David Maclin Memorial Scholarship Fund - Register Now!
Second Annual 5K Fun Walk/Run - Saturday, April 20
The Office with most participation will be announced online and in REALTOR® Connection. Will YOUR office win bragging rights? Register Today >
Every person that walks or runs with us, or contributes, helps local high school graduates
pursue their dreams of higher education, and of making a difference.
||Saturday, April 20
(RAIN OR SHINE)
||9 - 11:30 am 5K Fun Walk/Run
8 - 8:45 am Registration & Packet Pickup
||Marlboro Ridge Club House
||$25 - adults, $5 - children under 12
$30 for adult registrations after April 14 and Race Day
Then, please post this flyer in your office lobby and share the event link from facebook.com/pgcar.
Better yet - print out some copies and ask to post them at the next five places you visit.
Flyer & Printable Registration >
Printable Sponsorship Contribution Form > Runner Sponsor Form >
GRI 100 Series Begins Next Thursday, April 11 - Learn More, Earn More in 2013
Improve your industry knowledge and your income!
You can earn your GRI by taking the GRI 100, 200 and 300 Series in any order. Register for the entire GRI 100 or individual classes at www.pgcar.com.
GIVE BLOOD - SAVE LIVES
|PGCAR is hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive®
Wednesday, April 17
9 am to 3 pm
ALL ARE INVITED
FRIENDS ~ FAMILIES ~ MEMBERS
COME GIVE THE GIFT OF LIFE!
RPAC is hosting another party this spring with table games, an open bar, music, dancing, food, prizes, and much more at their Las Vegas Casino Night. Network and mingle with your fellow real estate professionals in a casual atmosphere, all while helping our business.
Don't miss out! Make time on Tuesday night, May 7, to support RPAC, our industry and economy, and have FUN doing it! Your RPAC contribution is taken care of simply by registering for tickets.
FREE Class on RPR Basics Tomorrow at PGCAR®
Just a Few Seats Left
Are you using the REALTORS® Property Resource (RPR®) for your listing presentations and to help more quickly serve your homebuyers and sellers? If not, tomorrow's free class is for you.
RPR® quick facts:
Join us tomorrow - Tuesday, April 2nd, 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm - and learn how to log into the RPR® system, setup your profile, research and create customized property and market activity reports -- for FREE!
- an NAR members only, online tool for creating property pricing presentations, research, and analytics
- RPR's robust and market specific data offers REALTORS® a competitive advantage in this recovering but still challenging real estate climate
- provides valuable customized reports and statistics
- is included with your REALTOR® membership dues!
Click here to register >
HUGE SENTRILOCK LOCKBOX SALE
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.
|MAR Commercial Real Estate Symposium
Maryland Entertainment Expansion
and Its Direct Impact on
3 Hours Continuing Education
- Open to all Real Estate Practitioners
(CEU pending, subject to MREC approval)
||Friday, May 10
9 am - 12:15 pm
||Maryland LIVE! Casino
7002 Arundel Mills Circle, #777
Hanover, MD 21076 - Map
||8 - 9 am
Registration and Continental Breakfast
9 - 10:30 am
(1.5 Hours Professional Enhancement CE, pending MREC approval)
Our team of experts will discuss emerging trends of entertainment expansion in Maryland and their impact on the commercial real estate market.
Dr. Anirban Basu, CEO of the Sage Policy Group will moderate the panel discussion. Dr. Basu will present his views on the topic.
10:30 - 10:45 am
- David Cordish, Chairman, The Cordish Companies
- J. Thomas Sadowski, President & CEO, Economic Alliance
of Greater Baltimore
- Principal from the Simon Property Group
10:45 am - 12:15 pm
2013 Legislative Update - Impact on Commercial Real Estate
(1.5 hours Legal & Legislative CE, pending MREC approval)
William Castelli, Vice President, Government Affairs,
Maryland Association of REALTORS®
2013 NAR Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo
The REALTORS® Midyear Meetings & Trade Expo is where NAR members come together to take an active role in advancing the real estate industry, public policy, and the association. There will be a variety of meetings and events including: special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities, and the industry trade show.
||May 13 - 18
|Capitol Hill Visits:
||May 15 - 16
||May 15 - 16
Midyears are FREE, as always, to REALTOR® members.
For more information, to plan your Midyear Schedule, and to register click here.
REALTOR® Magazine Seeks Good Neighbor Nominations
Five Winners will Receive $10,000 Grants and National Publicity
REALTOR® Magazine is seeking nominees for the 2013 Good Neighbor Awards. The program recognizes REALTORS® whose extraordinary commitment to community service has helped make their communities better places to live.
If a REALTOR® you know is putting forth the effort to make a difference in the community, help their cause by nominating them today!
Deadline for entry is Monday, May 20.
Click here for more details. Click here for rules and an entry form.
- Maryland Homefront - Expires June 30, or When Funds Run Out!
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 >
- Homebuyer Savings for City of Laurel
Buyers of foreclosed homes receive tax credits. The program offers a five-year descending City tax credit of up to $3500 for buyers purchasing their primary residence within Laurel City limits.
