2012 MAR Annual Conference & Trade Show
Early Bird Rate Ends This Sunday, July 15
OCEAN CITY, MD SEPTEMBER 10 - 12
Member Early Bird Rate $195
(Register by This Sunday, July 15)
Rookies in the business for 4 years or fewer save an extra $50
(For pre-registered, three-day registrants only)
Come Ride the Wave with your fellow REALTORS® at the Maryland Association of
REALTORS® Conference and Expo in Ocean City. Take part in a schedule
packed with great events and networking opportunities including:
Three Days of CE Classes Exciting Trade Show Sunday Golf Tournament
National Speakers Cocktail Parties Industry Awards
Recognition Banquet Installation
Hotel Information (PDF)
2012 - 2013 Leadership Academy
Applications Due Wednesday, August 1
Improve your leadership and communication skills. Meet and learn from other industry leaders, and our future leaders. MAR Leadership Academy is a rare opportunity for training in organizational leadership and communications. Apply for the upcoming October 4, 2012 through April 16, 2013 sessions.
Hurry! Applications are due Wednesday, August 1, 2012.
Details and application >
Leadership Academy brochure >
GIVE BLOOD - SAVE LIVES
|PGCAR is sponsoring and hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive®
Friday, August 17
9 am to 3 pm
ALL ARE INVITED
FRIENDS ~ FAMILIES ~ MEMBERS
COME GIVE THE GIFT OF LIFE!
NAR 2012 Annual Conference
November 9 - 12
EARLY BIRD DEADLINE - AUGUST 15
Register by August 15 to join us in Orlando and save!
Also book your hotel in advance for best selection.
- Two New Maryland Mortgage Programs -
New $50 Million Initiative for Military Personnel and Veterans
REALTORS® and others gathered July 3rd, 2012, at a beautiful "for sale" property in Upper Marlboro as Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown announced a new Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) initiative:
Maryland Homefront: the Veterans and Military
Family Mortgage Program
PGCAR President-Elect Anthony Williams welcomed military homebuyers to consider Prince George's County. Also at the event were Senator Ben Cardin, Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Maryland DHCD Secretary Ray Skinner and Aubrey Thagard representing the County Executive. Everyone present recognized PGCAR Government Affairs Director Mike Graziano in their remarks for all of his outstanding work in representing the REALTORS® of Prince George's County.
Anthony G. Brown
Maryland Homefront will benefit qualified current and former military members with a discounted mortgage interest rate and increased down payment assistance in the purchase of a home. Additionally, this program is a $50 million initiative offering half a percent rate discount off the regular MMP rate for loans reserved up to June 30, 2013 or until the program funds have been expended.
Maryland Homefront Details >
Maryland Homefront Flyer >
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2.87% Special Interest Rates for Maryland Homebuyers
$30 Million Targeted Area + First-Time Homebuyer Initiative
NOT Just for First-Time Homebuyers
Now until Allocated Funds are Expended
This mortgage program offers historically low reduced interest rates starting at 2.875% (APR 3.675%) and is available while funds last. Veterans, first-time homebuyers and current homeowners buying a new primary residence are eligible if they buy in a Targeted Area of Prince George's County or the State of Maryland.
- Targeted Areas ~ Any qualified homebuyer (no first-time homebuyer or veteran requirement).
- Targeted & Non-Targeted Areas ~ Buyers who haven't owned a home within the last 3 years.
- Targeted & Non-Targeted Areas ~ Any veteran.
Prince George's Targeted Areas include: Brentwood, Capitol Heights, Colmar Manor, Fairmont Heights, Mt. Rainier, North Brentwood, Seat Pleasant, along with 7 census tracts.
Click here for a map of Targeted Areas in Prince George's County.
Click here for a complete list of Targeted Areas in other Maryland Counties.
$30 Million Targeted Areas Initiative Details >
Please see the following for additional program information:
FREE Foreclosure Prevention Workshop
Saturday, July 21 9 am to 2 pm
Presented by U.S. Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards
Fort Foote Baptist Church
8310 Fort Foote Road
, Fort Washington, MD 20744
There are still too many foreclosures in Prince George's County. In this workshop, you can meet with loan servicers, learn how foreclosures can be prevented, speak with housing counselors and attorneys, and find out how Maryland's foreclosure prevention laws affect you.
