R E A LTOR
Official publication for the Greater Capital Area Assocation of REALTORS®
OUTDOOR ISSUES Some external issues can be strategically overcome.
A BAD ROOM VIEW Sometimes windows frame something that is less than attractive.
HOUSE IN CONSTRUCTION ZONE PRICE ADUSTMENTS & STAGING Homes that are slow to sell may be improved with a fresh eye.
Market construction as a positive feature that will eventually improve home sales.
TIPS & TRICKS TO SELL A TOUGH LISTING - page 6
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/Jun 2014
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CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/Jun 2014
R E ALTOR
Tips & Tricks – p. 6
GCAAR Cares – p. 8
in every issue
Smart Growth Seminar: White Oak Development
Ask the President
Don’t Let This Happen To You
GCAAR in the News
Tips and Tricks to Sell a Tough Listing
GCAAR Sponsorship – Expand Your Reach
Public Policy – p. 20
GCAAR Bowling Event – p. 10
9 Technology 14 MRIS 15
NAR Director’s Report
QUIZ: Listing Presentation What It Takes to Give a Winning Presentation
24 RPAC 25
Capital Area REALTOR® (USPS 017-467) is published five times a year by the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS®, 15201 Diamondback Drive, Suite 100, Rockville, MD 20850. Periodicals postage paid at Rockville, 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. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Capital Area REALTOR®, ATTN: GCAAR, 15201 Diamondback Drive, Suite 100, Rockville, MD 20850. 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 necessarily reflect the opinion 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 the items become the property of the Greater 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 submissions, including camera-ready advertising, is the first of the month prior to publication. Reprint with permission only. Reprints may be obtained by contacting the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS® at 301.590.2000; via fax at 301.590.2248; or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Copyright© 2015 by the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS®. All rights reserved.
15201 Diamondback Drive, Suite 100 • Rockville MD 20850 Phone: 301.590.2000 • Fax: 301.590.2248 • www.gcaar.com Follow us on Facebook: facebook.com/GCAAR2 Follow us on Twitter@GCAARNow Follow us on LinkedIn/in/GCAAR CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/Jun 2014
board of directors
ask the president Q: I went to a great GCAAR event in March
at Food Wine & Co. sponsored by YPN. What is YPN and how can I be a part of it?
A: I’m glad to hear you had such a positive experience at an associaPeg Mancuso PRESIDENT-ELECT
Suzanne Des Marais PRESIDENT
Jamie Coley SECRETARY
Tim Knobloch TREASURER
tion function! GCAAR’s YPN stands for “Your Professional Network” and is one of hundreds of REALTOR® Networks across the country that help young real estate professionals excel in their careers by giving them the tools and encouragement to become involved. GCAAR’s YPN is led by a committee of members who arrange networking events, encourage community service participation, and hold an annual professional development event geared toward the needs of young REALTORS®. This year’s committee has started a YPNsiders group for those interested in learning more about YPN events and activities. If you’d like to be a YPNsider, email staff liaison Amy Ritsko-Warren at email@example.com and she’ll add you to the list. If you are interested in serving on next year’s YPN committee, watch your GCAAR email in October for the application for 2016 committees, including YPN.
My DC license is expiring in August and I haven’t taken any of my classes yet. My business is booming this spring and I don’t think I’ll be able to squeeze them in before the summer! Will GCAAR have a lot of DC offerings in the summer so I can stop worrying about it now?
A: Yes – GCAAR has you covered for DC required and electives! One Greg Ford IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
Mike Moran CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
directors Koki Adasi David Bediz Thom Brockett Roger Carp Tom Daley Jacque Grenning
William “Bill” Hounshell Vicky Lobos-Kirker Danai Mattison Hildy Pollard Frank Snodgrass Pat Weed
Capital Area REALTOR® Magazine
Bobette Banks MANAGING EDITOR
Arlene Braithwaite ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE
Deborah Bell ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Carla Conway DESIGN & LAYOUT
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • March/April 2015
of the most efficient ways to fulfill your requirements is to attend REALTOR® Fest, a one-day festival of credit and non-credit offerings, trade show, and networking. This year’s REALTOR® Fest will be July 20 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center and will offer all DC required courses. If you can’t make it on July 20, don’t worry. GCAAR will be offering DC classes throughout the summer. Check out GCAAR’s online class calendar for updates as the spring and summer progress.
