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August 19, 2013

    I n   t h i s   i s s u e . . .
 
Events
  • Last Chance: Earn Required DC CE
        - DC Licenses Expire August 31
  • GRI 200 @ PGCAR!
  • Annual Installation of Officers & Directors
  • 2014 Officer and Director Candidates
        - Voting Opens September 1
  • Annual Charity Event - December 11
  • 2013 MAR Annual Conference
  • 2013 NAR Annual Conference
  • Labor Day Holiday - September 2

    Homeownership Matters
  • Prince George's County in the News!
        Home Sales Keep Gaining Strength...and Press
  • Homebuyer Incentives in Prince George's County
  • Consumer Tip: Make Your Kitchen Remodel Last
  •  
    The Industry Insider
  • MREC Short Sale Guidelines
  • Fight to Halt Homeownership Cost Increases
        THANK YOU for Taking Action
  • 2014 PGCAR Dues - Now Online
  • GRI, MD and DC CEU at PGCAR
  • Sale!  Only $11 for 1.5 CEU; $18 for 3 CEU
  • Market Sen$e: Mortgage Rates Hold Steady
  • Upward Trend in County Home Settlements
        Continues in July
  • Sales Coach: Try These 7 Skills to Weather
        Changes in the Real Estate Market
  • Code of Ethics: Case #17-8
  • FCU: Benefits for Your Business
  • SentriLock Lockbox Sale Expires Soon!

  •  

    DC Salesperson Licenses Expire August 31
    - Last Chance! Earn Your 9 CE in Required Topics in 2 Days


    Don't wait until August 31 to meet CE hour requirements and renew licenses through the DC Real Estate Commission.

    15 total CE hours are required for license renewal.
    Easily complete all 9 CE hours in required topics at PGCAR:

    3 CE Financing Issues / Update Thursday, August 22 9:30 am - 12:30 pm Register here >
    3 CE DC Legislative Update Monday, August 26 9:30 am - 12:30 pm Register here >
    3 CE DC Fair Housing & Predatory Lending Monday, August 26 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm Register here >

    Note that 6 CE hours in electives are also needed. Earn DC elective hours at PGCAR or online!


     

    GRI 200 @ PGCAR! - Starting Wednesday, September 4


    Presented by the Maryland Association of REALTORS® and
    Sponsored by the Prince George's County Association of REALTORS®

    PGCAR Association Office
    9200 Basil Court, Suite 400
    Largo, MD 20774
    8:30 am - 4 pm each day


    GRI 200 Series Class Schedule
    Sign up for the entire, 5-day Series here >
    MD CEU - 27 Hours Total: 6 hrs Legislative Update and 21 hrs Elective CE
    Wednesday, September 4 Module 201 - Pricing Property & Appraisal
    Friday, September 6 Module 205 - Condominiums, Cooperatives & Buyer Brokerage
    Thursday, September 12 Module 203 - Interpersonal Skills & Personal Assistants
    Thursday, September 19 Module 202 - Contracts & Agency
    Wednesday, September 25 Module 204 - Advanced Financing & Real Estate Investments


    Just need a few make-up classes, or want to learn in-depth knowledge of specific topics?
    Sign up for individual classes by clicking class titles above.

    Hurry! Classes are limited to the first 40 registrants!

     
     

     
     

    LEGISLATIVE ALERT - August 19, 2013

    MARYLAND REAL ESTATE COMMISSION
    GUIDELINES FOR LICENSEES IN SHORT-SALE TRANSACTIONS


    Federal Regulation O and the Maryland MARS Act do not provide a specific exemption for real estate licensees. The Commissioner of Financial Regulation will forbear from taking any enforcement action for violation of the Maryland MARS Act, and any regulations issued pursuant to the Act, against real estate licensees who are acting within the scope of their license. However, since the scope of the real estate license is limited by definition to assisting clients in the purchase, sale or lease of real property, the Real Estate Commission and the Commissioner of Financial Regulation consider that negotiation of a short-sale deficiency agreement or any other type of mortgage collection forbearance with a seller's mortgage lender or servicer falls outside of the scope of a real estate license. Real estate licensees who negotiate with a lender/servicer or other lienholder, or representative of a lienholder, regarding a client's residential short sale must comply with the Maryland MARS Act. Below are some guidelines that licenses should follow when involved in a short-sale transaction.
    1. A real estate licensee:
       
      • May enter into a contract with a homeowner to market their house for a short sale, list the property in the multiple list service, and market the property for sale.
         