Help is available, so please pass this information on to your customers, family members, and anyone who you think may benefit from this workshop.
Pre-register online by July 18 >
Click here for printable flyer >
To pre-register for a FREE legal consult with an attorney, call the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland.
1-800-396-1274 x 3050
REALTORS® Not Alone in Concerns Over Septic
MAR and MACo Concerned - Costlier septic treatment systems will raise housing costs, require more inspectors.
Public Hearing: This Tuesday, July 10, 2 pm
Joint Hearing Room, Legislative Services Building, 90 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401
Local officials are voicing concerns about the economic impact of a state plan to require less-polluting septic systems on all future homes built beyond the reach of sewers. In a letter from the Maryland Association of Counties to the General Assembly's Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee, MACo said it's concerned about the proposed state regulation requiring every new home built on septic to use "best available technology" systems that release less nitrogen into ground water and the Chesapeake Bay.
While not outright opposed to the requirement, MACo states local health departments may be forced to hire additional people to inspect construction sites and enforce the regulation. MACo Director, Leslie Knapp, contends that requiring the twice-as-costly nitrogen-removing systems (combined with the new energy-efficient building code and the new fire sprinkler requirements) could "substantially increase the cost of housing in rural jurisdictions at a time when individuals and families can least afford it."
MAR has also raised concerns over the proposed rule. In MAR's June 26 letter to Jay Prager, the Deputy Program Administrator for MDE/Water Management Administration, MAR contends such a requirement is overkill considering the amount of pollution from septic systems, and that it could add about $12,000 to the cost of each new home.
Consumer Tip for Homebuyers: Stress-Free Home Closing
To take some of the stress out of closing, do your homework before you sit down to
sign the paperwork.
- Set a closing date
Your agent will work with the seller's agent and title company to schedule your closing date. Make sure it is for a time when you'll be able to take off from work, and that it coincides with the end of your lease or the sale of your existing home. To save some money, try to schedule it for the end of the month - when you'll have to pay the least amount of interest.
- Get your money together
Transfer any funds you need to bring to a liquid account to avoid any last-minute problems. If the title company requires the funds in the form of a cashier's check, allow time to pick one up.
- Purchase title insurance
Title insurance protects the policyholder against trouble with a home's title. You will have to purchase a policy to protect it. If your home has been sold within the past few years, ask the prior owner's insurance company for a reissue discount.
- Get quotes for homeowners insurance
Compare policies and be sure coverage will be in effect by your closing date. If you live in an area where natural disasters occur, you'll need separate insurance to protect your home.
- Review your good-faith estimate and HUD-1 settlement sheet
Before you go to the closing, read your good-faith estimate, compare it with your HUD-1 settlement statement, and question any fees that increased.
- Do a final walk-through
Schedule an appointment to check out the home one last time. Make sure repairs you requested have been made, the sellers have left everything they agreed to leave and have taken the rest of their property, and that no major changes have occurred. Test all appliances and make sure the yard is in good shape.
- Resolve issues identified in your walk-through
It's often not possible to delay the closing until the seller corrects problems because your lease is probably up and movers are scheduled. One option is to negotiate a discount to your sales price to cover the cost of the work needed. Another option is to have the title company hold a portion of the seller's proceeds in escrow until the problem is resolved. Once resolved, the funds will be released to you or the seller, depending on the outcome.
Click here for more real estate and selling tips >
|Trim Your Summer Electric Bill
|Summer has arrived and we're already experiencing 90+ degree temperatures. Running the AC nonstop is hard on your AC unit and your wallet. Keeping the temperature at 70 degrees as opposed to 78 degrees can cost you twice as much. Here are a few tips to decrease wear and tear on your air conditioning system and bring your utility bills down this summer.
Find a temperature that is comfortable, then raise it two degrees. You will most likely not notice any difference, but it will cut down on the cost.
When you'll be out of the house for several hours, don't turn the air conditioner off (it's less efficient to cool the house back down); instead, set the temperature to 80 degrees.
