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November 28, 2011

    I n   t h i s   i s s u e . . .
  • Meet Your Legislators This Wednesday!
  • Holiday Charity Event - Next Tuesday
  • 2012 Dues Renewals - 2 Days to Save Late Fee!
        Renew by November 30
  • 'Tis the Season of Giving
  • Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist®
  • HUGE SentriLock Lockbox Sale
    Homeownership Matters
  • Victory: FHA Loan Limits Restored!
  • Buy Suitland Initiative - Expanded Eligibility!
  • My HOME and Buy Suitland Holiday Schedule
  • Centex Offers Additional Savings
        to My HOME Program
  • Amazing Homebuyer Incentives
    The Industry Insider
  • Legislative Alert: Lead Paint Liability
  • 2011 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers
  • Market Sen$e: Favorable Affordability Index,
        October Home Sales Up
  • October Existing-Home Sales Rise
  • 2012: Gradual Housing and Economic Recovery
  • Sales Coach: Which Day of the Week
        is Best to List?
  • DC and MD CEU
  • Learn More, Earn More in 2012
  • Code of Ethics: Case #1-29
  • Free Hands-On MRIS Training at PGCAR

    Annual Legislative Reception

    2011 Legislative Breakfast
    This Wednesday, November 30 at Martin's Crosswinds
    Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, County Executive Rushern Baker,
    U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, U.S. Representative Donna Edwards,
    Maryland State Delegate Marvin Holmes

    have all responded they are attending this Wednesday. Are you?


    Cost is only $20 per person.

    In respect for our legislators, please arrive promptly at 8 am this Wednesday.

    Click here for the Prince George's County Government Guide.
    Page 11 provides valuable tips for learning what your
    legislators' interests are, and for meeting your legislators.



    Help raise funds and buy meals for needy local families. Then as a thank you for your contribution, join us next Tuesday, December 6, from 6 pm to 10 pm for "An Evening of Elegance" - dinner, dancing, open bar, networking and a fun holiday celebration!

    Tickets are only $40 each, or buy several (tickets and meals) with a sponsorship. Simply want to make a cash donation? Individual tickets and cash donations are 100% tax deductible.

    This year, there are thousands of people in need of help to feed their families. PGCAR is partnering with Prince George's County Public Safety Service Program to feed more than 500 of these families. This program fed over 6000 families in Prince George's County last year, and they need our help to do it again!

    Buy your tax-deductible tickets here >

    Be a Sponsor, and help ensure even more families are helped >

    Help spread the word. Share the links and flyers.
    Event flyer >   Sponsorship flyer >

    Thanks you for your help and participation.
    For more information, please contact Joan Ostenso at


    Save the Late Fee!
    Renew Before Midnight This Wednesday, November 30
    Last Installments are also due This Wednesday, November 30

    Dues renewals for the October 1, 2011 - September 30, 2012 membership year were due October 1, 2011. But don't sweat the late fee! Pay online at today!

    Renew as Easy as 1-2-3:

    1. Click here
    2. Log in
    3. Make your payment and receive your itemized receipt!

    Paying by installments?
    Your last installment of $156.25 is also due by midnight this Wednesday, November 30, 2011.

    Thank you for your continued support of PGCAR!
    And thanks to everyone who has already renewed!


    '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 15th. You may also bring them to the December 6 Evening of Elegance Charity Event.

    Please take a picture of the coats and food your office collects. Email your photos for possible use in PGCAR promotions, and when PGCAR applies for the annual MAR CARE Award. We'd love to add more photos to our Facebook page too, but we need members to email them in first!

    Information flyer >


    Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist® Training

    March 22 - 23, 2012
    8:30 am - 5:00 pm
    Required for CLHMS Designation • Earns 2 CRS Elective Units
    Sponsored by the Women's Council of REALTORS®

    Attend this valuable training and discover how to:
    • Reach more affluent prospects
    • Increase your average price
    • List and sell more luxury homes
    • Deliver outstanding service to affluent buyers and sellers
    • Set yourself apart as a luxury home expert
    • Grow your business and increase your income

    Successful completion of the course results in membership with The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing and is the first step in earning the coveted CLHMS designation. Members must then meet sales performance requirements before they are awarded the CLHMS designation.

