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September 16, 2013

    I n   t h i s   i s s u e . . .
 
Events
  • Annual Installation of Officers & Directors
        - Registration Closes Midnight Tonight!
  • Thank You for Voting
  • Red Cross Blood Drive - October 10
  • REALTOR® Safety Month
  • 2013 MAR Annual Conference - Thank You!
  • Annual Charity Event - December 11
  • 2013 NAR Annual Conference

    Homeownership Matters
  • Newly Proposed QRM Rule Removes
        20% Downpayment Requirement
  • Homebuyer Incentives in Prince George's County
  • Consumer Tip: Color Your World
  •  
    The Industry Insider
  • Forms Alert: New County Lease and Addendum
        - Effective Immediately
  • MREC Short Sale Guidelines
  • 2014 PGCAR Dues - Due Tuesday, October 1
  • GRI, MD and DC CEU at PGCAR
  • Sale!  Only $11 for 1.5 CEU; $18 for 3 CEU
  • Market Sen$e: It's Steady On for Fixed
        Mortgage Rates
  • August Continues Recent Trend:
        County Home Settlements Increase
  • Sales Coach: Safety First
  • Code of Ethics: Case #2-3
  • Free Hands-On MRIS Training
  • Auto and Motorcycle Loans as Low as 1.49%?
        Sure Thing! At the REALTORS® FCU
  • SentriLock Lockbox Sale Expires Soon!


  • The PGCAR office will be closed Wednesday morning for the Installation, reopening at 2:30 pm. We will also be closed 11:30 am - 2 pm this Thursday, September 19.


     

    THANK YOU FOR VOTING


    Don't Miss the Installation of YOUR Elected Officers & Directors This Wednesday!

    PGCAR thanks all of our members who cast votes for our 2014 Officers and Directors; voting is now closed.

    While leadership is important, it's the many members (like you) who inspire the continual improvement in our association. Your voice matters; please stay involved!

    Click here to register for Wednesday's Annual Installation luncheon >

     
     

    Revised and New Forms Already in Effect


    Alvin C. Monshower, Jr., Association Counsel

    The current PGCAR Single Family Dwelling Lease (PGCAR Form 1105, Rev. 9/13) (the "PGCAR Lease") has been substantially revised from the October 2011 version. In particular, Section 3 of the current PGCAR Lease has been revised to specifically address the requirements of the Prince George's County Code with respect to rental security deposits.

    In consideration of the final revisions to the PGCAR Lease and its re-posting and dissemination, you should consider the following recommendations:
    1. Remove from your current inventory all prior versions of the PGCAR Lease, including such inventory as stored by hard copy or digitally.
       
    2. In the event you are a property manager or person leasing property which utilized the PGCAR Lease with the revision date of "10/2011", attached you will find an addendum which you are encouraged to have the tenant sign should your lease be expiring in the next thirty (30) days.
       
    3. If you are a REALTOR® member and are presently involved in negotiating a Residential Dwelling Lease, and if the property is located in Prince George's County, you should utilize the attached addendum to any current lease form which you use or which your company provides (other than the revised PGCAR Single Family Dwelling Lease revised 9/13).
    Should you have any questions or require additional clarification, please contact Mike Graziano, PGCAR Director of Government Affairs at 301-306-7900 or mikeg@pgcar.com.


    LEGISLATIVE NOTIFICATION - August 29, 2013
    County Rental Security Deposit Law Differs From State Law

    PGCAR Form 1105 - Revised September 6, 2013
    Prince George's County Single Family Dwelling Lease

    PGCAR Form 1108 - Added September 6, 2013
    Addendum to the Prince George's County Single Family Dwelling Lease


     
     
     


    COMMISSION REVISING SHORT SALE PRACTICE GUIDELINES

    by Mark Feinroth, Esq.
    MAR Director of Regulatory Affairs


    The Maryland Real Estate Commission is expected (officially released July 22, 2013) to adopt new guidelines for real estate agents who assist clients with obtaining short sale approvals. When read together with guidance issued by the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation, the Real Estate Commission's statement will allow real estate licensees to communicate with a lender to assist a client awaiting a lender's approval of a short sale request.

    Prior to July 1, the Credit Services Business Act was the controlling statute for anyone engaged in the practice of negotiating a short sale on behalf of a seller. An exemption in the law allowed real estate agents and brokers to engage in short sale communications with a lender on behalf of a seller client, as long as the real estate licensee does not negotiate with the lender as the seller's representative.

