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November 16, 2009

I N   T H I S   I S S U E . . .

Tuesday, December 8th
6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
at La Fontaine Bleu
7963 Annapolis Road
Please join us for Hors d'oeuvres and Open Bar,
the ever-popular Caricaturist, DJ and Santa . . .
Games, Door Prizes, Photos and Dancing!
Cost is only $25 per person PLUS a contribution of
Food for the Hungry or Coats for the Homeless.
Sponsor the Holiday Party
Annual Holiday Party Sponsors All sponsors will be recognized on a continuous PowerPoint presentation and signage the day of the event, on the website and in the REALTOR® Connection. All proceeds from this event will go toward feeding the needy of Prince George's County through "Share the Food".

Door prize contributions are also welcome! If interested in donating, please email Joan Ostenso to let her know what you are contributing!


New Open House / Directional Sign Posting Hours
5pm Friday to 5pm Sunday
Now in Effect

The Prince George's County Council recently overhauled portions of the County's sign ordinance.

Allowed posting hours for temporary real estate directional signs (commonly referred to as "open house" signs) have changed FROM noon Saturday to noon Monday, TO 5:00pm Friday to 5:00pm Sunday. Also, there are new rules limiting the number of directional signs to 25 for new housing subdivisions.

The new posting hours of 5pm Friday - 5pm Sunday
are in effect as of last Friday, November 13th.

Most signage in Prince George's County requires sign permits; however, temporary real estate directional signs measuring 1.5 square feet and real estate identification or "for sale" signs (limited to six square feet posted on premises) are exempt from sign permit requirements.

The entire bill is very comprehensive covering sign permit applications, revocation of permits, illegal/unsafe signs, violations and civil penalties. Those portions which affect most residential real estate practitioners are below. Brokers who specialize in commercial sales and use signs requiring permits may wish to study the entire bill.

CB-24-2009 - Complete text

CB-24-2009 - Excerpts:

Sec. 23-607. Signs or objects exempt from permit.
Types of signs exempt from sign permit, subject to the limitations provided:

  1. Temporary real estate directional: Temporary signs, not located on the premises being advertised, containing a directional arrow and advertising real estate for sale or lease,
    1. Maximum area of 1.5 square feet.
    2. Located within the County rights-of-way and within 25 feet of the corner of a street intersection.
    3. Maximum of 4 per each property advertised, with a maximum of 25 for multiple properties with an on-site common sales office.
    4. At any one intersection, there shall be only one sign facing each direction of traffic.
    5. Maximum height of 3 feet above finished grade at base of sign.
    6. Signs may only be erected between the hours of 5:00 p.m. Friday and 5:00 p.m. of the following Sunday.
    7. Signs placed or remaining within the County rights-of-way in violation of these conditions shall be considered abandoned and illegal at the time the sign is placed.

Signs placed in violation of the code are subject to confiscation, and penalties applied in the amount of $100 for the first violation, $500 for the second violation and $1,000 for the third and subsequent violations. This is existing law that has not changed.

Open house directional signs may NOT be placed on state roads and/or federal highways.

Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance
Neighborhood Stabilization Plan Update

Staff at the Prince George's County Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has put out the attached notice. It appears that the "Down Payment On Your Dream" program has gained great momentum and staff is somewhat backlogged in processing. DHCD has hired qualified staff to process the application and loan documents. They are asking that REALTORS® and Lenders refrain from inundating them with phone calls and certain emailed submissions. DHCD will communicate with you via email upon receipt of the application materials and again when the loan is approved. DHCD is striving to maintain the 21 day approval mandate.

This program is experiencing great success. DHCD just closed its 100th down payment loan. PGCAR encourages you to cooperate with their request in order to sustain the success of this vital program.

Thank you for your cooperation.


Legislation to extend and expand the homebuyer tax credit was passed by the House and the Senate on November 5 and signed by President Obama on November 6.

Some new benefits under the Extended Home Buyer Tax Credit, which is effective as of Saturday, November 7:

  • Single buyers with incomes up to $125,000 and married couples with incomes up to $225,000 may receive the maximum tax credit
    (income limits are increased from the 2009 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit limits).
  • Current home owners who buy homes can now also apply, for a maximum credit of $6,500.
  • NAR Issue Brief: Homebuyer Tax Credit Comparison Chart >>

If you or your client purchased a home between January 1, 2009 and November 6, 2009, please visit 2009 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit at for new homebuyer tax credit details. For those purchasing between November 7, 2009 and April 10, 2010, please visit The Basics: Extended Home Buyer Tax Credit 2009/2010 at These helpful resources and the comparison chart can be used when working with buyers to take advantage of the credit in the months ahead.