    Investment: $549
    Early Bird: $499 before January 15, 2012
    Register in full or pay in 3 installments
    (Installments require login to Members Only)


    Now through December 31, 2011

    PGCAR is pleased to provide a special sale on SentriLock Lockboxes for PGCAR Members.
    Between NOW and DECEMBER 31, 2011, lockboxes will be sold as follows:

    1 - 9 Lockboxes
    10 - 19 Lockboxes
    20 - 29 Lockboxes
    30 Lockboxes or more
      $65 each + tax
    $60 each + tax
    $55 each + tax
    $50 each + tax


    Victory: FHA Loan Limits Restored!
    One More Victory Needed

    You Did It On November 17, Congress restored the FHA loan limits for 2 years. The reinstated FHA loan limit formula and cap change will help make mortgages more affordable and accessible for hard-working, middle-class families in 669 counties in 42 states and territories, where the average loan limit reduction after the reset last month was more than $68,000. Prince George's loan limit has been restored to $729,750 – the highest amount available.

    2012 NAR President Moe Veissi reminds us, "I know that when we work together we can accomplish anything we set our minds to in order to preserve, protect and defend the American Dream of Home Ownership."

    Thank you for your support of homeownership! More details >

    Now Due to Expire December 16, 2011

    The same bill reinstating FHA loan limits also saved the National Flood Insurance Program from its November 18 expiration, but only through December 16, 2011. Please help urge Congress to reauthorize the NFIP for 5 years. The NFIP ensures access to affordable flood insurance for millions of home and business owners across the country.

    Take Action Today >


    Buy Suitland Initiative
    Expanded Foreclosure Definition Increases Number of Eligible Properties!

    REALTOR Safety Month Important - In addition to foreclosed and short sale properties, the BUY SUITLAND Program will now accept owner occupied or vacant resale properties where the seller is at least 60 days delinquent on mortgage payments. Verification of mortgage delinquency at time of contract will be required.

    This criteria increases the number of homes that can utilize the Buy Suitland Program. This also enables helping more sellers already delinquent on mortgage payments and makes properties available much sooner, prior to being unoccupied for several months. Note that resale properties meeting the 60 day mortgage delinquency criteria must still be located in the Buy Suitland targeted census tracts.

    Prince George's My HOME/Buy Suitland program office will compile a list of preferred resale properties for distribution to their workshop attendees (next workshop is Monday, December 5). If you are listing a resale property that meets this criteria and the seller will accept a Buy Suitland assistance contract, please contact Yetta Stokes at 301.883.7409 or

    Homebuyers can receive these grants for buying:
    • Foreclosure and Short Sale properties
    • NEW! The BUY SUITLAND Program will also award grants to assist purchasing owner occupied or vacant resale properties where the seller is at least 60 days delinquent on mortgage payments. Verification of mortgage delinquency at time of contract will be required.
    • In 7 Census Tracks: 8018.02, 8019.02, 8020.01, 8020.02, 8021.05, 8024.05, 8024.06
    • Where Appraisal vs Contract Price = 1% Discount
      Similar to the first NSP Program, the sale price of property under contract must be at a 1% discount of the most recent appraised value.

    Buy Suitland Grant Amounts:

    Maximum 0% Interest Grant Amount Applicant Qualifications
    5% of the purchase price of home An applicant with household income between 80 - 120% of the area median income.
    7% of the purchase price of home An applicant currently employed at the Suitland Federal Center, Police Office, Firefighter, Nurse or Teacher.
    35% of the purchase price of home or $40,000
    Whichever is greater, as needed, to meet the
    45% Debt-to-income requirements
    An applicant with a combined household income of 50% or below the area median income.

    FREE Training for Lenders and REALTORS®:

    The following training dates are available for REALTORS® and Lenders:
    - Buy Suitland Program -
    Next Monday, December 5 10:00 a.m. LENDERS
    Next Monday, December 5 2:00 p.m. REALTORS®
    These training sessions will be held at
    1400 McCormick Drive, Suite 308, Largo, MD 20774

    RSVP to
    Program details at and


    My HOME and Buy Suitland Holiday Schedule

    Due to the upcoming holidays, the following submission deadlines should be noted:


    • Last day to submit new loans to close by December 30, 2011 is this Thursday, December 1.
    • Last day to submit final conditions on loans in My HOME/BUY SUITLAND pipeline to close by December 30, 2011 is December 16, 2011.

