Print     Email a Friend

Back to REALTOR® Connection Archive

April 30, 2012

    I n   t h i s   i s s u e . . .
  • Cinco de Mayo RPAC Fundraiser
  • May 7 Budget Hearing - County Executive
        Seeks Higher Recordation Fee
  • Rally to Protect the American Dream
  • 2012 NAR Midyear - Two Weeks Away
  • Annual MAR Commercial Real Estate Conference
        - This Thursday
  • PGCAR Education Day - Earn 6 CEU
    Homeownership Matters
  • Mark Your Calendars for the 2012 Housing Fair
        - Saturday, June 9
  • Amazing Homebuyer Incentives
  • FHA Changes May Harm Home Ownership
  • Consumer Tip: Disaster Insurance for Your
    The Industry Insider
  • Who Shall be Named Prince George's
        REALTOR® of the Year?
  • MAR'S CARE and Special Project Awards
  • Market Sen$e: Fixed Mortgage Rates
        Hold Near Record Lows
  • DC and MD CEU
  • Wanted: MAR & NAR Committee Volunteers
  • Good Neighbor Nominations
  • Sales Coach: Action Plan After
        Taking a New Listing
  • Code of Ethics: Case #6-5
  • Some Reasons to Join REALTORS® Federal     Credit Union
  • Free Hands-On MRIS Tools Training at PGCAR
  • New or Returning Agents?
  • WCR: Prince George's Chapter - Join Today
    The PGCAR office will close at 4 p.m. tomorrow, May 1
    for the Cinco de Mayo Celebration. See you there!

    Cinco de Mayo RPAC Fundraiser

    - TOMORROW, MAY 1 -

    Help fight for the Mortgage Interest Deduction and other homeowner-friendly policies
    while enjoying an opportunity to meet County and State lawmakers,
    an evening of Texas Hold'em,
    great music, silent & live auctions, open bar and great food!

    Support the only political action committee existing solely
    to further issues important
    to REALTORS® and homeownership!

    Make a contribution now ~ then enjoy the best RPAC Fundraiser ever!
    Donate a sponsorship, door prize or auction item!

    RPAC is organized for REALTORS®, run by REALTORS®, and exists
    solely to further issues important to REALTORS®.

    * Contributions are for RPAC which is not deductible for Federal Income Tax purposes, charitable or otherwise: Contributions to RPAC are voluntary and are used for political purposes to support state, local and federal candidates and are charged against your limits under 2USC441A. Nothing should be construed as solicitations of contributions.


    LEGISLATIVE ALERT - April 30, 2012
    Mike Graziano, Director of Government Affairs

    County Executive Baker Seeks Increase
    in Recordation Fee


    Join with fellow Prince George's REALTORS® next Monday evening, May 7th to fight a proposed increase in the County recordation fee.

    Approval of the Proposed Fiscal Year 2013 Budget, which includes the fee increase, is now in the hands of the Prince George's County Council. Your attendance at the budget hearing is vital to killing this fee increase. Attend this hearing and demonstrate your opposition.

    Public Hearing:

    Monday May 7, 2012
    7:00 p.m.
    County Administration Building
    1st Floor Council Hearing Room
    14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
    Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

    Background from April 23rd PGCAR Broker Beat:

    County Executive Rushern Baker recently released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2013. Much to our surprise, the County Executive is proposing to increase the Prince George's County Recordation Fee by $.50 per $500, making it $3.00 per $500 in sale price. That's a $1.00 increase per thousand, or $300 on the sale of a $300,000 home.

    This comes on the heels of the recordation fee increase of $.30 that was imposed in 2008.

    Prince George's County already leads the Maryland metro area in closing costs and property taxes, not to mention foreclosures and short sales. Our housing market is too fragile right now to sustain another tax or fee increase.

    REALTORS® across the County are gearing up to challenge this increase. In the very near future, PGCAR will be asking members to contact the County Executive and the County Council to make your opposition known.

    Please keep an eye out for "calls-to-action" to fight the recordation tax increase!

    Please also come to Tuesday night's RPAC Fundraiser.
    Ticket and auction purchases go directly to RPAC and local,
    state and national legislative advocacy efforts on YOUR behalf!


    May 17 Rally to Protect the American Dream
    Location Moved to the Washington Monument!

    May 17    9:30 am - 11 am

    At the beginning of this promotion, NAR asked for the support of all REALTORS®. The response was so overwhelming that the location has been moved to accommodate everyone.

    Rally Now Being Held at the Washington Monument in DC!

    NAR will still be taking care of everything (the sign up, logistics, transportation, lunches, water, t-shirts, and more). All you have to do is register and show up. Let's journey together to protect home ownership and investment in real estate.