association news White Oak Development Focus of GCAAR’s Smart Growth Seminar GCAAR sponsored its first development seminar of 2015 on February 6 with the White Oak Science Gateway area of Silver Spring as its focus. About 50 attendees came to the White Oak Library to hear about upcoming development plans in the White Oak sector. Moderated by 2013 GCAAR President Michael McGreevy, the panel included Greg Ossont, Deputy Director Montgomery County Department of General Services; David Hauck, Montgomery County Executive Transit Task Force; Deanna Murphy, Director, Office of Facilities Engineering and Mission Support Services Food and Drug Administration (FDA); Robert Jepson, Vice President, Business Development, Washington Adventist Hospital; and Jonathan Genn Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Percontee, Inc. Mr. Ossont began the discussion with an overview of the County’s Master Plan for the White Oak area. The White Oak plan area is bounded by the Capital Beltway (I-495) on the south, Northwest Branch Stream Valley Park on the west, U.S. Route 29 and Cherry Hill Road on the north and Prince George’s County on the east. Mr. Hauck talked about the transit plan, including the proposed Rapid Transit Vehicle (RTV) system. The RTV is critical to help handle the increase in people and vehicle traffic into and out of the
L-R: GCAAR Past President Michael McGreevy, Robert Jepson, Washington Adventist Hospital; Deanna Murphy, FDA; David Hauck, Montgomery County Executive Transit Task Force, Jonathan Genn, Percontee.
area as it becomes home to more commercial office space and new residences. Ms. Murphy then outlined the FDA’s expansion of its current facilities in White Oak, and Mr. Jepson discussed plans for Washington Adventist’s Hospital’s move to a proposed 48 acre medical campus in the area. Mr. Genn presented Percontee’s plans for the Life Sciences Village which will include retail and residential development adjacent to the FDA campus. A number of the attendees’ questions revolved around the county’s proposed RTV system. As David Houck and Jonathan Genn explained, the RTV would provide a strong transit link between the White Oak Science Gateway and Metrorail (Silver Spring and possibly Ft. Totten), MARC, and western parts of Montgomery County. The County’s Master Plan anticipates that the County Executive will make recommendations to the County Council within 24 months following the adoption of this Plan. One or more options for a comprehensive capital financing plan to fund the full build-out will be proposed.
FOR MORE INFORMATION on the White Oak Science Gateway, please visit: gcaar.com>Resources>Smart Growth Montgomery County Rapid Transit System
Greg Ossont, Montgomery County Department of General Services, speaks with Jonathan Genn of Percontee.
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • March/April 2015
Lessons Learned During an Submitted by Joy Liberti, Chair, GCAAR’s Professional Standards Committee Inconsistent Market
Don’t Let This Happen to You!
Case #3-10 Disclose Accepted Offers With Unresolved Contingencies REALTOR® A listed Seller S’s house and placed the listing in the local association’s MLS. Within a matter of days, REALTOR® X procured a full-price offer from Buyer B. The offer specified that Buyer B’s offer was contingent on the sale of Buyer B’s current home. Seller S, anxious to sell, accepted Buyer B’s offer, but instructed REALTOR® A to continue marketing the property in hopes that an offer that was not contingent on the sale of an existing home would be made. A week later, REALTOR® Q, another cooperating broker working with an out-of-state transferee on a company-paid visit, contacted REALTOR® A to arrange a showing of Seller S’s house for Buyer T. REALTOR® A contacted Seller S to advise him of the showing and then called REALTOR® Q to confirm that he and Buyer T could visit the property that evening. REALTOR® A said nothing about the previously accepted purchase offer. REALTOR® Q showed the property to Buyer T that evening and Buyer T signed a purchase offer for the full listed price. REALTOR® Q left the purchase offer at REALTOR® A’s office. REALTOR® A informed Seller S about this second offer. At Seller S’s instruction, Buyer B was informed of the second offer, and Buyer B waived the contingency in his purchase offer. REALTOR®A then informed REALTOR® Q that Seller S and Buyer B intended to close on their contract and the property was not available for purchase by Buyer T.
