Issuu on Google+

Check regularly for the latest updates!

C a p ita l A r e a R e a lto r


The official newsletter of the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS®

May- June2011

USPS: 017-467

Inside This Issue

Volume17, Number 3

REALTOR® Fest 2011

Association News....................................... page 3 NAR Director’s 4

Meeting the Needs of Our Members

GCAAR in the News.................................... page 5 Successful Agents Share 6 Broker/Manager 7 Board 7 Market Reports........................................... page 8 11 30 under 30 11 Ask the President........................... page 12 Committee Spotlight........................ page 12 Meet Your GCAAR Staff.................. page 13 NAR Town Hall Event...................... page 13 GCAAR 14 Pathways to 15 Poster Contest 15 Escaping the Financial 16 Green 17 Education Schedule............................... page 18 Legal Hotline Call Summary............... page 19 Public Policy.............................................. page 20 Why I Support RPAC....................... page 23

REALTOR® Fest is back! This must-attend event will be held on Monday, July 11. There will be both mandatory and elective courses throughout the day, networking opportunities, a remarkable trade show, and delicious food. What more could you ask for? The cost of the event is well worth the experience you will have. By popular demand, GCAAR has decided to return to the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. Thanks to Capitol Title, our Parking Sponsor, attendees will enjoy free parking all day! As this is a renewal year for all DC licensees, we have made sure that all mandatory and elective courses are offered throughout the day. Mandatory courses

also will be offered throughout the day for Maryland licensees as well. A huge bonus in taking the courses offered at REALTOR® Fest is the possibility that you can sit in one class and get credits for more than one jurisdiction! Last year, many of our agents were able to earn 27 credit hours - which meant that they received Maryland, DC, and Virginia credit for all of the courses they took during the event. Truly a big bang for your buck! If you want to network and grow your business, REALTOR® Fest is the place to be! We will again feature the trade show, where you will get the opportunity to meet and build relationships with our sponsoring companies. continued on page 3

GCAAR Members Graduate from Leadership Academies Veronica Seva-Gonzalez of Keller Williams Capital Properties and Greater Capital Area Women’s Council of REALTORS® President Hildy Pollard of Weichert REALTORS® recently graduated from Leadership Academies held by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and the Maryland Association of REALTORS® (MAR), respectively.

RPAC 24 Quiz................................................................ page 25

Veronica Seva-Gonzalez

Veronica participated in a nine-month, five-session training and development program structured around national REALTOR® meetings. The Leadership Academy helps participants develop their leadership knowledge and abilities to eventually assume a national role.

Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS® 8757 Georgia Avenue, Suite 600 Silver Spring, MD 20910

Hildy was one of was one of seventeen graduates from the eleventh annual MAR Leadership Academy - an intensive seven-month curriculum designed around developing skills in leadership, communications, strategic planning, legislative and government affairs and community involvement. Classes stress the value of professional and personal commitment to business, charitable and civic endeavors. Congratulations to Hildy and Veronica!

L-R, NAR CEO Dale Stinton, NAR Treasurer Bill Armstrong, Hildy Pollard, 2011 MAR President Cathy Werner

Back Row L – R, Cuvator “Q” Armstrong, Elois Wiggins, Betty Hays Front Row L- R, Hildy Pollard, Silvia Rodriguez, GCAAR CEO Mike Moran


2011 May- June

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

Capital AreaREALTOR®

Capital AreaRealtor®

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

2011 May- June

A s s o c ia t io n N e w s continued from page 1

2011 Board of Directors There will be a technology round table, information on the latest resources for real estate professionals, massage therapists, and much more.

President Adrian Hunnings

President-Elect Bonnie R. Casper

Secretary Silvia Rodriguez

Don’t forget to stop by the GCAAR Committee Table Fair to learn about the various committees and find out how to get involved. Also, you’ll have a chance to bid on some great items at the Silent Auction sponsored by the Community Service Committee, GCAAR Cares. We hope to see you in July. For more information, visit

Treasurer William H. Highsmith Jr. , JD, GRI

Immediate Past President Shelly Murray

Chief Executive Officer Michael Moran

Directors Cuvator “Q” Armstrong Edward Downs Greg Ford Mynor Herrera William Hounshell Ellen Katz Fred Kendrick Eleanor “Elley” Kott Michael McGreevy Obiora “Bo” Menkiti Gerard “Gerry” Occhiuzzo Prabhjit Singh

Main ballroom – the epicenter for food, info, and great networking

2011 GCAAR President Adrian Hunnings with wife Sarah and WDCAR Board Member Elizabeth Blakeslee attend 2010 REALTOR® Fest

For more info about REALTOR® Fest: GCAAR Cares Committee member Linda Tomlinson at the 2010 Silent Auction table

Editor Bobette Banks

Advertising Representative Arlene Braithwaite Capital Area REALTOR® (USPS 017-467) is published four times a year (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4) by the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS®, 8757 Georgia Avenue, Suite 600, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Periodicals postage paid at Silver Spring, MD. Member subscriptions account for $10 of each member’s annual dues. Annual subscriptions are available to non-members for $25. Subscription inquiries may be sent to Capital Area REALTOR® at the above address. Copyright© 2009 by the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS®. All rights reserved.

Thank you to our 2011 REALTOR® Fest Sponsors* *As of June 9


POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO CAPITAL AREA REALTOR®, ATTN: GCAAR, 8757 Georgia Avenue, Suite 600, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

Embrace Home Loans MRIS

The Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS® makes no warranties and assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained herein. The opinions expressed herein do not necessary reflect the opinions of the officers, directors or staff of the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS®.

Green Bag Stewart Title Group

The Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS® accepts submissions of articles and photographs and remains the property of the Capital Area Association of REALTORS®. The publisher reserves the right of full editorial authority and to decline publication of any article not deemed proper. Deadline for all submissions, including cameraready advertising on disk or film, is the first of the month prior to publication. Reprint with permission only. Reprint permission may be obtained by contacting the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS® at 301.590.2000; via fax at 301.590.2248; or via e-mail at REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies and may be used only by real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to its Code of Ethics.

Cocktail Reception Gentle Giant MetLife Home Loans

Junior Underwriter EagleBank

Lanyard Counselors Title, LLC Highlighter Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

Notepad Classic Settlements

Acer Title & Escrow, LLC The F.A. Bartlett Tree Experts HMS Home Warranty JK Moving Services

General Home Team Title Keller Williams Metro Team Realty Prudential Carruthers REALTORS®

Break Monarch Title Inc. Parking Capitol Title RGS Title Storage Village Self Storage Xact Site



2011 May- June

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

NAR Director’s Report Shelly Murray, NAR Director

2011 NAR Midyear Update More than 8,000 REALTORS® descended upon Washington advocating to keep housing first on the nation’s public policy agenda during the National Association of REALTORS® 2011 Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo held May 9 – 14. This year’s meetings encouraged REALTORS® to come to the aid of the real estate industry, as well as the nation’s 75 million home owners and aspiring home owners. Various sessions focused on the impact of the 112th Congress and its real estate industry agenda, the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, mortgage availability

Capital AreaREALTOR®

and accessibility, as well as the current state of the residential and commercial real estate markets. Among the challenges discussed at meetings on Capitol Hill were ensuring affordable mortgage products for potential home owners, reforming the secondary mortgage market so that a continual flow of mortgage liquidity is available in all markets, and preserving tax benefits for home ownership, specifically the mortgage interest deduction. WDCAR President Suzanne Des Marais represented the District and Maryland at the Region 3 meeting on May 13 and reminded the Association presidents from across the region that Washington, DC REALTORS® pay federal taxes but remain without a vote in Congress.

QRM Update NAR Government Affairs has been closely monitoring the implementation of Section 941 or the so-called “QRM Rule” that is part of the risk-retention provisions of the Dodd-Frank legislation passed last year. The Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) has the potential to stop the fledgling housing recovery in its tracks if implemented in its current form. NAR has joined with a diverse network of groups who share our position that, as written, the QRM regulation would push millions of American families out of the home market. The regulation would require onerous down-payment requirements of up to twenty percent of the purchase price. NAR has asked for and received an extension of the comment period until August 1, 2011. According to NAR Research, 60 percent of recent home buyers made less than a 20 percent down payment, and it would take 14 years for a typical person to save up for a 20 percent down payment to buy a median-priced home. As REALTORS®, we must continue our efforts to explain how detrimental the new QRM rules would be to the ongoing housing and lending crisis in America, and urge Congress to implement a more reasonable Qualified Residential Mortgage that will keep credit-worthy buyers in the market and able to acquire a loan.

Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) Update

Now that’s something to ‘OINK’ about To find out more, visit

Currently, individuals are permitted to deduct mortgage interest paid on mortgage debt of up to $1 million. The deduction is available for interest on mortgages for a principal residence and one additional residence. The $1 million limitation represents the combined allowable debt on two residences. Mortgage interest on up to $100,000 of debt

Capital AreaRealtor®

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

2011 May- June

on home equity loans or lines of credit also qualifies for the deduction. As part of its FY 2011 budget, the Administration has proposed limiting the value of the mortgage interest deduction for upperincome taxpayers by, in effect, converting the deduction to a 28% tax credit for those individuals who are currently in the 33% or 35% tax brackets. Individuals with incomes below $250,000 would generally not be directly affected by this proposal. NAR opposes any changes that would limit or undermine current law. For more information on NAR initiatives, please see the NAR Update in the Public Policy section of this issue.

State presidents at Region 3 meeting

WDCAR Immediate Past President Brenda Small, GCAAR COO Amy Ritsko-Warren, 2011 WDCAR President, Suzanne Des Marais, 2011 GCAAR President Adrian Hunnings, and WDCAR Board Member Elizabeth Blakeslee enjoy the Region 3 reception hosted by WDCAR

GCAAR in the News Drop in Home Prices in January Raises Fear of Double Dip The Washington Post March 29, 2011 “This year we’re not seeing the new inventory come on too rapidly. The pattern is more like that of the pre-boom years, with March and April seeing the most new listings, and April and May probably registering the most sales.” - Adrian Hunnings, 2011 GCAAR President What Makes D.C. the Nation’s Hottest Market? Washington Examiner March 31, 2011 “Macroeconomic factors are in our favor. Other cities are struggling with jobs, there’s relatively higher unemployment. We’ve had 18 straight months of job growth and continue to outperform the rest of the nation.” - Adrian Hunnings, 2011 GCAAR President What Makes D.C. the Nation’s Hottest Market? Washington Examiner March 31, 2011 “We’re nowhere near the rest of the country. Our market sizzled while everybody else simmered out.” - Kymber Lovett-Menkiti, GCAAR Member and 2010 Rookie of the Year Although a Few Neighborhoods Shine, Washington Area Condo Market Still Struggles The Washington Post April 8, 2011

“In the last six months, I’ve had two deals where parents paid all-cash for their children’s units, but the all-cash deals are one sign of how difficult it is for buyers to get mortgage approval for a condominium.” - Suzanne Des Marais, WDCAR 2011 President and GCAAR member Metro Connection: Rivalry and Competition WAMU Radio May 13, 2011 “It’s critical to carve out your own marketing space as the real estate business is not equally distributed.” - Koki Adasi-Efuya, GCAAR member How to Get Over the House That Got Away The Washington Post May 13, 2011 “I have many agents who have experienced ‘the-house-that-got-away syndrome’ recently. Some buyers quit looking altogether, and others move on and buy something else quickly if they can.” - Holly Worthington, GCAAR Past President Singular Settings to Call Your Own: Boutique Condos Encourage Community, Individuality Washington Post Express May 20, 2011 “In a smaller building, I think, there’s a sense of social responsibility because everybody sees the direct impact of their financial decisions.” - Suzanne Des Marais, 2011 WDCAR President and GCAAR Member “A condo in a building containing approximately 20 units or less is often called “boutique.” But the label also connotes a sense of individuality. It’s very catchy.” - Rachel Valentino, GCAAR Member



2011 May- June

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

Capital AreaREALTOR®

Successful Agents Share Advice at Rookie Committee Event Experienced agents shared their secrets of success at the “Pick the Brains of Successful Agents” event sponsored by the Rookie Committee on April 13 at GCAAR’s Silver Spring office. Moderated by Brandon Green of Keller Williams Capital Properties, the event featured Koki Adasi-Efuya of Long and Foster, Karen Rollings of Prudential Carruthers, and last year’s Rookie of the Year, Kymber Lovett-Menkiti of Keller Williams Capital Properties.

Karen, Kymber, Koki, and Brandon share success stories

win $250! $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ Step 1: find a GOLD STAR STICKER in this issue of CAR*

STEP 2: Call Debbie Bell at 301.590.8771

Step 3: Collect your $250! * Actual Gold Star Sticker is used, not just a star graphic. Only 1 winner per issue. Winner must present the issue of CAR with the sticker to claim winnings. If no winner is identified by CAR’s next mailing, the winnings are forfeited.

Capital Area Realtors Federal Credit Union

property environmental energy education property environmental energy education

Need a car loan?

a full sPeCTruM of serviCes

“Look what CapitaL area reaLtors FCU is oFFering!”

4 Home inspections for new and existing homes 4 Environmental testing for lead-based paint, mold, radon, water and septic systems 4 Home energy audits for increased energy efficiency Think of Alban as your Total Home Consultant. Call us anytime for the answers you need to make informed decisions about your home... now THaT’s serviCe and ConfidenCe you Can build on.


5 yr New

4 yr Used

Capital Area Realtors FCU












Sandy Spring




“ All rates verified on as of March 24, 2011 or the bank website

OW! N l l Ca

alban insPeCTions

your Total Home Consultant 800.822.7200 • 301.662.6565 Phone: 240-314-0734


FEDERAL CREDIT UNION 105-A W. Edmonston Drive • Rockville, Maryland 20852

Alban GCAAR ad 1/10.indd 1

1/18/10 8:43 AM

Capital AreaRealtor®

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

2011 May- June

Broker/Manager Forum – May 19 There was a captive audience at GCAAR’s Silver Spring office to hear Kathy Connelly, Executive Director, Maryland Real Estate Commission, and Tony Duncanson, Commissioner, District of Columbia Real Estate Commission, at the May 19 Broker/Manager Forum – The Most Common Complaints Received by the Real Estate Commission. Kathy and Tony brought attendees up to speed on the types of issues received by their respective commissions. The informative session was followed by a question and answer period.

Tony Duncanson

2011 GCAAR Broker/Manager Forums Save the s! Date

Mark your calendars now to attend one of the Broker/Manager Forums in 2011. These monthly events provide a wealth of information to help brokers in all aspects of the business – from running a more efficient office to the latest updates in the real estate industry.

