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June 25, 2012

    I n   t h i s   i s s u e . . .
 
Events
  • Fourth of July Holiday
  • Leadership Nominations
        - Due Next Friday, July 6
  • New and Updated Forms - Effective Now
  • CRS Training Offer - Save 50% on
        - Second Class
  • Recordation Tax Rate Increase Alert
  • PGCAR Award Nominations - Due Next Friday
  • 2012 MAR Annual Conference
  • FREE Maryland Mortgage Program Workshop
  • Apply for the Annual Leadership Academy
    Homeownership Matters
  • 2 New Homebuyer Incentive Programs with
        2.87% Interest Rates!
  • FREE Foreclosure Prevention Workshop
  • Homebuyer Incentives in Prince George's
        County
  • Consumer Tip: Five Projects to
        Increase Sales Value
  • Trim Your Summer Electric Bill
  •  
    The Industry Insider
  • 2012 Real Estate Legislation Report
        - County and State
  • Federal Legislative News
  • Don't Miss Out On Emails
        and Newsletters!
  • Market Sen$e: Fixed Mortgage Rates
        Drop Slightly
  • May Home Sales for Prince George's County
  • Senate Passes 60-Day NFIP Extension
  • DC and MD CEU
  • Sales Coach: Easy Answers for Tough
        Questions
  • Code of Ethics: Case #11-3
  • Some Reasons to Join REALTORS® Federal
        Credit Union
  • Free Hands-On MRIS Tools Training at PGCAR
  • PGCAR Membership Application
  •  
     
    Fourth of July Holiday
    The PGCAR office will be closed Wednesday, July 4th in celebration of Independence Day. Please plan ahead for SentriLock and other REALTOR® supply needs.
    Enjoy a safe and happy holiday!

     
     
    NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN - 2013 OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS

    The Prince George's County Association of REALTORS® is seeking nominations for individuals interested in serving as a member of the 2013 PGCAR Board of Directors. The PGCAR membership will elect a President-Elect, a Secretary, and four (4) individuals to serve two-year terms on the Board of Directors. All terms begin on October 1, 2012.

    Any individual wishing to run for
    President-Elect or Secretary

    • must be a REALTOR® member in good standing
      of PGCAR,
    • must have held membership in PGCAR for a minimum of two years, and
    • must have served two years as a Member of the Board of Directors during the last four years.

    Those running for a Director position

    • must be a REALTOR® member in good standing of PGCAR,
    • must have held Membership in PGCAR for a minimum of two years, and
    • must have served on a PGCAR Committee for one year during the last four years.

    Service on the Board of Directors requires a commitment to attend Board of Directors meetings (12 per year) as well as participating in other PGCAR activities.

    If you are interested in having your name considered by the Credentials Committee for inclusion on the ballot, please complete the online Candidate Form in PGCAR.com Members Only. Online forms are preferred; however, you may also print and fax a candidate form.

    Nominations must be received no later than
    5 p.m. next Friday, July 6th.
    Click here for the online Nominations Form >


     

    New and Updated Forms
    Released June 18


    The following four forms were added or updated last Monday. Please destroy all older versions of Form PG 1331 and begin using the new and updated forms immediately. Visit PGCAR Members Only to download all current forms.

    Updated Contracts The above four form updates are in addition to the three forms already changed on June 1 due 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).

    Click here for IRS related details regarding withholding requirements for the non-resident transfer tax.

     
     

    2012 REAL ESTATE LEGISLATION

    Below is a status report of issues followed by PGCAR and MAR during the 2012 Maryland General Assembly. Representatives of PGCAR frequently traveled to Annapolis to lobby legislators and testify on a number of these issues, especially the statewide proposal to alter Maryland's mortgage interest deduction tax benefit. Also included are details on recent Prince George's County Council actions. Following the County and State report is an update on Federal legislation important to REALTORS®.

