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Capital Area Realtor


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

March - April 2012

Inside This Issue Association 3 Broker/Manager 3 Annual 3 Ask the 4 GCAAR in the 4 Speaker 5 Good Neighbor 5 NAR Director’s 6 NAR Midyear 7 GCAAR 7 Customize a 8 9 FHA Mortgage 9 MC Market 10 DC Market Report.......................... page 12 Going Green Insert......................... page 13 Education 17 Public 18 RPAC Investors.............................. page 20 YPN at the Buddha Bar................... page 20 GCAAR is 21

USPS: 017-467

Volume 18, Number 2

Members Rally for Homeowners

Save the MID Rally Draws GCAAR and DCAR Members to Annapolis Over 500 hundred REALTORS® from across the region gathered in a torrential downpour on February 29 to protest Governor O’Malley’s proposal to limit the home mortgage interest deduction (MID) in Maryland. Over 100 GCAAR members braved the weather, many arriving on chartered buses and by private car.

President Casper spoke to a number of media outlets, including WAMU radio, WMAL, local ABC and CBS affiliates, and The Washington Post. She, along with GCAAR’s Governmental Affairs Consultant for Maryland Meredith Weisel, also met with Montgomery County members of the appropriate committees, as well Senate President Mike Miller. Later that afternoon, Bonnie testified before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee hearing, during which Senator Nancy King said “The sight of 500 REALTORS® standing in the rain in Annapolis at a rally is certainly something that makes us all take notice!”

GCAAR President Bonnie Casper addressed the rally and reinforced the ongoing theme, Homeownership Matters, emphasizing the importance of the MID and deductibility of property taxes. MD Comptroller Peter Franchot, along with REALTOR® leadership and homeowners attended and spoke, with many members meeting with their delegates and senators and encouraging the legislators to vote against the bill.

A strong contingent of DCAR leaders including President Ed Downs, CEO Ed Krauze, Immediate Past President Suzanne Des Marais, and member Angela Jones stood up for the Maryland members, noting that attempts to limit home deductibility are pernicious and could easily be introduced in DC as well. Additional pics of the event are on page 21.

Quiz............................................... page 22

April is Fair Housing Month

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

April 2012 marks the 44th anniversary of the 1968 landmark Fair Housing Act. Each year REALTORS® recognize the significance of this event and reconfirm their commitment to upholding fair housing laws, as well as their commitment to offering equal professional service to all in their search for real property. As a REALTOR®, I agree to: • Provide equal professional service without regard to the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin or sexual orientation of any prospective client, customer, or of the residents of any community. • Keep informed about fair housing laws and practices, improving my clients’ and customers’ opportunities and my business. • Develop advertising that indicates that everyone

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• • • • •

is welcome and no one is excluded; expanding my client’s and customer’s opportunities to see, buy, or lease property. Inform my clients and customers about their rights and responsibilities under the fair housing laws by providing brochures and other information. Document my efforts to provide professional service, which will assist me in becoming a more responsive and successful REALTOR®. Refuse to tolerate non-compliance. Learn about those who are different from me, and celebrate those differences. Take a positive approach to fair housing practices and aspire to follow the spirit as well as the letter of the law. Develop and implement fair housing practices for my firm to carry out the spirit of this declaration. continued on page 21

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Serving the Business Needs of OUR Professionals

2012 March - April

Capital Area REALTOR®

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Capital Area Realtor®

Serving the Business Needs of OUR Professionals

2012 March - April

A ssociation N ews 2012 Board of Directors President

Bonnie R. Casper

President-Elect Michael McGreevy


Gregory Ford


William H. Highsmith Jr. , JD, GRI

Immediate Past President Adrian Hunnings

Chief Executive Officer Michael Moran


David Bediz Suzanne Des Marais Carter Ferrington Mynor Herrera Ellen Katz Tim Knobloch Elley Kott Emiliana Lobos-Kirker Margaret “Peg” Mancuso Obiora “Bo” Menkiti Gerard “Gerry” Occhiuzzo  Prabhjit Singh


Bobette Banks

Advertising Representative Arlene Braithwaite

Capital Area REALTOR® (USPS 017-467) is published six times a year 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© 2012 by the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS®. All rights reserved. POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO CAPITAL AREA REALTOR®, ATTN: GCAAR, 8757 Georgia Avenue, Suite 600, Silver Spring, MD 20910. 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®. 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.

2012 GCAAR Broker/Manager Forums

Save the Dates!

May 9: “The Most Common Complaints Received by the Real Estate Commission” Speaker: Time: Location:

Kathy Connelly, Executive Director, Maryland Real Estate Commission Tony Duncanson, District of Columbia Real Estate Commission 12 p.m. GCAAR Silver Spring Office (8757 Georgia Ave, Suite 600, Silver Spring, MD)

June 20: “Broker Supervision” Speaker: Time: Location:

Chuck Kasky, Esq., Maryland Association of REALTORS® 12 p.m. GCAAR Rockville Office (9707 Key West Ave, Suite 120, Rockville, MD)

September 19: “All You Need To Know about Procuring Cause” Speaker: Time: Location:

Al Monshower, Esq. 12 p.m. . GCAAR Silver Spring Office (8757 Georgia Ave, Suite 600, Silver Spring, MD)

October 17: “The Most Common Mistakes Made by Agents that Delay Settlement and How to Avoid Them” Speaker: Time: Location:

Randy Rothstein, Esq. 12 p.m. GCAAR Silver Spring Office (8757 Georgia Ave, Suite 600, Silver Spring, MD)

Lunch will be served! Cost: FREE! Register online at

Not Receiving GCAAR or DCAR E-mails? Contact GCAAR’s Communications Department to get plugged in again at

Start Saving Now for Annual Dues Your annual dues – they come every year at the same time but somehow manage to sneak up when you’re least expecting them. An Annual Dues Savings Account is a great place for you to stash some extra cash when you have it – and forget about it. Consider this account “untouchable” until dues time comes around. Dedicate an elected percentage of each commission check and deposit it immediately. Setting aside an average of just $60 a month will cover most of your local, state and national dues for the year. For more information, visit the REALTORS® Federal Credit Union at or scan the code.



Serving the Business Needs of OUR Professionals

2012 March - April

Capital Area REALTOR®

Ask the President

can’t imagine not doing it. I think it’s just a sea change we need to get used to.

Bonnie Casper 2012 GCAAR President

– A Manager in Wheaton

Q. So, now that you’re President do you love going to those NAR conferences in places like California and Florida?

Q. Why do I get so many e-mails from GCAAR? I blocked them once but didn’t get my membership renewal bill and it cost me. I’d like you to only e-mail me when absolutely necessary. – An agent in Bethesda A. I know… I get so much e-mail it seems like my day is spent deleting it. But so much of what we do is important. We talk about government action that will take money out of your pocket, we talk about new technology available to you, we talk about big changes in the real estate contract, and we talk about little stuff too, meet and greets, trips. etc. It saves us so much money and paper by being able to e-mail to our members that I

A. I’ve been told I’m a bit of a workaholic, so almost all of my time is spent in conferences and meetings. Even at dinner and on the plane out and back we talk about policy and strategy. I do like voting on the important issues facing our industry and all the other things I find fascinating and most folks find mundane. Of course that’s why I wanted to take an active leadership role in the REALTOR® organizations. I’ve found we practice real estate in a very unique area and our market is much stronger and robust than most of the country. The opportunity to interact with REALTORS® from across the country brings us so many perspectives and ideas from such a diverse group, I find it priceless.