September 21 “Are You and Your Marketing in Compliance?” Speakers: Chuck Kasky, Esq., Maryland Association of REALTORS® Michelle Yam, Compliance Manager, MRIS Time: 12 p.m. Location: GCAAR Rockville Office 9707 Key West Ave, Suite 200, Rockville, MD

October 12 “What Documents Do You Need to Have Signed and Retained to Protect Your Agents and Your Company?” Speaker: Tony DeVol, Esq. Time: 12 p.m. Location: GCAAR Rockville Office 9707 Key West Ave, Suite 200, Rockville, MD

November 9 “All You Need To Know about Procuring Cause” Speaker: TBA Time: 12 p.m. Location: GCAAR Silver Spring Office 8757 Georgia Ave, Suite 600, Silver Spring, MD Broker/Manager Forums are free events for licensed brokers and managers. Lunch will be served for registered attendees. Register online at

Kathy Connelly

BOARD BRIEFING The GCAAR Board of Directors met on April 15, 2011 at the Association’s Rockville office.

FORMS The Contract and Clause and Property Management Committees are working on updating several forms for the Board’s review and approval, including the Condo, Co-op and HOA Addendums, a new “Walk through Form”, and the Property Management and Exclusive Rental Agreement. Committee Chair Greg Ford and 2011 GCAAR President Adrian Hunnings have been working on revisions to the Regional Contract, with a group of leadership and staff from several area REALTOR® Associations. The recommended revisions will be presented to the Contracts committee for approval and referral to the Board of Directors.

RPAC The RPAC committee reported that GCAAR members have already invested more than $101,000 in RPAC in 2011. Please support the REALTOR® Party and make your 2011 RPAC investment today! Invest online at

Upcoming Association Activities

SAVE THE DATE! REALTOR® Fest, the Association’s annual education and networking event, will be held on July 11, 2011 at the North Bethesda Marriot Hotel and Conference Center. Once again, you will have the opportunity to earn up to 9 hours of Continuing Education credit. There will be a trade show and cocktail reception as well. Stay tuned for more information! Please join with other GCAAR members for the “Leaky Roof Happy Hour,” scheduled for July 14, 2011 at Tia Queta in Bethesda, Md. Sponsored by the GCAAR RPAC Committee.

Professional Standards The Professional Standards Committee reported on one hearing in April. The Committee held its annual Code and Procedure Training Update in March.



2011 May- June

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

DC Market Report By Fred Kendrick

The DC Big Picture April was a perfect example of how one set of housing statistics can be misleading and why it is important to look at the market as a whole. On the surface, sales of single-family homes, condominiums and cooperatives were down substantially from last April. Settlements were down 18% month-over-month, and pending sales were down 26%. However, if we think back to last spring’s market, the $8,000 Federal Tax Credit was winding Fred Kendrick down and there was a frenzy of first-time homebuyers attempting to take advantage of that credit. The pending sale totals of last April were the highest on record for the month of April, even higher than the “boom” years of 2003 through 2005. A better indicator of the housing market in April was inventory. Overall inventory was down 8% from the same point last year and the number of new listings in April was down 21%. Most importantly, the effective inventory (total listings divided by pending sales) was 3.31 months, up slightly from a year ago, but still low enough that we have a “seller’s market.” For the nation, there was 9.2 months of inventory at the end of the month, illustrating the strength and consistency of the local market compared to many parts of the country that are struggling. Problems with financing and appraisals are problems that the DC area does share with the rest of the nation. The April REALTORS® Confidence Index published by NAR showed that “11 percent of REALTORS® report a contract was cancelled in April from an appraisal coming in below the price negotiated between a buyer and seller, 10 percent had a contract delayed, and 14 percent said a contract was renegotiated to a lower sales price as a result of a low appraisal.” The same survey also showed that 29% of settlements were delayed due to problems with a loan. Prices are also faring better locally with median prices up 3.8% from last year, compared to a 5% decline across the nation. The lack of inventory in the spring market has led to multiple-offer situations in many area and, as a result we are seeing prices start to rise sooner than originally expected. While financing and appraisal issues are a (hopefully temporary) nuisance for REALTORS®, this does have the effect of keeping prices in check when a bit of buyer frenzy has re-entered the market Single-Family HOMES Pending sales on single-family homes were down 16% from April of last year, but it was still the second best April performance since 2004. For the month, homes priced between $1 million and $1.25 million and between $700,000 and $800,000 had the largest month-over-month gains of 53% and 41% respectively, with the $600,000 to $900,000 ranges also showing gains as a whole. All price categories under $600,000 were down from last year by margins ranging from 15% to 37%. Year-to-date settlements are only down slightly (0.5%) from the same point last year, with the biggest gains seen for homes priced from $800,00 to $900,000 (up 32%) and over $1.5 million (up 38%). The inventory of available homes at the end of April was down continued on page 10

Capital AreaREALTOR®

Montgomery County Market Report By Fred Flick, Ph.D., Consultant/Housing Economist

The Maryland Big Picture Through the first four months of this year, the Maryland housing market was still in a slide compared to last year. Sales through April totaled 15,256 units -down 5.8% from the same period in 2010. Moreover, the average price of $265,321 was down 4.2% from last year at this time. And, the median price (averaging $217,967) was off a substantial 8.1%. On the supply side, active inventory through April also was down from last year, but home prices continued to slip. For the state, the active inventory totaled 37,767 units, declining 2% from the same period last year. At April’s sales rate, there was an 8.2-months supply of properties; a year ago there was only a 7-months supply. At this point, the market across the state is still facing some big challenges. The availability of foreclosures and unsold “new” properties continues to depress property prices. Fred Flick

Montgomery County Single-Family Homes The single-family homes market in 2011 continued to vacillate between an off- and-on mode. April sales were down from March, year-to-date average prices barely held above 2010, and median prices fell compared to last year. For the first four months, total contracts and settlements came in significantly below the 2010 levels. There was a 9% decline in settlements (2,062) and contracts (2,865) dropped a double-digit 22% from last year. Furthermore, the April monthly sales stats fell substantially from April 2010. April settlements (652) slipped 12.6% and contracts (880) dropped 36.8%. The news on prices, while not as negative as that for unit sales, has not been particularly satisfying, either. Single-family prices through April averaged $498,752 -- up only 0.6% from the 2010 average. But, the median price of $385,000 slipped 3.75% from the 2010 median. In 2007, Montgomery County single-family average and median prices peaked at $617,367 and $500,000, respectively. It seemed that average and median prices bottomed by the end of 2009 at $480,931 and $385,000, respectively. They had fallen about 22% from 2007, and then were on an uptrend in 2010. But through the first third of this year, the median price appears to be slipping back to the bottom, while the average has barely appreciated. Inventory, as expected in the spring, has jumped into the 2,700unit range from about 2,000 in mid-first quarter. Through April, the county single-family inventory totaled 2,698 homes -- 7% above April 2010. However, this trend is not alarming. In 2010, the listing inventory started at 1,800 total actives, peaked at 2900 in September, and then dropped to about 2,000 for the rest of the year. The best news is that the April listing rate was only 1,422 units – down 25% from a year ago. This pace yields a short 3-months supply. Hopefully, this tight supply will support some modest price appreciation. Montgomery County Condo/Coops Condominium and cooperative prices continued a downward march for the first part of the year(and, contracts and settlements were down cumulatively and significantly for April. In the first four months, settlements (674) declined 3.3% and contracts (895) dropped 19% compared to a year before. However, the April monthly slippage was even more substantial -- settlements (172)

Capital AreaRealtor®

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

and contracts (265) fell 25% and 36%, respectively, from a year ago. While single-family prices are tentatively seeking a bottom, condo/ coop prices are definitely in a slide. In 2010, a condo/coop unit in Montgomery County averaged $247,274, with the median priced unit costing $207,000. The average price through April was only $214,904 -- down 13.1% from 2010. Worse still, the median ($171,470) had fallen over 17% from the 2010 figure. It is still spring, but summer is almost upon us. And while interest rates are not anticipated to rise anytime soon, declines in both sales and prices are not encouraging news. The best news is in the listing inventory. The lack of sales and slipping prices has definitely kept active listings down. They started the year at about 840 units, rose in January to exceed 880, but since then have trended down. At the end of April, there were 794 active listings -- 15% below the level of a year ago. Furthermore, new April listings (313) were down 30% compared to April 2010. At the April contracts pace, total actives equated to a 3-months supply. Hopefully, we will see prices stabilize by the end of this year. The National Housing Picture The National Association of REALTORS® announced that its existing-home sales data in April came in at a 5.05 million-unit rate (seasonally adjusted and annualized). This figure was down about 1% from the March rate, but had dropped almost 13% from the April 2010 figure. Furthermore, national prices, on an annual basis, still are trending down due to the effects of the recession and foreclosure crisis. For April, the median priced home sold for $163,700 and it was down 5% from a year before. However, the averaged priced home sold for about $214,600 – slipping only 1.2% from April 2010. So, average priced properties seem to be seeking a bottom. For single-family homes, the April sales units figure was 4.42 million (annualized rate) – down 0.5% from March, and declining 12.6% from April 2010. The median and average prices for singlefamily properties in April were $163,200 (down 5.4%) and $214,600 (down 1.6%) from April 2010. Condo and cooperative sales units slipped even more than single-families in April. They were down about 3.1% from the March figures, but almost 15% from a year before. However, in terms of prices they performed relatively better than single-family homes. The median condo/coop price came in at $167,300 – down only 2.3% from April 2010. And, on a positive note, the average priced condo/coop sold for $214,600 -- up 1.6% from a year ago. Finally, we see some price appreciation. Tight financing for many buyers is clearly a problem. Furthermore, new construction will still be way below historical levels for years to come. April new housing starts dropped below the average levels of the first three months and from a year ago. Total starts (523,000 seasonally adjusted and annualized) fell almost 11% from March; and, were 24% below those of April 2010. Single-family starts (394,000) slipped only 5% on a monthly basis, but were still down 30% from a year ago. New permit authorizations showed similar patterns. Single-family permits were down about 2% monthly, but almost 19% compared to a year ago. The builders have a long way to go to get back to a million starts. The Economy Is Only Slowly Improving As you may be aware, we have not started 2011 with much economic vigor. The advance estimate of the first quarter real growth rate was only 1.8%. A revised estimate will be produced by the end of May and could be higher as more data comes in. However, in the fourth quarter of 2010, the real output of goods and services grew at an annual rate of 3.1%, so the growth rate has fallen by almost one-half. Accordingly,

2011 May- June

most forecasters have lowered their 2011 real growth estimates to the 2% to 2.5% range, hoping things will improve throughout the rest of the year. Nevertheless, there are some positive developments in the economy: these include rising stock prices, increasing manufacturing output, and rising rates of private sector new job creation. While the economy is still facing a big job deficit, the most recent jobs numbers were up. The April report was very encouraging – an increase of 244,000 new jobs. And, there was an average of 233,000 net new jobs added per month since February. That said, we are almost two years into the recovery and unemployment still is at 9% with about 14 million unemployed. And, many states and counties are facing budgetary and financial problems that will lead to more layoffs of public sector workers. Nevertheless, many politicians are talking about cutting budgets and these actions tend to be deflationary. Some analysts are even talking about having periods of “stagflation” like those encountered during the 1970s when we had both high inflation and high unemployment. However, now we don’t have high inflation. The most recent data shows inflation pretty well under control except for the price of oil and gasoline and these are driven by conditions in the Middle East and the commodity futures markets. And, there are signs that petrol prices will edge down as driving has dropped-off and gasoline supplies have risen. The Fed still has time gradually to slim down its balance sheet and eventually to push up interest rates to keep inflation in check. Local Jobs and Unemployment The national unemployment rate registered 9% in April, up from 8.8% in March. It has hovered around the 9% mark over the past four months. In March, the most recent month available for states, the Maryland unemployment rate was quite a bit better at 6.9%, dropping from the mid-7% range since fall. Across the Potomac, Virginia’s unemployment rate dropped from the mid-6% range to a relatively low 6.3% over the past six months. On the other hand, the District of Columbia’s figures have stayed much higher. They have ranged from 9.5% to 9.7%, coming down to 9.5% for March. North and west of the metro area, Pennsylvania logged a 7.8% rate and West Virginia’s unemployment was 9.1%. As expected, Montgomery County’s labor market continues to do very well. Based on March data (the most recent), the unemployment rate was only 5%, down from 5.3% at the beginning of the year. Next door, Prince George’s rate was significantly higher at 6.8%; nevertheless, it declined from 7.3% in January. Up north, Frederick County had a slightly lower rate at 6.3%; and westward, Howard came in with a very low 5.1%. On the other side of the Potomac, Virginia’s unemployment rates were even lower. Fairfax County came in at 4.5%, Loudoun at 4.3%, and Arlington at just 3.9%. Arlington and Fairfax benefit from large numbers of government military contractors. So, the local unemployment picture for both Maryland and Virginia is improving. Consumer Prices and Energy Costs The April Consumer Price Index (CPI-urban) rose 0.4% (seasonally adjusted) from March, due almost entirely to energy costs. If we extrapolate forward this monthly rate for the next 11 months it would imply a 4.8% annual average price rise. However, when the index is compared back to April 2010, the rise has been only 3.2% over the last year. Still, inflation is about 1% point higher than in recent annual comparisons. But, when we exclude food (rising at a 3.2% rate in April) and energy (rising at a 19% rate) this “core” inflation works out to be only 1.3%. While this is above previous “core” readings of 0.8% to 1.1%, it suggests the Fed can still afford to keep interest rates low for quite a while longer. continued on page 10



2011 May- June

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

Montgomery County Market Report, continued from page 9

International Finance and Interest Rates The Fed has stated it will stop buying longer term Treasuries at the end of June, and the markets have baked that in to current interest rates. Assuming the Fed then gradually works to shrink the size of its balance sheet, we probably will not see any large increases in interest rates anytime soon. So, while the recent up-tick in inflation is worrying, it seems to be due primarily to speculative demand for energy and should be coming down. Accordingly, the Fed will probably not raise the Fed Funds rate until sometime next year. Freddie Mac’s second survey in May showed rates on traditional fixed-rate loans declined about 25-30 basis points from the MarchApril levels. In this survey, the 30-year rate came in at 4.63%. Oneyear adjustable mortgage (ARMs) rates averaged only 3.11%, down from about 3.25% earlier this year. Fifteen-year loans came in at 3.82% and 5/1-yr. ARMs were slightly more affordable at 3.41%. The Fed’s recent indications that they will continue to keep rates low has helped push mortgage rates down from winter and the early spring months. While there are many analysts who think inflation is slowly building up, so far the basic core inflation indices are still around 1% - 1.2%, well within the Fed’s tolerable range. At current mortgage rates, if you have the credit, this is a great time for owners to refinance or to purchase an investment or vacation property. With low inflation and high unemployment, the Fed is likely to keep interest rates down until unemployment reaches the 5% to 6% range. That could take a while. Deficit and Debt Debacle The latest controversy of political economy concerns the U.S. deficit and the long-term debt. Some Republicans are threatening to not allow the government to issue any more bonds by voting against an increase in the debt ceiling. Most economists and bond analysts believe this would be a badly mistaken signal to send to international bond (and currency) markets. We reached the ceiling this week, but Treasury Secretary Geithner can keep the government paying its bills into August. Do not worry; they will raise the debt ceiling, because

