PGCAR is grateful to the volunteers, sponsors, and participants in the David Maclin Memorial Scholarship 5K for yet again making this event a huge success. A great time was had by all, and, thanks to your participation, the Scholarship Fund has awarded $40,500 in scholarships to date, and can continue helping Prince George's County students reach for their dreams and make them a reality.
Red Cross Blood Drive at PGCAR Tomorrow!
PGCAR is hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive® this Wednesday, April 16. Plan to join us, and tell your friends, family, and colleagues as well: all are invited to come give the gift of life!
||THIS Wednesday, April 16th
from 9 am to 2:30 pm
9200 Basil Court, Suite 400
Largo, MD 20774
||YOU - and anyone else who wants to give the gift of life!
There's no need to make an appointment; just drop in at your convenience between 9 am and 2:30 pm.
Be a hero: blood donors save lives!
Please Join Us THIS Friday!
36th Annual Prayer Breakfast
Women's Council of REALTORS®
This Friday -- Good Friday, April 18
8:00 am Registration * 8:30 am Breakfast / Program
Marlboro Ridge Clubhouse
11401 Marlboro Ridge Road, Upper Marlboro, MD
Letting Go of the Past
Guest Speaker: Reverand Ceron Pugh
Invite your family and friends to join us as we meet in fellowship with co-workers and associates to give thanks together on Good Friday. EVERYONE is Welcome!
Register Today and Spread the Word!
New Member Orientation and Ethics Training
REQUIRED for New REALTOR® Members
Thursday, April 24
5:30 - 8 pm at La Fontaine Bleu
7963 Annapolis Road, Landover, MD 20785
|5:30 - 6 pm
||Registration & Affiliate Exhibits
|6 - 8 pm
||Light Dinner & Mandatory Orientation
Gain information on the Prince George's County Association of REALTORS®, and receive 3 hours of required Ethics CE and 1.5 hours of required Fair Housing CE for your attendance.
All new members who have joined since October 1, 2013, and HAVE NOT attended a New Member Orientation ARE EXPECTED TO ATTEND. You are required to attend the portion of the Orientation held from 6 to 8 pm.
FREE! For new PGCAR REALTOR® Members Only
CLICK HERE TO RSVP BY THIS THURSDAY, APRIL 17!
REALTOR® Party Convention & Trade Expo is May 12th - 17th
||May 12 - 17
|Capitol Hill Visits:
||May 14 - 15
||May 14 - 15
10 am - 6 pm both days
The REALTOR® Party Convention & Trade Expo will be Monday through Saturday, May 12th through 17th in Washington, DC. The Trade Expo will be open Wednesday and Thursday, 10 am to 6 pm both days.
Come together and take an active role to advance the real estate industry, public policy, and the association. Join fellow REALTORS® for a variety of meetings and events including: special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities, and the industry trade show.
Registration is still FREE to REALTOR® members.
Register and plan your conference here >.
2014 REAL ESTATE LEGISLATION
Below is a status report of issues followed by PGCAR and MAR during the 2014 Maryland General Assembly. Representatives of PGCAR frequently traveled to Annapolis to lobby legislators and testify on a number of these issues.
2014 Prince George's County Annapolis Delegation Issues
Mike Graziano, Director of Government Affairs - PGCAR
HB 1021 - Foreclosure - Report by DHCD and Commissioner of Financial Regulation
STATUS: Failed in Committee
This bill took on several changes since its introduction at the start of the 2014 General Assembly. Originally introduced as a moratorium on the ability to foreclose certain mortgage products, which included some ARM's, interest only mortgages, no "doc" loans, and more. The bill then morphed into a strict foreclosure moratorium and later was amended into an effort to require the Department of Housing and Community Development and the Commissioner of Financial Regulation to study foreclosures in Prince George's County.
PGCAR ACTION - PGCAR was OPPOSED to any foreclosure moratorium effort. During debate on the bill late in the session amendments were offered that removed the moratorium in favor of a study to be conducted by state agencies. Following adoption of the amendments PGCAR withdrew opposition and took NO POSITION on the bill.
HB 1043 - Deferred Water and Sewer Charges Homeowner Disclosure Act of 2014
STATUS: Passed, Effective 10/1/2014
Similar to existing local law requiring disclosure on resale transactions and new construction, this legislation clarifies (in Prince George's County) that new home sales which are encumbered by a deferred water and sewer assessment, otherwise known as a "front foot benefit" (FFB), must disclose this fact to home buyers who would be responsible for paying the fee after the purchase of a home. The bill also strengthens penalties for failure to disclose, prohibits early payoff penalties, and creates the pathway for establishing a "clearinghouse" for registration of FFB's.