Invest in ceiling fans. They only use about as much energy as a 100 watt bulb and can make the room feel up to 8 degrees cooler.
You can reduce your cooling cost by up to 30% by keeping the windows closed and curtains drawn during the day.
Turn lights, computers and televisions off when not in use. These items not only add to your electric bill, they also generate heat.
Be sure to have your air conditioning system serviced before the summer season begins, and make sure the exterior unit is free of leaves and debris to ensure adequate air flow.
A clean air filter can save up to 10% on your energy bill. Be sure to clean or replace them once a month.
For more homeowner tips, visit houselogic.com.
County Recordation Fee Increase
Now in Effect
In May, the County Council passed the County Executive's 2013 Budget, which increases the County Recordation fee from $2.50 to $2.75 per $500 of sales price. The increased recordation fee took effect on June 30. All settlements will now be assessed the new rate regardless of when the transaction was negotiated or ratified.
Sample calculation of the new recordation fee, for a home sale price of $300,000:
$300,000 x ($2.75/$500) = $1,650
For more details on the Recordation Fee Increase, read
President Alease Bowles Letter of May 25, 2012 >
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2012 Legislative Report Now Available
Representatives of PGCAR frequently travel to Annapolis to lobby legislators and testify on a number of bills and issues. Details on the bills as well as recent Prince George's County Council actions are included in the 2012 Real Estate Legislative Report. Following the County and State report is an update on Federal legislation important to REALTORS®, including notes from the May 16 Midyear Meeting of the NAR Federal Housing Policy Committee.
To read the complete Legislative Report covering 2012 County, State and Federal Real Estate Legislation, click here >
Market Sen$e: Fixed Mortgage Rates at All-New Record Lows
Results released last Thursday, July 5, show that average mortgage rates dropped further, partly due to less consumer spending. Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac, states, "Recent economic data releases of less consumer spending and a contraction in the manufacturing industry drove long-term Treasury bond yields lower over the week and allowed fixed mortgage rates to hit new all-time record lows. Growth in personal expenditures was revised downward to an annualized rate of 2.5 percent in the final GDP estimates
for the first quarter of the year. In addition, monthly consumer spending
in April was revised from a 0.3 percent gain to 0.1 percent and was unchanged in May. Finally, the Institute for Supply Management reported
that manufacturing shrank in June, the first decline since July 2009."
Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending July 5, 2012:
Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >
- The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.62 percent, down from 3.66 percent.
- The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.89 percent, down from 2.94 percent.
- The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.79 percent, same as last week.
- The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.68 percent, down from 2.74 percent.
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June Home Sales for Prince George's County
Single Family Settlements Hold - Condo Settlements Up
Although single family stats decreased slightly across the board from May to June (listings -9.9%, contracts -0.7%, settlements -0.9%), condo/co-op settlements and listings enjoyed another large monthly increase (listings 10.0%, settlements 23.0%). Year-to-date listings for both single family homes and condos/co-ops are still down by about half of what they were last year; however, settlements for both are only slightly less (single family homes -4.8%, condo/co-op -5.1%). Year-to-date contracts have increased for both (single family homes 0.7%, condo/co-op 10.0%).
See detailed statistics for June 2012 at www.pgcar.com/stats >
To be the first to see home sale statistics when they're released, like us at www.facebook/pgcar. While you're there, add yourself to the Find a REALTOR® Directory to give homebuyers and sellers yet another way to find you.
Pending Home Sales Up in May, Continue Pattern of Strong Annual Gains
Pending home sales bounced back in May, matching the highest level in the past two years, and are well above year-to-date 2011 levels, according to the National Association of REALTOR®
. Both monthly and annual gains were seen in every region.
The Pending Home Sales Index rose 5.9% to 101.1 (up from 95.5 in April) and is 13.3% above May 2011 when it was 89.2. The index also reached 101.1 in March, which is the highest level since April 2010 when buyers were rushing to beat the deadline for the home buyer tax credit.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said longer term comparisons are more relevant. "The housing market is clearly superior this year compared with the past four years. The latest increase in home contract signings marks 13 consecutive months of year-over-year gains," he said. "Actual closings for existing-home sales have been notably higher since the beginning of the year and we're on track to see a 9 to 10% improvement in total sales for 2012."