Don’t Let This Happen to You! For more information, visit the Code of Ethics section on realtor.org
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • March/April 2015
REALTOR®Q, believing that REALTOR® A’s failure to disclose the existence of the accepted offer between Seller S and Buyer B at the time REALTOR® Q contacted REALTOR® A was in violation of Article 3 of the Code of Ethics, as interpreted by Standard of Practice 3-6, filed an ethics complaint with the association of REALTORS®. At the hearing called to consider the complaint, REALTOR®A defended his actions noting that while Buyer B’s offer had been accepted by Seller S, it had been contingent on the sale of Buyer B’s current home. It was possible that Buyer B, if faced with a second offer, could have elected to withdraw from the contract.
Standard of Practice 3-6 REALTORS® shall disclose the existence of accepted
by Michele Lerner offers, including offers with unresolved contingencies, to any broker seeking cooperation.
REALTOR® A argued that continuing to market the property and not making other brokers aware that the property was under contract promoted his client’s best interests by continuing to attract potential buyers. The Hearing Panel disagreed with REALTOR® A’s justification, pointing to the specific wording of Standard of Practice 3-6 which requires disclosure of accepted offers, including those with unresolved contingencies. REALTOR®A was found in violation of Article 3. Check out the Code of Ethics Arbitration Manual or print a full pdf version of the NAR Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice visit: realtor.org
Affiliate Spotlight Maria Robinson My Marketing Matters
GCAAR in the news $1 Million Condos Proposed for DC’s Truxton Circle The Washington Post March 30, 2015
“A 2,200-square-foot condo priced at $1 million is only $454 per square foot, which is pretty typical and even low.” — Suzanne Des Marais, 2015 GCAAR President
zipLogix Announces Partnerships with Top East Coast Associations Press Release March 14, 2015
How long have you been an Affiliate with GCAAR?
— GCAAR mentioned
We are proud to have been an Affiliate or sponsor of GCAAR events since 1995.
What are some of the events you support?
REALTOR®Fest, Rebuilding Together®, continuing education, bowling events, Lunch and Learns, and many other educational programs.
What would you say to people who are considering becoming an Affiliate?
Do it! Do it! Do it! GCAAR provides an opportunity for My Marketing Matters to meet, educate, discuss, and brainstorm about varioustoreal Photo captions comeestate-related issues. Our business has grown so much over the many years we have been affiliated with GCAAR.
Why do you think being a member of GCAAR is important?
Of all of the associations we work with, GCAAR is by far the best trade association around. The education, marketing tools, legal assistance, seminars, etc., create an environment that best supports the REALTOR® on a daily basis.
Using Drones to Sell Homes — Except in Washington The Washington Post February 9, 2015
“The housing in most parts of the Washington area is so close together that a drone shot will give you nothing more than rooftops.” — Holly Worthington, GCAAR Past President
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • March/April 2015
TIPS & TRICKS TO SELL A TOUGH LISTING
room, two-bath unit, which can be tough to find and it’s in a desirable neighborhood in the city, plus it comes with garage parking and a lot of amenities in the building. You just have to point out all the positive aspects instead of the drawback.” Traylor is currently selling a condo with only one window, but she says she emphasizes the rooftop swimming pool, the WalkScore of 98, the fitness center, and the fact that you walk to a grocery store and a Metro station. “This is one of the few condos in the city that is approved for VA loans, so I’m marketing it to military people who want the experience of living in the city,” says Traylor. Makris had a listing that faced a gas station so he recommended that the sellers put up at least a sheer curtain to disguise the view and rearrange the furniture to distract from the unattractive view. The home went under contract quickly after the view was de-emphasized.
by Michele Lerner When Craig McCullough, a REALTOR® with Evers & Co. Real Estate in Washington, DC, listed a fourth floor walk-up condominium in the District, he was concerned about two things: buyers being out of breath before they got through the front door and the fact that this was the first resale in the building. “I decided to put poster-sized photos of the building’s amenities at each landing so that prospective buyers were focused on the idea of getting involved with the social life there rather than thinking about how many stairs there were,” says McCullough. “A lot of condo buyers don’t bother to tour the amenities, they just want to know if they’re available, so this was a way to make a big first impression.” McCullough says the key to selling a tough listing is to redirect buyers’ attention away from the problem towards the good features of the home. In this case, the condo amenities were one positive feature to showcase on the way into the unit. Once the buyers arrived, they discovered the home had 22 windows, an unusual feature in a condo. “If a home isn’t selling, then the problem is likely to be one of the big four issues: the condition of the property, the location, the price or the marketing,” says GCAAR member Mike Makris, a REALTOR® with McEnearney Associates in Alexandria. “You can’t do much about the location, but you can change the condition with staging, you can adjust the price so it’s right for the area and you can change the marketing strategy.”
