Membership Renewals are Past Due
Renew Today to Keep Your Membership Benefits
Membership renewals were due on Wednesday, November 30th, 2011.
Thanks to the majority of members who renewed on time.
Missed the deadline? Renew today using the secure, easy online dues renewal at www.pgcar.com.
- Click here
- Log in
- Pay and receive an itemized receipt for your
2011 - 2012 PGCAR, MAR and NAR membership renewals.
Please pay your 2011 - 2012 dues by midnight, December 31st to prevent loss of SentriLock key privileges, your MRIS discount, ZipForms and other REALTOR® membership benefits.
Coats and Food Needed by This Thursday
Why let an unused coat gather dust, when it could keep someone warm? Gain some spare room in those closets, and dig out those coats your family outgrew and you stored away. Bring them and any non-perishable food items you wish to donate to the PGCAR office by this Thursday, December 15
. We'll be giving them to the homeless and the needy.
Thank you for making a difference!
Information flyer >
|Help pack the Holiday Food boxes this Thursday and Friday.
Please sign up to help this Thursday and Friday. The more the merrier! We'll be packing boxes from 9 am to 3 pm this Thursday, December 15 and this Friday, December 16. Please volunteer and come for whatever part of the day you can.
Click Here to Volunteer Today >>
Thank you for your participation and generosity!
Over 100 REALTORS® attended the PGCAR Legislative Breakfast held at Martins Crosswinds on November 30th. The event, organized by the Association's Legislative Committee under the supervision of Chair Mike Cerrito, was a huge success. REALTORS® in attendance heard from Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, U.S. Representative Donna Edwards, Prince George's Senate Chair Doug Peters, House Vice-Chair Mike Vaughn, and County Council Vice-Chair Eric Olson. Many of our Prince George's County Senators and Delegates and County Council officials attended this year's event and mingled throughout the morning. This year we were excited to have our newest County Council Member Derrick L. Davis in attendance as well.
Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist® Training
March 22 - 23, 2012
8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Required for Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS) Designation
Earns 2 CRS Elective Units • Lunch Provided Both Days
Sponsored by the Women's Council of REALTORS®
Attend this valuable training and discover how to:
- Reach more affluent prospects
- Increase your average price
- List and sell more luxury homes
- Deliver outstanding service to affluent buyers and sellers
- Set yourself apart as a luxury home expert
- Grow your business and increase your income
This intensive two-day CLHMS training course sets the standard for luxury sales training in the industry, and is the first step in earning the coveted CLHMS designation. Members must then meet sales performance requirements before they are awarded the CLHMS designation.
Learn what wealthy buyers and sellers say are the "real secrets" to
capturing their business and delivering outstanding service!
Early Bird: $499 before January 15, 2012
Thank You for Your Generosity!
Thank you to everyone who helped organize, bought tickets, donated, or
sponsored last Tuesday's Holiday Charity Event!
George Mason Mortgage, LLC
Anthony Dozier, HomeSource Real Estate Solutions
Home First Title Group
AmeriSpec Home Inspection Service
Centex Homes at Victory Promenade / Pulte Homes at Arts District
Cerrito Realty LLC
First Home Mortgage Corp.
Keller Williams Preferred Properties
Nateka Dancy, EXIT Elite Realty
The Rowan Group & Monarch Mortgage
Earlene Glenn, RealInvestors of Maryland
ServiceMaster RSI of Bowie
Washington Home Mortgage
Tickets Sponsor - CPS / Gumpert Printing Company
Centerpieces Sponsors - Doris Kessebah
Open Bar Sponsor - La Fontaine Bleu
Favors Sponsor - Old Line Bank
HUGE SENTRILOCK LOCKBOX SALE
Sale Ends December 30, 2011
PGCAR is pleased to provide a special sale on SentriLock Lockboxes for PGCAR Members.
