|The PGCAR offices are closed today, February 17th,
in honor of Presidents' Day
|David Maclin Memorial Scholarship
Scholarship Applications Due Next Friday, 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
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 www.pgcar.com.
- Click here
- Log in
- Pay and receive an itemized receipt for your
2013 - 2014 PGCAR, MAR and NAR membership renewals.
RENEW IMMEDIATELY at www.pgcar.com, 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!
David Maclin Memorial Scholarship Fund - Register Now!
Third Annual 5K Fun Walk/Run - Saturday, April 12
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.
|Saturday, April 12
(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 4
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.
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 >
Flood Insurance Bill Passed by Senate; Awaiting House Action.
Some Delays Ratified Under Spending Bill
On 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. 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.
Temporary delays (until 2015) on limited portions of the original Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, were inserted into January's omnibus spending bill and passed.
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 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact MAR Government Affairs at 800-638-6425.
- 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.
Have a Heart – Give Life This Wednesday!
REALTOR® Blood Drive
THIS Wednesday, February 19
Please join us at the PGCAR offices between 9 am and 2:30 pm this 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 www.pgcar.com >
Learn More, Earn More in 2014 - GRI 100 Series Begins April 9
Improve your industry knowledge and your income!
You can earn your GRI by taking the GRI 100, 200 and 300 Series in any order. Also earn 3 MD Ethics hours, 3 MD Fair Housing hours and 10.5 MD elective hours with GRI 100.
Register for the entire GRI 100 or individual classes at www.pgcar.com.
REALTOR® Party Convention & Trade Expo is May 12th - 17th
The REALTOR® Party Convention & Trade Expo (renamed from NAR Midyear Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo) will be Monday through Saturday, May 12th through 17th in Washington, DC. The Trade Expo will be open Wednesday and Thursday, 10 am to 6 pm both days. Please plan to join other NAR members at this informative and inspiring annual event.
Registration opens THIS Wednesday, February 19, at 1 pm. If staying overnight in DC during any portion of the week, please register early and gain the best hotel selection.
Consumer Tip: Low-Cost Ideas to Make Your Home's Approach Appealing
It doesn't matter whether you're preparing your home for sale or simply happy to stay right where you are: having an inviting entrance is important. Thankfully, an appealing front entry doesn't have to destroy your budget, as many fixes are quite economical.
Here, we offer 11 ideas (all under $100) that will help to welcome guests or buyers:
It's quite affordable to make a good first impression, and many of the ideas above provide the bonus of increasing the security of your front entrance.
- Clear the Path to Your Door. Don't let overhanging vines, untrimmed trees, or overcrowding shrubs block the path - or the view - to your door. Trim foliage to make your doorway broad and bright (this also increases security, as there's no place for interlopers to hide).
- Light the Way. Use landscape lighting to illuminate the way to your door.
- Be Bold. A bright, glossy color on your front door will offer a cheerful "Welcome!" to visitors.
- Gussy-up the Glass. A front door with glass is great for letting light in, but to keep those outside from seeing in, decorative window film is inexpensive yet attractive.
- Refresh or Replace Hardware. Polish the door handle, which has probably become dull from use, or select a shiny new replacement.
- Knockers Have a Knack... For being reliable. Doorbell batteries can die, while a good doorknocker can be heard throughout the house. With such a wide array of styles, you can select one to express your personality.
- Go Green. Evergreens like boxwoods are low-maintenance and look classic yet fresh flanking the doorway.
- DO be a Number. Your house number should be clearly visible from the street. If it's not, solving the numbers problem can be as easy (and inexpensive) as stick-on vinyl numbers.
- A Welcome Idea. A good doormat won't cost a lot (many are available for less than $20), and will help to keep mud, dirt, and snow outside.
- Be Bright. Lanterns on both sides of the door will offer appealing symmetry and plenty of light.
- Mail Order. The appearance of your mailbox matters. Be sure it's mounted solidly and straight, and that it closes securely. Also, paint or polish it if necessary; people other than the mail carrier do notice.
For more information on these ideas, please visit Houselogic.com.
Could Your Charitable Work Benefit From Funds and Mentoring?
Apply for a $1,000 Grant and Mentoring Program by February 28!
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 www.Realtor.org/gna and click on "Volunteering Works." The deadline for entries is next Friday, February 28, 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 www.pgcar.com >
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!
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, $26 regular.
Hurry to www.pgcar.com/real-estate-ceu today >
Market Sen$e: Nominal Change in Fixed Mortgage Rates
Last Thursday, February 13, Freddie Mac released results showing very little change in fixed mortgage rates.
