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February 3, 2014

    I n   t h i s   i s s u e . . .
  • Terminations for Non-Paid 2013-2014 Dues
  • Military Relocation Professional Certification
        - Next Wednesday, February 12
  • David Maclin Memorial Scholarship Applications
  • 5K Fun Walk/Run is Saturday, April 12
  • February Tax-Free Items in Maryland
  • Have a Heart this February – Give Life!
  • Earn Your MD Short Sale Certification
        - Rescheduled From January
  • GRI 100 Starts April 9
  • Presidents' Day - February 17

    Homeownership Matters
  • Senate Passes Flood Insurance Bill;
        House 30 Votes Shy of Needed Majority
  • Homebuyer Incentives in Prince George's Co.
  • Consumer Tip: Top 8 Home Upgrades
        Offering the Best Value
    The Industry Insider
  • Study Demonstrates Contribution of
        Real Estate Industry to Maryland Economy
  • 2014 Legislative Priorities
  • Could Your Charitable Work Benefit From
        Funds and Mentoring?
  • PGCAR and WCR Membership Applications
  • Earn Your MD and DC CEU at PGCAR
  • Inclement Weather / Snow Policy
  • Remember! Enjoy Savings on CEU at PGCAR!
  • Market Sen$e: Fixed Mortgage Rates Move
        Down for Third Consecutive Week
  • Sales Coach: Three Commitments to
        Help You Succeed in 2014
  • Code of Ethics: Case #12-15
  • Free Hands-On MRIS at PGCAR
  • Car Loan Rates Starting at 1.49%
  • SentriLock Lockbox Sale
    Membership / Office Terminations
    for Members with Non-Paid 2013 - 2014 Dues

    Brokers and Non-Paid Agents - A $100 reinstatement fee was added to unpaid accounts on Tuesday, January 7. January 31 was the deadline to pay 2013 - 2014 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. Suspensions are now taking effect for offices with non-paid members.

    Reinstate your membership, SentriLock key privileges, MRIS discount, ZipForms and other REALTOR® membership benefits at

    1. Click here
    2. Log in
    3. Pay and receive an itemized receipt for your
      2013 - 2014 PGCAR, MAR and NAR membership renewals.

    RENEW IMMEDIATELY at, or if your account has already been suspended, please call the office at 301-306-7900 to reinstate your membership. Don't let your office suffer suspension!


    Serve Relocating Military Families - Active and Veteran
    Take the Course Next Wednesday, February 12!

    Military Relocation Professional (MRP) Certification
    Wednesday, February 12
    9 am - 5 pm at PGCAR
    $150 through February 8; $175 after
    Also approved for 6 MD Elective CEU

    The MRP is a new certification from NAR's Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council, to help real estate professionals better meet the unique needs of relocating military members and their families.

    The Military Relocation Professional Certification is available to practitioners who complete a one-day course and two one-hour webinars that detail housing solutions, timetables, military background, and ways to help service members. The one-day course is also an approved elective for REBAC's Accredited Buyers Representative designation.

    "Home ownership is an important part of the fabric of America, and having a stable home environment is vital when men and women of the military are called away to serve their country," says 2013 NAR President Gary Thomas. "Working with a REALTOR® who understands specific needs and timetables related to military service will help make their transfers easier, faster, and less stressful. The Military Relocation Professional Certification will help REALTORS® hone their knowledge and skills for working with veterans and active duty military buyers and sellers to ensure that home ownership remains affordable and accessible to them."

    David Maclin Memorial Scholarship
    Scholarship Applications Due February 28th
    Do You Know a Prince George's County Public High School Senior:

    Graduating with a 2.0 or better GPA?
    Already making a difference in the community?

    Please have them complete an application for the 2014 David Maclin Memorial Scholarship. Winners will receive a $2,500 scholarship to be used toward further education in any community college, university, or trade school.