    2012 Prince George's County Delegation Issues
    Mike Graziano, Director of Government Affairs - PGCAR

    CB 26 - Recordation Tax Rate
    STATUS: Passed as part of Budget Bill, Effective July 1, 2012

    In May the County Council considered the County Executive's 2013 budget proposal which included, among other things, a proposal to increase the County recordation fee from $2.50 to $3.00 per $500 of sales price. In response to industry lobbying efforts the Council negotiated a reduced increase to $2.75. CB 26 is the legislative vehicle to formally initiate the increase. The increased recordation fee will take EFFECT at midnight on June 30th. Settlements taking place after June 30th will be assessed the new rate regardless of when the transaction was negotiated or ratified.

    PGCAR ACTION - PGCAR vehemently OPPOSED the increase. Over 4300 REALTOR® opposition email messages were sent to the County Council and the County Executive. Through "robo call pass-throughs," 2145 concerned citizen voters phoned their Council representatives to voice their opposition. The final result being the "reduced" increase of $.25.

    CB 25 - Utility Cost Disclosure and Home Energy Audits
    STATUS: Passed in Committee
    (subject to final Council vote)
    This bill requires the seller of residential property (four or fewer units) to disclose, "on written request," the prior 12 month energy consumption to buyers who submit an offer to purchase. The bill exempts new construction, transfers between family members, bank sales, estate and tax sales (basically, mirroring the exemptions in the State Property Condition/Disclosure forms). The bill clearly stipulates that the information is supplied without warranties.

    PGCAR ACTION - Support with amendments. This subject has been hotly debated in Annapolis for the last several years. Legislative proposals ranged from mandatory independent energy efficiency audits to mandatory energy consumption disclosure to all potential buyers (i.e. at open houses). PGCAR was successful in getting the bill amended into a framework that is minimally intrusive to the real estate transaction.

    CB 34 - Carbon Monoxide Detectors in County Residences
    STATUS: Passed in Committee
    (subject to final Council vote)
    CB 34 requires the installation of battery powered carbon monoxide detectors (CO2 Detector) in residential one and two family dwellings with gas heating systems, fuel burning appliances and/or with an attached garage at transfer of ownership. A CO2 detector must be installed on each level of a multi-level property in close proximity of sleeping quarters. The bill requires the same for multifamily apartments, and hotels/motels/dormitories regardless of gas or automobile emissions exposure.

    PGCAR ACTION - PGCAR supported the bill with the amendment to allow installation of battery powered CO2 detectors in existing structures verses draft one of the bill which would have mandated electric "hard wired" detectors.

    HB 815 / HB 899 - Prince George's County - Abandoned Property Registry
    STATUS: Failed in Committee

    These similar pieces of legislation would have authorized Prince George's County to enact a local law establishing an abandoned property registry for vacant foreclosed property. The bills were very similar in requiring a creditor owner (the bank) to register the property, pay a registration fee ranging from $75 to $250, and be responsible for the maintenance and security of the property.

    PGCAR ACTION - PGCAR OPPOSED this effort as Prince George's County already has an effective foreclosed/vacant property registration ordinance with no registration fee and very low impact on REALTORS®. This issue was addressed statewide as well. See HB 1373 under the state bill review.

    HB 888 - WSSC - Residential Rental Property - Delinquency - Receivership
    STATUS: Failed in Committee

    This bill would have allowed the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission or tenants of residential rental property in the sanitary district to institute an action for receivership upon "non-performance" of the property owner (i.e. when property owner is delinquent to WSSC). The bill attempted to establish a procedure for petitioning a circuit court for appointment of a receiver to collect payments on behalf of the WSSC.

    PGCAR ACTION - PGCAR supported the bill after negotiating an amendment to clearly specify that the receivership only pertained to rental property structures consisting of five or more rental units.

    HB 892 - Qualifying Municipal Corporations - Land Use Decisions
    STATUS: Failed

    This bill would have authorized municipalities with a population of at least 20,000 residents to make land use decisions within their corporate limits.

    PGCAR ACTION - PGCAR OPPOSED the bill for numerous reasons: property owners would have been required to obtain approvals from not only State or County agencies but from municipal agencies as well, adding another approval layer complicates the process, County zoning officials possess the expertise and experience to regulate land uses.