    Details and RSVP at >

    Please share this link containing information and promotional materials with your co-workers, and make this Rally to Protect Home Ownership a top priority to attend!


    2012 NAR Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo
    FREE to all REALTOR® Members

    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 the National Mall.

    Meetings:   May 14 - 19
    Capitol Hill Visits:   May 16 - 17
    Trade Expo:   May 16 - 17
    Rally:   May 17

    Expo: Over 100 exhibitors under one roof showing the latest products and services in real estate.
    Symposium: Experts' perspectives on housing and housing/finance related topics.
    Rally: Thousands of REALTORS® joining together to protect the American Dream of home ownership.

    Midyear is FREE to all REALTOR® Members!
    For details and registration click here.


    Annual MAR Commercial Real Estate Conference - This Thursday

    Learn and Earn 3 CE Hours
    This Thursday, May 3

    8 am - 12:15 pm
    Four Points by Sheraton BWI
    7032 Elm Road, Baltimore, MD

    Open to All Real Estate Practitioners

    Learn about emerging trends in Bio Sciences employment within Maryland, the 2012 Legislative Session, and their impact on Commercial Real Estate.

    Details and Registration >

    Tuesday, May 22
    at La Fontaine Bleu
    Earn 6 CE hours for MD and DC Continuing Education
    • Contracts
      3.0 CE, MD & DC Elective Hours
      Instructor: Stu Stern
    • MREC Required Supervision
      3.0 CE, MD Required "I" Hours
      Instructor: Al Monshower
    • MD Code of Ethics
      3.0 CE, MD Required "D" & DC Elective Hours
      Instructor: Jill Pogach Michaels
    • 203K Purchase Rehab
      3.0 CE, MD Elective Hours
      Instructors: Michael Chelst / M. Gamble
    • DC Fair Housing
      3.0 CE, DC Required Hours
      Instructor: Prabhjit Singh
    • MD Legislative Update
      3.0 CE, MD Required "A" & DC Elective Hours
      Instructor: Al Monshower
    • MREC Agency-Residential
      3.0 CE, MD Required "H" Hours
      Instructor: Fredericka Lloyd
    • Short Sales
      3.0 CE, MD Elective Hours
      Instructor: Jill Pogach Michaels

    Terrific Courses & Instructors

    Choose One Morning and
    One Afternoon Class

    Breakfast, Lunch and
    Our Famous
    Ice Cream Social

    All for Only
    $75 Members
    $100 Non-Members


    Click here for a printable flyer.


    Mark Your Calendars for the 2012 Housing Fair
    Saturday, June 9

    9 am to 3 pm
    Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Complex

    Please come, and invite all of your customers and prospective customers to come! The Housing Fair will allow you . . . and consumers to visit with mortgage lenders & bankers, housing counselors, rental property management, home developers and more! Learn how to avoid housing scams, prevent foreclosure, find affordable housing, and manage your money & credit.

    In addition, the Prince George's Housing Fair will have its first-time ever house lottery! One lucky winner* will be drawn to purchase a single family home in Prince George's County at a substantially reduced price.

    Lottery application deadline is May 18, 2012.
    Only pre-qualified candidates can enter their names into the pool of applicants.

    Click here for more information and to download a lottery application >
    Click here for a lottery flyer >

    1. Buy Suitland Initiative
      Up to 5% of home purchase price to first-time homebuyers; Up to 7% for local civic employees. Program Details >

    2. Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLB Atlanta)
      Up to $15,000 towards a foreclosure purchase; Up to $7,500 toward the purchase of a property located in area approved for NSP funds.
      Program Details >   Details & webinars for REALTORS® >

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

    4. My HOME
      Up to 5% of the home sale price to qualified homebuyers who have not owned a home within the last 3 years.
      Program Details >   County My HOME Website >

    5. Centex Adds Savings to My HOME Program
      Purchase a Centex Home in the Victory Promenade development with My HOME funds and receive seller assistance also. For more information call (301) 350-5875 or email Jennifer Eaddy.

    6. The Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP)
      Acquisition / Rehabilitation Mortgage Program with new incentives for Renovating Fixer-Uppers, and the Homeward Bound Program offering lower mortgage rates on foreclosed or short sale properties.
      Program Details >

    7. Freddie Mac HomeSteps SmartBuySM
      Offers a limited FREE two-year HomeProtect® Home Warranty and up to 30% savings on new appliances.

    Home Listings and incentive details are at >
    Sign up for buyer leads >

    Most of these programs can be used in combination. Information on these and other homebuyer savings are available at For more My HOME program details, members can login to Members Only.


