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December 27, 2011

    I n   t h i s   i s s u e . . .
  • New Year's Holiday
  • Save Your SentriLock Access:
        Renew Your Dues by December 31
  • Legislative Breakfast Photo Gallery
  • MAR Legislative Day
  • HURRY! SentriLock Lockbox Sale Ends Friday
  • Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist®
        Training - Early Bird Rates Until Jan 15
  • An Evening of Elegance - Thank You!
    Homeownership Matters
  • NFIP Gains 5-Month Extension
  • FREE Affordable Housing Programs Webinar
  • 3% Freddie Mac Incentive to Buyers
  • Buy Suitland Initiative - Expanded Eligibility!
  • Amazing Homebuyer Incentives
    The Industry Insider
  • Annual Market Review Press Conference
  • Freddie Mac Changes Short Sale Policy
  • Legislative Alert: Lead Paint Liability
  • Market Sen$e: Record-Breaking Low
        Mortgage Rates for the Holidays
  • Existing-Home Sales Rise in November
  • Consumer Tip: Know What Affects Your
        Credit Score
  • Sales Coach: Breaking Bad Habits
         = Big Results
  • DC and MD CEU
  • Inclement Weather / Snow Policy
  • Learn More, Earn More in 2012
  • Code of Ethics: Case #2-15
  • Free Hands-On MRIS Training at PGCAR
  • Why Join REALTORS® FCU?
  • Write That Killer App for 30 Under 30

      PGCAR offices will be closed next Monday, January 2 for the New Year's Holiday.

    We wish you and your family a wonderful 2012
    filled with pleasant surprises!

    2011 - 2012 dues must be paid by midnight, December 31st to prevent loss of SentriLock key privileges, your MRIS discount, ZipForms
    and other REALTOR® membership benefits.

    Members who have not paid their dues
    by midnight this Saturday, December 31, 2011 will be terminated
    and a $100 reinstatement fee will be charged to their accounts.

    Also, all offices that have unpaid members as of January 15, 2012,
    will be suspended from all services, including SentriLock.

    Please renew today using the secure, easy online dues renewal at

    1. Click here
    2. Log in
    3. Pay and receive an itemized receipt for your
      2011 - 2012 PGCAR, MAR and NAR membership renewals.

    Membership renewals were due on October 1, 2011.
    A $25 late fee was added to non-paid renewals on December 1, 2011.

    Thanks to the majority of members who renewed on time!


    PGCAR welcomes US Congress, Maryland and County Legislators

    Over 100 REALTORS® attended the PGCAR Legislative Breakfast held at Martins Crosswinds on November 30th. The event, organized by the Association's Legislative Committee under the supervision of Chair Mike Cerrito, was a huge success. REALTORS® in attendance heard from Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, U.S. Representative Donna Edwards, Prince George's Senate Chair Doug Peters, House Vice-Chair Mike Vaughn, and County Council Vice-Chair Eric Olson. Many of our Prince George's County Senators and Delegates and County Council officials attended this year's event and mingled throughout the morning. This year we were excited to have our newest County Council Member Derrick L. Davis in attendance as well.


    MAR LEGISLATIVE DAY - Save the Date!

    The Annual MAR Legislative Day will be held Wednesday, January 25 at the Loews Hotel in Annapolis.
    Details and registration are coming soon!


    Ends This Friday, December 30

    Rush into PGCAR before the New Year starts for 2012 Boss Planners and SentriLock lockboxes! Because when 2011 ends, so does this special sale on SentriLock lockboxes.

    Between now and Friday, lockboxes will be sold at:

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


    Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist® Training

    March 22 - 23, 2012
    8:30 am - 5:00 pm
    Investment: $549

    Required for Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS) Designation
    Earns 2 CRS Elective Units • Lunch Provided Both Days

    Sponsored by the Women's Council of REALTORS®

    Includes 1-year membership and a "Tool Box" of free benefits with The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing:
    • Free profile in the luxury agent directory on
    • Series of free property listings on The Wall Street Journal's website
    • Free standard account with ProxioPro, the international MLS, including unlimited property listings and syndication to dozens of top real estate websites like Trulia, Zillow, Yahoo and more.

    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
    This intensive two-day CLHMS training course sets the standard for luxury sales training in the industry, 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.

    Learn what wealthy buyers and sellers say are the "real secrets" to
    capturing their business and delivering outstanding service!

