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November 11, 2013


    I n   t h i s   i s s u e . . .
 
Events
  • Veterans Day
  • Annual Legislative Breakfast
        - Next Thursday, November 21
  • Holiday Enchantment Gala
        - A Party with a Purpose
  • Public Meeting This Wednesday
  • Crayons and School Supplies Drive
  • PGCAR Red Cross Blood Drive
        Makes the News!
  • 2013 NAR Annual Conference a Great Success!

    Homeownership Matters
  • My HOME Program Re-Opens with
        $8 Million in Homebuyer Assistance Funds
  • Homebuyer Incentives in Prince George's County
  • Consumer Tip: Get Your Yard Ready
        for a Long Winter's Nap
  •  
    The Industry Insider
  • 2014 PGCAR Dues are Past Due
        - Pay Now to Save Late Fees
  • County Rental Application Revised Oct 30
        - Download Over 35 Contract Forms Revised
        Since September
  • Earn Your MD and DC CEU at PGCAR
  • Sale!  Only $11 for 1.5 CEU; $18 for 3 CEU
  • Market Sen$e: Fixed Mortgage
        Rates Back on the Upswing
  • September Continues Recent Trend:
        County Home Listings Rise
  • Sales Coach: Look Good in Writing
        Craft Correspondence That Will Impress
  • Code of Ethics: Case #6-6
  • Free Hands-On MRIS Training
  • Enjoy BIG Savings on Closing Costs!
        - Special Savings Through December 31
  • SentriLock Lockbox Sale
  •  
    TODAY IS VETERANS DAY - PGCAR Offices Closed

    PGCAR offices are closed today, November 11
    in observance of Veterans Day.

    We salute our nation's Veterans, those serving now, and our Military Families -- for the freedoms we all enjoy. We are especially proud of the many Veterans and Military Family members we have within the PGCAR community.
    THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!

     
    Stars

    Annual Legislative Reception

    One small but powerful way we can ALL make a difference, is being involved politically. That can be as simple as showing up and being informed. Please register, then rally at least one colleague to attend the Annual Legislative Breakfast on Thursday, November 21.

    WE CANNOT HAVE INFLUENCE IF WE DO NOT SHOW THAT WE ARE INTERESTED AND INVOLVED. It is important that you attend this Legislative Breakfast to become informed and show our strength.

    Hear from and meet:
    Keynote Speaker County Executive Rushern Baker
    Maryland Senator Doug Peters - Prince George's Senate Delegation Chair
    Maryland Delegate Jolene Ivey - Prince George's House Delegation Chair
    and Candidate for Lieutenant Governor
    8 am Coffee and mingling  ~  9:00 am Program promptly begins
    Only $25 per person ~ includes a full breakfast


    Stars

     
    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 (what's not to love about that?).


    Participate with your office!
    Save by purchasing 10 tickets for $250 by November 30 >
    (and it's tax-deductible as a charitable donation)

    Individual donations are only $30 per ticket through November 30 >
    ($35 per ticket starting December 1)

    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 to Donate and Attend the Charity Event >

    Click here to Sponsor our Charity Event >

     
    PGCAR 2014 Membership Renewal
    Now Due ~ Late Fees Begin December 1
    Dues were due and payable as of October 1, 2013. A late fee will be charged after November 30. Don't wait until the last minute to pay this year's dues. Dues are online and easy to pay at www.pgcar.com.

    Renew at www.pgcar.com as Easy as 1-2-3:

    1. Click here
    2. Log in
    3. Renew online and receive receipt !
    Visit pgcar.com to renew now.
    Renew online to receive an itemized receipt, and
    show dues payment on your PGCAR Order History.

    Thank you for being a part of PGCAR!

     

    PUBLIC MEETING THIS WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 13
    Invitation from County Executive Office


    County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III invites citizens to attend a legislative listening session to provide residents with an opportunity to share ideas on issues impacting their lives and communities. Members from the County's House and Senate delegations, the Prince George's County Council, school board representatives and other community leaders will also be present to hear the issues that concern residents.

    Click here to learn more about the listening sessions. Pre-register, especially if you wish to testify, by completing the Registration Form or calling 301.952.4131. Comments will be limited and timed to three (3) minutes per person.