    HB 894 - WSSC - Unpaid Water and Sewer Charges - Collection and Liens
    STATUS: Failed in Committee

    In the event of outstanding debt owed to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, this bill would have permitted the WSSC to impose a lien on the subject property.

    PGCAR ACTION - PGCAR was OPPOSED to this legislation as the bill proposed, in a very vague manner, to impose a lien on residential properties where the WSSC customer was past due on owed services. PGCAR representatives testified that an additional lien process would hinder sales of foreclosed properties.

    HB 896 - WSSC - Transparencies and Rate Relief Act of 2012
    STATUS: PASSED, Effective 6/1/2012

    This bill requires, beginning on June 1, 2013 that each property tax bill (if applicable) contain information relative to the remaining number of annual front foot benefit payments. In addition, the bill creates a Task Force to study WSSC rates and charges.

    PGCAR ACTION - Support

    HB 897 - Property Tax - Installment Payment Schedule
    STATUS: PASSED, Effective 10/1/12 for tax years beginning after 6/30/2013

    The bill provides a mechanism for the County to offer a six month installment property tax payment program for property owners of age 62 or older. To qualify the property must be owner-occupied and NOT subject to a deed of trust, mortgage or other encumbrance.

    PGCAR ACTION - PGCAR supported this concept.

    HB 900 - Proposed Subdivisions - Development Impact Fees for Traffic Mitigation
    STATUS: Passed, Effective 10/1/2012

    Draft one of this bill would have allowed developers to pay a proportionate share of funds into an escrow account for future infrastructure improvements. Previously the County offered this service called a "road club." The bill was amended to allow MNCPPC to establish a development fee for infrastructure improvement that would be handled in a similar manner.

    PGCAR ACTION - PGCAR supported this effort, along with the building industry as it will enable development projects to move forward resulting in increased land values.

     

    Maryland Association of REALTORS®
    Bill Castelli, Vice President of Government Affairs - MAR

    The 2012 Maryland General Assembly considered legislation
    impacting real estate in the following areas:
    Affordable Housing & Tax Issues ~ Real Estate Brokerage & Contracts
    Common Ownership Communities
    Land-use, Property Rights, & the Environment
    Property Management ~ Commercial & Others

     
    Click Here for a Complete Summary of
    2012 County and State Real Estate Legislation >

     
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    FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE NEWS

    FEDERAL HOUSING POLICY COMMITTEE
    NOTES FROM MAY 16, 2012 NAR MIDYEAR MEETING

    Policy Issues and Discussion

    Federal Guarantee of FHA Mortgages

    Federal real estate legislation report During recent debate on the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) reform bill, a proposal was offered to lower the guarantee amount for FHA loans. Currently, these loans are 100% guaranteed by the federal government. In contrast, VA loans only have a 25% guarantee, and Rural Housing loans have a tiered guarantee of no more than 90%. Reducing the guarantee will lessen taxpayer risk from FHA loans, and will increase FHA reserves. However, there is concern that lenders will reduce participation in the program and will increase costs. The Committee will discuss.

    Legislative/Regulatory Updates

    FHA Premiums & Legislation

    On April 1, 2012, the FHA increased its annual mortgage insurance premium for all loans by 10 basis points (0.10 percent), bringing the total cost from 1.15 percent of the loan amount to 1.25 percent. Starting June 1, 2012, loans above $625,500 premiums will see an increase of an additional 0.25 percent of a percentage point, bringing the total premium costs up to 1.5 percent of the loan amount. The FHA also announced it will raise a fee for the upfront mortgage premium by 0.75 of a percentage point, which will now total 1.75 percent of the loan amount.

    The House Financial Services Committee passed H.R. 4264, the "FHA Emergency Fiscal Solvency Act of 2012," introduced by Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL). NAR supported the measure which strengthens the FHA's financial solvency by barring unscrupulous lenders from participating in the program; allows the FHA to collect losses from lenders who made material errors in underwriting or committed fraud; and strengthens financial oversight and disclosure. The bill will also give the FHA flexibility to increase premiums, if needed to restore reserve levels.