    Please also share Scholarship Application Forms with educators you know. You may enable someone who hasn't received the materials to share this opportunity with their class, and make an important difference in the life of a student who wouldn't have heard of it without your involvement.

    Scholarship Letter   •   Scholarship Application   •   Permission Slip


    David Maclin Memorial Scholarship Fund - Register Now!
    Third Annual 5K Fun Walk/Run - Saturday, April 12

    You can help improve the life of a Prince George's County student!

    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.

    Commit to helping more students reach their dreams by joining us now!

    Register or Donate >     Become a Sponsor >

    David Maclin Memorial Scholarship 5K Run Walk
    DATE:   Saturday, April 12
    TIME:   9 - 11:30 am 5K Fun Walk/Run
    8 - 8:45 am Registration & Packet Pickup
    LOCATION:   Marlboro Ridge Club House
    COST:   $25 - adults, $5 - children under 12
    $30 for adult registrations after April 4
    and Race Day

    Then, please post this flyer in your office lobby and share the event link from

    Better yet - print out some copies and ask to post them at the next five places you visit.

    Office Lobby  *  Coffee Shop  *  Sporting Goods Merchandiser  *  Book Store  *  Community Mail Box

    Let's post the David Maclin 5K Scholarship Fun Walk/Run all over Prince George's County and
    change the lives of deserving local high school graduates!

    Flyer & Printable Registration >

    Printable Sponsorship Contribution Form >     Runner Sponsor Form >


    The Role of Real Estate in Maryland's Economy

    Maryland's Economy A study of real estate-related activities in Maryland released November 2013, demonstrates that Maryland's real estate industry directly and secondarily supports nearly 464,000 jobs in Maryland, approximately $28.7 billion in associated employee compensation (includes value of benefits), and $71 billion in output.

    The real estate industry also directly generated $887 million for the State of Maryland in individual income taxes and $7.3 billion in local government real estate-related tax revenues. The industry now supports roughly three-fifths of local government general fund revenues, significantly higher than the 49.2 percent of the 2011 report.

    In other words, despite representing 20 percent of statewide output, the industry supplies approximately 60 percent of local government general fund revenues. Any economic or tax policies considered in Maryland should carefully evaluate the potential effects on the real estate industry engine that so powerfully affects the state's fiscal health at all levels.

    Above is but a brief synopsis of key conclusions. Click here for this very informative report >


    Senate Passes Flood Insurance Bill;
    30 More Votes Needed to Pass in House

    Last Thursday, January 30, the Senate voted 67 - 32 to pass the bipartisan-sponsored Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (S. 1926). This new legislation calls for a 4-year timeout on rate increases triggered by a property's sale or a flood map update for a property with previously grandfathered rates.

    "NAR data show that through January 2014, four months into the law's implementation, more than 40,000 home sales were estimated to be either delayed or canceled because of increases and confusion over flood insurance rates," noted NAR President Steve Brown.

    Thank you to all members and your customers who contacted your Senator to help urge the Senate to support this homeownership legislation. The Senate vote sends the measure to the House of Representatives, where Reps. Grimm (R-NY) and Waters (D-CA) have already built an impressive list of 181 co-sponsors in favor of the bill; a total that is 30 votes shy of a House majority. Please also add your voice, when NAR asks us to help persuade the House leadership to bring a similar bill up for a floor vote at the earliest opportunity.

    Read more:

    2014 Legislative Priorities

    Homeowners Association and Condo Disclosures and Fees

    The Maryland Association of REALTORS® (MAR) supports making homeowner association and condominium association laws more uniform in regard to rescission rights, disclosure content and timing.

    In addition, many real estate practitioners have complained about the expense of resale packets. Even title companies are now being charged fees to verify information in resale packets. Although these fees theoretically pay for the expense of compiling and distributing this information, many of these fees seem unreasonable. Some states have required that these fees be commensurate to the cost of preparing this important information.

