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January 21, 2013

    I n   t h i s   i s s u e . . .
  • Inauguration Day / MLK Day
  • PGCAR 2013 Membership Renewal
        - $100 Fee Needed for Reinstatement!
  • "Settlement Statement" Memo Rescinded
  • Food Drive Donations
  • Red Cross Blood Drive
        - Wednesday, February 20
  • DC Broker Licenses - February Deadline
  • February Tax-Free Items in Maryland
  • David Maclin Memorial Scholarship
        - Applications Due February 28
  • Second Annual 5K Fun Walk/Run
  • Huge SentriLock Sale

    Homeownership Matters
        - for the City of Laurel
  • Homebuyer Incentives in Prince George's County
  • Consumer Tip: Put Some Spring in your Staging
        - Flowers to Chase Away the Winter Blues
    The Industry Insider
  • PGCAR Legislative Guide - Updated
  • DC and MD CEU
  • Sale on All PGCAR Classes
  • Market Sen$e: Rates Holding Steady
  • December Home Sales Stats
  • Sales Coach: The Importance of Photos
  • 2013 Standard Mileage Rates
  • Code of Ethics: Case #1-15
  • FCU: Benefits for Your Business
  • Free Hands-On MRIS Tools Training
    Martin Luther King Day / Inauguration Day

    PGCAR offices are closed today, January 21 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr's birthday .

    What is your dream for our community? Please consider volunteering for community service to celebrate the birthday and life of MLK.

    $100 Reinstatement Fee Now Required
    for Members with Non-paid 2013 Dues

    A $100 reinstatement fee was added to unpaid accounts on Saturday, January 12.

    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.

    Reinstate your membership, SentriLock key privileges, MRIS discount, ZipForms and other REALTOR® membership benefits.
    Pay your 2012 - 2013 dues today.

    County Rescinds "Settlement Statement" Memo

    On Monday, January 14, the Prince George's County Treasurer's Office released a procedural memo to title companies, lenders and REALTORS® informing them that their department would apply transfer and recordation taxes based on assessed value rather than sales price on transactions where the sales price is equal to or less than 50% of the assessed value, unless additional documentation was provided.

    The memo posed significant concerns to PGCAR, which were shared immediately with executive level staff in Upper Marlboro.

    Effective immediately, the County Treasury Department has rescinded the memo.
    We understand this to mean it's business as usual with regard to processing documentation on these transactions. We have been advised that there will be some further action on this matter; however, at this time we have no further information.

    Should you have questions or require additional information please contact Mike Graziano, PGCAR Director of Government Affairs, 301-306-7900 or at

    The release from Prince George's County follows:

    Proof of Sales Price:
    Please disregard the "Proof of Sales Price" email communication sent to you at 4:30 PM on Friday, January 11th from the Treasury Division of the Office of Finance for Prince George's County, Maryland. It was intended to address recent activity observed by Treasury staff involving real estate transactions with sales prices substantially lower than the State's assessment valuation. A modified policy statement will be released by the end of the week.

    Walk-Through Documents
    Monday, January 21, 2013 is a County holiday. Beginning Tuesday, January 22, 2013, the Office of Finance will be temporarily suspending all "walk-through" document processing. Treasury Division staff will be addressing a significant work backlog that is unrelated to the proof of sales price issue above. We apologize for this inconvenience.

    Documents presented to the County for review and taxation may be dropped off on weekdays at our cashiering window from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. We will make every effort to process these documents within 72 business hours. You will receive an email notice when the Treasury Division review is complete.

    We appreciate your patience and cooperation. Please direct any questions to either Karen Long or Rita Spach at (301) 952-4030.

    Linda Vaughn Allen
    Chief of Treasury
    Prince George's County Government
    14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Suite 1090
    Upper Marlboro, MD 20772


    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.

    PGCAR is hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive®

    Wednesday, February 20
    9 am to 3 pm

    at the
    PGCAR Office



    DC Broker License Renewal Deadline

    Avoid penalties - Renew before February 28

    DC Broker and Property Manager licenses must be renewed by February 28, 2013 to avoid license suspensions and renewal late fees. ALL CE Hours must be completed before-hand, then reported. License renewals must be submitted and paid by February 28, 2013.

    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!

    This 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 >>
    Friday, February 22
    9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

    Financing Issues / Update

    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 - President's 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 (President's 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.

    Eligible Energy Star Products include: air conditioners, clothes washers or dryers, furnaces, heat pumps, standard size refrigerators, compact fluorescent light bulbs, dehumidifiers, or programmable thermostats that have 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
    Do you know a Prince George's County Public High School Senior who wants to further his/her education and is already making
    a difference in the community?