Bonnie Casper is 2012 GCAAR President, MAR, DCAR and NAR Director. If you have a question or comment e-mail her at

Preserve Maryland’s Mortgage Interest Deductions Silver Spring Patch February 25, 2012 “As the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS®, representing the more than 6,000 real estate professionals, and home builders in Montgomery County, we have grave concerns about this proposal’s negative effect on housing.” - Bonnie Casper, 2012 GCAAR President

in the News Good Wood Metro Weekly March 8, 2012 “From a very young age, my mother said to me and my siblings, ‘To whom much is given, much is expected’… I was raised with the tradition that volunteering is a very important part of life.” - Ed Wood, 2012 GCAAR Member/DCAR Board Member

MD Proposes Cap on Mortgage Interest Tax Deductions The Washington Post February 29, 2012 “There are many people who buy homes who say, at the beginning of the year I’m going to be paying ‘X’ amount in mortgage interest, but at the end of the year I get something back. That makes it much more affordable.” - Bonnie Casper, 2012 GCAAR President

Maryland Senate Democrats Favor Across-the-Board Hike to Personal Income Taxes The Washington Post March 3, 2012 “We’re cautiously optimistic, but it is not over until the last out of the last inning…people are quibbling about numbers, but this is not really a numbers issue. It is bad economic policy.” - Bonnie Casper, 2012 GCAAR President

A Buyer’s Best Friend The Washington Post - February 24, 2012 “Being a real estate agent is like putting your sign out and being in business for yourself…even if you get a lot of support from your company and you have a tremendous network of people you know, you still have to convince everybody to use you.” - Donna Evers, GCAAR Member

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Capital Area Realtor®

Serving the Business Needs of OUR Professionals

2012 March - April

GCAAR Kicks Off Its First Speaker Series with Roger Berliner GCAAR held its first “Politically Speaking Series” event, Straight Talk with Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner on Thursday, February 2. Council President Berliner addressed the Council’s priorities for the State Legislature to consider during its session, including the need for a comprehensive mass transit system and the inter-relationship between housing affordability and economic development. Councilman Berliner then fielded questions from the audience. Stay tuned for details on the next “Politically Speaking” event coming soon! GCAAR President Bonnie Casper, Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner, and GCAAR Public Policy Chair Tim Knobloch

Calling All Philanthropists: Nominate Yourself! Five grant awards of $10,000 is a good reason to throw caution to the wind and nominate yourself (or someone else) for the 13th Annual Good Neighbor Awards! REALTOR® Magazine is seeking nominations for this prestigious award, and all volunteers are eligible. The award recognizes REALTORS® who devote themselves to community service, making an exceptional impact on their communities through volunteer work. Activities may involve affordable housing

issues, educational programs, youth-related activities, or anything else that makes a community a better place to live. Winners will receive a $10,000 grant for their community projects, national publicity, and much more! For further details and a nomination form, call (800) 874-6500, visit, or see the March/April issue of REALTOR® Magazine.

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Serving the Business Needs of OUR Professionals

2012 March - April

NAR Director’s Report Bonnie Casper 2012 GCAAR President

It’s An Election Year

We’ve been busy in this Congressional and Presidential election year trying to make sure the REALTOR® Party has a voice at the table. Together with your RPAC (REALTORS® Political Action Committee) investments and our newly created Action Fund we’ve been highlighting issues and candidates we support. NAR takes no stand in the race for President, but on the Congressional sphere it’s important that we come through for the folks who have had our backs when it came to pro-housing legislation. NAR (the National Association of REALTORS®) has also helped us greatly in our fight to battle any reduction in the MID (Mortgage Interest Deduction). Quite simply they see this as fundamental to supporting homeownership, which leads to stable and livable communities and a better quality of life for all Americans. When Maryland’s Governor put this on the table NAR took it very seriously and helped us make our dissatisfaction known, and we’re grateful for that.

NAR is Coming to Town

We’re pretty lucky that we’re the host local association for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) national Midyear meeting in May in Washington, DC. It’s not only a great opportunity to get our message out to all the Congress members and Senators, but a chance to participate for free in the huge trade show they put on. Register online at to spend half a day learning the new technology and tools that will improve your real estate business. You can even pick up a bag of tchotchies to take back to the office…who ever has enough ink pens and mouse pads? Just take the subway to the hotel and make a day of it. Of course, there are lots of other legislative events, and the chance to meet and lobby legislators from across the country.

The REALTOR® Rally

NAR is planning a REALTOR® rally on the Mall. NAR Directors Adrian Hunnings, Michael McGreevy and I will be there, so please come join us. The rally is May 17 on Capitol Hill and starts at 9:30. See the enclosed letter from 2012 NAR President Moe Veissi. We’ll have a great turnout from our region and I can’t wait to see you there.


Our industry is facing a crucial moment. Never before in the history of our great nation have housing and real estate been forced to defend the benefits they provide our country. The very foundation of civilization is no stronger, nor more enduring than the integrity of the homes on which they rest. We must have a sustainable, durable housing economy for generations to come. Congress and the President should see their job as bolstering the housing economy and strengthening our commitment to the country’s health. If the housing market continues to falter, the economy cannot fully recover. Over the next 18 months Congress will begin reshaping the role of housing in achieving the dream of owning a home. That is what we are facing. REALTORS® have something to say about this. And this is our opportunity to ensure housing remains the fiber that binds together the fabric of America. We are going to defend the American Dream from the doubters who say home ownership and real estate have run their course. That is why we are holding the Rally to Protect the American Dream on May 17th in Washington, D.C. I am asking you to be there and stand with your fellow REALTORS® from every corner of America -- from Alaska to Illinois to Texas to Guam. We are going to show Congress that no one cares more about revitalizing real estate for future generations than REALTORS® do. It is critical that you register to let us know you are attending the rally. We want to plan a great event and make sure wet have enough food, water, lunches, t-shirts and buses. If you would like to come, we will help you connect with transportation via your state or local association. Just complete our Rally Registration. If you request transportation, we will forward that request to your association to follow up with how they can help you get to Washington, D.C. Note that if you plan to stay longer than one day, NAR is not able to cover or reimburse for lodging expenses. However, if your room is over $300/night, NAR will reimburse $100/night up to two nights ($200) to help defray housing costs to attend. Simply bring your hotel confirmation with your room rate and NRDS ID (members only) to the NAR Registration desk at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel, and NAR will initiate a refund. For housing requests, please visit our housing resources information page. This is our time. This is our moment. We can’t do it without you. Join us.

- Bonnie Bonnie Casper is a Director of all four REALTOR® organizations; NAR, DCAR, MAR and GCAAR.

Capital Area REALTOR®

Moe Veissi 2012 NAR President

Capital Area Realtor®

Serving the Business Needs of OUR Professionals

2012 March - April

2012 REALTORS® MIDYEAR MEETINGS & TRADE EXPO MAY 15 - 19 Join GCAAR at the REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo May 15-19 in Washington, DC at the Marriott Wardman Park and Omni Shoreham hotels. Midyear provides an opportunity to hear the issues facing REALTORS® today through a wealth of resources, including special issues forums, committee meetings, and legislative activities, including visits on Capitol Hill. REALTOR® Rally to Protect the American Dream May 17 Thursday, May 17 is REALTOR® Rally Day! Look for more details about how GCAAR will be participating in this event via e-mail. Trade Expo May 16 - 17 Don’t miss the REALTORS® Midyear Trade Expo, May 16-17. Check out the latest in real estate products and services from over 100 industry-leading companies. The Trade Show will be held at the Marriott Wardman Park from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on May 16 and 17. For more information on the REALTORS® Midyear Meetings & Trade Expo, or to print the meetings schedule, visit:

Tell Us What You’re Doing in the Community The GCAAR Cares Community Service Committee wants to know about all the great work our members are doing in the community. ALL community service work is applicable - from volunteering with Girl Scouts to lending a hand at a local community center - we want to hear what you’re doing! Send an e-mail to, and we may feature your story in the next issue of the Capital Area REALTOR®. Thank you for serving in the community!

Teaching, Coaching, Loving: Training Young Women in Lessons of Compassion

Kate Snyder (c) with Clarksburg High soccer team

Montgomery County native, Kate Snyder, has been selling real estate since 2004, and is currently working with The Prigal Brothers team at RE/MAX Realty Group in none other than … Montgomery County. As a former elementary school teacher, Kate never left behind her passion to help students excel inside and outside the classroom, stating, “I’m passionate about giving back to the community because it has given so much to me.” Kate Snyder currently coaches the JV girls soccer and softball teams at Clarksburg High School, and is the Assistant Basketball Coach at Richard Montgomery High School. As a former educator, Kate loves teaching sports and helping student-athletes become wellrounded young ladies. Recently, Kate’s soccer team supported the Montgomery Avenue Women’s Shelter, making bag lunches and participating in a clothing drive for the homeless women. “It was an

awesome event and the girls rose to the occasion to support those in need,” states Kate. As their coach, it was very rewarding for her to see the enthusiasm of the athletes who were so eager to serve the shelter and the community, in addition to dedicating themselves to the soccer program.

