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December 14, 2009

I N   T H I S   I S S U E . . .


The PGCAR Offices will be closed next Thursday, December 24 and Friday, December 25
for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We wish you a merry and joy-filled holiday!


Let's do it again, and feed 800 to 1,000 families this year. Each $25 ticket to this Wednesday's Charity Event, being held at the Half Note in Bowie, feeds a family. Feed more with a sponsorship.

$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.

Thanks to the terrific, early response we will likely exceed last year's accomplishments. In 2008, the "thank you" event had over 400 attendees, including County Executive Jack Johnson and Congressional Representative Donna Edwards, and we packed food baskets for about 700 families on Packing Day! Don't miss the fun!

  We are also seeking volunteers to help fill and distribute the boxes of food Thursday, December 17
at the Share Food Network
at 5170 Lawrence Place in Hyattsville.

Click here if you would like to help pack the baskets of food >>
9 a.m. - 2 p.m. estimated

Click here if you would like to help distribute baskets of food >>
2 - 6 p.m. estimated

Click here for flyer >>

For more information, please contact Joan Ostenso at We'll keep volunteers updated with times and details for this Thursday.

Thank you for your help and participation!

Membership Renewals are now Past Due

Membership renewals were due on Monday, November 30th, 2009. Due to the timing of the Thanksgiving holiday, late fees were waived until Friday, December 4th at midnight. A late fee of $25 is now in effect.

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 midnight December 31st to prevent loss of SentriLock key privileges, your MRIS discount, ZipForms and other REALTOR® membership benefits .

FREE 1.5 CEU Class For Rookie REALTORS®

THIS WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Real Estate Tax Planning
At the PGCAR Office

This class is FREE to PGCAR Rookie Members (licensed for 4 years or less). This Real Estate Tax class gives REALTORS® a solid background in taxes which includes basic information that REALTORS® could use for their own personal returns. However the intent is not to teach REALTORS® about their own taxes, it is to teach them how to service their clients, homebuyers, and home sellers.

RSVP online

Rookies! Come on out to the FREE Class this Wednesday evening, then head to the Charity Event, only 8-10 minutes away.

Red Cross Blood Drive at PGCAR
9 am - 3 pm @ PGCAR

I resolve to :

  • List more houses.
  • Go to the gym more often.
  • Eat more veggies.
  • Save a life - give blood!

Federal Legislative News


Last week the US Senate commenced debate on the various amendments to their healthcare legislation. The bill, a merged version of both the Senate Finance Committee's and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee's legislation, will address individual and small group health insurance markets - an issue very important to self employed REALTORS®. Debate is expected to extend throughout December.

A summary of each of the bills and their provisions is now available on the NAR healthcare page on It includes a side-by-side comparison chart as well as the cost budget analysis from the Congressional Budget Office:


On November 30, The U.S. Treasury Department released guidelines and forms for its new Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA), which is part of the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). HAFA will provide incentive in connection with a short sale or a deed in lieu of foreclosure used to avoid foreclosure on a loan eligible for modification under the HAMP program. HAFA applies only to loans NOT owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac as they will be issuing their own version of this program in a few weeks.

NAR staff has reviewed the aspects of the program and prepared a brief on the intricacies in hopes to make it more understandable. To view more information about HAFA, visit the REALTOR® Action Center at, and the short sales page on

New Year's Resolution to Earn Your Required CE Early? We Made it Easy
Sign up for classes at

Thursday, January 7
203K Purchase Rehab
3 MD Elective CEU
Michael Chelst 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Tuesday, January 12
DC Fair Housing
3 DC Required Fair Housing CEU
Prabhjit Singh 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Thursday, January 21
3 MD Elective CEU;
3 DC Elective CEU
Stu Stern 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

Friday, January 22
MD Code of Ethics
3 MD Required Ethics CEU;
3 DC Elective CEU
Don Martin 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
MD Legislative Update
3 MD Required Legislative Update CEU;
3 DC Elective CEU
Don Martin 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Monday, January 25
Advertising Obligations
3.0 MD Elective CEU;
3.0 DC Elective CEU
Larry Hudson 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Stigmatized Properties
1.5 MD Elective CEU
Larry Hudson 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
MD Fair Housing
1.5 MD Required Fair Housing CEU;
1.5 DC Elective CEU
Larry Hudson 3:15 pm - 4:45 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 >>


New Open House Directional Sign Posting Hours

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

Allowed posting hours in Prince George's County for temporary real estate directional signs (commonly referred to as "open house" signs) have changed. There are also new rules limiting the number of directional signs to 25 for new housing subdivisions.

Most signage in Prince George's County requires sign permits. Temporary real estate directional meeting specific specifications do not require a permit; however, they must still meet all temporary sign posting requirements of the County Bill.

This County Bill covers sign permit applications, revocation of permits, illegal/unsafe signs, violations and civil penalties.

Full details are in the November 10 Legislative Alert.

Multiple Homebuyer Assistance Plans Add Up to Huge Savings

$35,000 in Closing Cost and Down Payment Assistance

Several national, county and Prince George's township programs which SAVE HOMEBUYERS MONEY are listed on, in the Homebuyer Savings section.

Here's a few highlights and links:

  • 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 Details >>

  • County-wide Incentives for Sheriffs and Police - Deputy Sheriffs, and County and Municipal Police Officers Save on Transfer Taxes When Buying a Home in Prince George's County.