    NAR was successful in defeating amendments to mandate increased premium levels and reduce the federal guarantee on loans. Previous versions of the bill (which NAR opposed) also included increases to the down payment requirement, eliminated the loan limit floor, and eliminated the cap on premium increases. Given the concerns about the FHA's overall fiscal stability, this bill balances the needs to protect the fund from taxpayer risk with the need to continue to provide access to safe and affordable mortgage financing. There is not any plan for timing on the House Floor, and there is no Senate companion.

    Condominiums

    NAR continues to work with the FHA and Congress to relax the restrictive condo rules, especially as they relate to delinquent homeownership association (HOA) dues; certification requirements; and owner-occupancy rules. One of our Hill Talking Points is a Congressional sign-on letter urging HUD to ease these restrictions.

    Seller Concessions

    NAR responded to the FHA proposed rule on seller concessions by recommending that the FHA allow seller concessions at a maximum of 3.0 percent or $6,000, whichever is greater; especially in areas of the country with higher closing costs. NAR also recommended that HUD provide additional guidance with respect to the $6,000 cap being tied to the FHA national loan limit floor. Finally, NAR strongly urged that payments of HOA fees be a permitted concession in the final rule.

    REO Pilot

    The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced a pilot program to be operated by Fannie Mae to sell nearly 2,500 foreclosed properties in six hard hit foreclosure states for the purpose of providing rental housing. This is the first pilot project to be offered in the Obama Administration's plan to expedite the disposition of foreclosed properties held by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FHA. In a letter to the regulators, President Moe Veissi recommended that regulators take a cautious approach when evaluating the benefits of rental programs versus other foreclosure prevention efforts that focus on keeping families in their homes as homeowners - including the Treasury Department's HAMP and HARP programs. NAR recommends that the bulk sale of REO assets should be limited to small geographic areas where alternatives are needed and should rely on the expertise of local businesses, nonprofit organizations and local government for implementation.

    Rural Housing

    As a result of the 2010 census, more than 500 communities are expected to be declared ineligible for rural housing programs due to population growth. Congress has not updated the definition of "rural" since 1974. Instead, every 10 years, following the census (beginning in 1980), Congress has grandfathered communities eligible for rural housing loans but above the 20,000 population cut off. There is legislation in the Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill to grandfather communities for one year, but Congress is also considering updating the definition.

    VA Home Loans

    The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs passed H.R. 4482, introduced by Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) to make VA ARM and hybrid ARM products permanent. Authority for the ARMs was set to expire on September 30, 2012, but this legislation will make the programs permanent. NAR supports this legislation which now moves to the House Floor.

    Other Business

    RPAC Challenge

    Federal Housing Policy Committee is currently at 83 percent of RPAC participation. It is important to increase this number. NAR President Moe Veissi and his Leadership Team have challenged all NAR Committees to achieve 100% Participation in the RPAC. Committees that reach this goal will be recognized at the 2012 Annual Convention in Orlando in November.

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    ADDITIONAL ISSUES OF INTEREST

    Condominium Sales

    Sixty-nine Members of the House of Representatives wrote to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) last week, asking them to loosen restrictions on the sale of condominiums. Lead by Representatives Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Cleaver (D-MO), the letter focused on four major concerns with the current condo rules:

    • Treatment of delinquent dues,
    • Property certification requirements,
    • Owner-occupancy requirements, and
    • Treatment of commercial space.
    The letter urges the FHA to reform these requirements that place burdens on seller, buyers, condominium properties and homeowners associations. This issue was a focus of NAR's recent Midyear meetings and Capitol Hill visits. The FHA is in the process of reviewing the condo rules and revised rules are expected soon.

    Click here to to see if your Member of Congress signed the letter >
    (No Maryland Representatives signed the letter.)

    Veterans Renovation Pilot Program

    NAR President, Moe Veissi, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary, Eric Shinseki, asking the agency to offer a Veterans Renovation Pilot Program similar to the FHA's 203(k) Program. The program would be run through the VA's Loan Guaranty Program and, like the FHA's 203(k) Program, would promote homeownership and be an important tool for community and neighborhood revitalization and stabilization.

