|Membership Renewals Past Due|
Brokers and non-paid Agents - January 31 was the deadline to pay 2011-2012 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.
Reinstating your membership today will ensure that you:
- Will have SentriLock access;
- Will not miss out on any of the informative and important classes we offer (such as required CEU, online CE, and free MRIS classes); and,
- Will be able to find out about and attend our exciting upcoming events and fundraisers.
RENEW IMMEDIATELY at www.pgcar.com, or if your account has already been suspended, please call the office at 301-306-7900 to renew.
CALL TO ACTION - SAVE THE MID!!
MD Homeowner's Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) in Jeopardy
- Governor Martin O'Malley has recently proposed to reduce the MID for many MD homeowners.
- The MID, along with state and local property tax deductions, accounts for almost 70% of total deductions claimed by MD taxpayers.
- We cannot afford to stand silently by and allow any new barriers that could impede housing and economic recovery.
Let's say NO! to any increased burden on MD homeowners.
If you haven't done so already, please take 2 minutes to contact your legislator and
Take Action Today >
More Info: January 24 Legislative Alert > MAR Press Release > MID Talking Points >
2012 MAR Legislative Day - Thank you for showing up and making a difference!
On Wednesday, January 25, MAR Legislative Day was held in Annapolis. Attendees were able to learn more about current issues and proposed legislation, meet and mingle with our legislators, join forces with other REALTORS®, and send a message that we care about homeownership in Maryland - especially in our strong opposition to the BRFA bill that would scale back Maryland's Mortgage Interest Deduction.
Thank you to all of the PGCAR Members who rallied in Annapolis for this important event!
See a few photos at www.facebook.com/pgcar >
FREE RPR® Overview Webinar - Tomorrow, February 7, 2 - 3 pm
Give Us an Hour and We'll Give You Over a Million Reasons to Use Realtors Property Resources® (RPR®)!!
Did you know that RPR® allows you to:
So join us Tomorrow, February 7, 2 - 3 pm
- Look up 147 million public property records in a single location?
- Search for properties in your own MLS using value retention heat maps, flood maps and even school zones?
- Have a whole new world of research and valuation tools at your fingertips?
, for a special RPR®
education opportunity and in just an hour, you'll leave armed with a brand new toolbox that will prepare you to anticipate and answer the most discerning client's property questions in a snap.
Don't Miss Out on This Encore Webinar!
Space is limited. Please reserve your Webinar seat today >
||PGCAR Offices will be closed on Monday, February 20
in observance of Presidents' Day.
GIVE BLOOD - SAVE LIVES
PGCAR is sponsoring and hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive®
Wednesday, February 22
9 am to 3 pm
9200 Basil Court, Suite 400
Largo, MD 20774
ALL ARE INVITED
FRIENDS ~ FAMILIES ~ MEMBERS
COME GIVE THE GIFT OF LIFE!
|David Maclin Memorial Scholarship
|Do you know a Prince George's County Public High School Senior who wants to further his/her education and is already making
a difference in the community?
Then have them complete a David Maclin Memorial Scholarship application before Wednesday, February 29. Winners will receive a $2,500 scholarship to be used toward further education in any community college, university or trade school.
Please also share this with Principals and Teachers at your local schools, so you may enable someone who may not have received the materials to share this opportunity with their class.
You can make an important difference in the life of a student!
Scholarship Letter • Scholarship Application • Permission Slip
Email Scholarship Info to a Friend
Scholarship Applications are Due Wednesday, February 29, 2012.
GRI 100 Series Begins March 7 - Learn More, Earn More in 2012
Improve your industry knowledge and your income!
Earn your GRI by taking the GRI 100, 200 and 300 Series in any order. Register for the GRI 100, individual classes, or any of the Series at www.pgcar.com.
Luxury Home Marketing Designation - Training That Sets the Standard
Learn what wealthy buyers and sellers say are the "real secrets" to
capturing their business and delivering outstanding service!
This intensive two-day CLHMS training course sets the standard for luxury sales training in the industry, and the required training for the coveted CLHMS designation.
March 22 - 23, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Earns 2 CRS Elective Units • Lunch Provided Both Days
Sponsored by the Women's Council of REALTORS®
Online Courses Now Offered for Several States
NEW! PGCAR has expanded their online CE offerings.
Taking CE courses online is both flexible and affordable. Signing up through PGCAR makes the process even easier because we've put all of the information in one place - offering the best curriculum, 24/7 access, great customer service, and ongoing support. Let us be your one-stop-shop for all of your online CE needs!
Online CE Courses - Available When YOU Are!
David Maclin Memorial Scholarship 5K Announced!
Saturday, April 14 at 9 am
Come Join Us for a Wonderful Cause on What's Sure to Be a Beautiful Day!