    Details >>

  • $20,000 County-wide Down Payment on Your Dream Program - Buying a foreclosure in Prince George's County? Don't forget savings up to $20,000 are available through NSP.

    Details >>

Information on these and other homebuyer savings are added to as they become available.

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.

If you missed the Community Forums, you may still offer your input through the
Envision Prince George's website >>

Coats and Food Drive Ends Wednesday

Have any gently used coats in the family which are hanging in the closet or stored away, never to be worn again? Make good use of those, and gain a charitable deduction, by donating them to our Annual Coat and Food drive. Collect them in your offices, then bring to the Association office by THIS WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16th.

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 >>

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. Checks can be made payable to Habitat for Humanity or credit cards can be used online.

Just imagine, $15 per member would build a home!


Market $ense - Continued Gains for Pending Home Sales

Market $ense Nine Consecutive Gains for Pending Home Sales - Pending home sales have risen for nine months in a row, a first for the series of the index since its inception in 2001, according to the NAR. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in October, increased 3.7 percent to 114.1 from 110.0 in September, and is 31.8 percent above October 2008 when it was 86.6. The rise from a year ago is the biggest annual increase ever recorded for the index, which is at the highest level since March 2006 when it was 115.2. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts that home sales could experience a slight dip over the next 2 months before surging again for the spring.

Complete article >>

Prince George's County November Home Sales Statistics are online at


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 homebuyer training sessions. Call 301-567-3330 to register your customers.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Part 1 (4 Hours)
Thursday, December 17, 2009 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Part 2 (4 Hours)
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Tuesday, January 5, 2010 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Part 1 (4 Hours)
Thursday, January 7, 2010 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Part 2 (4 Hours)
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Tuesday, January 19, 2010 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Part 1 (4 Hours)
Thursday, January 21, 2010 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Part 2 (4 Hours)

See the full schedule for class dates through June 2010.

Plan Ahead to Earn Your GRI
All three required GRI Series will be offered at PGCAR in 2010.
  red arrow May 2010 GRI 100 Series Details & Registration >>  
  red arrow August 2010 GRI 200 Series Details & Registration >>  
  red arrow November 2010 GRI 300 Series Details & Registration >>  

Mark your calendars now, to earn the designation shown to
improve your industry knowledge and your income.



Questions on how Prince George's County Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) staff will communicate with lenders and REALTORS® regarding NSP loans in process? Full details in the November 11 Legislative Alert. PGCAR encourages you to cooperate with their time-saving tips in order to sustain the success of this vital program. Thank you!! Let's keep the momentum going.

Down Payment on Your Dream Loan Programs is compatible with FHA, VA, and Conventional mortgages, as well as 203K, CDA, Housekeys 4Employees, and Smartkeys programs.

Click here for the most recent PowerPoint which details all provisions of the program and will answer most questions. Also visit for more info and all necessary forms and guidelines. These details are also available on the "Members Only" section.

THANK YOU FOR UPDATING YOUR PROFILES is being advertised by the County as the resource to find a REALTOR® to assist in a homebuyer's foreclosed properties search. Update your member profile at "Members Only" to take advantage of this marketing opportunity. Also, we see daily evidence of consumers visiting Homebuyers are clicking through on REALTOR® profiles as well as using the "Email to a Friend" function in their search for homebuying savings. Are you updating your profile and sending information to those on your interested contact list?

The "Email to a Friend" function is found on the upper left-hand corner, just below the navigation bar, of information pages. This page is the most popular.

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


Code of Ethics Case Study:
Case #12-12: Advertising in the Guise of News

Shortly after mailing his "Homeowners Neighborhood Newsletter" to local residents, several complaints were filed against REALTOR® B claiming that he had engaged in deceptive advertising in violation of Article 12's "true picture" directive. These complaints were reviewed by the Grievance Committee which determined that a hearing should be held and that all of the related complaints would be consolidated in a single hearing. The appropriate notices were sent and the hearing was convened.

REALTOR® A, one of the complainants, introduced REALTOR® B's "Homeowners Neighborhood Newsletter" into evidence pointing out that, on the first page, REALTOR® B had prominently shown pictures of, and addresses for, ten homes in an exclusive area of town labeling each as "Recently Sold." REALTOR® A, the listing broker for several of these properties, stated that, in his opinion, the average reader would readily conclude that REALTOR® B, by advertising this way, was claiming to have listed and sold the properties and that his claims violated Article 12, as interpreted by Standard of Practice 12-7. In response, REALTOR® B indicated that Article 12 was limited in scope to ". . . advertising and representations to the public" and that his "Homeowners Neighborhood Newsletter" was not, in fact, advertising but rather a well-intentioned effort to make homeowners aware of current market values. "Sale prices in our county become a matter of public record once a deed of sale is recorded," REALTOR® B argued, "and anyone who wants to find out about recent sales can get that information from the recorder's office." "All I am doing," he continued, "is reporting news-and saving residents the time and effort of retrieving this information on their own. If someone appreciates my efforts and later buys or sells through me, so much the better, but that is not the reason for my newsletter."

Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 12, 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.

Holiday Schedule

Ads and Articles Due
Thursday, December 31
  Publication Date
Thursday, January 7

If you are interested in writing an article or placing an ad, please contact
Matt Lafranchise at 240-473-7589 or

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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