    Beginning July 1, The Maryland MARS (Mortgage Assistance Relief Services) Act became the controlling authority for short sale negotiators. The Maryland MARS Act incorporates into Maryland law the Federal Trade Commission's Regulation O, which is now enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB). While there is no exemption in the MARS Act for real estate licensees, Federal and Maryland regulators have declared that they will not enforce the Act against agents and brokers who are "acting within the scope of their license." The Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation published guidance on the new law which states that he will rely on the Real Estate Commission's definition of permissible short sale assistance by a licensee.

    All of this means that most licensees may continue their practice of helping a client sell a home and obtain third party approval for a short sale. Under both the old and new law, a real estate agent is permitted to forward documents and information to the lender on a client's behalf in order to complete the short sale application process. The agent may also communicate with the lender concerning the value of the home and property to be sold. If the agent has the seller's authority to negotiate a deficiency agreement or other relocation benefits, the real esate agent may do so, but must first comply with the various MARS Act disclosure requirements. Real estate licenssees who negotiate with a lender on behalf of clients purusing a short sale approval are advised to consult the Commissioner of Financial Regulations "Guidance for Individuals Providing Short Sale Negotiation Services."

    In June, the Real Estate Commission considered a draft statement prepared by staff on short sale assistance that licensees are permitted to offer under the terms of a Maryland real estate license. Revisions were requested and a final approval of the statement was expected in July. Here is a link to that statement.

    In the meantime, licensees should take care to avoid entering into negotiations with a seller client's lender. Any real estate licensee who intends to perform those kinds of services should be prepared to comply with the disclosures mandated by the MARS Act. A future article in Maryland REALTOR® magazine and in REALTOR® Connection will detail the MARS Act disclosures.

    Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or comments at mark.feinroth@mdrealtor.org.

    Reprinted from Mark Feinroth. "Commission Revising Short Sale Practice Guideline." Maryland REALTOR® August | September 2013: 30. Print.



    Other important legislative issues being tracked:


     

    Re-Proposed Qualified Residential Mortgage Rule Gains Support of REALTORS®


    On Wednesday, August 28, a re-proposed Qualified Residential Mortgage rule was announced. The new version has met with approval from REALTORS® - a departure from the first QRM rule proposed in April 2011 that required a 20% downpayment. Proposed downpayment requirements range as high as 30%. The re-proposed QRM draft rule announced last Wednesday has eliminated that downpayment requirement and provides standards that will help to maintain home buying affordability as well as prevent unscrupulous lending.

    Click here to read NAR President Gary Thomas' statement on the new QRM rule.
    Click here for an August 29 Reuters article, "Proposed QRM Rule a Plus for U.S. Mortgage Lending."

     
    Give the gift of life at PGCAR's next Red Cross Blood Drive®!

    Thursday, October 10

    9 am to 3 pm
    at the PGCAR office:
    9200 Basil Court, Suite 400
    Largo, MD 20774

    ALL ARE WELCOME!
    FRIENDS ~ FAMILIES ~ MEMBERS
    BLOOD DONORS SAVE LIVES!



     
    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: Color Your World
    Use Paint to Achieve Great Effects


    Prolong the life of your roof Paint is a low-cost, high-return investment when you want to refresh or update a room. Not only does paint pack a punch with color; you can use paint to make a room appear larger or smaller or to highlight a special feature in the room.

    Here, a few ideas to help you select the right color or scheme for your space:
    • Consider how you want the room to feel. Warm colors tend to be energetic or cozy, while cool colors relax.
       
    • Paint sample swatches on multiple walls in the room to see how the light changes them.
       
    • White and light colors can make a room appear larger. You knew that. Did you know darker colors with a high-gloss finish can do that, too?
       
    • Let stripes fool the eye: vertical stripes make a room appear taller, while horizontal stripes help to make it seem broader.
       
    • Create coziness by using a warm, deep color.
       
    • For a sense of serenity, use pale, cool colors.
       
    • Don't be afraid to use color on the ceiling; it can create interest and make rooms with high ceilings seem less cavernous.
       
    • Use contrasting color to highlight crown moldings, arches, recessed areas, or fireplaces.
       
    • Uniformity in color and flat paint will help to camouflage flaws or unappealing features.

    Paint is not only versatile and relatively inexpensive; when carefully chosen, it can seem to work magic.

    For more information on selecting paint colors, please visit Houselogic.com.


     
     
    2014 Dues Renewals
    Due Tuesday, October 1

    Don't wait until the last minute to pay this year's dues.
    Use our fast and secure Online Dues Payment!
    Paying online is easy, secure, and supplies you with a receipt.

    Renew Online as Easy as 1-2-3:

    1. Click here
    2. Log in
    3. Renew online and receive receipt !

    The due date is October 1, 2013. A late fee of $50 will be added for dues payments not received by midnight November 30, 2013.