DC Market Report, continued from page 8 6% from last year and the number of new of new listings for the month was down 19%. The effective inventory is 2. 6 months, which is where the single-family market diverges from the condo/ co-op market. While the condo/co-op market is solid, the demand for single-family homes has been so great that the number of singlefamily homes in MRIS is now less than the condo/co-op inventory for the first time. Homes priced between $700,000 to $800,000 (which not coincidentally contains the FHA and conforming loan limits) have an even lower 1.04 months of inventory. The lower inventory combined with continued low interest rates has certainly instilled a sense of urgency for single-family buyers in this market. With the expiration of the higher FHA loan limits on the horizon and various proposals of higher downpayment requirements in play, buyers should find the market just as competitive throughout the summer. Condominiums and Cooperatives Pending sales of condominiums and cooperatives were down 9% from March and down 38% from April last year. Compared to last year all

Capital AreaREALTOR®

if they don’t, the costs of financing will be even higher and long-term financial and political repercussions even worse. The Chinese would love to see the dollar dethroned as the world standard of payment. The U.S. has been able to issue debt more cheaply (lower interest rates) than other countries and the Chinese and Europeans would then be able to have their currencies take over as the world’s mediums of exchange. The world does not need another financial crisis now. However, the U.S. needs to cut some spending and get a long-term plan to come up with a combination of tax increases and budget cuts to entitlement programs. Most of the problems are in the mediumterm and long-term and involve defense spending, Social Security, and Medicare and Medicaid. We can’t get away from the facts that the government will eventually shave back tax preferences, raise marginal rates, and limit future entitlement benefits. However, most of this will happen after the next election. The Bottom Line So far, we have a mixed-bag housing market. Sales have been rising, but prices are still wobbly on the downside. In 2010, Montgomery County saw single-family settlements edge down by about 1%, but single-family prices rose over 3%. Condo/coop settlements were up 9.1% and prices looked close to bottoming out. Hopefully, this year will be one of stabilization in prices for the county. Nationally, the foreclosure situation will continue to put downward pressure on prices. Zillow recently reported that about 38% of homes sold in March were sold for a loss; and, that the rate of homes selling for a loss has steadily increased since June 2010. Moreover, negative equity in the first quarter hit a new high with over 28% of all singlefamily homes with mortgages underwater. However, most of the worst-case situations are in states like Arizona, California, Florida, and Nevada where the over-building and price bubbles were greatest. The economy has avoided a double-dip recession, but slow growth and high unemployment look to be the near-term future. While the Fed will keep a hand on the economy to prevent another recession, concern over the deficit and debt rules out any more formalized stimulus programs.

prices below $800,000 felt losses ranging from 7% up to 56%. Units priced from $900,000 to $1,250,000 are only a small portion of the market, but they were able to post a 29% gain. Year-to-date settlements of condos and co-ops are down 7% from the same point last year, with some price points showing some life. Units between $600,000 and $1,000,000 were up 24%, and units below $150,000 were up 53%. The inventory of available units was down 10% at the end of April from the same point a year ago and the number of new listings in the month was off by 21%. Despite this news for the month, there is now 4.53 months of inventory, a number that puts the condo market closer to equilibrium than the seller’s market on the single-family side. As mentioned above, the inventory of available units is now greater than the inventory of single-family homes in the city. With new condo developments starting to break ground again for the first time in over two years, there is a window of about twelve months for current and future sellers to take advantage of before they have to compete with new projects again. However, while the condo market is off compared to the single-family side, 4.53 months of inventory is certainly “normal” and even in its current state, should be able to handle an increase in supply in the coming months.

Capital AreaRealtor®

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

2011 May- June

T e c h n o lo g y The Mobile Web. It’s Different. Tech industry observers predict that this year or next, more people will be consuming the Internet with mobile devices than with desktop computers. This trend forces anyone who has a Web site to think differently about how information is delivered and displayed. Here are four important factors to consider.

FAST Consumers want it now. Most Smartphone users turn to the mobile Web for quick hits of information. This means they’ll spend only a few minutes or even seconds at a time using their mobile devices to access the Internet. Very few will settle in for an hour to consume online media via their smart phones as they might on their PCs. For this reason, it’s becoming more important to make key content on your Web site easy to find through simple design and navigation.

SMALL Screen sizes are reduced. Obviously, Smartphones have much smaller screens with which to view Web sites, and that also means lower resolutions. As a result, sites that aren’t optimized for the mobile Web

don’t always render well on Smartphones. Expect to see more sites redesigned for mobile users or even offered in mobile versions.

SIMPLE Multimedia might not be supported. For the near future, rich content such as video and animation will be less accessible on mobile devices, which sometimes don’t even support these kinds of media. The improvements promised by 4G wireless networks will help, but still, don’t expect the mobile Web to compete with the conventional version on this score for a while.

TIGHT The user experience is changing. Ultimately, there is a shallower, more casual experience on the mobile Web. This isn’t necessarily a negative; it just speaks to the differences in interface and functionality of Web sites. Be sure to produce and position your online content accordingly. Copyright National Association of REALTORS®, used with permission.


GCAAR Boasts Two of NAR’s 30 Under 30 Winners: Kira Epstein and Pamela Wye

4 More color!



4 Affordable Photo Ads – draw attention to your listing. 4 Zoned for Maryland, DC and Virginia. 4 Enhanced readability! 4 Plus, a new Open House directory, designed to clip and carry! 4 Photo ads start at just $38 for the DC Zone!




N 11 -5PM


Her advice: Be your own brand. “The best business decision I made was to work with a designer to create a brand for myself.”

2351 Champlain St., NW. Amazing location! 2 bedrooms and 2.5 baths w/ private outdoor patio. 22 ft ceilings. Top of the line finishes includ SubZero/Wolf/Bosch appl, Bamboo cabinets, Travertine baths w/ Hans Grohe fixturs.



A Smart Investment for the Savvy Buyer. CONDO. Welcome Saxony. This is a stunning and renovated 1BR 1BA unit that is is within walking distance to the red line Metro, restaurants, shops and grocery stores. 1801 Clydesdale Pl, NW #206.

929 FLORIDA AVENUE, NW – 202-299-9223


Nathan Guggenheim

Brightwood Adams Morgan



John Plank 703-528-5646 Dupont Circle


semi-detached home near Tenleytown and Van Ness metros. Three bedrooms and 2.25 baths with four levels of which three levels are finished. This lovely home is aggressively priced and is in need of some updating. The main entry has a foyer and front porch. 3703 Windom Pl NW, DC 20016.

Townhome. 4 br, 3½ ba. NEW PRICE! Beautiful Square Front Victorian Townhouse on treelined block in West Dupont Circle. Four renovated flrs of elegant entertaining principal rms, comfortable Living Spaces, updated Gourmet Kit w/ Island, hardwood floors & high ceilings thru out & 5 period fireplaces. Located only 1 block from Starbucks. 2031 O St NW, DC 20036. Wlliam F.X. Moody 202-243-1620

Dupont Circle


Mary Jane Molik 202-000-0000

CONDO. 2 br, 2 ba. Grand Dame of Washington “Best Addresses” Very light and airy renovated 2BR, 2BA with loads of windows. Gourmet kitchen with upgraded cabinetry, granite and tablespace. Plenty of built-ins. 1661 Crescent Pl NW #304, DC 20009. Sheila Hansen

Mobile/Manufactured. 3 br, 2 ba, 3br, 2fb, 1 den, 2 kitchens, lower level has its own kitchen, full bath, den and outside entrance. hardwood floors on main and upper level, carpet and tile lower level. 6415 8th St NW, DC 20012 George Saab SAAB, Realtors 703-288-4877 Brightwood

Adams Morgan

The Open House prospects you want are reading The Washington Post Among those who attended or plan to attend homefor-sale open houses, 82% are Washington Post or users.



CONDO. 2 br, 2 ½ ba, 1,550 sqft. Spectacular open 2 level condo with great views, GARAGE parking and extra storage! Floor to ceiling windows, 2 masters bdrooms, 2 zone audiosystm thruout, 42’ flatpanel, bay window in living room and 2nd master bedrooms, custom plantation shutters, granite kit high-in appliance, wine cooler, marble bathrooms and full size separate washer and dryer. 2200 17th St NW #220, DC 20009 Dwight Mortensen 202-361-4400

Single-Family Home. 4 br, 2 ba. Presented by the REO Division of Brandon Green. Completely rehabilitated property sitting on a quiet street in the NW. Fully renovated from the ground up. New windows and hardwood floors. 710 Roxboro Pl NW, DC 20011. Brandon Green 202-111-2222


Single-Family Home. 4 br, 2 ½ ba. Antique brk 4 bedroom, 3 level, 2.5 attractively renov Bath Cape Cod. Gorgeous true t/s + breakfast bar, granite, SS, sitting room w/ Fr doors to wonderful priv patio & lovely garden! Large LR, handsome extra-wide fireplace, sitting room w/French doors, formal DR, foyer. 4605 47th St NW, DC 20016



Single-Family Home. 4 br,3 ba. Fresh new listing in the heart of AU Park. Move in cond. 4 finished levels of living space incl 2 full baths up! & 3 br + 4th/study on upper lvl 2. Welcoming wide front porch, level fenced playball yard, garage/storage. 4626 47th St NW, DC 20016 Susan Jaquet 301-320-8346

CONDO. 1 br, 1 ba, 510 sqft. Welcome Home! The Concord is a wonderful new condo project with upgraded finishes and great location! This is a very cool Art Deco building with hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and designer cabinetry. 5611 5th St NW #24, DC 20011. Jeremy Aldridge 202-111-2222 Brightwood


Columbia Heights $324,000

CONDO. Bright open 1 Bedroom + Den, 4th floor with new kitchen, new bath, new heat pump, hardwood, stainless refrigerator with icemkr, ss stove, dishwasher, microwaveRH, full size washer/ dryer. Quiet one way street in Col. Hts. Converted co-op, long time residents. 1447 Chapin St. NW #401. Margaret Virostek 202-000-0000 Weichert, Realtors Columbia Hghts $315,000 CONDO. 2 br, 1 ba, 1,058 sqft. LOCATION... see this opportunity to invest in a beautiful Columbia Hghts area. 1519 Park Rd NW #303, DC 20010. Ken Johnson Columbia Hghts

Single-Family Home. 3 br, 2½ ba.Fabulous Art Deco Tudor w New Pella Windows(cost $35.0) Dramatic flr plan w sunken livingroom/fireplace, spacious diningroom w glass doors open to large deck(Cost $14.0) w custom wrought iron/architectual motif.. 6105 14th St NW, DC 20011. Dianne Bailey 202-000-0000

Cleveland Park Cleveland Park

American Univ.

CONDO. 2 br, 1 ba. Shows like a dream! Redone from top to bottom! Fabulous Top-of-theline Chef's Kitchen! Renovated Bath! Hdwd Flrs, Decorative FP! New Windows! Pets allowed! Front Desk, Close to (Metro Red Line). 4700 Connecticut Ave NW #404, DC 20008. Eric Hernandez 202-000-0000


Susan Jaquet 301-320-8346

American Univ.


Columbia Hghts

American University American Univ.

Cleveland Park



Townhome. 4 br, 3½ ba. Wow! this row twnhse w/ basement rental apt is smartly renov. & remod.. House has tenant planning to move out in jan 2010. apt is vacant. house incl off st pkng, deck, wood flrs, ss appliances & maple kit cabinets, gas fireplace, high ceilings & open floor plan. 2719 11th St NW, DC 20001. Helen Dodson 202-000-0000

Dupont Circle

Townhome. 1 ba FANTASTIC PRICE REDUCTION! Penthouse Studio at Northumberland. Charming and bright Penthouse Studio with Murphy bed unit- which conveys. Red and white oak floors with mohagany inlays. 9’+ ceilings. Kitchen with breakfast bar. Old world charm, formal,elegant residence. Conveniently located steps from 16th and U Streets. 2039 New Hampshire Ave NW #707, DC 20009. Jim Bell 202-607-400 Dupont Circle $269,900 CONDO. Great location at 16th and U st!!! 1 bed/ 1 bath with wall-to-wall carpeting in a pet friendly building. 2000 16th St NW #2, DC 20009. Erich Cabe 202-320-6469 Dupont Circle $269,900 Townhome. 1 ba FANTASTIC PRICE REDUCTION! Penthouse Studio at Northumberland. Charming and bright Penthouse Studio with Murphy bed unit- which conveys. Red and white oak floors with mohagany inlays. 9’+ ceilings. Kitchen with breakfast bar. Old world charm, formal,elegant residence. Conveniently located steps from 16th and U Streets. 2039 New Hampshire Ave NW #707, DC 20009. Jim Bell 202-607-400

Dupont Circle

American Univ. $699,000 Single-Family Home. 3 br,1½ ba. Solid red brick colonial on level lot located 1 block from Turtle Park and close to Spring Valley shopping. Bright cheery sun room. 4513 Warren St NW, DC 20016. Margaret Virostek 202-000-0000


Cleveland Park $1,395,000

Multi-Family Home. Great investment opportunity! Three 2 BR,2BA units w/2 pkg spaces all metered separately w/reliable rent history. Upper two units have hwd floors; lower rear unit has ceramic tile flooring and is all electric. 1748 Willard St NW, DC 20009. Steward Coleman 202-841-2836




COOP. 1 br, 1½ ba, 1,295 sqft. Spacious and bright one bedroom, 1 & 1/2 bath on high floor with cityscape view. As large as many 2 bedrooms! Note: coop fee INCLUDES property tax and utilities. Great Watergate location with many amenities. 2700 Virginia Ave. #1204, DC 20037. Gigi Winston 202-000-0000 Winston Real Estate $859,000

Foggy Bottom


COOP.1 br, 1 ba, 904 sqft. Spacious Watergate 1 bedroom overlooking in a quiet garden/courtyard setting. Floor to ceiling windows and balcony. Over 900 square feet. Parking and extra storage is included. Coop fee INCLUDES taxes, all utilities, maintenance of HVAC, basic cable. Convenient location -Near metro, Georgetown waterfront, shopping on site and more! Gigi Winston 202-000-0000 Winston Real Estate Foggy Bottom $370,000 COOP. Large, spacious 2 bedroom at the Watergate. Bright and sunny with balcony across entire apartment. Gigi Winston 202-000-0000 Winston Real Estate Foggy Bottom $998,000 COOP. 2 br, 2½ ba, 1,880 sq. ft. Bright direct river view 2 bedroom. Watch river and sunsets from every room. Almost 1900 sq. ft. Judith Lewis 202-000-0000 Foggy Bottom



Single-Family Home. 3 br, 2 ba. Brick colonial with 3BR 2BA upstairs!Fin lower lev: laundry, quarter BA, very high ceil rec rm w/ 2nd FP & outside entrance! 4425 River Rd NE, DC 20016. Susan Jaquet 703-000-0000


All Homes Now on Sale! Priced from the Low $300’s*


Madrigal Lofts, DC’s Most Popular Condominium. Come see why


Logan Circle

811 4th Street, NW.