Between NOW and DECEMBER 30, 2011, lockboxes will be sold as follows:
|1 - 9 Lockboxes
10 - 19 Lockboxes
20 - 29 Lockboxes
30 Lockboxes or more
||$65 each + tax
$60 each + tax
$55 each + tax
$50 each + tax
Freddie Mac Updates
3% to Buyers and $1,000 Selling Agent Bonus
3% Savings Through January! New Short Sale Policy
- Freddie Mac is offering a Winter Sales Promotion on offers submitted by owner-occupant purchasers between November 15, 2011 and January 31, 2012 with escrow closed by March 15, 2012. See this and other incentives at www.homesteps.com >
Freddie Mac Amends Short Sale Affidavit Policy - At the request of NAR and the American Land Title Association (ALTA), Freddie Mac has amended its short sale affidavit policy. The purpose of the affidavit is to prevent fraud by requiring the buyer, the seller, the real estate brokers, the escrow/closing agent, and any transaction facilitator to make various certifications (including that the short sale is an arm's length transaction and the buyer will not resell within 120 days unless there are substantial improvements).
Policy changes will be mandatory as of January 1, 2012; however, servicers are encouraged to implement the changes immediately. NAR also advises members to make sure that any short sale affidavit they sign is an updated form. If presented with an old form, members should request the servicer to update or allow amendments to the form before signing, to avoid potential liability issues. Details >
Another Short-Term Extension to Flood Insurance Being Worked
Due to Expire This Friday, December 16
Last Wednesday, December 7 the Senate passed legislation to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for another 5 months, through May 31, 2012. The bill must still pass the House.
Just before its November 18 scheduled expiration, the NFIP was extended through this coming Friday, December 16.
Both the Senate and House passed separate legislation for NFIP reform and a 5 year extension during 2011; however, the Senate and House have neither reconciled the differences between the two bills, nor brought a new bill for long-term extension to vote.
Request a Longer 5-Year Extension Today >
Victory: FHA Loan Limits Restored!
On November 17, Congress restored the FHA loan limits for 2 years. The reinstated FHA loan limit formula and cap change will help make mortgages more affordable and accessible for hard-working, middle-class families in 669 counties in 42 states and territories, where the average loan limit reduction after the reset last month was more than $68,000. Prince George's loan limit has been restored to $729,750 – the highest amount available.
2012 NAR President Moe Veissi reminds us, "I know that when we work together we can accomplish anything we set our minds to in order to preserve, protect and defend the American Dream of Home Ownership."
Thank you for your support of homeownership! More details >
Buy Suitland Initiative
Expanded Foreclosure Definition Increases Number of Eligible Properties!
Important - In addition to foreclosed and short sale properties, the BUY SUITLAND Program
will now accept owner occupied or vacant resale properties where the seller is at least 60 days delinquent on mortgage payments. Verification of mortgage delinquency at time of contract will be required.
This criteria increases the number of homes that can utilize the Buy Suitland Program. This also enables helping more sellers already delinquent on mortgage payments and
makes properties available much sooner, prior to being unoccupied for several months. Note that resale properties meeting the 60 day mortgage delinquency criteria must still be located in the Buy Suitland targeted census tracts.
Prince George's My HOME/Buy Suitland program office will compile a list of preferred resale properties for distribution. If you are listing a resale property that meets this criteria and the seller will accept a Buy Suitland assistance contract, please contact Yetta Stokes at 301.883.7409 or HStokes@co.pg.md.us
Homebuyers can receive these grants for buying:
Buy Suitland Grant Amounts:
- Foreclosure and Short Sale properties
- NEW! The BUY SUITLAND Program will also award grants to assist purchasing owner occupied or vacant resale properties where the seller is at least 60 days delinquent on mortgage payments. Verification of mortgage delinquency at time of contract will be required.
- In 7 Census Tracks: 8018.02, 8019.02, 8020.01, 8020.02, 8021.05, 8024.05, 8024.06
- Where Appraisal vs Contract Price = 1% Discount
Similar to the first NSP Program, the sale price of property under contract must be at a 1% discount of the most recent appraised value.
|Maximum 0% Interest Grant Amount
|5% of the purchase price of home
||An applicant with household income between 80 - 120% of the area median income.
|7% of the purchase price of home
||An applicant currently employed at the Suitland Federal Center, Police Office, Firefighter, Nurse or Teacher.
|35% of the purchase price of home or $40,000
Whichever is greater, as needed, to meet the
45% Debt-to-income requirements
|An applicant with a combined household income of 50% or below the area median income.
My HOME and Buy Suitland Holiday Schedule
Due to the holidays, the last day to submit final conditions on loans in My HOME / Buy Suitland pipeline to close by December 30, 2011 is this Friday, December 16, 2011.
- Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLB Atlanta) - 2 new programs - The first offers up to $15,000 towards a foreclosure purchase. The second offers up to $7,500 to homebuyers earning up to 80% AMI and buying within NSP targeted areas in MD or DC. These two programs do NOT require you to be a first-time homebuyer.
Consumer information page > Details & webinars for REALTORS® >
- My HOME - provides up to 5% of the home sale price in Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance to County Homebuyers who have not owned a home within the last 3 years. See details at www.pgcar.com or the County website. Even more details in Members Only >
- Centex Offers Additional Savings to My HOME Program - The My HOME program has established a relationship with Centex Homes. Your homebuyer can buy a Centex Home in the Victory Promenade development (behind FED EX Field) with My HOME funds and get seller assistance too. They have units that are standing and ready within 30 days. For more information or to schedule a time to view these homes, please call (301) 350-5875 or email Jennifer Eaddy.
- American Dream Downpayment Assistance (ADDI) - up to $10,000 to County Homebuyers who have not owned a home within the last 3 years. Details >
- The Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) offered through the state's Community Development Administration (CDA) has announced 2 loan products for distressed properties. All MMP products have low, fixed interest rates and some offer matching funds. These 2 new products will assist in revitalizing communities burdened with foreclosed and rundown properties.
The Acquisition / Rehabilitation Mortgage Program helps purchase a single-family home as a primary residence and obtain funds for needed repairs and renovations.
The Homeward Bound Program offers eligible buyers of foreclosed or short sale property a lower rate mortgage.
Program Details >
Most of these programs can be used in combination. Information on these and other homebuyer savings are available at pgcar.com. Sales agents - please study up and stay familiar with current homebuyer incentives, and send links to your contacts from these public information pages. For more My HOME program details, members can login to pgcar.com Members Only.
LEGISLATIVE ALERT - November 28, 2011
Maryland Court Declares Housing Act Provisions
Landlords from Lead Paint Liability are Unconstitutional
RENTAL PROPERTY OWNERS AND MANAGERS TAKE NOTE!
On October 24, 2011, in the case of Jackson v. Dackman Co. et al. (Md. App., 2011), the Court of Appeals of Maryland held that the immunity provisions of the Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing Act ("the Act"), which provide compliant landlords with qualified immunity from tort liability under specified circumstances, violate Article 19 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights ("Article 19").
Article 19 generally protects two related rights: (1) a right to a remedy for an injury to one's person or property and (2) a right of access to the courts. The Court interpreted Article 19 to prohibit unreasonable restrictions on traditional remedies or access to the courts.
The Court concluded that the substituted remedy under the Act for a child permanently brain damaged due to the child's ingestion of lead-based paint in the rental property was totally inadequate and unreasonable to ameliorate the harm done. The Court also held that the unconstitutional provisions of the Act could be severed from the remainder of the Act leaving all other provisions unchanged.
More information and details of the impact of this ruling on landlords and property managers is available here.
Please also read the Baltimore Sun article, Lead Paint Case: A Poisoned Compromise >
Lead is one of the few areas where the property manager has as much financial liability as the owner in cases of elevated blood lead levels. It is important for all PGCAR REALTORS® and Affiliates to keep ourselves and our clients informed.
Market Sen$e: Affordability Index High; Mortgage Rates Stay Low
Average fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages stayed near their record lows, helping keep housing affordability high for borrowers. The 30-year FRM dipped to 3.99%, 0.62 points lower than a year ago. Median sales prices on existing homes were 4.7% lower in October 2011 than in October 2010. These factors have pushed housing affordability to record highs this year, and likely contributed to the rise in conventional mortgage applications for home purchases for the week of December 2, 2011.
Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending December 8, 2011:
- The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.99 percent, down from 4.00 percent a week ago.
- The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.27 percent, down from 3.30 percent.
- The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.93 percent, up from 2.90 percent.
- The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.80 percent, up from 2.78 percent.
Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >>
Prince George's November Home Sales Mixed —
2011 Continues Improvements From 2010
While contract signings increased in both the condo and single family markets in October, those increases didn't appear across the board in November settlements just yet. November condo settlements increased a stellar 12.7%, whereas single family home settlements decreased 3.9%.
Year-to-date contracts and settlements have all improved from 2010.
Visit www.pgcar.com/stats for detailed statistics.