    Under the Veterans Renovation Pilot Program, veterans would use their guaranty to purchase single family homes in need of renovation and repair. The borrower would get just one mortgage loan, at a long-term fixed rate, to finance both the acquisition and the rehabilitation of the property. To provide funds for the rehabilitation, the mortgage amount would be based on the projected value of the property with the work completed, taking into account the cost of the work. Renovations should be completed only by licensed and bonded contractors.

    The Veterans Renovation Pilot Program would be offered in all markets, especially those with a high concentration of veterans. Such a program today would be very useful in dealing with the supply of Real Estate Owned (REO) properties. The program would also be effective in areas with a large stock of older homes in need of renovation, just as the FHA program has been for years.

    Click here to read NAR's Letter to the VA Secretary >

    Discounted Premium for Counseling

    NAR sent a letter to Representative Karen Bass (D-CA) supporting the "Homeownership Preservation Education Act of 2012." This legislation would direct the FHA to create a pilot program that would provide first time homebuyers an opportunity to reduce their insurance premiums by participating in homeownership counseling. The program would be limited to one year and the FHA would be required to report to Congress on the program's progress. The legislation has been referred to the House Financial Services Committee.

    Click here to read NAR's letter to Rep. Karen Bass >

    Rural Housing Update

    NAR is supporting Senators Nelson (D-NE) and Johanns (R-NE), who offered a full 10-year grandfathering amendment to the Farm Bill, which was passed by the Senate on June 21, 2012. Their amendment also increases the population threshold for existing communities from 25,000 to 35,000. As a safeguard, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture have also included a one-year grandfathering clause in their bill. NAR is working with House authorizers and appropriators to attach the provisions to the Farm Bill and Appropriations bills in the House.

    Click here to read more about the Farm Bill >

    Distressed Asset Stabilization Program Expanded

    In 2010, the FHA introduced a pilot program to sell more than 2,000 single family loans to private servicers. The price of the loans was determined by the market, but was generally less than the principal owed. The loans were all seriously delinquent. In purchasing the loans - with the intention to help borrowers find an affordable solution to stay in their homes - servicers agreed not to foreclose on borrowers for at least an additional six months.

    On Friday, June 8, 2012, the FHA announced an expansion of this program that could see the agency sell 20,000 loans annually (up to 5,000 each quarter). Loans can only be sold after the servicer has exhausted all steps in the FHA loss mitigation process and foreclosure proceedings have been initiated. The servicer purchasing the loans agrees to delay the foreclosure by at least six months and to give direct help to the borrower to find an affordable solution, which may include a short sale or loan modification.

    Additionally, the servicer cannot allow more than 50 percent of the purchased portfolio to become REO and, if the borrower and servicer are unable to bring the loan out of default, the servicer will hold the loan for at least three years. More information will be available soon.

    For additional information on Federal Legislative News, feel free to contact Megan Booth (MBooth@Realtors.org or 202.383.1222) or Jerry Nagy (JNagy@Realtors.org or 202.383.1233).


     

    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

    This 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.

     
     

    Recordation Tax Rate Increase Alert
    Effective July 1


    The County Recordation Fee increases to $2.75 (per $500 in home sale price) effective Sunday, July 1, 2012. All settlements taking place on or after July 1, 2012, will be charged the new recordation tax rate regardless of when the contract was negotiated.

     
     

    Two Special PGCAR Award Nominations
    Due Next Friday, July 6 @ 5 pm


    2012 Affiliate of the Year

    Which one of our many distinguished affiliates will be named the 2012 Affiliate of the Year? Please nominate yourself or one of our many active Affiliate members. We appreciate you and your contributions to PGCAR!

    Affiliate of the Year Nomination      


    2012 Distinguished Sales Associate of the Year

    Any licensed sales agent or associate broker holding REALTOR® membership is eligible for consideration. Candidates must have not held an active broker's license any time during 2012 and may not hold any percentage of ownership in the firm they represent. Managers, owners and salaried officers are not eligible to enter this competition.