The national median existing-home price is expected to rise 3.0% this year and another 5.7% in 2013.
Read more >
May Existing-Home Sales Constrained by Tight Supply, Prices Continue to Gain
NAR reports limited supplies of housing inventory held back existing-home sales in May, but sales maintained a strong lead over year-ago levels and home prices are on a sustained uptrend in all regions. Total existing-home sales declined 1.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.55 million in May, but are 9.6% above the 4.15 million-unit pace in May 2011.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said inventory shortages in certain areas have been building all year. "The slight pullback in monthly home sales is more likely due to supply constraints rather than softening demand. The normal seasonal upturn in inventory did not occur this spring," he said. "Even with the monthly decline, home sales have moved markedly higher with 11 consecutive months of gains over the same month a year earlier."
"The recovery is occurring despite excessively tight credit conditions and higher downpayment requirements, which are negating the impact of record high affordability conditions," Yun said. The national median existing-home price for all housing types rose 7.9% to $182,600 in May from a year ago, the third consecutive month of year over year price gains. The last time there were three back-to-back price increases from the same month a year earlier was from March to May of 2006. "Some of the price gain results from a shrinking share of distressed homes in the sales mix," Yun explained.
Read more >
CONGRATULATIONS REALTORS® ~ YOU DID IT AGAIN!
NFIP Reauthorization Victory Email
From 2012 NAR President, Moe Veissi
You did it! All the DC pundits said that nothing would be accomplished in an election year! On June 29, Congress finally acted on one of your key legislative priorities, a 5-year reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). You just proved them wrong because you didn't give up, and now you have the victory to confirm it!
The 5-year reauthorization will finally bring certainty to real estate transactions in more than 21,000 communities nationwide where flood insurance is required for a mortgage. The bill ensures the program will continue long-term for more than 5.6 million business owners and home owners who rely on it.
This has been a long and arduous battle. The NFIP suffered through 20 short-term extensions and hobbled along for over four years without a long-term reauthorization. But - because of your resolve and with your help and influence, NAR's management and leadership over the past many years, and most importantly, you, our members - we stayed the course to give lenders and homeowners more certainty and confidence in the mortgage and real estate marketplace with available flood insurance for existing homeowners and those buying and selling.
I'm sending you this email to reinforce the commitment NAR makes to you - our key activists - and to every other member who expects us to persevere on issues of importance to our members and your clients - the consumers, homeowners, and future homeowners. It was your charge to us not to give up, not to accept anything less than a long-term reauthorization of NFIP. So, we battled to get every short-term extension until the full 5-year reauthorization was approved.
I'm very proud of you. When called upon to respond with calls to action, you did. When asked to invest in your business you have. And, when asked to step up and participate you did that, too.
New battles surely lay ahead, and ongoing ones continue to draw our staunch efforts! There will be few easy victories. Now more than ever, it is our responsibility to be steadfast protectors of the American Dream of homeownership. If not us, who? If not now, when? So, when we call on you like we did to rally, when we call on you like we do to respond to the calls for action, and when we ask for you to invest in RPAC, please continue to show your commitment. This latest legislative victory shows what the REALTOR® Party can and will accomplish when you choose not to give up or give in.
Finally, make an effort to bring along more of our members who may not know how important it is to invest $50 or more a year ensuring that the American dream stays alive and well. Tell them what you have accomplished and why it's important for each of us to act when called upon.
You are what this country is all about! Rally on REALTOR® Party!
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.
Sales Coach: The Importance of Getting Feedback
Surveys can fuel ideas to help you improve your selling skills and fix problems of which you weren't previously aware. If you don't make an effort to measure your clients' satisfaction with your services, you'll fail to gather key facts that can help your business grow. The National Association of Retail Marketing Services has provided some powerful numbers regarding customer satisfaction.
The bad news:
10 ~ The number of customers that companies lose for every one customer who complains.
13% ~ People who will tell more than 20 people about their bad experience.
90% ~ Dissatisfied clients who will not do business with the same company again.
The good news:
95% ~ Unhappy customers who will return if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently.
