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March 3, 2014

    I n   t h i s   i s s u e . . .
  • 5K Fun Walk/Run is Saturday, April 12
  • Earn Your MD Short Sale Certification
        - Thursday, March 20 at PGCAR
  • GRI 100 Starts April 9
  • Terminations for Non-Paid 2013 - 2014 Dues
  • REALTOR® Party Convention & Trade Expo
        - Coming to DC May 12th - 17th

    Homeownership Matters
  • Top 10 Things to Know: Tax Reform Draft
        Would Reduce Mortgage Interest Deduction
  • Flood Insurance Still Being Debated:
        House Vote Expected This Week
  • Homebuyer Incentives in Prince George's County
  • Consumer Tip: Don't Fall into These
        6 Home Deduction Traps
    The Industry Insider
  • Friday Victory for Property Owners, and Dogs
  • Legislative Alert: Lead Reduction Law Resources
  • 2014 Legislative Priorities
  • The Role of Real Estate in Maryland's Economy
  • 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: Gradual Upward Climb
        in Fixed Mortgage Rates Continues
  • Commercial Real Estate - 2014 Forecast
  • Sales Coach: How Pinterest Can
        Help Raise Interest
  • Code of Ethics: Case #14-2
  • Free Hands-On MRIS at PGCAR
  • Begin Now to Save for 2015
        - Quick and Easy Savings Account Choice
  • 2015 NAR Leadership Academy

    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 >


    Earn the Maryland Short Sale Certification
    Thursday, March 20 at PGCAR

    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 including the MARS Act. The MARS Act has been effective in Maryland since July 1, 2013. 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!
    Attend Thursday, March 20
    9 am - 3 pm at PGCAR

    Only $195 through March 17 / $225 after March 17

    Register Today at >


    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

    Wed, April 9 Module 101: Building a Real Estate Business
    Fri, April 11 Module 102: Prospecting & Listing Techniques
    Thu, April 17 Module 103: Fair Housing & Cultural Issues; and
    MD Law Ethics, Flipping & Predatory Lending
    Wed, April 23 Module 104: Basic Residential Financing
    Fri, April 25 Module 105: Marketing Methods

    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!


    Top 10 Things for REALTORS® to Know About Tax Reform Proposal
    REALTORS® Oppose Plan to Limit MID

    Federal real estate legislation report Last Wednesday, February 26, House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) released his long-awaited plan to reform the federal tax system. NAR president Steve Brown expressed the association's strong opposition and extreme disappointment in a statement released shortly after the proposal was unveiled. . .
    "NAR supports reforms that promote economic growth, but we strongly oppose severely altering the rules that govern ownership and investment in real estate. Real estate powers almost one-fifth of the U.S. economy, employs more than 17 million Americans, and contributes a quarter of all federal and state tax revenue and as much as 70 percent of local taxes."

    "We are extremely disappointed with several of the provisions contained in U.S. House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp's tax reform draft released today, namely proposed limits on the mortgage interest deduction and capital gains, and the repeal of deductions for state and local property taxes. These proposed changes to the taxation of real estate will impact every single American, either directly or indirectly."

    "NAR will carefully analyze the details of the Chairman's plan so we can best educate Congress and the public about how this plan would impact the owners, consumers, and producers of both residential and commercial real estate."
    NAR's Legislative Policy Team has reviewed the 2,000+ page document to evaluate the potential impact on real estate, both on residential and commercial, contained in the "discussion draft."


    Maryland Senate Unanimously Passes Bill to Overturn 2012 "Pit Bull Legislation"

    Maryland Pit Bull Legislation The Maryland Senate unanimously passed S.B 247 that overturns the 2012 ruling that deemed pit bulls to be "inherently dangerous."

    S.B. 247 passed by a 45-0 vote. On Friday, the Senate unanimously approved a bill to hold dog owners liable if their pet (regardless of breed) bites someone, unless they can prove they did not know it could happen. Similar legislation (H.B. 73, introduced by Del. Luiz Simmons, D-17) is awaiting action by the House of Delegates.

    Humane Society, February 28: MD Senate Praised for Passage of Compromise Legislation for Maryland Dogs >



    Flood Insurance Bill Still Awaiting Action in House
    Vote is Expected This Week

    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 sent the measure to the House of Representatives, where Reps. Grimm (R-NY) and Waters (D-CA) had built an impressive list of 181 co-sponsors in favor of the bill; a total just 30 votes shy of a House majority.

    The House vote was anticipated last week, but on Wednesday, February 26, House Speaker John Boehner announced that voting would be delayed as work on the legislation continued. The bill is now expected to come to a vote this week.

    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.

    Read more:


    Owners of rental properties built prior to 1950 must meet a number of requirements in order to maintain compliance with Maryland's Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing law.

    For instance, owners must:
    • Register rental units with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).
    • Distribute required educational materials to tenants every 2 years.
    • Satisfy lead paint risk-abatement standards at appointed events.
    Click here for complete information and resources needed to stay compliant with this law, provided by MDE.

    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


    The Role of Real Estate in Maryland's Economy

    An independently conducted research report by Sage Policy Group, Inc., sponsored by MAR, finds that nearly 464,000 jobs, $28.7 billion in associated employee compensation and benefits, and $71 billion in output are supported by Maryland's real estate industry. Download and read the entire report >


    REALTOR® Party Convention & Trade Expo is May 12th - 17th
    Registration Now Open!

    Trade Expo
    Meetings:   May 12 - 17
    Capitol Hill Visits:   May 14 - 15
    Trade Expo:   May 14 - 15

    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.