PGCAR ACTION - SUPPORT. As a matter of informing consumers, REALTORS® have been disclosing notice of these fees in the resale market since the early 80's. Of foremost importance to REALTORS® is the creation of the clearinghouse as a depository for all relative details of the deferred charges.
HB 1012 - Property Tax Credit - Qualified Residential Property
STATUS: Failed in Committee
This bill proposed to enable Prince George's County to create and offer a tax credit program to benefit purchasers of distressed properties.
PGCAR ACTION - SUPPORT. Prince George's County has been heavily plagued by foreclosure and short sale transactions, and an influx of vacant, and abandoned properties. Incentivizing the purchase and rehabilitation of these properties would have been a positive step toward rebuilding property values and strengthening communities.
HB 1027 - Condominiums - Limit on Assessments
STATUS: Failed in Committee
This bill attempted to limit a condominium assessment fee to 20% of an individual unit owner's monthly mortgage payment.
PGCAR ACTION - OPPOSED. This proposal would have limited a condominium regimes ability to properly fund for common expenses and future reserves that are necessary to maintain operations.
Quick Summary of 2014 Legislative Session
Maryland Association of REALTORS®
Bill Castelli, Vice President of Government Affairs - MAR
Eminent Domain and Mortgages – Passed
Maryland became the first state to pass a prohibition on seizing mortgages or deeds of trust through eminent domain. SB 850 was amended to provide that the moratorium last for two years while the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) conducts a study.
Pit Bull Legislation - Passed
HB 73 / SB 247 were passed by the General Assembly and signed into law on April 8th by the Governor. These bills eliminate strict liability for landlords. Instead, landlords will have the same legal liability (negligence) that they had before the Court of Appeals decision. Because this was an emergency bill it takes effect upon signature of the Governor – April 8th, 2014.
Interest on Security Deposits - Passed
HB 249 / SB 345 were passed by the General Assembly. The bills lower the mandated interested
rate on rental security deposits from 3% to a floating rate measured by the U.S. Treasury
Department or 1.5% whichever is higher. The bill takes effect January 1, 2015. Please take note; this does not change the security deposit interest rate in Prince George's County which remains 4%.
Condominium and HOA Resale Package Fees – Did not pass
HB 412 / SB 229 passed both the House and Senate in different versions, but the House and Senate could not agree on compromise language on the final day of session. The House passed legislation that would have limited the cost of resale packages to $250 for condos and HOAs. The Senate, however, passed legislation that would have limited the cost of resale packages to
$100 but only applied that limitation to condos.
Condominium and HOA Uniform Disclosures – Did not pass
HB 1080 / SB 820 would have made the condo and HOA resale package disclosure requirements more uniform. Under current law, these disclosures have different triggers and time frames for consumers to cancel contracts. The bills would have created the same time frames for almost all condo and HOA sales. The bills did not pass due to opposition from the Attorney General's
office and managers of condo and HOA associations.
Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief – Passed
HB 923 / SB 596 will extend state tax relief for mortgage debt forgiveness for two years. Under current law, this tax benefit would have expired on June 30, 2014. It will now be extended to June 30, 2016. However, due to fiscal concerns, the legislation lowered the amount of debt forgiveness that may tax free from $1,000,000 to $100,000 for individuals and from $2,000,000
to $200,000 for married couples.
Maryland Estate Tax – Passed
HB 739 / SB 602 would unify Maryland estate tax credit with the federal estate tax credit by January 1, 2019. Each year, starting in January 2015, the state credit would be increased closer to the federal estate tax credit. Currently, the Maryland credit is only $1,000,000 while the federal credit is over $5,000,000.
Prince George's County is "All In"
On Monday, March 24, PGCAR representatives were on hand at the County Executive's press event promoting Prince George's County as "All In" for the relocation of the FBI headquarters. Federal, State, and local Legislators representing Prince George's County joined with business leaders and others, to demonstrate that both the public and private sectors are engaged and committed to bringing the new FBI building and FBI staff to Prince George's County.
