|February 20, 2012|
Join us in Annapolis on Wednesday, February 29 from 9 to 11 am, to rally and voice our opposition to the Maryland General Assembly voting for increased taxes on homeownership. PGCAR has reserved a bus for anyone who wants to ride together (registration now online).
For nearly 100 years, the tax code has protected mortgage interest deductibility. Now, when we need it most - with so many Marylanders facing diminished homeowner equity and the economy just starting to make a recovery - this important tax benefit is in danger of becoming extinct. We must join together and let our voices be heard, for the sake of ourselves, our family, our friends and neighbors, as well as the state of Maryland.
WHAT YOU CAN DO!
Together we can make a difference!! Many thanks for your continued advocacy efforts!
More Info: January 24 Legislative Alert > MAR Press Release > MID Talking Points >
When you become part of something, in some way you count. It could be a march; it could be a rally, even a brief one. You're part of something, and you suddenly realize you count. To count is very important. ~Studs Terkel
David Maclin Memorial Scholarship Fund
First Annual 5K Fun Walk/Run - Saturday, April 14
In 2009, the Prince George's County Association of REALTORS® instituted the David Maclin Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of REALTOR® David Maclin, the 2006 President of the Association. The Scholarship Fund has provided over $25,000 in scholarships to students graduating from Prince George's County High Schools.
Come Join Us on What's Sure to Be a
Beautiful Day and Support this Important Cause!
Click here for complete event details, including registration and sponsorship links.
Register online > Sponsor online > Download Walk/Runner Sponsor Form >
GRI 100 Series Begins March 7 - Learn More, Earn More in 2012
Improve your industry knowledge and your income!
Earn your GRI by taking the GRI 100, 200 and 300 Series in any order. Register for the GRI 100, individual classes, or any of the Series at www.pgcar.com.
Luxury Home Marketing Designation - Training That Sets the Standard
Earn the coveted CLHMS designation and discover how to:
March 22 - 23, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Earns 2 CRS Elective Units • Lunch Provided Both Days
Sponsored by the Women's Council of REALTORS®
Mark your Calendars for Tuesday, May 1
Cinco de Mayo RPAC Fundraiser
Tuesday, May 1
6 pm - 10 pm
La Fontaine Bleu
7963 Annapolis Road
Lanham, MD 20706
REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) identifies and supports candidates who will work with REALTORS® to promote and protect the American Dream of homeownership. In just 6 years, they raised over $30 million dollars to support pro-REALTOR® candidates running for Congress.
In what ways has this important legislative work supported YOU?
...and that's just to name a few!
Find out more about RPAC and the important work they are doing.
Feel Confident About Your New Home Purchase
HomeSteps SmartBuySM is Freddie Mac's exciting home purchase program that offers:
It will help you feel confident about your decision to buy from them, and have the peace of mind you expect and deserve from your new home!
See this and other incentives at www.homesteps.com >
Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) - Free 3 CEU Training
Wednesday, March 14 or Tuesday, April 17
9:00 - 12 noon
Learn how to utilize the Community Development Administration's MMP for your customers. CDA has interest rates starting below 4% with no points! Down payment assistance of $5,000 is still available, plus matching closing cost programs.
Register early! Details and registration >
Buy Suitland 2012 Training - Monday, March 12
The Buy Suitland Initiative will grant 5 - 7% of the home sale price to households who have not owned a home within the last 3 years, and are buying a home as their principal residence. This closing cost and down payment assistance is in the form of 0% interest loan, which does NOT have to be paid back if the home is kept as the primary residence for 10 years or more. A portion of the loan will be required to be repaid if residence is maintained less than 10 years.
You can learn more about this exciting program by visiting www.pgcar.com
RSVP Required: HStokes@co.pg.md.us
MY HOME AND BUY SUITLAND ANNOUNCE 2012 INCOME QUALIFICATION LEVELS
Homebuyers Can Now Qualify at Higher Income Levels
See the newly effective maximum Area Median Income levels at www.pgcar.com for the My HOME program and Buy Suitland Initiative. Homebuyers earning up to 80% AMI can be eligible for the My HOME program, which will grant up to 5% towards purchase of any buyer-occupied residential property in Prince George's County. Homebuyers earning up to 120% AMI can be eligible for the Buy Suitland Initiative, which will grant up to 7% towards purchases within Suitland of foreclosures, short sales or a residence where the seller is 60 days delinquent on mortgage payments.