    Come together and take an active role to advance the real estate industry, public policy, and the association. Join fellow REALTORS® for a variety of meetings and events including: special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities, and the industry trade show.

    Registration is still FREE to REALTOR® members. For more information, to plan your Convention Schedule, and to register, click here.


    Consumer Tip: Don't Fall into These 6 Home Deduction Traps

    Home Upgrades It's tax time, and while we're all poring over documents, numbers, and deductions, it's important to pay close attention in order to avoid miscalculations and possibly an audit.

    On Form 1040, Schedule A is where you list your deductions. There are some common points on Schedule A where those preparing their own taxes most frequently make mistakes.

    Look carefully at these 6 common pitfalls when preparing your taxes:
    1. Real estate taxes (Line 6).
    2. Calculating tax if you've bought or sold within the tax year (Line 6).
    3. Refinancing point deductions (Line 10).
    4. Home equity line of credit: know limits (line 10).
    5. Private mortgage insurance (PMI) deductions (Line 13).
    6. Losses by casualty or theft (Line 20).
    Of course, it's best to consult a tax professional for advice or clarification if you have questions. For more information about these 6 tricky items, please visit


    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, March 4
    DC Legislative Update
    3 DC Required Legislative Update CEU
    Jackie Talpa 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    This 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

    This Thursday, March 6
    Successfully Selling Government Owned Properties
    1.5 MD Elective CEU
    Melanie Gamble 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

    Wednesday, March 19
    MD Legislative Update
    3 MD Required Legislative Update CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    MD Fair Housing
    1.5 MD Required Fair Housing CEU;
    1.5 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

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

    Friday, March 21
    3 MD Elective CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Rachel Jefferies 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

    Tuesday, March 25
    MREC Agency-Residential
    3 MD Required or Elective CEU
    Fredericka Lloyd 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

    Wednesday, March 26
    MD Code of Ethics
    3 MD Required Ethics CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    Reverse Mortgages
    1.5 MD Elective CE
    Bruce Winstead 1:30 p.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: Gradual Upward Climb in Fixed Mortgage Rates Continues

    Results released by Freddie Mac last Thursday, February 27, reflected upward movement in fixed mortgage rates for the fourth consecutive week.

    According to Frank Nothaft, Vice President and Chief Economist for Freddie Mac, the rise was a response to January's better-than-expected new home sales figures.

    "The 9.6 percent increase in new home sales for January followed an upward revision of 13,000 units in December," Nothaft stated. "The S&P/Case-Shiller® 20-city composite house price index [PDF] rose 13.4 percent over the 12-months ending in December 2013."

    Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending February 27, 2014:
    • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.37%, up from 4.33%.
    • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.39%, up from 3.35%.
    • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 3.05%, down from 3.08%.
    • The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.52%, down from 2.57%.
    Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >

    February home sales stats will be released this Thursday or Friday. Like us on Facebook to be among the first to see them!


    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 is creating investment potential. Furthermore, commercial real estate investment has expanded beyond the primary markets (big cities such as New York, DC and San Francisco) to the secondary and tertiary markets (suburban areas and inland cities).

    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: How Pinterest Can Help Raise Interest

    Home Sales Coach You already know that your marketing plan should have many facets in order to reach the widest and most diverse population. So have you considered Pinterest as part of that marketing?

    As Pinterest gains in popularity within the realm of social media, REALTORS® are finding it a valuable tool for raising interest in their businesses. As a very visual site, Pinterest is where you can highlight your excellence in home staging, décor suggestions, and home improvement ideas. Imagine being the go-to source for decorating or renovation tips, even customized by geographical area or budget! Really, the possibilities are as limitless as your imagination.

    Naturally, a benefit to posting photos of rooms or features in your listed houses is the potential for generating business. Perhaps a viewer isn't looking at house listings yet, but if interest is piqued by the kitchen layout or street view of a home, he or she may want to look further. That's a great way to start a conversation, and possibly sell a home.

    For more information and tips on marketing through social media sites like Pinterest, please visit >


    Case #14-2: Refusal to Submit Pertinent Facts

    When REALTOR® A was charged with a violation of the Code of Ethics, he was notified of the charge and directed to attend a hearing before a panel of the Professional Standards Committee of the Board.

    At the hearing, the complainant formally presented the charge and a considerable body of evidence to support it. Members of the panel questioned REALTOR® A on specific points. To each question he responded that he was not guilty of the charge, but that specific answers to the questions put to him could conceivably do him an injustice, and that he felt that he should not be required to answer questions in a situation that was unfair to him.

    Further attempts to question REALTOR® A met with similar responses.

    Based on your understanding of the Code of Ethics Article 14, what do you think the hearing panel concluded? Click here to find out >



    Tuesday, March 18 @ 9:30 am
    MATRIX 301: Success with Stats

    Tuesday, March 18 @ 1:00 pm
    MATRIX 102: CMA's, Present Listings with Confidence

    Tuesday, March 18 @ 1:00 pm
    MRIS 301: What's New & What's Coming

    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 Another Reason!

    Begin to Save for Next Year's REALTOR Dues

    Save throughout the year, and make future dues or other annual payments using your debit card.
    Dues Savings Acount details and application >


    2015 NAR Leadership Academy
    Applications Accepted Through March 31

    Are you already actively involved, have a passion for the industry and a vision for the future of real estate? If this describes you, consider applying for the 2015 graduating class of the National Association of REALTORS® Leadership Academy.

    Details and application >
    November 2014 - May 2015 Academy Sessions >
    Application deadline is Monday, March 31, 2014

    Some people dream of great accomplishments, while others stay awake and do them. - Author Unknown
    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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