Whether you walk slowly or run competitively, please mark your calendars and plan to register for the First Annual David Maclin Memorial Scholarship 5K on Saturday, April 14. Our start line will be at the Marlboro Ridge Community Center, just 5 minutes from the 495 Beltway.
Location: Marlboro Ridge Community Center
4101 Ritchie-Marlboro Road, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Spread the word and bring your friends!
Mark your Calendars for Tuesday, May 1
Tuesday, May 1
Cinco de Mayo RPAC Fundraiser
6 pm - 10 pm
La Fontaine Bleu
7963 Annapolis Road
Lanham, MD 20706
Details and Registration >
REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) identifies and supports candidates who will work with REALTORS® to promote and protect the American Dream of homeownership. In just 6 years, they raised over $30 million dollars to support pro-REALTOR® candidates running for Congress.
In what ways has this important legislative work supported YOU?
- Kept banking conglomerates out of the real estate brokerage, saving the typical REALTOR® thousands of dollars annually.
- Increased typical REALTOR® earnings by over $6,000 last year by ensuring Fannie/Freddie conforming mortgage loan limits didn't decrease.
- Provided over $600 million in tax relief to homeowners who are forced to sell their homes for less than the amount of the outstanding mortgages.
...and that's just to name a few!
So come out on Tuesday, May 1 and support THEM!
Find out more about RPAC and the important work they are doing.
Feel Confident About Your New Home Purchase
HomeSteps SmartBuySM is Freddie Mac's exciting home purchase program that offers:
It will help you feel confident about your decision to buy from them, and have the peace of mind you expect and deserve from your new home!
See this and other incentives at www.homesteps.com >
Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) - Free 3 CEU Training
Next Tuesday, February 14 or Wednesday, March 14
8:30 - 11:30 am
Learn how to utilize the Community Development Administration's MMP for your customers. CDA has interest rates starting at 3.5% with no points! Down payment assistance of $5,000 is still available, plus matching closing cost programs.
Register early! Details and registration >
Buy Suitland 2012 Training - Next Monday, February 13
The Buy Suitland Initiative will award 0% interest grants to households who have not owned a home within the last 3 years, and are buying a home as their principal residence.
You can learn more about this exciting program by visiting www.pgcar.com
and attending the FREE training offered by the county program office.
Monday, February 13 or Monday, March 12 at 2:00 pm
1400 McCormick Dr., Suite 308, Largo, MD
RSVP Required: HStokes@co.pg.md.us
- Buy Suitland Initiative - Civic Employees and Incomes up to 120% AMI are eligible. Details >
- 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.
Save Energy - Save Taxes! - Presidents' Day Tax Free Weekend
Share with your Customers, Family & Business Contacts!!
They'll thank you for the tip!
Sales tax will not be charged on the sale of Energy Star Products or solar water heaters from Saturday, February 18 through Monday, February 20.
A great weekend to save money on the purchase of a product that will save you money all year-round.
Also, Mark Your Calendars for Shop Maryland, August 14 - August 20, where qualifying apparel and footwear $100 or less will be exempt from the Maryland 6% sales tax (accessory items are not included).
For more information on products that qualify and Shop Maryland week click here.
NAR Supports Obama's Effort to Assist Housing Market and Home Owners
The National Association of REALTORS®
(NAR) is supporting President Obama's pledge to assist homeowners and the struggling housing market, because the restoration is critical for the nation's economic recovery.
"As the nation's leading advocate for homeownership and housing issues, NAR knows that stabilizing the housing market is key to the health of our economy and communities across the country," said NAR President Moe Veissi. "We are pleased that the President released a plan to help America's struggling housing market and homeowners."
The President's plan would help eligible, underwater homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments refinance or modify their loan into safer, more affordable mortgages and take advantage of historically low interest rates. This would allow these homeowners to save hundreds of dollars each month and reduce default rates.
Read the entire Daily Real Estate News article >
To read the statement by NAR President, Moe Veissi in the Jan 24 News Release, 'Homeownership Matters to the State of the Union' click here.
Market Sen$e: 30-Year Fixed-rate Mortgage Matches All-time Record Low
Last week's average mortgage rates dropped to new all-time record lows as data on economic growth fell short of market projections. All products, except for the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM, averaged new lows. Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac, stated, "Most mortgage rates eased to all-time record lows this week as fourth quarter growth in the economy fell short of market projections. The Gross Domestic Product
rose 2.8 percent in the final three months of 2011, below the market consensus forecast of 3.0 percent, while consumer spending in December was flat. One bright spot, however, was that fixed residential investment increased for the third consecutive quarter and residential construction
spending rebounded in December, rising 0.7 percent."
Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending February 2, 2012:
Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >
- The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.87 percent, down from 3.98 percent a week ago.