A room with a bad view
McCullough had a luxury condo listing with a large deck, but unfortunately the deck had a view of unsightly buildings. “We brought in dramatic staging furniture with bright colors and geometric designs so that people would focus on the space instead of the view,” says McCullough. “Then we hung sheer outdoor curtains which partially blocked the view, but also gave buyers an idea of what they could do with the space.” Zelda Heller, a REALTOR® and senior vice president of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty in Chevy Chase, MD, says that properties in the city that lack a view can be marketed to buyers who value the convenience and excitement of living in the city. “Not everyone can get everything they want, so you just have to emphasize the plusses of the location,” says Heller.
Selling in a construction zone or on a busy street
Construction of new residences or retail spaces can be a nuisance when you’re trying to sell a home, but Heller says that REALTORS® should market construction as a positive feature that will eventually improve home values. “Styles change,” says Donna Evers, owner of Evers & Co. Real Estate in Washington, DC. “A decade ago no one wanted to see a commercial building from their front porch, but now people value walkability more than anything. They don’t care if you’re on a busy street, especially in the city. And if there are buildings going up nearby, that’s even better because buyers want to get in to an area before prices go up.”
Outdoor issues to overcome
While lots of windows can be a great bonus, sometimes windows frame something that is less than attractive.
While traffic and construction can’t be controlled by sellers or their listing agent, some external issues can be strategically overcome.
“I had a condo listing with a window that faced an eight foot wide concrete wall,” says Chelsea Traylor, a REALTOR® with Century 21 New Millennium in Washington, DC. “There was nothing to be done about the wall, so I had to find the right trigger points that would make someone want to buy it anyway. This was a two-bed-
“I had a listing with a swimming pool and some very interested buyers who were adamant that they didn’t want a pool,” says Heller. “I researched the options and found a company that could cover the pool with a temporary deck and planters. The other option was to fill the pool, so I priced out both of those possibilities for the buyers.”
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • March/April 2015
Traylor had a listing with great curb appeal on a nice street, but unfortunately the next door neighbor neglected his yard. “I knew that would be a red flag to buyers, especially because there wasn’t a fence between the yards,” says Traylor. “I didn’t want to create an enemy, either, though, so I hired a lawn company to take care of my sellers’ yard and then asked the neighbor if he would mind if they trimmed his grass, too. I invited the neighbor over for a wine and cheese open house, too, and ended up resolving the situation in a polite way.”
Tried and True Methods: Price Adjustments and Staging
membership corner Important Information About Your SentriLock Card Utility Program!
Some homes that are slow to sell can be improved with a fresh eye. “I took on a listing that had been on the market for more than six months with two different agents,” says Heller. “I emptied the house of most of the furniture and made it more generic so people could visualize their own things there and it sold within a few weeks.” Makris also took on a listing that had sat on the market for six months even after multiple price reductions and after the sellers had repaved their driveway on the advice of their former real estate agent.
“The sellers were considering redoing their kitchen but they had already spent $20,000 on improvements,” says Makris. “I told them to paint the house, re-stain the deck and hire professional cleaners because those basic things hadn’t been done in few years. They spent $2,500 and it sold in two weeks.” Sometimes you don’t know why a home isn’t selling,
so it makes sense to do something to get the property updated in the system and get it noticed again.
Makris says part two of his strategy for that difficult listing was to stop making small incremental price changes. Instead, he suggested they push the price below $600,000 in order to get a fresh set of buyers to look at it; buyers who had set $600,000 as their upper limit. “Sometimes you don’t know why a home isn’t selling, so it makes sense to do something to get the property updated in the system and get it noticed again,” says Makris. “Sometimes offering a buyer credit can do more to attract attention than dropping the price.” Whether the issue is an ugly view, an unwanted pool or a location in the midst of a construction zone, for every tough listing, you just have to find the target audience and promote what people will like about it that will overcome anything negative, says Traylor.