202.408.0007 nice view from balcony. Features include NEW W&D, garage parking included, this building has 24 hour front desk, Outdoor pool. 2111 Wisconsin Ave., NE, DC 20007. Patrick Kelly 202-000-0000


Apt/Condo/Twnhm. PRICE DROP! OPEN HOUSE SUN 11/29 1-4 Over 1000 sq ft 1br + huge den w/closet/2ba chic pad in famous Whitman incl pkng, balcony, 50k of cstm decor, wired 4 sound, mrble grnte Braz Cherry hdwd, stnlss, glass, never-used kitchen, lndry rm, glss shwr, lux tub. Wendy Wood 202-000-0000

202.640.1023 l

Brookland $699,900 CONDO. Great location at 16th and U St!!! 1 bed/ 1 bath with wall-to-wall carpeting. 4301 Military Rd. NE #606, DC 20009. Wendy Banner 202-000-0000 Brookland $760,900 Townhome. Great location at 16th and u st!!! 1 bed/ 1 bath with wall-to-wall carpeting in a pet friendly building. 5337 42nd St. NE, DC 20015. Michael P. Rose 202-000-0000

Deanwood Deanwood


Brentwood Brentwood


CONDO. 2BR 2BA. Gourmet Kitchen with Wood Floors, Granite Counters & Backsplash & Stainless Steel Appliances Stackable washer & dryer in unit - Luxury building with exercise/fitness room. 4301 Military Rd. #606, DC 20015.

Townhome. 3 br, 1½ ba. Sun-filled and renovated 3BR/1.5BA, conveniently located near shops and restaurants of Georgetown, hardwood floors throughout, separate Dining Room, wonderful table-space Kitchen w/ granite counters and stainless steel appliances, opens to rear private patio. 1215 33rd St NE, DC 20007. Nancy Bubes 301-000-0000


Source: 2009 Classified Marketplaces


Single-Family Home. 5 br, 4 ba. Totally renovated turn of the century Victorian townhome in Georgetown! Live across from Dumbarton Oaks and enyoy the gardens;Four exceptional levels as well as a private deck and garden ; 5+ bedrooms, 4 full baths; beautiful kitchen with granite;new appliances,four fireplaces. 3102 R St NE, DC 20007. Susan Berger 202-255-5006

Deanwood $849,000 2 br | 1 ba | Single-Family Home Located on a quiet one-way street in the East Village, this beautiful semi-detached 2 bed, 1 bath Federal boasts exquisite details throughout. 2806 Dumbarton St NE, DC 20007. John Washington 202-000-0000

Fort Totten Fort Totten


CONDO. Spacious, bright condo on upper floor with

$399,000 Townhome. 2 br, 2 ba, 3 Level 2 Unit building in near metro & shopping. Updated homes but you can do your own touch ups. It is Ready to be Move in. It has Hardwood flooring and many other updates.2 BR second floor and one bath room. The basement is separate unit and can use as additional rental income or else. 1517 6th St SW, DC 20001. Payam Bakhaje 202-345-2778 Bellevue

Anacostia Anacostia

Payam Bakhaje 202-345-2778 Bellevue



Single-Family Home. 4 br, 2 ba. Classic Victorian in Popular Brookland Community. Three levels plus walk-up attic with space for rooms. Formal entry with sitting area, huge dining room with pocket doors, living room with fireplace. 2837 12th St SE, DC 20017. Bradley Wisley 301-000-0000 Anacostia



CONDO. 1 br, 2 ba. PRICE DROP! OPEN HOUSE SUN 11/29 1-4 Over 1000 sq ft 1br + huge den w/closet/2ba chic pad in famous Whitman incl pkng, balcony, 50k of cstm decor, wired 4 sound, marble grnte Braz Cherry hardwood, stainless, glass, never-used kitchen, lndry room, glass shower, luxury tub. POOL, EXCSE RM, 24-hr Concrge CLOSE TO EVERYTHING: Metro, grocery, pharmacy. 910 M St SW #429, DC 20001. Martin Hosking 240-605-7590


$399,000 Townhome. 2 br, 2 ba, 3 Level 2 Unit building in near metro & shopping. Updated homes but you can do your own touch ups. It is Ready to be Move in. It has Hardwood flooring and many other updates.2 BR second floor and one bath room. The basement is separate unit and can use as additional rental income or else. 1517 6th St SW, DC 20001.


CONDO. 1 br, 1 ba, 750 sqft. Spacious one bedroom with bird’s eye views. Integrated Kitchen, Living/Dining room. Wood parquet floors throughout, 3 big closets. Front Desk, roof deck and pool, and laundry room on each floor. Desirable urban location where it’s. 1440 N St SW #906, DC 20005. Jo Ricks 202-234-1784 City Houses, LLC

CONDO. 2 br, 2½ ba, 1,744 sqft. New state-of-the-art building - 27 units. Duplex. Every unit has own wash/ dryer, super high-end fins, ss apps, granite, bamboo flrs & cer tile BA. NO CLOSING COST OPTIONS. 450 Church St SW #602, DC 20005. Todd Wood 301-347-4720 RE/MAX Realty Bellevue

Single-Family Home. 4 br, 3 ba, Calling all visionaries! This is it in Brookland. Renovated less than 8 years ago this stone beauty is begging for your personal touch. Three full baths, master suite with full bath, large kitchen, 2nd floor washer dryer hook up. 3100 13th St SE, DC 20017.

$318,000 Tanya Slade 301-000-0000

CONDO. 1 br, 1 ba, 750 sqft. Spacious one bedroom with bird’s eye views. Integrated Kitchen, Living/Dining room. Wood parquet floors throughout, 3 big closets. Front Desk, roof deck and pool, and laundry room on each floor. Desirable urban location where it’s easy to walk to Metro and Logan commercial offerings from your front door. 1440 N St SW #906, DC 20005. Jo Ricks 202-234-1784 City Houses, LLC Bellevue $699,900 CONDO. Great location at 16th and U St!!! 1 bed/ 1 bath with wall-to-wall carpeting. 4301 Military Rd. NE #606, DC 20009. Wendy Banner 202-000-0000

Capitol Hill Capitol Hill


Single-Family Home. 3 br, Single-Family Home , 4 br, 21½ ba. Home sweet Home! Cozy, inviting, georgeous ALL BRICK 4 BR single family DETACHED home. Hardwood floors on main level, freshly painted, new kitchen floor. Enjoy backyard family picnics cool breezes on front porch in DC. 910 48th Pl SE, DC 20019 Luis Vivas 202-000-0000

Wendy Banner 301-365-9090 Brentwood


CONDO. 2 br, 2½ ba, 1,700 sqft. MODEL 1348 TALBERT *FHA APPROVED* O 2Br, 2.5 Ba, gated, patio overlooking the entire city, Balcony off Gourmet kitchen, breakfast bar, granite, Stainless steel appliances, tons windows , tons of light, Central A/C & Heat with Humidifier & elec. air filter, tranquil. 1384 Talbert Ct, DC 20020.

1-800-000-0000 Brentwood


Unparalled LOCATION. Unsurpassed LUXURY. Unfortunately, not an unlimited supply.


CONDO. 2 br, 2½ ba, 2,106 sqft. Bright & spacious 2 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath at the Plaza. Over 2000 square foot open floor plan- dining/den area w/ balcony access, large open updated chef’s kitchen w/ granite counter-tops. 800 25th St NW #703, DC 20037. Gigi Winston 202-000-0000 Winston Real Estate Foggy Bottom $595,000 COOP. The spacious feel of a house in convenient one level river view Watergate. 700 Hampshire Ave NW #421, DC 20037. Gigi Winston 202-000-0000 Foggy Bottom $355,000 CONDO. The spacious feel of a house in convenient one level river view Watergate. 700 Hampshire Ave NW #421, DC 20037. Kim Kimmy 202-000-0000

CONDO. 2 br, 2 ba, 1,114 sqft. NEW LISTING! *Second bedroom currently used as a den.* Experience the ultimate in comfort, convenience, and service is this charming 2 Bedroom, 2 Bath Residence at the Ritz Carlton condo. 1111 23rd St NE #3G, DC 20037. Patrick Chauvin 202-243-1620

Brookland Brookland


With NEW LOW PRICES and customized incentives, Bethesda’s last new LUXURY CONDOMINIUM. is going fast. Where else can you find 4 live theatres and 2 cinemas – along with 200 restaurants and a dozen art galleries – all within strolling distance? Welcome to Lionsgate, one block from the Metro, in the heart of downtown Bethesda. It’s Park Avenue style living from the$800’sto$1.7million.Forthebestviews,floorplansandincentives,makeyour appointmentnowandjointhemorethan130residentsalreadylivingatLionsgate.

Open House Directory Single-Family Home. 3 br, 2¼ ba. North Cleveland Park



Brand new condos in the center of it all, 1 BR/Den from the $400s

Wendy Wood 202-000-0000 Foggy Bottom



Bellevue Bellevue

Logan Circle $269,900 Townhome. 3 Level 2 Unit building in near metro & shopping. Updated homes but you can do your own touch ups. It is Ready to be Move in. It has Hardwood flooring and many other updates.2 BR second floor and one bath room. The basement is separate unit and can use as additional rental income or else. One block a way from new development of O ST Market


• Modern Loft Style Design • 10’ Ceilings • FHA Financing Available • Steps To Penn Quarter, Chinatown, Verizon Center Brookland $789,900 CONDO. Great location at 16th and U St!!! 1 bed/ 1 bath with wall-to-wall carpeting in a pet friendly building. Wood floors, classic window. 4301 Military Rd. NE #102, DC 20009. Neil Bacchus 202-320-6469

Single-Family Home. 2 br, 1½ ba. Super charming townhouse on a quiet side street in convenient Foggy Bottom. 5-minute walk to Metro,Georgetown, West End. 2524 I St, DC 20037. Judith Lewis 202-000-0000

Foggy Bottom


CONDO. 1 br, 1 ba. If you’ve been looking for a lrg affordable apt in GREAT shape, w/ good light & privacy that’s an EZ walk to Metro-this is it. Wonderful HWF, beautiful renv’ted Kitchen. 4600 Connecticut Ave NW #113, DC 20008. Mary Lowry Smith 202-000-0000

Foggy Bottom

Foggy Bottom


Adams Morgan

Brand New Ultra highend loft in the heart of Adams Morgan.

• 2 BRs • 2 full baths • 1 half baths • Built in 2009 • 1690 sq. ft.


CONDO. 2 br, 1 ba, 822 sqft. Rarely available, adorable 2 BR! Tons of character, huge windows, completely renovated! Granite and stainless kitchen w/hardwood floors! Beautiful bath w/full size tub! Immaculate and available immediately! Condo fee includes water & heat! 1831 Belmont Rd NW #204, DC 20009 George Saab (703) 288-4877

Dupont Circle $1,699.900 Townhome. 3 br, 3½ ba, This grand, contemporary home offers truly breathtaking dimensions, light &; function rarely found in such an urban location. contemporary home offers truly breathtaking dimensions, light &; function rarely found, designed by a renowned architect to showcase art, it has display spaces, premium lighting, interesting built-ins, angles.. 2022 R St NW, DC 20009.


wednesday, december 11, 2009

open houses

Adams Morgan, Adams Morgan

Single-Family Home. 4 br, 3½ ba, 999 sqft. Premier AUP 4BR, 3BA col. Huge DR! Huge lower lev with fab stone fp, BR, BA, bonus rm, sep entr! Gorgeous large lot! As is. SS/ granite kit just renov. 4615 Van Ness St. NW, DC 20016. Tracy Carol 202-111-2222

Pamela Wye, a 28 year old with W.C. & A.N. Miller (a Long & Foster Co.), pulls on her financial background to serve her Washington, DC customers. Working as a hedge fund analyst pursuing office space in New York made her realize that real estate—not finance—got her blood pumping.


wednesday, december 11, 2009

real estate open houses


Her advice: Even if you’re the top salesperson at your company, practice humility with your peers.



N 11

This DC–based condo specialist is always on the go in her Mini Cooper with her BlackBerry, iPad, and MacBook Air.

Real Estate Guide OPE

Kira Epstein, 29, of Long & Foster’s Bethesda office stays connected constantly to serve her primary clientele of first-time homebuyers. As someone who works with a lot of first-time home buyers, Epstein knows it’s important to be available to her clients at any time of the day.

The Washington Post

CONDO. 2 br, 2 ba. Gourmet Kitchen with Wood Floors, Granite Counters & Backsplash & Stainless Stl Appl. Marsha Schuman 301-299-9598 • 301/986/0066

Developed by Duball Woodmont, LLC

7710 WOODMONTAVENUE, BETHESDA, MD 20814 Sales by The Mayhood Company

The convenient Open House Directory is designed for readers to clip and carry on their open house rounds.

Easy to clip & carry.

For more information, contact your Washington Post Account Manager, or the Classified Real Estate Department at 202-334-5800,



2011 May- June

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

Ask the President Adrian Hunnings 2011 GCAAR President Question: DC residents are constantly called upon by countless organizations – the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) included - to contact our elected Congressperson and Senators to encourage their support for such-andsuch an issue. Our sole elected official isn’t allowed to cast one vote on the floor of the House of Representatives. Every time I receive something about RPAC, or an NAR Call for Action, I ask myself the same question I’m going to ask you…why should I respond, or why should I contribute to RPAC, if I have no Congressional representation? - A Concerned DC Broker and Resident You pose a very thoughtful question. It is true, you and I and the other 600,000+ residents of this city are second class citizens in this nation. It does not totally soothe the sore spot, but I am proud to say that NAR is the only national, business-oriented, non-partisan group that has actually endorsed DC statehood and has as its stated legislative goal to make DC a full state. Internally, it treats DC as a state, and gives it the full voting and constitutional privileges of any other state. NAR’s legislative position in support of statehood is even more impressive when put in context. NAR is a highly focused, issueoriented organization that restricts itself to “property ownership issues in support of REALTORS®.” This is probably the furthest

Capital AreaREALTOR®

they have ever strayed on an issue that is not specifically a real estate policy issue – particularly an issue with such partisan perspectives of the Hill. But that is still not the main reason I am so active politically in NAR. I feel passionately that we can’t stand by and watch Congress abandon home ownership. Having a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is important to our clients. Having a conforming loan limit of $729,750 for the past two years spared our market in DC from total chaos. Without it, we would have suffered far greater declines in home equity in our neighborhoods. I could go on and on about the policy issues that this Congress and the next will decide that will have a dear impact on our industry and on our clients. You are right about one thing. We as citizens and REALTORS® of the District have practically no input in how our Federal government will decide our future - except that we can join and support NAR. Quite frankly, I feel I have better representation as a result of being part of the National Association of REALTORS® and this is one of the reasons I am such an advocate. I not only give to RPAC as a major investor, I participate in the President’s Circle, a program that allows me to choose and support Congressional members (of the party I prefer) outside of my state who support NAR positions. It happened to be just one of these members that added the amendment to raise conforming loan limits. Bottom line - I feel I have a stronger voice because of NAR. Please don’t blame NAR because we don’t have statehood. Please don’t let partisan politics be a reason to not support NAR. The REALTOR® Party needs all of our support to make sure that home ownership, and DC home owners are strongly represented in the halls of Congress.

