GRI 200 SERIES - Begins August 3
Experience proves that REALTORS® earn more referrals and income after obtaining their GRI. Earn more by learning more about helping homebuyers, home sellers and investors - and about managing your own career - through the GRI designation training series. Complete the GRI 200 Series next month. Earn your GRI by taking the GRI 100, 200 and 300 Series, in any order.
Register for the entire GRI 200 Series, or individual classes, at www.pgcar.com.
The GRI 300 Series is also offered this year at PGCAR!
Committee Sign Ups Happening Now
PGCAR wants, and needs, your involvement in your local association. Through PGCAR's many committees, you can play a major part in the leadership of our association, as well as help promote the efforts and positive contributions which PGCAR members make throughout the communities in Prince George's County.
Click here to sign up now.
Committee applications are due Friday, August 12, 2011.
MAR Annual Conference & Tradeshow - Early Bird Rate Extended to July 15
EARLY BIRD RATE - Ends Friday!
$195 for full 3-day conference.
Rookies save additional $50.
Register by this Friday, July 15.
September 12th - 14th
in Ocean City, Maryland
- Up to 15 hours of premier Continuing Education (CE)
- Monday Keynote & light lunch with Steve Harney, Keeping Current Matters
- FREE Conference Gift - ABS flashlight with auto tool kit
- Exhibit Hall - with Monday grand opening, Tuesday happy hour, Wednesday brunch
- YPN event ($10), more "Learning Labs", more grand prize winners!
- Free bus transportation within Ocean City with your attendee badge
More value–National Speakers–Networking–Exciting Tradeshow
New York Times / CBS News Poll - 9 of 10 Americans Value Homeownership
The poll, conducted June 24 - 28 and released Thursday, June 30 shows Americans overwhelmingly positive on homeownership. And this is not due to rose-colored glasses. The split was 49/45 on whether buying a home now is generally a safe or risky investment. 49% said generally safe; 45% said generally risky. Some other results:
- If they were to move now and could afford either, 73% would prefer to buy and 23% would prefer to rent.
- 53% think the federal government should help people who are having trouble paying their mortgage.
- 93% think it is important for the federal government to continue the home mortgage interest deduction.
- 45% think the government should be doing more to help the housing market improve. Only 16% feel it should do less.
New York Times poll results and article >
Related REALTOR® Magazine artilce >
Like us on Facebook, to see similar news releases sooner >
You Can Help Those Devastated by Floods
Urge Congress to Reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program
You've seen thousands of homeowners in the news, devastated by flooding.
What can you do?
One way to help is to urge Congress to reauthorize the
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Floods can happen in any state, and banks require many homebuyers to have a flood insurance policy before lending. Yet the only way that a homeowner can acquire flood insurance, thus a mortgage in over 21,000 communities is through this federal program -- which ends September 30, 2011 -- less than 90 days from now.
We're 1 million voices strong.
Let's flood Congress with our support for the NFIP >
Call for Action - FHA and GSE Loan Limits Will Expire Sept. 30
You can make the difference for your Buyers!!
Current FHA and GSE loan limits are set to expire September 30, 2011. Unless Congress acts, these loan limits will drop from the current limit of $729,750 to $625,500 in Prince George's County. The impact to other counties across the United States will be much more severe. Being as the majority of banks operate across county (and state) lines, these lowered limits will have a wide-spread effect.
What does all of this mean? On September 30, mortgage costs could rise so much that they impact the ability of your buyers to purchase their home to be. Your clients could find themselves in a position where lending is even more tight, and they no longer have access to affordable mortgage financing.
Most homebuyers don't realize how much the decisions of Congress can change their opportunity to buy their dream home, but you do! Please contact Congress today and communicate clearly that a housing recovery depends on keeping mortgages affordable for well-qualified buyers. Congress needs to prevent these higher loan limits from taking effect.
Let your voice be heard!
Take action today >
FHA Loan Limits and National Flood Insurance Program
Due to expire September 30, 2011
NAR released two Calls for Action before the July 4 holiday. The first CFA calls for a long-term extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The second CFA highlighted above regards FHA Loan Limits.
Both the NFIP and current FHA loan limits are set to expire September 30, 2011; however, the anticipated expirations will start affecting current lending this month. Bankers know that settlements can take 90 days from when they start processing a mortgage loan request.
With both of these key provisions expiring on September 30, 2011, we must act now. NAR has also organized visits to Capitol Hill this week, targeting members of the key committees.
We encourage you to engage at every level possible.