Thank you for responding to the Tax Credit Calls for Action. Once again, you made a real difference for homeownership.

Complete November 10 Legislative Alert >>

Complete November 11 Legislative Alert >>

Please contact Mike Graziano, PGCAR Director of Government Affairs, at 301-306-7900 x227, or email me at with any questions or concerns.

LET'S DO IT AGAIN - Last year, we set a goal to feed 400 needy families.
We blew right past that goal, packed the Charity Event full, and fed more than 700 families!
This year, let's feed 800 to 1,000 families.

$25 will provide a family with the following: Whole chicken, ground turkey, tilapia fish fillets, elbow macaroni, stuffing mix, frozen pie, sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, apples, oranges
and other produce items. In addition to feeding a needy family, your $25 will provide you with. . .

an evening of fun, food, music and networking at
The Half Note in Bowie
December 16th from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
as a thank you for your contribution.

Each $25 Ticket Feeds a Family
$500 Platinum Sponsorship (20 tickets) - Feeds 25 Families
$300 Gold Sponsorship (12 tickets) - Feeds 15 Families
$200 Silver Sponsorship (8 tickets) - Feeds 10 Families

Buy Your Tickets or Sponsorships Online at >>

Or send check payments in with the flyer.

As a sponsor, you will receive tickets to the event that you can, in turn,
give to friends, business associates, etc.

  We are also seeking volunteers to help fill and distribute the boxes of food at the Share Food Network at 5170 Lawrence Place in Hyattsville. Watch for exact dates to be announced. If you would like to volunteer now, please sign up using the attached form.

For more information, please contact Joan Ostenso at

Thank you for your help and participation!

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer Meets with PGCAR Representatives

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer Meets with PGCAR Representatives

Representatives of the Prince George's County Association of REALTORS®, including PGCAR President Mike Cerrito, Past President and Maryland Real Estate Commissioner, Nick D'Ambrosia, Past President Boyd Campbell, and REALTOR® Susan Pruden, recently met with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD5) to discuss the $8,000 Homebuyer Tax Credit, HVCC, and extending FHA loan limits.

Pictured are Representative Hoyer (L) and PGCAR President Mike Cerrito (R).



SentriLock One Day Code Discontinued PGCAR has received complaints about misuse and abuse of the one-day code feature of the SentriLock system. Specifically, agents were obtaining one-day codes and giving them to un-licensed clients/customers and allowing these clients/customers to visit the properties unaccompanied by an agent. After review of the results of the survey sent to members, the Association suspended the use of the one-day code feature while investigating these allegations.

One-day codes were discontinued as of Monday, November 2, 2009.


College Park and Bowie Add $35K and $2K Grants for Home Buyers

$35,000 in Closing Cost and Down Payment Assistance Here's TWO great programs helping your homebuyers put more money towards purchasing a primary residence.

  • College Park $35,000 Program - Homebuyers who buy their home and work in College Park may apply to receive up to $35,000 in closing cost and down payment assistance through the WORK & LIVE COLLEGE PARK program.

    College Park Details >>

  • Bowie $2,000 Program - Police officers, teachers and Bowie City employees can apply for a $2,000 grant when buying a primary residence in Bowie.

    Bowie Program Flyer to share >>
    Website >>

These two programs are in addition to the Federal Home Buyer Tax Credit and the County Down Payment on Your Dream NSP program. Information on these and other homebuyer savings can be found on - in the Homebuyer Savings section.

Low mortgage rates and unbelievable home buyer incentives -
It truly is a great time to buy in Prince George's County!!

Envision Prince George's


Envision Prince George's is a new initiative launched by Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), to engage thousands of us--those who live, work, play, serve, and more--in creating an exciting vision for the direction of our county's future. This is the most comprehensive effort in the history of the county to engage the public in setting long-term priorities for the future. It will take place on a much larger scale than any previous attempts to include the public in decision making, and will encompass issues faced in every area of life and every corner of the county. Get involved in Envision Prince George's today.