Pictured (L to R): Isaac Showell, Carlos Lancaster, Mike Graziano, Desiree Callender, County Executive Rushern Baker, and Chuck Ottley.
|MAR Commercial Real Estate Symposium
From Concept to Reality–Moving Your
CRE Project Forward
3 Hours Continuing Education
Open to all Real Estate Practitioners
||Friday, May 9
9 am - 12:15 pm
||Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport
1739 West Nursery Road
Linthicum, MD 21090
||8 - 9 am
Registration and Continental Breakfast
9 - 10:30 am
(1.5 Hours Professional Enhancement CE Pending, Category "F")
Our team of experts will discuss how to obtain tax credits, work with local agencies, arrange financing, get the public on board (fighting NIMBYism), and get environmental approvals in order to move a commercial real estate project forward to completion.
Dr. Anirban Basu, CEO of the Sage Policy Group will moderate the panel discussion. Dr. Basu will also present his views on the topic.
10:30 - 10:45 am
- Jerry Wit, St. John Properties, Inc.
- Abe Rosental, 28 Walker Associates
- Marc Dubic, Duball, LLC
10:45 am - 12:15 pm
2014 Legislative Update - Impact on Commercial Real Estate
(1.5 hours Legal & Legislative CE Pending, Category "A")
William Castelli, Vice President, Government Affairs,
Maryland Association of REALTORS®
April is Fair Housing Month
Sign up for our MD Fair Housing class next Thursday, April 24. Also, check out NAR's diversity program page for a range of related resources to use for your business.
- How well do you know federal fair housing law?
Test Your Fair Housing IQ >
- Educate yourself, and your sellers about fair housing laws.
Remember, you don't want to discriminate, but the law is about actions and not just good intentions. Discriminating in any way, even at the request of a seller, is illegal. If a seller wants you to discriminate, walk away from the transaction.
Read more at NAR's Fair Housing program page >
- 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: Simple Maintenance Tips for Your HVAC
When it comes to maintenance, it's best to hire an HVAC company to check the heating and cooling systems every spring and fall. In the interim, following these tips at the intervals noted can help your system keep you comfortable all year long.
- Install a high-efficiency pleated filter.
- Ensure that there's at least 2 feet of space around outdoor A/C units and heat pumps.
- Be sure that no more than 20% of the registers in the home are closed at any time.
- Check outdoor units and remove any debris (twigs, leaves, etc.) from around them. Also be sure the mower doesn't blow grass clippings into them.
Every 90 days
- Check the filter and replace it if clogged.
- Inspect and, if needed, replace insulation on refrigerant lines leading to the house.
- Replace the filter, if not replaced at an earlier monthly check.
Taking care of your HVAC system will enable it to take care of you and your family.
- Check to be sure the ground or pad under the A/C unit or heat pump is firm and level.
- Prevent mold and algae in the air conditioner condensate drain by pouring in a cup of bleach mixed with water.
- Shut off the furnace humidifier's water supply in summer.
- Before turning heat on in the fall, replace the wick filter in the furnace humidifier, set humidity to 35% to 40%, and turn the water supply back on.
- Replace the carbon monoxide detector's battery.
For more information on these maintenance tips, please visit Houselogic.com.
Earn All MD and DC Required CEU at PGCAR
All classes are held at PGCAR offices, just off the Route 202 / Landover Road exit of I-495. Find our association office at 9200 Basil Court, Suite 400, Largo, MD 20774. There's plenty of parking!
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 >
PGCAR REALTOR® of the Year Nominations Now Open
Due Wednesday, June 4
Encourage a REALTOR® who exemplifies leadership and service, and enhances the quality of the real estate profession to apply. It could be someone in your office. It could be you! Self-nominations are highly encouraged.
All applications must be received by 5 pm Wednesday, June 4, 2014.
Click here for a PDF application >
MAR'S Care & Special Project Awards - Also Due Wednesday, June 4
Give 10 Minutes to Win $10,000 for Charity
PGCAR has a chance to win MAR's CARE Award, which gives us $10,000 to use for whatever charity we select. We could use it to fund FOUR $2,500 scholarships to our graduating students; we could give it to a food bank or numerous other charities - the possibilities are endless. But we can't win if you don't let us know what you're doing!
Please take a few minutes to tell us how you help your community!
Forms are due to PGCAR by Wednesday, June 4. Please respond during April if possible ~ it increases our chances of winning.
Click Here for the CARE Award / Special Project Nomination Form >
Market Sen$e: Mild Downturn in Fixed Mortgage Rates
Last Thursday, April 10, Freddie Mac released results showing a slight decline in fixed mortgage rates.
