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December 10, 2012

    I n   t h i s   i s s u e . . .
  • Winter Wonderland - A Party with a Purpose
        - Charity Event This Wednesday
  • Food and Coat Drive Ends This Wednesday
  • Red Cross Blood Drive
        - Next Wednesday, December 19
  • DC License Renewal Deadline is Near
  • PGCAR 2013 Membership Renewal
        - Dues are Past Due!
  • Huge SentriLock Sale
  • Holiday Hours
    Homeownership Matters
  • CityLIFT: $20K Assistance to Buy in
        Prince George's County or DC
  • Homebuyer Incentives in Prince George's County
  • Maryland Mortgage Program
  • Consumer Tip: Christmas Lights
        - Brightening Homes for the Holidays
    The Industry Insider
  • Legislative Items of Interest
        - Please Help Preserve the MID!
  • Myths and Facts about FHA
  • DC and MD CEU
  • Sale on All PGCAR Classes
  • Market Sen$e: Mortgage Rates Hold Steady
  • November Home Stats Released!
  • Sales Coach: Prepare Listings for Spring
  • Code of Ethics: #17-13
  • FCU: Benefits for Your Business
  • Free Hands-On MRIS Tools Training
  • 30 Under 30 Application
    It's almost time for the party! Eat, drink, and be merry knowing you are donating funds to feed families in need in Prince George's County.

    The holidays are here and it's a tough time of year for many local families who could use a little help. Your tax deductible $30 will provide much needed food items for these families. As a thank you, you will receive an evening of Networking, an Open Bar, Food, Entertainment and Dancing.

    This Wednesday, 12/12/2012
    7 pm - 11 pm
    La Fontaine Bleu
    7963 Annapolis Road
    Lanham, MD 20706

    Thank you for your help and participation.


    Food and Coat Drive
    Open Through This Wednesday, December 12

    In addition, non-perishable food and coats to give to the needy are being collected. Please open up your closet and pantry - how many coats do you have which you never wear and could keep someone else warm? Are you still hanging onto coats that your kids have outgrown? Another child could be that much warmer through your sharing. A few cans or boxes of veggies, beans, canned meats, cereals, baby food, or any non-perishable food item will bring joy to someone feeling hunger.

    So get any items together that you can and bring them by the PGCAR offices as soon as possible, or to the Holiday party!

    Click here for a flyer >

    Come give the gift of life!
    PGCAR is hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive®

    Next Wednesday, December 19
    9 am to 3 pm

    At the
    PGCAR Office



    DC Brokers and Agents - Your License Renewal Deadline is Near

    L A S T     C H A N C E     F O R     C E U     S A V I N G S     !

    Avoid penalties - DC Broker and Property Manager licenses must be renewed by February 28, 2013.
    ALL CE Hours must be completed before-hand, and reported. License renewals must be submitted and paid by February 28, 2013.

    DC Sales Agents - you must renew your DC real estate licenses before August 31, 2013.

    Meet your required topic CEU before license renewal deadline, AND for only $18 per 3 CEU class!

    1. Last Chance at Steep Discounts! Complete all 9 required category CEU before December 31:

      This Thursday, December 13
      9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

      DC Fair Housing & Predatory Lending

      Register here >
      1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. DC Legislative Update Register here >
      Next Friday, December 21
      9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

      Financing Issues / Update

      Register here >

    2. Complete the 6 required DC elective hours by taking the following classes at PGCAR. Both courses also count as required category MD CEU:

      This Friday, December 14
      9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

      MD Legislative Update

      Register here >
      Next Tuesday, December 18
      9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

      MD Code of Ethics

      Register here >

    3. Renew Your DC Broker or Property Manager License Online >

    Call for Action: Protect the Mortgage Interest Deduction!

    Attention REALTORS®! If you haven't already, please urge Congress to "do no harm" to the still fragile housing market and to maintain the MID in its current form. It only takes a few moments of your time and will help protect our communities and your livelihood!