      • May conduct a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), which a lender/servicer may refer to as a Broker's Price Opinion (BPO). The real estate licensee may communicate with the lender/servicer regarding the value of the proposed short-sale property, including topics such as neighborhood conditions and comparable sales within the community.
         
      • May submit documents to the seller's lender if:
         
        1. The licensee informs the seller that the licensee is not conducting negotiations with the lender, but is merely submitting documents or other information requested by the lender in connection with considering the short-sale request;
           
        2. The licensee informs the seller that the seller must either personally negotiate with the lender or hire a Mortgage Assistance Relief Service Provider or a Maryland attorney to conduct the negotiation; and
           
        3. The seller voluntarily signs an authorization indicating the licensee may submit required short-sale or loss mitigation information and documentation on the seller's behalf.

         
      • Must refer a seller to a tax advisor or tax professional to explain to the seller the potential income tax consequences of a short sale and the applicability of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007.
         
      • Must refer a client to a housing counselor for discussion about alternatives available to avoid foreclosure. Free housing counseling is available through the Maryland HOPE Program at 1-877-462-7555.
         
      • Must inform the seller of, and refer to the licensee's broker, any requests from the lender/servicer for reductions in real estate brokerage commissions on a short sale.
         
      • May truthfully advertise or present to the public any training or achievements that reflect the licensee's experience in the field of residential short sales.

       
    2. A real estate license MUST comply with all provisions of the Maryland MARS Act if the licensee does any of the following:
       
      • Collects any monies in addition to the real estate brokerage sales commission from a short-sale client.
         
      • Assists a seller in negotiating with the lender/servicer or other lienholder to obtain approval for a short sale, release of lien, modification of a promissory note, waiver of deficiency, or to otherwise prevent or obtain relief from a foreclosure.
         
      • Represents to the public that the licensee: (1) can assist in preventing foreclosure; (2) is an "expert" in short sales; (3) can arrange refinancing; or (4) will contact creditors on the owner's behalf.
         
      • Makes representations to a homeowner that the licensee can save the owner's home, stop foreclosure, or obtain a short sale.
         
      • Provides advice to a homeowner regarding the benefits of a strategic default.
         
      • Makes any predictions with regard to the likelihood of the waiver of a deficiency or the payment of relocation costs in a short sale.


    None of the above-described actions or services in Section II come within Maryland's definition of the provision of real estate brokerage services, and therefore a LICENSEE IS NOT ACTING under his or her license when taking these actions or providing these services to a client. The licensee must ensure that the client understands that these services are in addition to, and not part of, the real estate brokerage services that the licensee has agreed to provide.


     

    Thank you to all who responded to the recent NAR Call for Action regarding the tax reform overhaul currently underway on Capitol Hill.

    The tax reform process has just begun, and your voice will be called for again before the year is out. We appreciate your support during this critical time, and we will notify you when further action is needed.

    Other important legislative issues being tracked:


     

    2014 PGCAR OFFICER AND DIRECTOR CANDIDATES
    Vote Online Starting Sunday, September 1


    PGCAR is pleased to announce the candidates for the 2013 - 2014 PGCAR Board of Directors.

    The 2013 / 2014 Candidates
    President: John Lesniewski, RE/MAX United Real Estate
    President-Elect: Desiree Callender, Desiree Callender & Associates
    Secretary: Chuck Ottley, SellState Dominion Realty
    Directors:
    (4 to be elected)
    Patricia Dowtin, Long & Foster Real Estate
    Fredericka Lloyd, Lloyd & Associates
    Emerick Peace, Keller Williams Preferred Properties
    Veera Phillips, Keller Williams Preferred Properties
    Melvin Pitt, RE/MAX Specialists

     
     

    Prince George's Home Sales Keep Gaining Strength . . . and Press!
    County Home Sales and Prices on the Upswing


    John LesniewskiPrince George's July 2013 home sales showed the second largest year-over-year increase in median sale price among all jurisdictions, according to data from RealEstate Business Intelligence, with Prince William just behind its Maryland neighbor. The median sale price in our County is now at its highest level since the end of 2009.

    Read the Washington Post August 12 article >
    See detailed statistics at www.pgcar.com/stats >

    On Friday, July 12, PGCAR's President-Elect, John Lesniewski, was interviewed by Patricia Villone of CTV News about home sales in Prince George's County. Home prices are 16% above a year ago, and home sales are brisk - creating a favorable market for sellers.