    Then have them complete a David Maclin Memorial Scholarship application before Thursday, February 28. Winners will receive a $2,500 scholarship to be used toward further education in any community college, university or trade school.

    Please also share this with Principals and Teachers at your local schools, so you may enable someone who may not have received the materials to share this opportunity with their class.

    You can make an important difference in the life of a student!

    Scholarship Letter   •   Scholarship Application   •   Permission Slip
    Scholarship Applications are Due Thursday, February 28, 2013.


    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


    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.

    NEW HOMEBUYER SAVINGS for the City of Laurel:
    Buyers of Foreclosed Homes Receive Tax Credits!

    The City of Laurel recently passed legislation adopting a tax credit program for purchasers of foreclosed homes within the City of Laurel, Maryland.

    Now in effect, the legislation offers a five-year descending City tax credit of up to $3500 for buyers purchasing their primary residence within Laurel City limits. Under the program, eligible buyers will receive credit for 100% of their City property taxes up to $3500 for two years following purchase. In subsequent years, three to five, the credit will decrease to 75%, 50%, and 25% respectively.

    If the property is deemed to be a "distressed property" the purchaser may be eligible for an extended credit. As with similar programs, the credit terminates when the initial purchaser ceases to occupy the home as their primary residence.

    To learn more and obtain application forms please visit:

    City of Laurel
    8103 Sandy Spring Road
    Laurel, MD 20707

    Laurel Tax Credit Information >>     Baltimore Sun Coverage >>

    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: A Touch of Spring for your Staging
    Flowers to Chase Away the Winter Blues

    Spring Scents for a Winter Sale
    Interior plants can help add the proper colors and scents to accentuate a home's warmth. Especially during the wintry months, be sure the home "welcomes" a potential buyer out of the cold, into a well-lit and "warm" environment. Properly staged properties can forever be a bit of springtime indoors, no matter what the weather is outdoors. Choosing the right houseplants for your staging can be a low cost, high impact way to add warmth to any home. While you don't want to overpower the senses of prospective buyers, adding fragrant flowers can help homebuyers forget the winter cold and see your property as the perfect respite to "come home" to.

    With flowering plants, it is important to keep in mind people's varying sensitivity. If in doubt, invite a few friends with sensitive noses to test the house. Another thing to keep in mind is a recent study on scents used in retail stores. In the study, researchers found that people bought more when there was one clean scent, rather than a complex jumble of odors.

    Here are a few plants you can choose to bring a cheerier atmosphere to a winter sale:
    • Scented Geraniums - With over 200 varieties and a range of leaf shapes and textures, geraniums offer a lot of choice when it comes to enhancing your staging. Equal in variation are the range of scents - lemon fancy, pink champagne, prince of orange, and chocolate mint are only a few of the options.
    • Jasmine - Are the sellers already moved out? Is the heat going to be turned down for periods? If so, jasmine might be a good choice as it can thrive in chillier temperatures. In fact, jasmine won't even bloom if a room is too warm. With pink buds that turn into white flowers in January and February, it has a fresh scent that brings to mind a spring garden.
    • Orchids - While there are many varieties of orchids, Oncidium is one that has a sweet smell and is easy to grow indoors. recommends Sharry Baby, a popular type with a fragrance that has been described as a vanilla or chocolate-like scent.

    For more details on these flower types and instructional growing videos, visit >>


    PGCAR Legislative Guide - Updated with 2013 Leadership and Committee Changes

    Don't forget to get your copy of the PGCAR Guide to Prince George's County Government 2011 - 2014, available at the legislative page.

    The guide includes names, contact information, and district maps for local leaders - as well as committee listings and tips for casually communicating with legislators.

    Click here to get a copy >>


    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!

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

    This 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

    Next 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

    Friday, February 8
    Real Estate Tax Issues
    1.5 MD Elective CEU
    Linda de Marlor 1:30 pm - 3:00 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

    Thursday, February 14
    Reverse Mortgages
    1.5 MD Elective CEU
    Eric Rittmeyer 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

    Tuesday, February 19
    3 MD Elective CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Thursday, February 21
    MREC Agency-Residential
    3 MD Required or elective CEU
    Fredericka Lloyd 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    MD Code of Ethics
    3 MD Required Ethics CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Larry Hudson 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: Rates Holding Steady

    Results released last Thursday, January 17th, showed fixed mortgage rates remaining relatively flat.