    This call comes on the heals of growing concerns around the "Fiscal Cliff." According to NAR, many reports on the subject speculate "that a change to the long-standing policy that allows homeowners to deduct mortgage interest payment from their income taxes could be part of a 'Fiscal Cliff' deal."

    Please visit the REALTOR®Action Center and respond to this important Call for Action as soon as possible. Thank you in advance -- we are often successful in our legislative efforts because of the swift and collective response of members. We can change outcomes!

    Membership Renewals are Past Due
    Renew Today to Keep Your Membership Benefits

    Membership renewals were due November 30th, 2012. A big thanks to the majority of members who renewed on time!

    Missed the deadline? Renew today using the secure, easy online dues renewal at

    1. Click here
    2. Log in
    3. Pay and receive an itemized receipt for your
      2012 - 2013 PGCAR, MAR and NAR membership renewals.

    Please pay your 2012 - 2013 dues by midnight, December 31st to prevent loss of SentriLock key privileges, your MRIS discount, ZipForms and other REALTOR® membership benefits.


    Extended for Limited Time

    Back by popular demand, PGCAR is pleased to announce the continuation of the sale on SentriLock Lockboxes. Lockboxes will be sold as follows:

    1 - 9 Lockboxes
    10 - 19 Lockboxes
    20 - 29 Lockboxes
    30 Lockboxes or more
      $65 each + tax
    $60 each + tax
    $55 each + tax
    $50 each + tax

    Also, SentriLock has lowered the cost of power paddles to $55, but only for a limited time. Power paddles must be ordered through PGCAR. If you would like to purchase one or more at this reduced price, please contact Shirley at the Association office.


    Myths and Facts about FHA

    In 1934, the FHA single family mortgage insurance program was instituted to give families access to "safe, affordable mortgage financing."

    Not a direct lender, the FHA's role is to insure loans made by outside, private lenders. While the FHA was one of the few reliable sources of mortgage financing available through the recent recession, questions have arisen about the present and future condition of the program.

    Whether you or a client have questions about the FHA, this NAR Myths and Facts sheet is a great resource for reassurance and answers about the stability of the institution.

    Click here for a copy of the fact sheet.


    All CityLIFT Down Payment Assistance Funds Currently Reserved
    Funding may be Available in the Future

    All CityLIFT funds are currently reserved; though Manna indicates some funds may become available again.

    Many registered their interest (ie had a preapproval from an approved lender and a ratified contract) between November 12 and last Wednesday, December 5. Manna has indicated those who registered interest would be contacted today, December 10th, to move forward in the CityLIFT process. If the registered interest exceeds the funds that become available, Manna said they will blindly pull names and move those people forward.

    Get all the information you need on the program here >>

    1. Maryland Homefront: The Veterans and Military Family Program
      Historically low reduced interest rates starting at 2.875% (APR 3.675%) and increased payment assistance for qualified current and former military members. Program Details >>
    2. $30 Million Targeted Areas Initiative for Homebuyers
      First-Time Homebuyers Can Gain Same Benefits in ANY Prince George's County Area

      Reduced interest rates starting at 2.875% (APR 3.675%) for qualified homebuyers purchasing a new primary residence. Program Details >>
    3. Buy Suitland Initiative - Savings in 11 Census Tracts!
      Up to 5% of home purchase price to first-time homebuyers; Up to 7% for local civic employees. Program Details >>
    4. 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® >>
    5. 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 >>
    6. Freddie Mac HomeSteps SmartBuySM
      Offers up to $500 for purchase of a home warranty.
      Home listings and incentive details >>   Sign up for buyer leads >>

    Most of these programs can be used in combination. Information on these and other homebuyer savings are available at


    Maryland Mortgage Program
    Alternative for High Credit Buyers

    The Maryland Mortgage Program is again participating in the conventional mortgage market, offering a new option for homebuyers.

    Secretary Skinner told the Maryland Association of REALTORS® board of directors at their annual meeting that the state is partnering with Fannie Mae to create an alternative for borrowers with higher credit.

    Skinner said there would be a substantial savings for many of these borrowers.

