able to add “live” video programs so that you can watch a past webinar and still receive CE credit! Here is the schedule (please note: you can only get credit for 6 unique programs.. so make sure you don’t retake the same program twice)
CANCELLED Live Classes
- RE27RC07 Tax Deferred Exchanges March 26 cancelled
- RE10RC07 General Real Estate Laws and Regulations April 16 cancelled
Our currently scheduled webinars: Still Running!
- Webinar: USDA / Rural Loans on April 6 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm: Jamie Pollard, lender at Academy Mortgage, will present with Sandy Carroll in this live webinar and will bring us insightful information on the USDA/Rural loan product and everything you’ll need to know to assist your buyers and sellers in this marketplace.
- Webinar: Comish in the Hot Seat – RE08RC12 WEBINAR – MA Real Estate License Law and Regulations May 28 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm In this webinar, we’ll video in Kimberly Allard – a favorite teacher in the Berkshires – and place her on the hot seat! Kimberly is a commissioner for the Board of Registration Department of Licensure. She’ll be on hand to review all the important information you need to know about license oversight, licensing requirements, LLCs and Corps, RE education and what constitutes the practice of real estate.
New Online Webinars: with Kate Lanagan MacGregor:
(registration coming within a few days)
- 3/25 RE41R05 Real Estate Advertising Compliance and the Law
- 4/1 RE03RC08 RE Laws and Regs. for Owners, Agents and Managers
- 4/8 RE19RC12 Fair Housing
- 4/22 RE20R13 Lead Paint- Residential Sales and Rentals with
- 4/29 RE49R05 Dual Agency with
Replay Webinars: Opportunity to watch those you missed
We are in the process of adding the following replays to our calendar. Please go to BerkshireRealtors.net to register and attend these programs for Continuing Education credit… will be included soon!
- Real Estate Advertising With Sandy Carroll (replay from 3/3/20)
- Investment Basics with Peter West (replay from 2/5/20)
- Brokerage Relationships with Sandy Carroll (replay from 1/8/20)
- Insurance in the Residential Trans. with Greg Viner (replay from 12/9/19
- Property Assessments with Paula King (replay from 11/15/19)
- Escrow with Mike Shepard (replay from10/24/19)
- Understanding Title and with Patsy Harris (replay from 9/30/19)
- FHA loans with Jamie Pollard (replay from 8/23/19)
- Wetlands Protection Act with Rob Van Der Kar (replay from 6/17/19)
- Title V with Ryan Ray (replay from 5/24/19)
- Architecture with Eric Steuernagle (replay from 4/25/19)
- Disclosures with Mike Shepard (replay from 3/21/19)
- Open Houses and Safety Plan with Andy Perenick (2/14/19)
- Technology and Real Estate with Sandy Carroll (1/24/19)
REALTOR Excellence: Use your time wisely!
Eric has issued a challenge to 100 Berkshire Realtors to get the C2ex endorsement before the year is out to show our Commitment to Excellence. This free, convenient, and accessible online program will help you further build the professionalism and knowledge that puts REALTORS above the rest. Take your client service and business performance to the next level with a personalized learning plan that you can access any time. Set and track your personal development goals. Share your knowledge and celebrate the achievements of your peers. When you’ve completed all the requirements, you’ll gain NAR’s C2EX Endorsement to express your lifelong commitment to superior professionalism and first-rate service. C2EX is free for all NAR members, so why wait? Make your Commitment to Excellence. Sign in now for a quick overview and get started today!
Times are tough: Help may be available:
In addition to the Congressional bill mentioned above with tax incentives and aid for those affected by the Coronavirus, State Representative Tricia Farley Bouvier also shared that Massachusetts has allocated $10 million business loan fund for businesses with less than 50 employees. Loans can cover operating expenses of up to $75,000 with no interest or principal payments for 6 months, and then interest is at 3%. Contact your state rep to find out more.
We also know that there s a Small Business Administrative Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) that applies to small businesses in Berkshire, Hampden and Worcester county of up to 2 million dollars to help meet financial obligations during this disaster time. Please google EIDL for more information.
NAR & MAR Have Been Working Hard to protect your interests as well.
MAR Legislative staff is working to address statewide policies that could help us transact real estate during these difficult times. Federally, HUD is suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April to help those affected by the Coronavirus. FHFA/Fannie & Freddie will follow suit for the next 60 days through mid-May. We’ll have more information to come as this breaking news develops. In the meantime, FHFA is urging all borrowers affected by the Coronavirus to reach out to their mortgage servicers as soon as possible to seek assistance if needed. Click here for more on this from HousingWire.
Below and attached, please find NAR’s latest resources on the coronavirus.
- NAR Coronavirus Resources for Property Owners
- NAR Coronavirus Resources & Guidance for Employers
- Special Message from NAR President Vince Malta
What impact will the State of Emergency have on my license?
Real Estate License Renewal: Go online! For those that have license renewal coming up, the DMV extension for driver’s licenses does NOT apply to real estate license. The Division of Professional Licensure is currently open only for limited operations due to the state of emergency in response to COVID-19 and will not be providing any window service. Renewals should be processed online. See the attached announcement for more information.
Please reach out if you have any questions, and hope to “see” you at the meeting, Thursday, March 19th @ 2 p.m.. Register Here
Berkshire County Board of REALTORS, Inc.
Berkshire County Multiple Listing Service, Inc.
99 West Street, Suite 200, Pittsfield, MA 01201
Work (413) 442-8049 | Sue x10, Sandy x11, Linda x12