Also see a copy of the Income Calculation chart, needed for submission to My HOME >
PGCAR REALTORS® - Get Connected Today!
Sign Up for the Real Estate Agent Directory at www.facebook/pgcar
PGCAR's Facebook page has a new feature highlighting our REALTOR® members! The www.pgcar.com Find a REALTOR® Directory is used by a number of homebuyers. Now there's an additional, new Find a REALTOR® added to www.facebook.com/pgcar.
Facebook users can search for REALTORS® via this link, based on location and area of expertise. Before connecting to a REALTORS®' page, consumers can view your profile snapshot. So increase your visibility. Add yourself to the Facebook REALTORS® Directory! This is another FREE service!
Sign up today at www.facebook.com/pgcar!
NAR Cautions Against MID Changes
NAR has come out against parts of Obama's proposed 2012 budget that, for wealthier homeowners, limits itemized deductions - including the MID. The proposal calls for reducing the value of itemized deductions for taxpayers who earn $200,000+ ($250,000+ joint/married). NAR's concern is limitations on the MID would harm home values, and hinder the housing recovery efforts.
Moe Veissi, NAR President, states, "While progress has been made in bringing stability to the housing market, the recovery has been slow. The nation's home owners already pay 80 to 90 percent of U.S. federal income taxes. Raising taxes on them, now or in the future, could critically erode home values at all price levels."
Read the entire article at realtor.org.
Fannie Mae is Now Accepting Online Offers for Properties
Fannie Mae is rolling out a pilot program nationwide that will allow real estate agents to submit and track their offers online. Once the offer is submitted for the Fannie Mae-owned property, the agent will receive confirmation and be able to track the status through the HomePath.com web site.
"Collecting offers online through HomePath.com will provide greater transparency for home buyers and their agents," Jay Ryan, vice president for REO at Fannie Mae, said in a statement. "Our online platform will make it easier to sell properties to owner-occupants, which is a major factor in helping to stabilize communities across the nation."
For more information on how the new program works, visit HomePath.com.
Energy Star Tax Free Weekend - TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO SAVE!!
Share with your Customers, Family & Business Contacts!!
They'll thank you for the tip!
Sales tax will not be charged on the sale of Energy Star Products or solar water heaters from Saturday, February 18 through Monday, February 20.
A great weekend to save money on the purchase of a product that will save you money all year-round.
Also, Mark Your Calendars for Shop Maryland, August 14 - August 20, where qualifying apparel and footwear $100 or less will be exempt from the Maryland 6% sales tax (accessory items are not included).
For more information on products that qualify and Shop Maryland week click here.
Market Sen$e: 30-Year Fixed-rate Mortgage Record Low for Third Week
Last week's average mortgage rates were unchanged from the all-time record low for the third consecutive week. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has been below 4.00 percent for the past 11 weeks, and below 5.00 percent since February 24, 2011. Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac, stated, "Fixed mortgage rates were unchanged this week amid mixed confidence measures. Small business confidence ticked up slightly in January, representing a fourth consecutive month gain, according to the National Federation of Independent Business index. However, the Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment fell in February by more than the market consensus forecast breaking a five month trend. In the meantime, home builder confidence rose in February to the highest reading since May 2007, based on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index."
Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending February 16, 2012:
Inventory levels decreased significantly from January 2011 to January 2012. Contract signings increased significantly from a year ago: 12.1% in the single family market and 45.8% in the condo/co-op market.
Visit www.pgcar.com/stats for detailed Prince George's County home sales statistics.