    DHCD conventional loans are made possible by Fannie Mae's HFA Preferred program but retain many features of other Maryland Mortgage Program loans.

    Learn more about this new option >>

    Read more about MMP innovations on the DHCD Blog >>


    Consumer Tip: Christmas Lights
    Save Time and Injury Lighting Up Homes for the Holidays

    Christmas Lights Maybe a "million-bulb light-apalooza" isn't the best idea, but it might not be a bad idea to put together a modest light display for the holidays if you are trying to sell your house in the winter. Here are a few quick tips to ease the often frustrating ritual of stringing up lights.

    1. Safety First - It's shocking how many holiday decorators end up in emergency rooms after falling victim to the notorious tangle of a string of holiday lights. Whether it is an electrical shock, or falling off a ladder or icy roof that puts you in danger, you'll have a lot better chance if someone else is there. Work with a partner - not only will the job get done faster, you'll have an added layer of safety.
    2. Solar Lights - Costing nothing to run, solar Christmas lights are several times more expensive to buy than standard LEDs, but it's a one-time cost. The only downside is that especially dark days might mean a lack of charge at night. It's also uncertain how long they last, as the latest technology is relatively new.
    3. Take Down - While it might be tempting to procrastinate and leave those lights up for a while, remember that they have a limited lifespan. Sun, wind, rain, and snow all contribute to shortening the life of lights.
    4. Light Clips - To make the job of taking them down easier, try putting them up with permanent light clips that you can simply unclip them from and leave up for next year.
    5. Permanent Storage - Ball them up! It might sound crazy, but making a ball out of your light strings (in a controlled manner) is the best way to prevent tangles. One method recommended by is to wrap five times in one direction, then turn the ball 90 degrees and repeat. They also recommend storing them in cardboard boxes instead of plastic --as cardboard absorbs moisture and can extend the life of the lights.
    For five more tips on lights, visit >


    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 association office at 9200 Basil Court, Suite 400, Largo, MD 20774. There's plenty of parking.

    Earn your required CE in ALL 3 required DC topics (DC Legislative Update, DC Fair Housing and Financing Issues / Update) before the 2013 DC license renewal deadline -- at reduced pricing!

    This Thursday, December 13
    DC Fair Housing & Predatory Lending
    3 DC Required Fair Housing CEU
    Prabhjit Singh 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    DC Legislative Update
    3 DC Required Legislative Update CEU
    Prabhjit Singh 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    This Friday, December 14
    MD Legislative Update
    3 MD Required Legislative Update CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    MD Fair Housing
    1.5 MD Required Fair Housing CEU;
    1.5 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

    This Saturday, December 15
    MREC Required Supervision
    3 MD Required or Elective CEU
    Larry Hudson 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Next Monday, December 17
    ABC's of Rentals
    3 MD Elective CEU
    Rayna McLendon 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    Next Tuesday, December 18
    MD Code of Ethics
    3 MD Required Ethics CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Next Friday, December 21
    Financing Issues / Update
    3 DC Required Financing Issues / Update CEU
    Michael Chelst 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    Reverse Mortgages
    1.5 MD Elective CEU
    Eric Rittmeyer 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

    Friday, December 28
    MREC Agency-Residential*
    3 MD Required or elective CEU
    Fredericka Lloyd 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Complete CEU Schedule >>

    *New Required class for all Maryland Licensees with an expiration date of 1/1/2012 thru 12/31/2013.
    The new class titled MREC Agency-Residential is under topic H.


    Sale on All PGCAR Classes
    Special Pricing through End of Year

    Sale Tag

    All PGCAR Members and REALTORS® Save Huge on ANY CEU offered at PGCAR!

    Register for ANY 3 CE class for $18 early bird, $33 regular.
    Register for ANY 1.5 CE class for $11 early bird, $26 regular.

    Hurry to today >>


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

    Results released last Thursday, December 6th, showed average mortgage rates calm and remaining close to record lows.

    Freddie Mac Vice President and Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said the rates stayed low amid indicators of stronger economic growth and signs that inflation is remaining under control.