Dig Pink: Kate’s team also supported the Dig Pink cancer fundraising event at Clarksburg High School, honoring those who are battling or have succumbed to cancer. “To me this JV soccer team is what coaching is all about,” Kate says, “teaching the youth about the sport they are involved with and about supporting the local community and the value of giving and serving others.” Kate’s other passion: As an Adoption and Event Coordinator for K9 Lifesavers (a local nonprofit dog rescue located in Takoma Park, MD) and running a monthly dog adoption event at Petco in Rockville. Kate solicits help from local students who are able to earn student service learning hours. Kate sees this as another opportunity to allow her to tie in athletics K9 Lifesaver Director, Rececca Morgan (l), volunteers Jen (getting her studentHoffmann (c) Kate Snyder (r) athletes to volunteer) with serving the local community, stating “It’s my pleasure to volunteer time knowing that I’m helping a homeless dog find a ‘furever’ home.” To learn more or volunteer for the Montgomery Avenue Women’s Shelter, go to For more information on K9 Lifesavers, go to


Serving the Business Needs of OUR Professionals

2012 March - April

Capital Area REALTOR®

How to Customize a Lockbox GCAAR SentriLock lockboxes can be programmed for other jurisdictions that are a part of our Regional Lockbox Consortium, including the Coastal Region and Northern Virginia (if you are licensed in Virginia). Customizing a lockbox for these particular regions is especially important because many agents can only open lockboxes if they are customized for that region. SentriLock Lockboxes, when customized, take on the settings of that particular region. Customizing your SentriLock Lockboxes involves programming your lockbox for the region and assigning the lockbox to a listing, using the MLS number.

6) Next, you must enter your MLS# into the Search field shown below and click on “Search”. *NOTE: This can only be done after your listing has been posted online for more than 24 hours on

Customizing a Lockbox for a region:

1) Log into your SentriLock account using your SentriCard and the password you created. 2) Click on the “Customize a Lockbox” button located on the panel on the left-hand side. 3) Select the Lockbox Serial Number of the Lockbox you wish to customize.

7) Then Click “OK”, after selecting the Listing. 8) On the next page, click “Save Changes”. This will save the Customization and will assign the lockbox to a listing.


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Capital Area Realtor®

Serving the Business Needs of OUR Professionals

2012 March - April

T echnology What is Pinterest and Why Should REALTORS® Care? By Barry Quarles, The MEG Group

Pinterest, the “virtual pinboard” website where users post images of everything from iPod cozies to beautifully designed skylights, is the hottest social network of 2012 and forward thinking REALTORS® are taking advantage of it. The team at MEG Research has been following Pinterest for some time and we’re watching it start to gain critical mass. The site had more than 10 million unique users in January–mostly female. At first glance, Pinterest can seem confusing. The best way to think of it is as a virtual bulletin board where users can “pin” things they find interesting (think REALTOR® images of homes). Other users can then “re-pin” those items to their own account as well as comment on them if they find them interesting.

The biggest boon for REALTORS® though is the browser plug-in that allows users to “pin” items to their Pinterest account without actually having to go back to the main site. Here’s a useful example. A potential homebuyer starts searching real estate listings. Instead of bookmarking each individual page, the user just “pins” them to their Pinterest account where the listings can then be viewed later. Are you starting to see the advantages? We’re urging REALTORS® to start thinking about adding Pinterest to their social media strategy. Haven’t seen Pinterest yet? Check it out!

Changes to FHA’s Mortgage Insurance Premiums Capital Area Realtors

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On February 27, 2012 the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced an increase in mortgage insurance premiums (the fourth time in three years) starting on April 1, 2012. The FHA also announced in the Federal Register that maximum closing cost assistance from sellers will be decreased (right now maximums are at 6%). The Mortgage Insurance Premium Changes, effective April 1, 2012 include: * FHA up-front mortgage insurance will be increased from 1.00% to 1.75%; * FHA annual mortgage insurance will be increased from 1.15% to 1.25%; and, * FHA mortgages above $625,500 will be subject to an additional 0.25% annual mortgage insurance fee or 1.5%. The Closing Cost Credit changes proposed (implemented after comment period) by the FHA will limit a Closing Cost Credit to the greater of $6,000 or 3% of the sales price. The FHA is also proposing to narrow the definition of acceptable concessions, which would eliminate payment “supplements” offered by sellers, such as a year’s worth of homeowner association fees, as they are viewed by HUD as inducements to purchase. Anyone who is on the fence about buying a home with a FHA mortgage should be mindful of these FHA changes. *Note: This information is subject to change by the FHA.



2012 March - April

Serving the Business Needs of OUR Professionals

Capital Area REALTORÂŽ

Montgomery County Market Report By Fred Flick, Ph.D., Consultant/Housing Economist Maryland in 2011 experienced a down market in both sales units and prices. And, the January figures so far are in negative territory. Based on the end of year MRIS stats, all property sales totaled 53,971 units, and were down 1.2% from the 2010 unit volume. Similarly, the average property price was $277,897 --- down 4.6% from 2010. The median price of $228,629 slipped 7%. Based on MAR’s January sales report, total sales Fred Flick were down 4.8% from January 2011. However, average and median prices were down only 0.1% and 0.6%, respectively. Perhaps the statewide price declines are starting to level off.

Price trends, unfortunately, still are the weakest aspect of the market. In 2011, the average single-family home sold for $515,161 and the median priced unit cost $405,000. So far, for the first two months of this year the average price was $470,844, and the median was $360,000. These figures were 8.6% and 11% below the prices for all of 2011. This is a worsening of the trend from 2010. Back in February 2011, the average and median prices were higher at $484,847 and $370,000, respectively. Moreover, in February 2011, the average and median sales prices had fallen only 2.2% and 7.5%, respectively, from the figures for 2010. Of course, this is early in the game, but we have had a gentle winter and interest rates have never been so affordable. So, we shall see what the year holds.

As reported in my last analysis for Montgomery County, by the end of December (all property), year-to-date contracts (9,980) were down 7.9% from the end of 2010 and, year-to-date settlements (9,436) declined almost 8.6%. For single-family home prices, the news was slightly more positive. By the end of the year, average and median prices increased; unfortunately, average condo/coop prices declined over the year. Single-Family Market Single-family sales through February did well enough compared to their performance in 2011. Contracts year-to-date totaled 1,293 and were up by almost 9% from a year ago. Similarly, new contracts for February rose 9.5% compared to a year ago. Settlements were down slightly. Through February, year-to-date, 781 settlements were off by 3.5% from a year ago; however, the February monthly tally slipped by less than 1%.

February Condominiums and Cooperatives Through February, the condo/coop market experienced mixed performance. Sales contract performance was greater in February 2012, but settlements were down significantly compared to the February 2011 market. So far this year, there have been 465 contracts, jumping almost 12%, with new contracts for the month (261) bumping 8% from last February. However, year-to-date settlements (269) were down almost 5%, with February settlements (129) dropping almost 10% from February 2011. By way of comparison to a year before, in February 2011 year-to date-contracts totaled 416 units and had inched-up only 1% from the year before. While there were fewer February 2011 monthly contracts (242) than in February 2012, they had increased 24% from 2010. Also, the February 2011 settlements performance was stronger. In February 2011, settlements, year-to-date, totaled 283 units and these had increased 9% from February 2010. Moreover, on a monthly basis, 143 settlements leapt by 23% from February 2010.

The listings volume was significantly down from a year ago as well. Total single-family active listings of 1,889 properties fell almost 13% from the first two months of 2011. Nevertheless, February new listings of 823 units were up 3.3% from last February. As far as absorption is concerned, at the February contracts pace, there was a 2.6 months supply. Hopefully, this will put some upward pressure on prices.

As might be expected, February inventory was low relative to past experience. Total actives through February (531) dropped almost 37% from last year. But, on the bright side, February new listings rose about 3% compared to a year ago. As far as absorption is concerned, at the February contracts pace, there was a 2-months supply. Again, this short level should put some pressure on prices.

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2011. The median price was $156,600 and it was up a bit from a year before. While the economy does seem to be holding its own, and improving in some areas, the political season ensures that nothing substantive will be done about fiscal policy or altering some of the imbalances in the economy. The Fed has been carrying the ball and is considering some more stimulus approaches that may not be inflationary in the future. Remember, the Fed essentially created a net $1.6 trillion in new money by buying Treasury bonds and mortgage debt from banks (and investment firms). These purchases gave them liquid cash credits at the Fed to help get their portfolios in order after the Lehman crash. This cash infusion saved the big banks and stopped the financial system from going into arrest. Condo/coop price performance continues to be weak. Through February, average and median prices were $211,899 and $173,000. These figures are down 11% and 9% from the figures for all of 2011. In order to put these into perspective, a year ago the average and median prices fell 15% and 20%, respectively, from the figures for 2010. That suggests the rate of decline appears to be leveling off. Of course, there is some seasonal component in these prices, so they should rise as the spring market gets going. But one still has the feeling that the condo/coop market continues to seek a bottom in prices.