Frank Nothaft, the Vice President and Chief Economist for Freddie Mac, indicated that a decline in 10-year Treasury yields influenced the dip in mortgage rates.
"The economy added 192,000 jobs in March, which was below the market consensus forecast but followed an upward revision of 22,000 jobs in February," said Nothaft. "Meanwhile, the unemployment rate held steady at 6.7 percent."
Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending April 10, 2014:
Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >
- The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.34%, down from 4.41%.
- The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.38%, down from 3.47%.
- The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 3.09%, down from 3.12%.
- The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.41%, down from 2.45%.
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 SALES WARMED UP IN MARCH
In the Prince George's single family market, contracts increased 29.9% from February to March, and settlements increased 19.3%. In county condo/coop sales, contracts increased 11.9% from February to March, while settlements decreased 8.4%.
Digging into the numbers a bit deeper shows that year-to-date (January through March) sales increased in the $200,000 - $599,000 range and have been much lower overall in the $199,000 and below range. Part of this is due to the rise in average home prices. There are 23% fewer listings available in the under $200K range than a year ago; there are 27.2% more home listings priced between $200K and $300K than a year ago.
See the detailed March sales statistics for Prince George's County at www.pgcar.com/stats for more details.
Sales Coach: What Clients Should Consider Before Investing in a Second Nest
With weather warming, thoughts begin to turn to summer: how and where it will be spent. This is a prime time for buyers to shop for a second - or vacation - home, but such a purchase carries a different set of considerations than the primary home. As the REALTOR®, you can be of service by guiding potential buyers to properly consider key factors so their purchase continues to bring them joy well into the future.
If your clients are interested in purchasing a vacation home, suggest they consider these criteria in their decision:
Your real estate know-how and sage advice can go a long way in helping your clients find their little piece of heaven, and keeping it that way for them.
- Budget rules.
Buyers should be qualified for a loan before looking, and should be advised of how much discretionary income will be required for their purchase. Vacation homes carry the same expenses as primary homes, and then some. Also, a second home shouldn't be bought with retirement funds: renting the property won't guarantee a return on the investment.
- How often will it be used?
Help clients think realistically of the frequency of their visits - and their family's, if that's what they intend. Distance will also play a role in how often the property is visited.
- Location, location, location.
Knowing the clients' interests can help you determine where to help them look. If they prefer shopping and activities, they won't want the mountain cabin that a "get away from it all" type would.
- Be realistic about upkeep.
A sprawling lawn looks beautiful, but needs to be maintained, as does the rest of the property. Make sure clients think about what will need to be done - painting, landscaping, repairs, etc. - and know how they'll handle it so it's not a surprise after the sale.
- Look into rental potential.
Clients who want to generate income from rental should focus on what the target market desires, more than their own desires for a vacation home. Also, many factors will play a role in the demand for vacation rentals and how much the owners can charge: those factors should play into the decision as well.
- Consider changing needs and resale value.
Family needs and vacation desires change over time, and potential buyers should think about whether the vacation home will continue to be popular with the family/friends they plan to entertain now - or if the guest list will surge over time. Also, you can help your clients research trends and sales in the target area to position themselves for best resale when it comes time for that.
For more useful information on what potential buyers should consider when seeking a second home, please visit
Arbitration when a REALTOR® acts Exclusively as
a Principal in a Transaction
REALTOR® A, a residential specialist in a major metropolitan area, inherited a cabin in the North woods from a distant relative. After spending a week of vacation there with her family, REALTOR® A decided that the fact that the cabin was over five hundred miles from her home made it likely that her use of the cabin would be infrequent, at best. Consequently, she decided to list and sell the cabin. REALTOR® A described her situation to REALTOR® B, who claimed to be experienced in the sale of vacation properties in the area and who told REALTOR® A that a quick sale should be "no problem." Based on REALTOR® B's assurances, REALTOR® A signed a listing agreement with REALTOR® B.
REALTOR® B showed the property several times over the following months but to no avail. REALTORS® A and B spoke by long distance several times and ultimately concluded that a significant reduction in the listed price was called for.