- Freddie Mac 3.5% + Agent Bonus for Offers Submitted by July 31 - Freddie Mac is offering 3.5% toward closing and a $1,200 selling agent bonus on www.HomeSteps.com primary residence home purchases. The initial offer must be submitted by July 31, 2011 with escrow closed by September 30, 2011. Complete details >
- Fannie Mae 3.5% + Agent Bonus through October 31 - homebuyers purchasing a www.Homepath.com property as their primary residence can also receive up to 3.5% in closing cost assistance. Eligible sales must close by October 31, 2011. A $1,200 selling agent bonus is also available! Complete details >
- New! Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLB Atlanta) - 2 new programs - The first offers up to $15,000 towards a foreclosure purchase. The second offers up to $7,500 to homebuyers earning up to 80% AMI and buying within NSP targeted areas in MD or DC. These two programs do NOT require you to be a first-time homebuyer.
Consumer information page > Details & webinars for REALTORS® >
- My HOME Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance - up to 5% of Home Sale Price Offered to County Homebuyers who have not owned a home within the last 3 years. Over $1 million in total funds available.
Consumer information page > Details (in Members Only, updated June 24) >
- American Dream Downpayment Assistance (ADDI) - up to $10,000 to County Homebuyers who have not owned a home within the last 3 years. Details >
- The Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) offered through the state's Community Development Administration (CDA) has announced 2 loan products for distressed properties. All MMP products have low, fixed interest rates and some offer matching funds. These 2 new products will assist in revitalizing communities burdened with foreclosed and rundown properties.
The Acquisition / Rehabilitation Mortgage Program helps purchase a single-family home as a primary residence and obtain funds for needed repairs and renovations.
The Homeward Bound Program offers eligible buyers of foreclosed or short sale property a lower rate mortgage.
Learn how to successfully utilize the MMP for your customers at a FREE 3 CEU CDA workshop. The next training date is this Wednesday, July 13 at 8:30 a.m.
Program Details > Training Details >
Most of these programs can be used in combination. Information on these and other homebuyer savings are available at pgcar.com. Sales agents - please study up and stay familiar with current homebuyer incentives, and send links to your contacts from these public information pages. For more My HOME program details, members can login to pgcar.com Members Only.
- - - My HOME Inspection Update - - -
Effective immediately, all Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspection requests
should be sent directly to the My HOME Inspector, Mark Gough.
Contact information is on the revised form >
All properties bought using My HOME funding must first pass a HQS Inspection performed by
a DHCD qualified inspector. The HQS inspection is provided at NO COST to the homebuyer.
DC Salesperson License Renewals - Due August 31
Less than 2 months remain to meet CEU hour requirements and renew licenses through the DC Real Estate Commission. Please visit the DCREC license renewal website today to understand the new "Mass License Renewal" process. There are tutorials for Brokers and for Salespersons.
15 total CE hours are required for license renewal.
The 9 CE in required subjects are offered on the following dates / times through PGCAR.
||DC Fair Housing / Predatory Lending
||Wed, July 20
|9:30 am - 12:30 pm
||Register here >
||DC Legislative Update
|| Wed, July 20
|1:30 am - 4:30 pm
||Register here >
||Financing Issues / Update
||Tue, July 26
||6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
||Register here >
PGCAR classes marked DC Elective CEU on the
Education calendar are available to meet your 6 required DC Elective hours.
See your full continuing education requirements for DC license renewal here >
DC required courses are also offered at PGCAR during August. Register for classes early >
IRS Increases Mileage Rate to 55.5 Cents per Mile
The Internal Revenue Service announced higher standard mileage rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, medical or moving purposes for July 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.
1/1/11 - 6/30/11
7/1/11 - 12/31/11
|Medical / Moving
A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for any vehicle used for hire or for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.
Additional information is available from www.IRS.gov or your tax specialist.
Are moving expenses deductible?
This article at www.IRS.gov is a resource for homebuyers who move for a new or relocated job.
Market Sen$e: Mortgage Rates at 4.6%; Settlements Up for 2nd Consecutive Month
Average mortgage rates are still lower than at the beginning of 2011; however, small increases have been seen over the last 4 weeks and this week, both long- and short-term mortgage rates followed Treasury yields higher. Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending July 7, 2011:
- The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.60 percent, up from 4.51 percent a week ago.
- The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.75 percent, up from 3.69 percent.
- The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 3.30 percent, up from 3.22 percent.
- The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 3.01 percent, up from 2.97 percent.
Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >>
Settlements Improve for Second Month in Prince George's County
June settlements in Prince George's rose significantly over May, increasing 4.8% for single family homes, 14.1% for condos. The single family market made strong gains across the $200,000 - $499,000 price range. New contracts signed in June held fairly steady. 1,087 single family contracts were signed (19 more than in May 2011). 139 condo contracts were signed (3 less than in May 2011).
Year-to-date comparisons. Condos continue their 2011 surge. Year-to-date settlements in the condo market are up 29.1% from 2010. Year-to-date contracts signed are up 37.3%.