    Click here to view the video >


     
    1. College Park Live Smart Program
      Up to $5,000 in Homebuyer Incentives!
      College Park's program highlights affordability and convenient location to encourage home sales in the community, offering up to $5,000 in incentives to home buyers. Program details >
    2. Homebuyer Savings for City of Laurel
      Buyers of foreclosed homes receive tax credits. The program offers a five-year descending City tax credit of up to $3,500 for buyers purchasing their primary residence within Laurel City limits.
      Program Details >
    3. $30 Million Targeted Areas Initiative for All 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 >
    4. Buy Suitland Initiative
      $40,000 Maximum in Downpayment & Closing Cost Savings!
      Up to 5% of home purchase price to first-time homebuyers or those who haven't owned within the last 3 years; Up to 7% for local civic employees. Program Details >   Revised Buy Suitland Flyer >
    5. Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLB Atlanta)
      Up to $15,000 toward a foreclosure purchase; Up to $7,500 toward the purchase of a property located in area approved for NSP funds.
      Program Details >
    6. American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI)
      Up to $10,000 to County homebuyers who have not owned a home within the last 3 years.
      Program Details >
    7. 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.


     

    Consumer Tip: Make Your Kitchen Remodel Last
    Classic Ideas to Keep it Timeless


    Make Your Kitchen Remodel Last You've scrimped and saved and finally you're ready to start the big kitchen remodel. You're only going to do this once, so it's vital that it's done right - but how to know that it'll still look great as years go by?

    Consider these seven features in your remodel to ensure your kitchen is timeless and retains its value:
    • Go white.
      Not only does white look clean and classic, it helps to brighten the room, too (making small kitchens appear larger is a plus!). Also, just about anything you need for your kitchen is readily available in white - cabinets, appliances, sinks, faucets, tile, counters - and at a variety of prices to suit any budget.
       
    • For floors, wood is good.
      Warm and inviting, hardwood floors are durable, and homebuyers rate them high on their list of desired features. And hardwood from sustainably-managed forests is considered green!
       
    • Keep the cabinets clean.
      On the outside, we mean: with the clean lines of Shaker-style cabinets. The simple but traditional style of the Shakers is timeless and works well with transitional style - a blend of traditional and contemporary - which is now most popular for kitchens.
       
    • On countertops, go Carrara.
      Carrara marble is readily available, therefore affordable, and will last for generations if sealed regularly. Also, the white color with gray veining is a perfect backdrop for any décor.
       
    • Use subway tile for the backsplash.
      Tile is easy to clean, and white subway tile specifically is classic and will blend well with many different styles.
       
    • Go ergonomic.
      Opting for features such as a wall oven and cooktop instead of a fixed-height range, and pull-out shelves in low cabinets, will save you from a lot of bending. Other available features can increase the comfort of your kitchen space, too.
       
    • Store Smart.
      The items you use most should be stored in easy reach of where you work. Design your new kitchen to accommodate your oft-used knives, mixing bowls, cutting boards, cooking pans, etc. within two feet of the primary workspace.
       
    It's exciting to embark on a remodel with the promise of a beautiful new space. With a thoughtful approach and classic features, your new kitchen will be a delight for years to come.

    For more information on home updates, please visit Houselogic.com.


     
     

    PGCAR 2014 DUES - Available Online Now


     Invoices for PGCAR 2014 Dues are available online at 
    www.pgcar.com.


    Dues payments are due October 1, 2013.
    A late fee of $50 will be charged after November 30.

    Thank you for being a part of PGCAR!
     
    PGCAR Dues $310
    MAR Dues $215
    NAR Dues $155
    Optional RPAC Contribution $35
    Optional Maclin Scholarship Fund Contribution $5


     
     

    Earn All MD and DC Required CEU at PGCAR


    DC Salespersons are required to meet their CE requirements and renew their licenses by August 31, 2013.

    Nine CEU hours in required subjects and six DC Elective CEU hours must be fulfilled; CE requirements are also listed in detail at pgcar.com.

    All 3 required classes will be offered by PGCAR one last time pre-deadline on August 22 and 26.