    There are three standards used in the selection process:

    LOCAL BOARD / ASSOCIATION ACTIVITY (50%)
    COMMUNITY / CIVIC ACTIVITY (30%)
    BUSINESS, EDUCATION, DESIGNATIONS (20%)

    Please fill in details under each of the three standards and submit your entry
    along with ONE (1) COLOR PHOTO (any size) now for consideration.

    Distinguished Sales Associate Nomination      

    SELF NOMINATIONS FOR BOTH AWARDS ARE HIGHLY ENCOURAGED!
    You may submit your entry unsigned or anonymously, so if you think
    you qualify, why not nominate yourself!?

    Nominations must be received by 5 pm on Friday, July 6, 2012


     

    2012 MAR Annual Conference & Trade Show
    Early Bird Rate Ends Sunday, July 15


    OCEAN CITY, MD    SEPTEMBER 10 - 12

    Member Early Bird Rate $195
    (Register by Sunday, July 15)

    Rookies in the business for 4 years or fewer save an extra $50
    (For pre-registered, three-day registrants only)

    Come Ride the Wave with your fellow REALTORS® at the Maryland Association of
    REALTORS® Conference and Expo in Ocean City. Take part in a schedule
    packed with great events and networking opportunities including:

    Three Days of CE Classes    Exciting Trade Show    Sunday Golf Tournament
    National Speakers    Cocktail Parties    Industry Awards
    Recognition Banquet Installation

    Register Here    Conference Homepage    Hotel Information    Schedule (PDF)


     

    FREE Maryland Mortgage Program Workshop


    Tuesday, July 17    8:30 am - 11:30 am

    Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
    100 Community Place, Crownsville, MD 21032

    New to the Community Development Administration (CDA)? Need a refresher course? Want to meet CDA staff? Have some questions? In this workshop you will learn from the CDA staff on how they do business and hear about new developments in the Maryland Mortgage Program - including the new $30 Million Targeted Areas Initiative.

    RSVP is required, and 3 Elective CE hours will be earned for MD Real Estate licensees.
    Workshop details and RSVP >


     

    2012 - 2013 Leadership Academy
    Applications Due Wednesday, August 1


    Improve your leadership and communication skills. Meet and learn from other industry leaders, and our future leaders. MAR Leadership Academy is a rare opportunity for training in organizational leadership and communications. Apply for the upcoming October 4, 2012 through April 16, 2013 sessions.

    Hurry! Applications are due Wednesday, August 1, 2012.

    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 This Saturday, June 30, 2012


    The Save-A-Home Loan Program is offering reduced interest rates of 2.875% (APR 3.675%) 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% (APR 3.675%) and is available while funds last. Veterans, First-time homebuyers and 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:


     

    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.

    Pre-register online by July 18 >
    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: Five Projects to Increase Sales Value


    According to HomeGain's 2012 National Home Improvement Survey, you don't have to spend a fortune to increase the sales value of your home by more than $10,000. Do-it-yourself projects are cost-effective ways to increase your chance of selling faster and closing closer to the asking price than homes with no improvements. The top five low-cost DIY projects are:

    1. CLEAN & DE-CLUTTER
      Remove personal items, wash and clean all areas inside and outside of the house, remove clutter from tables and countertops, organize closets, and polish woodwork and mirrors.
      Estimated cost: $402    Potential ROI: 403% ($2,024 added to the home's sale price)
       
    2. LIGHTEN & BRIGHTEN
      Clean windows and skylights inside and out, replace or remove old curtains and any other light-blocking obstacles from windows, repair lighting fixtures, and ensure windows are easy to open.
      Estimated cost: $424    Potential ROI: 299% ($1,690 added to the home's sale price)
       
    3. ELECTRICAL & PLUMBING
      Update leaky or old faucet spouts and handles, repair any leaks under sinks and laundry room pipes, make sure toilets are in good working order, and remove any mildew stains. Make sure wiring is updated for modern appliances, AV equipment and Internet, service sprinkler systems, fix lights and outlets that do not turn on, and replace outdated electrical with new safety fixtures.
      Estimated cost: $808    Potential ROI: 293% ($3,175 added to the home's sale price)
       