However, there is concern that they may not be able to pull that stimulus back fast enough and it could be inflationary if the economy starts running faster. However, the Fed is working on a program that would involve banks (and investors) buying back these securities (called reverse repurchase agreements or “reverse repos”) and therefore giving back cash to the Fed. This would control the amount of ‘created’ money sloshing around in the system. Again, the only stimulus we have is the Fed. It has cut back on its programs to buy long-term bonds, but it may have to reintroduce a modified ‘quantitative easing’ program if the problems in Europe spread worldwide. So far the government’s assistance programs for housing have not had much of an effect. The Obama administration has unveiled a program for mortgage principle forgiveness and new low rate FHA loans. However, it will affect only a small percentage of all of the troubled loans.

Economic Policy and Interest Rates Into the first quarter of 2012, it looks like the U.S. economy is improving at a steady -- if slow -- rate. The Bureau of Economic Analysis final estimate for third quarter real economic growth came in at a weak 1.8%. However, fourth quarter growth rate was 3% -- a big improvement. Moreover, the employment situation seems to be turning around. In February, the economy added 233,000 private jobs and the national unemployment rate maintained at 8.3%. In January, 284,000 jobs were created. We have come a long way from 11% and the job additions, especially in manufacturing are in the range we like to see in an economic expansion. There is also some good news on the housing construction front. The new home sales rate was 321,000 in January, and was 3.5% above the January 2011 figure. The highest since the end of the homebuyer tax credit in April 2010. Housing permits were 19% above the January 2011 figures. Private starts (699,000) were 9.9% above the January 2011 rate and single-family starts (508,000) were 13% above the January 2011 level. The national home resale market seems to be improving as well. Single-family home sales in January rose 3.8% (4.05 million) and were 2.3% above the pace of a year ago. However, the median price ($154,400) was down 2.6% from January 2011. Condo/coop sales increased from December, but were 10% below the level of January

Mortgage Interest Rates Freddie Mac’s March 8 survey showed that average mortgage interest rates are virtually identical to those at the beginning of this year. In this survey, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.88%, while 1-year adjustables (ARMs) averaged 2.73%. Again, these are great rates compared to last summer. Fifteen-year loans came in at 3.13% and 5/1-yr. ARMs were very affordable at 2.81%. While bond investors and small savers have been seeing their accounts pay less and less, the Fed has tried to help housing and industry recover. These are among the lowest rates ever seen in our economy. Consumer Prices and Energy Costs The Consumer price index rose 0.2 points from December to January – an annualized rate of only 2.4%. But, it has risen 3 percent over the past year. Again, the increase is due almost entirely to energy costs. On an annualized basis from January to January, all items rose 2.9%. When we exclude food and energy costs the ‘core’ inflation rate works out to be about 2.3%. At the beginning of the summer, the core rate was only about 1.9%. So, there has been some increase in the core rate, but still it is a number we can live with. Nevertheless, the recent spikes in gasoline prices are causing analysts concern over the effect on economic growth. Much of this price rise is due to problems in the Middle East, especially with Iran. Without these frictions there is a good chance that gas prices might be going in a different direction. However, over the long-term, the increased U.S. and Canadian oil production will help to moderate gasoline price rises. Nevertheless, we have to realize that anything like $2 a gallon gas is just a myth in this economy. The reason oil companies can afford these higher cost technologies is that gas prices have risen into the $3 to $4 range. If we want energy independence, we have to be willing to pay for it. continued on page 12



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DC Market Report By Fred Kendrick

Fred Kendrick

The start of the spring real estate market is usually considered to be at the end of March and in early April, but with the warmest winter on record, the spring market got an even earlier start in 2012 with solid January sales and an even stronger February. Holding the early spring market back, however, was a lack of inventory in the market.

At the end of February, the Washington, DC real estate market continued to experience some of the lowest inventory levels in several years. The number of available singlefamily homes, condominiums and cooperatives was 27% below the same point last year and in the first two months of 2012 inventories are still at the lowest levels seen since August of 2005. Even with the dearth of inventory, pending sales of homes and units in February still managed to increase 6% over February of last year on the strength of a very strong condo/co-op sales month. For new sales, average days-on-market plunged 20% (from 92 days to 74 days) and is likely to continue to shrink in the coming months. While average and median price increases tend to lag behind sales trends, there was an 8% year-over-year increase in average price of combined homes and units in February and an 11% increase in median price. Tracking average and median prices on a monthly basis isn’t always productive, with quarterly and yearly comparison more informative about actual market trends, but this is an instance where the numbers actually reflect what we see on the street. Low inventories combined with high buyer demand lead to increases in prices. Single-Family HOMES February pending sales totals for single-family homes were unremarkable, falling 2% from January and 7% from February of last year, due mostly to the lack of inventory. Several price ranges were able to register gains over 2011 though – homes priced from $500,000 to $600,000 were up 57%, homes between $800,000 and $900,000 were up 40% and homes priced over $1,000,000 were up 33%. The inventory of available homes grew by 2% from the six-and-ahalf year low set in January, but there are still 30% fewer homes on the market than at the same point last year. Only the $1 million to $1.25 million (up 16%) and the $1.5 million and over (up 11%) price ranges have more inventory compared to last year. Overall there is only 2.7 months of available inventory, with ten of the last twelve months now registering less than 3 months inventory. Only in the upper end of the market over $1.5 million, with 6.79 months of inventory, can a buyer find any appreciable housing choices. Between $1 million and $1.25 million there is only 2.4 months available while between $600,000 and $900,000 there is 1.79 months. Condominiums and Cooperatives February saw pending sales of condominiums and cooperatives jump 35% from January, a 24% improvement over February of a year ago. The largest gains over February 2011 were seen in the $500,000 to $700,000 range (up 50%) and the $200,000 to $300,000 range (up 44%). For the month, pending sales of units priced over $800,000 fell 42% from last year.

Capital Area REALTOR®

The inventory of available units remained unchanged from January, only slightly above the seven-year low reached in December. At the end of February there were 25% fewer condos and co-ops on the market than a year ago. With the strong sales month in February, the effective condominium/cooperative inventory fell to 2.89 months, the lowest point in almost five years. In the $600,000 to $700,000 range that number was an even lower 1.68 months, while the $300,000 to $400,000 range was at 1.84 months. Prepared by Fred Kendrick, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty Data From the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors and RealEstate Business Intelligence (RBI)

Montgomery County Market Report continued from page 11

Examining the key components of the annualized January measure: food prices rose 4.4%; housing shelter costs (mostly rents) rose 2%; and, apparel prices bumped up 4.7%. On the good side, medical care services rose 3.7%, and medical care commodities were up only 3.2% from January 2010. On the other hand, energy commodities jumped 10% -- gasoline was up 9.7% and fuel oil leapt 12.1%. Energy services (electricity and natural gas) rose only 0.5%, due mostly to the fall in natural gas prices. At this point the Fed believes that inflation is in check. High unemployment is keeping businesses from raising consumer prices too much. If Europe continues to have difficulties, that could put further downward pressure on prices, but don’t expect inflation to drop below 2%. Bernanke does not want a negative price spiral like Japan suffered in the ‘90s and from which it still has not recovered. The Bottom Line Montgomery County’s real estate markets this year are off to a slow start, but it is not much worse than the early months of last year. With overall economic growth improving in the economy, things should improve. The macroeconomic indications are that real estate should be better in 2012 that in 2011. However, we will have to see how the County and Federal government budgets impact the local market area. Regarding the Federal aspect, at this point Obama still seems to be the favorite in the Presidential contest; especially with the trouble the Republicans are causing themselves. But, even if he is re-elected there are likely to be tightening measures in the budget. If there are significant cuts in military spending, that could affect many of the contractors in the area. The U.S. economy avoided a ‘double-dip’ recession, and recent growth has improved. Unemployment has gradually lessened -- at the end of the recession it was 11% and today it is 8.3%! While there is still a lot of complaining, we have come a long way back from the depths. The most pressing problems are the recession in Europe and potential hostilities in the Middle East. The Euro zone is in a recession and it will worsen with the ‘hair shirt’ Germany is forcing the zone’s less fortunate countries to wear. China is slowing, but is still growing positively; nevertheless, there will be some dampening in Chinese demand. This year we will still have tentative markets, but it is a great time to buy for owners or renters. Rents are rising which helps make both homeownership and investment property attractive. Good luck and keep selling.


A Publication by GCAAR’s GREEN Committee

After Reading, Please Reuse, Recycle or Share with a Friend!


