FOOD AND COAT DRIVE
Continues Through This Thursday, December 12
In addition to the gala, PGCAR is collecting coats and non-perishable food to give to the needy. Please open up your closet and pantry. Do you have coats you never wear that could keep someone else warm? Are you still hanging on to 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.
Please gather any items that you can and bring them by the PGCAR offices by this Thursday - or to the Holiday Enchantment Gala on Wednesday night!
We urge you to contact your Senators and Congressional Representative in support of the "Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act." This bipartisan and bicameral act will allow additional time for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Congress to review and consider disputed aspects of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) reauthorization (known as the Biggert-Waters law) that could undermine some real estate transactions.
Maryland Short Sale Certification
Thursday, January 16
9 am - 3 pm
Only $195 through Jan. 14 / $225 after Jan. 14
On July 1, the MARS Act became effective in Maryland, and ALL real estate licensees involved in short sales MUST COMPLY with the Act.
How do you know if you're in compliance? How do you protect yourself and avoid penalties of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment? (Yes, you read that right!)
PGCAR is here to help! Our one-day program, The New Maryland Short Sale Certification, will give you the knowledge you need to successfully navigate short sales while staying compliant with the new regulations.
PGCAR Hosts Legislative Breakfast
Over 110 REALTORS® attended the PGCAR Legislative Breakfast on November 21, held at Martins Crosswinds in Greenbelt. The event was a huge success, organized by the Association's Legislative Committee under the supervision of Committee Chair Linda Simpson. REALTORS® in attendance were excited to hear from our County Executive, Mr. Rushern Baker; Prince George's Senate Vice-Chair, Anthony Muse; our House Chairwoman and candidate for Lt. Governor, Jolene Ivey; and Andrea Harrison, County Council Chair. Many of our Prince George's County Senators, Delegates and County Council officials also attended this year's event and enjoyed the opportunity to mingle throughout the morning.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Loan Limits Spared From Reduction
On September 8, The Wall Street Journal announced a decision by Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Ed DeMarco, to reduce the conforming loan limits, thereby lowering the maximum eligible loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Since then, NAR has worked to persuade the Acting Director to not enact reductions. Last Tuesday, November 26, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that the current limits on conforming loans will remain in effect until further notice.
REALTORS® Applaud DeMarco for Heeding Warnings, Leaving GSE Loan Limits As Is >
September 17 Letter to Acting Director DeMarco, explaining impacts of lowered loan limits >
Up to 5% to Prince George's Homebuyers -- Through the My HOME Program
Over $8 Million in Funding is Available!
My HOME provides deferred payment loans to cover up to 5% of a home's purchase price, for down payment and closing costs assistance, for income eligible homebuyers who haven't owned a home in the past 3 years. If the purchaser remains in the home, using it as their primary residence for 10 or more years, the complete amount of the My HOME loan is forgiven.
Reminder: The My HOME Program is NOT just for low income! Applicants at or below 80% of the area median income may qualify. For example, single-person homebuyers at or below $60,200 annual income (or $90,150 for homes within targeted zip codes) can apply; 3-person households at or below $77,400 (or $115,900 within targeted zip codes) can apply.
My HOME II Also Available in Targeted Zip Codes
Details on the My HOME / My HOME II program are at www.pgcar.com and now available at the Redevelopment Authority's My HOME Program website. You may call the Redevelopment Authority at 301.883.7323 with any questions and for further program details.
Crayons and Supplies for Elementary School Children
Albert Einstein once said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Yet a local elementary school class (children who participate in our annual poster contest) hasn't the funds for crayons this year. What will happen to those wonderful little minds, without colors and creativity?
Please help a small bit, to impact at least this classroom in a BIG way! Please drop off new boxes of crayons at the PGCAR office, or donate at www.pgcar.com/crayons to buy crayons and other supplies for these precious children. They're our future!
THIS HOLIDAY SEASON, GIVE THE GIFT OF LIFE!
When you donate blood, you save lives!
American Red Cross Blood Drive
Next Thursday, December 19
9 am to 2:30 pm at the PGCAR office:
9200 Basil Court, Suite 400
Largo, MD 20774
Family and friends are all welcome!
BLOOD DONORS SAVE LIVES!
If you haven't seen the Prince George's Community Television coverage on our October blood drive, check out the October 10 video on their Facebook page! You can view the entire segment or skip ahead to minute 4:40.
- My HOME / My HOME II Program
Up to 5% or $20,000 in Homebuyer Incentives!
Program offers up to 5% of sale price (through My HOME) of a primary residence anywhere in Prince George's County; up to $20,000 (through My HOME II) within targeted zip codes. Program details >
- College Park Live Smart Program
Up to $5,000 in Homebuyer Incentives!
College Park's program highlights affordability and convenient location to encourage home sales in the community, offering up to $5,000 in incentives to home buyers. 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 $3,500 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
$40,000 Maximum in Downpayment & Closing Cost Savings!
Up to 5% of home purchase price to first-time homebuyers or those who haven't owned within the last 3 years; Up to 7% for local civic employees. Program Details > Revised Buy Suitland Flyer >
- Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLB Atlanta)
Up to $15,000 toward 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 Initiative (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: Light Up Your House for the Holidays
(But Follow These Safety Tips!)