    This Wednesday, August 21
    MD Code of Ethics
    3 MD Required Ethics CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    This Thursday, August 22
    Financing Issues / Update
    3 DC Required Financing Issues / Update CEU;
    3 MD Elective CEU
    Michael Chelst 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Next Monday, August 26
    DC Legislative Update
    3 DC Required Legislative Update CEU
    Prabhjit Singh 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    DC Fair Housing & Predatory Lending
    3 DC Required Fair Housing CEU
    Prabhjit Singh 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    Next Wednesday, August 28
    MREC Agency-Residential
    3 MD Required or Elective CEU
    Fredericka Lloyd 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Tuesday, September 3
    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, September 4
    GRI 200 Series - Full Series of 5 Classes Begins
    6 MD Required Legislative Update and 21 MD Elective CEU
    various 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
    GRI Module 201: Pricing Property & Appraisal
    6 MD Elective CEU
    various 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

    Friday, September 6
    GRI Module 205: Condominiums, Cooperatives & Buyer Brokerage
    3 MD Required Legislative Update and 3 MD Elective CEU
    various 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

    Thursday, September 12
    GRI Module 203: Interpersonal Skills & Personal Assistants
    3 MD Elective CEU
    various 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

    Thursday, September 19
    GRI Module 202: Contracts & Agency
    3 MD Required Legislative Update and 3 MD Elective CEU
    various 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

    Complete CEU Schedule >


    PGCAR Store


     

    Remember! Enjoy Savings on CEU at PGCAR!


    Maryland and DC real estate CEU is on sale at PGCAR PGCAR Members and REALTORS® - Enjoy steep discounts on ALL classes held 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 Hold Steady


    Last Thursday, August 15, the average mortgage rates report released by Freddie Mac was good news, showing fixed-rate mortgage rates holding steady.

    Vice President and Chief Economist for Freddie Mac, Frank Nothaft, noted that "fixed mortgage rates have been bouncing around over the past few weeks on market speculation that the Fed will taper some of its monetary stimulus. In fact, 65 percent of economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the Fed to reduce the amount of bond purchases at its September 17th and 18th monetary policy committee meetings."

    "Currently, mortgage rates on 30-year fixed mortgages are 1.1 percentage points above their all-time low set on November 21, 2012, which translates into $125 more per month in mortgage payments on a $200,000 loan."

    Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending August 15, 2013:

    • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.40%, same as last week.
    • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.44%, up from 3.43%.
    • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 3.23%, up from 3.19%.
    • The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.67%, up from 2.62%
    Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >

    Like us on Facebook to see monthly Prince George's County home sales and weekly mortgage reports as soon as they are released!

     

    County Home Settlements Still on the Rise in July
    July home sales statistics are now available for Prince George's County!

    facebook logo In July, single-family home listings and settlements were both on the rise overall, with significant movement in the upper-level price ranges. Single-family listings were up 700% in the $600,000 - $699,999 range, or eight listings to 2012's one. Listings from $700,000 - $799,999 also jumped -- 600% -- with seven over last year's one. Settlements also rose, showing an 80.3% increase over last year in the $300,000 – 399,999 range (119 settlements to 66 in 2012), and 100% increases in the higher-cost brackets of $600,000 - $699,999, $700,000 - $799,999, $800,000 - $899,999, and $1,000,000 - $1,249,999.

    For condo and co-op listings, notable increases were seen in the ranges of $150,000 - $199,999 (30% higher this year) and $500,000 - $599,999. And settlements were up a remarkable 128.6% for the $150,000 - $199,999 range with 16 in July 2013, compared with 7 in July 2012.

    Visit www.pgcar.com/stats for more details. And don't forget to like PGCAR on Facebook to see monthly statistics first!

    A couple of articles about the national real estate market from REALTOR.org:
    Obama Takes on Consumers' Housing Questions
    Fed Fending Off Rate Rise?

     
     

    Sales Coach
    Try These 7 Skills to Weather Changes in the Real Estate Market


    Home Sales Coach The real estate market has its ups and downs, but there are some REALTORS® who always seem to be unaffected by the slumps. Just how do they do that? What is it they're doing that keeps them consistently sailing forward, whether the market is stormy, stalling or brisk?

    The following 7 tips will help to ensure you're sailing steady in the storms:
    1. Keep meeting new people.
      The more people you know, the more people you have to sell to, or to refer new clients to you.
       
    2. Connect with people.
      It's easier to sell to a friend than a stranger, right? Show people you care about them by being true and building their trust.
       
    3. Never let a lead go.
      You may be busy or feel discouraged, but if you want to succeed, it's essential that you follow up on every lead. Create a system to be sure no one is left behind.
       
    4. Be careful of what you don't ask for.
      Don't be shy to ask for what you want; successful REALTORS® do. Go ahead and ask for the sale or the referral or the testimonial. You may be surprised at how often you'll get it.
       
    5. Set expectations appropriately.
      There will always be expectations, whether expressed or not. Tell your clients what they should expect realistically. If there are bumps in the process, let them know how to adjust expectations.
       
