Hurricane Sandy Arrival
Our thoughts are with you and your families today. We hope you prepared well over the last several days and are now able to stay warm and dry, and NOT need any of your emergency supplies!
PGCAR is holding no classes until Friday. This morning's Code of Ethics was rescheduled to Friday afternoon, so we now have a great double-header of MREC Required Supervision at 9:30 am and Code of Ethics at 1:30 pm.
Most County and area government buildings are closed today for regular business. Storm shelters, road, utility and emergency services are the priority.
Highly recommended: Sign up for Notify Me Prince George's. You'll receive alerts about Hurricane Sandy preparations, and other major events or local emergencies by email, text or pager - however you prefer!
Sign up for this free service today!
Also, follow PGCAR at www.facebook.com/pgcar. As we hear of important items like Notify Me Prince George's and of course, new or updated homebuyer savings we pass them along to you and the public at www.facebook.com/pgcar.
|PGCAR 2013 Membership Renewal
Now Due ~ Renew at www.pgcar.com
Invoices for PGCAR 2013 Dues in the amount of $636 are available online. Dues were due and payable as of October 1, 2012. A late fee will be charged after November 30. Association dues are as follows:
|Optional RPAC Contribution
|Optional Maclin Scholarship Fund Contribution
Thank you for being a part of PGCAR!
Visit pgcar.com to renew now.
Renew online to receive an itemized receipt, and show dues payment
on your PGCAR Order History.
On Tuesday, October 23rd the Prince George's County Council Introduced CB 88-2012 - Eviction Requirements. In its original form the bill would have simplified and streamlined the eviction process to the benefit of both landlords and tenants. Unfortunately however, the bill was amended into a framework that will have grave consequences for landlords.
Oppose Proposed Eviction Requirements
Please contact County Council members as soon as possible and tell them to vote against CB 88. The above are serious concerns, to which, we believe there are NO workable solutions. If you cannot reach the council member, please leave a message with staff.
- The bill does not accomplish the original objective of improving the eviction process for landlords and/or tenants. The bill was intended to simplify the process for landlords and avoid the embarrassment to evicted tenants of having their belongings removed from the interior of the premises and placed in the yard while awaiting haul away. The bill was amended to provide an "interior reclamation" period of 4 hours. The Sheriff's Office argues that state law requires the removal of the tenant's personal property from the premises in order for the warrant of restitution to be executed.
- The personal property reclamation period poses great risk for landlords. Even after service of a court summons, a mailed notice, a posted notice, and the likely months of occupancy of the property without payment of rent, the bill requires that the landlord allow the former tenant (or their "agent") to reenter the property for up to four hours after the warrant of restitution is executed to reclaim any personal property "not removed". It is not clear and unlikely that the Sheriff's deputies will remain present for four hours to provide security? There are no provisions in the law allowing for compensation to the landlord if the former tenant damages the property interior upon move-out.
- At what point is the tenant's property deemed abandoned? One section of the bill establishes that the tenant's personal property is deemed abandoned after the warrant of restitution is executed. However, another section entitles the tenant or their agent to salvage and transport "the tenant's personal property" for up to four hours after the warrant of restitution is executed. Further complicating the issue is the court order entitling the property owner to repossession of the rented property. How is "repossession" established if the former tenant is granted further access to the interior premises?
- Who is responsible for "not removed" personal property during the reclamation period? The subject of care, custody and control requires clarification. Under whose responsibility are the "not removed" items during the reclamation period? How will the landlord be protected if the tenant claims that valuables are missing? Under the current process a Sheriff's Deputy supervises the removal of personal property.
- The bill further prolongs the eviction process. Maryland law provides a very generous redemption opportunity that enables a tenant to pay "late rent" on three occasions before awarding final repossession to the landlord. This "three strike rule" deprives property owners of significant rents and the use of their property. CB 88 adds an additional 14 days to the eviction process.
- The bill imposes new fines, imprisonment and liability for landlords. Landlords would face a fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment for up to six months for any violation of the notice provisions of the bill or for harassing or threatening a tenant. However, it is unclear if certain rent collection efforts by a landlord would be deemed harassment or a threat. Would it include informing a tenant that "rent is due and you're in jeopardy of eviction"? The bill also appears to impose liability on a landlord who disposes of abandoned property with malice or gross negligence. Why would the landlord be liable for damages for property that is legally determined to be abandoned?
