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June 11, 2012

    I n   t h i s   i s s u e . . .
 
Events
  • MAR'S CARE and Special Project Awards
        - Due This Friday
  • Red Cross Blood Drive - Wednesday, June 20
  • CRS Training Offer - Save 50% on Second Class
  • DSA and Affiliate Award Nominations
  • Apply for the Annual Leadership Academy
    Homeownership Matters
  • 2 New Homebuyer Incentive Programs with
        2.87% Interest Rates!
  • FREE Homebuyer Workshop This Saturday
  • FREE Foreclosure Prevention Workshop
  • Homebuyer Incentives in Prince George's County
  • Consumer Tip: When Do You Lower
        Your Home Price?
  •  
    The Industry Insider
  • Withholding Tax Changes for Maryland
        Non-Residents
  • Contracts Alert - Updated Listing Agreements
        and Non-Resident Sellers Addendum
  • Market Sen$e: Fixed Mortgage Rates Drop
        Again to New Records Lows
  • May Home Sales for Prince George's County
  • Commercial Real Estate Market Improves
  • Senate Passes 60-Day NFIP Extension
  • DC and MD CEU
  • Sales Coach: Solving Seller Problems
  • Code of Ethics: Case #10-5
  • Some Reasons to Join REALTORS® Federal
        Credit Union
  • Free Hands-On MRIS Tools Training at PGCAR
  • PGCAR Membership Application
  • WCR: Prince George's Chapter - Join Today
  •  

    MAR CARE and Special Project Award Surveys
    Due This Friday, June 15

    The PGCAR Community Service Committee deeply appreciates that Prince George's County REALTORS® give back to their communities every day in a number of different ways.

    You coach, mentor, lead scout troops, raise needed funds for medical research and assisting others. You deliver Meals on Wheels, work on Habitat and Christmas in April Homes. You create March of Dimes walk teams and Scholarship Fun Walk/Run events. So many of our offices raise money each year for their favorite charity, or they collect food, coats and toys. And because you don't do it for the recognition, sometimes we aren't aware of the wonderful things you are doing.

    Well now is your chance!

    PGCAR has an opportunity to win MAR's CARE Award, which gives us $10,000 to give to a local charity of our choice. We could use it for another Habitat House; we could increase scholarship opportunities for our graduating students; we could give it to a food bank or numerous other charities - the possibilities are endless.

    ...but we can't win if you don't tell us what you are doing!
    Help create yet another opportunity to give back.

    Please take a few minutes to let us know how you help your community!

    CARE surveys are due to PGCAR by 5:00 pm THIS Friday, June 15.

    Click here for an online CARE community service survey >
    Click here for the CARE Special Project PDF application >

     
    GIVE BLOOD - SAVE LIVES
    PGCAR is sponsoring and hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive®

    Next Wednesday, June 20
    9 am to 3 pm


    At the
    PGCAR Office
    9200 Basil Court, Suite 400
    Largo, MD 20774

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



     

    Upcoming CRS Training
    Two Classes Still Available for 50% Off Offer


    COST PER CLASS:
    $75 Members of National and MD/DC CRS
    $125 Members of National CRS    $150 Non-Members
    Register for one class and get the second class for 50% off.

    CLASS LOCATION:
    Maryland Association of REALTORS®
    200 Harry S Truman Parkway, Annapolis, MD 21401

    Wednesday, June 27, 2012, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
    Real Estate Social Marketing
    Details & Registration Form >

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
    The Little EXTRAS ... In EXTRAordinary Customer Service
    Details & Registration Form >

    Note: If you already attended the June 8 class, It's a Price War to the Door,
    you can still register for one of these classes at the 50% off price.

    Visit the CRS website for more details.

     
     

    Award Nominations Due Friday, July 6


    PGCAR is now accepting nominations for Affiliate of the Year and Distinguished Sales Associate of the Year. Click below for details and application forms.

    • Affiliate of the Year Award application    (    )
    • Distinguished Sales Associate of the Year Award application    (    )

    The nominations deadline is Friday, July 6 at 5:00 p.m.


     

    2012 - 2013 Leadership Academy
    Applications Due Wednesday, August 1


    The annual MAR Leadership Academy is a rare opportunity for training in organizational leadership and communications. Applications for the upcoming October 4, 2012 through April 16, 2013 sessions are due Wednesday, August 1, 2012. Applicants must be available for an interview on August 7 or August 16.