    Prince George's County Dues $310
    Maryland Association Dues $215
    National Association Dues $155
    Voluntary 2012 RPAC Contribution $  35
    Voluntary Scholarship Fund Contribution $   5

    Please note: If dues payments are not made online, they may not be reflected in your payment history in Members Only.

    Thank you for being a part of PGCAR!


     
     

    Earn All MD and DC Required CEU at PGCAR



    This Friday, September 20
    Contracts
    3 MD Elective CEU; 3 DC Elective CEU
    Rachel Jefferies 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Next Monday, September 23
    MD Code of Ethics
    3 MD Required Ethics CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    Next Thursday, September 26
    Maximize Your Credit Score
    1.5 MD Elective CEU
    Derrick Smith 10:00 am - 11:30 am
    Financing Issues / Update
    3 DC Required Financing Issues CEU; 3 MD Elective CEU
    Michael Chelst 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    Next Friday, September 27
    MREC Agency - Residential
    3 MD Required or Elective CEU
    Fredericka Lloyd 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Tuesday, October 15
    ABC's of Rentals
    3 MD Elective CEU
    Rayna McLendon 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    Thursday, October 17
    MD Legislative Update
    3 MD Required Legislative Update CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 9:30 am - 12:30 am
    MD Fair Housing
    1.5 MD Required Fair Housing CEU;
    1.5 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

    Complete CEU Schedule >


    PGCAR Store

     
     

    September is REALTOR® Safety Month


    As a REALTOR®, you can be threatened with more on-the-job dangers than most other professionals. Just consider your average workday, in which tasks you take for granted probably read like a list of "don'ts" for staying safe: Leading strangers around an unknown property... advertising that you will be alone in a vacant home on a Sunday afternoon... offering rides to strangers.

    Whether it's giving strangers tours of houses or rides in your car, it pays to be prepared for the everyday risks of the Real Estate profession.

    Take this quiz to see how much you know about REALTOR® safety >

    Educate yourself about dangers and how to mitigate or eliminate them by visiting the Realtor.org safety site >


     

    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: It's Steady On for Fixed Mortgage Rates


    Last Thursday, September 12, results released by Freddie Mac indicated little change in fixed mortgage rates. The 30-year fixed rate averaged 4.57 percent last week, unchanged from the previous week's average. The 15-year fixed rate was also unchanged, at 3.59 percent.

    The lack of change in fixed mortgage rates followed the release of a mixed employment report, according to Freddie Mac's Vice President and Chief Economist, Frank Nothaft.

    "For example, the economy added 169,000 jobs in August, which was below the market consensus forecast, and revisions subtracted another 74,000 from the prior two months," Nothaft said. "Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent which was the lowest since December 2008."

    Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending September 12, 2013:

    • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.57%, same as last week.
    • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.59%, same as last week.
    • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 3.22%, down from 3.28%.
    • The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.67%, down from 2.71%.
    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!


     

    2013 MAR Annual Conference & Trade Show - Thank You!



    The 2013 MAR Conference & Trade Show was a smashing success; thank you to all members who represented PGCAR at the conference and networked, learned, and enjoyed at the same time.
    If you missed it, there's always 2014!

     

    AUGUST CONTINUES RECENT TREND:
    COUNTY HOME SETTLEMENTS INCREASE

    facebook logo Prince George's County single-family homes saw increases in all categories for several price ranges this August over the same month last year. In addition, the entire mid-range between home sales prices of $200,000 up through $899,000 are experiencing year-to-date sales (closed settlements) growth from a low end of 16% growth (homes priced $600,000 - $699,000) to a high end of 44% growth (homes priced $300,000 - $399,000).

    Condo and co-op settlements were up 21.8% in August of this year, compared with August 2012. Those in the ranges of $150,000 - $199,999 and $400,000 - 499,999 rose 100%, and the $200,000 - $299,999 range was up 50%.

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

    A few articles about the national real estate market from REALTOR.org:
    List of Improving Housing Markets Hits Record High
    Wells Fargo: Don't Fear Rising Rates
    Condo Boom? Market Shows Signs of a Revival

     
     

    Sales Coach
    Safety First: Keeping Visitors Safe at Open Houses


    Home Sales Coach You've got all of the proverbial ducks in a row for your open house and the sign is in the yard, cheerily beckoning visitors inside. You're sure the right buyer will step through that door any time now... but do you know what else might come through the door? A lawsuit.

    When a home is opened to the public with the aim of selling it, liability enters. If someone is injured while walking through the home, you - yes, you - could find yourself starring in a legal nightmare. An increasing number of courts are leveling liability on the real estate practitioner for failing to ensure the safety of open house visitors.

    That said, we offer here some tips to help minimize or eliminate safety risks at an open house:
    1. Clear rugs from the area.
       
