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February 7, 2011

I N   T H I S   I S S U E . . .
   

 
Membership Renewals Past Due

Brokers and non-paid Agents - January 31 was the deadline to pay 2010-2011 dues or remove any unpaid agents from your office roster. All new licensed agents in your office were also required to join by January 31. Suspensions are now taking effect for offices with non-paid members.

Renew Online, or if your account has already been suspended, please call the office at 301-306-7900 to renew.

 
David Maclin Memorial Scholarship
Do You Know a Prince George's County Public High School Senior:
Graduating with a 2.0 or better GPA?
Already making a difference in the community?

Please have them complete an application for the 2011 David Maclin Memorial Scholarship. Winners will receive a $2,500 scholarship to be used toward further education in any community college, university or trade school.

Please also share Scholarship Application Forms with Principals and Teachers whom you know. These have been distributed to area schools, but you may enable someone who hasn't received the materials to share this opportunity with their class, and make an important difference in the life of a student who wouldn't have heard of it without your involvement.

Scholarship Letter   •   Scholarship Application   •   Permission Slip
Scholarship Applications are Due Monday, February 28th, 2011.

 
 
GIVE BLOOD — SAVE LIVES
Wednesday, February 23
9 am to 3 pm

PGCAR is sponsoring and hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive® at the association office this Thursday, February 10.


ALL ARE INVITED
FRIENDS ~ FAMILIES ~ MEMBERS
COME GIVE THE GIFT OF LIFE!


 
 
DC BROKERS - LICENSE RENEWAL DEADLINE IS FEBRUARY 28

L A S T     C H A N C E     F O R     C E U     !

Avoid penalties - DC Broker and Property Manager licenses must be renewed by February 28, 2011.
ALL CE Hours must be completed before-hand, and reported. License renewals must be submitted and paid by February 28, 2011.

DC Sales Agents - you must renew your DC real estate licenses before August 31, 2011.

Meet your required topic CEU before license renewal deadline!

  1. Last Chance! Complete all 9 required category CE:

    Wednesday, February 16
    9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

    DC Legislative Update

    Register here >
    1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Financing Issues / Update Register here >
    Tuesday, February 22
    6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

    DC Fair Housing & Predatory Lending

    Register here >

  2. Complete the 6 required DC elective hours by taking 2 of the 3 following classes at PGCAR:

    Tuesday, February 15
    9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

    MD Legislative Update

    Register here >
    Thursday, February 17
    9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

    Contracts

    Register here >
    Thursday, February 24
    9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

    MD Code of Ethics

    Register here >

  3. Renew Your DC Broker or Property Manager License Online >

 
 
Required Contract and Agency Disclosure Updates

JANUARY 2011 UPDATES:
REQUIRED AGENCY DISCLOSURE AND CONSENT TO DUAL AGENCY FORMS;
WITHHOLDING RATE ON SALES BY NON-RESIDENTS REDUCED

Effective January 1, 2011, the withholding rate for the sale of real estate by non-resident individuals was reduced from 7.5% to 6.75%. The new withholding amount is equal to the sum of the rate of the tax imposed under Maryland Code Ann., Tax-Gen. § 10-106.1 (currently 1.25%) and the top marginal state income tax rate for individuals under Maryland Code Ann., Tax-Gen. § 10-105(a) (currently 5.5%). PG Form 1311, the Non-Resident Seller Withholding Tax Addendum has been updated to reflect the new rate.

Last week, the Maryland Real Estate Commission released updates to the required Agency Disclosure form and the Consent for Dual Agency form. See details in the following article by Al Monshower, general legal counsel for the Maryland Association of REALTORS®.

Four contract forms were updated or added in December in compliance with new local laws. Download and save all new and revised addenda in PGCAR.com Members Only.

Please discontinue use and destroy all copies of previous form versions that may be accessible to sales staff. Add Form #1339 to any internal forms libraries.

 
 
LEGISLATIVE ALERT
By: Alvin C. Monshower, Jr., Esq.
Monshower, Miller & Magrogan, LLP

Revised Agency Disclosure and Consent for Dual Agency Forms
NOW IN EFFECT

Last week, the Maryland Real Estate Commission released a newly revised agency disclosure form and revised consent for dual agency form, both dated 1/2011 and effective immediately.