    Buy Suitland Initiative Details
    For this program with wide eligibility, including Civic Employees and Incomes up to 120% AMI, visit the County website dedicated to the Buy Suitland Initiative. Also find a handy overview to Buy Suitland Initiative eligibility criteria at which you can email to homebuyers.

    My HOME Details
    My HOME provides up to 5% of the home sale price in Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance to County Homebuyers who have not owned a home within the last 3 years. See details at or the County website


    Centex Offers Additional Savings to My HOME Program

    The My HOME program has established a relationship with Centex Homes. Your homebuyer can buy a Centex Home in the Victory Promenade development (behind FED EX Field) with My HOME funds and get seller assistance too. They have units that are standing and ready within 30 days. For more information or to schedule a time to view these homes, please call (301) 350-5875 or email Jennifer Eaddy.

    1. 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® >

    2. 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. $2.2 million in total funds is now available.
      Consumer information page >   Details (in Members Only) >

    3. American Dream Downpayment Assistance (ADDI) - up to $10,000 to County Homebuyers who have not owned a home within the last 3 years. Details >

    4. 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.

      Program Details >

    Most of these programs can be used in combination. Information on these and other homebuyer savings are available at 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 Members Only.

    LEGISLATIVE ALERT - November 28, 2011

    Maryland Court Declares Housing Act Provisions Immunizing
    Landlords from Lead Paint Liability are Unconstitutional


    On October 24, 2011, in the case of Jackson v. Dackman Co. et al. (Md. App., 2011), the Court of Appeals of Maryland held that the immunity provisions of the Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing Act ("the Act"), which provide compliant landlords with qualified immunity from tort liability under specified circumstances, violate Article 19 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights ("Article 19").

    Article 19 generally protects two related rights: (1) a right to a remedy for an injury to one's person or property and (2) a right of access to the courts. The Court interpreted Article 19 to prohibit unreasonable restrictions on traditional remedies or access to the courts.

    The Court concluded that the substituted remedy under the Act for a child permanently brain damaged due to the child's ingestion of lead-based paint in the rental property was totally inadequate and unreasonable to ameliorate the harm done. The Court also held that the unconstitutional provisions of the Act could be severed from the remainder of the Act leaving all other provisions unchanged.

    More information and details of the impact of this ruling on landlords and property managers is available here.

    Please also read the Baltimore Sun article, Lead Paint Case: A Poisoned Compromise >

    Lead is one of the few areas where the property manager has as much financial liability as the owner in cases of elevated blood lead levels. It is important for all PGCAR REALTORS® and Affiliates to keep ourselves and our clients informed.


    2011 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

    The 2011 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers was released this month, showing the demographics, preferences, marketing and experiences of recent home buyers and sellers from the 12-month period between July 2010 and June 2011. The effects of tighter lending standards was underscored throughout survey findings. For example, median downpayments and median prices paid were up slightly from the 2010 study; median income of buyers was much higher than in the 2010 study.

    Some quick stats from the survey:
    • 78% of recent home buyers said their home is a good investment, and 45% believe it's better than stocks. Most buyers believe in the long-term value of home ownership.
    • First-time home buyers fell to a 37% market share from a record high 50% in the 2010 study. The median age of first-time buyers was 31 and the median income was $62,400, up from $59,900 in the 2010 study. The typical first-time buyer purchased a 1,570 square foot home costing $155,000; the estimated median monthly mortgage principal and interest payment was $794.
    • The typical repeat buyer was 53 years old and earned $96,600, notably higher than the $87,000 median reported in the 2010 profile. Repeat buyers purchased a median 2,100 square foot home costing $219,500, with an estimated median payment of $1,006.
    • 64% of all buyers are married couples, 18% are single women, 10% single men, 7% unmarried couples and 1% other. Last year 58% were married couples, 20% single women, 12% single men, 8% unmarried couples and 1% other.
    • Buyers responded they use a wide variety of resources in searching for a home: 88% use the Internet, 87% use real estate agents, 55% yard signs, 45% attend open houses and 30% review print or newspaper ads. While buyers also use other resources, they generally start their search process online and then contact an agent.
    Read more >

    The complete 2011 Profile can be purchased at, or by calling 800-874-6500. The study costs $19.95 for NAR members and $149.95 for non-members.


