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January 7, 2013

    I n   t h i s   i s s u e . . .
  • PGCAR 2013 Membership Renewal
        - Termination and $100 Fee Imminent!
  • Fiscal Cliff Deal Reached
        - How It Impacts Real Estate
  • Winter Wonderland Event - Thank You!
  • Food Drive Donations
  • DC Broker Licenses - Earn CE Pre-Deadline
  • February Tax-Free Items in Maryland
  • Second Annual 5K Fun Walk/Run
  • REALTOR® Lobby Day is January 17th
         -Formerly Known as MAR Legislative Day
  • Huge SentriLock Sale

    Homeownership Matters
  • Homebuyer Incentives in Prince George's County
  • Consumer Tip: Resolutions for Your Home
        - Home Improvement Goals for 2013
    The Industry Insider
  • December 2012 Contract Changes
  • Start of Year Contracts Review
  • DC and MD CEU
  • Sale on All PGCAR Classes
  • Market Sen$e: 2013 Rates Near All-Time Lows
  • November Home Sales Increase
        - in Our County and the U.S.
  • Sales Coach: Three Critical Items for Ads
  • 2013 Standard Mileage Rates
  • Code of Ethics: Changes for 2013
  • FCU: Benefits for Your Business
  • Free Hands-On MRIS Tools Training
  • 30 Under 30 Application - Due Next Tuesday!
    $100 Reinstatement Fee Now Required
    for Renewing Members with Unpaid Dues

    A $100 reinstatement fee will now be added to unpaid accounts.

    Don't let your unpaid dues continue to affect your business. 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 to retain SentriLock key privileges, your MRIS discount, ZipForms and other REALTOR® membership benefits.

    Real Estate Provisions in "Fiscal Cliff" Bill
    Briefing from NAR on the Recent Legislation

    On January 1, both the Senate and House passed H.R. 8 legislation to avert the "fiscal cliff." The bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 2.

    Below is a summary of real estate related provisions in the bill:

    Real Estate Tax Extenders
    • Mortgage Cancellation Relief is extended for one year to January 1, 2014
    • Deduction for Mortgage Insurance Premiums for filers making below $110,000 is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012
    • 15-year straight-line cost recovery for qualified leasehold improvements on commercial properties is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012
    • 10 percent tax credit (up to $500) for homeowners for energy improvements to existing homes is extended through 2013 and made retroactive to cover 2012
    Permanent Repeal of Pease Limitations for 99% of Taxpayers

    The agreement permanently repeals so called "Pease Limitations" that reduce the value of itemized deductions (including mortgage interest and property tax) for most taxpayers; however, will reinstitute Pease Limitations for high income filers. These limitations will apply to individuals earning more than $250,000 and joint filers earning above $300,000. These thresholds have been increased and are indexed for inflation and will rise over time. Under the formula, the amount of adjusted gross income above the threshold is multiplied by three percent. That amount is then used to reduce the total value of the filer's itemized deductions. The total amount of reduction cannot exceed 80 percent of the filer's itemized deductions.

    These limits were first enacted in 1990 (named for the Ohio Congressman Don Pease who came up with the idea) and continued throughout the Clinton years. They were gradually phased out as a result of the 2001 tax cuts and were completely eliminated in 2010-2012. Had we gone over the fiscal cliff, Pease limitations would have been reinstituted on all filers starting at $174,450 of adjusted gross income.

    Capital Gains

    Capital Gains rate stays at 15 percent for those in the top rate of $400,000 (individual) and $450,000 (joint) return. After that, any gains above those amounts will be taxed at 20 percent. The $250,000/$500,000 exclusion for sale of principal residence remains in place.

    Estate Tax

    The first $5 million dollars in individual estates and $10 million for family estates are now exempted from the estate tax. After that the rate will be 40 percent, up from 35 percent. The exemption amounts are indexed for inflation.

    Visit the Realtor® Action Center for more information and links >>

    Thank You for Your Generosity!
    Thank you to everyone who helped organize, bought tickets,
    donated, or sponsored the Holiday Charity Event!