    6. Pay attention to details.
      Make sure that tasks are accomplished correctly and on time. It's essential that nothing falls through the cracks when your clients' transaction – and your reputation – is on the line.
       
    7. Be careful with money.
      Your dad told you this, and he was right. In business, it's good to be nice, but be sure you watch out for yourself and get paid correctly for what you do.
       
    Keep these tips in mind – during good times and bad – and you'll find that changes in the market won't affect you quite so much.

    For more information on these 7 skills, click here.

     
     

    Case #17-8: Attempted Use of Corporate Veil
    to Avoid Obligation to Arbitrate
    REALTORS® A and B, principals in different firms, were both members of the same Board. A disagreement arose between them concerning entitlement to a commission in a real estate transaction. After initial efforts to resolve the dispute proved fruitless, REALTOR® A filed a request for arbitration with the Board which was reviewed by the Grievance Committee which concluded that an arbitrable issue existed. Instead of agreeing to arbitration through the Board, REALTOR® B filed a lawsuit against REALTOR® A. Receiving notice of the suit, REALTOR® A filed a charge with the Board alleging REALTOR® B had violated Article 17 of the Code of Ethics.

    REALTOR® B, in his presentation to the Board of Directors indicated that, in his opinion, he was not subject to any ethics charge, since it was his corporation, and not REALTOR® B individually, that had filed suit against the corporation of REALTOR® A, not against REALTOR® A himself.

    REALTOR® A told the Board of Directors that immediately upon occurrence of the dispute, he had suggested to REALTOR® B that the matter be arbitrated by the Board, and REALTOR® B said he would think about it. REALTOR® A then proceeded to file his request for arbitration with the Board. However, REALTOR® B did not respond to the arbitration notice and, shortly thereafter, REALTOR® A received notice of the suit filed by REALTOR® B's corporation against the corporation of REALTOR® A. He said he then called REALTOR® B and again discussed the obligation of Article 17 with him. However, REALTOR® B advised him that his corporation was not subject to the requirements of the Code and stated his intent to pursue the litigation.

    REALTOR® B acknowledged that the facts as related by REALTOR® A were correct and that his corporation had filed suit upon the advice of the corporation's legal counsel. REALTOR® B said that membership in a Board of REALTORS® is individual and that personal responsibility disappears when a matter of corporate business is involved. He pointed out that he was not the only principal or officer in his corporation and that the decision to file litigation was not made by him alone, but by all of the corporate officers.

    Based on your understanding of Code of Ethics Article 17, what do you think the hearing panel concluded? Click here to find out >

     
     

    Save the Date!


    PGCAR's Annual Charity Event will be held on December 11
    at La Fontaine Bleue

    Donations per ticket are
    $30 before December 1;
    $35 per ticket starting December 1.

    For details or to register, go to
    pgcar.com/charity-event >

    View photos from the December 12, 2012 Winter Wonderland event >


     

    2013 MAR Annual Conference & Trade Show
    Maryland REALTORS® are Bringing it Home!



    OCEAN CITY, MD    SEPTEMBER 9 - 11

    Join your fellow REALTORS® in Bringing it Home 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

     
     

    2013 NAR Annual Conference - November 8 - 11


    2013 NAR Annual Conference

    What's the secret to earning more money in real estate? Attending the 2013 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, Nov. 8-11 in San Francisco, CA. Attendees make two times the average real estate income, so you'll have the chance to network with some of the most successful pros in the industry!

    Register today to take advantage of hotel room rates starting at just $129 a night; hurry! These rates won't last long!

    For complete conference details, click here >



     
     

    REALTORS® Federal Credit Union
    Personal and Professional Lines of Credit


    Whether you're consolidating higher interest debt, investing in home or business improvements, spreading tuition or annual dues payments, or simply opening a line of credit "just in case", you can cover it with a REALTORS® Federal Credit Union line of credit or personal loan.

    Apply for personal or professional loans and find out more about great offers here >

     

    SentriLock Lockbox sale expires soon!  Get yours today!

    Pay only $65 each (plus tax) for up to 9 lockboxes; order larger numbers and enjoy even
    greater discounts! Power paddles are also discounted to $55 for a limited time. To take
    advantage of these great prices, please contact Shirley at the Association office.
     

     
    HAPPY LABOR DAY
    The PGCAR office will be closed on Monday, September 2, in observance of the Labor Day holiday.
    We wish you a happy and safe holiday!


    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  :  ©2013 PGCAR

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