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December 26, 2012

    I n   t h i s   i s s u e . . .
  • Please Help Preserve the MID!
        - Fiscal Cliff Deadline is Monday
  • PGCAR 2013 Membership Renewal
        - Termination and $100 Fee Imminent!
  • Food Drive Donations
  • REALTOR® Lobby Day is January 17th
         -Formerly Known as MAR Legislative Day
  • Huge SentriLock Sale

    Homeownership Matters
  • Myths and Facts About FHA
  • Homebuyer Incentives in Prince George's County
  • Consumer Tip: Poinsettias in Winter Stagings
        - Care and Feeding to Make Them Last
    The Industry Insider
  • DC and MD CEU
  • Sale on All PGCAR Classes
  • Market Sen$e: Mortgage Rates Mixed, Still Low
  • November Home Stats
  • November Existing Home Sales and
        Prices Continue Uptrend
  • Sales Coach: Take Time to Consult with Buyers
  • 2013 Standard Mileage Rates
  • Code of Ethics: Centennial!
  • FCU: Benefits for Your Business
  • Free Hands-On MRIS Tools Training
  • 30 Under 30 Application

    PGCAR will be closed New Year's Eve and New Year's Day,
    Monday, December 31 and Tuesday, January 1.
    We hope everyone is enjoying safe and happy holidays!

    Call for Action: Protect the Mortgage Interest Deduction!

    Attention REALTORS® and Affiliates, we need your help! If homeownership is important to you, and especially if you're among the nearly 75% of REALTORS® who haven't spoken up to Congress in support of the MID during fiscal cliff debates, please urge Congress to "do no harm" to the still fragile housing market. Ask them to maintain the MID in its current form. It only takes 2 clicks, and will help protect our communities and your livelihood! What are you waiting for?

    If you did respond, thank you. Feel free to forward the Call for Action link. Anyone can update and tailor the message to show their personal support for the mortgage interest deduction.

    This call is all the more important as we draw towards a deal on 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." And if Congress doesn't decide upon and vote on budget revisions by December 31, Americans will face pre-determined budget and program cuts, and tax increases as of next Tuesday, January 1.

    Please visit the REALTOR®Action Center and respond to this important Call for Action as soon as possible. Congress needs to decide upon a reasonable budget, and one that helps rather than hurts the American economy and middle class. 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!

    Related News Coverage:

    Unpaid Dues Soon Result in Termination
    Save the $100 Reinstatement Fee and Renew Today

    If payment is not received by midnight Monday, December 31, 2012, membership will be terminated. At that time, a $100 reinstatement fee will be added to the account.

    Don't stress, it will only take a few moments to take care of. Renew right now 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, Monday December 31st to prevent loss of SentriLock key privileges, your MRIS discount, ZipForms and other REALTOR® membership benefits. A $25 late fee has already been added to late accounts.


    Food Drive
    Remaining Open Through January 31st

    Your Participation Means a Better Winter for Many in Prince George's County

    Our annual charity event was another great success this year. Thanks to those that attended or sponsored, and your donations of food and coats, we were able to provide substantial funds and support to many families in need in Prince George's County!

    Didn't get a chance to donate or want to give more? Just click here to donate to the Prince George's County public safety assistance program food drive.


    MAR Legislative Day is now REALTOR® Lobby Day
    Thursday, January 17th in Annapolis

    Join fellow REALTORS® in Annapolis. Hear about key real estate issues in the Maryland General Assembly and meet with your elected officials to tell them about the importance of our industry!

    9:45 - 10:45 am Shuttles from Navy Parking Lot to The Maryland Inn
    10 - 10:20 am Registration (The Maryland Inn)
    10:20 - 10:50 am
    • Welcome: MAR President and Legislative Committee Chair
    • Welcome: Legislative Leaders
    • Issue Briefing
    11 am - 12:30 pm Office Visits with Delegates and Senators
    12:15 - 12:45 pm Shuttles to Parking (Buses picking up by the Legislative Services Building (Corner of Bladen Street and College Avenue)

    Register at >

    Know who your Legislators are! Check out the Guide to Prince George's County Government >


    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.