    FHA Changes May Harm Home Ownership

    Recent proposed changes to FHA-backed loans may make it more difficult for the purchase of a new home and hurt the housing market recovery. Presently, sellers can pay 6% of the buyers' closing costs. This is a big help to first time homebuyers, and allows sellers to use closing costs as a way for the buyers to purchase their home. FHA is considering limiting closing cost assistance to 3% or $6,000, whichever is greater, because - if the buyers have to pay more up front - the FHA thinks it will make them less likely to default later on their mortgages.

    The problem is that if buyers are forced to come up with more money at the closing, it could slow down the real estate market recovery. This change was proposed right after an increase in FHA mortgage insurance premiums that took effect on April 9. Seller concessions are critical in these and other areas to allow the borrower to purchase a home without depleting all of their savings.

    Read the article in its entirety at >


    Consumer Tip: Disaster Insurance for Your Region

    Where you live offers clues to whether your home could be damaged by floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and other disasters. These regional risks also indicate whether you should purchase supplemental disaster insurance to cover claims that are not covered in a typical homeowners policy.

    Having an action plan in place - before a disaster strikes - is the best protection in keeping your family safe and your house covered. The first step is to review your existing coverage. Next, create a home inventory, devise a family evacuation plan, and assemble an emergency supply kit. Finally, determine if you live in a disaster-prone region and consider purchasing supplemental coverage.

    Floods All
    Hurricanes Primarily East Coast and Gulf Coast
    Earthquakes West Coast and parts of Midwest
    Tornadoes Eastern U.S., especially Central Plains
    Wildfires All
    Mine Subsidence Primarily Eastern U.S.

    Go to for more details, typical homeowner coverage, and approximate insurance cost.

    Who shall be named Prince George's REALTOR® of the Year?

    It could be you, or someone you know whom exemplifies leadership and service.

    Submit your nominations by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 15.
    1. Entries must be submitted on PGCAR's official form.
    2. Nominees must be Primary members of PGCAR.
    3. Nominees must be REALTOR® members who provide continuous, dedicated service to the industry to enhance the quality of the profession.

    4. Supporting information or documentation may be included as an attachment to the entry form.
    5. Pictures and supportive information are not encouraged.
    6. Entries that do not follow this format will be disqualified.
    7. ONE (1) COLOR PHOTO (any size) must be submitted in digital format, as a jpeg or .tif file, of 300 dpi or greater resolution, to with the subject line ROTY and your name.
    8. Deadline for submissions to PGCAR is 5 p.m. on Friday, June 15, 2012.

    One ROTY application will be submitted by PGCAR to be entered in the MAR competition. The winner of the State Award will be sent to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) for consideration in the national award. Could we see a Prince George's REALTOR® honored in Ocean City and Orlando this year?


    MAR'S CARE and Special Project Awards
    Give 10 Minutes to Win $10,000 for Charity

    The PGCAR Community Service Committee realizes that Prince George's County REALTORS® give back to their communities every day in a number of different ways.

    You are coaches, mentors and scout leaders. You deliver Meals on Wheels, work on Habitat and Christmas in April Homes. You create March of Dimes walk teams and Scholarship Fun Walk/Run events. So many of our offices raise money each year for their favorite charity, or they collect food, coats and toys. And because you don't do it for the recognition, sometimes we aren't aware of ALL of the wonderful things you are doing.

    Well now is your chance!

    PGCAR has an opportunity to win MAR's CARE Award, which gives us $10,000 to use for whatever charity we select. We could use it for another Habitat House; we could increase sponsorship opportunities for our graduating students; we could give it to a food bank or numerous other charities - the possibilities are endless.

    Please take a few minutes to tell us how you help your community!

    Nominations are due to PGCAR by Friday, June 15.

    Click Here for the CARE / Special Project Nomination Form

    Positively No Late Submissions Will Be Accepted.


    Market Sen$e: Fixed Mortgage Rates Hold Near Record Lows

    Results released on April 26 are showing average fixed mortgages rates are hovering just above their record lows. Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac, states, "Fixed mortgage rates held near record lows this week as the markets waited for the Federal Reserve's (Fed) April 25th monetary policy announcement following two days of deliberations. The Fed stated that it expects economic growth to remain moderate and then pick up gradually. In addition, it noted that labor market conditions have improved in recent months and it anticipates the unemployment rate will decline gradually."

    Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending April 26, 2012:

    • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.88 percent, down from 3.90 percent.
    • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.12 percent, down from 3.13 percent.
    • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.85 percent, up from 2.78 percent.
    • The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.74 percent, down from 2.81 percent.
    Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >


    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.