    2. Sweep the stairs of anything but... stairs.
       
    3. Keep everyone's feet shod.
       
    4. Have someone (or yourself) monitor dangerous spots.
       
    5. Send animals packing.
       
    6. Extinguish flames.
       
    Accidents do happen, and sometimes just can't be prevented. Doing what you can to prevent slips and falls, though, is always a wise idea.

    For more information on these tips, click here.

    And since September is REALTOR® safety month, click here for ideas and information on ensuring your own safety at open houses.

     
     

    Case #2-3: Obligation to Disclose Defects

    Seller A came to REALTOR® B's office explaining that his company was transferring him to another city and he wished to sell his home. In executing the listing contract, Seller A specified that the house had hardwood floors throughout and that the selling price would include the shutters and draperies that had been custom made for the house. Seller A said that he would like to continue to occupy the house for 90 days while his wife looked for another home at his new location, and agreed that REALTOR® B could show the house during this time without making a special appointment for each visit. Accordingly, REALTOR® B advertised the house, showed it to a number of prospective buyers, and obtained a purchase contract from Buyer C. Settlement was completed and at the expiration of the 90-day period from the date of listing, Seller A moved out and Buyer C moved in.

    On the day that Buyer C moved in, seeing the house for the first time in its unfurnished condition, he quickly observed that hardwood flooring existed only on the outer rim of the floor in each room that had been visible beyond the edges of rugs when he inspected the house, and that the areas that had been previously covered by rugs in each room were of subflooring material. He complained that REALTOR® B, the listing broker, had misrepresented the house in his advertisements and in the description included in his listing form, which had specified "hardwood floors throughout." Buyer C complained to REALTOR® B, who immediately contacted Seller A. REALTOR® B pointed out that the house had been fully furnished when it was listed and Seller A had said that the house had hardwood floors throughout. Seller A acknowledged that he had so described the floors, but said the error was inadvertent since he had lived in the house for ten years since it had been custom built for him. He explained that in discussing the plans and specifications with the contractor who had built the house, the contractor had pointed out various methods of reducing construction costs, including limiting the use of hardwood flooring to the outer rim of each room's floor. Since Seller A had planned to use rugs in each room, he had agreed, and after ten years of living in the house with the subflooring covered by rugs, he had "simply forgotten about it."

    REALTOR® B explained, however, that Seller A's description, which he had accepted, had resulted in misrepresentation to the buyer. "But it's a small point," said Seller A. "He'll probably use rugs too, so it really doesn't make any difference." After further pressure from REALTOR® B for some kind of adjustment for Buyer C, Seller A concluded, "It was an honest mistake. It's not important. I'm not going to do anything about it. If Buyer C thinks this is a serious matter, let him sue me."

    REALTOR® B explained Seller A's attitude to Buyer C, saying that he regretted it very much, but under the circumstances could do nothing more about it. It was at this point that Buyer C filed a complaint with REALTOR® B's Board.

    Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 2, what do you think the hearing panel concluded? Click here to find out >

     
     

    PGCAR's Annual Holiday Charity Event is Just 3 Months Away!


    Join PGCAR on Wednesday, December 11

    Help to make the holidays bright for Prince George's County families in need. Register for our Annual Holiday Charity Event, and your tax-deductible donation* will provide much-needed food for local families. At La Fontaine Bleue on December 11, you will enjoy fun, food, entertainment, networking, and dancing (what's not to love about that?).

    *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 >


    Food and coat donations are also gratefully welcomed until December 12
    - either at the PGCAR offices or at the event itself.

    Thank you for your generosity! This is truly the kind of giving that gives back!


     

    FREE HANDS-ON MRIS TRAINING AT PGCAR
    Upcoming Dates & Courses


    Tuesday, September 24 @ 10:00 am
    MRIS 102: Simple Solutions To Use Public Records

    Tuesday, September 24 @ 12:30 pm
    MRIS 103: Everything Maps

    Tuesday, September 24 @ 2:30 pm
    MATRIX 102: CMAs, Present Listings With Confidence

    MRIS reports that agents who take advantage of their FREE workshops, also tend to seldom receive complaints and fines for misuse of the MLS. Visit www.mris.com/training for details and registration. Advance registration with MRIS is required.

     
     

    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 >



     
     

    New / Used Auto or Motorcycle Loans Starting at 1.49%
    A Benefit of the REALTORS® Federal Credit Union


    Lock in low, fixed interest rates on auto, motorcycle, boat and RV loans through the REALTORS® Federal Credit Union. Why not save those extra dollars each month instead? The FCU's competitive rates beat some of the top banks, especially on credit cards!

    Not a member yet? Just visit www.realtorsfcu.org and click on the "Membership" tab for complete details and the online application.

     

    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.
     


    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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