    Early Bird: $499 before January 15, 2012

    Thank You for Your Generosity!
    Thank you to everyone who helped organize, bought tickets, donated, or
    sponsored last Tuesday's Holiday Charity Event!

    Platinum Sponsor
    George Mason Mortgage, LLC

    Gold Sponsors
    Anthony Dozier, HomeSource Real Estate Solutions
    Home First Title Group
    RE/MAX Specialists

    Silver Sponsors
    AmeriSpec Home Inspection Service
    BB&T Mortgage
    Centex Homes at Victory Promenade / Pulte Homes at Arts District
    Cerrito Realty LLC
    CyberVillage Networkers
    First Home Mortgage Corp.
    Keller Williams Preferred Properties
    Marrick Homes
    Nateka Dancy, EXIT Elite Realty
    The Rowan Group & Monarch Mortgage
    Toll Brothers

    Bronze Sponsors
    1st Mariner
    Earlene Glenn, RealInvestors of Maryland
    ServiceMaster RSI of Bowie
    Washington Home Mortgage

    Tickets Sponsor - CPS / Gumpert Printing Company
    Centerpieces Sponsors - Doris Kessebah
    Open Bar Sponsor - La Fontaine Bleu
    Favors Sponsor - Old Line Bank


    National Flood Insurance Gains 5-Month Extension

    On Friday, December 16, Congress extended National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) authority through May 31, 2012. This latest extension was a part of H.R. 2055, a "megabus" appropriations bills to fund the federal government's 2012 fiscal year.

    NAR is urging Congress to use the additional time to complete work on a 5-year NFIP re-authorization bill (H.R. 1309) to provide certainty and avoid further disruption to real estate markets.


    FREE Affordable Housing Programs Webinar

    REALTOR Safety Month Wednesday, January 18
    10 - 11:30 am

    Each year, Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLB Atlanta) has been offering homebuyer incentives. Learn about their new Affordable Housing Program (AHP) Set-aside products for 2012 in a free webinar on January 18 at 10 am.

    Webinar Registration >
    Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLB Atlanta) savings overview >


    3% Freddie Mac Incentive to Buyers
    Homebuyer and $1,000 Selling Agent Bonus Now Through January 31

    Freddie Mac is offering a Winter Sales Promotion on offers submitted by owner-occupant purchasers between November 15, 2011 and January 31, 2012 with escrow closed by March 15, 2012.

    See this and other incentives at >


    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. 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.

    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 - 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. Even more details in Members Only >

    3. 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.

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

    5. 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.


    2011 Market Review, 2012 Preview Press Conference

    PGCAR held its annual Regional Housing Market press conference at the National Press Club in DC. The market report shows detailed market statistics from 2006 through 2011. PGCAR highlighted the incredible buying power available in Prince George's County, especially in comparison to the rest of the Metropolitan Washington region.

    Indications are that 2012 should be a stronger year, and there is much economic development associated with BRAC and County growth incentives to reinforce that.

    Powerpoint Presentation >


    Freddie Mac Changes Short Sale Policy

    At the request of NAR and the American Land Title Association (ALTA), Freddie Mac has amended its short sale affidavit policy. The purpose of the affidavit is to prevent fraud by requiring the buyer, the seller, the real estate brokers, the escrow/closing agent, and any transaction facilitator to make various certifications (including that the short sale is an arm's length transaction and the buyer will not resell within 120 days unless there are substantial improvements).

    Policy changes will be mandatory as of January 1, 2012; however, servicers are encouraged to implement the changes immediately. NAR also advises members to make sure that any short sale affidavit they sign is an updated form. If presented with an old form, members should request the servicer to update or allow amendments to the form before signing, to avoid potential liability issues. Details >


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

    On October 24, 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.

    Details of the impact on landlords and property managers >
    Lead Paint Case: A Poisoned Compromise >
    (Real-life consequences of the ruling discussed)

    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.


    Market Sen$e: Record-Breaking Low Mortgage Rates for the Holidays

    The 30-year fixed mortgage rate and adjustable-rate mortgages hit new all-time record lows last week, and the 15-year fixed mortgage rate stayed even with its all-time record low set the previous week. "Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages have been at or below 4 percent for the last eight weeks and now are almost 0.9 percentage points below where they were at the beginning of the year, which means that today's homebuyers are paying over $1,200 less per year on a $200,000 loan," noted Freddie Mac's chief economist Frank Nothaft.

    Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending December 22, 2011:

    • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.91 percent, down from 3.94 percent a week ago.
    • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.21 percent, equal to a week ago.
    • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.85 percent, down from 2.86 percent.
    • The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.77 percent, down from 2.81 percent.

    Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >>

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

    While contract signings increased in both the condo and single family markets in October, those increases didn't appear across the board in November settlements just yet. November condo settlements increased a stellar 12.7%, whereas single family home settlements decreased 3.9% from October 2011.

    Year-to-date contracts and settlements have all improved from 2010.

    Visit for detailed statistics.


    Existing-Home Sales Continue to Climb in November —
    Declined Mortgage Applications Holding Back Additional Prospective Homebuyers

    The latest monthly data shows total existing-home sales increased 4.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.42 million in November from 4.25 million in October, and are 12.2% above the 3.94 million-unit pace in November 2010.

    Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said more people are taking advantage of the buyer's market. "Sales reached the highest mark in 10 months and are 34% above the cyclical low point in mid-2010. We've seen healthy gains in contract activity, so it looks like more people are realizing the great opportunity that exists in today's market for buyers with long-term plans."

    NAR President Moe Veissi, noted housing affordability conditions have set a new record high. "With record low mortgage interest rates and bargain home prices, NAR's housing affordability index shows that a median-income family can easily afford a median-priced home. However, the problem remains that some financially qualified families who are willing to stay well within their means are being denied the opportunity to buy in today's market by the overly restrictive mortgage underwriting situation," Veissi said.

    An elevated level of contract failures continues to hold back a broader sales recovery. Contract failures were reported by 33% of NAR members in November, unchanged from October but notably above a year ago when it was 9%. 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 lower conforming mortgage loan limits, home inspections and employment losses.

    More details at >


    Consumer Tip: Know What Affects Your Credit Score

    A poor credit score can make it hard to get a mortgage or a new car. It can also increase the rate you pay on a mortgage, credit card and insurance, yet a recent Visa survey revealed 42% never bother to check their score.

    Do your homework, and give your customers a friendly tip to do the same. In the last REALTOR® Connection, we learned the first step in better managing your credit history, how to check your credit record FREE every 4 months.

    Now that you know your history, how does this factor into your credit score?

    A FICO score is calculated from the following data:

    • 35%: An individual's payment history, whether or not payments are made on time.
    • 30%: Amounts owed and how much available credit is being used. (Generally, using a higher percentage of the credit available to you will lower your credit score.)
    • 15%: Length of credit history, or how long each account has been open.
    • 10%: An individual's use of new credit or recent applications that resulted in a credit score check. (Generally, a high amount of requests for credit will lower your credit score.)
    • 10%: What types of credit the individual is using — mortgages, car loans, personal loans, credit cards, etc.

    Read more >


    Sales Coach: Breaking Bad Habits = Big Results

    Home Sales Coach While some become complacent and procrastinate, others constantly seek opportunities to create more business and improve themselves. To jump-start your income, your life, and your success, think of one personal life change to focus on, then keep adding one more. For example, investigate what networking events are coming up in 2012 and plan to attend one each month. Maybe your next item to focus on could be brushing up on social media and technology-based marketing tools.

    In addition to your business life, how are you spending your personal time? Are you spending time with people you love, exercising, and eating healthy, or spending time watching reality TV? Pick one improvement (walking 20 minutes a day, reconnecting with a friend, scheduling regular trips to the gym together or date nights if married, calling a family member you haven't seen in ages) and expand from there.

    Soon, you'll be making the little, everyday decisions that take you to the life you desire. You'll experience the Compound Effect of small, positive choices creating big results.

    Learn more about the Compound Effect, and 5 key points to harnessing the Compound Effect in your life >


    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, January 3
    Short Sales
    3.0 MD Elective CEU
    Jill Michaels 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    Wednesday, January 11
    MD Code of Ethics
    3.0 MD Required Ethics CEU;
    3.0 DC Elective CEU
    Larry Hudson 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Thursday, January 12
    Commercial SBA Loan Programs
    3.0 MD Elective CEU
    John Throne 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    Home Inspection & Environmental Issues
    3.0 MD Elective CEU;
    3.0 DC Elective CEU
    Walter Clews 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    Thursday, January 19
    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

    Friday, January 20
    MREC Agency-Residential
    3.0 MD Required or elective CEU
    Fredericka Lloyd 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Monday, January 23
    MREC Required Supervision
    3.0 MD Required or Elective CEU
    Don Martin 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Complete CEU Schedule >>


    SNOW POLICY: PGCAR classes will be conducted as scheduled unless the Prince George's County Government offices are closed. If you are registered for a class and it is cancelled, your registration fee will be returned or transferred to a future class.