- The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.14 percent, down from 3.24 percent.
- The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.80 percent, down from 2.85 percent the previous week.
- The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.76 percent, up from 2.74 percent.
Prince George's County Single Family Contracts Rise in January —
January 2012 home sales statistics for Prince George's County were released today at www.pgcar.com/stats >
From December 2011 to January 2012, single family homes contracts were on the rise, while the settlements decreased. Condo/co-ops decreased in both contracts and settlements on a monthly basis.
Inventory levels have decreased significantly from January 2011 to January 2012. Contract signings have increased significantly from a year ago: 12.1% in the single family market and 45.8% in the condo/co-op market.
Visit www.pgcar.com/stats for detailed Prince George's County home sales statistics.
Pending Home Sales Hit 19-Month High in November, Decline for December
After reaching a 19-month high, pending home sales eased in December but stayed above 2010 levels. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, declined 3.5% to 96.6 in December from 100.1 in November but is 5.6 percent above December 2010 when it was 91.5. The data reflects contracts but not closings.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the trend line remains positive. "Even with a modest decline, the preceding two months of contract activity are the highest in the past four years outside of the homebuyer tax credit period," he said. "Contract failures remain an issue, reported by 33% of REALTORS®
over the past few months, but home buyers are not giving up. Housing affordability conditions are too good to pass up. Our hope is lending conditions will gradually improve with sustained increases in closed existing-home sales."
Existing-home sales rose for the third consecutive month, up 5% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.61 million, up from a downwardly revised 4.39 million in November. December 2011 existing-home sales are 3.6% higher than the 4.45 million-unit level in December 2010. For all of 2011, existing-home sales rose 1.7% to 4.26 million from 4.19 million in 2010.
December Pending Home Sales Decline in December, Remain Above a Year Ago >
December Existing-Home Sales Show Uptrend >
Consumer Tip: Rebuild Credit in 2012
Lately we've been focusing on how to check, keep track of, and improve your credit score. Now that we've covered that, let's focus on some great ways to rebuild your credit and boost your score over the next few months - and well into the future.
Quizzle, which provides free credit reports and free credit scores every six months, says the national average score is 657 based on its system. Ideally, consumers get better interest rates at 700 or higher. The 600-range or lower is a danger zone to qualify for loans at all.
So what are some the best ways to improve credit score, while reducing debt?
- Any extra cash? Put it toward credit card debt first. Credit cards (especially department and specialty stores) tend to have interest rates that far exceed mortgage rates.
- Use only a small percentage of the available credit on your card. Even if you pay the balance each month (which you should do), your monthly balance is counted in the percentage of credit used.
- Be cautious about 0% balance transfer offers. Make sure you are aggressively paying down your debt like you would on a high-rate card, and not just moving the balance around.
- If at all possible, use cash. People tend to pay more attention to the total sale when they are forced to count out the cash.
COLLECTION/DEBT RELIEF COMPANIES
- Be wary of 'debt-free in the next few years' offers. Many companies claim to be connected with U.S. government programs that do not even exist. A safer way to find some options to pay off debt is to refer to GovBenefits.gov, the official government benefits website, a free, confidential tool that helps individuals find government benefits they may be eligible to receive, as well as information on how to apply.
- If possible, find an organization that offers in-person counseling. Many universities, military bases, credit unions, housing authorities, and branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service operate nonprofit credit counseling programs. Your financial institution, local consumer protection agency, and friends and family also may be good sources of information and referrals.
- Be aware of your debt-to-income ratio. To qualify for a mortgage, the amount you use to pay off debt each month should be less than 36%.
- Try a week without spending money. If you can easily save $50 by cutting out some luxuries, you could be using that money to pay off more debt.
For more useful tips, go to www.houselogic.com.
Sales Coach: Farming Your Sphere of Influence
In the last REALTOR® Connection Issue
, we outlined the five groups with whom you should be keeping in constant communication, to encourage your business network to flow with repeat customers and referrals. In this issue, we'll focus on potentially the most important group: Sphere of Influence. If you can come up with a plan to farm this valuable group - made up of family, friends, neighbors, past/present clients, and business contacts - you will constantly be bringing in new business, without spending a lot of time or money to do so.
Step 1: Take some time to make a database that can be sorted electronically of your immediate Sphere of Influence. These would include your closest family and friends. Be sure to map out important headings such as: name, address, phone, occupation, family members (including pets).
Step 2: Formulate a plan to farm the database. Your goal is to contact everyone in the database at least every two months. To start with, set up automated quarterly mailings where you can let them know that you're doing great and finding out how they are doing. HINT: An email letting them know about the Presidents' Day Tax Free Weekend mentioned above is a super start!