Committee Spotlight: Green and Grievance Committees The Green Committee promotes environmentally-sustainable development, green policy initiatives, and LEED green building certification system. The committee meets bimonthly.

Green Committee Members Staff Liaisons: Meredith Weisel and Katalin Peter Beth Irons, Chair Lili Sheeline, Vice Chair Ernie Aranguren Alan Black Marcus Jaffe Shawn Jang Kim Jones Fred Kendrick George Maestri M.J. Minton Kermit Sande Catalina Schrader Leslie Weightman Edward Wood Earl Wynn

The Grievance Committee is responsible for reviewing ethics complaints and arbitration requests that have been filed with GCAAR. The committee determines whether to forward cases to the Professional Standards Committee for hearings. Attendance at Professional Standards training seminar is required. This committee meets as necessary, usually monthly.

Grievance Committee Members Staff Liaison: Yvette Robinson Frank Snodgrass, Chair Carol Schantz, Vice Chair Valerie Blake Thomas Brockett Cynthia Davis Virginia Fall Jeffrey Ganz Lillamaud (Lilla) Hammond Michael Hsur Linda Hughes Charles Klein Kay Kline James Kneussl

Sharon Lazar Moquit Malik Hank May Sergio Morgadinho Karl Operle Eileen Rogers Orfalea Bill Osburn Julio Pena Marc Pina Josette Skilling John Sullivan David Thomas Pamela Wye

Capital AreaRealtor®

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

2011 May- June

Meet Your GCAAR Staff Michael Moran

Chief Executive Officer Mike joined GCAAR in July of 2003 after almost 25 years in financial and administrative management in the real estate brokerage community. He is responsible for overseeing all of GCAAR’s operations, establishing Association policies and procedures, and for ensuring ongoing communications with the Officers and Directors of the Association. Mike had previously served as Chief Financial Officer of GCAAR from 1996-1999. Prior to this he was the Controller for Shannon and Luchs Company and Regional Controller for Weichert REALTORS®. After leaving GCAAR in 1999, he served as Chief Financial Officer for Stevens Real Estate/NRT MidAtlantic before returning to GCAAR in 2003. Mike serves on the Boards of several non-profit organizations, including the Explore-it-All Science Center and the Mental Health Association of Montgomery County. He is currently a member of the MRIS Investment Committee.

Amy Ritsko-Warren Vice President & Chief Operating Officer As GCAAR’s Chief Operating Officer, Amy oversees the association’s Communications, Education, Events, and Professional Standards programs. Strategic, operational, and office space planning, as well as other special projects fall into her bailiwick. Amy has been working with REALTOR® Associations since 2002 when she started as Manager of Communications at the Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS®. She came to GCAAR in 2005 as Director of Communications and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2007. A Maryland resident since 1995 (with the exception of a brief stint living in DC), she received her BA in Psychology and MS in Marketing from Johns Hopkins University.

Sandy Hargis Executive Services Coordinator As the Executive Services Coordinator, Sandy is responsible for arranging board meetings, special events, and the Property Management and Contract and Clause committees. Sandy was licensed as a REALTOR® in the 1970s. She has worked in administration for three real estate companies. Sandy came to GCAAR in 2007. A Maryland native, she resides in Laurel. She received a BS in Elementary Education from Towson University.

GCAAR Selected to Host NAR Town Hall Event GCAAR was invited to be one of only two REALTOR® Associations in the country to host a live audience at the April 13 NAR Town Hall meeting at NAR’s DC headquarters. Members posed questions to the NAR Leadership on the REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative and what it means for members and the future of the association.

Members listen to NAR panel

2010 MAR Lifetime Achievement Winner Harold Huggins waits his turn to speak



2011 May- June

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

Capital AreaREALTOR®

GCAAR Cares Scores Big at 2011 Rebuilding Together® GCAAR’s Community Service Committee, GCAAR Cares, drew a record number of 68 volunteers to participate in the 2011 Rebuilding Together® project in Montgomery County, MD and Washington, DC on Saturday, April 30. For seven consecutive years, GCAAR Cares has supported Rebuilding Together® in these jurisdictions. This year’s Rebuilding Together® teams were led by 2011 GCAAR Cares Committee Chair Cuvator “Q” Armstrong. Rebuilding Together® is the nation’s leading nonprofit working to preserve affordable home ownership and revitalize communities. GCAAR’s 2011 President Adrian Hunnings has been a Rebuilding Together® volunteer for five years, while others were volunteering for the first time. Whether a first-timer or veteran, each volunteer made a significant difference in helping homeowners restore their homes and community. In DC, the homeowner’s granddaughter stated, “this has been very great for me. It shows that humanity does care and that tells me there is hope for better things to come.” In Montgomery County, the homeowner was very thankful to all the Rebuilding Together® volunteers saying, “may God bless you.” Thank you ALL for coming out to support GCAAR Cares in Rebuilding Together®. Thank you DC Rebuilding Together® team: Lyn Alexander, House Captain Kim Jones, Co-Captain Kymber Lovett-Menkiti, Ambassador Thank you Montgomery County Rebuilding Together® team: Sharon Rogers, House Captain Tom Bennetts, Co-Captain Linda Tomlinson, Ambassador

Special Thank You to our Food Sponsors: Counselors Title eTitle Keller Williams® Capital Properties Monarch Title Prosperity Mortgage

Special Round of Applause to our Contractors: Lamont Green & William Collins

2011 Rebuilding Together® DC volunteers

Contractors Lamont Green (left) and William Collins (right) get support from 2011 GCAAR President Adrian Hunnings (center)

Flavio Luzardo greets House Captain Lyn Alexander

Committee Member/Co-Captain Kim Jones puts on painting cap

Volunteers help remove old furniture

2011 Rebuilding Together® MC Volunteers

Cares Committee Co-Chair and House Captain Sharon Rogers

Bob Corbey restores bathroom

Channareth Khoun (front) and James Basuel help install handrail

Capital AreaRealtor®

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

2011 May- June

Pathways to Professionalism Help to Guide Real Estate Practices By Yvette Robinson, Professional Standards Administrator

21. Do not tell people what you think—tell them what you know.

According to, professionalism is defined as “meticulous adherence to undeviating courtesy, honesty and responsibility in one’s dealings with customers and associates, plus a level of excellence that goes over and above the commercial considerations and legal requirements.”

Respect for Property 1. Be responsible for everyone you allow to enter listed property. 2. Never allow buyers to enter listed property unaccompanied. 3. When showing property, keep all members of the group together. 4. Never allow unaccompanied access to property without permission. 5. Enter property only with permission even if you have a lockbox key or combination. 6. When the occupant is absent, leave the property as you found it (lights, heating, cooling, drapes, etc). If you think something is amiss (e.g. vandalism) contact the listing broker immediately. 7. Be considerate of the seller’s property. Do not allow anyone to eat, drink, smoke, dispose of trash, use bathing or sleeping facilities, or bring pets. Leave the house as you found it unless instructed otherwise. 8. Use sidewalks; if weather is bad, take off shoes and boots inside property.

The National Association of REALTORS® provides many resources for REALTORS® through its website and publications to develop and maintain its competitive edge through professionalism. The Pathways to Professionalism is an excellent reminder of the professional courtesies intended to be used by REALTORS® in their real estate practices with the public and their peers. Respect for the Public 1. Follow the “Golden Rule”— Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. 2. Respond promptly to inquiries and requests for information. 3. Schedule appointments and showings as far in advance as possible. 4. Call if you are delayed or must cancel an appointment or showing. 5. If a prospective buyer decides not to view an occupied home, promptly explain the situation to the listing broker or the occupant. 6. Communicate with all parties in a timely fashion. 7. When entering a property, ensure that unexpected situations, such as pets, are handled appropriately. 8. Leave your business card if not prohibited by local rules. 9. Never criticize property in the presence of the occupant. 10. Inform occupants that you are leaving after showings. 11. When showing an occupied home, always ring the doorbell or knock—and announce yourself loudly—before entering. Knock and announce yourself loudly before entering any closed room. 12. Present a professional appearance at all times; dress appropriately and drive a clean car. 13. If occupants are home during showings, ask their permission before using the telephone or bathroom. 14. Encourage the clients of other brokers to direct questions to their agent or representative. 15. Communicate clearly; don’t use jargon or slang that may not be readily understood. 16. Be aware of and respect cultural differences. 17. Show courtesy and respect to everyone. 18. Be aware of—and meet—all deadlines. 19. Promise only what you can deliver—and keep your promises. 20. Identify your REALTOR® and your professional status in contacts with the public.

Respect for Peers 1. Identify your REALTOR® and professional status in all contacts with other REALTORS® 2. Respond to other agents’ calls, faxes, and e-mails promptly and courteously. 3. Be aware that large electronic files with attachments or lengthy faxes may be a burden on recipients. 4. Notify the listing broker if there appears to be inaccurate information on the listing. 5. Share important information about a property, including the presence of pets, security systems, and whether sellers will be present during the showing. 6. Show courtesy, trust, and respect to other real estate professionals. 7. Avoid the inappropriate use of endearments or other denigrating language. 8. Do not prospect at other REALTORS®’ open houses or similar events. 9. Return keys promptly. 10. Carefully replace keys in the lockbox after showings. 11. To be successful in the business, mutual respect is essential. 12. Real estate is a reputation business. What you do today may effect your reputation—and business—for years to come.

These professional courtesies are intended to be used by REALTORS® on a voluntary basis, and cannot form the basis for a professional standards complaint. This document can be found in the NAR Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual and in the 2011 NAR booklet entitled “Professionalism in Real Estate Practice.”

Fair Housing Poster Contest Winner – Logan Lamb Each year, the Maryland Association of REALTORS® partners with local schools and organizations to promote fair housing through a poster contest. Students from across the state in grades K - 8 are eligible to participate, and are asked to illustrate the theme, “Fair Housing Means a Place to Call Home” and what it means to them. This year’s Montgomery County winner, representing GCAAR, was Logan Lamb of Olney Elementary. Logan and the other winners were honored at a reception at the Maryland Senate Building in Annapolis on April 25. Senator Thomas “Mike” Miller, Jr., President of the Senate, presented the students with their certificates.

Montgomery County Winner Logan Lamb from Olney Elementary

Logan with from left to right, Cuvator “Q” Armstrong, Hildy Pollard, 2011 GCAAR President Adrian Hunnings, Silvia Rodriguez, and Sen. Mike Miller



2011 May- June

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

Capital AreaREALTOR®

Escaping the Financing Trap What You Need to Share with Buyers About Mortgage Lending By Michele Lerner Finding the right property for your buyers is always a challenge, but REALTORS® are also aware that qualifying for a home loan is one of the biggest obstacles buyers need to overcome. “It can be hard for lenders to keep up with all the changes to loan programs and even tougher for REALTORS®, whose main job is to find and sell homes,” says Douglas Benner, a senior loan officer with Embrace Home Loans in Rockville. “REALTORS® can attend classes on various loan programs, but they should also develop relationships with lenders who know about different loans and local programs that can help borrowers with down payment and closing cost funds.” Buyer consultation While many REALTORS® prefer to leave detailed financial discussions to lenders, mortgage experts recommend that REALTORS® discuss financing at their initial buyer consultation. “REALTORS® should ask potential buyers what they do for a living and for a rough idea of the buyers’ income,” says Brent Mendelson, a loan officer with Monarch Mortgage in Rockville. “They should ask if the borrowers have other sources of income and about their assets, to make sure they have some funds for a down payment. Self-employed borrowers must provide two years of tax returns. If they write off expenses, they need to realize they can only be approved on the income they report to the IRS.” Mendelson says that the minimum credit score now for most lenders, even for an FHA-insured loan, is 620 to 640, so REALTORS® should also ask borrowers if they know their credit score. Credit scores are used in conventional financing to set the interest rate, so borrowers with a low score will pay a higher mortgage rate. Benner says, “The first topic should be whether the buyer has decent credit. If they have missed any payments, they need to start paying on time immediately, even if they are only paying the minimum. Someone with a marginal credit score may not be able to get a loan at all, and they are not likely to qualify for a conventional loan that requires private mortgage insurance (PMI).” Brian Martucci, a mortgage broker with, says REALTORS® should make sure their buyers get a true mortgage pre-approval. “A pre-approval requires that the borrowers provide documentation of their income and assets, which is essential to qualifying for a loan,” says Martucci. “A pre-approval letter is worthless if the lender has not done the paperwork.” Martucci says REALTORS® should never be afraid to ask as many questions as possible about the income and assets of potential buyers, because this protects the REALTOR® and the buyers and their earnest money deposit. Debt-to-income ratios Benner suggests that REALTORS® should understand the basics of a loan approval. “Lenders have different requirements on debt-toincome and there can be mitigating circumstances such as a higher credit score or more cash reserves that can allow some flexibility, but for the most part the absolute maximum lenders will allow is a 50 percent debt-to-income ratio including all monthly obligations compared to the monthly gross income,” says Benner. “Many lenders limit borrowers to 42 percent, and most say it is best to stay under 42 to 43 percent.” Down payments and gift funds While 100 percent home loans are rare, VA loans are available

for military families and USDA rural loans are available in some areas of Montgomery County. FHA loans require a 3.5 percent down payment, and some conventional loans are available for as little as three percent down. “To qualify for a low down payment conventional loan, borrowers need a credit score of 720 or above, a debt-to-income ratio of 41 percent or under and proof of assets,” says Mendelson. “Some lenders insist on a minimum of five percent down payment.” Conventional financing with less than 20 percent down requires PMI, as do all FHA loans. “FHA loans allow the entire down payment to come from gift funds from family members or grant money, but with conventional financing, at least five percent of the down payment money must come from the borrowers’ own funds,” says Benner. Loan programs State and local loan programs such as the FHLB grant for first-time homebuyers, the DC Bond program and House Keys for Employees offer funds for homebuyers for their down payment and closing costs. Many of the programs require income qualifications or are limited to first-time homebuyers, and some require participation in a homeownership class. REALTORS® can have buyers contact lenders to find out if they qualify for a program. Information is also available at for Maryland buyers and at, and “FHA 203K loans that allow buyers to wrap renovation costs into their loan are a good option for some buyers,” says Benner. “The Fannie Mae Home Path program gets buyers into a Fannie Maeowned foreclosure with no PMI and a minimal down payment. HUD-owned foreclosures are available with FHA loans with as little as a $100 down payment.” Loan limit changes Unless Congress changes the rules, the temporary increase on conforming home loans will expire October 1st, reducing the limit for these loans to $625,500 in the Washington area. This could have a negative impact on buyers of homes in the $700,000 and $800,000 price range who are likely to be forced to meet stricter guidelines and make a higher down payment. REALTORS® may want to encourage buyers in that price range to settle before October 1. Advice for borrowers Martucci says REALTORS® can provide a great service for borrowers by reminding them not to run up their credit cards before a loan settlement. “Lenders pull credit reports at the beginning and when a loan is ready to close, so borrowers need to be careful that added spending doesn’t damage their credit score or increase their debt-toincome ratio,” says Martucci. Mendelson says that REALTORS® and their buyers need to understand that credit, income and assets are all needed for a loan approval, and the lack of any one of these factors can sink a loan. “One of the best things a REALTOR® can do is to talk with the buyers about what they feel they can comfortably afford to pay each month, and to work from that number rather than from a home price,” says Benner. While REALTORS® must leave the details of the lending process to professional mortgage experts, they can educate buyers about what they need to make it to the settlement table.