    This Wednesday, May 2
    Commercial SBA Loan Programs
    3.0 MD Elective CEU
    John Throne 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    Reverse Mortgages
    1.5 MD Elective CEU
    Eric Rittmeyer 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

    Thursday, May 17
    How to Handle Settlements
    3.0 Elective Elective CEU
    Jill Michaels 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    MD Fair Housing
    1.5 MD Required Fair Housing CEU;
    1.5 DC Elective CEU
    Jill Michaels 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

    Tuesday, May 22
    PGCAR Education Day
    Up to 6 hours of MD and DC Continuing Education
    Various 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

    Wednesday, June 6
    GRI Series II Begins
    MD CEU - 27 hours total:
    6 hours Legislative Update and 21 hours Elective CE
    Various 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

    Complete CEU Schedule >>


    WANTED: MAR and NAR Committee Volunteers
    MAR Applications Due Wednesday, May 9 - NAR Applications Due Friday, May 25

    2012 - 2013 MAR Committee Volunteers

    Committee descriptions and a volunteer form are now online at All MAR members are encouraged to apply for 2 but no more than 3 preferred committee choices. Some committees have specific requirements; however, every attempt will be made to accommodate your request for at least one committee assignment. Committee selections are prioritized by qualifications and date received.

    Reminder: Current MAR committee members must re-apply for 2012 - 2013 MAR Committee Memberships.

    MAR Applications Due Next Wednesday, May 9 >

    2013 NAR Committee Recommendations

    NAR committee recommendations are also open (login required).
    Nominations are due by Friday, May 25. Self nominations are encouraged.

    NAR Committee Details and Nomination Form >


    REALTOR® Magazine Seeks Good Neighbor Nominations
    Deadline for Entry is Friday, May 18

    REALTOR® Magazine is seeking nominees for the 2012 Good Neighbor Awards. The program recognizes REALTORS® whose extraordinary commitment to community service has helped make their communities better places to live. Five winners will be announced in the November/December issue of REALTOR® Magazine, will be recognized at the 2012 REALTORS® Conference in Orlando, and will receive a $10,000 grant for their charity - along with additional publicity, prizes and benefits.

    If a REALTOR® you know is putting forth the effort to make a difference in the community, help their cause by nominating them today!

    Deadline for entry is Friday, May 18. Click here for more details. Click here for rules and an entry form.


    Sales Coach: Action Plan After Taking a New Listing

    Home Sales Coach The one key ingredient that you must have to achieve big results in any job you take on is an action plan. This plan will keep you on track and make sure you are covering all of your bases. Here are seven essential steps you should perform after you take on a new listing.

    Hand-Written Thank You Note

    As soon as you get back to the office, mail a thank you note to your new clients. Although emails and phone calls are appropriate for a lot of correspondence, nothing will make you stand out from the crowd more than a simple, old-fashioned, hand-written card.

    Organize Your Form Packet

    Taking the time to organize and double-check your information, and putting the file together in the right order is a great way to ensure that all forms are up-to-date and complete. It also is an excellent way to make sure there are no mistakes and the forms are ready to be audited by the licensing authorities.

    Write Several Advertisements

    Take the time to prepare and write descriptive, error-free advertisements for the new listing. Try more than one, and then see which gets the most feedback so you can get a good feel on which descriptions are working.

    Take Good Pictures

    Take plenty of photos at a number of angles when getting both the interior and exterior shots of your new listing. Organize them into separate folders on your computer for easy access. Make sure they are up-to-date and current with the season of the year.

    Post to Online Sites

    Having presence on the Internet is extremely important because customers are looking at homes on the Web more than ever. There are many time-saving sites that can make multiple postings easier, such as Postlets and RealBird. It is equally as important to make certain your listings are removed after the expiration, termination, or selling dates.

    Send Samples to Client

    Take the time to send a copy of the finished listing flyer to your client and links to where it is listed online. They can frequently provide good input on items you may have missed.

    Set Up a Follow-Up Plan

    Develop a plan for the next 30, 60 and 90 days on updating the seller. Even with the best intentions, it is too easy to let three or four weeks slip by without making contact. You must make a schedule to keep your client posted on the marketing efforts.

    In addition to helping your business grow, this seven step action plan will show your sellers that you are concerned about their listing and will help you stand out from the rest of the pack.