    AmeriSpec Home Inspection Services
    Asset Realty, LLC
    BB&T Mortgage
    Capital Structures, Shameeka & Kingston Price
    CyberVillage Networkers
    EXIT Elite Realty, Nateka Dancy
    First Home Mortgage
    George Mason Mortgage, LLC
    Harbor View Realty
    Home First Title Group
    Homestead Funding Corp.
    Keller Williams Preferred Properties
    Millennium Title & Abstract
    Monshower, Miller & Magrogan
    Old Line Bank
    RE/MAX United Real Estate
    Stanley Martin Companies
    Village Settlements Inc.
    Universal Mortgage

    Open Bar Sponsor
    LaFontaine Bleu

    Event Tickets Sponsor
    CPS/Gumpert Printing


    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 our attendees and sponsors, and your food and coat donations, 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.


    DC Broker License Renewal Deadline

    Avoid penalties - Renew before February 28

    DC Broker and Property Manager licenses must be renewed by February 28, 2013. ALL CE Hours must be completed before-hand, then reported. License renewals must be submitted and paid by February 28, 2013. That is the deadline to renew without penalty.

    DC Sales Agents must renew their DC real estate licenses before August 31, 2013.

    Register now to meet your required topic CEU before license renewal deadline!

    Thursday, January 17
    9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

    Financing Issues / Update

    Register here >>
    Thursday, January 24
    9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

    DC Legislative Update

    Register here >>
    1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    DC Fair Housing & Predatory Lending

    Register here >>

    Also earn the required 6 hours of general elective hours at PGCAR. Full CE schedule >>
    License Renewal CE Requirements >>
    Online Renewal for Brokers and Property Managers >>


    TAX-FREE ITEMS - Presidents' Day Weekend in Maryland!

    Tax Free Weekend on Energy Star Products — February 16 - 18
    Share the news with your homebuyers! Marylanders, mark your calendars. The weekend of Saturday, February 16 through Monday, February 18 (Presidents' Day) will be a tax-free three day weekend during which the sales and use tax will not apply to the sale of selected Energy Star Products, or solar water heaters.

    Energy Star Product means an air conditioner, clothes washer or dryer, furnace, heat pump, standard size refrigerator, compact fluorescent light bulb, dehumidifier, or programmable thermostat that has been designated as meeting or exceeding the applicable Energy Star Efficiency requirements developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.


    David Maclin Memorial Scholarship Fund
    Second Annual 5K Fun Walk/Run - Saturday, April 20

    David Maclin Memorial Scholarship 5K Run Walk
    SAVE THE DATE:   Saturday, April 20 2013
    LOCATION:   Marlboro Ridge Club House


    MAR Legislative Day is Now REALTOR® Lobby Day
    Next 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.

    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: New Year's Resolutions for Your Home
    Home Improvement Goals for 2013

    House Cleaning Resolution New Year's resolutions are often the subject of jokes about their likelihood to go unrealized, but for many, this time of year heralds a true turning point.

    Here are four common personal resolutions, translated into equivalents for your home:

    1. Lose weight (cut energy use) - Start with your HVAC system and duct work. Also investigate easy places to install more insulation like attics and crawlspaces. You'd be surprised how energy savings from these improvements can add up over the years. Calculate it right, and you can put the money toward a vacation to reward you for your hard work. -- This is also a great way to "green" your home, which could be a resolution in and of itself.
    2. Quit smoking (purify indoor air) - Did you know indoor air quality is one of the biggest environmental health hazards, according to the EPA? The HVAC improvement you took care of with your first resolution is one of the biggest steps toward improving air quality in your home - change your filters often! Other important steps include using low-VOC paints and having good ventilation in kitchens, bathrooms, and other rooms prone to moisture collection.
    3. Get out of debt (budget for improvements) - A yearly budget will set you up to avoid the pitfalls of overspending, and will allow you to save for unexpected emergency repairs. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average yearly home improvement and maintenance expenditure is around $3,300.
    4. Get organized (de-clutter) - There is one step that rises above all the others when it comes to de-cluttering -- storage! Get boxes and shoe organizers, install drawers under beds, and get aesthetically pleasing baskets and racks for the kitchen. You'd be surprised how the clutter will melt away when you have somewhere to put everything.
    For six more home improvement resolution ideas, and a lot more detail visit >>

    Effective Now!