Card Utility upgrade will need to be completed by agents using older versions of the Card Utility program by August 31, 2015. The drivers that the old Card Utility versions use will no longer be supported by the major internet providers after that date. As of March 25, 2015, when you put your SentriCard in a card reader to renew, it may inform you that you are using an old version of the Card Utility and you will need to upgrade. It will also provide you with the link to the updated version. Once you upgrade, the message box will no longer be displayed. If you are already on the updated version, you will not see this message box and will continue to update your card as usual. If you don’t follow the link on the login page, after the card has been successfully renewed, you will get a pop-up error message that you are using an old version of the Card Utility, and you will need to upgrade prior to August 31, 2015. The SentriCard will be renewed, and if you click out of the pop-up error message, you will get the message showing that your card was successfully renewed. Once you upgrade, the message box will no longer be displayed. If you are already on the updated version, they will not ever see the message box and continue to update their card as they usually do.
QUESTIONS about SentriLock service? Please feel free to contact SentriLock Support at 877.736.8745 or send an e-mail to Support@SentriLock.com
Thank you for being a valued GCAAR member!
® CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® • May/Jun 2014 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR • March/April 2015
Spotlight: Affordable Housing Conference of Montgomery County
Affordable Housing Conference of Montgomery County (AHCMC) GCAAR Cares awarded a 2014 grant to AHCMC’s Breaking the Barrier to Homeownership Closing Cost and Down Payment Assistance Contest. The program requires applicants to submit an essay on “What Homeownership Means to Me.” AHCMC interviews the finalists and picks up to five families to receive grants, ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. All winners are first-time home buyers in Montgomery County, MD. “Most, if not all, of these families would not be able to achieve homeownership, but for receiving this generous grant,” states Executive Director Ben Wolff. AHCMC has awarded approximately $300,000 to more than 33 families since 2001, and has not had a foreclosure event or foreclosure in the history of the program. A 2012 contest winner stated, “A house is made of bricks and beams, a home is made of hopes and dreams. When I was growing up in Sri Lanka, I never had the privilege of a home. We moved from place to place. I do not want my
Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Congressman Elijah Cummings congratulate the Zapada family, one of the 2013 AHCMC closing cost assistance recipients
children to have the fear I experienced of wondering where I would sleep at night.” Contest winners are announced at the AHCMC Annual Housing Summit. This year’s Summit is May 4 at the Bethesda North Marriott Conference Center. For more information on AHCMC, contact Executive Director, Ben Wolff at 301.520.1587 or firstname.lastname@example.org
DC Community Service Project N STREET VILLAGE Thanks to our DC REALTORS® who came out to support the N Street Village community service project. The event took place on Monday, March 23 from 9:30 a.m. – noon and drew 15 volunteers who helped prepare centerpieces for their annual gala fundraiser. Thank you all for coming out to support GCAAR Cares in this DC community service event. We are grateful for your commitment to serve.
CAPITALAREA AREAREALTOR REALTOR® •® •May/Jun March/April CAPITAL 2014 2015
About N Street Village: A community of empowerment and recovery for homeless and low-income women in Washington, DC. STAY TUNED for details on the next DC community service initiative to take place at Iona Senior Services (iona.org) on May 10.
technology Claim Your .REALTOR Domain Name! The Internet is evolving and as a REALTOR®, you can be at the forefront of this change, bringing order and consistency to the currently disorganized real estate space online. If you haven’t already claimed your .REALTOR domain name, you can still do it! Free .REALTOR domains are still available for the first year. It’s free for the first 500,000 members who claim, one per member.
Benefits of having a .REALTOR web address: 1. Instantly tell the world you are a REALTOR®!
• Anyone can create a .com web address, but only REALTORS® can have a .REALTOR web address, differentiating REALTORS® from other real estate professionals. • .REALTOR makes it easy for consumers, prospects and clients to find a trusted source in real estate in the REALTOR® brand, which stands for ethics, professionalism and trust. • Directly connects members to the $5 billion internationally recognized REALTOR® brand, delivering additional branding and market value – like placing the REALTOR® logo on your business cards or wearing the REALTOR® pin.
2. Clean slate of the web addresses to choose from
• .REALTOR already tells consumers a little about who you are and what you do so you can focus on selecting the best web address to market yourself and your business. • .REALTOR offers a clean slate of web addresses to choose from, unlike .com and .net web addresses. • Search engines like Google are focused on delivering relevant results. .REALTOR and the web address you choose tells search engines what kind of content to expect on your website, making it more likely to appear in search results when “REALTOR®” and the terms in your web address are searched.