It's a thrill to see lights everywhere at this time of year - adorning trees, porches, and roof lines outside our houses, and decking the halls and boughs within. But you'll want to be certain that all of that electricity is properly tamed to ensure a very happy (and safe!) holiday.
Keep in mind the following precautions as you prepare to dazzle friends and family:
A bit of precaution will cost you very little time, all the while ensuring that your holiday lighting extravaganza will be a beacon of joy throughout the season.
- Inspect lights and cords; if you see any damage, discard!
- Check - and follow - the manufacturer's cautions about stringing lights together.
- Replace bulbs that have burned out or are missing.
- If you plan to light the exterior of your house, be sure that lights and extension cords are UL-rated for outside use.
- Lights rated for exterior use shouldn't be used inside: they generate more heat than indoor lights. Consider cooler-burning, energy-efficient LEDs instead.
- Hang lights with UL-approved hangers, not staples or nails.
- Exterior lights should be up no longer than 90 days to avoid damage.
- When the season is over, loosely coil light strings around sturdy cardboard to avoid tangling.
For more information on these and other safety tips, please visit Houselogic.com.
PGCAR Has Gone Social
Now you can network and get news, tips and other information helpful in cultivating your business by joining PGCAR's Facebook and Twitter pages. Haven't liked us at www.facebook.com/pgcar yet? Go ahead and join in at our original Facebook location, plus the all-new www.facebook.com/pgcar.ypn and Twitter pages!
Find out the latest trends in the real estate market, and socialize with other REALTORS® that can give you insight. Do you have information you want to share? Tweet it or share it on PGCAR's other social websites.
Now you're able to meet other members, as well as additional friends of PGCAR.
Don't wait, connect today.
PGCAR and WCR Membership Applications
New Agents? Looking for a PGCAR or Local WCR Membership Application?
Download the New 2014 PGCAR Membership Application from www.pgcar.com >
Women's Council of REALTORS® Prince George's Chapter Membership Application >
Earn All MD and DC Required CEU at PGCAR
Is your Maryland License expiring by December 31, 2013? MREC Agency-Residential is required! Earn your required 3 CEU in this topic on December 27 (or take it as an elective).
INCLEMENT WEATHER / SNOW POLICY:
SNOW POLICY: PGCAR classes
will be conducted as scheduled unless the Prince George's County Government offices are closed. If you are registered for a class and it is cancelled, your registration fee will be returned or transferred to a future class.
Please be safe and use your best judgment with regards to driving. If unable to attend due to weather, please e-mail Scott Miller or call Scott at 301-306-7961 and you will not be charged. If you will not be attending class, please indicate whether you would like to reschedule or if you would like a refund.
PGCAR committee meetings: If Prince George's County Public Schools are CLOSED, all PGCAR committee meetings will be cancelled. If Prince George's County Public Schools are on a delayed schedule, committee meetings will be held as scheduled.
PGCAR offices will be open unless the Prince George's County Government is closed.
Remember! Enjoy Savings on CEU at PGCAR!
PGCAR Members and REALTORS® - Enjoy steep discounts on ALL classes held 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, $26 regular.
Hurry to www.pgcar.com/real-estate-ceu today >
Learn More, Earn More in 2014
PGCAR is offering GRI Series 100 in April.
The dates for this 5-day series are April 9, 11, 17, 23 and 25.
Also earn 3 MD Ethics hours, 3 MD Fair Housing hours and 10.5 MD elective hours.
Sign up now!
Market Sen$e: Fixed Mortgage Rates Jump After Jobs and Home Sales Growth
Last Thursday, December 5, Freddie Mac survey results showed fixed mortgage rates (FRM) increasing significantly, although still at low historical rates. 30-year FRM is below 4.5% and 15-year FRM is below 3.5%.
Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's Vice President and Chief Economist, noted, "Fixed mortgage rates increased this week following stronger than expected economic data releases. Private companies added 215,000 new jobs in November according to the ADP employment report, well above the consensus. In addition, revisions added 54,000 jobs in the prior month. Lastly, new home sales rose 25 percent in the month of October to a seasonally adjusted 444,000 annual pace, though this followed a weaker than expected September report and downward revisions over the summer months."
Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending December 5, 2013:
Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >
- The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.46%, up from 4.29%.
- The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.47%, up from 3.30%.
- The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.99%, up from 2.94%.
- The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.59%, down from 2.60%.
Like us on Facebook to see monthly Prince George's County home sales and weekly mortgage reports as soon as they are released!
Sales Coach: To Find Success, Be Yourself
It's easy to get caught up in the craze of the newest tech tool or app, with the dream that it will launch your career into the real estate stratosphere. While there certainly is value in using technology, if you rely solely on that, you're missing out on your very best marketing tool: YOU.
Real estate is a profession of personality. Your clients - prospective and current - need to connect with you, and remember that apps and tools don't allow you to hide. Instead, they help people find you, so you had better identify who and what you want them to find. So first, focus on your strengths and how you can use them to your advantage, then look at how technology helps you.