Over the fall, Envision Prince George's will host a series of highly interactive facilitated discussions, called Community Forums. These forums will help to ensure that everyone has a meaningful opportunity to share views and listen to others. The last forum is for youth only, designed specifically to hear from and engage young people.

Register to attend a Community Forum >>

Prince George's County Habitat for Humanity Home

Prince George's County Habitat for Humanity is in need of $50,000 to finish the house they are building in Prince George's County.

Please click here to contribute to Habitat for Humanity by credit card, or send a check payable to Habitat for Humanity to the Association office. Any amount will help put a family into a home. $25, $15 or even $5 makes a difference!

Thank you for your generosity!


'Tis the Season of Giving

Please help collect coats and non-perishable foods for our Annual Coat and Food drive. Collect them in your offices, then bring to the Association office by December 16th. You may also bring them to the Christmas party.

Why not take a picture too, of the coats and food your office collects? Please email your photos now for possible use in PGCAR promotions, and later too, when PGCAR applies for the annual MAR CARE Award.

Information flyer >>

Membership Renewal Countdown - Due November 30

Use our easy and secure
Online Dues Payment at!

Renewing is as Easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Click here
  2. Log in
  3. Pay and receive an itemized receipt for your
    2010 PGCAR, MAR and NAR membership renewals.

Please pay your 2010 dues by November 30th to prevent late charges and loss of your lockbox privileges, MRIS discount and other membership benefits. Thank you!

Market $ense

Market $ense Mortgage Rates at 5-week Low - Long-term mortgages rates moved lower again last week, hitting the lowest level in five weeks. Freddie Mac reports the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.91 percent in the week ending Nov. 12, down from 4.98 percent. A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.36 percent last week, remaining below one-year adjustable rate mortgages, which averaged 4.46 percent.

The National Association of REALTORS® said third quarter housing prices were down an average of 11.2 percent from a year ago, but 20 percent of the top metropolitan areas saw positive annual growth.

Sales continue to rise, with third quarter existing home sales up 11 percent from a year ago.

Complete Washington Business Journal article >>

PGCAR October Home Sales Statistics are now online at Settlements of single family and condo/co-op homes both improved from September 2009 to October 2009.

Yun: 2010 Sales to Rise 15 Percent: NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts home sales will increase 15% and REALTOR® incomes will increase 20% in 2010. Entire article >>

FREE Marketing Webinar This Thursday, November 19 shows how "Third Level" producers win in any market. Details and registration >>


Offer a Class that Helps Buyers Qualify for Government Funds for a Downpayment on Dream Home

PGCAR is continuing to partner with HIP and HOPE to offer the NSP-required 8-hour HUD approved class. The classes on our regular schedule led by HOPE, now have a fee, a reduced charge of $50 for the entire 8-hour class.

Below are the next 3 HOPE sessions. Call 301-567-3330 to register your customers.

Monday, November 16, 2009 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Part 1 (4 Hours)
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Part 2 (4 Hours)
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Saturday, December 5, 2009 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Parts 1 & 2 (8 Hours)
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Tuesday, December 8, 2009 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Part 1 (4 Hours)
Thursday, December 10, 2009 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Part 2 (4 Hours)

See the full schedule for class dates through June 2010.


PGCAR has a strong Fall schedule of the most popular classes, including a chance to earn ALL of Your required Maryland CE in early December!

Sign up for classes at

This Tuesday, November 17
203K Purchase Rehab
3 MD Elective CEU;
3 DC Elective CEU
Everett Sands 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Friday, December 11
MD Legislative Update
3.0 MD Required Legislative Update CEU;
3.0 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

Monday, December 14
MD Code of Ethics
3 MD Required Ethics CEU;
3 DC Elective CEU
Don Martin 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

Wednesday, May 5, 2010
GRI 100 Series - Full Series of 5 Classes Begins
30 MD CEU - covering 1.5 hrs Fair Housing,
3 hrs Ethics, and
25.5 hrs Elective CE
various 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

Full CEU Schedule >>



Gloria Farrar received the MAR Lifetime Achievement Award at the MAR Annual Conference. Gloria was recognized for her dedication and hard work as an RPAC Trustee and as RPAC Fundraising Chair for the past two years.