The revisions to these two forms are the first revision(s) since January 1, 1999. The following is a summary of the revisions to each of the forms.

UNDERSTANDING WHOM REAL ESTATE AGENTS REPRESENT

The substantive changes to this form are as follows:

  1. Page 1 of the form will now include in all bold language the following notice:

    "At The Time Of The First Scheduled Face-To-Face Contact With You, The Real Estate Licensee Who Is Assisting You Is Required By Law To Provide This Notice To You. This Notice Is Not A Contract Or Agreement And Creates No Obligation On Your Part."

    Previously, the language as contained on page 2 of the form stated:

    "This notice of information is required by law and is NOT A CONTRACT."

    The inclusion of the expanded notice at the heading of the form will accomplish two goals. First, it will act as a reminder to licensees as to when they must provide the required agency disclosure form and, hopefully, will offer greater assurances to the consumer that the disclosure form does not create any legal obligation on their part.

  2. A new sentence has been added on page 1 of the form under the paragraph captioned as "Cooperating Agent" and provides "... If you are viewing a property listed by the company with whom the agent accompanying you is affiliated, and you have not signed a "Consent For Dual Agency" form, that agent is representing the seller."
  3. This language was added to place a buyer on notice as to whom the agent is representing at the time of showing of property.

  4. On the first page of the form, under the paragraph captioned as "Buyer's Agent (By Written Agreement)," a new last sentence has been added which reads as follows:

    "If you as a buyer wish to have an agent represent you, you must enter into a written buyer agency agreement before a contract offer can be prepared."

    On the previous form, the above sentence ended simply with a reference to the fact that the buyer must enter into a buyer agency agreement. That, of course, was not consistent with Maryland law, which only provides that the buyer sign a written buyer agency agreement before writing an offer on the property.

  5. The box previously marked as "dual agent" will now read as: "Intra-Company Agent/Dual Agent." This revision is significant since, under Maryland law, a licensed real estate salesperson or associate broker, other than an office manager, may never act as a dual agent in a real estate transaction. Yet, the bottom part of page 2 of the previous form identified both the company name and the individual licensee's name. Under the previous form, the box was merely identified as "dual agent." That was not true with respect to the identified agent. The new box more accurately reflects the legal relationship between the agent and the company in a dual agency situation.
  6. On the bottom of page 2, a new parenthetical will appear before the 4 boxes to be selected with respect to whom the agent represents which will now read as:

    "(You may check more than one box but not more than two)."

    On the previous form, the parenthetical simply stated "... (You may check more than one box)."

    The new language reflects the realities of agency representation under Maryland law.

    First, at no time may a licensee check all 4 boxes.

    At no time may a licensee check 3 boxes.

    The possible boxes which could be checked in tandem would be as follows:

    • Seller/Landlord's agent and Intra-Company Agent/Dual Agent;
    • Buyer's/Tenant's agent and Intra-Company Agent/Dual Agent; OR
    • Seller/Landlord's agent and Cooperating Agent.

    At no time could the last box "Intra-Company Agent/Dual Agent" be checked by itself. The dual agency box can only be checked if the seller's/landlord's agent box is first checked or the buyer's/tenant's box is first checked.

    At no time may a licensee check the Cooperating Agent box and the Buyer's/Tenant's Agent box since, by definition of law, the cooperating agent represents the seller of the property.

  7. A clear demarcation also has been inserted to separate the self-certification clause on the bottom of page 2 which would be signed by the agent who gives agency disclosure from the top part of page 2 where the consumer would sign the agency disclosure form.

CONSENT FOR DUAL AGENCY

The following is a summary of the changes to this form.

By far the most significant change as adopted by the Maryland Real Estate Commission relates to this form.

Specifically, with respect to the bottom half of page 2 of the Consent For Dual Agency form where the seller and buyer would affirm their prior consent for dual agency, the previous form stated: "If [Buyer and Seller] have previously signed a Consent for Dual Agency, they must affirm their consent for the sale of a particular property to a particular buyer."

