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!
||Saturday, April 14, 2012 (RAIN OR SHINE)
||9 - 11:30 am 5K Fun Walk/Run
8 - 8:45 am Registration & Package Pickup
||Marlboro Ridge Club House
||$25 - adults, $5 - children under 12
$30 for adult registrations after March 31
Click here for complete event details, including registration and sponsorship links.
Register online > Sponsor online > Download Walk/Runner Sponsor Form >
GIVE BLOOD - SAVE LIVES
PGCAR is sponsoring and hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive®
This Wednesday, February 22
9 am to 3 pm
ALL ARE INVITED
FRIENDS ~ FAMILIES ~ MEMBERS
COME GIVE THE GIFT OF LIFE!
|David Maclin Memorial Scholarship
|Do you know a Prince George's County Public High School Senior who wants to further his/her education and is already making
a difference in the community?
Then have them complete a David Maclin Memorial Scholarship application before Next Wednesday, February 29. Winners will receive a $2,500 scholarship to be used toward further education in any community college, university or trade school.
Please also share this with Principals and Teachers at your local schools, so you may enable someone who may not have received the materials to share this opportunity with their class.
You can make an important difference in the life of a student!
Scholarship Letter • Scholarship Application • Permission Slip
Email Scholarship Info to a Friend
Scholarship Applications are Due Next Wednesday, February 29, 2012.
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:
- 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
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®
Online Courses Now Offered for Several States
NEW! PGCAR has expanded their online CE offerings.
Taking CE courses online is both flexible and affordable. Signing up through PGCAR makes the process even easier because we've put all of the information in one place - offering the best curriculum, 24/7 access, great customer service, and ongoing support. Let us be your one-stop-shop for all of your online CE needs!
Online CE Courses - Available When YOU Are!
Mark your Calendars for Tuesday, May 1
Tuesday, May 1
Cinco de Mayo RPAC Fundraiser
6 pm - 10 pm
La Fontaine Bleu
7963 Annapolis Road
Lanham, MD 20706
Details and Registration >
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?
- Kept banking conglomerates out of the real estate brokerage, saving the typical REALTOR® thousands of dollars annually.
- Increased typical REALTOR® earnings by over $6,000 last year by ensuring Fannie/Freddie conforming mortgage loan limits didn't decrease.
- Provided over $600 million in tax relief to homeowners who are forced to sell their homes for less than the amount of the outstanding mortgages.
...and that's just to name a few!
So come out on Tuesday, May 1 and support THEM!
Be recognized as a Sponsor >
We're also looking for Auction donations.
Please email, call the PGCAR office at 301.306.7900, or contact us online. Thanks for participating!
Find out more about RPAC and the important work they are doing.
|Membership Renewals Past Due|
Brokers and non-paid Agents - January 31 was the deadline to pay 2011-2012 dues or remove any unpaid agents from your office roster. All new licensed agents in your office were also required to join by January 31. Suspensions are now taking effect for offices with non-paid members.
Reinstating your membership today will ensure that you:
- Will have SentriLock access;
- Will not miss out on any of the informative and important classes we offer (such as required CEU, online CE, and free MRIS classes); and,
- Will be able to find out about and attend our exciting upcoming events and fundraisers.
RENEW IMMEDIATELY at www.pgcar.com, or if your account has already been suspended, please call the office at 301-306-7900 to renew.
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
and attending the FREE training offered by the county program office.
Monday, March 12 at 2:00 pm
1400 McCormick Dr., Suite 308, Largo, MD
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 >
- Buy Suitland Initiative - Civic Employees and Incomes up to 120% AMI are eligible. Details >
- 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 - 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 www.pgcar.com or the County website. Even more details in Members Only >
- 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.
- 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.
Program 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.
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!
- Click on the "Find a REALTOR®" link in the left-hand column.
- Then click on the "Agents Only" link above the directory.
- Next, click on the "Go to App" button under "Ready to get started?"
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
"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:
Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >
- The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.87 percent, the same for the past three weeks.
- The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.16 percent, the same as last week.
- The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.82 percent, down from 2.83 percent the previous week.
- The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.84 percent, up from 2.78 percent.
Prince George's County Single Family Contracts Rise in January —
January 2012 home sales statistics for Prince George's County are online at www.pgcar.com/stats >
From December 2011 to January 2012, single family homes contracts were on the rise, while the settlements decreased. Condo/co-ops decreased in both contracts and settlements on a monthly basis.
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.
THIRTY PERCENT RULE
If you don't have the money to decrease the balance on larger accounts, pay down your credit card balance on the small accounts. Regardless if the balance is $100 or $1,000, a balance of 30% or less of the available credit limit will help your credit score improve.
BECOME AN AUTHORIZED USER
Have a family member or friend with great FICO scores who is willing to go to bat for you? Ask them to list you as an authorized user on one of their cards. As an authorized user, the credit card company will report to your credit files as well as the account holder for an instant way to boost your score.