Consider these three tech-centric marketing myths:
Ultimately, your best success will come from discerning your own strengths and using them in the environments most comfortable to you; that's where you'll shine and "work" will be effortless. For more information on marketing your strengths,
- You gotta blog.
If you have fascinating, dynamic information to share, by all means, blog away! But if you struggle to find something to write - or if writing isn't your strength - it's not a worthy investment of your time. Stagnant, non-attended REALTORS'® Web sites generate minimal business, so your time would be better spent making calls or networking face-to-face if that's what you enjoy. Hire or work as a team with someone who does enjoy writing (and knows proper grammar), and you'll be more than pleased with results!
- Maintain a professional image - always.
While you want to be seen as a professional, there's no harm in expressing your personality (online or otherwise). Again, real estate is a people profession, and your interests or even idiosyncrasies can help others to connect with you.
- Social media is a must.
Like blogging, use of social media can be a blessing or a curse. If you're not comfortable or interested in social media, you'll do yourself a disservice to try to force postings that miss the mark. Again, hire or team up with someone who loves the communications, will happily post helpful news or items of interest to your target market.
Case #8-2: Request for Investigation Filed by Board
with the State Real Estate Commission
REALTOR® A listed Client B's residential property and sold it to Buyer C, who made a substantial deposit subject only to Buyer C's obtaining a mortgage on terms and conditions not exceeding a specified rate of interest within 60 days.
REALTOR® A assisted Buyer C by introducing him to officials of a lending institution, and after processing of his application for a mortgage, a written mortgage commitment was made by the lending institution which met the terms and conditions of the sales agreement. However, shortly after the mortgage commitment was received by Buyer C, REALTOR® A received a certified, return receipt requested letter from Buyer C, advising that Buyer C had changed his mind and would not go through with the sale. REALTOR® A discussed the matter by phone, but Buyer C said he would rather forfeit his deposit and definitely would not complete the sale, even at the risk of the seller suing for specific performance.
REALTOR® A then advised Client B of Buyer C's refusal to go through with the sale and Client B told REALTOR® A that he did not wish to sue Buyer C, but would just accept a portion of the forfeited deposit as specified in the listing agreement between Client B and REALTOR® A.
REALTOR® A then obtained a written release from the sale from Client B and Buyer C, and promised to send Client B a check for the portion of the forfeited deposit due to Client B as specified in the listing agreement. However, REALTOR® A failed to send Client B a check and Client B filed a complaint with the Executive Officer of the Board alleging a violation of Article 8 of the Code of Ethics.
At the hearing, Client B stated that he had no complaint about REALTOR® A's services to him except REALTOR® A's failure to provide Client B with the portion of the forfeited deposit due him, and that after several telephone calls and letters, REALTOR® A had told Client B that he would provide the forfeited monies due Client B "just as soon as he could." Client B said REALTOR® A told him he had some unexpected expenses and therefore Client B would have to wait until REALTOR® A obtained other funds which he expected to receive shortly.
REALTOR® A admitted the facts as related and further admitted that he had not placed the deposit received from Buyer C into an escrow account, but had placed it in his general funds. He said that unexpected expenditures had caused a deficit balance in these funds, and he would pay Client B as soon as he could.
Based on your understanding of Article 8, what do you think the hearing panel concluded?
Click here to find out >
FREE HANDS-ON MRIS TRAINING AT PGCAR
Upcoming Dates & Courses
Tuesday, December 17 @ 10:00 am
MATRIX 102: CMA's, Present Listings with Confidence
Tuesday, December 17 @ 12:30 pm
MRIS 102: Simple Solutions to Use Public Records
Tuesday, December 17 @ 2:30 pm
MRIS 103: Everything Maps
MRIS reports that agents who take advantage of their FREE workshops, also tend to seldom receive complaints and fines for misuse of the MLS. Visit www.mris.com/training for details and registration. Advance registration with MRIS is required.
REALTORS® FCU Can Help You Get Ahead
Real estate is a competitive field; you need to distinguish yourself from the crowd. The best way to gain the esteem of clients and colleagues is to be knowledgeable, and REALTORS® Federal Credit Union is here to help!
With rates as low as 7.00% APR, you can use the REALTORS® FCU Professional Development Line of Credit toward continuing education, state licensing requirements, conference fees, annual dues, NAR designation and certification courses, and more.
If you haven't yet joined the REALTORS® FCU, just www.realtorsfcu.org, click on the Membership tab, and see what's in store for you!
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 2014's 30 Under 30. REALTOR® Magazine will announce and showcase this year's rising young stars in the real estate industry in the June 2014 issue.
But the application deadline is January 15, 2014. 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 >
SentriLock Lockbox sale expires soon! Get yours today!
Pay only $65 each (plus tax) for up to 9 lockboxes; order larger numbers and enjoy even
greater discounts! Power paddles are also discounted to $55 for a limited time. To take
advantage of these great prices, please contact Shirley at the Association office.
PGCAR will be closed on Christmas Eve, December 24 and Christmas Day, December 25.
May you and your family enjoy a Christmas of joy and good health, peace and good will.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!