    If you wish to submit testimony but cannot attend in person, please email your comments to CommunityFeedback@co.pg.md.us.

    The meeting will be held:
    This Wednesday November 13, at Potomac High School, 7 - 9 pm
    5211 Boydell Avenue, Oxon Hill, MD 20745

    Attached is a flyer you can share with your office, friends and relatives. We hope to see you there.


     

    My HOME Program Re-Opens to Applications
    Over $8 Million in Funding Gained for the Next Three Years!


    My HOME / My HOME II homebuyer closing costs and downpayment savings My HOME provides deferred payment loans to cover up to 5% of a home's purchase price, for down payment and closing costs assistance, for income eligible homebuyers who haven't owned a home in the past 3 years. If the purchaser remains in the home, using it as their primary residence for 10 or more years, the complete amount of the My HOME loan is forgiven.

    Reminder: The My HOME Program is NOT just for low income! Applicants at or below 80% of the area median income may qualify. For example, single-person homebuyers at or below $60,200 annual income (or $90,150 for homes within targeted zip codes) can apply; 3-person households at or below $77,400 (or $115,900 within targeted zip codes) can apply.

    My HOME II Also Available in Targeted Zip Codes

    Details on the My HOME / My HOME II program are at www.pgcar.com and will be made available at the Redevelopment Authority's My HOME Program website. You may call the Redevelopment Authority at 301.883.7323 with any questions and for further program details.


     

    Crayons and Supplies for Elementary School Children


    Crayons and Supplies An elementary school class that participates in the annual poster contest, doesn't even have the money for crayons this year. Most of us can't imagine children without crayons. If they don't have crayons, what else don't they have?

    Please help a small bit, to impact at least this classroom in a BIG way! Please drop off new boxes of crayons at the PGCAR office, or donate at www.pgcar.com/crayons to buy crayons and other supplies for these precious children. They're our future!

     
    PGCAR Makes the News!
    Thanks to everyone who makes our blood drives a success. Prince George's Community Television visited the blood drive at PGCAR Thursday, October 10. We're featured on their daily news! View the entire segment, or skip ahead to minute 4:40 of the October 10 video on their Facebook page.

    The next Red Cross Blood Drive at PGCAR is Thursday, December 19. Please join us in saving lives!

     



    The Residential Contract of Sale, County Lease, Rental Application and more than 35 other contract forms have been revised over the last 2 months due to extensive legislative and regulation changes.

    Revised and Added Forms Include

    Revised October 30, 2013:
    Revised October 1, 2013:
    Revised or Added September 6, 2013:
    Read some of the legislative details and practice tips for: Please visit www.pgcar.com/membersonly/forms regularly to track form changes, and keep updated on our quickly changing legislative and regulatory environment.


     
    1. My HOME / My HOME II Program
      Up to 5% or $20,000 in Homebuyer Incentives!
      Program offers up to 5% of sale price (through My HOME) of a primary residence anywhere in Prince George's County; up to $20,000 (through My HOME II) within targeted zip codes. Program details >
    2. 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 >
    3. 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 >
    4. $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 >
    5. 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 >
    6. 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 >
    7. 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 >
    8. 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: Get Your Yard Ready for a Long Winter's Nap
    Proper Care Now Will Help Landscape Wake Refreshed in Spring


    Get Your Yard Ready for a Long Winter's Nap You've spent a lot of time, energy, and probably money throughout the year to keep your landscaping looking "just so". Invest a little bit now - before winter's chill arrives - to ensure that your yard will be ready for spring.

    The following tips will help you keep your landscape lovely despite lower temps:

    Apply Mulch
    • Lay mulch around shrubs and trees.
    • Beware: don't use free municipal mulch, which often carries diseases.

    Get Rid of Dead/Dying Growth
    • Dig up dead annuals.
    • Deadhead flowers, and cut back perennials and ornamental grasses.
    • Prune dead/dying branches from trees and shrubs.
    • If you have tea roses, cut them back approximately two-thirds following the first frost.