    Details and application >
    Leadership Academy brochure >

     
    -   -   -   TWO Maryland Mortgage Programs   -   -   -
    2.87% Special Interest Rates for Maryland Homebuyers


    All Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) mortgage products, offered by the Community Development Administration (CDA), have low fixed interest rates and are available with downpayment and closing cost assistance. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has awarded an additional $30 million for homebuyer assistance to CDA. Learn about these programs, and let every potential homebuyer know about them too.


    June Save-A-Home Loan Program
    Now through June 30, 2012


    The Save-A-Home Loan Program is offering reduced interest rates of 2.875% in Targeted Areas and interest rates that are 0.75% below regular Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) rates in Non-Targeted Areas, with a floor of 3.25%. These special rates are offered for short sales and non-DHCD-owned foreclosures now through June 30, 2012.

    $30 Million Targeted Areas Initiative
    NOT Just for First-Time Homebuyers
    Now until Allocated Funds Are Expended


    This mortgage program offers the same reduced interest rates starting at 2.875% and is available while funds last. Veterans and first-time homebuyers are eligible for this amazing mortgage program when buying a home in any Prince George's or Maryland location. Current homeowners buying a new primary residence are eligible if they buy in a "Targeted Area" of Prince George's County or the State of Maryland.

    Program Eligibility

    • in non-targeted areas, buyers who have not owned a home within the last 3 years
    • any qualified homebuyer in targeted areas (no first-time homebuyer requirement)
    • any veteran (no targeted area requirement, no first-time homebuyer requirement)

    Prince George's Targeted Areas for both programs include:

    • Brentwood
    • Capitol Heights
    • Colmar Manor
    • Fairmont Heights
    • Mt. Rainier
    • North Brentwood
    • Seat Pleasant
    • Plus census tracts: 803200, 803401, 803509, 804300, 804800, 805601, 805602

    Click here for a map of Targeted Areas in Prince George's County.
    Click here for a complete list of Targeted Areas in other Maryland Counties.

    Please see the following for additional program information:

    The next FREE MMP workshop for REALTORS® and lenders is Tuesday, July 17 from 8:30 am to 11:30 am. RSVP is required, and 3 Elective CE hours will be earned for MD Real Estate licensees. Workshop details and RSVP >


     

    My Home and Buy Suitland Homebuyer Assistance Programs
    FREE Workshop for Homebuyers


    Buy Suitland

    This Saturday, June 16, 11 am to 12:30 pm
    My Home and Buy Suitland Homebuyer Assistance Programs Workshop

    Keller Williams Realty
    9701 Apollo Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
    Facilitator: Cecelia Bell, REALTOR® ~ Keller Williams Realty

    Homebuyers will learn about the My HOME and Buy Suitland loan programs. This workshop is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for the required 8 hours housing counseling class.

    RSVP required: LAJONES1@co.pg.md.us


     

    FREE Foreclosure Prevention Workshop
    Presented by U.S. Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards


    Saturday, July 21    9 am to 2 pm
    Fort Foote Baptist Church
    8310 Fort Foote Road, Fort Washington, MD 20744

    There are still too many foreclosures in Prince George's County. In this workshop, you can meet with loan servicers, learn how foreclosures can be prevented, speak with housing counselors and attorneys, and find out how Maryland's foreclosure prevention laws affect you.

    Help is available, so please pass this information on to your customers, family members, and anyone who you think may benefit from this workshop.

    Click here for printable flyer >

    To pre-register for a FREE legal consult with an attorney, call the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland.
    1-800-396-1274 x 3050


     
    1. New Programs and Funding! The Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP)
      Read the above article about new low interest rate mortgage products and incentives.
      More MMP Program Details >   July 17 Training >
    2. Buy Suitland Initiative
      Up to 5% of home purchase price to first-time homebuyers; Up to 7% for local civic employees. Program Details >
    3. Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLB Atlanta)
      Up to $15,000 towards a foreclosure purchase; Up to $7,500 toward the purchase of a property located in area approved for NSP funds.
      Program Details >   Details & webinars for REALTORS® >
    4. American Dream Downpayment Assistance (ADDI)
      Up to $10,000 to County Homebuyers who have not owned a home within the last 3 years.
      Program Details >
    5. My HOME
      Up to 5% of the home sale price to qualified homebuyers who have not owned a home within the last 3 years.
      Program Details >   County My HOME Website >
    6. Centex Adds Savings to My HOME Program
      Purchase a Centex Home in the Victory Promenade development with My HOME funds and receive seller assistance also. For more information call (301) 350-5875 or email Jennifer Eaddy.
    7. Freddie Mac HomeSteps SmartBuySM
      Offers a limited FREE two-year HomeProtect® Home Warranty and up to 30% savings on new appliances.
      Home listings and incentive details >   Sign up for homesteps.com buyer leads >

    Most of these programs can be used in combination. Information on these and other homebuyer savings are available at pgcar.com. For more My HOME program details, members can login to pgcar.com Members Only.