3. Consumer campaigns Consumer campaigns have started! From web banners to print ads and videos, NAR is letting consumers know that when they see a web address that ends in .REALTOR, they know they’ve found a trusted source for real estate information. Share these materials with your clients and help spread the word. Show your clients and prospects that you are a REALTOR®, the trusted source in real estate.
4. Gives you a competitive edge in the online real estate space Having a .REALTOR domain name gives REALTORS® a competitive edge in the online real estate space by enabling the opportunity for future innovation. Example: Creating .REALTOR search engines will make it easy to locate REALTORS® and real estate services.
Claim your domain name today! For more information, visit www.claim.realtor
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR • May/Jun 2014 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR • March/April 2015 ®
GCAAR happenings GCAAR “Strikes” a Fun Chord at Bowling Event April 1 Real Living at Home in the house! L-R: Anh Boesch, Angela Hoyos, and Andres Serafini.
GCAAR Board Secretary Jamie Coley and the Long & Foster “crew.” L-R: Merlin Rodriguez, Jamie Coley, Melinda Estridge, Judy Gyllensvaan, Bob O’Toole.
Coldwell Banker’s North Potomac office celebrates a strike. L-R: Diane Naedel, Cathy Hunter, Kelly Vezzi, Sandra Blair.
YPN Kicks Off Its First Event of the Year with Food and Wine at Food Wine & Co. GCAAR’s Your Professional Network (YPN) kicked off its first event of the year with an “almost spring” social at Food Wine & Co. in Bethesda on March 19. Your Professional Network is geared to younger real estate professionals and those new to the real estate business.
L-R: Jake Ryon, First Home Mortgage Corp.; YPN Chair Jessica Evans; Justin Levitch, Real Living at Home.
L-R: Harrison Beacher, YPN Communications Subcommittee Chair; Kelly Wadsworth, SunTrust Mortgage; Rob Rothstein, YPN Vice Chair.
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • March/April 2015
L-R: Jim Downing, DCAR; GCAAR Board Member Tom Daley; GCAAR Immediate Past President Greg Ford.
Staging, Professional Development Tips Featured at Women’s Council of REALTORS®’ Events The Greater Capital Area Chapter of the Women’s Council of REALTORS® (GCA WCR) has been busy the first quarter of 2015. February’s featured speaker, Malena Kaplan of One Pretty House, shared the value of professional staging and why every listing should be professionally staged. At the March meeting, Victoria Gillespie of the REALTORS® Federal Credit Union discussed the Seven Financial Habits of Highly Successful Real Estate Professionals, and how these
L-R: Maria Robinson, My Marketing Matters; Linda de Marlor, Tax-Masters; Jackie Bennett, 2015 GCA WCR President; Mark Shrader, Millenium Title; Victoria Gillespie, REALTORS® Federal Credit Union. habits will help improve your financial well being in your business and personally.
Malena shares staging tips.
Make plans to attend one of GCA WCR’s meetings this year.
Meetings are held the third Wednesday in the month from 9:00 – 11:30 a.m. at GCAAR, 15201 Diamondback Drive, Suite 100, Rockville, MD.
Broker/Manager Forums – Understanding Brokerage Rules, Leveraging Social Media in Real Estate Chuck Kasky from the Maryland Association of REALTORS® (MAR) advised brokers on the rules governing brokerages in regard to escrows, supervision, and education at the February 18 meeting. On March 18, P. Joy Siegel of Settlement Ink shared the latest social media tips and strategies for real estate professionals.
Check out the rest of the Broker/Manager Forums for 2015:
JUNE 10 The Most Common Complaints Received by the Real Estate Commission Speakers: Kathy Connelly, Maryland Real Estate Commission, Alton Duncanson, District of Columbia Real Estate Commission
SEPT. 9 Procuring Cause Speaker: Al Monshower, Esq.
OCT. 21 Advertising Compliance Vs. Personal Marketing Speaker: Thom Brockett
Chuck gives advice on brokerage rules.
Joy encourages the audience to “find their voice.”