    Protect Sensitive Plants and Trees
    • Pots or buckets turned upside-down will help small plants weather cold temps.
    • Shrubs will appreciate a burlap wrap.
    • Use shredded leaves around delicate trees for protection.

    Fall Nursery Sales: Good for You!
    • Fall is a good time for planting shrubs and trees; conveniently, nurseries have sales in the fall to clear inventory. That's a win-win!

    It doesn't take much to ensure that Old Man Winter's steely grip won't take hold of your lush landscaping. For more information on these and other winterizing tips, please visit Houselogic.com.


     
     

    PGCAR and WCR Membership Applications
    New Agents? Looking for a PGCAR or Local WCR Membership Application?


    Download the New 2014 PGCAR Membership Application from www.pgcar.com >
    Women's Council of REALTORS® Prince George's Chapter Membership Application >


     
     

    Earn All MD and DC Required CEU at PGCAR



    This Thursday, November 14
    DC Legislative Update
    3 DC Required Legislative Update CEU
    Jackie Talpa 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    DC Fair Housing & Predatory Lending
    3 DC Required Fair Housing CEU
    Jackie Talpa 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    This Friday, November 15
    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

    Next Monday, November 18
    MD Code of Ethics
    3 MD Required Ethics CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    Next Wednesday, November 20
    MREC Agency-Residential
    3 MD Required or Elective CEU
    Fredericka Lloyd 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    Reverse Mortgages
    1.5 MD Elective CEU
    Bruce Winstead 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

    Wednesday, December 11
    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

    Thursday, December 12
    Successfully Selling Government Owned Properties
    1.5 MD Elective CEU
    Melanie Gamble 1:30 pm - 3:00 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: Fixed Mortgage Rates Back on the Upswing


    Last Thursday, November 7, Freddie Mac released results showing fixed mortgage rates rising for the first time in three weeks.

    The 30-year fixed rate averaged 4.16 percent last week. The 15-year fixed rate was also up, at 3.27 percent.

    Frank Nothaft, Vice President and Chief Economist for Freddie Mac, attributed the slight rebound to the release of positive economic data.

    "Production in the manufacturing industry expanded for the fifth month in a row in October to the strongest pace since April 2011," Nothaft said. "Similarly, the non-manufacturing sector grew for the second consecutive month in October and beat the market consensus forecast of a decline. These increases were widespread across the nation, from Chicago to Milwaukee to New York."

    Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending November 7, 2013:

    • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.16%, up from 4.10%.
    • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.27%, up from 3.20%.
    • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.96%, same as last week.
    • The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.61%, down from 2.64%.
    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!

     

    PRINCE GEORGE'S HOME LISTINGS, CONTRACTS & SETTLEMENTS RISE IN OCTOBER

    facebook logo A snapshot of the data for Prince George's County single family homes shows that in October there was a 5.8% increase in listings compared with October 2012, and inventory increased very slightly from September 2013. Contracts increased 8.25% over September, and settlements increased 8.73% from September to October 2013.

    Condo and co-op housing showed an increase of 13.7% in listings in October 2013 compared with October 2012, with a decline of 0.6% year-to-date in contracts, yet a 16.4% increase year-to-date in settlements.

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

    Also, check out these articles about the national real estate market from REALTOR.org:
    One in Four Sellers Reducing List Prices
    9 Buzzwords Helping to Sell Homes
    Most Metro Areas Show Strong Annual Home-Price Growth

     
     

    Sales Coach: Look Good in Writing
    Craft Correspondence That Will Impress

    Home Sales Coach Your written communications - whether paper or electronic - not only convey information, but they also say something about you. A letter that's rife with errors can make the reader question your knowledge or professionalism, while a well-executed letter can garner respect.

    In this era of texts and Twitters, a good business letter can set you apart. The next time you have something to say in writing, bear in mind the following:

    Components of business correspondence - From top to bottom are: date, your address (often within your letterhead), the recipient's address, salutation, body, closing, signature, your name in type, enclosure (if pertinent), and typist's initials (if you didn't type the letter).

    Proper format - Generally, the "full block" format is used; key elements are left-margin-justified text and spaces between paragraphs. A quick online search will give you plenty of examples of this style, and your word processing program probably offers an easy-to-use template.