This special GREEN section of Capital Area Realtor® celebrates the 42nd anniversary of the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 and the 20th anniversary of the first local residential green building program which began in Austin, TX in 1992. GCAAR has some interesting GREEN history of its own. Under the leadership of then President, Dennis Melby, the first “GREEN REALTORS® Task Force” was formed in May 2008. Our President-elect, Michael McGreevy, won the green logo contest the Task Force held that year. And finally, Bonnie Casper, our current President was the first Chair of the Task Force. The Task Force evolved to full Committee status and the Green Committee is committed to continuing to educate our members and clients about green issues related to the real estate industry and homeownership. To put things into perspective and help understand why GREEN/sustainable building is so important, consider the following from the US Green Building Council ( • Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% water consumption and 15% of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. • Greater building efficiency can meet 85% of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs. According to the NAR, sustainable properties are the future of the real estate industry and green real estate is altering fundamental market dynamics. Nearly 40% of home buyers consider high-efficiency heating and cooling features to be “very important,”1 and two-thirds of state governments have currently implemented green building policies.2 Nearly 25% of all new commercial construction projects in the U.S. are LEEDregistered (LEED-Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Additionally, the number of states with commercial green building policies, standards, legislation, and programs increased from 13 to 31 between 2005 and 2008.3 We hope you enjoy this issue and learn from it. Please send us your ideas and suggestions. Also check out our green web page on It is a pleasure to serve you, our fellow REALTORS®. Chair, Beth Irons, GRI, GREEN, EcoBroker® Vice Chair, Lili Sheeline, GRI, GREEN, EcoBroker®, CRS

1 Source: Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers 2010, National Association of Realtors® 2 Source: McGraw Hill Construction Green Outlook 2011: Green Trends Driving Growth 3 Source: Green Outlook Report, McGraw Hill Construction 2009

Why Go Green? FOR THE ENVIRONMENT Want to make the world a better place? Implementing Green practices into your home or office can help reduce waste, conserve natural resources, improve both air and water quality, and protect ecosystems and biodiversity. FOR THE SAVINGS Want to make your dollar go further? Green systems and materials reduce energy consumption, which in turn reduce your energy bills. They also increase asset value and profits, and decrease marketing time; making your dollar go further for longer. FOR YOUR HEALTH Want to live healthier? Green building isn’t just good for the environment; it’s also good for YOU. Sustainable design and technology enhance a resident’s overall quality of life by improving air and water quality and reducing noise pollution. According to a 2006 study by the Center of the Built Environment, University of California, green office buildings improve productivity and employee satisfaction in the workplace.

GREENING Montgomery County and DC

All information from There’s a good reason for everyone to want a green Montgomery County. For some, it’s to preserve our natural beauty. For others, it’s to reduce our carbon footprint and live more sustainably. And for others, it’s about saving “green” money every day. Whatever your reason, you’ll find information and resources on An initiative of the Montgomery County, MD, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and developed with funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, MyGreenMontgomery, is designed to help County residents find local programs, services, resources and answers to environmental questions in one place. Read about some of the featured incentives and programs below and check out for more information!

Montgomery County RainScapes

Increase the beauty of your property, decrease storm water run-off from your home, and earn rebates for installing a rain garden or rain barrel, and other conservation landscaping techniques.

Weatherization Services from Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County Montgomery County homeowners who are income qualified may be eligible for FREE weatherization services from Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County.

Tree-Mendous Maryland

Reasonably priced trees for organizations, schools, communities to plant in public right-of-ways or other public spaces; also, give a gift of a tree planted in a public space and receive a framable certificate to give the recipient.

Pepco Energy Wise Rewards™ Programmable Thermostat Program

Enroll in a peak energy cycling program and receive a free programmable thermostat.

Did You Know? According to a Brookings Institution’s report, Sizing the Clean Economy, the Washington, DC metropolitan area ranks fourth among 100 of the largest metropolitan areas in the US in the growing green economy, which totaled 70,828 clean jobs in 2010. The District had 22,462 clean jobs in 2010 (with a 1.5% annual growth rate from 2003 to 2010). Source:

Stormwater Pollution and the District of Columbia

Stormwater is simply rainwater that, rather than remaining on the land where it falls, flows off of the site. As stormwater moves from our yards to our streams it picks up pollutants such as oil and grease from our roadways and driveways, nutrients from fertilizers on our lawns, and bacteria from pet waste and other animal excrement. Once in the stream, the fast-moving surges of water associated with storms cause erosion and destroys habitat for fish and other wildlife. Unfortunately, most of the District was developed before modern methods for controlling and treating stormwater were developed. If your home was built before the 1980s (and chances are it was!), you probably do not have any stormwater controls installed on your property. But there are steps you can take to reduce stormwater pollution and beautify your yard. RiverSmart Homes can help you. The RiverSmart Homes program offers incentives to District homeowners interested in reducing stormwater pollution from their properties. Source: Homeowners receive up to $1,200 to adopt one or more of landscape enhancements such as rain gardens, rain barrels and shade tree planting. RiverSmart Homes landscaping enhancements can provide numerous benefits to homeowners. Beautifully landscaped properties offer cost savings on water, electricity, as well as heating and cooling bills and result in extra time to relax, reduced stress, better health, and higher property values. Learn more about RiverSmart Homes as well as other environemtnally conscious practices at the District Department of Environement wbsite by visitng

Capital Bikeshare— REALTORS® on the Move

Capital Bikeshare puts bicycles at your fingertips and makes getting around the District a breeze. REALTORS® can choose stations all across Washington, DC and return them to any station near their destination. You can check out a bike for work, play or visiting friends and family. For REALTORS®, Capital Bikeshare can be an environmentally friendlier and more cost effective way to do business! For more information, visit

Education: Go GREEN and Add Value

On April 11th, GCAAR’s GREEN Committee joined forces with the Rookie Committee to present a GREEN Course for “Green” REALTORS® in the business. With a panel of speakers including Lili Sheeline (Green Committee Vice Chair), Vimal Kapur (Green Instructor at GCAAR) and Leslie Weightman (Green Committee member and EcoBroker) moderated by Beth Irons (Green Committee Chair), Rookies were able to gain a better understanding of how they can incorporate GREEN practices into their business. Not only did they learn about how they could make more Green with Green, but also how it helps maintain a healthy environment for the future.

President’s Notes

Earth Day this year is April 22. What are you doing to celebrate and to keep the spirit of Earth Day alive throughout the year?

GREEN Resources

Check out some of the National and State tools and resources for more information.

U.S. Green Building Council

I am proud to report that our Public Policy Committee has been working on the impact of Smart Growth, transit-oriented development, and mass transit on economic development, jobs, and the housing industry. By fostering these policies and programs, GCAAR has taken the position that these efforts contribute to the creation of sustainable communities that are good places to live and work. And what is it that REALTORS® sell if not quality of life?

Rarely, however, do REALTORS® stop to consider how sustainability also relates to our own business economics. For most, the perception still remains that sustainability practices are at odds with financial realities.

NAR’s Green Destination

I am pleased to be able to say that our own Green Committee has been looking into these issues for the past several years and has been placing useful information on our website. In honor of Earth Day, I’d like to challenge our members to “Green” their businesses and see that it is compatible with improving profit. I would like each of our members to step back, examine their operating and capital expenditures in terms of their return on investment, and then change their business operations accordingly. Here are some simple suggestions to consider, many of which you may already do: • Eliminate paper and Styrofoam cups • Purchase green cleaning products • Install motion-detector lights in meeting rooms • Recycle paper, bottles, and cans • Replace all lighting with more efficient lighting REALTORS® lead the way in encouraging that information on energy efficiency be available to purchasers in every home sale. They are proud to list and sell “Green” houses, and promote building practices that lead to clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment. And, of course, our DC offices are in the first “Green” office building in the District of Columbia. As an Association, and as individual members, we need to keep the spirit of Earth Day alive throughout the year. By promoting public policies and adopting practices that are good for the global community as well as our businesses, we will be taking steps in the right direction – not only on Earth Day, but every day. I ask you to accept the challenge with me. Bonnie Casper, Green 2012 GCAAR President

U.S. Green Building Council State Chapters

USGBC – Various Service Providers with LEED AP

Residential Energy Services Network – Energy Auditors

Federal Tax Credits for Eneregy Efficiency

Funding Opportunities—National, State and, Local Programs

US Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by state

U.S. Department of Energy by state

Database for State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency

District Department of the Environment

Maryland Department of the Environment

Maryland Energy Administration

Green Building Tax Credit

7 Ways to Incorporate Green Into Your Everyday Business 1. Educate yourself on Green issues related to home construction, remodeling, energy use and how to market green features in a home. Be a Green resource to your clients! 2. Be a role model by earning a Green designation, driving an energy efficient car or biking and reminding clients to only print emails when necessary. 3. Focus your marketing materials on green topics. Put a monthly “green tip” in your newsletter and include upcoming community events on green issues. 4. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle! Place recycle bins in the office. Eliminate the use of excess open house and new listings flyers. Reduce the use of bottled water. Anything your office can do to help the environment stay green, will bring in more “green”. 5. Encourage sellers who are preparing to sell to select energy efficient appliances, lighting, windows, etc. Explain to them the value of marketing the home to not only environmentally conscious buyers, but cost conscious buyers. 6. Give Green closing gifts such as gift certificates for energy audits, a basket of eco-friendly cleaning supplies or a Capital Bikeshare card. 7. Increase awareness through discussions at office meetings and other education sessions. Get feedback on how agents are currently implementing green initiatives in their real estate practices.