    "Third quarter real GDP growth was revised from an initial report of 2.0 percent to 2.7 percent, nearly matching the market consensus forecast. Meanwhile, the 12-month growth rate of the core price index of consumer expenditures remained at 1.7 percent in October which is on the low end of the Federal Reserve's projection range for this year," Nothaft said. "The housing market is aiding in this recovery. For instance, fixed residential investment added positive growth over the past six consecutive quarters and in the third quarter alone contributed 0.3 percentage points to real GDP growth. In addition, residential construction spending was up 3 percent between September and October. And, pending home sales saw a 5.2 percent increase in October to its highest reading since March 2007."

    Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending December 6, 2012:

    • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.34%, up from 3.32%.
    • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.67%, up from 2.64%.
    • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.69%, down from 2.72%
    • The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.55%, down from 2.56%.
    Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >>


    Detailed Home Sales Statistics for Prince George's County
    Available online, announced on PGCAR Facebook

    facebook logo Statistics for November 2012 are now available at >>

    November settlements on single family homes increased by 5.5 percent over October, and increased 5.7 percent from November 2011.

    Other good news saw new contracts on condos and co-ops increase by nearly 14 percent compared to the same time last year.

    The outlook continues to look brighter for the housing market and mortgage rates are holding steady near all-time record lows. Now is a great time to buy in Prince George's County!

    Like us on facebook to be the first to see the next release of home sales statistics. While you're there, add yourself to the Find a REALTOR® Directory to give homebuyers and sellers yet another way to find you.


    Sales Coach: Prepare Listings for Spring
    It's Not Too Early to Start Sprucing Up

    Home Sales Coach No matter when you are listing, there are some simple maintenance checks you should run through - such as running heating/air conditioning and checking for any visibly worn items that can easily be replaced. But, now is the time of year for some special considerations.

    Here are four steps that sellers should pursue to make their listing shine:
    1. Remove water from areas vunerable to freezing damage - In our area of the country, temperatures are now likely to remain below freezing for several days in a row. Sellers should drain fountains and empty swimming pools and hot tubs in the winter. It's a good idea to shut off water valves and even consider replacing any that aren't fitted with frost-free drain valves. It might seem like a pain to go through this work, but burst pipes or damaged water structures will be a lot more painful if they end up impacting a sale.
    2. Maintain gardens and other landscape features - If there are flower or vegetable gardens on the property with plants that need to be removed, take care of it now so the beds will be ready for the first spring blooms. advises that "flowers like coreopsis, scabiosa, and heucheras should be deadheaded, and rose stems should be cut back to five main stems; ground cover or carpet roses should be cut back to six inches. Deciduous bushes like forsythia, abelia, and hibiscus Syriacus should be pruned so they can store their starches and sugars to develop good root growth over winter. Beds and bushes should be covered with a 6-inch layer of fir bark or redwood mulch before snows and cold come, which will protect them like a nice warm coat."
    3. Prepare that lawn! - It's not too late to get that late fall lawn feeding in -applying any nutrients and increasing stored nitrogen before cold weather sets in for good. It's also an OK time to aerate lawns and remove soil plugs and thatch to encourage deep rooting, improve water and nutrient absorption, and promote the presence of beneficial microorganisms. If possible, home sellers might also want to build a compost pile with decaying matter such as grass clippings or leaves, which contain nutrients that add nitrogen to the soil. Leaves should be removed weekly so they don't block the sun, which helps a lawn's root system stay healthy even when dormant and avoids moisture from developing and attracting pests.
    4. Install outdoor lighting - Not only do floodlights show off a home's exterior at night, they also discourage would be criminals and make walkways safer for visitors who might not be familiar with the location of uneven bricks or roots. In addition to larger lights, LED bulbs and low-voltage lamps last longer and use less electricity and can be used carefully to accent details such as doors, roof eaves, paths, and other strategic spots.
    Visit RealtorMag for four more great tips on getting listings ready for spring.