    4. LANDSCAPING
      Add mulch to front and back yards, rake and remove leaves and branches, plant bushes and flowers, add planters and hanging plants, make sure lawn is in good shape (recently mowed and watered), and remove weeds and dead plants.
      Estimated cost: $564    Potential ROI: 215% ($1,777 added to the home's sale price)
       
    5. STAGING
      Add fresh flowers, remove personal items, reduce clutter, rearrange furniture, add new props to enhance rooms, add plants and artwork, and play soft music.
      Estimated cost: $724    Potential ROI: 196% ($2,145 added to the home's sale price)
       

    Click here for more pricing and selling tips >


     
    Trim Your Summer Electric Bill
    Summer has arrived and we're already experiencing 90+ degree temperatures. Running the AC nonstop is hard on your AC unit and your wallet. Keeping the temperature at 70 degrees as opposed to 78 degrees can cost you twice as much. Here are a few tips to decrease wear and tear on your air conditioning system and bring your utility bills down this summer.

    Find a temperature that is comfortable, then raise it two degrees. You will most likely not notice any difference, but it will cut down on the cost.

    When you'll be out of the house for several hours, don't turn the air conditioner off (it's less efficient to cool the house back down); instead, set the temperature to 80 degrees.

    Invest in ceiling fans. They only use about as much energy as a 100 watt bulb and can make the room feel up to 8 degrees cooler.

    You can reduce your cooling cost by up to 30% by keeping the windows closed and curtains drawn during the day.

    Turn lights, computers and televisions off when not in use. These items not only add to your electric bill, they also generate heat.

    Be sure to have your air conditioning system serviced before the summer season begins, and make sure the exterior unit is free of leaves and debris to ensure adequate air flow.

    A clean air filter can save up to 10% on your energy bill. Be sure to clean or replace them once a month.

    For more homeowner tips, go to houselogic.com.


     

    Don't Miss Out On Emails and Newsletters!
    White List pgcar.org and pgcar.com


    Please make sure you're receiving all of our newsletters and emails. It's as easy as white listing pgcar.org and pgcar.com. Instructions - as well as information on updating your email address - are located in the Members Only Section. In addition to providing email and white list instructions, the Members Only Section contains a wealth of information and resources, including downloadable contract and listing forms, the latest legislative news, your online order history, and more.

    Keep current by visiting often!


     

    Market Sen$e: Fixed Mortgage Rates Drop Slightly


    Results released last Thursday, June 21 show that the average mortgage rates eased amid worsening economic indicators (30-year fixed-rate was down to 3.66 percent while the 15-year fixed-rate dropped to 2.95 percent). Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac, states, "Treasury bond yields eased somewhat this week on some worsening economic indicators bringing mortgage rates back into record low territory. Industrial production fell in two of the last three months ending in May, and below the expected market consensus forecast. In addition, consumer sentiment fell in June to its lowest level this year, according to the University of Michigan survey. In its June 20th monetary policy announcement, the Federal Reserve also noted growth in employment has slowed in recent months and household spending appears to be rising at a somewhat slower pace."

    Nothaft noted some positive indicators as well, "... Construction on one-family homes rose for the third consecutive month in May to an annualized pace of 516,000. Furthermore, homebuilder confidence rose in June to its highest reading in over five years."

    Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending June 21, 2012:

    • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.66 percent, down from 3.71 percent.
    • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.95 percent, down from 2.98 percent.
    • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.77 percent, down from 2.80 percent.
    • The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.74 percent, down from 2.78 percent.
    Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    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.