Capital Area Realtor®

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2012 March - April

Education & Event Schedule 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.

April 23, 2012

*Rockville Location* Short Sales CEUs: 3 hrs. MD, DC & VA (elective) credit Speaker: Jill Pogach-Michaels, Esq. Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Environmental Issues CEUs: 3 hrs. MD, DC & VA (elective) credit Instructor: Vimal Kapoor Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

April 25, 2012

Rental Property Management CEUs: 3 hrs. MD, DC & VA (elective) credit Speaker: Tom Lynch Time: 9:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. DC Law Prep Class No CEUs Instructor: Tom Lynch Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

May 2, 2012

*Rockville Location*

Short Sales CEUs: 3 hrs. MD, DC & VA (elective) credit Instructor: Jill Pogach-Michaels, Esq. Time: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. *Silver Spring Location* Book Club Nuts! Southwest Airlines' Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success Time: Noon - 2:00 p.m.

May 4, 2012

Property Conditions Disclosure (fulfills the Legislative Update) CEUs: 3 hrs. MD (required) & DC (elective) credit Instructor: Tom Lynch Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Maryland Fair Housing CEUs: 1.5 hrs. MD (required) & DC (elective) credit Instructor: Tom Lynch Time: 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

May 7, 2012

GRI 401- Commercial Property CEUs: 7 hrs. DC (elective) credit Speaker: Rick Brown Time: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

May 11, 2012

GRI 402- Advanced Real Estate Office Management CEUs: 7 hrs. DC (elective) credit Speaker: Valasie August Time: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

May 11, 2012 (con’t)

*Rockville Location* Regional Sales Contract CEUs: 3 hrs. MD, DC & VA (elective) credit Instructor: Jill Pogach-Michaels Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

May 14, 2012

GRI 403- New Homes Sales and Marketing and Property Management CEUs: 7 hrs. DC (elective) credit Speaker: Tom Lynch Time: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

May 15, 2012

Affiliate Orientation Speaker: Charmaine Flanagan Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

May 18, 2012

New Member Orientation & Maryland Codes of Ethics & Predatory Lending CEUs: 3 hrs. MD (required) & DC (elective) credit Instructor: Chris Darby, Esq. NMO – 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (mandatory for new members) Time: 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

May 21, 2012

GRI 404- Strategic Planning & DC Legislative Update, Ethics & Agency CEUs: 7 hrs. DC (elective) credit Speaker: Brenda Small and Tony Devol, Esq. Time: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

May 24, 2012

GRI 405- DC Law & Common Violations of the Licensure Act of 1982/Maryland License Law-Title 17 CEUs: 7 hrs. DC (elective) credit Speaker: Tom Lynch Time: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Lunch and Learn Contract Course is held every Wednesday (except the last Wednesday of the month) from 1-2 p.m. with Jill Pogach-Michaels. Visit GCAAR for more information on courses. This schedule is subject to change.



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2012 March - April

Capital Area REALTOR®

P ublic P olicy REAL Advocacy for REALTORS®

On Capitol Hill NAR is working for you! Stay up to date on NAR’s political activity and access all CALLS FOR ACTION through NAR’s REALTOR® Action Center at

Fannie & Freddie Reform

While the possibility exists that Congress will put off making comprehensive changes until after the November elections, lawmakers have been working on a number of Bills that would take a comprehensive approach to reform. In fact, one of the Bills closely matches up with NAR’s priority to encourage private investors to return to the secondary market while replacing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a nonprofit entity that continues to back conforming loans. Even if legislation takes until 2013 to pass, key decisions could be made in the next few months.

The Fight Continues to Extend Flood Insurance

Congress extended National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) authority through May 31, 2012. This latest extension was a part of H.R. 2055, a “megabus” appropriations bill to fund the federal government’s 2012 fiscal year. NAR will continue to press Congress to use the additional time to complete their work on a five-year reauthorization of the program (H.R. 1309). NAR believes in the need for a long term reauthorization in order to provide certainty and to avoid further disruption to real estate markets.

Maryland Public Policy Update For additional information or to submit comments, please contact Meredith Weisel, Esq. at or Katalin Peter, Esq. at

Maryland General Assembly

For a detailed summary of pertinent 2012 real estate legislation that MAR’s Legislative Committee has reviewed, please visit the “Legislative” section at Legislative SUCCESS: PG/MC 106-12 Washington Suburban Sanitary District – Unpaid Water and Sewer Charges – Collection and Liens--WITHDRAWN GCAAR submitted testimony in OPPOSITION to this legislation. If passed, this Bill would have authorized the collection of unpaid water and sewer bills within the Washington Suburban Sanitary District to be collected against property owners. Additionally, if such bills remained unpaid, then the charges, interest, and penalties could have constituted a lien in favor of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission. After extensive advocacy efforts from GCAAR and others, the bill has been WITHDRAWN and is not scheduled to move any further.

Montgomery County LEGISLATION

For the most up to date information on Montgomery County legislation, visit the County’s website at For Zoning Text Amendments (ZTA), refer to the following legend: zoning_legend.shtm ZTA No.: 12-01 Concerning: Commercial zones- Large Retail Uses Pending – GCAAR submitted testimony SUPPORTING this Bill. Establishes additional requirements for retail uses with a ground floor area of at least 50,000 square feet or in a development containing more than 100,000 square feet of retail for a single user, and located within one-half mile of a metro station. Specifically, it would limit the maximum footprint to 80,000 square feet; require space to be provided for small retailers (less than 5,000 square feet per space); require mixed use buildings ( either office or residential in addition to retail); and require conformance to design standards. ZTA No: 12-02 Concerning: Commercial Zones – Combination Retail Stores - Pending Applies to property more than one half mile from a metro station and amends the term “combination retail store” (retail/ pharmacy/grocery store). It also amends the required findings for a combination retail use special exception to include requirements for light spillover onto residential property, consistency with master plan recommendations and small retail space under certain circumstances. ZTA No: 12-03 Agricultural zones - Wineries - Pending Revises the definition of a winery, the number of public events that a winery can hold annually as of right in certain zones and generally amend the provision for wineries. ZTA No: 12-04 Site Plan - Surety Requirements - Pending Allows developers to provide additional forms of surety to insure the completion of site plan elements and clarify the language to state that the surety being required by the Planning Board covers only certain certified site plan elements. ZTA No: 12-05 Commercial/Residential Zones-Grandfathering Pending Applies the grandfathering provisions of CR zones to CRT and CRN zones and revise the grandfathering provision for projects with a previously approved special exception. ZTA 12-06 Commercial/Residential Zones-Transit Proximity Definition - Pending Amends the definition of transit proximity to exclude a site that is within one mile of a MARC station and that is more than one mile from any other transit station serving a dedicated, fixed path transit facility. Bill 6-12, Economic Development - Small Business Assistance Pending Establishes a program to assist small businesses located in either an enterprise zone or an urban renewal area of the County who

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are adversely impacted by a County redevelopment project or a redevelopment project located on County property. The Bill would require the Director of the Department of Economic Development (DED Director) to create and operate the program. For additional information please contact Meredith Weisel, Esq. at or Katalin Peter, Esq. at

DC Public Policy Update

2012 March - April

monitoring this legislation and at the present time it does not appear to be moving before May. B19-703, “Hardship Waiver to Resale Restriction Act of 2012” Pending Provides a hardship waiver to resale restrictions for homeowners residing in Affordable Housing Units financed in whole or in part by the Department of Housing and Community Development based on military deployment, job related relocation, or excessive condominium fees.


B19-669, “Title Insurance Clarification Amendment Act of 2012”. Pending To amend the Title Insurance Producer Act of 2010, the Title Insurance Insurer Act of 2010, the Producer Licensing Act of 2002, and the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1996 to make certain clarifying and conforming amendments.