    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 >>
    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


    Consumer Tip: Staging with Poinsettias
    Keep Them Alive and Happy

    Poinsettias A symbol of the season, poinsettias provide a bright spot of color in the home.

    According to RealtorMag, research on color responses has shown that warm colors, such as red, can increase excitement and energy in those viewing them. They recommend poinsettias as good option for adding this effect to staged houses.

    If you are using these plants to as part of a winter sale, you'll want to know how to keep them in tip-top shape for as long as possible.

    Firstly, when buying the plant, look for dark green foliage. The colored leaves, called bracts, should be completely colored without green perimeters.

    Also, check it out from all angles to make sure there are no surprises on the side facing away from you at the store. When it's time to take them to your home or the house for sale, make sure you wrap them up if it's cold out. Poinsettias' native home is Mexico, so they don't enjoy exposure to the cold at all.

    Other tips:

    • Make sure they get indirect light for about 6 hours per day.
    • Keep them from getting exposed to high or low temperatures, move them around if necessary.
    • For an even longer bloom, feed them every two or three weeks with a water-soluble plant food.

    For more tips and a timeline for the rest of the year visit >>


    Earn All MD and DC Required CEU at PGCAR

    All classes are held at PGCAR offices. 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 Friday, December 28
    MREC Agency-Residential
    3 MD Required or Elective CEU
    Fredericka Lloyd 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Wednesday, January 16
    3 MD Elective CEU
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Larry Hudson 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    Risk Management for Team Leaders
    1.5 MD Elective CEU
    Larry Hudson 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

    Thursday, January 17
    Financing Issues / Update
    3 DC Required Financing Issues / Update CEU
    Michael Chelst 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Friday, January 18
    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

    Wednesday, January 23
    MD Code of Ethics
    3 MD Required Ethics CEU
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Thursday, January 24
    DC Legislative Update
    3 DC Required Legislative Update CEU
    Prabhjit Singh 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    DC Fair Housing & Predatory Lending
    3 DC Required Fair Housing CEU
    Prabhjit Singh 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    Monday, January 28
    MREC Agency-Residential
    3 MD Required or Elective CEU
    Fredericka Lloyd 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    Complete CEU Schedule >>


    Sale on All PGCAR Classes
    Special Pricing Extended Through June 2013

    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 Show Mixed Movement, Remain Low

    Results released last Thursday, December 20th, showed mixed movement for mortgage rates, though all remain relatively low.

    Freddie Mac Vice President and Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said the latest rates come following data reports on stable inflation and a thriving home construction market.

    "The 12-month growth in the core consumer price index has remained between 1.9 and 2.1 percent for the past five consecutive months ending in November. Meanwhile, housing starts averaged the strongest three months in November since September 2008, and homebuilder confidence rose in December to its highest reading since April 2008," Nothaft said.

    Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending December 20, 2012:

    • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.37%, up from 3.32%.
    • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.65%, down from 2.66%.
    • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.71%, up from 2.70%
    • The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.52%, down from 2.53%.
    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 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.


    November Existing Home Sales and Prices Continue Uptrend

    Existing-home sales continued to improve in November with low inventory supply pressuring home prices, according to the National Association of REALTOR®. Total existing-home sales rose 5.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in November from a downwardly revised 4.76 million in October, and are 14.5% higher than November 2011. Sales are at the highest level since November 2009, when the annual pace spiked at 5.44 million.

    Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said there is healthy market demand. "Momentum continues to build in the housing market from growing jobs and a bursting out of household formation," he said. "With lower rental vacancy rates and rising rents, combined with still historically favorable affordability conditions, more people are buying homes. Areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy show storm-related disruptions but overall activity in the Northeast is up, offset by gains in unaffected areas."

    The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $180,600 in November, up 10.1% from November 2011. This is the ninth consecutive monthly year-over-year price gain, which last occurred from September 2005 to May 2006.