    Please be safe and use your best judgment with regards to driving. If unable to attend due to weather, please e-mail Scott Miller or call Scott at 301-306-7961 and you will not be charged. If you will not be attending class, please indicate whether you would like to reschedule or if you would like a refund.

    PGCAR committee meetings: If Prince George's County Public Schools are CLOSED, all PGCAR committee meetings will be cancelled. If Prince George's County Public Schools are on a delayed schedule, committee meetings will be held as scheduled.

    PGCAR offices will be open unless the Prince George's County Government is closed.


    Learn More, Earn More in 2012

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


    Case #2-15:
    Refusal to Divulge Source of Fraudulent Information

    An official of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) called on REALTOR® A to enlist his cooperation in solving a problem. As the official explained, FHA had reason to believe that there had been a number of "dual contract" transactions in the area involving FHA mortgage insurance. In a typical instance, a prospective buyer was induced by a broker to sign an offer to purchase a house at a figure several thousand dollars higher than the listed price of the house, so that the signed offer might be used as an evidence of value in obtaining a mortgage loan higher than would be available if the true selling price of the property was stated in the offer. In this procedure, the broker, after having thus fraudulently arranged for a mortgage loan, executed another contract, stating the true price offered, for presentation to the seller of the property.

    The FHA official further explained that such conduct involved misrepresentation and law violations, and distorted FHA's market data. FHA lacked documentation, but believed that this type of procedure had been used by some brokers, builders, and to some extent had been condoned by persons approving mortgage loan applications.

    He asked for REALTOR® A's assistance in documenting specific instances. REALTOR® A replied that persons in the real estate business had "common knowledge" that such practices were in use; that through business activities he knew of specific persons who had practiced it and had in his files legal evidence of fraudulent offers that were used to obtain mortgage loans in two instances. However, he took the position that much as he deplored such unethical conduct, he had no inclination to play the role of informer and did not believe he should be asked to. He refused to divulge information that he acknowledged he had in his possession.

    It came to the attention of the Grievance Committee of REALTOR® A's Board that he had refused to cooperate with the FHA in bringing instances of alleged fraud and unethical conduct to light. The function of the Grievance Committee includes review of undocumented or hearsay reports of unethical conduct, and if definite evidence were found, making the evidence the subject of a complaint before the Board's Professional Standards Committee.

    Fulfilling its duty, the Grievance Committee called in REALTOR® A and requested that he divulge the information in his possession to the Committee. REALTOR® A refused, and upon his refusal and statement of his position, the Grievance Committee referred the matter to the Professional Standards Committee of the Board for hearing charging REALTOR® A with having violated Article 2.

    Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 2, 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 January sessions are:

    Tuesday, January 24, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    Kick Off Your Career with MRIS - Get in the real estate game faster with this introduction to all the various products and topics available with your MRIS subscription.

    Tuesday, January 24, 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    The Need-to-Knows of Matrix - Settings, or searches, or contacts or emails... Learn the best place to start and learn about the multiple functions Matrix offers.

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


    REALTORS® Federal Credit Union

    Why Join REALTORS® FCU?
    It's the 24/7 credit union designed for your unique needs as a REALTOR®!

    Open 24/7!
    FREE ATMs Nationwide
    FREE Checking w/ FREE debit card
    Scan check deposits using your computer
    Transfer funds between financial institutions online
    Flexible lending that understands a REALTOR®'s income
    Earnings go back to benefit YOU and your fellow REALTORS®

    Join Online >   It only takes 15 minutes!


    Do You Have What it Takes? Write That Killer App for 30 Under 30

    Every June, REALTOR® Magazine showcases 30 young professionals making their mark in the real estate industry. Do you or someone in your office have what it takes? Be recognized for your innovation, leadership and passion for excellence. REALTORS® under the age of 30 as of May 31, 2012 are eligible to apply.

    Applications are due Sunday, January 15, 2012.
    How to write that killer app that gets you noticed?

    Click here first >

    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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