Meetings are held the third Wednesday of the month, noon – 2 p.m. at GCAAR’s Rockville office, 15201 Diamondback Drive, Suite 100. Lunch is provided. The events are free to broker/managers, but advance registration is required. CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • March/April 2015
sponsorship Expand Your Reach in 2015 With a GCAAR Sponsorship The Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS® (GCAAR) represents almost 9,000 real estate agents in Montgomery County, Maryland and The District of Columbia. GCAAR is dedicated to the advancement of the residential real estate industry and strives to meet the needs of its broad-based membership. GCAAR is looking for companies like yours who are looking to further their name recognition within our membership through sponsorship opportunities. We offer your company direct access to the Mid-Atlantic’s leading REALTORS® who have discretionary funds for a wide array of products and services. GCAAR sponsorships are the perfect complement to any strategic marketing plan, as they support your other promotional efforts, help you gain awareness, and also target specific audiences at a variety of events. We are proud of the sponsorship packages that we offer, and we are always adding new events and features to further enhance your experience with GCAAR.
GCAAR has two categories of events for our members: Signature Events and Education/Networking Events
Our Signature Events encompass a full range of large-scale events that cater to the majority of our members. These events provide large reach and high visibility among leaders in the Mid-Atlantic Region. These events include REALTOR® Fest, our annual conference and trade show held in July, and the GCAAR Holiday Party, Board and Officer Installation, and Annual Meeting held in December.
Our Education/Networking Events offer more focused events that draw targeted groups of our membership. These events allow you to direct your dollars to target markets of members such as brokers, managers, rookies, and members of Your Professional Network (YPN). The events in this category (held throughout the year) include lunch forums, professional development classes, workshops, networking breakfasts, the GCAAR New Member Orientation, happy hours, a bowling event, and a picnic. In addition, we have opportunities for you to sponsor our charitable arm, GCAAR Cares, in their activities, including Rebuilding Together® and their annual Grants Reception. Our packages are designed for marketing budgets of all sizes to allow you to invest and meet your business development goals for the year. Make GCAAR sponsorships part of your marketing plan. It’s more than just a sponsorship, it’s a good investment in your company’s future.
To request a copy of our 2015 Sponsorship Package
or to learn more about what opportunities exist to maximize your return on investment, please contact Mark Glazer, Director of Programs at email@example.com or 301-590-8787, or Hakeema Jones, Meetings and Events Manager, at hjones@ gcaar.com or 301-590-8793.
Make GCAAR sponsorships a part of your marketing plan.
Bowling Events Rebuilding Together®
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • March/April 2015
quiz LISTING PRESENTATIONS
Listing appointments are your chance to outshine the competition and instill confidence in sellers that you’ll shepherd their transaction to a speedy and satisfying close. As with any presentation, polish and preparation will win you the business. Consider these true or false statements to see if you’re attuned to what it takes to give a winning presentation.
You should always use your laptop computer to help make your presentation. o True o False
Q.2 During the presentation, it’s OK to ask the sellers what architectural style the home represents. o True o False Q.3 If the sellers are business-like, mirror their behavior. Don’t try to overcompensate with overly friendly behavior. o True o False Q.4 If you’re expecting an important call about another deal already in the works, it’s OK to briefly interrupt the listing presentation. o True o False
During a listing presentation, it’s better to listen than talk. o True o False
You should recommend improvements during the listing appointment that could make the house appeal to more buyers. o True o False
Now is the time to clue sellers in to some of the inconveniences they’ll experience during the listing period. o True o False
Use black-and-white copies of all your materials. o True o False
It’s best not to bring up your weaknesses during the listing pitch. o True o False
Suggest sellers conduct a pre-listing inspection. o True o False
Correct answers on page 26
13 13 13
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/Jun 2014 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • March/April 2015 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • Nov/Dec 2014
Reach Out And Discover MRIS Products and Services When’s the last time you scheduled a showing using ShowingTime for the MLS? Have you created a flyer with MRIS Marketing Center? How many homes have you viewed using Homesnap Pro? If this is the first time you’ve heard about these products, we encourage you to read on to learn about some of the latest products and services you have access to as an MRIS subscriber – and they’re all included with your core MRIS subscription.
ShowingTime for the MLS
When you set up ShowingTime, you make it easy for other agents to schedule showings for your listings, which helps get more buyers through the door. Plus, ShowingTime gives you the option to solicit feedback from agents who have shown your property. ShowingTime also integrates with showing services (like CSS) and the Homesnap Pro mobile app for additional convenience! You can set up ShowingTime for all your listings or on a per listing basis in Keystone.
chures, postcards and more for your business. Access this product by using the “Marketing” activity icon in Keystone or by clicking the Marketing link in the QuickLinks box on when you’re logged into MRIS.com.
