Ensure Your Compliance With The Maryland MARS Act
Earn the Maryland Short Sale Certification
Thursday, January 16 from 9 am - 3 pm
Only $195 through Jan. 14 / $225 after Jan. 14
On July 1, the MARS Act became effective in Maryland, and ALL real estate licensees involved in short sales MUST COMPLY with the Act.
How do you know if you're in compliance?
How do you protect yourself and avoid penalties of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment?
(Yes, you read that right!)
PGCAR is here to help! Our one-day program, The New Maryland Short Sale Certification, will give you the knowledge you need to successfully navigate short sales while staying compliant with the new regulations.
Register Today at www.pgcar.com >
MAR REALTOR® Lobby Day is Tuesday, January 14th
Meet Your Legislators!
Mark your calendar now and register to join us on Tuesday, January 14th for MAR REALTOR® Lobby Day.
The event begins at 10 am at The Governor Calvert House in Annapolis with a continental breakfast, where we'll hear an overview of MAR's legislative agenda and remarks by Maryland State leadership. We will then progress to House and Senate offices to lobby for homeowner and REALTOR® issues with legislators and their staff.
Take advantage of this excellent opportunity to speak up about issues important to our industry!
For details or to register, please visit www.mdrealtor.org >
Non-Renewed Memberships Expire Midnight Next Tuesday
Save the $100 Reinstatement Fee and Renew Today
Membership will be terminated if payment is not received by midnight next Tuesday, December 31, 2013. At that time, a $100 reinstatement fee will be added to the account in addition to the already-assessed $50 late fee.
Avoid the $100 reinstatement fee by taking just a few moments to renew your membership right now: just use the secure, easy online dues renewal at www.pgcar.com.
- Click here
- Log in
- Pay and receive an itemized receipt for your
2013 - 2014 PGCAR, MAR and NAR membership renewals.
Paying your 2013 - 2014 dues by midnight, Tuesday, December 31st will prevent loss of SentriLock key privileges, your MRIS discount, ZipForms and other REALTOR® membership benefits.
In his recent blog post
, NAR President Steve Brown thanks all of you who responded to the NAR Call for Action, asking to delay changes to the new National Flood Insurance Program law. While this issue will continue to be a priority in 2014, our efforts thus far have proved successful.
This is Steve's update on where the issue stands:
We are grateful to our PGCAR members who participated in this action; please watch for further appeals on this and other issues in the coming year. As individuals standing together, we can make a difference.
- The House has not taken a vote on the NAR-supported "Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act."
- The Senate bill has not yet been taken up for consideration by the requisite committees.
- A different bill to delay implementation for one year was withdrawn due to various objections from conservative Republicans, who do not support any delay, and Democrats who support a more costly, but longer, four-year delay.
To read Steve's blog post, click here >
FHA Mortgage Limits Decrease For 2014 -- And Other Mortgage Changes
Prince George's County FHA Mortgage Limit Decreasing from $729,750 to $625,500
Much has been going on in the area of loan limits. On November 26, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that the loan limits for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae would not be going down in 2014, as had been previously suggested. That was good news for homebuyers. However, just last week FHA published their 2014 loan limits. As expected, these limits did decrease, in order to implement the statutory decline from $729,750 to $625,500 and the formula change from 125% of local area median price to 115% of local area median price. This would put FHA limits on par with the Freddie/Fannie limits. A few good articles which summarize the 2014 changes, and a NAR letter to FHFA's then-Acting Director DeMarco providing details of the issues, are linked below. (Note: The Senate voted December 11 to confirm Representative Mel Watt (D-NC) as the new Director of the Federal Housing and Finance Agency.)
MY HOME / MY HOME II:
A HOMEBUYER PROGRAM JUST FOR PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY
Over $8 Million Financial Assistance for Homebuyers in Prince George's County!
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 now 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.
Thank You for Giving
Holiday Enchantment Gala and Food/Coat Drive a Great Success!
We are grateful to PGCAR members for your generosity to Prince George's County families in need. Holiday Enchantment Gala tickets sold out prior to the event, and we had a wonderful response to the Food and Coat Drive.
Over 300 REALTORS®, Affiliates and friends attended the Charity Event. We contributed over 300 pounds of non-perishable food to PSAP, about 100 coats to Mission of Love, and $3,000 to PSAP. GREAT JOB!!