Gradual Housing and Economic Recovery Expected in 2012
Although the housing market struggled to maintain an even footing in 2011, gradual improvement is expected in 2012 and beyond, according to experts' projections at a residential forum at the 2011 REALTORS®
Conference & Expo.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said home sales should be stronger. "Tight mortgage credit conditions have been holding back home buyers all year, and consumer confidence has been shaky recently," he said. "Nonetheless, there is a sizeable pent-up demand based on population growth, employment levels and a doubling-up phenomenon that can't continue indefinitely. This demand could quickly stimulate the market when conditions improve."
Yun projects growth in Gross Domestic Product to be 1.8 percent this year, then rising moderately at a rate of 2.2 percent in 2012. With job growth of 1.7 to 2.2 million next year, the unemployment rate is expected to decline to 8.7 percent by the second half of 2012. Mortgage interest rates should gradually rise from recent record lows and reach 4.5 percent by the middle of 2012.
Read more details and insights from Richard Peach, Senior Vice President at the Federal Reserve Board of New York, at REALTOR.org.
Consumer Tip: Check Your Credit Record FREE Every 4 Months
Many consumers find it confusing to research their credit score. And for good reason! You can find many advertisements on the Internet for "FREE" Credit Scores which require signing up for a monthly for-fee service. That's not exactly free! So here's the facts on what everyone can find out about their credit. . . for free.
At www.AnnualCreditReport.com, you may request your free Credit Report once a year, from 3 different credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. After filling out a short form to identify yourself at www.AnnualCreditReport.com, you are given the option of which company to view your Credit Report from. If you only select one, you can come back to see your credit reports from the other two later.
Add a reminder to your calendar to check one report every 4 months, and you'll be able to quickly see any negative history in your credit report. You can also see your good history accumulate as you pay all of your bills on time. As an easy reminder, you could add the following to your calendar for every December 15, April 15, and August 15:
Free Credit report check at AnnualCreditReport.com every 4 months.
December - Experian
April - Equifax
August - TransUnion
Your Credit Report will not tell you your Credit Score. Your Credit Score is calculated at the time anyone, such as a potential lender, requests the score. But your Credit Score is calculated based upon items in your Credit Report. Learn more about what affects your Credit Score in the next issue of REALTOR® Connection, and in your Credit Report. Your Report points out items which can decrease your score.
Sales Coach: Add Some Holiday Charm to Your Listings
Holiday décor can lighten moods and warm up interiors. Decorate tastefully, indoors and out, and you can increase the charm and appeal of your listings.
Especially since December days are usually less attractive outdoors, some well-placed holiday lights or yard ornaments can go a long way to adding a festive and welcoming touch. And isn't it nice to open the front door and be welcomed by some soft lights, Christmas music and cinnamon smells?
Read 6 Tips to Holiday Staging >
Earn All MD and DC Required CEU at PGCAR
All classes are held at PGCAR offices, just off the Route 202 / Landover Road exit of I-495. Find our NEW association office at 9200 Basil Court, Suite 400, Largo, MD 20774. There's plenty of parking.
INCLEMENT WEATHER / SNOW POLICY:
SNOW POLICY: PGCAR classes
will be conducted as scheduled unless the Prince George's County Government offices are closed. If you are registered for a class and it is cancelled, your registration fee will be returned or transferred to a future class.
Please be safe and use your best judgment with regards to driving. If unable to attend due to weather, please e-mail Scott Miller or call Scott at 301-306-7961 and you will not be charged. If you will not be attending class, please indicate whether you would like to reschedule or if you would like a refund.
PGCAR committee meetings: If Prince George's County Public Schools are CLOSED, all PGCAR committee meetings will be cancelled. If Prince George's County Public Schools are on a delayed schedule, committee meetings will be held as scheduled.
PGCAR offices will be open unless the Prince George's County Government is closed.
Learn More, Earn More in 2012
PGCAR is offering GRI Series 100, 200, and 300.
Sign up now!
Protecting Client's Interest in Auction Advertised as "Absolute"
Seller T, a widowed elementary school teacher in the Midwest inherited a choice parcel of waterfront property on one of the Hawaiian islands from a distant relative. Having limited financial resources, and her childrens' college educations to pay for, she concluded that she would likely never have the means to build on or otherwise enjoy the property. Consequently, she decided to sell it and use the proceeds to pay tuition and fund her retirement.