DCAR’s February Speaker Series featured Mayor Gray’s Budget Director Eric Goulet briefing REALTORS® on the upcoming FY 2013 Budget and how the District is currently estimated to have a $240 surplus. Members emphasized the importance of doing no harm to real estate interests and maintaining housing as a priority in the District.

B19-676, “Saving D.C. Homes from Foreclosure Clarification Amendment Act of 2012.” - Pending This Bill would provide borrowers the same rights for a defective Notice of Default on Residential Mortgage as the law provides for a defective Notice of Intention to Foreclose on a Residential Mortgage and establish that a foreclosure sale shall be void if a lender files a Notice of Intention to Foreclose on a Residential Mortgage without a mediation certificate.

For additional information, please contact Ed Krauze, Esq. at or Katalin Peter, Esq. at District Economic Briefing from Mayor’s Budget Director Eric Goulet in February and an exclusive Federal preview from NAR officials springing forward into March

DCAR hosted a “Federal Briefing” as part of its Speaker Series on March 8. This special event featured speakers from NAR giving an exclusive preview of the Midyear rally. NAR officials addressed the most pressing federal issues on their agenda and let REALTORS® know how they can support homeownership by rallying on the Mall in May. Be on the lookout for future DCAR Speaker Series Events!


The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) was released on February 1, estimating the District to have a $240 million surplus. Mayor Gray and CFO Gandhi attributed the windfall to under spending, particularly on tuition to private schools for specialeducation students. About $130 million of the $240 million surplus is in “special purpose” revenue, meaning the money is already dedicated. That leaves about $110 million in surplus that could be used for general purposes. Debate has emerged whether city leaders should rethink increases in taxes and fees made to close budget gaps over the past year. Chairman Brown has come out in support of rolling back the increases, while Gray has stated that such moves would not be prudent. Key dates for the FY 2013 Budget are as follows: • March 23: Mayor Gray’s proposed FY13 budget transmitted to the Council • May 15: Council vote on Budget Request Act and Budget Support Act • June 5: Second vote on the Budget Support Act

District Legislation

For the most up to date information on District legislation, visit the DC Council’s website at B19-602, “Real Property Tax Assessment Evidence Clarification Act” - Pending To amend the DC Code with respect to real property tax assessment information that may be considered as evidence to estimate just compensation in eminent domain proceedings. GCAAR is

B19-687, “Out of State Municipal Bond Tax Repeal Act” Pending To repeal the tax on Out-of-State Municipal Bonds recently passed by the Council, in light of the announced Budget surpluses. It would repeal the income tax assessed on out-of-state municipal bonds held by individuals, estates and trusts, whether owned directly or beneficially through a mutual fund or otherwise. B19-693 “Small Business Job Creation Tax Credit Act of 2012.” Pending Establishes a tax credit to create incentives for certified business enterprises (“CBEs”) and certified small business enterprises (“Certified SBEs”) to hire District residents. B16-633, “Community Bank Small Business Lending Program Act” - Pending Establishes a Community Bank Small Business Lending Program. B19-190, “Tenant Security Deposits Clarification Amendment Act of 2011” - Enacted To amend the Housing Regulations of the District of Columbia to clarify that the Office of Administrative Hearings may adjudicate complaints for the non-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. B19-569, “Green Building Compliance, Technical Corrections and Clarifications Act” - Enacted To amend the Green Building Act of 2006 to provide for a fine alternative as a financial security option, to correct enrollment errors, and to provide certain technical corrections and clarifications. B19-486, “Unemployment Anti-Discrimination Act of 2012” Enacted continued on page 20



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2012 March - April

Capital Area REALTOR®

DC Public Policy Update continued from page 19

To prohibit discrimination in employment based on the individuals status or history of employment. B19-662-3, “Moratorium on Strip Clubs, Topless Bars, Gentleman’s Clubs or Adult Entertainment in Ward 5[Emergency and Temporary] Act[s] of 2012” - Enacted Places a moratorium on such establishments in Ward 5. B19-474, “Lottery Amendment Repeal Act of 2012” Enacted Repeals legislation that provided for online gambling in the District.

Thank You 2012 RPAC Investors! Golden ‘R’ Bonnie Casper GCAAR Carole Maclure Dale Ross

YPNers Mix and Mingle at Buddha Bar

GCAAR’s YPN got together on March 8 to network at DC’s Buddha Bar. 2012 YPN Chair Colin Johnson encouraged others to join YPN and participate in upcoming events. Guests mixed and mingled amid the plush seating and hip ambiance.

Young Professionals  Mix  and  Mingle  at  the  Buddha  Bar  

GCAAR’s YPN  Committee  got  together  on  March  8  to  mix  and  mingle  at  DC’s  Buddha  Bar.    2012  YPN   Chair  Colin  Johnson  encouraged  others  to  join  YPN  and  participate  in  upcoming  events.    Guests   mixed  and  mingled  amid  the  plush  seating  and  hip  ambiance.    

To join  GCAAR’s  YPN  Committee,    go  to:  or  scan  the   QR  code  below.      

Crystal ‘R’

To join GCAAR’s YPN Committee, go to: or scan the QR code.

Fred Kendrick Jill Pogach Michaels Michael Moran


Pics below   Back  Row  L-­‐R,  YPN  Chair  Colin  Johnson,  Thomas  Castagnola,  and  Femi  Akinnagbe     Front  Row:  Sharon  Telfair,  GCAAR’s  Hakeema  Jones  and  Renada  Johnson,  and  YPN  Co-­‐Chair  Koki  Adasi      

Sterling ‘R’ James Coley, Jr. Suzanne Des Marais Edward Downs Brandon Green Harold Huggins Adrian Hunnings Ellen Katz Tim Knobloch Ed Krauze Dana Landry Alana Lasover

Back Row L-R, YPN Chair Colin Johnson, Thomas Castagnola, and Femi Akinnagbe Front Row: Sharon Telfair, GCAAR’s Hakeema Jones and Renada Johnson, and YPN Co-Chair Koki Adasi


GCAAR’s YPN Staff Liaison Pia Clarke with Thai Hung Nguyen

      GCAAR’s  YPN  Staff  Liaison  Pia  Clarke  with  Thai  Hung  Nguyen    

Andy Adler and Colin Johnson

Bo Menkiti Shelly Murray Frank Pietranton, Jr. Scott Reiter Randy Rothstein Brenda Small Frank Snodgrass Mo Snowden Christopher Suranna Patrick Weed Edward Wood

Capital Club

Wendy Banner David Bediz John Bragale Jan Brito Nathan Carnes Lori Connor Joe Detrick Jane Fairweather Gregory Ford Jeffrey Ganz Ricki Gerger Sally Hamidi Mynor Herrera Diana Keeling Elley Kott Judith Levin Kymber Lovett-Menkiti

Donald Maclure Katie Maclure Yolanda Mamone Peg Mancuso Dale Mattison Kevin McDuffie Michael McGreevy Dennis Melby Vittorio Muzzatti Ruth Papuchis Bonnie Roberts-Burke Susan Sanford Jason Sherman Prabhjit Singh Glen Sutcliffe Rachel Valentino Kirsten Williams

GCAAR is  Jumping!   Members  Take  Advantage  of  Recent  Classes:   Serving the Business   Needs of OUR Professionals Maryland  Code  of  Ethics    

Capital Area Realtor®

Members Rally


2012 March - April

GCAAR is Jumping! Members Take Advantage of Recent Classes: Maryland Code of Ethics

L-R: DCAR Immediate Past President Suzanne Des Marais, 2012 President Ed Downs, Angela Jones, and CEO Ed Krauze support Maryland homeowners

L-R: Nick D’Ambrosia, L-­‐R: :    Immediate  Past  President  Suzanne  Des  Marais,  2012  President,   Chair, Maryland Real Ed  Downs,  Angela  Jones,  and  CEO  Ed  Krauze  support  Maryland   homeowners   Estate Commission, Tom Levin, 2012 President, Anne Arundel County Association of REALTORS®, and GCAAR CEO Mike Moran  


Nick D’Ambrosia, Chair, Maryland Real Estate Commission, Tom Levin, 2012 President, Anne Arundel County Association of REALTORS®, and GCAAR CEO Mike Moran

GCAAR members Ingrid Dallaire and Lyn Alexander

Broker/Manager  Forum   [pic]    

Broker/Manager Forum



BPOR     GCAAR  members  Ingrid  Dallaire  and  Lyn  Alexander    

L-R: GCAAR members Dick Stoner, Hildy Pollard, Gerard Occhiuzzo, and Pat Weed

L-­‐R:  GCAAR  members  Dick  Stoner,  Hildy  Pollard,  Gerard  Occhiuzzo,  and    

Fair Housing, continued from page 1

Pat Weed  


GCAAR supports the tenets of fair housing through its participation in the Maryland Association of REALTORS® annual Fair Housing Poster Contest. This year, students from two area schools submitted artwork to GCAAR based on the theme “Fair Housing Lives in Maryland.”