Capital AreaRealtor®

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

2011 May- June

Green Committee’s Resource Page A GREENER DESIGNATION With demands for environmental awareness growing in the real estate industry, particularly in the Greater Washington Metro Area, REALTORS® can stay ahead of the game by earning specialized designations such as NAR’s Green Designation, EcoBroker®/ Ecosociate® and LEED Professional Credentials. NAR’s Green Designation is designed for residential, commercial and property management professionals looking to learn about issues of energy efficiency and sustainability in the various facets of real estate. REALTORS® gain access to marketing tools to help build their business, specialized training, as well as an understanding of what it means to go green. It is the only green designation for real estate agents and property managers recognized by the National Association of REALTORS® To earn NAR’s Green Designation, one must: (1) successfully complete and pass NAR’s Green Designation Core Course and NAR’s Green Designation Elective Course; (2) submit the Green Designation Application Form; and (3) maintain active membership in the National Association of REALTORS® - either as a REALTOR® member or Institute Affiliate member – as well as maintain active membership in the Green Resource Council. Material provided by, and for more information, visit: EcoBroker® International Inc.’s environmental and energy educational program has oversight from the Association of Energy and Environmental Real Estate Professionals. Through EcoBroker’s® curriculum, real estate professionals acquire the knowledge and resources to become certified EcoBrokers®/Ecosociates®. The education and training is aimed at helping consumers take advantage of energy efficiency and environmentally sensitive design in real estate properties.

Greater Washington’s Top ‘Green’ Neighborhoods As Americans widely embrace the “green revolution,” MRIS has released the following list of top green neighborhoods in the greater Washington, DC area: • Ballston (VA) is showing clear efforts to educate the public about environmental improvements, through its initiative to reduce emissions, and its innovation in building Virginia’s first LEED platinum house. • Bethesda (MD) is home to DC’s first Passive Design House. It also has a number of green initiatives to cut greenhouse gas emissions and implement green jobs. • Capitol Hill (DC) is abundant with green homes and buildings and offers close proximity to the city’s largest farmer’s market and famous green spaces and gardens -most notably the Botanical Gardens. • Crestwood (DC) borders Rock Creek Park, which contains 1,754 acres of green space and nature-related activities. Crestwood also has a neighborhood plan to conserve and preserve their community. • Columbia Heights (DC) is home to DC’s first solar powered condos, as well as DC’s largest residential solar thermal project. • Mount Rainier (MD) has a number of green building initiatives and projects, as well as an abundance of green space including the Mount Rainier Nature and Recreation Center.

In order to earn the EcoBroker®/Ecosociate® designation, licensed real estate agents must fulfill a set of requirements, the most important being a completion of their energy, environmental, and marketing training program. On-going training is also required to maintain the designation.

• Old Town Alexandria (VA) is the home to the first LEED-certified condo building in the state of Virginia. It also takes part in all of Alexandria’s green initiatives, including the Green Building Policy and the Go Green Alexandria project.

Material provided by, and for more information, visit:

• Petworth (DC) is home to DC’s first LEED platinum condo development and it encompasses a number of parks and lush green areas, including Rock Creek Cemetery.

LEED Professional Credentials were developed to encourage green building professionals to maintain and advance their knowledge and expertise. A LEED Professional Credential is intended to provide employers, policymakers, and other stakeholders with assurances of an individual’s current level of competence and marks qualified and educated green building professionals. The LEED Professional Credentials and Exams are administered by the Green Building Certification Institute. All the LEED Credentials require adherence to the LEED Professional Disciplinary and Exam Appeals Policy and require ongoing credential maintenance requirements. Credentials include: LEED Green Associate, which denotes a basic knowledge of green design, construction, and operations for professionals who want to demonstrate green building expertise in non-technical fields of practice; and LEED AP (Accredited Professional), which signifies an advanced depth of knowledge in green building practices, as well as the ability to continued on page 26

• Takoma Park (MD) features 17 acres of green space and parks, including Sligo Creek Park. It is also home to a number of green buildings and community projects. • Woodley Park (DC) is surrounded by green space and offers a number of public transportation options. Woodley Park is in walking distance to the National Zoo and a number of local parks, including the largest in DC, Rock Creek Park.


To learn more about the top green neighborhoods listed above, visit For information on homes on the market with green elements, visit



2011 May- June

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

Capital AreaREALTOR®

2 0 1 1 J u ly - A u g u s t E d u c a t io n S c h e d u l e Raising the Level of Professionalism Unless otherwise noted, all classes listed will be held at the GCAAR Conference Center, 8757 Georgia Ave., Suite 600, Silver Spring, MD Please check our website at for more updates and additions. July 11, 2011 *Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, North Bethesda, MD* REALTOR® Fest * Please go to for more information

CEU: Up to 9 hours of credit for MD, DC and/or VA Time: 8:00 a.m. – 8:15 p.m. July 15, 2011 Maryland Codes of Ethics & Predatory Lending and New Member Orientation (NMO) CEU: 3 hours MD (required) & 3 hours DC (elective) Instructor: Prabhjit Singh Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (MD Ethics) NMO – 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (mandatory for new members) July 18, 2011 MREC- Agency Residential CEU: 3 hours MD (required/elective) credit Instructor: Tom Lynch Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. DC Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) credit Instructor: Tom Lynch Time: 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. July 20 Advance FHA Financing CEU: 3 hours DC, MD & VA (elective) credit Instructor: Jim Semeyn Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. 203K CEU: 3 hours DC, MD & VA (elective) credit Instructor: Everett Sands Time: 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. July 21 *500 New Jersey Avenue, NW 2nd Floor, Washington, DC* DC Fair Housing & Predatory Lending CEU: 3 hours DC (required) credit Instructors: Chris Darby, Esq. and John Nalls, Esq. Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. *500 New Jersey Avenue, NW 2nd Floor, Washington, DC* DC Legislative Update CEU: 3.0 hours DC (required) credit Instructors: Chris Darby, Esq. and John Nalls, Esq. Time: 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m

July 27, 2011 *500 New Jersey Avenue, NW 2nd Floor, Washington, DC* DC Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) credit Instructor: Tom Lynch Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. *500 New Jersey Avenue, NW 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 203K CEU: 3 hours DC, MD & VA (elective) credit Instructor: Everett Sands Time: 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. August 3, 2011 Rental Property Management CEU: 3 hours MD, DC & VA (elective) credit Instructor: Tom Lynch Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. DC Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) credit Instructor: Tom Lynch Time: 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. August 4, 2011 Financing Issues Update CEU: 3 hour DC (required), MD & VA (elective) credit Instructor: Jim Semeyn Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. August 11, 2011 Non-Conforming Financing CEU: 3 hours DC, MD & VA (elective) credit Instructor: Jim Semeyn Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Financing Issues Update CEU: 3 hour DC (required), MD & VA (elective) credit Instructor: Jim Semeyn Time: 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. August 15, 2011 Maryland Codes of Ethics & Predatory Lending and New Member Orientation (NMO) CEU: 3 hours MD (required) & 3 hours DC (elective) Instructor: Prabhjit Singh Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. NMO – 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (mandatory for new members)

August 15, 2011 (con’t) Maryland Fair Housing CEU: 1.5 hours DC (elective) & MD (required) credit Instructor: Prabhjit Singh Time: 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. August 18, 2011 Maryland Codes of Ethics & Predatory Lending CEU: 3 hours MD (required) & 3 hours DC (elective) Instructor: Tom Lynch Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. DC Fair Housing CEU: 3 hours DC (required) credit Instructor: Tom Lynch Time: 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. August 22, 2011 *500 New Jersey Avenue, NW 2nd Floor, Washington, DC* Financing Issues Update CEU: 3 hour DC (required), MD & VA (elective) credit Instructor: Jim Semeyn Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. *500 New Jersey Avenue, NW 2nd Floor, Washington, DC* DC Legislative Update CEU: 3.0 hours DC (required) credit Instructors: Chris Darby, Esq. and John Nalls, Esq. Time: 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. *500 New Jersey Avenue, NW 2nd Floor, Washington, DC* DC Fair Housing CEU: 3 hours DC (required) credit Instructor: Prabhjit Singh Time: 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. August 25, 2011 Foreclosures CEU: 3.0 hours DC, MD & VA (elective) credit Instructors: Everett Sands Time: 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Short Sales CEU: 3.0 hours DC, MD & VA (elective) credit Instructors: Everett Sands Time: 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Capital AreaRealtor®

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

2011 May- June

Legal Hotline Call Summary By Chris Darby, Tom Muldoon and John Nalls of Counselors Title, LLC, and Pardo & Drazin, LLC, General Counsel Below are some questions answered on the GCAAR and WDCAR Legal Hotlines. The answers provided here are the opinions of the authors, are for informational purposes, and are only for GCAAR members. Neither Counselors Title, LLC, nor Pardo & Drazin, LLC is providing legal advice, but rather providing a general statement of law. No lawyer/client relationship is - or will be - established as a result of the material which follows. Readers are encouraged to retain their own counsel for their specific questions. Answers may have been edited for formatting purposes.

Question: We have a client who is bidding on a house in which we are aware a murder was committed. Is the seller required to disclose this information? Are we allowed to advise the buyer?

Answer: No. In all 3 jurisdictions within the purview of GCAAR, the legislatures have determined that a murder occurring in a property is a nonmaterial fact which is not required to be disclosed: Section 47-2853.198 of the District of Columbia Code provides: Acts not required to be disclosed. Notwithstanding the possibility that a fact may have a psychological impact on a purchaser, lessee, or sublessee, it shall not be a material fact that must be disclosed in a real estate transaction, nor shall it be the basis for a cause of action against an owner of real property, a real estate broker, a real estate salesperson, a property manager, a lessee, or sublessee, that the following information was not disclosed to the purchaser, lessee, or sublessee: (1) An occupant of real property, at any time, was infected or was or is suspected to have been infected with a human immune deficiency virus; (2) An occupant of real property, at any time, has been diagnosed, was infected, or was suspected to have been diagnosed as having acquired immune deficiency syndrome or any other disease that has been determined by medical evidence to be highly unlikely to be transmitted through occupancy of property alone; or (3) The property, at any time, has been or was suspected to have been the site of a suicide, homicide, or other felony. In Maryland, Section 2-120 of the Real Property Article also specifically provides that it is NOT a material fact or a latent defect relating to a property that : “(1) An owner or occupant of the property is, was, or is suspected to be: (i) Infected with Human immunodeficiency virus; or (ii) Diagnosed with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; or

(2) A homicide, suicide, accidental death, natural death, or felony occurred on the property” Section 17-322.1 of the Business and Occupations Article (Regarding real estate agents and broker) reiterates this and provides that it is not grounds for a disciplinary action if a licensee did not disclose such information and that a licensee may not be held personally liable for not doing so. The Code of Virginia in Section 55-524A goes even further and indicates that not only need an owner not disclose AIDS/HIV and “a homicide, felony or suicide, but also any “act or occurrence which had no effect on the physical structure of the real property, its physical environment, or the improvements located thereon”. Furthermore, a disclosure that a property’s previous owner or occupant died of AIDs or was HIV positive has been determined to constitute illegal discrimination against the handicapped under the federal Fair Housing Act.

Question: I have a listing for an REO (bank-owned) property in the District of Columbia which is still occupied by a tenant of the owner who was foreclosed upon. The bank now wishes to sell the property. Is the bank as seller required to offer the tenant an opportunity to purchase the property and/or a Right of First Refusal?

Answer: Yes. Title IV of D.C. Law 3-86, “RENTAL HOUSING CONVERSION AND SALE ACT OF 1980” (commonly referred to as the “Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act” or “TOPA”) requires that, prior to any sale of a residential property occupied by a tenant or “any other person entitled to the possession, occupancy, or benefits of a housing accommodation,” the owner must first provide the person occupying the property with both an Offer of Sale and, if the property is sold to a 3rd party, a Right of First Refusal to match the contract of the 3rd party. There is no exemption in the statute for REO property and thus the bank is subject to the same requirements as any other seller. The forms containing the required notices, which should be provided in both English and Spanish, are listed as GCAAR Form DCDHCD and may also be found at view,a,1243,q,641679.asp.



2011 May- June

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

Capital AreaREALTOR®

P u b l ic P o l ic y Maryland Public Policy Update Maryland General Assembly The legislative session ended on Monday, April 11 at midnight. Below are a few select bills that passed this session. For more information, as well as a full detailed summary of pertinent 2011 real estate legislation, please visit and go to the Government Affairs news section. HB 72 – Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2011 – Recording Fees STATUS: PASSED – Effective July 1, 2011 – July 1, 2015 Increases the real estate recording fee from $20 to $40 for each recordable document. HB 521/SB 328 – Estates and Trusts – Transfers – Recordation and Transfer Taxes STATUS: PASSED – Effective July 1, 2011 Clarifies that transfer and recordation taxes may not be imposed on a mortgage or deed of trust that is transferred as part of an estate or trust to a beneficiary or a trust as long as there was no consideration. HB 102 – Financial Institutions – Mortgage Loan Originators – Prohibited Acts STATUS: PASSED – Effective October 1, 2011 Prohibits a mortgage loan originator from making a payment, threat, or promise in order to improperly influence the independent judgment of a real estate appraiser. However, HB 102 would still permit a mortgage loan originator to request the appraiser to: consider additional information; provide further substantiation of the appraiser’s conclusions; and correct errors. HB 1049 – Real Estate Brokers – Intracompany Agents STATUS: PASSED – Effective October 1, 2011 Authorizes a broker to appoint another licensee in the office to designate the intracompany agents working for the same real estate team. The designee appointed by the broker may not be a member of that real estate team. HB 1109 – Real Property – Rescission of Sales Contracts – Return of Deposits STATUS: PASSED – Effective October 1, 2011 Clarifies that brokers must follow the current rules under 17-505 of the Business Occupations and Professions Article for returning deposit money when state law permits a buyer to rescind a contract of sale. In order to return deposit money, 17-505 requires: an agreement of the parties; an interpleader action; or a determination by the broker of who should receive the money and notification to the parties of the decision. SB 285 – State Real Estate Commission – Reinstatement of Licenses and Inactive Status STATUS: PASSED – Effective October 1, 2011 Requires real estate licensees on inactive status to reinstate their full license after 3 years of inactive status rather than 4 years. Also requires licensees on inactive status to keep up with continuing education requirements before being able to renew their inactive status after two years. MAR requested an amendment so that the bill would not apply to licensees going on inactive status until on or after October 1, 2011.