    Eminent Domain

    Eminent domain authority gives government at all levels the right to take private property for public purposes as long as just compensation is paid to the private property owner. MAR strongly opposes a new use of eminent domain authority. A number of cities, including Baltimore City, are exploring the use of eminent domain authority to condemn private mortgages thereby allowing a homeowner to refinance into a new mortgage product. MAR believes this expansion of eminent domain authority is unconstitutional thereby placing homeowners and those city governments condemning mortgages in a precarious legal position. Additionally, the few homeowners that are helped by such a program come at a high expense for the many other homeowners who would suffer the consequences when the federal government and private mortgage providers increase costs or forego mortgage activity in cities where this practice takes place. MAR believes there should be a blanket prohibition on the use of eminent domain authority in this way.

    Pit Bulls and Landlord Liability

    Due to a Maryland Court of Appeals decision in 2012, landlords were held to the highest level of legal liability (strict liability) when a tenant's pit bull attacks a person. In the 2013 Legislative Session, the Legislature failed to pass legislation that would have returned the law to its state before the Court of Appeals decision. MAR strongly supports legislation that reverses the Court of Appeals decision and returns the law to the prior rule: only negligent landlords face legal liability.

    Rental Security Deposits Rates

    MAR supports legislation to reduce the 3% interest rate mandated for rental security deposits. It has been many years since any rental property owner received 3% interest on passbook saving and checking accounts and there is no reason that rental property owners should have to come out of pocket to pay back a security deposit.

    Accounting for Growth

    The Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) is considering a regulation that would require home builders to account for the pollution created by new development. MAR is concerned about an extremely high fee-in-lieu being considered for properties that cannot meet on-site mitigation requirements. For some large lot properties on septic systems, the fee-in-lieu could amount to tens of thousands of dollars. With all of the other requirements recently placed on new construction in the last 5 - 7 years, the price of many new homes, particularly in rural areas, would be increased significantly. MAR is expressing its concern to legislators so that reasonable regulations can be passed that won't undermine housing affordability.

    Stormwater Fee

    MAR opposes any change that would increase the burden of the stormwater fee on residential and commercial real estate.

    For more information contact Mike Graziano, PGCAR Director of Government Affairs, at 301-306-7900 or, or contact MAR Government Affairs at 800-638-6425.

    1. 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 >
    2. 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 >
    3. 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 >
    4. $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 >
    5. 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 >
    6. 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 >
    7. 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 >
    8. 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


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

    Tax Free Weekend on Energy Star Products — February 15 - 17
    Share the news with your homebuyers! Marylanders mark your calendars: the weekend of Saturday, February 15 through Monday, February 17 (Presidents' Day) will be a tax-free three-day weekend during which the sales and use tax will not apply to the sale of solar water heaters and selected Energy Star Products.

    Eligible Energy Star Products are any 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. For more information on Energy Star items, click here >

    Also, remember to mark your calendars for Shop Maryland, August 10 - August 16, where qualifying apparel and footwear $100 or less will be exempt from the Maryland 6% sales tax (accessory items are not included).

    Have a Heart this February – Give Life!
    REALTOR® Blood Drive
    on Wednesday, February 19

    Please mark your calendars now, and join us at the PGCAR offices between 9 am and 2:30 pm on Wednesday, February 19, to donate blood to the American Red Cross. Encourage your entire office to show up! Family and friends are all welcome!

    Blood donors save lives.


    Earn the Maryland Short Sale Certification
    Rescheduled From January

    Thursday, March 20 from 9 am - 3 pm
    Only $195 through March 17 / $225 after March 17

    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.

    Register Today at >


    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!


    Consumer Tip: Top 8 Home Upgrades Offering the Best Value

    Home Upgrades Homeowners are once again investing in remodeling projects and upgrades to their homes. In order to reap the best benefits for efforts and investment, Remodeling magazine suggests the top-rated projects from their 2014 Cost Vs. Value Report.