NAR needs help asking Congress to help save rural communities from losing rural housing programs. Following population growth measured by the 2010 census, many communities risk losing eligibility for rural housing programs. The definition of "rural" was set by Congress in 1974 and has not been updated since. We need to urge Congress to grandfather existing communities and to also update the existing definition to account for population growth.
Help Keep Rural Housing Affordable
Members in Congress are considering including a provision in the pending Farm Bill to provide a ten-year extension of eligibility for currently eligible communities. But no final action has occurred in either the House or Senate versions of the bill.
Your help is needed to preserve the existing Rural Housing Service (RHS) Loan Program (Sec. 502). Some 900 communities across the country are about to lose eligibility for Rural Housing Service programs -- Affected Maryland communities include Accokeek & Benesville (Charles County), Chesapeake Ranch (Calvert), Eldersburg (Caroll), Elkton (Cecil) and Sykesville (Carroll). One of these communities might not be in your immediate area, but their future has a significant impact on the market during this challenging economy.
Please make Senators and Representatives aware of the need to support this extension.
Watch for a new call to action on upcoming rural mortgage cancellations later this week.
Cancellation of Mortgage Debt
Underwater home sellers will be taxed for the "forgiven" debt incurred during a short sale if Congress doesn't take action by the end of the year. The state legislature passed a bill to exempt forgiven debt from taxation through 2013, but the legislation only applies to Maryland income taxes. Without action by Congress, this tax benefit won't be extended to federal income taxes. In RPAC's most recent newsletter, they said NAR members should expect further communication on this issue soon.
Mortgage Interest Deduction
Federal officials are looking for ways to cut the looming national debt. The Mortgage Interest Deduction is among tax expenditures being considered by many for the chopping block. According to RPAC, some experts think big decisions on addressing the debt could come as soon as the lame duck session of Congress following the election. NAR has indicated that they plan to continue to pressure lawmakers to preserve the MID through the upcoming congressional session.
Annual Legislative Breakfast
Wednesday, November 28, 8 - 10 am at Greenbelt Marriott
Invited guests include: Prince George's County US Senators and Congressmen, Gov. Martin O'Malley, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Prince George's County State Senators and Delegates, County Executive Rushern Baker, Members of the Prince George's County Council, you, and your office.
Please make it a priority to attend the Annual Legislative Breakfast. This is an extremely rare opportunity to have our legislative leadership from the County, Annapolis and Washington, DC at one event. We cannot have influence if we do not show that we are interested and involved.
The cost is only $20 per person. Please register no later than Friday, November 23 at www.pgcar.com >>
Help raise funds to feed families in need in Prince George's County! Especially in recent years, many local families are in need of help. Your tax deductible $30 will provide much needed food items for these families. As a thank you, you will also receive an evening of Networking, Fun, Food, Entertainment and Dancing at La Fontaine Bleu.
Food and coats will be collected until December 12, so get any items together that you can and bring them by the PGCAR offices as soon as possible, or to the Holiday party!
Thank you for your help and participation.
Click here for more information and Registration >>
Click here to be a sponsor >>
NAR 2012 Annual Conference
Starts Next Friday, November 9
Did you know last year's attendees made $40,000 more a year than the average REALTOR®?
Register for the 2012 REALTORS® Conference & Expo as soon as possible. Don't miss out on this once-a-year opportunity.
Still trying to decide if you should go? Check out this video and let NAR convince you to join REALTORS® from around the world, early next month in Orlando, Florida.
The Annual Conference features 100 education sessions, 400 industry exhibitors and dozens of networking opportunities and special events.
Saturday's General Session features Afterburner, a team of elite military professionals who share combat-proven methodologies to help YOU achieve victory in your rapidly changing business environment.
Huge SentriLock Lockbox and Power Paddle Sale
Back by popular demand, PGCAR is pleased to announce the continuation of the sale on SentriLock Lockboxes. Lockboxes will be sold as follows:
Also, SentriLock has lowered the cost of power paddles to $55 for a limited time. Power paddles must be ordered through PGCAR. If you would like to purchase one or more at this reduced price, please contact Shirley at the Association office.