    Market Sen$e: Favorable Affordability Index, October Home Sales Up

    Adjustable-rate mortgages hit new record lows last week. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.98%, staying at or below 4.00% for the fourth consecutive week. Fixed rates stay near their record lows (the 30 year FRM record low of 3.94% was reached the week ending October 6, 2011).

    Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending November 23, 2011:

    • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.98 percent, down from 4.00 percent a week ago.
    • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.30 percent, down from 3.31 percent.
    • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.91 percent, down from 2.97 percent.
    • The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.79 percent, down from 2.98 percent.

    Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >>

    Prince George's October Home Sales —
    2011 Continues Improvements From 2010

    October single family home contracts improved 7.1% from September 2011. Monthly single family settlements improved 3.8%. For the condo market, new contracts increased 3% and settlements decreased 16.5%.

    The big news for Prince George's condo sales is that they have increased 33.3% during 2011 from year-to-date this time in 2010, and the 71 settlements closed in October 2011 was an increase of 73.2% over October 2010.

    Visit for detailed statistics.


    October Existing-Home Sales Rise

    REALTOR Safety Month NAR reports that total existing-home sales rose 1.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million in October, from a downwardly revised 4.90 million in September, and are 13.5% above the 4.38 million unit level in October 2010. While existing-home sales improved in October, the number of homes on the market continued to decline. Total housing inventory at the end of October fell 2.2% to 3.33 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.0 month supply at the current sales pace, down from an 8.3 month supply in September.

    Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market has been fairly steady but at a lower than desired level. "Home sales have been stuck in a narrow range despite several improving factors that generally lead to higher home sales such as job creation, rising rents and high affordability conditions. Many people who are attempting to buy homes are thwarted in the process," he said. "A higher rate of contract failures has held back a sales recovery. Contract failures reported by NAR members jumped to 33% in October from 18% in September, and were only 8% a year ago, so we should be seeing stronger sales," Yun added.

    Contract failures are cancellations caused by declined mortgage applications, failures in loan underwriting from appraised values coming in below the negotiated price, or other problems including home inspections and employment losses. "Other recent factors include disruption in the National Flood Insurance Program, and lower loan limits for conventional mortgages, which paradoxically force some of the most creditworthy consumers to pay unnecessarily higher interest rates," Yun said.

    More market details >


    Gradual Housing and Economic Recovery Expected in 2012

    Although the housing market struggled to maintain an even footing in 2011, gradual improvement is expected in 2012 and beyond, according to experts' projections at a residential forum at the 2011 REALTORS® Conference " Expo.

    Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said home sales should be stronger. "Tight mortgage credit conditions have been holding back home buyers all year, and consumer confidence has been shaky recently," he said. "Nonetheless, there is a sizeable pent-up demand based on population growth, employment levels and a doubling-up phenomenon that can't continue indefinitely. This demand could quickly stimulate the market when conditions improve."

    Yun projects growth in Gross Domestic Product to be 1.8 percent this year, then rising moderately at a rate of 2.2 percent in 2012. With job growth of 1.7 to 2.2 million next year, the unemployment rate is expected to decline to 8.7 percent by the second half of 2012. Mortgage interest rates should gradually rise from recent record lows and reach 4.5 percent by the middle of 2012.

    Read more details and insights from Richard Peach, Senior Vice President at the Federal Reserve Board of New York, at


    Sales Coach: Which Day of the Week is Best to List?

    Home Sales Coach You only have one chance to make a first impression. A sales analysis of over 1 million listings over nearly a 2-year timespan indicates that Friday is the best day for your listing's first impression. The Redfin study found that homes listed on Friday are 12% more likely to sell within 90 days.

    The study also found:

    • Homes listed on Sunday get slightly more online views.
    • Homes listed on Friday get toured 19% more than homes listed on other days of the week.
    • Homes listed on Friday or Thursday tend to sell for slightly closer to the original list price.

    Looking for additional tips for better homes sales?
    Visit REALTOR® Magazine's Styled, Staged & Sold blog >


    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 NEW association office at 9200 Basil Court, Suite 400, Largo, MD 20774. There's plenty of parking.