    Distressed homes accounted for 22% of November sales (12% were foreclosures and 10% were short sales), down from 24% in October and 29% in November 2011. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 20% below market value in November, while short sales were discounted 16%.



    Sales Coach: Counsel Buyers Right Away
    Avoid Confusion Late in the Process

    Home Sales Coach It can be a frustrating experience to get buyers to the table and realize they aren't prepared or are confused about the process.

    Often these negative experiences can be avoided with a counseling session that goes into the detail appropriate for a financial decision of this magnitude.

    Here a four key ideas to keep in mind when consulting to buyers.

    1. Show Your Value - The primary purpose of a consultation is to explain the entire homebuying process and what your role in it is. A routine procedure on the selling side, experts advise that REALTORS® take the time to explain the value of their participation to buyers.

      Using tools such as RPR to deepen your knowledge of markets will go far in distinguishing the level of service you offer compared to publicly available tools such as Zillow.

    2. Connect - Using tactics such as quickly identifying buyers' personality types will help you decide the communication style that will be most appreciated by your client.

      Are they an investment buyer on a busy schedule or a first timer looking for their dream house? Within these categories, you'll also find those that like to make small talk, while others want just the facts.

      It takes experience and intuition to identify the type of person you are dealing with quickly and consistently, but being on the lookout for clues will go a long way toward helping you adopt the appropriate communication style.

      Be prepared to adapt either way: giving short, to the point, explanations, or becoming more anecdotal and personal.

    3. Set the Right Tone - Beyond the more intuitive clues to a buyer's communication type, REALTORS® should also be knowledgeable about cultural customs. Especially in our area, diverse clientele mean a variety of considerations.

      For example, buyers from south-east Asia may be more likely to associate the signing of documents with negative situations. One real estate practitioner in the DC metro area said he has learned to take more time to explain that buyer's agreements hold him accountable as well as the clients.

      Other experts recommended tweaking language and using terms like "service fee" instead of commission or "written authorization" instead of contract.

    4. Anticipate Objections - Talk to any experienced REALTOR® and you'll be able to gather a list of common objections -perhaps you already have some in mind.

      Do you have responses ready to go?

      One expert gave the example of a client unwilling to sign an exclusive agreement. His response? "If you want my loyalty and my 100 percent commitment, I want that from you."

      Experts also noted that the Code of Ethics can be a powerful tool for addressing buyer's concerns. The knowledge that you adhere to a stringent code that they can read for themselves is a big deal.
    For much more on these four key concepts, visit >>


    IRS 2013 Standard Mileage Rates

    As of January 1, 2013, the standard mileage rates used to calculate deductible costs of operating a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) are:

    • 56.5 cents per mile for business miles driven
    • 24 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
    • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

    Additional information on standard mileage rates is available from or your tax specialist.

    Are moving expenses deductible?
    This article at points out the forms and publications needed for homebuyers who moved for a new or relocated job during 2012.


    One Hundred Years of the Code of Ethics
    2013 Centennial

    We have again made it through all 17 Articles of the Code of Ethics! As we prepare to start again at the beginning, it's a good chance to recognize the centennial anniversary of the code. Check out the surprisingly interesting history of the code here >>

    Know your duties and responsibilities under the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. The Code of Ethics establishes rules for ethical conduct and professionalism, and distinguishes us as REALTORS® from other real estate licensees.

    How well do you know your Code?
    Take this quiz to find out!

    To learn more and to ensure that you do not violate the Code, review the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice at

    Join us as we start another tour of the Code of Ethics in the next REALTOR® Connection.


    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
    Tuesday, January 22

    MRIS 100: Computer Basics for the Real Estate Agent
    9:30 am to 12:20 pm

    This class is designed for the MRIS customers who have never used a computer or have very limited knowledge of basic computer functions.

    MRIS 101: Kick Off Your Career with MRIS
    9:30 am to 12:30 pm

    Get in the real estate game faster with this introduction to all the various products and topics available with your MRIS subscription.

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


    30 Under 30 Application Deadline is Almost Here!

    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 >>

    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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