Congratulations Gloria! You inspire us in so many ways!

There are 32 members and associations in the MAR RPAC Hall of Fame.
Did you know that 10 of the 32 are from Prince George's? They are:

J. Nicholas D'Ambrosia   John J. Harrison
Ron Deem   Prince George's County Association of REALTORS®
Distinguished Sales PGC   Jay Webster
Gloria M. Farrar   Women's Council of REALTORS® Prince George's County
Iona C. Harrison   Wayne M. Wyvill


The Prince George's County RPAC Idol Kristin Lagana won 1st PLACE at the MAR RPAC Idol Finale in Ocean City, singing "Proud Mary." Congratulations to Kristin and ALL of our contestants! We could have swept states if allowed to send more than one.

2009 NAR Conference - Live, in San Diego
NAR Annual Conference And Trade Show

Missed the conference, or perhaps want to see more? You can learn from the new ideas presented at the 2009 REALTORS® Conference & Expo from your computer! Best Practices in Social Media, Making Listing Videos Easy, Taking the Distress Out of Distressed Properties, details from FHA Commissioner David Stevens' presentation, and more. Click here for these conference highlights!

Also watch videos of the General Session and 59.5: A Member & Director Forum featuring NAR President Charles McMillan and NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, plus some technology surprises!


Code of Ethics Case Study:
Case #11-3: Identification of Contributor to Appraisal

REALTOR® A, who had made a number of residential and farm appraisals for Client B, a bank, was asked to appraise the real property of a corporation that operated two extensive industrial parks. REALTOR® A made his appraisal of open land belonging to the corporation for future development. With respect to specialized industrial structures included in the assignment, he engaged the XYZ firm of industrial engineers to make a study of obsolescence and of current reproduction costs leading to conclusions. The report on this study was incorporated into Realtor A's appraisal report to Client B, without identifying the XYZ firm as a contributor to the report.

Sometime after the submission of the report, Engineer C, a member of the XYZ firm, was invited to speak on an appraisal panel arranged by the local Board of REALTORS® . During his talk he used as an illustration some of the industrial properties that had figured in REALTOR® A's appraisal report. Following the program, in informal conversation with Engineer C, REALTOR® B learned of REALTOR® A's action in incorporating the engineering firm's conclusions into his own appraisal without identification of the firm and its contributions to the assignment. REALTOR® B then filed a complaint against REALTOR® A alleging violation of Article 11 of the Code of Ethics. After examining the facts as set out above, the complaint was referred by the Grievance Committee for hearing before a panel of the Board's Professional Standards Committee.

At the hearing, REALTOR® A took the position that he had not violated Article 11 because the essence of the appraisal assignment had been to exercise his judgment as an appraiser, and that he had not engaged any other person to exercise judgment in connection with the assignment. He had simply employed the XYZ engineering firm, he said, to make certain conclusions as to the extent of obsolescence in properties and as to the current cost of reproducing them. Conceding that he had incorporated the XYZ firm's report into his own appraisal report, REALTOR® A contended that this material was only incidental, and that the essential appraisal function of arriving at a valuation was entirely his own work. He stated further that he had paid the XYZ firm for its services and felt that relieved him of any obligation to identify the firm in his appraisal report.

During the hearing it was established that REALTOR® A had no previous experience in appraisal of industrial property, and that he had not disclosed this to Client B at the time he accepted the assignment.

Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 11, how do you think the Professional Standards Panel ruled?

Find out here >>



Get YOUR properties in front of over 127,000 homes and businesses in Prince George's County by advertising in The Gazette Paper!


That's right, FREE! Write an article that would be of interest to real estate consumers and have it published in the Official Homes Section of The Prince George's Association of REALTORS® - brought to you by The Gazette.

December 7
  Ad Copy
December 9
December 17

If you are interested in writing an article or placing an ad, please contact
Heidi Lamere at 240-473-7588 or

  The PGCAR office will be closed next Thursday, November 26 and Friday, November 27 in celebration of Thanksgiving. Enjoy a thanks-filled and beautiful holiday!

Prince George's County Association of REALTORS®
8400 Corporate Drive  :  Suite 225 : Landover MD 20785
Phone 301-306-7900  :  Fax 301-306-8273  :  :  ©2008, PGCAR

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