     

    Consumer Tip: When Do You Consider Lowering Your Home Price?


    There are some reasons a house doesn't sell that are beyond the seller's control, including your home having a unique layout or being the only one in the neighborhood without a garage. But if your house has been on the market a lot longer than any of the other houses for sale in your area, it may be time to think about one thing you can control - the price. Here are some other factors with regard to lowering the selling price.

    NOT AS MANY LOOKERS

    Because buyers don't want to miss their chance, you will get the most interest in your home immediately after it is listed. If your agent tells you that your house is getting far fewer looks than the other houses for sale in your area, it may be because buyers are waiting for the price to come down before they look at it.

    A LOT OF LOOKERS; NO OFFERS

    If you've had multiple showings and not a single offer, something is not right. Ask your agent to find out what other agents are saying about your home. A home priced too high can discourage buyers from even making an offer.

    YOU'VE GOT A DEADLINE

    If you're being transferred or you've already purchased another home, you may want to make your selling price slightly lower than comparable homes in your area to generate interest.

    CHANGING COMPETITION

    Be sure to check out the other homes in your area - new listings, ones that have sold and ones that are still on the market. If your price is more in line with the homes that are still on the market, it may be a sign that your price is too steep.

    Remember that the amount the buyer will pay for your home should determine the sale price (not how much money you need to get from the sale).

    For more pricing and selling tips, go to houselogic.com.

    In the next issue of REALTOR® Connection, we'll cover 5 do-it-yourself projects that can increase sales value by more than $10,000.


     

    Withholding Tax Changes for Maryland Non-Residents


    For Maryland non-residents who sell their real property located in Maryland, their property sales withholding tax (paid for at settlement) has increased from 6.75% to 7% effective June 1, 2012.

    Click here for more details >


     

    ALERT! Three Updated Contract Forms
    Effective as of June 1, 2012


    Updated Contracts In response to the income tax withholding rate for non-resident individual sellers of real property increasing from 6.75% to 7% (SB 1302, Chapter 2 of the 2012 Special Session), the following three forms were updated. Please destroy all older versions of these forms and begin using the new forms immediately. The new forms are dated 6/2012.

    PG Form 1005: Land - Unimproved Land Listing Agreement

    PG Form 1200: Listing - Residential Listing Agreement

    PG Form 1311: Non-Resident Seller Transfer Withholding Tax Addendum

    Please visit PGCAR Members Only to download the latest forms.


     

    Market Sen$e: Fixed Mortgage Rates Drop Again to New Records Lows


    Results released last Thursday, June 7 show that record-setting low fixed mortgage rates dropped even further (30-year fixed-rate was down to 3.67 percent while the 15-year fixed-rate dropped to 2.94 percent). Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac, states, "Fixed mortgage rates reached new record lows for the sixth consecutive week as long-term Treasury bond yields declined further following downwardly revised economic growth and job creation data. Gross domestic product rose 1.9 percent in the first quarter, after originally being reported as 2.2 percent, led by gains in inventories, more government cutbacks and the slowest increase in corporate profits in over three years. In addition, the economy added 69,000 jobs in May, less than half of the market consensus forecast and revisions subtracted a total of 49,000 workers in March and April. Lastly, the unemployment rate ticked up from 8.1 percent in April to 8.2 percent."

    Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending June 7, 2012:

    • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.67 percent, down from 3.75 percent.
    • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.94 percent, down from 2.97 percent.
    • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.84 percent, same as last week.
    • The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.79 percent, up from 2.75 percent.
    Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >

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    May Home Sales for Prince George's County:
    Monthly Single Family & Condo Settlements Up


    Although single family home contracts decreased slightly from April to May 2012 (2.4%), single family settlements increased 10.5% from April to May, and single family listings increased 3.1%. During the month of May, 1037 contracts on single family homes were signed. Year-to-date contracts are up 3.1% and settlements down by 4.6% from 2011.

    The condo market enjoyed another monthly increase from April to May in contracts and settlements. Contracts increased 8.0% and settlements increased by 2.8%. Year-to-date condo contracts are up 12.2% and condo settlements are down 6.3%, still showing the effects of slower lending.