    Four contract forms were updated in December. All are available in the Members Only section. Not following ALL new procedures can jeopardize even a signed contract. Do a forms check today!


    Start of Year Contracts Review

    Did you know that 25 contract forms and addendums were updated or added in 2012? You may find updated contract forms at Members Only.

    1. Log in at Members Only.
    2. Click on the Downloadable Forms graphic.
    3. To display latest revisions, click the  document revised date  column header.

    Don't risk a settlement or cause a delay due to outdated forms. Do a forms check today!


    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 February 28 DC license renewal deadline -- at reduced pricing!

    Next 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

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

    Next 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

    Tuesday, February 5
    MREC Required Supervision
    3 MD Required or Elective CEU
    Larry Hudson 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Wednesday, February 13
    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

    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: New Year Sees Mortgage Rates Near All-Time Record Lows

    Results released last Thursday, January 3rd, showed fixed mortgage rates remaining near all-time historic lows entering the new year.

    Freddie Mac Vice President and Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said the continued low rates should do much to aid the ongoing housing recovery.

    "New home sales rose in November to a two-year high and were up 15.3 percent from the previous November. Similarly, pending sales on existing homes increased for the third month in November to the strongest pace since April 2010." Nothaft said.

    Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending January 3, 2013:

    • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.34%, down from 3.35%.
    • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.64%, down from 2.65%.
    • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.71%, up from 2.70%
    • The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.57%, up 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 County 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 December 2012 home sales statistics when they're released this week.


    Sales Coach: Three Critical Items for Ads
    Don't Leave Buyers Guessing

    Home Sales Coach Right up front here are the three most important pieces of information to include in any real estate advertisement: price, location, and number of bedrooms.

    Research has shown that these are the three items most important to potential buyers, so please, just give that information to them.

    According to one study, as many as 58 percent of potential buyers won't request further information if they don't already have some indication of the price. No matter what you are selling, leaving out the price is usually a sign that it is going to be higher than expected.

    When it comes to location, it's important to consider this aspect from all angles - literally. If a photo of the front of the house doesn't divulge the most impressive aspects of the property, use a different angle! Use one looking from the inside out if the inside is beautiful and there is a tremendous view. Don't get stuck in a rut - always play to the advantage.

    Finally, be up front about how many bedrooms the house has and you won't waste time with a buyer whom this is going to be a stumbling block for. If a buyer has three teenagers, chances are there is no chance of you selling them a two bedroom house -- so don't waste your time or theirs by leaving this information out.

    For much more on these tips from one of the top names in real estate, 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.


    2013 Changes to the Code of Ethics

    Changes to the Code which are approved at the NAR Annual Convention become effective on January 1 of each year. For your easy reference we have posted the January 1, 2013 changes here, and online, so that you can stay up to date. Revised and added text is noted in italics. Strikeouts indicate deletions.

    Revised Standard of Practice 12-10
    REALTORS®' obligation to present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public includes Internet content posted, and the URLs and domain names they use, and prohibits REALTORS® from:
    1. engaging in deceptive or unauthorized framing of real estate brokerage websites;
    2. manipulating (e.g., presenting content developed by others) listing and other content in any way that produces a deceptive or misleading result; or
    3. deceptively using metatags, keywords or other devices/methods to direct, drive, or divert Internet traffic; or , or to other mislead consumers
    4. presenting content developed by others without either attribution or without permission,
    5. or to otherwise mislead consumers. (Adopted 1/07, Amended 1/13)

    Please take the time to review the entire 2013 REALTOR® Code of Ethics >

    We'll return to our Tour of the Code of Ethics in the next REALTOR® Connection.
    Wishing you an enjoyable and ethical 2013!


    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 12:30 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
    1:30 pm to 4:30 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 Applications - Due Next Tuesday!

    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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