Freddie Mac's Vice President and Chief Economist, Frank Nothaft, attributed the lack of movement to a week of light economic reports.
"Of the few releases, the economy added 113,000 jobs [PDF] in January, which was below the market consensus forecast and followed a slight upward revision of 1,000 jobs in December," Nothaft stated. "Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent, which makes thirteen consecutive months without an increase."
Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending February 13, 2014:
Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >
- The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.28%, up from 4.23%.
- The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.33%, same as last week.
- The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 3.05%, down from 3.08%.
- The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.55%, up from 2.51%.
Like us on Facebook to see monthly Prince George's County home sales reports and weekly mortgage rate reports as soon as they are released!
Commercial Real Estate Investors Cautiously Optimistic for 2014
Commercial real estate investments are expected to produce generally solid returns in 2014, according to the authors of Expectations & Market Realities in Real Estate 2014 - The Future Unfolds, an annual forecast report released by Deloitte, NAR, and the Real Estate Research Corporation (RERC).
Research findings indicate that although uncertainties remain, the economy is expected to continue to grow slowly and improve modestly in 2014. Ample liquidity creates investment potential, and commercial real estate investment has expanded to the secondary and tertiary markets. In addition, the report carefully analyzes and offers a research-based assessment of the office, industrial, apartment, retail, and hotel property sectors. The report also provides an outlook for the three most likely economic and investment scenarios for 2014 and beyond.
Download the full report >
Read the news release >
Read a short intro >
Sales Coach: Four Tips for Working with Reserved Clients
It's likely that anyone in a selling position - regardless of their industry - has encountered guarded, less-than-communicative clients. For many people, the word "sales" conjures up the image of a high-pressure used-car salesperson who would lie, cheat, or steal just to make a sale. As you know, this stereotype is by far the exception and not the rule, yet it persists and buyers are often wary of salespeople in general.
So what do you do when you have a client or prospective buyer who won't open up with you? First, understand. Buying a house or property is a significant financial and emotional investment, and it's natural to feel a bit of fear. Also, the client often doesn't have any experience with you and doesn't know your professionalism or integrity. There will be a warm-up period with reticent clients, and it's important that you show the utmost respect, even while you're trying to earn it.
Try these four tips to earn the confidence of taciturn clients:
- Show Them You Won't be Overbearing.
Clients may be guarded out of fear that you'll try to influence their decision. Affirm that you're just providing information so they can decide.
- Facts First.
Concentrate on the factual information, and then ask whether and how you're meeting what they want.
- Take the Focus Off of You.
Lead with your REALTOR® tools - market analysis, showings, etc. Allow them to gain comfort with the process, and comfort with you will follow.
- Assure Them of Their Ability.
Real estate is probably a new and uncomfortable arena for your client; offer reassurance that you're providing what they need to make their own right decision.
In following these tips, you remind clients and prospects that you're the expert in real estate, but they're the experts in what they want. As their trust in you inevitably grows, they'll communicate more and help you to help them.
For more information on these tips, please visit Realtor.org >
Case #13-2: Use of Standard Purchase Contract Form
REALTOR® A, as the exclusive agent of Seller B, sold a small commercial property to Buyer C, filling in the blanks in the standard purchase contract form. At the time REALTOR® A presented the contract for Buyer C's signature, he explained that the contract was prepared by attorneys and was commonly used in the area. He suggested that Buyer C have his attorney review it. Buyer C said he would read it over carefully, and if he had any questions he would consult an attorney about it. He subsequently signed the contract, saying it was clear and satisfactory to him.
At the closing, Buyer C professed to having been under some misunderstanding as to language in the contract regarding the date of possession of the property, and following the closing Seller B complained to the Board of REALTORS® that he had been greatly embarrassed by this circumstance at the closing and felt that REALTOR® A was at fault in preparing a contract without having an attorney participate in the drafting.
At the hearing, REALTOR® A reiterated the points that had been made in his written response to the complaint: that the contract he had used was the standard form, prepared by an attorney; that in keeping with Article 13 he had recommended that the buyer have the contract reviewed by his own attorney; and that no other parties present at the closing had found any lack of clarity in the clause in question.
Based on your understanding of Article 13, what do you think the hearing panel concluded?
Click here to find out >
FREE HANDS-ON MRIS TRAINING
Tomorrow at PGCAR
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 www.mris.com/training for details and registration. Advance registration with MRIS is required.
Why Join REALTORS® FCU?
- Here's Another 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.