    See detailed statistics for May 2012 at www.pgcar.com/stats >

    To be the first to see home sale statistics when they're released, like us at www.facebook/pgcar. While you're there, add yourself to the Find a REALTOR® Directory to give homebuyers and sellers yet another way to find you.


     
     

    Commercial Real Estate Market Improving
    Multifamily Sector Strong


    Shaking off a prolonged impact from the recession, fundamentals are gradually improving in all of the major commercial real estate sectors, according to NAR's quarterly commercial real estate forecast and the May 2012 quarterly Commercial Real Estate Market Survey, which collects data from members about market activity. The apartment rental market has fully recovered and is growing.

    Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said new jobs are the key. "Ongoing job creation, which is at a higher level this year, is fueling an underlying demand for commercial real estate space, assisted by a steady increase in consumer spending," he said. "The pattern shows gradually declining commercial vacancy rates, with consequential but generally modest rent growth. Although we need even stronger job growth, by far the greatest impact of job creation is in multifamily housing, where newly formed households striking out on their own have increased demand for apartment rentals - this is the sector with the lowest vacancy rates and strongest rent growth, which is attracting many investors."

    Rising apartment rents also are having a positive impact on home sales because many long-time renters now view homeownership as a better long-term option, Yun noted.

    Click here for statistics regarding the commercial office, industrial, retail and multifamily markets >


     
     

    Senate Passes 60-Day NFIP Extension


    On May 30, 2012, the House of Representatives passed a 60-day extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This temporary extension enables the Senate to act on the NAR supported 5-year reauthorization and reform bill during June, before it expires again. The short-term extension bill was being held up by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) who threatened to let the NFIP shut down yet again, unless his demands were met regarding federal tax dollars subsidizing vacation homes.

    The compromise now in place prevents a potentially catastrophic lapse of the NFIP for both the short and long-term. Flood insurance is required by law to obtain a mortgage in more than 21,000 communities nationwide. A lapse would have affected 1,300 transactions a day or nearly 40,000 a month, a potentially devastating blow to the nascent market recovery. NAR will continue to work with our Congressional allies to minimize the impact of this provision as the legislative process moves forward. Learn more >


     
     

    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.


    This Thursday, June 14
    GRI Module 203:
    Interpersonal Skills & Personal Assistants

    3 MD Elective CEU
      8:30 am - 4:00 pm

    This Friday, June 15
    MD Code of Ethics
    3 MD Required Ethics CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Next Monday, June 18
    GRI Module 204:
    Advanced Financing & Real Estate Investments

    6 MD Elective CEU
      8:30 am - 4:00 pm

    Next Thursday, June 21
    GRI 200 Series - Module 201:
    Pricing Property & Appraisal

    6 MD Elective CEU
      8:30 am - 4:00 pm

    Next Friday, June 22
    MD Legislative Update
    3.0 MD Required Legislative Update CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Larry Hudson 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    MD Fair Housing
    1.5 MD Required Fair Housing CEU;
    1.5 DC Elective CEU
    Larry Hudson 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
    Environmental Issues/Chesapeake Bay
    1.5 MD Elective CEU
    Larry Hudson 3:15 pm - 4:45 pm

    Monday, June 25
    MREC Agency-Residential
    3 MD Required or Elective CEU
    Fredericka Lloyd 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Wednesday, June 27
    Small Investor Financing for
    Commercial Property Buyers

    3 MD Elective CEU
    John Throne 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    ABC's of Rentals
    3 MD Elective CEU
    Rayna McLendon 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    Thursday, June 28
    Successfully Selling Government Owned Properties
    1.5 MD Elective CEU
    Melanie Gamble 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

    Wednesday, October 3
    GRI 300 Series Begins
    13.5 MD Legislative Update
    and 12 MD Elective CEU
      8:30 am - 4:00 pm

    Complete CEU Schedule >>


     

    Sales Coach: Solving Seller Problems


    Home Sales Coach If you work in real estate, you're eventually going to come across a difficult client. However, in almost every case - whether it has to with pricing, staging, your commission, or even a clash of personalities - if you address the problems early and honestly, they shouldn't present an obstacle to the selling process. Some of the common issues that come up:

    • They are uncooperative on listing price and/or your commission.
    • They aren't prepared for low appraisals.
    • They have unrealistic demands (showings, advertising, marketing, etc.).
    • They are unaware of closing costs.
    • They get anxious over negotiations.