    Next Tuesday, December 6
    203K Purchase Rehab
    3.0 MD Elective CEU
    Michael Chelst 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Next Wednesday, December 7
    Short Sales
    3.0 MD Elective CEU
    Jill Michaels 9:00 am - 12 noon

    Next Friday, December 9
    MREC Agency-Residential
    3.0 MD Required or Elective CEU
    Fredericka Lloyd 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Tuesday, December 13
    3.0 MD Elective CEU;
    3.0 DC Elective CEU
    Larry Hudson 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    Reverse Mortgages
    1.5 MD Elective CEU
    Eric Rittmeyer 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

    Wednesday, December 14
    MD Code of Ethics
    3.0 MD Required Ethics CEU;
    3.0 DC Elective CEU
    Jill Michaels 9:00 am - 12 noon

    Wednesday, December 21
    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

    Complete CEU Schedule >>


    Learn More, Earn More in 2012

    PGCAR is offering GRI Series 100, 200, and 300.
    Sign up now!


    Case #1-29:
    Multiple Offers to be Presented Objectively

    REALTOR® A listed Seller S's house. He filed the listing with the MLS and conducted advertising intended to interest prospective purchasers. Seller S's house was priced reasonably and attracted the attention of several potential purchasers.

    Buyer B learned about Seller S's property from REALTOR® A's Web site, called REALTOR® A for information, and was shown the property by REALTOR® A several times.

    Buyer X, looking for property in the area, engaged the services of REALTOR® R as a buyer representative. Seller S's property was one of several REALTOR® R introduced to Buyer X.

    After the third showing, Buyer B was ready to make an offer and requested REALTOR® A's assistance in writing a purchase offer. REALTOR® A helped Buyer B prepare an offer and then called Seller S to make an appointment to present the offer that evening.

    Later that same afternoon, REALTOR® R called REALTOR® A and told him that he was bringing a purchase offer to REALTOR® A's office for REALTOR® A to present to Seller S. REALTOR® A responded that he would present Buyer X's offer that evening.

    That evening, REALTOR® A presented both offers to Seller S for his consideration. Seller S noted that both offers were for the full price and there seemed to be little difference between them. REALTOR® A responded, "I'm not telling you what to do, but you might consider that I have carefully pre-qualified Buyer B. There's no question but that she'll get the mortgage she'll need to buy your house. Frankly, I don't know what, if anything, REALTOR® R has done to pre-qualify his client. I hope he'll be able to get a mortgage, but you never can tell." REALTOR® A added, "Things can get complicated when a buyer representative gets involved. They make all sorts of demands for their clients and closings can be delayed. You don't want that, do you? Things are almost always simpler when I sell my own listings," he concluded. Seller S, agreeing with REALTOR® A's reasoning, accepted Buyer B's offer and the transaction closed shortly thereafter.

    Upset that his purchase offer hadn't been accepted, Buyer X called Seller S directly and asked, "Just to satisfy my curiosity, why didn't you accept my full price offer to buy your house?" Seller S explained that he had accepted another full price offer, had been concerned about Buyer X being able to obtain the necessary financing, and had been concerned about delays in closing if a buyer representative were involved in the transaction.

    Buyer X shared Seller S's comments with REALTOR® R the next day. REALTOR® R, in turn, filed an ethics complaint alleging that REALTOR® A's comments had intentionally cast Buyer X's offer in an unflattering light, that his comments about buyer representatives hindering the closing process had been inaccurate and unfounded, and that REALTOR® A's presentation of the offer had been subjective and biased and in violation of Article 1 as interpreted by Standard of Practice 1-6.

    Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 1, how do you think the Professional Standards Panel?

    Find out here >>


    Free Hands-On MRIS Tools Training at PGCAR

    PGCAR hosts free MRIS hands-on training sessions each month. The November sessions are:

    This Tuesday, November 29, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    Maximize Your Productivity with MRIS - Discover the often overlooked tools and features available as an MRIS customer, that are designed to save you time and money.

    This Tuesday, November 29, 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    What's New with MRIS and Matrix - Make every dollar count. Learn about the many new features added to MRIS and Matrix, and how to use them.

    Visit for details and registration. Advance registration with MRIS is required.

    Prince George's County Association of REALTORS®
    8300 Corporate Drive, Suite 100  :  Landover, MD 20785
    Phone 301-306-7900  :  Fax 301-306-8273  :  :  ©2011 PGCAR

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