    Freddie Mac Vice President and Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said mortgage rates did move down a little last week amid reports that inflation remains contained.

    "The overall producer price index rose 0.1 percent between November and December, below the market consensus forecast, and the consumer price index was unchanged," Nothaft said. "For the year as a whole, consumer prices rose just 1.7 percent in 2012, almost half that of 2011's increase of 3.0 percent."

    Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending January 17th, 2013:

    • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.38%, down from 3.40%.
    • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.66%, the same as the week before.
    • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.67%, the same as the week before.
    • The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.57%, down from 2.60%.
    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 December 2012 are available at >>

    Settlements on condo and co-ops were up over December 2011 and average prices for both condo and co-ops and single family coops were up in 2012.

    The year saw prices rise on single family homes from an average of $194,417 in 2011 to $202,459 in 2012. Prices are still lower than previous years, offering good value to buyers -- but are on the rise, signalling a turnaround in the housing market.

    The outlook continues to look brighter and mortgage rates are remaining low and stable. Now is a great time to buy in Prince George's County!

    Like us on facebook to be the first to see January 2013 home sales statistics when they're released.


    Sales Coach: The Importance of Photos
    Increase Sales Price

    Home Sales Coach We'll cut to the chase: Adding interior photos to listings resulted in a 3.9 percent boost in final sales price according to a recent study of more than 4,000 homes.

    There is a downside though; on average, adding these photos resulted in it taking about 16 extra days to sell the home.

    The researcher, Ken Johnson, an associate professor of finance at Florida International University's Hollo School of Real Estate said this is a good deal.

    "We're talking about a few extra weeks in marketing time to get that 3 percent to 5 percent increase on a home," Johnson said in a Wall Street Journal article. "That's a good trade."

    While the study did not differentiate between professional and amateur photos, it doesn't hurt to keep quality photography in mind.

    Consider using a tripod indoors so that you can take a longer exposure and eliminate harsh flash lighting, which draws out distractingly unnatural details and bright spots in a photo.

    Also, take some time to look at each room from a variety of angles and carefully pick the best composition -remembering that buyers will only be able to see as much as what you show them in the photo. What is really making a room look good to you? Try to catch as much of that in the frame as possible.

    Johnson was so confident of the results of his study that he told the Wall Street Journal that if he put every picture he could in the listing, it would be "at a ratio of four to five interior vs. one exterior."

    To read more and get links to the original article, visit RealtorMag >>


    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.


    Case #1-15: Obligation to Advise Client on Market Value

    Client A went from his hotel to REALTOR® B's office and advised that he formerly lived in the community, and had kept his home as an income property after he moved away. The house had been vacant for several months and he had decided to sell it. He asked if REALTOR® B could drive him to look at it. As they inspected it, Client A stated that he would be happy to get $80,000 for it. REALTOR® B listed it at that price and after a few days it was sold to Buyer C.

    Six months later, Client A was in town again. Hoping to recover a box of old photographs he had left in the attic, he called on Buyer C, whom he had met at settlement. When he arrived he found that Buyer D then lived in the house. He expressed some surprise that Buyer C had sold it so soon, and learned that Buyer D paid $140,000 for it. Astonished, Client A then made some inquiries as to the market values and learned that he had grossly under priced his house when listing it with REALTOR® B. He went to the Board of REALTORS® office and filed a complaint against REALTOR® B charging him with unethical conduct in not having advised him as to the property's fair market value.

    At the hearing, REALTOR® B's defense was that he had not been asked to put a price on the house, but had accepted agency on the basis of a price set by the client; that the client had stated he "would be happy" to get $80,000 for it; that he was glad to get a listing that would move quickly in the market; that he had done nothing unethical since he had not bought it himself; and that while he had honestly pointed out to the buyer that the house was a bargain, he had made no effort to induce relatives or business associates to buy it.

    On questioning, he conceded that after looking at the house with Client A, he realized the property was being listed at about half its fair market value, but insisted that was his client's business; that different owners have different reasons for selling and pricing their property, but acknowledged that Client A had not indicated that he needed a quick sale or that he would make any price concession.

    The Hearing Panel pointed out that brokers have no hesitation in advising clients that properties are overpriced when this is the case, and they are obligated to be equally candid in providing their best judgment to clients when properties being offered for sale are obviously underpriced.

    Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 1, what do you think the hearing panel concluded? Click her to find out >>


    REALTORS® Federal Credit Union

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    Join Online >>   It only takes 15 minutes!


    Free MRIS Training at PGCAR
    Tomorrow, 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.

    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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