Seller T corresponded via the Internet with several real estate brokers, including REALTOR® Q whose Web site prominently featured his real estate auction services. An exchange of email followed. REALTOR® Q proposed an absolute auction as the best way of attracting qualified buyers and ensuring the highest possible price for Seller T. Seller T found the concept had certain appeal but she also had reservations. "How do I know the property will sell for a good price?" she e-mailed
REALTOR® Q. REALTOR® Q responded "You have a choice piece of beachfront. They aren't making any more of that, you know. It will easily bring at least a million five hundred thousand dollars." Seller T acquiesced and REALTOR® Q sent her the necessary contracts which Seller T executed and returned.
Several days prior to the scheduled auction, Seller T decided to take her children to Hawaii on vacation. The trip would also afford her the chance to view the auction and see, firsthand, her future financial security being realized.
On the morning of the auction only a handful of people were present. Seller T chatted with them and, in casual conversation, learned that the only two potential bidders felt the property would likely sell for far less than the $1,500,000 REALTOR® Q had assured her it would bring. One potential buyer disclosed he planned to bid no more than $250,000. The other buyer wouldn't disclose an exact limit but said he was expecting a "fire sale."
Seller T panicked. She rushed to REALTOR® Q seeking reassurance that her property would sell for $1,500,000. REALTOR® Q responded, "This is an auction. The high bidder gets the property." Faced with this dire prospect, Seller T insisted that the auction be cancelled. REALTOR® Q reluctantly agreed and advised the sparse audience that the seller had cancelled the auction.
Within days, two ethics complaints were filed against REALTOR® Q. Seller T's complaint alleged that REALTOR® Q had misled her by repeatedly assuring her-essentially guaranteeing her-that her property would sell for at least $1,500,000. By convincing her she would realize that price- and by not clearly explaining that if the auction had proceeded the high bidder-at whatever price-would take the property, Seller T claimed her interests had not been adequately protected, and she had been lied to. This, Seller T concluded, violated Article 1.
The second complaint, from Buyer B, related to REALTOR® Q's pre-auction advertising. REALTOR® Q's ad specifically stated "Absolute Auction on July 1." Nowhere in the ad did it mention that the auction could be cancelled or the property sold beforehand. "I came to bid at an auction," wrote Buyer B, "and there was no auction nor any mention that it could be cancelled." This advertising, Buyer B's complaint concluded, violated Article 12's "true picture" requirement.
Both complaints were forwarded by the Grievance Committee for hearing. At the hearing, REALTOR® Q defended his actions by noting that comparable sales supported his conclusion that Seller T's property was worth $1,500,000. "That price was reasonable and realistic when we entered the auction contract, and it's still reasonable today. I never used the word 'guarantee;' rather I told her the chances of getting a bid of $1,500,000 or more were very good." "But everyone knows," he added, "that anything can happen at an auction." If Seller T was concerned about realizing a minimum net return from the sale, she could have asked that a reserve price be established.
Turning to Buyer B's claim of deceptive advertising, REALTOR® Q argued that his ad had been clear and accurate. There was, he stated, an auction scheduled for July 1 and it was intended to be an absolute auction. "The fact that it was advertised as 'absolute' doesn't mean the property can't be sold beforehand-or that the seller can choose not to sell and cancel the auction. Ads can't discuss every possibility. It might have rained that day. Should my ad have cautioned bidders to bring umbrellas?" he asked rhetorically.
Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 1 and Article 12, how do you think the Professional Standards Panel?
Find out here >>
REALTORS® Federal Credit Union
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||FREE ATMs Nationwide
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Join Online > It only takes 15 minutes!
Do You Have What it Takes? Write That Killer App for 30 Under 30
Every June, REALTOR®
Magazine showcases 30 young professionals making their mark in the real estate industry. Do you or someone in your office have what it takes? Be recognized for your innovation, leadership and passion for excellence. REALTORS®
under the age of 30 as of May 31, 2012 are eligible to apply.
How to write that killer app that gets you noticed?
Click here first >
Holiday Hours: In celebration of Christmas, the PGCAR offices will close at 12 noon on Friday, December 23 and reopen on Tuesday, December 27. For New Year's we will stay open until 5 pm on Friday, December 30 and be closed on Monday, January 2.
May you and your family enjoy a Christmas of joy and good health, peace and good will.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!