    To read the article in its entirety, click here >


    Case #6-5:
    Advertising Real Estate-Related Products and Services

    REALTOR® X, a principal broker in the firm XY&Z, prided himself on his state of the art website that he used both to publicize his firm and to serve the firm's clients and customers electronically. REALTOR® X maintained positive business relationships with providers of real estate-related products and services including financial institutions, title insurance companies, home inspectors, mortgage brokers, insurance agencies, appraisers, exterminators, decorators, landscapers, moving companies, and others. Given the volume of business REALTOR® X's firm handled, several of these companies advertised on the XY&Z home page and some of them, including the Third National Bank, included links to their own websites.

    Buyer B, who had earlier entered into an exclusive buyer representation agreement with XY&Z, received frequent, automated reports from REALTOR® X about new properties coming onto the market. Hoping to purchase a home in the near future, he took advantage of REALTOR® X's rich website to familiarize himself with the real estate-related products and services advertised there. Hoping to expedite his purchase experience by pre-qualifying for a mortgage loan, Buyer B went to REALTOR® X's website and clicked on the Third National Bank's link. Once at the bank's website, he found a mortgage to his liking, completed the on-line application process, and learned in a matter of days that he was qualified for a mortgage loan.

    In the meantime, Buyer B's property search, guided both by REALTOR® X personally and through periodic updates from REALTOR® X's Web site, proved fruitful. REALTOR® X and Buyer B visited a new listing on Hickory Street several times. Buyer B decided it met his needs and made an offer which was accepted by the seller.

    A few weeks after the closing, Buyer B hosted a housewarming attended by his friend D, a website designer who had, coincidentally, been instrumental in developing REALTOR® X's website. Buyer B told D how helpful the information from REALTOR® X's website had been. "You know, don't you, that each time a visitor to REALTOR® X's website clicks on some of those links, REALTOR® X is paid a fee?", asked D. "I didn't know that," said Buyer B, "I thought the links were to products and services REALTOR® X was recommending."

    Buyer B filed an ethics complaint against REALTOR® X alleging a violation of Article 6 for having recommended real estate products and services without disclosing the financial benefit or fee that REALTOR® X would receive for making the recommendation. At the hearing, REALTOR® X defended himself and his website, indicating that the advertisements for real estate-related products and services on his website were simply that, advertisements, and not recommendations or endorsements. He acknowledged that he collected a fee each time a visitor to his website clicked on certain links, regardless of whether the visitor chose to do business with the "linked to" entity or not. "In some instances I do recommend products and services to clients and to customers. In some instances I receive a financial benefit; in others I don't. But in any instance where I recommend a real estate-related product or service, I go out of my way to make it absolutely clear I am making a recommendation, and I spell out the basis for my recommendation. I also disclose, as required by the Code, the financial benefit or fee that I might receive. Those advertisements on my website are simply that, advertisements, no different than classified ads run in the local newspaper."

    Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 6, how do you think the Professional Standards Panel ruled?

    Find out here >>


    Some Reasons to Join REALTORS® Federal Credit Union


    REALTORS® FCU offers its members real partnership built through unique understanding, common goals and innovative solutions. In addition, we are committed to improving the quality of life for our members and yours.


    By joining the REALTORS® FCU, your business will have access to our diverse portfolio of investment products and services, as well as access to financial education resources and money management solutions.


    Whether you're consolidating higher interest debt, investing in home or business improvements, spreading tuition or annual dues payments, or simply opening a line of credit "just in case", you can cover it with a REALTORS® Federal Credit Union line of credit or personal loan.

    To find out more, go to >


    Free Hands-On MRIS Tools Training at PGCAR

    MRIS 100 Next Tuesday, May 8, 9:30 am
    This class is designed for MRIS customers who have never used a computer or have very limited knowledge of basic computer functions.

    Keystone 100 Next Tuesday, May 8, 1:30 pm
    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, and so much more.

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


    New or Returning Agents?

    For new agents, please download, print and use the 2012 membership application at >.

    For any returning agents who did not pay 2012 dues, you will need to Renew Online and pay the reinstatement and late fees to regain SentriLock access. If your online access is no longer active, please call the office at 301-306-7900 to renew.


    Women's Council of REALTORS®
    Prince George's Chapter - Join Today

    We are a network of successful REALTORS® empowering women to exercise their potential as entrepreneurs and industry leaders. Through our influence as successful business professionals, the women and men who are members of WCR will effect positive change in the profession and in the broader community.

    Join the Prince George's Chapter by signing up today!

    Click Here for More Information >

    Prince George's County Association of REALTORS®
    8300 Corporate Drive, Suite 100  :  Landover, MD 20785
    Phone 301-306-7900  :  Fax 301-306-8273  :  :  ©2012 PGCAR

    Back to REALTOR® Connection Archive