Pending Home Sales Hit 19-Month High in November, Decline for December
After reaching a 19-month high, pending home sales eased in December but stayed above 2010 levels. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, declined 3.5% to 96.6 in December from 100.1 in November but is 5.6 percent above December 2010 when it was 91.5. The data reflects contracts but not closings.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the trend line remains positive. "Even with a modest decline, the preceding two months of contract activity are the highest in the past four years outside of the homebuyer tax credit period," he said. "Contract failures remain an issue, reported by 33% of REALTORS® over the past few months, but home buyers are not giving up. Housing affordability conditions are too good to pass up. Our hope is lending conditions will gradually improve with sustained increases in closed existing-home sales."
Existing-home sales rose for the third consecutive month, up 5% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.61 million, up from a downwardly revised 4.39 million in November. December 2011 existing-home sales are 3.6% higher than the 4.45 million-unit level in December 2010. For all of 2011, existing-home sales rose 1.7% to 4.26 million from 4.19 million in 2010.
December Pending Home Sales Decline in December, Remain Above a Year Ago >
December Existing-Home Sales Show Uptrend >
Consumer Tip: Raise Your Score in 2012 - FAST!
In the last REALTOR® Connection, we focused on ways to improve your credit score while reducing debt. Now let's look at some possible things you can do to make sure you have the best possible score as soon as you need it. Trying to get a mortgage, auto loan, or sometimes applying for a job these days, involves a decision maker viewing, then approving or denying, based on what your score is showing. Because in most cases these are time-sensitive issues, you want to ensure your score is as high as possible, as quickly as possible.
Sales Coach: Faster Closings in a Slow Market
Selling a home in a reasonable time frame can be challenging when the market slows down, but it isn't impossible. Here are some tips to maintain sales momentum even during the slow times.
PRICE OF LISTING - Listen to the market signals.
Eighty percent of the marketing of a home comes from setting the price. Regardless of how much you spend on networking and advertising, the bottom line is that if the house is overpriced, any amount of advertising won't help. Work with your clients and be upfront with them - if there is absolutely no interest once the property is listed, it is because the price is too high.
MARKET ABSORPTION RATE - Keep it calculated monthly.
The Market Absorption Rate will let you know how long it takes the average home to sell in your market. This number is calculated by dividing the number of listings in your market by the number of sales that month (300 homes / 100 sales = 3 months absorption rate). When the rate increases, existing inventory is taking longer to sell and the best-priced, best-looking homes will sell first.
PICK OF THE LITTER - Make sure your listings are in top condition.
When the market is inundated with dozens of potential homes per buyer, your listings must be the most attractive to make the sale quickly. Encourage your seller to make repairs, strengthen curb appeal and have the home in turn-key condition so you can sell it for top price.
KNOW WHEN TO THROW IN THE TOWEL - Don't chase unmotivated sellers.
The more you know about your client, the better prepared you will be to not only sell their home, but to know how serious they are about selling. There is a big difference between someone who is relocating out of state in the next month or two and someone who has been thinking about moving to a nicer home for the past few years. Now is the time to put your less serious sellers on the backburner so you can focus on your motivated clients.
WE'RE ALL IN THE SAME BOAT - Join forces to find buyers.
Don't wait for the right buyer to come to you. Take the proactive approach by networking with other agents to see if they have any buyers who are looking in the same neighborhood or price range as your listings. The more you put your properties out there, the more of a chance you have to make the sale.
For more useful information, click here.
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.
Free Hands-On MRIS Tools Training at PGCAR
PGCAR hosts free MRIS hands-on training sessions each month. Upcoming classes are:
Tuesday, March 27
Visit www.mris.com/training for details and registration. Advance registration with MRIS is required.
REALTORS® Federal Credit Union
Need a New Car? FCU Has Lowest Auto Loan Rates Ever!
Save on a new auto through NAR's REALTOR® Benefits Program Partner Chrysler Group LLC. As one of your options for financing, REALTORS® FCU is offering a financing option of limited-time low rates for new auto purchases!
Hurry! Special new auto loan rate expires on March 31, 2012!
Click here for more information and to see other great REALTOR® FCU Auto Deals!
Why Join REALTORS® FCU? Two more great reasons:
Join Online > It only takes 15 minutes!