GET A 'DELETION' NOT A 'PAID COLLECTION'
Once you pay a collection or settle a debt, be sure you get a PAY FOR DELETION and not a paid collection entry. A pay for deletion is a request you make to the creditor to pay a debt in full or an agreed upon percentage in exchange for deletion of the account. Be sure to get everything in writing, and never let a creditor tell you they cannot change something they put on your credit report - there are no laws or rules regarding that.
LOOK INTO RAPID RE-SCORE
If you are in the market for a mortgage loan, refinance or home equity line of credit, your lender can have your credit files rapid re-scored.
It is a service offered by lenders - typically with a small fee per each item corrected - to clean up outdated and inaccurate information from your report in as little as 72 hours. Rapid Re-Score accelerates the dispute process, corrects negative information and increases your score immediately.
CHECK & RE-CHECK YOUR CREDIT REPORTS
Everyone makes mistakes - even credit bureaus. They receive and process a ton of information on a daily basis and it is bound to happen. Disputing inaccurate information and getting it corrected or deleted will raise your score. Some things to look out for are: accounts that are still listed as unpaid, but should have been included in bankruptcy; negative accounts that don't belong to you; negative accounts that are still showing up after 7 years; and, accounts that you've always paid on time showing as being paid late. Re-visit our first article on Checking Your Credit Report FREE Every 4 Months if you are not already checking your credit report.
The key to raising your score fast is to get the positive information reporting and/or the negative information deleted as quickly as possible.
To read the entire article, click here.
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.
REALTOR®'s Obligation to Disclose Dual Commission Arrangements
REALTORS® A and B were members of the same Board and Participants in the Multiple Listing Service. REALTOR® A, cooperating with REALTOR® B on REALTOR® B's listing, presented an offer to purchase signed by buyers offering the listed price, and a check for earnest money. The only contingency was a mortgage contingency, and REALTOR® A shared with REALTOR® B qualifying information about the buyers indicating there should be no problem securing a mortgage. The following day, REALTOR® B returned the offer to REALTOR® A with "REJECTED" written on it and initialed by the seller, and explained that the seller had accepted another offer secured by one of REALTOR® B's sales associates. REALTOR® A inquired about the seller's reason for rejecting the full price offer with only a mortgage contingency, and what had caused the seller to accept the other offer. REALTOR® B responded that he did not know, but with equal offers, he supposed the seller would favor the offer secured by the listing broker.
Later, REALTOR® A met the seller at a social event. The seller thanked him for his efforts in connection with the recent sale of the seller's home. The seller hoped REALTOR® A understood there was nothing personal in his decision, adding that the money he saved through his "special agreement" with REALTOR® B had been the deciding factor. When REALTOR® A asked about the "special agreement," the seller explained he had signed a listing agreement for the sale of his property which authorized the submission of the listing to the Multiple Listing Service and specified a certain amount of compensation. However, the seller stated that he had also signed an addendum to the listing agreement specifying that if REALTOR® B sold the listing through his own office, a percentage of the agreed compensation would be discounted to the seller's credit, resulting in a lower commission payable by the seller.
REALTOR® A filed a written complaint with the Board of REALTORS® against REALTOR® B, alleging a violation of Article 3. After its review of the complaint, the Grievance Committee requested that an ethics hearing be arranged.
REALTOR® A, in restating his complaint to the Hearing Panel, said that REALTOR® B's failure to disclose the actual terms and conditions of the compensation offered through the Board MLS resulted in concealment and misrepresentation of pertinent facts to REALTOR® A and to the prospective buyers served by REALTOR® A who had, in good faith, offered to purchase the property at the listed price with only a mortgage contingency. REALTOR® A told the Hearing Panel that if he had known the facts which were not disclosed by REALTOR® B, he could have fully and accurately informed the buyers who could have taken those facts into consideration when making their offer. As it was, said REALTOR® A, the buyers acting in good faith were deceived by facts unknown to them because they were unknown to REALTOR® A. Further, REALTOR® A said that REALTOR® B's failure to fully disclose the true terms and conditions relating to compensation made it impossible to have a responsible relationship with REALTOR® B and make proper value judgments as to accepting the offer of compensation.
REALTOR® B stated that it was his business what he charged and the Board or MLS could not regulate his charges for his services. If he wished to establish a dual commission charge by agreement with his client, that was his right, and there was no need or right of the Board or MLS to interfere.
Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 3, how do you think the Professional Standards Panel ruled?
Find out here >>
Free Hands-On MRIS Tools Training at PGCAR
PGCAR hosts free MRIS hands-on training sessions each month. Upcoming classes are:
Tuesday, March 27
10:00 am - 11:30 am
Keystone 100: The New Keystone Homepage. In this demonstration of the new Keystone Homepage that is coming out soon, you will see how to edit your listings with just a few clicks, make price adjustments on the fly, pre-schedule changes to your listings, customize what information you want to see for every listing and so much more.
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:
- Flexible lending that understands a REALTOR®'s income
- It's the 24/7 credit union designed for your unique needs as a REALTOR®!
Join Online > It only takes 15 minutes!