- 1 to 9 Lockboxes are $65 each + tax
- 10 to 19 Lockboxes are $60 each + tax
- 20 to 29 Lockboxes are $55 each + tax
- 30 Lockboxes or more are $50 each + tax
Maryland Mortgage Program
Alternative for High Credit Buyers
The Maryland Mortgage Program is again participating in the conventional mortgage market, offering a new option for homebuyers.
Secretary Skinner told the Maryland Association of REALTORS® board of directors at their annual meeting that the state is partnering with Fannie Mae to create an alternative for borrowers with higher credit.
Skinner said there would be a substantial savings for many of these borrowers.
DHCD conventional loans are made possible by Fannie Mae's HFA Preferred program but retain many features of other Maryland Mortgage Program loans.
Real Estate licensees can learn more about the Maryland Mortgage Program and get CE credit for 3 elective hours by attending the 2012 CDA Morning Workshop, Wednesday, November 14, from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, 100 Community Place, First Floor, Main Conference Room.
Click here for registration details >>
Learn more about this new option >>
Read more about MMP innovations on the DHCD Blog >>
CityLIFT Down Payment Assistance Funds
Access for Those That Missed the October Event
Eligible homebuyers in the DC and Prince George's County area may be able to access $20,000 in funding for the purchase of a new or existing home. After living in the house for 5 years, the funding is fully forgivable and the City LIFT funds can be used in combination with most other down payment assistance programs, such as HPAP, My Home, or CDA.
Those that missed getting a reservation for the funding at an early October event aren't out of luck.
Just click here for more information on how to access the funding if you missed the October 5th, or 6th event. Post-event funding won't be available until December 6, 2012. There will be no waiting list for the funds, but if you didn't make it to the event, you can contact Manna for an eligibility session at 202-832-1845 in mid-November.
Prior to mid-November new applicants should check the CityLIFT income guidelines, get a preapproval from a CityLIFT approved lender, and start shopping for a home.
Many qualify for this assistance! Household income limits dependent upon loan type are 120% or 115% of Area Median Income (AMI) adjusted for household size - as shown in the chart available here >>
Get all the information you need on the program here >>
- Maryland Homefront: The Veterans and Military Family Program
Historically low reduced interest rates starting at 2.875% (APR 3.675%) and increased payment assistance for qualified current and former military members. Program Details >>
- $30 Million Targeted Areas Initiative for Homebuyers
First-Time Homebuyers Can Gain Same Benefits in ANY Prince George's County Area
Reduced interest rates starting at 2.875% (APR 3.675%) for qualified homebuyers purchasing a new primary residence. Program Details >>
- Buy Suitland Initiative - NOW in 11 Census Tracts (4 Areas Newly Added)!
Up to 5% of home purchase price to first-time homebuyers; Up to 7% for local civic employees. Program Details >>
- 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® >>
- 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 >>
- 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 >>
- 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.
- Freddie Mac HomeSteps SmartBuySM
Offers up to $500 for purchase of a home warranty.
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: A Home Financial Plan
How Homeowners Can Build Big Savings
Encouraging your clients to build a home financial plan can be a great way to help them save money on their mortgage and many other costs associated with homeownership.
For example: If they have $200,000 in outstanding principal and a 20-year fixed-rate mortgage at 5%, their monthly payment is $1,319.91. But, if they figure out that they can pay another $100 a month, they'll save $14,887 in interest.
Another area to consider -- homeowners should also form plans around their taxes, home insurance, repairs and maintenance, and voluntary upgrades.
The goal from this exercise is to learn how much you really have to spend, and how much you need to set-aside in the near and distant future.
With this information in hand, clients can make wiser decisions about what they can and can't afford, as well as have more fun spending money secure in the knowledge that they have sufficient savings.
For more details on how to create a home financial plan, visit HouseLogic.com >>
New! Free MRIS Homes Mobile App
Create Your own Mobile Brand
Have you taken the time to download the new MRIS Homes Mobile App on your mobile device?
Go to your app store and type in the search field MRIS, select MRIS Homes and install, it's just that easy. This is the only dual-purpose real estate app that connect homebuyers and real estate professionals directly to MLS data in the Mid-Atlantic region. Using the same app as homebuyers, MRIS customers can login to view agent-specific information whenever and wherever they are.