A month later, REALTOR® B called REALTOR® A and advised that she had received an offer but disclosed that the offer was from REALTOR® B's daughter and son-in-law. REALTOR® A thanked REALTOR® B for disclosing her relationship to the purchasers but went on to indicate that, as she felt that REALTOR® B had been overly optimistic in recommending an asking price in the first place, and that even after a significant price reduction the only offer produced by REALTOR® B had been from a member of her family, and that it was an "in-house" sale, REALTOR® A thought it was only fair that REALTOR® B would reduce her commission. REALTOR® B disagreed and sent the purchase offer to REALTOR® A. REALTOR® A accepted the offer but at the closing, which was handled in escrow, REALTOR® B was surprised to learn that REALTOR® A had instructed the closing officer to disburse to REALTOR® B only half of the commission called for in the listing contract. REALTOR® B filed an interboard arbitration request against REALTOR® A claiming the balance of her commission. REALTOR® A refused to arbitrate on the grounds that she had been the seller in the transaction and had not acted within the scope of her real estate license and that there had been no "relationship as REALTORS®" between her and REALTOR® B as referenced in Article 17 of the Code of Ethics. REALTOR® A's refusal to arbitrate was referred to the Board of Directors of REALTOR® A's primary Board and, in response to questions put to her, she repeated her claim that she had acted exclusively as a principal in the transaction and not as a real estate professional.
Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 17, what do you think the hearing panel concluded? Click here to find out >
HANDS-ON MRIS TRAINING
FREE at PGCAR
Tuesday, April 29 @ 10:00 am
MRIS 101: Kick Off Your Career with MRIS
Tuesday, April 29 @ 1:30 pm
KEYSTONE 101: Entering Listings Correctly, The Key to a Fast Sale
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.
Call for MAR & NAR Committee Volunteers
MAR Applications Due Monday, May 5
MAR Committee descriptions and a volunteer form are now online at www.mdrealtor.org. All MAR members are encouraged to apply for 2 but no more than 3 preferred committee choices. Some committees have specific requirements; however, every attempt will be made to accommodate your request for at least one committee assignment. Committee selections are prioritized by qualifications and date received.
Note: Current MAR committee members must re-apply for 2014 - 2015 MAR Committee memberships.
Apply online by Monday, May 5 >
MAR will confirm committee appointments by letter by August 22.
2015 NAR Committee Recommendations
NAR committee recommendations are now open, as well (login required).
Nominations are due by Friday, May 23. Self-nominations are encouraged.
NAR Committee Details and Nomination Form >
REALTOR® Magazine Seeks Good Neighbor Nominations
Five Winners will Receive $10,000 Grants and National Publicity
REALTOR® Magazine is seeking nominees for the 2014 Good Neighbor Awards. The program recognizes REALTORS® whose extraordinary commitment to community service has helped make their communities better places to live.
If a REALTOR® you know is putting forth the effort to make a difference in the community, help their cause by nominating them today!
Deadline for entry is Friday, May 16.
Click here for details, rules and an entry form.
RFCU: The Credit Union Designed For You!
REALTORS® Federal Credit Union offers a number of solutions to meet your unique needs as a REALTOR®.
Just a few of the products and services awaiting you at RFCU:
To learn more or to join the REALTORS® Federal Credit Union, click here >
- Dues Savings Plans
- Professional Development Lines of Credit
- Debt Management Strategies
- Money Management Strategies
- Tips to Managing a Fluctuating Income
Call for Entries: Artwork for Juried Art Show and Silent Auction
Submission Deadline is May 30; Opening Reception and Art Preview June 27
The Partnership for Housing Foundation (PHF) will hold a juried art show and online art auction to benefit MARYLAND HOME MAKEOVER® and the PHF Endowment Fund. The theme of "Maryland, My Maryland" has been selected and all artwork must portray something about Maryland, featuring any of the following concepts: Urban, Rural, Bay or Shoreline Scenes; Architectural Landmarks / Prominent Buildings; Portraits of a Community; or "Home".
All artists must be Maryland REALTORS®, REALTOR® staff, or sponsored by a REALTOR® member of the Maryland Association of REALTORS®.
Art entries must be submitted by Friday, May 30.
Details and artist entry form >
PGCAR and WCR Membership Applications for 2014
New Agents? Looking for a PGCAR or Local WCR Membership Application?
Download the 2014 PGCAR Membership Application from www.pgcar.com >
Women's Council of REALTORS® Prince George's Chapter Membership Application >
Membership Renewals Past Due
Brokers and non-paid Agents - January 31 was the deadline to pay 2013 - 2014 dues or remove any unpaid agents from your office roster. All new, licensed agents in your office were also required to join by January 31.
Renew Online, or please call the office at 301-306-7900 to renew.