     
     

    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 before the end of July, when it is due to expire 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 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

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

    Thursday, July 12
    MD Code of Ethics
    3 MD Required Ethics CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    MREC Required Supervision
    3 MD Required or Elective CEU
    Don Martin 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    Friday, July 13
    Contracts
    3 MD Elective CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Jill Pogach Michaels 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Wednesday, July 18
    Commercial Real Estate Hot Buttons
    3 MD Elective CEU
    Al Monshower 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Thursday, July 19
    Short Sales
    3 MD Elective CEU
    Jill Pogach Michaels 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Friday, July 20
    MREC Agency-Residential
    3 MD Required or elective CEU
    Fredericka Lloyd 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Monday, July 23
    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

    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: Easy Answers for Tough Questions


    Home Sales Coach

    As a REALTOR®, you're required to give your client an honest, forthright answer for almost any question they can come up with - oftentimes at a moment's notice. Be prepared by reviewing some of the most common buyer /seller inquiries on the Quick Sales Scripts page at realtor.org. These responses - written by REALTORS®, coaches and trainers - take on some of the more difficult questions and provide answers that will not only satisfy your client, but will help you stand out from your competition.

    They Say: "We appreciate your interest, but we want to list with a friend."

    You Say: "I think your loyalty to your friend is admirable. But what about your family? Most people have the bulk of their net worth tied up in their home, so don't you owe it to your family to get the best negotiator so you can get the best price? The average real estate pro in this market gets X percent of the list price and I get Y percent because I am a better negotiator. That's money in your pocket. And even in this market, I never leave any money on the table. In addition, you will have peace of mind knowing you can fire me at will without ruining a friendship. As a friend, they will want what is best for you - not what is best for their pocketbook."
    ~Tom Ferry, Founder, Tom Ferry-yourcoach, www.yourcoach.com


     

    Case #11-3:
    Identification of Contributor to Appraisal

    REALTOR® A, who had made a number of residential and farm appraisals for Client B, a bank, was asked to appraise the real property of a corporation that operated two extensive industrial parks. REALTOR® A made his appraisal of open land belonging to the corporation for future development. With respect to specialized industrial structures included in the assignment, he engaged the XYZ firm of industrial engineers to make a study of obsolescence and of current reproduction costs leading to conclusions. The report on this study was incorporated into REALTOR® A's appraisal report to Client B, without identifying the XYZ firm as a contributor to the report.

    Sometime after the submission of the report, Engineer C, a member of the XYZ firm, was invited to speak on an appraisal panel arranged by the local Board of REALTORS®. During his talk he used as an illustration some of the industrial properties that had figured in REALTOR® A's appraisal report. Following the program, in informal conversation with Engineer C, REALTOR® B learned of REALTOR® A's action in incorporating the engineering firm's conclusions into his own appraisal without identification of the firm and its contributions to the assignment. REALTOR® B then filed a complaint against REALTOR® A alleging violation of Article 11 of the Code of Ethics. After examining the facts as set out above, the complaint was referred by the Grievance Committee for hearing before a panel of the Board's Professional Standards Committee.

    At the hearing, REALTOR® A took the position that he had not violated Article 11 because the essence of the appraisal assignment had been to exercise his judgment as an appraiser, and that he had not engaged any other person to exercise judgment in connection with the assignment. He had simply employed the XYZ engineering firm, he said, to make certain conclusions as to the extent of obsolescence in properties and as to the current cost of reproducing them. Conceding that he had incorporated the XYZ firm's report into his own appraisal report, REALTOR® A contended that this material was only incidental, and that the essential appraisal function of arriving at a valuation was entirely his own work. He stated further that he had paid the XYZ firm for its services and felt that relieved him of any obligation to identify the firm in his appraisal report.

    During the hearing it was established that REALTOR® A had no previous experience in appraisal of industrial property, and that he had not disclosed this to Client B at the time he accepted the assignment.

    Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 11, 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


    Keystone 101: Entering Listings Correctly, The Key to a Fast Sale July 31, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    Learn how to add or edit a listing in Keystone. Rules and regulations, compliance, entering accurate information, open houses and photos will be covered.

    Matrix 101: The Need-to-Knows of Matrix July 31, 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    Settings, searches, contacts or emails. This is the best place to start and learn about the multiple functions Matrix offers.

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


     

    PGCAR Membership Application - Join Us!


    Are you a new agent? Please download, print and use the 2012 membership application at www.pgcar.com >

    For any returning agents who did not pay 2012 dues, please 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.

    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

    Back to REALTOR® Connection Archive