You can smile brighter this holiday season, knowing you've brought comfort and joy to those less fortunate.
|Thank You to Our Fabulous Sponsors!
Chase Mortgage Banking ~ CPS/Gumpert Printing ~ George Mason Mortgage
Keller Williams Preferred Properties ~ La Fontaine Bleue
RE/MAX United Real Estate ~ Stanley Martin Homes
SunTrust Mortgage ~ Village Settlements Inc.
Cerrito Realty, LLC ~ Homestead Funding Corp.
Old Line Bank ~ Pulte Homes
EverBank Mortgage ~ Executive Title
Joe Knows Homes ~ QWilliams Real Estate
Crayons and Supplies for Elementary School Children
Albert Einstein once said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Yet a local elementary school class (children who participate in our annual poster contest) hasn't the funds for crayons this year. What will happen to those wonderful little minds, without colors and creativity?
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!
- 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 >
- 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 >
- 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 >
- $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 >
- 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 >
- 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 >
- 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 >
- 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: Protect the Pipes!
Don't Let the Cold Put Your Plumbing in Peril
Winter's just begun, but its chill has already taken hold on most of the country. You may have winterized your home by now, checking for air leaks and sealing up drafts, but have you paid attention to pipes? Those in attics, crawl spaces, and along outside walls are especially susceptible to frigid temperatures, and frozen water can lead to burst pipes, which can cost an average $10,000 to repair. Considering that Maryland is one of the top five states for frozen-pipe claims (according to Nationwide and Allied Insurance), it's certainly worthwhile to attend to the plumbing.
Try the following tips to keep water flowing freely inside (and not outside) pipes:
For more information on these tips and other ideas for protecting your home, please Houselogic.com.
- Open cabinet doors (especially in the kitchen and bath) to allow warm air circulation.
- In areas where pipes are unprotected or unheated, keep the faucet running in a slow trickle.
- If you'll be away for a long period during winter, you can opt to drain the water system.
- Use insulation sleeves or wrap insulation around exposed pipes.
- Caulk cracks and holes in the foundation and outside walls near water pipes.
PGCAR Has Gone Social
Now you can network and get news, tips and other information helpful in cultivating your business by joining PGCAR's Facebook and Twitter pages. Haven't liked us at www.facebook.com/pgcar yet? Go ahead and join in at our original Facebook location, plus the all-new www.facebook.com/pgcar.ypn and Twitter pages!
Find out the latest trends in the real estate market, and socialize with other REALTORS® that can give you insight. Do you have information you want to share? Tweet it or share it on PGCAR's other social websites.
Now you're able to meet other members, as well as additional friends of PGCAR.
Don't wait, connect today.
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
Is your Maryland License expiring by December 31, 2013? MREC Agency-Residential is required!
Earn your required 3 CEU in this topic on December 27 (or take it as an elective).
INCLEMENT WEATHER / SNOW POLICY:
SNOW POLICY: PGCAR classes
will be conducted as scheduled unless the Prince George's County Government offices are closed. If you are registered for a class and it is cancelled, your registration fee will be returned or transferred to a future class.
Please be safe and use your best judgment with regards to driving. If unable to attend due to weather, please e-mail Scott Miller or call Scott at 301-306-7961 and you will not be charged. If you will not be attending class, please indicate whether you would like to reschedule or if you would like a refund.
PGCAR committee meetings: If Prince George's County Public Schools are CLOSED, all PGCAR committee meetings will be cancelled. If Prince George's County Public Schools are on a delayed schedule, committee meetings will be held as scheduled.
PGCAR offices will be open unless the Prince George's County Government is closed.
Remember! Enjoy Savings on CEU 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, $26 regular.
Hurry to www.pgcar.com/real-estate-ceu today >
Learn More, Earn More in 2014
PGCAR is offering GRI Series 100 in April.
The dates for this 5-day series are April 9, 11, 17, 23 and 25.
Also earn 3 MD Ethics hours, 3 MD Fair Housing hours and 10.5 MD elective hours.
Sign up now!
Market Sen$e: An Upward Nudge in Fixed Mortgage Rates
Results released by Freddie Mac last Thursday, December 19, showed very slight upward movement in fixed mortgage rates.
The Vice President and Chief Economist for Freddie Mac, Frank Nothaft, indicated that anticipation of the Federal Reserve's policy announcement led to the slight rise in rates.