Program Details >
- $30 Million Targeted Areas Initiative for All 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 >
- 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 >
- 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 >
- 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 >
- Freddie Mac HomeSteps SmartBuySM
Offers up to $500 for purchase of a home warranty.
Home listings and incentive details > Sign up for homesteps.com buyer leads >
Most of these programs can be used in combination. Information on these and other homebuyer savings are available at pgcar.com.
Consumer Tip: Homeowner Tax Pitfalls to Avoid
Watch Out for These Easy to Make Mistakes
It's easy to miss some opportunities, or even make outright mistakes, if you are rushing to get your taxes done. If you are a homeowner that has waited till the last minute to do your taxes, you aren't alone.
If you have yet to sit down at your home office, kitchen table, or dining room floor and prepare to take on this annual ritual, there are a few common pitfalls to keep in mind.
According to tax pros, the following errors are some of the easiest slip-ups that can cost you money or bring the IRS knocking on your door.
- Don't confuse escrow with actual taxes paid. This one comes from TurboTax Vice President Bob Meighan. Did your lender escrow funds to pay your property taxes? The amount you put into escrow is most likely not exactly aligned with your actual property tax bill. Your lender should provide you with an official document listing the actual amount of taxes paid. This is what you should be using, not a sum of the year's escrow property tax payments.
- Is your home office tax deduction too good to be true? This deduction can be very difficult to itemize correctly and it often doesn't end up adding up to as much as you thought it would at first. The kicker is that it has to be recaptured if you make a profit on the sale of your home. Furthermore, experts say it can draw the attention of the IRS to look further into your return. If you're going to go for it, be sure that you know what you're doing and that it's worth the drawbacks.
- Did you accurately track home-related expenses? Be sure you have your records in order for any maintenance or repair expenses you claimed. If the IRS gives you a ring, you don't want to be peeling up the floorboards looking for receipts. If you file documents as you go, it will be a minor nuisance, rather than a catastrophe, if you are audited.
As with any time we write about taxes or legal matters, it's important to remember that this information shouldn't be relied upon for particular situations. Always consult a tax professional for such advice.
Read many more tips in further detail at HouseLogic.com >
April is Fair Housing Month!
Sign up for our MD Fair Housing class on Friday, April 19. Also, check out NAR's diversity program page for a range of related resources to use for your business.
- How well do you know federal fair housing law? Test Your Fair Housing IQ >
- Educate yourself, and your sellers about fair housing laws. Remember, you don't want to discriminate, but the law is about actions and not just good intentions. Discriminating in any way, even at the request of a seller, is illegal. If a seller wants you to discriminate, walk away from the transaction. Read more at NAR's Fair Housing program page >
Check Out PGCAR's New Grassroots Action Center
At the bottom left of www.pgcar.com, you'll now see a flashing "Take Action" button, which links directly to our new Grassroots Action Center.
This page allows you to quickly and easily respond to PGCAR Calls-to-Action on vital legislative issues and learn more about legislative topics affecting Prince George's County REALTORS®. All you have to do is add your name and address to take action. The Convio system we are using does the rest. It knows your legislative districts and elected officials - allowing you to support and protect your business with ease at those critical moments when we need to make our voices heard.
Click here for more details and to check out the page >
Earn All MD and DC Required CEU at PGCAR
All classes are held at PGCAR offices.
Sale on All PGCAR Classes
Special Pricing Extended Through June 2013
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, $26 regular.
Hurry to www.pgcar.com/real-estate-ceu today >
Market Sen$e: Mortgage Rates Up Slightly, But Still Near Historic Lows
Results released last Thursday, March 28, showed fixed-mortgage rates nudging back up slightly, but still remaining much lower than at this time last year.
Freddie Mac Vice President and Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said low and relatively steady mortgage rates are invigorating the housing market. For instance, existing home sales over January and February experienced the strongest two-month pace since November 2009, while new home sales were the strongest since August and September 2008.
"This strong demand helped push the S&P/Case-Shiller® 20-city home price index (seasonally adjusted) in January to its highest reading since December 2008," Nothaft said. "Moreover, the number of consumers expecting to purchase a home over the next six months rose to 5.6 percent in March, the second highest share since data was first collected in February 1964, according to The Conference Board."
Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending March 28, 2013:
Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >
- The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.57%, up from 3.54%.
- The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.76%, up from 2.72%.
- The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.68%, up from 2.61%.
- The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.62%, down from 2.63%.
Detailed Home Sales Statistics for Prince George's County
Available online, announced on PGCAR Facebook
Statistics for February 2013 are now available at www.pgcar.com/stats >
The most significant increases were again seen for condos and coops. Listings, contracts, and settlements were all up for February 2013 over the same time last year - with a nearly 27 percent increase in contracts.
February 2013 stats for single family homes were relatively flat to down slightly compared to February 2012, but there were some notable increases - listings in the $500,000 to $599,999 range were up by 50 percent and listings in the $600,000 to $699,999 range were up by over 57 percent compared to the same time last year.
