|March 6, 2012|
Over 100 PGCAR members and affiliates joined hundreds of other REALTORS® and Marylanders concerned with home ownership for the rally in Annapolis last Wednesday. The stormy morning couldn't keep us from enthusiastically urging the General Assembly to protect the MID.
However, in spite of favorable feedback from key legislators immediately after Wednesday's Rally and Committee Hearings, including quotes that the MID was "off the table" in Senate budget negotiations, today we are hearing otherwise - that the MID changes are still on the table. Even if the MID were to make it through the Senate budget intact, the MID reduction has to be deleted from both the House and the Senate versions of the State budget, then make it through reconciling of the two budgets, be voted upon, and signed by the Governor.
Over 100 PGCAR members rallied in the rain ~ please take 5 minutes
to contact your State Delegate, Senator and Governor today >
If you would like to personally call or email General Assembly members, you may find their contact info in the Prince George's Government Guide >
A brief timeline: While victory is NOT guaranteed, our voices were HEARD loud and clear last Wednesday, so let's keep the pressure up. After Wednesday's Rally, key legislators informed news sources that they are likely to keep the deductions intact and that eliminating the MID is 'likely off the table.' Senate President Mike Miller went further - when asked if the deduction was completely off the table, or would remain in a modified form - he responded by stating "completely."
We have no such word from the Maryland General Assembly's House of Delegates. President Alease Bowles testified in Senate Hearings last Wednesday and in House Hearings last Thursday, PGCAR and MAR representatives have been and still are meeting with key decision-makers, and we ask that EVERYONE please contact your legislators today.
Again, thank you to everyone who showed up for last Wednesday's stormy morning and rallied in the rain to protect the MID. The outcome is uncertain; we are clearly not out of the woods. If you haven't already done so, we urge you to contact your state legislator today to help save the MID. Post the link on your Facebook page, and get this message out there to family, friends and neighbors! Help protect this important tax benefit!
Your vote holds our leaders responsible for the decisions they make and sends a message on the issues important to you. Statistics show that only 70% of Americans who are eligible to vote are registered voters. Don't be part of the 30% statistic. Make sure your voice is heard by registering today!
View all the important election MD and DC election dates on www.pgcar.com >
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!
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.
Time is Running Out! Reserve Your Space Today to
Earn the Coveted CLHMS Designation!
In addition, you will 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®
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!
The REALTORS® Midyear Meetings & Trade Expo is where NAR members come together to take an active role in advancing the real estate industry, public policy, and the association. There will be a variety of meetings and events including: special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities, the industry trade show, and a Rally on Capitol Hill.
For more information, to plan your Midyear Schedule, and to register click here.
Feel Confident About Your New Home Purchase
HomeSteps SmartBuySM is Freddie Mac's exciting home purchase program that offers:
It will help your homebuyers feel confident about their decision to buy, and give them a peace of mind about their new home!
Next 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.
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
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.
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!
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 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.
Results released showed fixed mortgage rates moving slightly lower, remaining near the 60-year lows keeping homebuyer affordability high. Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac, states, "Fixed mortgage rates bottomed out in January and February of this year which is helping spur the housing market. For instance, pending existing home sales rose in January to its strongest pace since April 2010 and sales figures for December saw upward revisions. In addition, the Federal Reserve noted in its February 29th regional economic review (or Beige Book) that residential real estate activity increased modestly in most of its Districts over the course of January and early February, with several reports of increased home sales."
Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending March 1, 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.
Like us at facebook.com/pgcar to be the first to see February home sales reports when released later today!
According to NAR, pending home sales are on the rise, and are well above a year ago. The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 2.0 percent to 97.0 in January from a downwardly revised 95.1 in December and is 8.0 percent higher than January 2011 when it was 89.8. The data reflects contracts but not closings. The January index is the highest since April 2010 when it reached 111.3 (due to buyers rushing to take advantage of the home buyer tax credit).
Going into the spring home-buying season, NAR chief economist, Lawrence Yun, feels this is a hopeful indicator. "Given more favorable housing market conditions, the trend in contract activity implies we are on track for a more meaningful sales gain this year. With a sustained downtrend in unsold inventory, this would bring about a broad price stabilization or even modest national price growth, of course with local variations."
A government pilot program to turn bank-owned properties into rentals could be disruptive and counterproductive to some markets. According to recent NAR analysis, even though the inventory of foreclosure properties is decreasing across the country, there is a noticeable difference in numbers between states that require judicial proceedings and those that do not. Inventories in the judicial states are 2.5 times higher than non-judicial states. In addition, the disposition is considerably faster in non-judicial states, where sales rates are four times higher than judicial states.
Instead of the program, NAR has repeatedly asked for improved lending to creditworthy home buyers and has urged lenders to make more loan modifications, mortgage refinancings, and short sales to help stabilize struggling housing markets. "While REO-to-rental programs could be successful in a few communities, we believe that doing more to ensure mortgage availability for qualified home buyers and investors could be even more beneficial in helping absorb excess foreclosure inventories across the country," said Veissi.
NAR strongly suggests that a national advisory board be created to ensure that the program truly benefits the local community, minimizes taxpayer losses, and stabilizes home values. In addition, NAR urges substantial participation of local market experts, especially licensed real estate professionals, who have unparalleled knowledge of local market conditions.
March 20, the first day of Spring, is just around the corner. This is when we follow the long-honored tradition of saying goodbye to winter by throwing open the windows to let the fresh air in and scrubbing down the house. Today's houses are bigger and the choice of cleaning supplies seem endless, but if you can set aside a weekend for this annual maintenance project, we'll give you some tips on an environmentally-friendly, less expensive approach.
BEDROOM AND LIVING AREA
For more useful tips, go to houselogic.com.
When you first meet a person, you intuitively form an impression about them, by factors such as their speaking tone, body language, clothes, or what their handshake is like. You might not end up being correct, but you form the opinions regardless. Potential clients are doing the same thing when they meet you, whether it's in person, on the phone, by email or your website. And you have about 15 seconds to prove that you're worthy of their business. Here are some tips on how to do it.
The words you speak are only a small part of communication. People form opinions about you by your body language, tone of voice, expressions and overall appearance. Whether you're at an open house, greeting a new customer, or working an event, here's how to make those encounters unforgettable.
Via the Internet
According to NAR, an estimated 80% of all buyers use the internet to find a home. And with all the options online, you have only a few seconds to get it right. To make sure your online presence is painting a positive picture, take these steps.
A phone call is often the first line of contact. Since the prospective client can't see you, you need to make a good impression by your voice alone.
Don't leave the first impression up to chance. Although they are not always accurate, everyone makes them. After all, You never get a second chance to make a good first impression! So take charge and convince people that you're the REALTOR® for them!
For more useful information, click here.
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.
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.
Are you a member of the REALTORS® Federal Credit Union? Do you, or a member of your immediate family, need a new car?
Then do we have a deal for you! NAR and Chrysler Group have partnered up to offer members an amazing purchase package, which includes:
Hurry though! Special new auto loan rates are good through March 31, 2012!!
For more information, visit NAR's REALTOR® Benefits Program Partner Chrysler Group LLC.
Join the REALTOR® FCU Online >