This language left very little direction as to the exact timing of the required affirmation for the consent of dual agency by a seller or buyer.

The new form addresses this matter with particularity. Specifically, the new form states as follows:

"If the buyer has previously signed Consent for Dual Agency, the buyer must affirm the buyer's consent for the purchase of a particular property before an offer to purchase is presented to the seller. If the seller has previously signed Consent for Dual Agency, the seller must affirm the seller's consent for the sale of the property to a particular buyer before accepting an offer to purchase the property. The affirmation is contained on Page 2 of this form."

Based upon the above language as adopted by the Maryland Real Estate Commission, it is not required that either the seller or the buyer affirm their prior consent for dual agency before a property is shown.

Instead, the buyer must affirm on page 2 of the Consent For Dual Agency form their consent for dual agency before an offer to purchase is presented to the seller. Similarly, a seller must now affirm their prior consent for dual agency on page 2 before the seller accepts any offer to purchase the property.

The second change to this form is found on page 2. Previously, when the seller consented to dual agency, the seller did not identify the particular buyer by name. The new form, in the event the seller elects to accept any offer presented by the buyer, must now identify the buyer(s) by name at the bottom of page 2 of the new form.

The buyer, upon affirmation of the prior consent for dual agency, must indicate the property address as part of their affirmation. This is not new and was previously required under the prior form.

TWO IMPORTANT ISSUES

There are two likely questions to be raised by real estate licensees in response to these two new forms, as follows:

  1. In light of the revised Consent For Dual Agency form, should a real estate licensee have their clients execute a new Consent For Dual Agency form utilizing the revised form?

    In my opinion, the answer is yes. Since the new revised form requires the seller to affirm their prior consent for dual agency by identifying a particular buyer in the event the seller desires to accept the buyer's contract offer, then the new form must be used for such purpose. Accordingly, I recommend that real estate licensees have both their seller and buyer clients re-execute the new revised Consent For Dual Agency form as promptly as possible.

  2. Do I need to have my seller and buyer execute a new Understanding Whom Real Estate Agents Represent in light of the new form?

    No. Since the revisions to this form are not substantive but, instead, relate to format and style, there will be no need, in my opinion, for you to have customers or clients with whom you are presently working execute the new Understanding Whom Real Estate Agents Represent. However, only the new form should be used with new customers and clients, and all unused copies of the previous form should be discarded.

(By Alvin C. Monshower, Jr., Monshower, Miller & Magrogan, LLP, general legal counsel for the Maryland Association of REALTORS®, Inc. This article is intended to be a general discussion of the topic. As with all legal matters, the reader should consult with competent legal counsel regarding any actual situations or questions.)

 
 
PGCAR In the News!

Mortgage interest deduction plan would hurt middle class

Those in attendance at MAR's Legislative Day learned of recent actions to fight changes to the Mortgage Interest Deduction. Last week, NAR had every state represented in Washington with REALTORS® visiting their members of Congress. Joanne Darling, Anthony Williams, and Nick D'Ambrosia participated in this activity representing PGCAR, MAR and NAR.

Additionally, PGCAR sent a "Letter to the Editor" to our local papers in response to a Washington Post Op-Ed supporting changes to MID. The letter was printed in the Gazette last Thursday, February 3.

 
 
FHLB Offers First-Time Homebuyer Down Payment Funds

Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLBank Atlanta) announced that funding is now available under its 2011 First-time Homebuyer Program. FHLBank Atlanta will provide up to $7,500 in matching funds per eligible household through its member financial institutions for down payment and closing costs.

Funds are provided to FHLB member institutions on a first-come, first-served basis, and potential homebuyers must request the funds from a participating member institution of FHLBank Atlanta.

 
 
False 3.8% Transfer Tax Rumors Persist

Misleading emails and other communications about the 3.8% Medicare tax in the health care reform law continue to circulate. You might have received one or more of these emails. The messages usually say that the 3.8% tax is imposed on unearned income that includes the sale of a principle residence. However, the tax that's being referenced is far narrower and only has the potential to impact a small sliver of high income households who receive investment income. The $250,000 - $500,000 capital gains exclusion remains in place. NAR has created a brochure with more information on whom, and which real estate sales, may be impacted.
Download the brochure at REALTOR.org >

 
 
AUTO LOAN RATES AS LOW AS 3.95%

At the REALTORS® Federal Credit Union

Apply online and get an instant decision in minutes! Not a member yet?
Why not join the Federal Credit Union built especially for you?
Join today - it's easy!