    The universal solution may be easier than you think. The first step is to get to know the seller's expectations. A good way to do that is to ask very specific questions at the beginning of the listing presentation to establish rapport and make sure everyone is on the same page. Questions such as "Why are you thinking of selling?", "The tax records indicate that you bought it x years ago, is that correct?" and "Have you done much research online?" opens the lines of communication and gives the seller confidence in your ability.

    The second step is to address any issues before they become a problem. First, specifically outline the entire selling process from listing to closing, and make sure they understand every step. Simply doing this often alleviates seller anxiety. Then you can deal with their specific concerns. If they are uncooperative on price, prepare a comparative market analysis. If they get anxious over negotiation, go over the process and explain that you'll be their advocate during this turbulent time. If they have unrealistic demands, show proof and give examples of how your marketing efforts have worked in the past.

    It doesn't take a lot of effort to solve almost every problem a seller can throw at you. What it does take is doing your research, being prepared, and adjusting and improving your presentation to be in tune with each seller's individual needs.

    For more details, go to realtor.org >


     

    In the last REALTOR® Connection we looked at the ethics of Use of "Choose Your Neighbor" Marketing Letter (Case #10-4). We'll revisit this issue again by looking at the ethics when the same letter is used 'as part of' a marketing campaign.
    Case #10-5:
    Use of "Choose Your Neighbor" Form Letters
    as Part of a Marketing Campaign

    The ABC Board of REALTORS® received a complaint from a local fair housing group alleging that REALTOR® A was using discriminatory marketing techniques, in violation of Article 10 of the Code of Ethics, as the listing broker for a property in a new subdivision.

    In support of their complaint, the fair housing group provided copies of "Choose Your Neighbor" form letters sent by REALTOR® A to current neighborhood residents. The letters announced that the property was on the market and invited neighborhood residents to contact REALTOR® A if they knew of anyone who they thought might be interested in purchasing the home.

    At the hearing, REALTOR® A defended his use of "Choose Your Neighbor" form letters by demonstrating that they were just one element of his marketing campaign, and were not an attempt to restrict access to the property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or country of national origin as prohibited by Article 10. REALTOR® A produced copies of advertisements run in several newspapers, "OPEN HOUSE" flyers distributed at supermarkets throughout the town, and a copy of the property data sheet submitted to the Board's MLS. REALTOR® A remarked, "In my experience, the current residents of a neighborhood often have friends or relatives who have said that they would love to live in the neighborhood. It just makes sense to me to include contacting these folks in any marketing campaign!"

    Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 10, how do you think the Professional Standards Panel ruled?

    Find out here >>


     
     

    REALTORS® Federal Credit Union


    Why Join REALTORS® FCU?
    It's the 24/7 credit union designed for your unique needs as a REALTOR®!

    Open 24/7!
    FREE ATMs Nationwide
    FREE Checking w/ FREE debit card
    Scan check deposits using your computer
    Transfer funds between financial institutions online
    Flexible lending that understands a REALTOR®'s income
    Earnings go back to benefit YOU and your fellow REALTORS®
    New auto loan rates as low as 2.79%

    Join Online >   It only takes 15 minutes!


     
     

    Free Hands-On MRIS Tools Training at PGCAR


    MRIS 201: Maximize Your Productivity with MRIS June 19, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    This class introduces the often overlooked tools and features available as an MRIS customer benefit designed to save you time and money.

    MATRIX 201: Customize Matrix to Fit Your Business June 19, 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    Personalize Matrix to create easier navigation to better assist your advanced skills, and to enable you to work more efficiently and productively.

    Visit www.mris.com/training for details and registration. Advance registration with MRIS is required.


     

    PGCAR Membership Application - for New or Returning Agents


    For new agents, please download, print and use the 2012 membership application at www.pgcar.com >

    For any returning agents who did not pay 2012 dues, you will need to Renew Online and pay the reinstatement and late fees to regain SentriLock access. If your online access is no longer active, please call the office at 301-306-7900 to renew.


     

    Women's Council of REALTORS®
    Prince George's Chapter - Join Today


    We are a network of successful REALTORS® empowering women to exercise their potential as entrepreneurs and industry leaders. Through our influence as successful business professionals, the women and men who are members of WCR will effect positive change in the profession and in the broader community.

    Join the Prince George's Chapter by signing up today!

    Click Here for More Information >

    Prince George's County Association of REALTORS®
    9200 Basil Court :  Suite 400 : Largo, MD 20774
    Phone 301-306-7900  :  Fax 301-306-8273  :  www.pgcar.com  :  ©2012 PGCAR

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