2013 Fair Housing Poster Contest

Montgomery County residents can be proud of every one of the hand-drawn posters done by nine students from St. Elizabeth Catholic School in Rockville and Roberto Clemente Middle School in Germantown. The winning selection to represent Montgomery County in the state-based   calendar will be announced in the next issue of Capital Area REALTOR®.    

GCAAR offers a heartfelt thank you to all of the following students: St. Elizabeth Catholic School Luke Kalhorn Jackson Kendricks Sara Miller

Roberto Clemente Middle School Delali Azamati Caitlynne Johnson Meher Kaur

Harish Kumar Madeline Liu Samantha Pierce


2012 March - April

Serving the Business Needs of OUR Professionals

Capital Area REALTOR®

Q uiz

Fair Housing Think you’re pretty well versed in federal fair housing law? Answer these 12 questions to see whether you’re ready to tout your fair housing know-how to your clients and customers. 1. Under federal fair housing laws, it is legal to prohibit which of the following in a housing unit? a. Smoking b. A live-in caregiver for a resident with a disability c. Drinking alcohol d. Both a and c 2. Which of the following are violations or potential violations of the Fair Housing Act? a. A seller tells you he doesn’t want to sell to African-Americans b. A sales associate puts the phrase “adults only” in an MLS listing c. Both a and b d. None of the above 3. Under the federal fair housing law, the seven protected classes include a. Race, color, source of income, handicap, national origin, marital status, religion b. Race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin c. Race, sexual orientation, sex, familial status, handicap, age, national origin d. None of the above 4. The fair housing laws prohibit all of the following, except a. Refusal to show, sell, or rent a property because of disability b. Expressing a preference for young adults in a listing comment c. Evicting a current user of illegal drugs d. Marketing your listings exclusively in a religious publication 5. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 does which of the following? a. Grants all citizens the same rights as white citizens to own, purchase, lease, transfer or use real property b. Allows exemptions only for homes sold without the assistance of a real estate practitioner c. Effectively prohibits all discrimination in real estate based on race d. Both a and c 6 . Based on federal fair housing law, which of the following people would be protected: a. A divorced female, single parent b. A 35-year-old single, Jewish man c. A 50-year-old white man d. All of the above 7. The Equal Professional Service Model involves all of the following key guidelines except a. Have I offered a variety of choices? b. Is my client working with another agent? c. Has my customer set the limits? d. Do I have objective information?

8. When a prospect inquires about the racial makeup of neighborhoods or schools, you should respond by saying: a. “I believe the neighborhood has a few Hispanic families, I can check and get back to you.” b. “The Fair Housing Act prohibits me from providing that kind of information. I recommend you contact the school district, municipal government, or the local library.” c. “I wouldn’t worry about that, the neighborhood is safe and the schools are good.” d. “Residents in this neighborhood value diversity, you’ll fit right in.” 9. If a seller using a real estate agent refuses an offer because of the buyer’s national origin, who may file a federal lawsuit against the seller? a. The prospective buyer b. The real estate practitioner c. The federal government d. All of the above 10. Looking at the following four marketing examples, identify which one is OK under Article 10 of the Code of Ethics? a. Advertise only in a strategically limited geographic areas that is populated by a particular ethnic group of people. b. Limit advertising to small papers which cater to particular religious groups of people. c. Promote a listing only in selected sales offices in communities with similar ethnic populations. d. Advertising your knowledge of a language other than English in an English-language advertisement. 11. In an advertisement for a small, two-bedroom house in a neighborhood where many families live, which of the following language is clearly improper under the Fair Housing Act? a. Small, cozy home in quiet neighborhood b. Two-bedroom home, near playground and senior center c. Family Friendly d. No children 12. Which of the following features are required in ground floor units of non-elevator multifamily building of four units or more built after March 1991? a. An accessible building entrance or an accessible route for persons in wheelchairs? b. Accessible and usable public and common use areas? c. Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostat, and other environmental controls in accessible locations d. All of the above.

Capital Area Realtor®

Serving the Business Needs of OUR Professionals

2012 March - April


protected class under federal fair housing laws.

1. Under federal fair housing laws, it is legal to prohibit which of the following in a housing unit? Correct Answer: Both a and c

7. The Equal Professional Service Model involves all of the following key guidelines except Correct Answer: Is my client working with another agent?

Tenants’ activities, such as smoking and drinking, aren’t protected.

One of the purposes of the Equal Professional Service Model is to document that the client, not the practitioner, has set the limits regarding desired properties.

Which of the following are violations or potential violations of the Fair Housing Act? Correct Answer: Both a and b 2. Excluding prospective buyers on the basis of race is always a violation. Although it’s potentially a violation to discriminate on the basis of familial status, “adults only” is acceptable when the housing is specifically designated for older persons pursuant to a state, local, or federal program designed to accommodate the needs of elderly persons. Or the community must • Be occupied solely by persons who are 62 or older, or • House at least one person who is 55 or older in at least 80 percent of the occupied units and adhere to a policy that demonstrates an intent to house and provide services to persons who are 55 or older. 3. Under the federal fair housing law, the seven protected classes include Correct Answer: Race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin Race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin. Although some interest groups have tried to lobby to include sexual orientation and marital status, these aren’t protected classes under the federal law, but are sometimes protected by certain local state fair housing laws.

8. When a prospect inquires about the racial makeup of neighborhoods or schools, you should respond by saying: Correct Answer: “The Fair Housing Act prohibits me from providing that kind of information. I recommend you contact the school district, municipal government, or the local library.” Send prospects elsewhere for an answer to such questions, after reminding them of the fair housing laws. 9. If a seller using a real estate agent refuses an offer because of the buyer’s national origin, who may file a federal lawsuit against the seller? Correct Answer: All of the above 10. Looking at the following four marketing examples, identify which one is OK under Article 10 of the Code of Ethics? Correct Answer: Advertising your knowledge of a language other than English in an English-language advertisement. 11. In an advertisement for a small, two-bedroom house in a neighborhood where many families live, which of the following language is clearly improper under the Fair Housing Act? Correct Answer: No children In general, it’s best to describe the property and nearby amenities--not the potential buyer--when advertising.

4. The fair housing laws prohibit all of the following, except Correct Answer: Evicting a current user of illegal drugs

12. Which of the following features are required in ground floor units of non-elevator multifamily building of four units or more built after March 1991? Evicting a current user of illegal drugs. Drug addiction isn’t covered under any of the protected classes. In fact, the Fair Housing Act specifi- Correct Answer: All of the above. cally states that current illegal drug users aren’t handicapped. There are a total of seven requirements; the other four are (1) doors designed to be usable by persons in wheelchairs, (2) an accessible route 5. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 does which of the following? into and through the dwelling unit, (3) reinforcements in bathroom Correct Answer: Both a and c walls for later installation of grab bars, and (4) kitchen and bathroom Based on federal fair housing law, which of the following people would space organized so an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver about the space. be protected: Correct Answer: All of the above To find out how you can bring NAR’s award-winning fair housing rental or sales program to your company, contact NAR’s Information 6. The 50-year-old white man is protected if he’s discriminated against Central at (800) 874-6500. on the basis of his race. However, his age isn’t relevant since age isn’t a

Got a Story Idea?

You Could Have a Byline in the Next Issue of Capital Area REALTOR® If you would like to write a story for an issue of Capital Areal REALTOR®, we would like to hear from you. We are looking for content that would be relevant to the business, timely, and interesting to our members. GCAAR would reserve the right to edit any content before final printing, and stories that discuss specific business transactions or competitive information would not be allowed. If you think you might want to put pen to paper, send an e-mail to We hope to hear from you!



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2012 March - April

Capital Area REALTOR®

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Source: Information included in this report is based on data supplied by MRIS and its member Association(s) of REALTORS, who are not responsible for its accuracy. Does not reflect all activity in the marketplace. January 1, 2010 – December 31, 2010. Information contained in this report is deemed reliable but not guaranteed, should be independently verified, and does not constitute an opinion of MRIS or Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. ©2011 All Rights Reserved. Exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate in select areas.


Capital Area REALTOR® March/April 2012  

Capital Area Realtor: March April 2012

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