Information and online services are available 24/7 at REALTORSFCU.ORG.
Share the flyer.

 
 
FREE! Open to the Public!
2011 Annual Housing Fair
Saturday, June 11, 2011 • 10 am to 3 pm
Sports and Learning Center
8001 Sheriff Road, Landover, MD 20785

As many of you know, homeownership is the cornerstone of thriving communities and the catalyst for building wealth within families. Our strategy is to sustain homeownership through education and counseling. To help spread the word to families in the Prince George's County area, the Prince George's County Association of REALTORS® will hold a Housing Fair on Saturday, June 11.

The Exhibit Hall will be open throughout the day. Federal, state and local housing officials will be in attendance and will speak at our mid-day event. The Housing Fair is open to the public at NO CHARGE. Here's a sample of FREE workshops that will be offered for homebuyers and homeowners:

Foreclosure Prevention/ Loan Modification     Credit Rebuilding/ Financial Education
Short Sale Information     Senior Programs/ Reverse Mortgages
First-time Homebuyer Programs     Rental Information

Be recognized as a sponsor or exhibitor in early publicity - and save $100 - by registering for an Exhibit Booth by March 31. The Housing Fair is an inexpensive way to meet and talk with homebuyers and homeowners.

Early Bird Special ~ Reserve Your
Exhibitor Booth by March 31 for Only $400 >>
($100 off full pricing)

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES (scroll down to June 2011 to see all options) >>

EXHIBITOR REGISTRATION >>

SPONSORS / EXHIBITORS GUIDE - (PDF)   or   (Word)

 
 
Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP)

Free 3 CEU Training Session This Wednesday

Learn how to utilize the Community Development Administration's MMP for your customers. CDA has interest rates of 4.25% with no points! Downpayment assistance of $5,000 is still available, plus matching closing cost programs.

Attend a CDA workshop this Wednesday, February 9 or Wednesday, March 9 at 8:30 am.
Details and registration >

 
 
Market Sen$e: Still Favorable Rates, January Sales Reports

Average mortgage rates stayed steady last week. Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending February 3, 2011:

  • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.81 percent, up slightly from 4.80 percent a week ago.
  • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.08 percent, down slightly from 4.09 percent.
  • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 3.69 percent, down slightly from 3.70 percent.
  • The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 3.26 percent, the same as one week ago.

Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >>

 
  January 2011 home sales statistics for Prince George's County were released this morning at pgcar.com/stats >>  While new contracts increased from December 2010 to January 2011 in both single family homes and condo/co-op homes, the number of settlements decreased from December to January in both markets. All numbers have increased when comparing January 2011 with November 2010 (there was an unusually dramatic month-to-month increase from November-to-December settlements which was not matched in January).

 
 
Pending Home Sales Continue Recovery

Pending Sales Improve for Five of Past Six Months

Pending home sales rose again in December, marking the fifth gain in six months, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator, rose 2.0 percent to 93.7 based on contracts signed in December from a downwardly revised 91.9 in November. The index is 4.2 percent below a reading of 97.8 in December 2009. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, credits good affordability conditions and economic improvement. "Modest gains in the labor market and the improving economy are creating a more favorable backdrop for buyers, allowing them to take advantage of excellent housing affordability conditions. Mortgage rates should rise only modestly in the months ahead, so we'll continue to see a favorable environment for buyers with good credit," he said.

REALTOR.org article >>

 
 
NEW AGENCY CEU REQUIREMENT - Class Offered Next Week
Maryland legislation passed last year, HB 83 - Real Estate Continuing Education - Agency and Broker Supervision, requires all real estate licensees to take a three-hour continuing education course in agency principles and disclosure as part of the fifteen hours of education required for license renewal. The agency course requirement must be fulfilled once every four years after the license renewals that occur after January 1, 2012. For example, if your current Maryland license expires on January 2, 2012 you may take the 3 CEU Agency course now to meet the requirement. The agency requirement takes the place of a 3-hour elective. The requirements for 3 Legislative CE hours, 3 Ethics CE hours, and 1.5 Fair Housing CE hours during every two year cycle still exists.