Own Your Own Mobile Brand - Agent/Broker Branded Apps:
Agents - Personalize your clients' mobile search experience with your own branded version of the MRIS Homes App. Your clients will have access to all MRIS listings branded by you, not the listing agent. Only $9.95 per month, or get 13 months for the price of 12 with our Limited Time 30-day Trial offer. Enter the Promo Code MRIS2GO to receive the 30-day free trial. Just click here for more information and to purchase.
Brokers - With the Broker Branded App you have the option to route calls to a designated office, or have it vary based on GPS or zip code location. There's two Apps, Silver and Platinum, to choose from. For prices and more information click here >>
MRIS News and Tips
Photo Mandatory on Listings
An image or photo of the main exterior must be submitted with each residential listing within 48 hours excluding weekends and holidays unless the seller has requested in writing that no photos are to be included as part of the listing.
Should you not have a photo within 48 hours of entering your listing into Keystone you can temporarily choose "No Photo per Seller" to avoid being fined. This is only a temporary solution. Compliance will police listings with this selection chosen and could ask to see the letter from seller, so please upload the listing photo as soon as possible.
Earn All MD and DC Required CEU at PGCAR
Today's MD Code of Ethics class has been rescheduled to this Friday, November 2 due to Hurricane Sandy.
All classes are held at PGCAR offices, just off the Route 202 / Landover Road exit of I-495. Find our association office at 9200 Basil Court, Suite 400, Largo, MD 20774. There's plenty of parking.
*MREC Required Supervision is a Maryland Required Broker/Office Manager Course. All Maryland Real Estate Licensees who fall under the category of Office Manager, Broker, or Team Leader are required to take this 3 hour course for their license renewal occurring between 1/1/2012 and 12/31/2013.
Sale on All PGCAR Classes
Special Pricing through End of Year
All PGCAR Members and REALTORS® Save Huge on ANY CEU offered at PGCAR!
Register for ANY 3 CE class for $18 early bird, $33 regular.
Register for ANY 1.5 CE class for $11 early bird, $26 regular.
Hurry to www.pgcar.com/real-estate-ceu today >>
Market Sen$e: Mortgage Rates Change Little
FRMs Move Slightly Higher, Remain Near All-Time Lows
Results released last Thursday, October 25, showed average mortgage rates moving up slightly.
Freddie Mac Vice President and Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said the still low rates should continue to support the housing market and mortgage refinance.
"Not surprisingly, the Federal Reserve in its October 24th monetary policy announcement acknowledged the further signs of improvement in the housing sector, albeit from a depressed level," Nothaft said.
Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending October 25, 2012:
- The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.41%, up from 3.37%.
- The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.72%, up from 2.66%.
- The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.75%, the same as the week before.
- The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.59%, down from 2.60%.
Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >>
Detailed Home Sales Statistics for Prince George's County
Available online, announced on PGCAR Facebook
Statistics for September 2012 are now available at www.pgcar.com/stats >>
Like us on facebook to be the first to see the next release of home sales statistics. While you're there, add yourself to the Find a REALTOR® Directory to give homebuyers and sellers yet another way to find you.
Sales Coach: The Power of Video
Take Advantage of Skyrocketing Video Consumption
It only takes a quick glance at YouTube statistics to see the potential of video to boost your business:
Only one of many free outlets for your video, YouTube is joined by many other easily accessable online marketing venues. How can you start taking advantage of this way to reach your clientele? It's easier and has more potential than you might think. According to a 2011 Mashable release of an infographic by Postling, "73 percent of home owners are more likely to list with a REALTOR® offering to do video."
- Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month
- Over 4 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube
- 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
To get started using video and the internet, you'll have to consider a few key areas:
If you aren't already using them on a regular basis, you might be surprised by the video capabilities of devices you already own -- be it your smartphone, digital camera, or tablet. Just be sure to use a tripod or other stabilizer to avoid the shaky, amateurish quality familiar to many homemade videos.
Perhaps the next most important thing to consider when shooting video is the lighting. Indoor video usually suffers from a pretty serious lack of lighting. Turning on every available light and even bringing in extras, while avoiding backlighting, can make your video look a lot more professional. Writing a script, but not reading it word-for-word, speaking slightly louder and slower than normal, keeping it short, and getting plenty of practice, are also key ingredients to good video production.