    The following 8 upgrades are ordered to show the best return on investment:

    Upgrade National average cost   ROI
    1. Steel entry door $1,162 96.6%
    2. Wood backyard deck $9,539 87.4%
    3. Fiber-cement siding $13,378 87%
    4. Attic conversion $49,438 84.3%
    5. New garage door $1,534 83.7%
    6. Kitchen remodel $18,856 82.7%
    7. Energy-efficient windows $9,978 78.7%
    8. Vinyl siding $11,475 78.2%

    Note that all but two of these eight projects are exterior upgrades. That's no accident; as NAR President Steve Brown notes in this article from, "Curb appeal is always critical since it's the first impression for potential buyers."

    For more information about the upgrades listed here, please visit


    Could Your Charitable Work Benefit From Funds and Mentoring?
    Apply For the Volunteering Works Program Today!

    Maryland's Economy As REALTORS®, we enjoy helping people fulfill the dream of homeownership. Many of us go beyond that, though, to improve the communities where we live and work: we give time and effort to support charitable causes. If you are just such a REALTOR®, please consider responding to the Good Neighbor Society's call for applications to the 2014 Volunteering Works grant and mentoring program.

    The program looks for REALTORS® participating in charitable efforts that have growth potential; it selects five individuals whose dedication and goals for their respective organizations - with the aid of a $1,000 seed grant and Good Neighbor Society mentoring - are likely to expand or improve the charity's work. The five Volunteering Works recipients are each mentored by past recipients of REALTOR® Magazine's Good Neighbor Award, whose longstanding experience in community service provides valuable insight.

    If you'd like to submit an entry for Volunteering Works, visit and click on "Volunteering Works." The deadline for entries is February 28, 2014, and recipients will be notified in April.

    To read more about Volunteering Works and the call for entries, click here.


    PGCAR and WCR Membership Applications for 2014
    New Agents? Looking for a PGCAR or Local WCR Membership Application?

    Download the New 2014 PGCAR Membership Application from >
    Women's Council of REALTORS® Prince George's Chapter Membership Application >


    Earn All MD and DC Required CEU at PGCAR

    All classes are held at PGCAR offices. There's plenty of parking!

    This Tuesday, February 4
    MREC Required Supervision
    3 MD Required or Elective CEU
    Larry Hudson 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    This Wednesday, February 5
    DC Fair Housing & Predatory Lending
    3 DC Required Fair Housing CEU
    Jackie Talpa 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    This Friday, February 7
    3 MD Elective CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Rachel Jefferies 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Next Wednesday, February 12
    Military Relocation Professional Certification (MRP)
    REBAC/NAR MRP Certification;
    6 MD Elective CEU
    Dwayne Carte 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

    Monday, February 17
    Reverse Mortgages
    1.5 MD Elective CEU
    Bruce Winstead 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

    Thursday, February 20
    MREC Agency-Residential
    3 MD Required or Elective CEU
    Fredericka Lloyd 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    Friday, February 21
    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

    Monday, February 24
    MD Code of Ethics
    3 MD Required Ethics CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    Wednesday, March 5
    Financing Issues / Update
    3 DC Required CEU;
    3 MD Elective CEU
    Michael Chelst 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    Real Estate Tax Issues
    1.5 MD Elective CEU
    Linda de Marlor 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

    Wednesday, March 20
    Maryland Short Sale Certification
    3 MD Elective CEU
    Jill Pogach Michaels 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

    Wednesday, April 9
    GRI 100 Series
    - Full Series of 5 Classes Begins

    MD CEU - 16.5 hours total
    various 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

    Complete CEU Schedule >

    PGCAR Store


    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!

    Maryland and DC real estate CEU is on sale 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 today >


    Market Sen$e: Fixed Mortgage Rates Move Down for Third Consecutive Week

    Last Thursday, January 30, results released by Freddie Mac showed fixed mortgage rates moving lower still, in their third straight week of decline.

    The Vice President and Chief Economist for Freddie Mac, Frank Nothaft, indicated that weaker housing data contributed to the fixed mortgage rates' lowering.