We're seeing continued increases in sold dollar volume, and fewer days on the market. And, the average sold price is up by over 11 percent!
Like us on facebook to be the first to see March home sales statistics and other market news!
Sales Coach: Are You Staying In Touch With the Right People?
The majority of homebuyers and sellers say they would definitely use their real estate agent again, or recommend that person to others. Yet only a very small percent actually do use that person. Why is there such a discrepancy? The main reason is lack of communication.
To keep your business network flowing with repeat customers and referrals, here are the five groups you should communicate with on a monthly basis, and a few ideas to keep the lines of communication open.
Click here for more from RealtorMag.Realtor.org >
- Past Clients: You've already built credibility with them, so turn them into repeat clients by keeping in touch. Send a thank you after the sale, or a copy of their closing statement to help them prepare their taxes. Past clients are your best resource for new referrals.
- New Leads: Be patient, yet consistent by keeping them informed, with tips on buying/selling a home, real estate in their area, or information related to their personal interests.
- Sphere of Influence: Almost half of referrals come from friends, neighbors or relatives, so it is extremely important to maintain consistent communication. Providing information on what's going on in the real estate market, tips on refinancing, or how to build home equity are a great way to keep you at the top of their list.
- Farm Area: One way to develop new leads is to create an area consisting of a certain geographical location, such as a subdivision. Then make contact with the residents so your name is the first that pops into their head.
- Local Business Owners: Provide them with a newsletter containing real estate data (both residential and commercial), then update them with current data. As fellow businesspeople, they'll appreciate the follow up.
Case #6-4: Acceptance of Rebates From Contractors
REALTOR® A, who managed a 30-year-old apartment building for Client B, proposed a complete modernization plan for the building, obtained Client B's approval and carried out the work. Shortly after completion of the work, Client B filed a complaint with the Board of REALTORS® charging REALTOR® A with unethical conduct for receiving rebates of "kickbacks" from the contractors who did the work.
At the hearing, Client B presented written statements from the contractors to substantiate his charges.
REALTOR® A defended himself by stating that he had carried out all work involving the preparation of specifications, solicitation of bids, negotiations with the contractors, scheduling work and supervising the improvement program; that he had presented all bids to the owner who had authorized acceptance of the most favorable bids; and that he and Client B had agreed on an appropriate fee for this service.
REALTOR® A also presented comparative data to show that Client B had received good value for his money. After all of the contracts were signed and the work was underway, REALTOR® A found that his fee was inadequate for the time the work required; that he needed additional compensation but didn't want to add to his client's costs; and that when he explained his predicament to the contractors and asked for moderate rebates, they agreed.
Questioning by panel members revealed that the contractors felt that since they were being asked for rebates by the man who would supervise their work, they felt that they had no choice but to agree.
Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 6, what do you think the hearing panel concluded? Click here to find out >
REALTORS® Federal Credit Union
Personal and Professional Lines of Credit
Whether you're consolidating higher interest debt, investing in home or business improvements, spreading tuition or annual dues payments, or simply opening a line of credit "just in case", you can cover it with a REALTORS® Federal Credit Union line of credit or personal loan.
Apply for personal or professional loans and find out more about great offers here >
Sign Regulations and Other Great REALTOR® Resources
Need information? You might want to try looking in the links section of our REALTOR® Resources page. You'll find links to relevant news outlets, government associations, and frequently requested information like Do's and Don'ts for Unlicensed Assistants and Real Estate Sign Posting Regulations.
REALTOR® Resources >
MRIS Training Videos
Do you find yourself struggling to keep up with the latest enhancements to Matrix and Keystone?
Whether you are brand new to MRIS or have been a customer for years, MRIS offers a diverse curriculum of product and skill-based training. These product videos are organized by Matrix and Keystone functions, to allow you to choose the individual items you need help with; for instance, CMA, Auto Email, Saved Searches, CARTS, etc. Click here and get the help you need without leaving your home or office. For an in office presentation, please contact Sue Pinder at 301-938-2054 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WANTED: MAR and NAR Committee Volunteers
Committee descriptions and a volunteer form are now online at www.mdrealtor.org. All MAR members are encouraged to apply for 2, but no more than 3 preferred committee choices. Some committees have specific requirements; however, every attempt will be made to accommodate your request for at least one committee assignment. Committee selections are prioritized by qualifications and date received.
Reminder: Current MAR committee members must re-apply for 2013 - 2014 MAR Committee Memberships.
MAR Applications Due By Monday, May 6 >
2014 NAR Committee Recommendations
NAR committee recommendations are also open (login required).
Nominations are due by Friday, May 24. Self nominations are encouraged.
NAR Committee Details and Nomination Form >
Membership Renewals Past Due
Brokers and non-paid Agents - January 31 was the deadline to pay 2012 - 2013 dues or remove any unpaid agents from your office roster. All new, licensed agents in your office were also required to join by January 31.
Renew Online, or please call the office at 301-306-7900 to renew.