This same legislation also requires brokers, branch office managers and team leaders to complete a three-hour course on the requirements of broker supervision once every four years.

Licensees who possess a graduate degree in law or real estate will be eligible for license renewal if they complete a total of 7.5 hours of continuing education, as long as they are not a broker, associate broker, or are designated a branch office manager or team leader. Those licensees eligible for the 7.5 hour requirement will substitute the agency class for the legislative update in alternating licensing periods.

 
 
MD and DC CEU at PGCAR

Earn ALL of your required Continuing Education hours for Maryland and DC license renewals early -- including the newly required 3 CEU Agency training requirement for Maryland. Don't sweat your next licensing deadline, especially the quickly approaching DC renewal deadlines!


Next Monday, February 14
Meets New Agency Requirement!
MREC Agency - Residential

3 MD Required CEU
Don Martin 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Next Tuesday, February 15
MD Legislative Update
3 MD Required Legislative Update CEU
3 DC Elective CEU
Don Martin 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
MD Fair Housing
1.5 MD Required Fair Housing CEU
1.5 DC Elective CEU
Don Martin 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Next Wednesday, February 16
DC Legislative Update
3 DC Required Legislative Update CEU
Prabhjit Singh 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Financing Issues Update
3 DC Required Financing Issues Update CEU
3 MD Elective CEU
Prabhjit Singh 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Next Thursday, February 17
Contracts
3 MD Elective CEU
3 DC Elective CEU
Stu Stern 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

Tuesday, February 22
DC Fair Housing & Predatory Lending
3 DC Required Fair Housing CEU
Prabhjit Singh 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Thursday, February 24
MD Code of Ethics
3 MD Required Ethics CEU
3 DC Elective CEU
Don Martin 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

Full CEU Schedule >>

 

Code of Ethics Case Study: #17-1:
Obligation to Submit to Arbitration

REALTOR® A and REALTOR® B had been engaged in a cooperative transaction that resulted in a dispute regarding entitlement to compensation. Rather than requesting arbitration before the Board of REALTORS®, REALTOR® A filed suit against REALTOR® B for payment of the compensation he felt REALTOR® B owed him. Upon receiving notification of the lawsuit, REALTOR® B filed a request for arbitration with the Board, which was reviewed by the Grievance Committee and found to be a mandatory arbitration situation. REALTOR® A was advised of the Grievance Committee's decision, but refused to withdraw from the lawsuit. Thereupon, REALTOR® B filed a complaint with the Board charging a violation of Article 17 as supported by Standard of Practice 17-1.

REALTOR® A was directed to be present at a hearing on the complaint before the Board of Directors. Evidence that REALTOR® B had sought REALTOR® A's agreement to submit the dispute to arbitration was presented at the hearing. REALTOR® A defended his action in filing the suit and refusing to submit to arbitration by asserting that under laws of the state, the Board of REALTORS® had no authority to bar his access to the courts or to require him to arbitrate his dispute with REALTOR® B.

Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 17, how do you think the Professional Standards Panel ruled?

Find out here >>

 
 
Leadership Training Opportunities:

2012 NAR Leadership Academy
Are you already actively involved, have a passion for the industry and a vision for the future of real estate? If this describes you, consider applying for the 2012 graduating class of the National Association of REALTORS® Leadership Academy.

Full Details & Application >>
Application deadline is March 31, 2011.

FREE REALTORS® Excelling in Association Leadership (REAL) Self-Study Course
Whether you're already in association leadership or interested in getting more involved, you can learn valuable insights in this free, online course, available 24/7. Details and course sign on >

 
PGCAR Offices will be closed Monday, February 21st in observance of Presidents' Day.

Prince George's County Association of REALTORS®
8400 Corporate Drive  :  Suite 225 : Landover MD 20785
Phone 301-306-7900  :  Fax 301-306-8273  :  www.pgcar.com  :  ©2011, PGCAR

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