In the single family market, year-to-date contract signings are about even with 2010, down 0.8%. Settlements are down 8.2% from 2010 to 2011; however, the largest differential is from June 2010 to June 2011. Most economic forecasts warned of larger decreases for early 2011, in comparison to January through June 2010 when homebuyers were rushing to close before the June 2010 Homebuyer Tax Credit settlement deadline.
Visit www.pgcar.com/stats for detailed statistics.
Pending Home Sales Rise 8.2 Percent in May
Pending home sales rose strongly in May with all regions experiencing gains from a year ago, pointing to higher housing activity in the second half of the year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 8.2% to 88.8 in May from an upwardly revised 82.1 in April and is 13.4% higher than in May 2010.
This is the first time since April 2010 that nation-wide contract activity was above year-ago levels, and the monthly gain was the strongest increase since November 2010 when the index rose 10.6 percent.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the improvement bodes well for home prices.
Complete REALTOR.org article >
Sales Coach: Revisit -- or Make Your 2011 Business Plan
The first half of 2011 has flown by. Have you revisited your 2011 business plan or your 2011 goals plan? Now's the time to do it. You didn't make one?? Well, now's the time to make an appointment with yourself to list 3 key projects that will ensure the rest of your 2011 is successful, and leads into an even better 2012. Keeping in better touch with your clients, marketing your listings better, launching an improved web site, writing a monthly communication for free PR. . . what improvements do YOU want to make?
Learn 5 critical steps for your business plan, that will help you get started!
2011 - 2012 Leadership Academy - Applications Due August 1
The annual MAR Leadership Academy is a rare opportunity for training in organizational leadership and communications. Applications for the upcoming October 5, 2011 through April 17, 2012 session are due Monday, August 1, 2011. Applicants must be available for an interview on August 10 or 23.
Hurry! Applications are due August 1st.
Details and application >>
Leadership Academy brochure >>
MD and DC CEU at PGCAR
All classes are held at PGCAR offices, just off the Route 202 / Landover Road exit of I-495. Find our NEW association office at 9200 Basil Court, Suite 400, Largo, MD 20774. There's plenty of parking.
Code of Ethics: Our Duties to Clients and Customers
There is no sample case study for REALTORS® Code of Ethics Article 9; however, it's an important ethical and business standard to adhere to. Here is the complete Article 9.
REALTORS®, for the protection of all parties, shall assure whenever possible that all agreements related to real estate transactions including, but not limited to, listing and representation agreements, purchase contracts, and leases are in writing in clear and understandable language expressing the specific terms, conditions, obligations and commitments of the parties. A copy of each agreement shall be furnished to each party to such agreements upon their signing or initialing. (Amended 1/04)
- Standard of Practice 9-1
For the protection of all parties, REALTORS® shall use reasonable care to ensure that documents pertaining to the purchase, sale, or lease of real estate are kept current through the use of written extensions or amendments. (Amended 1/93)
- Standard of Practice 9-2
When assisting or enabling a client or customer in establishing a contractual relationship (e.g., listing and representation agreements, purchase agreements, leases, etc.) electronically, REALTORS® shall make reasonable efforts to explain the nature and disclose the specific terms of the contractual relationship being established prior to it being agreed to by a contracting party. (Adopted 1/07)
Did You Know? Articles 1 - 9 comprise the Code of Ethics portion outlining REALTORS®' duties to clients and customers. The next REALTOR® Connection will move on to Article 10, the first dealing with REALTORS®' duties to the public.
REALTORS® Federal Credit Union
Personal and Professional Lines of Credit
Whether you're consolidating higher interest debt, investing in home or business improvements, spreading tuition or annual dues payments, or simply opening a line of credit "just in case", you can cover it with a REALTORS® Federal Credit Union line of credit or personal loan.
Apply for personal or professional loans online at REALTORSFCU.ORG.
PLEASE READ - If You Practice Real Estate in DC
As of February 28, 2011, some real estate companies, real estate brokers and/or property managers did not renew their licenses and are currently INACTIVE AND UNLICENSED to practice real estate in the District of Columbia.
Check the status of your license to insure all was correctly submitted and accepted.
It is illegal to practice real estate in DC, if you are not both actively licensed in DC and affiliated with a broker whom is actively licensed in DC. Read complete details, including how to check licensing status >
Maryland Tax-Free Shopping Days August 14 - 20
Maryland is having a tax-free period for back-to-school shopping. For the week of Sunday, August 14 through Saturday, August 20 sales and use tax does not apply to the sale of any items of clothing or footwear, excluding accessory items, if the taxable price of the item of clothing or footwear is $100 or less. Accessory items, which are not exempt from the sales and use tax during the tax-free week include jewelry, watches, watchbands, handbags, handkerchiefs, umbrellas, scarves, ties, headbands, and belt buckles.