    "Mortgage rates eased somewhat as new home sales [PDF] fell 7 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted pace of 414,000 units, below the consensus," said Nothaft. "The S&P/Case-Shiller® 20-city composite house price index [PDF] declined 0.1 percent for the month of November, the first decrease since November 2012."

    Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending January 30, 2014:

    • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.32%, down from 4.39%.
    • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.40%, down from 3.44%.
    • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 3.12%, down from 3.15%.
    • The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.55%, up from 2.54%.
    Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >

    Like us on Facebook to see January Prince George's County home sales reports as soon as they are released this week!


    Sales Coach: Three Commitments to Help You Succeed in 2014

    Home Sales Coach Since 2014 is still fairly new, it's a good time to take a fresh look at what we're doing and how we're doing it. Are there habits or tasks that are hampering your success? What might you change this year to ensure improvement?

    As you look at what you might change, try these 3 items that are easy to commit to and keep all year, and will bring you results:
    1. Know your numbers. Total the number of listing appointments you had in 2013, then the number of listings you actually sold. If you had 30 appointments and sold 15, you have a 50% closing ratio. In that case, double the number of listings you want to sell this year - that's the number of listing appointments you need to make. Now divide that number by 50 (allowing yourself a couple of weeks for time off) and you know your weekly goal. Follow the same steps for buyer appointments, and keep these numbers in mind throughout the year to stay on track for your goals.
    2. Let others market for you. Outsourcing your marketing ensures that it's consistent throughout the year -- not just when your business slows. It also helps to keep you doing what you do best.
    3. Don't get in the way of your success. Nothing and no one can defeat you more than you can. Decide to be positive, stop making excuses, and commit to success.
    Stay true to these 3 commitments all year, and when 2015 rolls around, you'll be proud of what you've accomplished.

    For more information on setting yourself up to succeed, visit >


    Case #12-15: Links to Other Internet Sites

    Noting the increasing numbers of people using the Internet, REALTOR® A decided to have a Web site designed. She hired a consultant and proceeded to plan her site and its contents. Realizing that her Web site might be enhanced by providing a link to all the local listings on, she decided to have her Web site designed to provide such a link.

    A few months later, REALTOR® B, a competing broker in the same community, was surfing the Web and happened upon REALTOR® A's new Web site. Upon exploring it, he discovered the link to which included REALTOR® B's listings.

    REALTOR® B immediately filed an ethics complaint with the local Board of REALTORS® alleging that REALTOR® A had violated Article 12 of the Code of Ethics as interpreted by the Standard of Practice 12-4. Following review by the Board's Grievance Committee, the complaint was scheduled for a hearing before a Hearing Panel of the Board's Professional Standards Committee.

    At the hearing, REALTOR® B argued that by providing a link to the listings on, REALTOR® A was advertising without authority all the listings in the local MLS on the Internet Web site.

    REALTOR® A countered saying that in the culture of the Internet, it is well established that links are merely a method of "pointing" or "referring" to another site; that the information had not been altered nor had any information been deleted; and that people who view the Internet Web sites understand that. She went on to analogize what she had done to distributing copies of the local homes magazine. Even though the magazine contained ads promoting other REALTORS® listings, by delivering that information to prospective buyers, she was not advertising their listings.

    Based on your understanding of Article 12, what do you think the hearing panel concluded?
    Click here to find out >



    Tuesday, February 18 @ 10:00 am
    MRIS 101: Kick Off Your Career with MRIS

    Tuesday, February 18 @ 1:30 pm
    MATRIX 101: The Need-to-Knows of Matrix

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


    Why Join REALTORS® FCU?
    - Here's One Reason!


    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 Offices will be closed on Monday, February 17
    in observance of Presidents' Day.

    Prince George's County Association of REALTORS®
    8300 Corporate Drive, Suite 100  :  Landover, MD 20785
    Phone 301-306-7900  :  Fax 301-306-8273  :  :  ©2014 PGCAR

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