Ask sellers questions. It can be as simple as what they liked about their neighborhood, and their favorite things about the house. Recording their answers for use as voiceover, or shooting and editing them into the video are great ways to add interest and appeal to your clips. Hearing sellers speak first-hand about the neighborhood or house can help get potential buyers attached to the idea of living there.
Visit RealtorMag for more information and ideas on ways to use video.
P.S. - Beyond serving as an outlet for your real estate videos, sites like YouTube are also a great resource for production tips and tutorials!
Knowing or Reckless False Statements About Competitors
REALTOR® A operated a residential brokerage firm in a highly competitive market area. He frequently used information from the MLS as the basis for comparative ads and to keep close track of his listing and sales activity as well as his competition.
One day, while reviewing MLS data and comparing it to a competitor's ad, REALTOR® A noticed that REALTOR® Z had used a diagram to demonstrate his market share, contrasting it with those of several other firms. The ad showed that REALTOR® A had listed 10% of the properties in the MLS over the past three months.
REALTOR® A thought this was low. His analysis of MLS data showed his market share was 11%. REALTOR® A filed an ethics complaint against REALTOR® Z citing Article 15 of the Code of Ethics in that REALTOR® Z's "obviously understated market share claim" was a "misleading statement about competitors." REALTOR® A's complaint was considered by the Grievance Committee which determined that an ethics hearing should be held.
At the hearing, REALTOR® Z testified he had always been truthful in his advertising and that all claims were based in fact. He produced an affidavit from the Board's MLS administrator which indicated that a programming error had resulted in miscalculations and, after careful recomputation, REALTOR® A's market share over the past three months had been 10.9%. The administrator's statement noted that this was the first time that information related to REALTOR® A's listings or sales had been misstated on the system. "I relied on information from the MLS. It's always been accurate and I had no reason to even suspect it was wrong last month," said REALTOR® Z in his defense.
The Hearing Panel agreed with REALTOR® Z's logic, noting that a REALTOR® should be able to rely on generally accurate information from reliable sources. They reasoned that if, on the other hand, the MLS had shown REALTOR® A having, for example, 1% of the market, then REALTOR® Z's reliance on the information would have been "reckless" because REALTOR® A had generally had a 10-15% market share and a reasonable conclusion would have been that the information from the MLS was seriously flawed.
Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 15, how do you think the Professional Standards Panel ruled?
Find out here >>
Get Benefits Built for Your Business
Real Estate Loans and Lines of Credit from REALTORS® FCU
Learn about a variety of credit solutions to meet the day-to-day demands of your business as well as capital to fund your growth at www.realtorsfcu.org.
- Business Lines of Credit to ramp up inventory or fund seasonal cash flows. REALTORS® FCU offers both revolving and closed-end credit programs.
- Business Term Loans to provide funds for the purchase of equipment, vehicles, inventory or other fixed assets.
- Business Real Estate Loans for purchasing or refinancing owner-occupied commercial real estate. REALTORS® FCU offers a number of financing options, all without a prepayment penalty.
Join the only credit union designed to meet the unique needs of REALTORS® like you!
Free Hands-On MRIS Tools Training at PGCAR
MRIS 101: Kick Off Your Career with MRIS Tuesday, November 27, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm
In this course you will be introduced to the various products and topics that will help you effectively get started with your MRIS subscription and real estate career. Whether you are a new real estate professional, just getting back into the business from a break, or simply need a refresher on MRIS-related basics, this is the course for you.
KEYSTONE 101: Entering Listing Correctly, The Key to a Fast Sale
Tuesday, November 27, 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm
Learn how to add or edit a listing in Keystone. We will go over Rules & Regulations, Compliance, entering accurate information, open houses and photos.
Visit www.mris.com/training for details and registration. Advance registration with MRIS is required.
30 Under 30 Application is Now Open!
Are you 29 or younger and having a phenomenal year? NOW is the time to apply for international recognition as one of 2013's 30 Under 30. REALTOR® Magazine will announce and showcase this year's rising young stars in the real estate industry next June 2013.
But the application deadline is January 15, 2013. Don't delay until the busy holiday season to apply and ask for recommendations in support of your selection.
30 Under 30 Web Site >
30 Under 30 FAQ and Contest Rules >
Sunday, November 11 is Veterans Day
PGCAR offices will be closed in observance of
Veterans Day on Monday, November 12.
We salute the many Veterans, those serving now, and Military Families.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!