What to ask your clients, and how you ask it, will determine how valuable the survey will be for your business. Instead of using questions that require a simple yes / no, try to use open-ended ones that encourage extra information from your client. If you do use a yes / no question, be sure to include an 'additional comments' field.
Topics should include:
Communication ♦ Professionalism ♦ Advertising ♦ Follow-up ♦ Price & Value
Would You Recommend? ♦ Best Experience ♦ Areas Needing Improvement
Be sure to:
- Show your survey to co-workers, family and friends. Make sure the wording and format are clear and easy to understand. A fresh set of eyes can alert you to typos, vague questions and/or awkward phrasing.
- Send out your survey as soon as possible after the closing, when the transaction is still fresh in your customer's mind.
- Review and tally your results. Pat yourself on the back for the high marks - you can use this information when courting potential clients. Don't take the low marks too personally. These comments are instrumental to fine-tuning your business, to following up with dissatisfied customers, and to making sure your future clients have a better experience.
Remember, the goal is to gain helpful information and new ideas for your business. The more detailed information you get, the more meaningful the results will be.
Read entire article at REALTOR.org >
Disclosure of Limited Appraisal Experience
REALTOR® A was asked by Client B, an officer of a bank, to appraise an office building. In discussing the matter, REALTOR® A pointed out that while he was an experienced appraiser, he had never appraised an office building. Client B expressed his confidence in REALTOR® A, based on years of satisfactory service in appraising residential property, and said that notwithstanding REALTOR® A's lack of previous experience in appraising an office building, the bank wanted his judgment and asked him to accept the assignment to appraise the office building.
Accordingly, REALTOR® A undertook the assignment, and completed his appraisal report. The report later came to the attention of REALTOR® C, who complained to the Board of REALTORS® that REALTOR® A had violated Article 11 of the Code of Ethics by taking an appraisal assignment outside the field of his experience without obtaining the assistance of an authority on office buildings.
At the hearing, Client B appeared as a witness for REALTOR® A and stated that the assignment had been given to REALTOR® A after he had disclosed his lack of previous experience in appraising office buildings, and that the client was entirely satisfied by the manner in which REALTOR® A had completed his assignment.
Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 11, how do you think the Professional Standards Panel ruled?
Find out here >>
REALTORS® Federal Credit Union
Three Great Ways to Save
- Primary Savings
Open your Primary Savings Account with an initial minimum deposit of $25, which will be held on deposit throughout your membership. Membership provides access to all of the Credit Union's products and services.
- Annual Dues Savings
An Annual Dues Savings Account is a great place for you to stash some extra cash when you have it. Setting aside an average of just $60 a month will cover your local, state and national dues for the year.
- REALTOR® Event Savings
The NAR meetings and expos are a great way to network, learn new things and further your career. REALTORS® FCU has created a REALTOR® Event Savings Account to make setting aside money for these events easy. Saving $160 a month could get you to Annual Conference & Expo, including conference registration, air fare, hotel, dining and spending cash.
Learn more about how the REALTORS® FCU helps you invest in your future >
Free Hands-On MRIS Tools Training at PGCAR
Keystone 101: Entering Listings Correctly, The Key to a Fast Sale July 31, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Learn how to add or edit a listing in Keystone. Rules and regulations, compliance, entering accurate information, open houses and photos will be covered.
Matrix 101: The Need-to-Knows of Matrix July 31, 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Settings, searches, contacts or emails. This is the best place to start and learn about the multiple functions Matrix offers.
Visit www.mris.com/training for details and registration. Advance registration with MRIS is required.
PGCAR Membership Application - Join Us!
Are you a new agent? Please download, print and use the 2012 membership application at www.pgcar.com >
For any returning agents who did not pay 2012 dues, please 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.
Don't Miss Out On Emails and Newsletters!
White List pgcar.org and pgcar.com
Please make sure you're receiving all of our newsletters and emails. It's as easy as white listing pgcar.org and pgcar.com. Instructions - as well as information on updating your email address - are located in the Members Only Section
. In addition to providing email and white list instructions, the Members Only Section contains a wealth of information and resources, including downloadable contract and listing forms
, the latest legislative news
, your online order history
, and more.
Keep current by visiting often!