    Dynamic message - In composing the text:
    • Write to your audience (terms/language they'll easily understand).
    • Be concise and clear.
    • Provide something the reader will value.
    • Ask for their business.
    • Close on a high note.
    • Review the written letter for errors and have another proofread it, too.
    Email Specifics - Emails carry slightly different rules than paper letters. They needn't be quite so formal, yet do be sure that:
    • Your email address is professional.
    • The subject line is short and effective.
    • Content is professional.
    • Your contact information is included (an auto-signature is an easy way to do this).
    • The email is concise; keep it short or you'll lose the audience.
    Creating effective correspondence needn't be difficult or time-consuming, and it's worth a bit of effort to wow prospects, clients, and colleagues with a more polished letter or email. They'll be more likely to remember you in the future.

    For more information on crafting effective correspondence, click here.

     
     

    Case #6-6: Disclose Affiliated Business Relationships Prior to Recommending Real Estate-Related Products or Services

    REALTOR® Z, a broker and sole proprietor, had invested considerable time, money and energy into developing her website. Seeking to recoup some of her costs, she approached virtually every provider of real estate-related products and services in her area, including financial institutions, title insurance companies, home inspectors, mortgage brokers, insurance agencies, appraisers, exterminators, decorators, landscapers, furniture and appliance dealers, rug and carpet dealers, moving companies, and others about advertising on her home page. As a condition of having a link to their own sites appear on her home page, REALTOR® Z required that a fee be paid to her each time a consumer "clicked through" from her site to an advertiser's.

    Ads for providers of real estate-related products and services who agreed to REALTOR® Z's terms appeared on her home page under the heading "Preferred Providers". Immediately under that heading read "These vendors provide quality goods and services. Please patronize them."

    Buyer A frequented REALTOR® Z's website seeking information about available properties. Using that website, he became aware of a property on Elm Street that he made an offer on through REALTOR® Z, which was accepted by the seller. The sale closed shortly afterwards.

    Buyer A was an avid remodeler and, using REALTOR® Z's website, linked to the Real Rug company website, among others. Interested by what he found there, he subsequently visited their showroom in person and purchased wall-to-wall carpeting and several expensive area rugs.

    Given the size of Buyer A's order, one of the owners of Real Rug came to oversee the delivery and installation. In the course of conversation with Buyer A, he commented favorably on the amount of referral business received from REALTOR® Z's website. "And to think I only pay a small fee for each customer who's referred to me by REALTOR® Z," he added.

    Buyer A was somewhat surprised that REALTOR® Z would receive money for referring clients and customers to providers of real estate-related products and services and contacted the local association of REALTORS®. The association provided him with a copy of the Code of Ethics. Reading it carefully, Buyer A concluded that REALTOR® Z's actions might have violated Article 6, and he filed an ethics complaint against REALTOR® Z.

    Based on your understanding of Article 6, what do you think the hearing panel concluded?
    Click here to find out >


     

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


    Next Tuesday, November 19 @ 10:00 am
    MRIS 201: Maximize Your Productivity with MRIS

    Next Tuesday, November 19 @ 1:30 pm
    MATRIX 301: Success with Stats

    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.

     
     

    Enjoy BIG Savings on Closing Costs!
    One of Many Benefits of the REALTORS® Federal Credit Union


    Save on closing costs - and invest that money in your new home instead! How, you ask? Through the REALTORS® Federal Credit Union, with no origination fee and a rebate appraisal, provided that you close by December 31, 2013. For details on this limited-time offer, click here.

    Also check out the FCU's competitive rates on new / used auto, motorcycle, boat, and RV loans, among others!

    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.
     

     
     

    2013 Nar Annual Conference a Great Success!


    We hope everyone who was able to attend had a great time and learned a lot in San Francisco, and we wish a safe journey to all on the return trip.

    If you stayed behind to hold down the fort, you can visit the Conference Live page to catch up on the event from nearly anywhere in the world.

    Already looking forward to next year? Visit the NAR Conference Sweepstakes site for a chance to win a trip to the 2014 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in fabulous New Orleans!
    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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