    Case #17-13:
    Arbitration Involving a REALTOR® Selling her Own Property

    REALTOR® B was a real estate broker and property manager who, in addition to managing property for others, frequently bought and sold income property for her own account. Needing capital for another project, REALTOR® B decided to sell a three-flat building in which she had a strong equity position and which she thought would move quickly, given the current market conditions. To maximize market exposure, she listed the property with her firm and entered information regarding the listing into the MLS. She put a sign in front of the property indicating that it was for sale "by owner." Her ads in the local newspapers indicated that the seller was a "broker-owner."

    REALTOR® A, who lived near the building, saw the "for sale" sign and called REALTOR® B. Introducing himself as a broker and as a REALTOR®, REALTOR® A asked what the asking price was and whether REALTOR® B was interested in listing her property. REALTOR® B did not indicate that she had listed her own property nor did she disclose that she was a broker or a REALTOR®. She did indicate that she would pay a commission to REALTOR® A if he procured a purchaser for the property but added that she preferred not to enter into an exclusive relationship with any broker and didn't want to put anything into writing.

    REALTOR® A thought the property might interest Dr. X, REALTOR® A's chiropractor, and contacted him. Dr. X was in fact interested and, after several visits to the property, made an offer to purchase which was subsequently accepted by REALTOR® B.

    At the closing, REALTOR® A learned several things, among them, that REALTOR® B, the seller, was also a REALTOR® and, more importantly, that REALTOR® B had instructed that only half of the previously agreed on commission was to be disbursed to REALTOR® A. When REALTOR® A protested the shortfall, REALTOR® B responded that her property was highly desirable, had "practically sold itself," and, in any event, REALTOR® A had expended minimal efforts in bringing about the quick sale. REALTOR® A disagreed with REALTOR® B's reasoning and, after appeals to REALTOR® B's sense of fairness went unheeded, filed an arbitration request with the Board of REALTORS®. Faced with the request to arbitrate, REALTOR® B declined, referring to Article 17 of the Code of Ethics and noting that it relates to disputes between REALTORS® ". . . arising out of their relationship as REALTORS® . . ." whereas she had been the seller.

    REALTOR® B's refusal to arbitrate was referred to the Board of Directors for their consideration.

    Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 17, how do you think the Professional Standards Panel ruled?

    Find out here >>


    REALTORS® Federal Credit Union

    Why Join REALTORS® FCU?
    It's the 24/7 credit union designed for your unique needs as a REALTOR®!

    Open 24/7!
    FREE ATMs Nationwide
    FREE Checking w/ FREE debit card
    Scan check deposits using your computer
    Transfer funds between financial institutions online
    Flexible lending that understands a REALTOR®'s income
    Earnings go back to benefit YOU and your fellow REALTORS®

    Join Online >   It only takes 15 minutes!


    Free MRIS Training at PGCAR
    Tomorrow, Tuesday, December 11

    Let your office know about these free training opportunities:

    MATRIX 201: Customize Matrix to Fit Your Business
    9:30 am to 12:30 pm

    Personalize Matrix to create easier navigation to better assist your advanced skills. These advanced features enable you to work more efficiently and productively.

    MRIS 301: Cozy Up To The New MRIS Products and Features
    1:30 pm to 3:00 pm or 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm

    Let MRIS help light your fire to success with the new products and features we have to offer! Learn about MRIS Homes, School Boundaries, Transaction Types and ShowingAssist.

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


    30 Under 30 Application is Due Next Month!

    Are you 29 or younger and having a phenomenal year? NOW is the time to apply for international recognition as one of 2013's 30 Under 30. REALTOR® Magazine will announce and showcase this year's rising young stars in the real estate industry next June 2013.

    But the application deadline is January 15, 2013. Apply now, and don't forget to ask for recommendations in support of your selection.

    30 Under 30 Web Site >
    30 Under 30 FAQ and Contest Rules >


    Holiday Hours: PGCAR will be closed on Christmas Eve, December 24 and Christmas Day, December 25. We will also close New Year's Eve, December 31
    and New Year's Day, January 1.

    May you and your family enjoy a Christmas of joy and good health, peace and good will.
    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
    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

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