"The statement indicated that the central bank would begin to trim its bond buying program," said Nothaft. "The Fed noted that the economy expanded at a modest pace, but the unemployment rate remains elevated. In addition, housing starts [PDF] in November rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,091,000, the highest rate since February 2008. Permits were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,007,000 in November, 7.9 percent higher than in November 2012."
Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending December 19, 2013:
Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >
- The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.47%, up from 4.42%.
- The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.51%, up from 3.43%.
- The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.96%, up from 2.94%.
- The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.57%, up from 2.51%.
Like us on Facebook to see monthly Prince George's County home sales and weekly mortgage reports as soon as they are released!
Sales Coach: Brevity is a Blessing
Communication is an essential part of every day. We use various methods to convey information to family, coworkers, clients, friends, and even the barista at the coffee shop.
Fact is, we can't live in society without communicating. And with all of the information needing to be exchanged, especially in our industry, it's important to keep it brief.
In saying so, we don't mean you should keep your mouth shut. To the contrary, you must speak; bear in mind, though, that being concise is key to being heard, and LISTENING is key to communication. All of the noise people hear these days makes them want to tune things out. Expressing yourself in a clear, concise way will bring rewards. It will gain you appreciation, and allow you to ask questions, listen to what others say, and glean helpful information. So be brief; enough said?
For more information on effective communication skills, click here.
Case #10-3: Equal Professional Services by the REALTOR®
REALTOR® A was contacted by Prospect C, a female head of household, concerning a home for sale which was advertised during the previous week in the newspaper's classified real estate section. When informed by REALTOR® A that the home in question had already been sold, Prospect C asked to be shown homes in the $80,000 to $90,000 price range with three bedrooms and located near schools and playgrounds. REALTOR® A proceeded to show Prospect C a number of homes which met her stated criteria for price range, size, and location, but Prospect C was interested in none of them.
Shortly thereafter, Prospect C filed a complaint with the Board of REALTORS® against REALTOR® A, complaining that he had violated Article 10 of the Code of Ethics by failing to offer equal professional service to her because she was a woman. Prospect C contended that she did not receive the same professional service from REALTOR® A that would have been afforded to a male head of household and home seeker with the same criteria for price range, size, and location.
The complaint was referred to the Grievance Committee and after its preliminary review and evaluation, the Grievance Committee referred to its Secretary and directed that a hearing be arranged before a Hearing Panel of the Professional Standards Committee. The Secretary made the necessary arrangements and provided the proper notices and opportunity for response by REALTOR® A.
At the hearing, Prospect C expressed her complaint and concluded by saying, "It was obvious to me that REALTOR® A discriminated against me because I am a woman. In my opinion, he showed little interest in helping me find a home."
REALTOR® A responded that he was sorry Prospect C had that opinion, but that certainly he held no such attitude as charged. REALTOR® A advised the Hearing Panel that he routinely utilized a contact report for each prospect which includes identification information on the clients, provides data on price range, type of house and location preferred by the prospect, and records the homes shown to the prospect with the information on the price, type, and location of each home shown. REALTOR® A presented several such reports from his files including the report pertaining to Prospect C. Prospect C's report showed that several homes shown to her met the data supplied by her.
Based on your understanding of Article 10, what do you think the hearing panel concluded?
Click here to find out >
FREE HANDS-ON MRIS TRAINING AT PGCAR
Upcoming Dates & Courses
Tuesday, January 21 @ 9:30 am
MATRIX 301: Success with Stats
Tuesday, January 21 @ 1:00 pm
MRIS 301: What's New & What's Coming
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.
REALTORS® Federal Credit Union - It's for You!
Why Join REALTORS® FCU?
It's the 24/7 credit union designed for your unique needs as a REALTOR®!
||FREE ATMs Nationwide
||FREE Checking w/ FREE debit card
||Scan check deposits using your computer
||Transfer funds between financial institutions online
||Flexible lending that understands a REALTOR®'s income
||Earnings go back to benefit YOU and your fellow REALTORS®
Join Online >> It only takes 15 minutes!
30 Under 30 Application Deadline is January 15!
Are you 29 or younger and having a phenomenal year? NOW is the time to apply for international recognition as one of 2014's 30 Under 30. REALTOR® Magazine will announce and showcase this year's rising young stars in the real estate industry in the June 2014 issue.
But the application deadline is January 15, 2014. Apply now, and don't forget to ask for recommendations in support of your selection.
30 Under 30 Web Site >
30 Under 30 FAQ and Contest Rules >
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.