Step 3: Move on to more personal one-on-one contact. Calling twice a year, sending a card, or taking them to lunch on their birthday are some great ideas. HINT: Sending a birthday card to the family pet is always a big winner!
Step 4: Once you get a handle on your immediate Sphere of Influence, begin to branch out by adding neighbors, past and current clients, business contacts - anyone with whom you have developed a friendly relationship.
Farming your Sphere is all about connecting and keeping in touch with the people who support you, letting them know they are appreciated, and offering your services. Find what works best for you as you continue to farm and nurture your Sphere of Influence. Then reap the benefits and continually have a healthy harvest of happy clients!
For more useful information click here.
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.
Time at Which Modification to Offer of Compensation is
Communicated is a Determining Factor
REALTOR® A listed Seller X's home and filed the listing with the MLS. The property data sheet indicated the compensation REALTOR® A was offering to the other Participants if they were successful in finding a buyer for Seller X's home.
During the next few weeks, REALTOR® A authorized several Participants of the Multiple Listing Service, including REALTOR® C, to show Seller X's home to potential buyers. Although several showings were made, no offers to purchase were forthcoming. REALTOR® A and Seller X, in discussing possible means of making the property more salable, agreed to reduce the listed price. REALTOR® A also agreed to lower his commission. REALTOR® A changed his compensation offer in the MLs and then called the MLS Participants who had shown Seller X's property to advise them that he was modifying his offer of compensation to cooperating brokers. Upon receiving the call, REALTOR® C responded that he was working with Prospect Z who appeared to be very interested in purchasing the property and who would probably make an offer to purchase in the next day or two. REALTOR® C indicated that he would expect to receive the compensation that had been published originally in the MLS and not the reduced amount now being offered to him, since he had already shown the property to Prospect Z and expected an offer to purchase would be made shortly. REALTOR® A responded that since Prospect Z had not signed an offer to purchase, the modified offer of compensation would be applicable.
The following day, REALTOR® C wrote an offer to purchase for Prospect Z. The offer was submitted to the Seller by REALTOR® A and was accepted. At the closing, REALTOR® A gave REALTOR® C a check for services in an amount reflecting the modified offer communicated to REALTOR® C by phone. REALTOR® C refused to accept the check indicating that he felt REALTOR® A's actions were in violation of the Code of Ethics. REALTOR® C filed a complaint with the Board's Grievance Committee alleging violation of Articles 2 and 3 on the part of REALTOR® A citing Standard of Practice 3-2 in support of the charge.
During the hearing, REALTOR® C stated that REALTOR® A's modification of the compensation constituted a misrepresentation through concealment of pertinent facts since he had not provided REALTOR® C with specific written notification of the modification prior to the time REALTOR® C began his efforts to interest the purchaser in the listed property. REALTOR® A defended his actions by indicating that timely notice of the modification of compensation offered had been provided to REALTOR® C by telephone prior to REALTOR® C obtaining a signed offer to purchase. REALTOR® A also indicated that his modified offer of compensation had been bulletined to all Participants through the MLS. REALTOR® A also noted that in accordance with Standard of Practice 3-2, the modified compensation offer had been communicated to REALTOR® C prior to the time the purchaser signed an offer to purchase. REALTOR® A also commented that had REALTOR® C produced the signed offer to purchase prior to REALTOR® A communicating the modified offer, then REALTOR® A would have willingly paid the amount originally offered.
Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Articles 2 and 3, how do you think the Professional Standards Panel ruled?
Find out here >>
Free Hands-On MRIS Tools Training at PGCAR
PGCAR hosts free MRIS hands-on training sessions each month. The February sessions are:
Next Tuesday, February 14
9:30 am - 12:30 pm
XactSite 101: Introduction. Not sure where to start with your newly purchased XactSite? Learn to set up your website using photo and logo upload, domain set up, and search engine optimization basics.
Next Tuesday, February 14
1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
MATRIX 201: Customize Matrix. Personalize your Matrix to create easier navigation, advance your skills, and work more efficiently and productively.
Visit www.mris.com/training for details and registration. Advance registration with MRIS is required.
REALTORS® Federal Credit Union
Need a New Car? FCU Has Lowest Auto Loan Rates Ever!
Save on a new auto through NAR's REALTOR® Benefits
Program Partner Chrysler Group LLC. As one of your options for financing, REALTORS®
FCU is offering a financing option of limited-time low rates for new auto purchases!
Hurry! Special new auto loan rate expires on March 31, 2012!
Click here for more information and to see other great REALTOR® FCU Auto Deals!
Why Join REALTORS® FCU? One of the many great reasons:
- Flexible lending that understands a REALTOR®'s income
- It's the 24/7 credit union designed for your unique needs as a REALTOR®!
Join Online > It only takes 15 minutes!