HB 653/SB 457 – Lawyers – Bar Admission Requirement – Exception for Rent Escrow Proceedings STATUS: PASSED – Effective October 1, 2011 Allows non-attorneys to represent landlords or tenants in rent escrow cases. HB 842/SB 516 – Foreclosed Residential Property – Tenants – Collection of rent Payments – Prior Notice STATUS: PASSED – Effective July 1, 2011 Requires a purchaser of a foreclosed property with a bona fide tenant to notify the tenant about the purchaser’s ownership so the tenant can pay the rent. A tenant is not required to pay any rent until the tenant receives the notice. SB 182 – Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Act of 2011 STATUS: PASSED – Effective June 1, 2011 Provides the initial framework of the Health Benefit Exchanges that will become available to all Marylanders in 2014.

MC Public Policy Update 5-Cent Tax on Carryout Bags On May 3, the Montgomery County Council approved Bill 8-11 that will create a five-cent charge on each paper or plastic bag provided by a retail establishment to a customer at point of sale, pickup or delivery. The bill is intended to inspire consumers to use more reusable bags, which in turn could lead to fewer bags littering the environment. Certain exceptions will apply, such as bags from pharmacies. The law will take effect January 1, 2012.

New County Legislation Expedited Bill 10-11, Recordation Tax Allocation of Revenue The Bill, as submitted on behalf of the County Executive, would suspend for Fiscal Year 2012 the requirement that certain revenue from the recordation tax (Tier 3) be allocated to County Government capital projects and rental assistance programs for low and moderate income households. The County recordation tax has 3 Tiers, which determine how the revenue from this tax is allocated: Tier Rate Use of funds 1 $4.401$1000 General Fund (unrestricted) 2 $2.501$1000 MCPS capital, College educational technology 3 $3.101$1000 50% County government capital improvements (>$500,000) 50% new funding for rental assistance programs On April 26, Bonnie Casper testified in opposition to the Bill emphasizing: • GCAAR’s concern with diverting funds collected in recordation taxes from certain capital purposes and rental assistance to the general fund. • This is the 3rd year GCAAR is commenting on legislation regarding use of revenue from recordation taxes and every year we stress it should be a temporary measure. • In the event the Council passes legislation that continues to divert these funds from rental assistance – the Council should not thereafter enact legislation which increases the recordation tax if they are going to use the special purposes of supporting rental assistance as their justification for doing so.

Capital AreaRealtor®

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

On May 3, the Government Operations Committee held a hearing on the Bill. They considered also suspending allocation to capital improvements to schools. After reviewing the impact on Montgomery College, the Committee recommended approval of the Bill as submitted on behalf of the Executive. agenda/col/2011/110405/20110405_7.pdf

NAR Issues NAR’s REALTOR® Action Center Stay up to date on NAR’s political activity through the REALTOR® Action Center.

Legislation Introduced to Make Loan Limits Permanent H.R. 1754, the “Preserving Equal Access to Mortgage Finance Programs Act,” would make the current loan limits permanent. The current GSE limits range from $417,000 to $729,750, depending on local area median home price. The FHA limits range from $271,050 to $729, 750, also based on 125% of local area median home price. Both of these limits are set to expire on September 30, 2011 and will reset to 115% of local area median up to $625,500. This bill has been referred to the House Financial Services Subommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity.

Federal Reserve Issues Proposed Qualified Mortgage (QM) Rule On April 19, 2011, the Federal Reserve issued a proposed rule on the Qualified Mortgage (QM) under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Not to be confused with the Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM), the QM is not concerned with securitization, but rather with consumer protection from predatory lending. Congress essentially sought to create a “safe” mortgage that would have features and underwriting that protect consumers.

2011 May- June

to continue and strengthen the program for another 5 years, including indexing coverage limits and adding options for living expenses and business interruption. At the same time, Sullivan raised concerns over other bill provisions for pilot projects to explore privatization of the NFIP beyond the bill’s 5-year timeframe. The full committee unanimously approved the bill during the May 12 markup and it will now go to the House and then the Senate for consideration. NAR will continue to urge the long-term reform and extension of NFIP authority before it is again set to expire on September 30, 2011.

Privacy Legislation Introduced in the House and Senate On April 12, Senators Kerry (D-MA) and McCain (R-AZ) introduced the “Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011.” This bill would, among other things, require firms that collect, use, or share personally identifiable consumer information to provide clear disclosures about their data collection practices and offer consumers the ability to optout of such collection. On April 13, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) introduced “The Consumer Privacy Protection Act” in the House. This bill would establish comprehensive U.S. data privacy rules for firms collecting consumer personally identifiable information. Notably, this bill allows firms to be deemed in compliance by participating in a selfregulatory program approved by the Federal Trade Commission. NAR will reach out to members of the House and Senate to share its suggestions to improve the bills, while at the same time continuing to explore the creation of real estate specific self-regulatory program for data privacy and security.

DC Public Policy Update WDCAR Speaker Series

The comment period ends July 22, 2011 and at that point, the Bureau is expected to take over review of comments and the rule process. The rule proposal is extensive and contains items of significant concern as well as items consistent with NAR policy. NAR is evaluating the proposal on its own and in context with the controversial QRM proposal to ensure that consumers have access to affordable safe mortgage credit.

On April 21, Council Chairman Kwame Brown addressed REALTORS® as part of WDCAR’s Speaker Series. Chairman Brown discussed his new position as Council Chair, the upcoming Fiscal Year 2012 Budget, as well as other important legislative issues. He was able to personally address questions from REALTORS®, including concerns regarding proposed revenue enhancements and spending cuts in Mayor Gray’s budget proposal.

NAR Launches QRM Website

Chairman Brown’s presentation was a valuable opportunity for REALTORS® to learn the latest news on issues directly related to their business. WDCAR will be hosting future Speaker Series events with other important District officials and REALTORS® should stay tuned to their e-mails for additional details.

NAR has launched a website focused on the issues raised by the proposed rule defining a Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM). The proposed rule is the first step in implementing a provision of the Dodd-Frank Act that requires lenders that securitize mortgage loans to retain 5% of the credit risk unless the mortgage is a QRM or is otherwise exempt (for example, FHA mortgages are also exempt). The proposed rule includes a very tight definition of QRM, including a 20% down payment, low debt-to-income ratios, and other strict credit criteria. NAR opposes such a narrow definition due to concerns that QRM-eligible mortgages will become the standard and limit the ability of responsible consumers who maintain good credit and seek safe loan products to qualify for affordable mortgages. You can visit the site at:

House Committee Passes 5-Year Extension of National Flood Insurance Program On April 1, 2011, a House Financial Services Subcommittee unanimously approved H.R. 1309, to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program until September 30, 2016. Terry Sullivan, NAR’s Land Use Committee Chair, testified in support of the bill’s provisions

April 26 Special Election On April 26, Vincent Orange (D) became the District’s newest At-Large Councilmember. He won a race to fill the remainder of Kwame Brown’s (D) term until 2012 (Brown gave up the position last year when he was elected Council Chairman). It is likely that Orange will seek a full term in the 2012 primary election. Councilmember-elect Orange drew more than 28% of the D.C. electorate. Republican Patrick Mara gathered 26%. Democratic incumbent Sekou Biddle garnered 20% Democrat Bryan Weaver 13% Democrat Josh Lopez 7%. The WDCAR RPAC Trustees did not endorse in this race, but gave contribution to the 3 candidates who were ultimately the top 3 votegetters: Orange; Mara; and Biddle. continued on page 22



2011 May- June

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

DC Public Policy Update, continued from page 21 District Budget

On April 1, Mayor Vincent C. Gray released his Fiscal Year 2012 Proposed Budget, featuring a combination of spending cuts and revenue enhancements that will cover the $322.1 million deficit between expected income and expenses for the fiscal year that begins October 1, 2011.

Capital AreaREALTOR®

Other Notable Development Actions • $64 million for the St. Elizabeth’s East Campus • $48.9 million for the McMillan sand filtration plant • $ 5 million for the Skyland Shopping Center • Creation of Department of General Services - to better manage capital improvements and District real estate • Exemptions and Abatements Information Act – to better track tax exemptions and abatements granted by the District.

On May 25, after several weeks of public hearings and reviewing financial documents for each agency, the Council took its first vote. The Council will take a final vote on June 14. Below are some bullet points after the Council’s initial May 25th vote:

District Legislation

Revenue Increases/”Enhancements” • $22.6 million –Combined reporting for multi-state corporations • $20.4 million – new tax on interest made on out-of-state municipal bonds • $15 million – limit itemized deductions for residents whose AGI is greater than $200,000 • $18.2 million – increase parking garage tax from 12% to 18% • $12 million – increase minimum franchise tax from $100 to $250; all firms with gross receipts greater than > $1 million will pay a $1,000 franchise tax • $7.2 million – double weighted sales tax for business tax apportionment • $5.3 million – increase off premise alcohol tax from 9%-10% & extend sales to Midnight • $3 million – streamlined bank attachments/expedited tax lien collection • $3 million – Dept. of Motor Vehicle fee increases • $2.3 million – expand sales tax to security guards and guard services • $1.1 million – change cigarette sales tax from retail to wholesale to prevent “leakage” • $1.1 million – Increase residential parking permit fee from $15 to $35 • Maintaining 6% Sales Tax - “sunset clause” eliminated • Elimination of calculated rate for Class 2 commercial properties and fixing the tax rate on the assessed value of up to $3 million dollars to $1.65 per $100 of assessed value. • Money from Community Benefits Fund for the DC Ballpark tax incremental fund (TIF) to go to General Fund

REALTOR®- SUPPORTED LEGISLATION B19-188, “Combined Condominium Real Property Act of 2011” To provide for the ability to combine abutting condominium units that form a single-dwelling unit into one tax lot for real property assessment and taxation purposes.

Changes to Withholding Calculation to Address Short-Term Revenue Needs • $41 million – excluding the standard deduction from withholding calculation • $15 million – raising withholding from 100% to 110% of prior year to avoid tax penalty • $ 9 million – withholding taxes from pension and retirement lump sums Expenditure Cuts • $113 million (-7.4%) -- Health and Human Services • $22 million (-18.9%) -- Economic Development and Regulation • $14.6 million (-2.9%) -- Government Direction and Support • $9.2 million (-2.3%) -- Public Works • $18 million (-1.9%) -- Public Safety and Justice • $ 18.2 million (-1.2%) -- Public Education System Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) • The overall budget proposal keeps HPAP funding at the current level, thanks to the one-time use of NSP funding. However, the open ended nature of HPAP home buying is limited. Federal funding for particular NSP designated areas receive greater subsidies.

Already more than 300 pieces of legislation and 240 resolutions were introduced since Council Period 19 began in January 2011. Here are some of the real estate relevant pieces of legislation:

Legislative Hearings Held or Scheduled B19-30, “Real Property Transfer Tax Exemption Act of 2011” To exempt from taxation gifts of real property made by a property owner to the District, at its request, where there is no consideration for the transfer. B19-31, “Real Property Tax Lien Assignment and Sale Act of 2011” To provide the authorization to the Chief Financial Officer to assign or sell and transfer to a third party tax liens bid off in the name of the District, or that remain unsatisfied for six months or more; to provide that tax liens may be purchased by third persons including a trust established solely for the purpose of purchasing tax liens; to provide that the transferee of a tax lien shall have the right to foreclose the right of redemption pursuant to Subchapter IV of Chapter 13A; and to provide the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority the authorization to assign or sell and transfer to a third party liens for water and sanitary sewer charges in the same manner as tax liens are assigned, or sold and transferred and enforced. B19-136, “Uniform Code Revision Act of 2011” To amend the Uniform Commercial Code, by revising Article 1 (general provisions), amending Article 3 (negotiable instruments, amending Article 4 (bank deposits and collections), repealing Article 6 (bulk sales), revising Article 7 (documents of title), and making conforming amendments to other articles. This is another effort by the Uniform Code’s office to make DC regulations compliant with other Uniform Codes. B19-208, “Vault Tax Clarification Act of 2011” To clarify exemption of any vault that in whole or in part, includes real property exempt from taxation. B19-219, “Ward Redistricting Amendment Act of 2011” To redefine the ward boundaries, as a result of the 2010 Census; Ward 7 or Ward 8 needs to expand across the river into the current Ward 6. Councilmember Barry has expressed a strong interest in moving the Capitol Riverfront area into Ward 8. B19-222, “Uniform Commercial Code Article 9 Amendments Act of 2011” To amend Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code. Newly-Introduced Legislation B19-164, “Schedule H Property Tax Relief of 2011” continued on page 23

Capital AreaRealtor®

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

2011 May- June

services. They also worked to support online continuing education and to stop the raid on the District’s Guaranty Fund. • 30% goes to GCAAR, our local association. RPAC worked on behalf of GCAAR to oppose mandatory energy audits and to defeat a mandatory noise disclosure.

50,000 Good Reasons I Support RPAC Reduced to Three Words:

INVEST, PROTECT, INSURE Carole Maclure, CRB, ABRM NAR Hall of Fame $50,000+ Tier, Golden R, Presidents Circle Long and Foster REALTORS®

RPAC is the best INVESTment I can make in my career. RPAC is my REALTOR® party—not my political affiliation—which allows me to work with both Republicans and Democrats to promote REALTOR®friendly legislation, or to oppose legislation that inhibits our business. By promoting our interests and opposing those things that would stand in the way of our business, RPAC offers us a tremendous return on our investment. RPAC works at the federal, state and local levels of our government to PROTECT our business: • 30% goes to NAR for work on Capitol Hill, where RPAC worked to keep the mortgage interest deduction in and banks out of our business. • 40% goes to our state associations, MAR and WDCAR. RPAC worked on their behalf to oppose the “flush” tax and the tax on

DC Public Policy Update, continued from page 22 To expand access to property tax relief for low-income residents living in D.C. by increasing the Schedule H income requirement ceiling from $20,000 to $50,000, by increasing the maximum benefit from $750 to $1,000, by changing the existing property tax equivalent amount from 15% to 20%, by allowing a tax filing unit to apply per household instead of one person filing per household, by adding a cost of living adjustment to the Schedule H, and by simplifying the property tax rate structure currently in place. B19-173, “Sunday Service Parking Act of 2011”. To require the Mayor to issue procedures, for Council approval, allowing religious institutions the ability to apply for diagonal parking on Sundays with the approval of neighboring residents. B19-174, “Business Corridor Parking Expansion Act of 2011”. To require the Mayor to issue procedures, for Council approval, allowing business corridors the ability to apply for diagonal parking with the approval of at least 60% of business licensees located in the corridor. B19-190, “Tenant Security Deposits Clarification Amendment Act of 2011” To amend the Housing Regulations to clarify that the Office of Administrative Hearings may adjudicate complaints for the non-

RPAC is a way to INSURE our future, by supporting those who spend their time advocating all that is good for the business of real estate. It gives us a seat at the table—an opportunity to make our voices heard—to invest in, protect and insure our business so that it may thrive. Together our participation will allow our REALTOR® party to continue its very important work on behalf of the consumer and our industry. I invite you all to join me, and to take a seat at the table.

Why I Support RPAC Elizabeth Blakeslee, CRS, GRI Associate Broker Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

The decision to contribute to RPAC is very simple for me. My REALTOR® associations are the consistent voices for homeowner issues at every level, promoting and protecting home ownership. My REALTOR® associations are watchdogs for encroachments on property rights. My REALTOR® associations are the consistent voices for the real estate profession. RPAC seeks out and supports candidates whose philosophies and more important, actions, are pro-real estate. RPAC monitors and notifies real estate professionals about issues that affect their business. RPAC is the perfect partner for every real estate practitioner and should be supported in its mission to advance their mutual interests. See our current list of RPAC Donors on page 24.

return of tenant security deposits as well as the nonpayment of interest on tenant security deposits; and to clarify that any housing provider who in bad faith fails to return a security deposit rightfully owed to a tenant, or fails to pay the interest on the security deposit, is liable to the tenant for treble damages. B19-217, “Residential Parking Protection Act of 2011” To ensure that full-time students who reside within the boundaries of the District of Columbia shall not be issued or use a reciprocity parking sticker for out of state vehicles. Bill 19-248, “Clean Hands Amendment Act of 2011” To reinstate the prohibition on the issuance of a license or permit to an applicant who has not filed a required District tax return. B19-250, “Visitability Requirements Act of 2012” To require all newly-constructed, District financial-assisted, singlefamily homes and townhomes to meet minimum standards of visitability for persons with disabilities. Bill 19-257, “Real Estate Broker Licensure Exemption Act of 2011”. To amend Chapter 28 of Title 47 of the District of Columbia Office Code to exempt from real estate broker licensure principals, officers and staff members of an entity that perform leasing activities to the extent that such person’s services are limited to leasing, renting or collection of rents involving real property owned in whole or in part by such entity and/or its affiliates.



2011 May- June

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

Capital AreaREALTOR®

Thank You 2011 RPAC INVESTORS! Major Donors:

Large Donors:

Golden “R” - $5000 or more

Capital Club - ($250 to $999)

Mary Antoun Bonnie Casper Carole Maclure Dale Ross

Crystal “R” - $2500 Jill Pogach Michaels

Sterling “R” - $1000 Catherine Czuba Edward Downs Allyson Hackney Harold Huggins Adrian Hunnings Fred Kendrick Timothy Knobloch Dana Landry Alana Lasover Judith Levin Suzanne Des Marais Bo Menkiti Barbara Miles Michael Moran Shelly Murray Frank Pietranton Jr. Randy Rothstein P. Joy Siegel Frank Snodgrass Christopher Suranna Meredith Weisel Holly Worthington

GCAAR records as of June 1, 2011.

Wendy Banner Elizabeth Blakeslee John Bragale Liz Brent Nathan Carnes Anita Centofanti Melissa Chen Lori Connor James Coley, Jr. Christopher Darby Joe Detrick James Downing Andrea Evers Gregory Ford Gregory Flynn Jeffrey Ganz Carlos Garcia Sally Hamidi Susan Hand Mynor Herrera Dorothy Heymann Ellen C. Katz Elley Kott Ed Krauze Kymber Lovett-Menkiti Donald Maclure Katie Maclure Charles Matthews Kevin McDuffie Dennis Melby Amy R. Musher Sharon Owens Robert Ramoy Amy Ritsko-Warren Bonnie Roberts-Burke Nancy Schwiesow Brenda Small Mo Snowden Rachel Valentino Patrick Weed

RPAC contributions are voluntary and are used for political purposes. 70% of each contribution is used by Maryland RPAC or Washington, DC RPAC or Virginia RPAC to support state and local candidates. The 30% balance is allocated to National RPAC to support federal candidates and is charged against your limits under 2 U.S.C 441 (a). Contributions are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. This solicitation is intended for members of the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS® only. Nothing herein contained shall be construed as a solicitation of contributions from non-members.

RPAC Helps Protect Your Real Estate Interests RPAC strengthens the REALTORS® political advocacy program through grassroots activities, and federal, state and local lobbying efforts. There’s only one way to protect your investment in real estate - and that’s by investing in RPAC!

The House that RPAC Built brochure shows the strong foundation of your REALTOR® Political Action Committee contributions, supporting legislators who value private property rights. Visit to make your investment in RPAC and watch The House that RPAC Built develop!

Capital AreaRealtor®

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

2011 May- June

Q u iz

REALTOR® Safety As a real estate practitioner, you’re faced with potentially risky situations every day. Meeting new clients, showing homes, and even walking to your car at night can be dangerous. It’s essential that you make safe decisions and know how to react when confronted with trouble. 1.

Before showing a home for the first time, I should ask the sellers: A. Have you ever seen ghosts in the house? B. Do you mind if I turn on the television? C. Do you have any dogs? D. All of the above


To find a first-rate self-defense course in my area, I should: A. Ask family and friends for recommendations B. Look for a course with a broad focus C. Meet the instructors before signing up D. All of the above


To protect against theft during a home showing, I should: A. Treat every potential buyer like an escaped convict B. Be especially wary of men who come to view the home alone C. Remind sellers to put all valuables in a safe place D. All of the above


One way to stay safe on the job is to have a distress voice signal for when you want to call for help without alarming someone who can overhear you. To create such a signal, I should: A. Establish a secret phrase that’s not commonly used but can be worked into any phone or in-person conversation when I’m feeling uneasy about a situation B. Carry a dog whistle that is mute to humans but will irritate canines, and blow into the whistle whenever I’m feeling uneasy about a situation C. Think of a common distress word such as “help” or “fire” that I can shout to grab everyone’s attention when I’m feeling uneasy about a situation D. All of the above


When holding an open house, I should: A. Inform a neighbor that I’ll be showing the house and ask if he or she would keep an eye and ear open for anything out of the ordinary

QUIZ Answers 1. Before showing a home for the first time, I should ask the sellers: Correct Answer: Do you have any dogs? Always ask clients if they own dogs and if so, what they plan to do with the dog or dogs during showings. Discuss how friendly the pets are with strangers, including children. If your clients have reason to believe their dog will react to strangers entering the home, ask that they lock the dog in a certain room or make arrangements to keep it off site if they cannot be present to control the dog.

B. Check all rooms before anyone arrives and determine several “escape” routes. Make sure all deadbolt locks are unlocked to facilitate a faster escape C. Don’t assume that everyone has left the premises at the end of the day. Check all rooms and the backyard prior to locking the doors, and be prepared to defend myself D. All of the above


When meeting prospective clients for the first time, I can stay safe by: A. Asking them to meet me at the brokerage office B. Finding out their motivation for buying or selling C. Writing their first name and e-mail address on a note card and leaving it with a colleague D. All of the above


The 10-second rule is a smart and quick way to keep safety at the forefront throughout the day. How does it work? A. I take 10 seconds to review self-defense strategies right before getting out of the car B. I breathe deeply and count backwards from 10 to gain composure before meeting new people C. I take 10 seconds as I arrive at each destination to evaluate my surroundings and check for anything that’s out of the ordinary D. All of the above


When I’m working at the office, I should take this safety precaution: A. Make sure that my desk is not visible from the front door B. Secure all unused doors and windows, especially if they’re in the rear of the office or out of sight and earshot C. Listen to music on headphones to boost my concentration D. All of the above

2. To find a first-rate self-defense course in my area, I should: Correct Answer: All of the above A good self-defense course will teach much more than how to physically attack someone; it will cover critical thinking about defense strategies, assertiveness, powerful communication skills, and easy-to-remember physical techniques. Many health clubs, community colleges, and martial arts studios offer these classes. To find a good course, start by asking family and friends if they have recommendations. Look for a class with a broad focus, which will include information on how to recognize dangerous individuals and situations, how to avoid them, and how to react in an attack. Ask to meet the instructors before you sign up; you will rely

on these people for your knowledge. Do they appear genuinely concerned with students’ progress? Will their communication and teaching style work for you? 3. To protect against theft during a home showing, I should: Correct Answer: Remind sellers to put all valuables in a safe place Always be on the lookout for suspicious behavior and never put your guard down, but there’s no need to treat every potential buyer as if he or she just escaped from prison. Likewise, you shouldn’t categorize potential criminals as just one type of person, such as a single male. Women, seniors, couples, and men arriving with continued on page 26



2011 May- June

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

Capital AreaREALTOR®

Green Resource Page continued from page 17

specialize in a particular LEED Rating System. Material provided by, and for more information, visit: The word on the street on the benefits of growing a greener business… “I have found that the body of knowledge I gained from my Ecobroker® and NAR Green training have been incredibly helpful to my clients. I remain their “green resource” long after closing.” – Beth Irons, Chair, GCAAR Green Committee “One aspect of going green is energy use and efficiency. Growing concern related to rising fuel costs and the actual cost of home ownership isn’t going to go away. It seems to me that going green and understanding green value added features will certainly underscore your value as a preferred, referable real estate consultant.” – Alan Black, REALTOR®, LEED AP, MHIC “Agents need to keep up to date on green issues. Environmental concerns should not be considered a fad. They are part of the changing landscape of our neighborhoods.” – Marcus Jaffe, CEO/Team Leader, Keller Williams Capital Properties “Buyers like the idea of green homes because of the potential longterm savings on utility bills.” – Bonnie Casper, 2011 GCAAR President Elect

QUIZ Answers, continued from page 25 children can just as easily be up to no good. The best way to deter theft is to remind clients that strangers will be walking through their home and that they should put valuables in a safe, secure place. This includes items they might not initially think would attract interest, such as prescription drugs. Also, don’t leave your own briefcase, purse, or laptop in view. 4. One way to stay safe on the job is to have a distress voice signal for when you want to call for help without alarming someone who can overhear you. To create such a signal, I should: Correct Answer: Establish a secret phrase that’s not commonly used but can be worked into any phone or in-person conversation when I’m feeling uneasy about a situation A distress voice signal is a safety net for situations in which you don’t want someone nearby to hear that you’re calling for help. It should be used if you’re uneasy, but not in immediate danger. The distress code could be something as simple as “red file,” used like this: “Hi, this is Jane. I’m at 510 Maple Street. Could you e-mail me the red file?” It may make the most sense for everyone in your office to share a single distress code. With your pre-arranged signal, the colleague who receives your distress code will know what to do. That may be to call 911 on your behalf, to arrange to meet you so that you are not alone, or to call you back and ask you to leave due to an “emergency situation.” 5. When holding an open house, I should: Correct Answer: All of the above An open house can be a great sales tool, but it also exposes you to numerous unfamiliar people for the first time. These are some of the things you can do to stay safe: Inform a neighbor that you’ll be showing the house and ask if he or she would keep an eye and ear open for anything out of the ordinary; check all rooms before anyone arrives and determine several “escape” routes, and make sure all deadbolt locks are unlocked to facilitate a faster escape; and never assume everyone has left the premises at the end of the day. Check all rooms and the backyard prior to locking the doors, and be prepared to defend yourself. Some other tips: Always walk behind the prospect as you’re showing the house, keep lights on and curtains open, and carry an extra fully-charged cell phone battery.

When selecting your education schedule at GCAAR, keep an eye out for these “green” informationfilled classes: • “Environmental Issues” • “Going Green” • “Red Flags in Property Inspection” • “Green Buildings for REALTORS®” • “Montgomery County Eco-Workshop” • “NAR Green Designation Course”

“Being knowledgeable about green features in homes lets your clients know yous are current on emerging trends and fosters a broader client base.” - Catalina Schrader, Certified Green REALTOR®

6. When meeting prospective clients for the first time, I can stay safe by: Correct Answer: Asking them to meet me at the brokerage office Ask prospective clients to stop by your office before viewing properties or going to a more secluded spot. When they arrive at the office, record their car make and license number. Photocopy their driver’s license and retain this information at your office. Legitimate clients will not mind you copying their driver’s license; We freely show our license to the clerk at the grocery store when we write a check. It’s also smart to introduce the prospect to someone in your office. Would-be assailants don’t like to be noticed or receive exposure. Finally, always let someone know where you’re going; leave the full name and phone number of the client you are meeting. 7. The 10-second rule is a smart and quick way to keep safety at the forefront throughout the day. How does it work? Correct Answer: I take 10 seconds as I arrive at each destination to evaluate my surroundings and check for anything that’s out of the ordinary Inattention is a main reason people find themselves in dangerous situations. By using the 10-second rule, you assess your surroundings everywhere you go. Here’s how it works: Take 2 seconds as you arrive at your destination to see if you’re parked in a safe, well-lit area and to make sure your car won’t be blocked in by another vehicle. Take 2 seconds as you step out of your car to look for suspicious people and to check that you know exactly where you’re going. Take 2 seconds as you walk to your destination to look for dangerous hiding places or obstacles along the way. Take 2 seconds at the door to make sure no one is following you in and to make sure you don’t have any safety concerns before entering. Take 2 seconds as soon as you enter to see if anything seems out of place or unexpected. 8. When I’m working at the office, I should take this safety precaution: Correct Answer: Secure all unused doors and windows, especially if they’re in the rear of the office or out of sight and earshot This is just one of many things that you can do to be safe when you’re at the office. You also should keep windows and counters clear so that people can see what is happening inside, and always carry a charged mobile phone. Whenever possible, avoid being at the office alone. But if you must be by yourself, keep a radio or TV playing fairly loudly in the back room. When office hours end, make sure you lock the doors. Copyright National Association of REALTORS®, used with permission.

Capital AreaRealtor®

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

2011 May- June



2011 May- June

ServingtheBusinessNeedsof OUR Professionals

Capital AreaREALTOR®

Start your Summer

RESPONSE-ibly With realPing, vacations will no longer cost you potential buyers ©

•Click to Call: •Push Page: •Lead Generation:

Instantly connects consumers to your cell phone. Send valuable and relevant content to the caller’s browser from your cell phone. Capture and store prospect’s information instantly.

MRIS customers are eligible to purchase realPING® at a special discounted rate of $8.00 per month. To purchase this product, go to

Capital Area REALTOR® May/June 2011