MRIS Close It!
A new listing that your clients will love could hit the market at any time. Always be connected to the MLS with Homesnap Pro. By claiming your Homesnap Pro subscription, you can get details on each listing, schedule showings, contact agents, and create a quick CMA with just a few taps on your phone. Homesnap also recently launched two important safety features, the Safety Timer and Distress Alert, that can notify chosen contacts in the event of an emergency. Also new is How Am I Connected? – a feature that works like LinkedIn for agents – to show you how you’re connected to another agent you’re working with through transaction histories and relevant co-worker relationships. If you haven’t downloaded this app yet, get it today at Homesnap.com/Get/MRIS.
MRIS Marketing Center
Think you can’t create attractive marketing materials yourself ? Think again! MRIS Marketing Center seamlessly imports your listing’s information, photos and your contact information so you can easily create flyers, bro-
2014 2015 CAPITAL AREA AREAREALTOR REALTOR® •® •May/Jun March/April
How many times have you heard the questions “How much cash do I need to close?” and “How much will I receive from the sale of my home?” With MRIS Close It!, you can provide those answers quickly from your tablet, mobile device or desktop computer. With MRIS Close It!, you can instantly produce an accurate, editable settlement statement that lays out closing costs or the potential net proceeds of a home sale. TRY IT FOR YOURSELF by visiting CloseIt.MRIS.com or download the MRIS Close It! app for iOS or Android devices.
Mark Your Calendars for June!
The list above is only part of what we offer, and we want to invite you to explore all of these products (and some brand new ones) with us this June at our R.O.A.D. Show! Reach Out And Discover the products and services you have free access to as an MRIS customer. The closest locations to GCAAR members are Bethesda, MD (June 15) and Springfield, VA (June 22), but we also will be holding events in five other cities around the MRIS area. See where we’ll be by visiting MRISRoadshow.com – we look forward to connecting with you! • June 15 - Bethesda, MD
• June 22 - Springfield, VA
director’s report Peg Mancuso 2015 GCAAR President-Elect, NAR Director
Spring is here, officially anyway, and what an amazing time it is to be in the Washington, DC area. The return of blooming trees, green lawns, and the NAR Legislative Meetings always make May a month to remember. We are the luckiest REALTORS® in the country – the Legislative meetings are always in DC and they are free for REALTORS® to attend. You can go for just a few hours, or for a full week of meetings, information sessions, and one of the biggest real estate trade shows around. Your NAR Directors attend meetings, round tables, and presentations throughout the week, hearing from NAR and colleagues across the country about the REALTOR® Party initiatives, our federal legislative issues and priorities, and the general state of the real estate industry. We also get a chance to share local and state level challenges and solutions with fellow leaders from California, New York, Texas, Florida, and everywhere in between. The Legislative Meetings give REALTORS® what may be their only chance to see their Federal Representatives in their Capitol Hill offices. Members meet with their elected officials and help explain what is most critical for the real estate industry today.
Here are the priorities for 2015:
• Homeownership & real estate investment tax policies, such as the mortgage interest deduction, mortgage debt cancel ation tax relief, capital gains, and 1031 Exchanges • Credit and lending policies, including credit availability, GSE restructuring, and FHA programs • Business operations, including Dodd-Frank Act Regulations and Technology issues • Commercial real estate flow of capital Mark your calendar for May 11 – 16 and register today at realtor.org/midyear. I’ll see you at the Wardman Park Hotel!
Good Neighbor Awards
® REALTOR MAGAZINE’S REALTOR® MAGAZINE’S
GOOD NEIGHBOR AWARDS If serving your community is your passion, here is your chance to shine! Every year NAR’s Good Neighbor Awards recognize REALTORS® for extraordinary accomplishments in community service. Winners receive a $10,000 grant and national publicity for their charity, along with a trip to San Diego for the NAR Annual Convention, where they receive their award in front of thousands of their peers. Nominate yourself or someone else. Nominations must be received by Friday, May 15, 2015. Visit REALTOR.org/gna for details.
Join a 2016 NAR Committee
The selection process to be part of a NAR Committee for 2016 opened on March 9. Here’s what you need to do to be considered: 1) Complete an online Expertise Profile detailing your professional and committee experience and desired level of participation with NAR. 2) Submit an online recommendation by Friday, May 22. For more details on the process, visit www.realtor. org/governance/committees. CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • March/April 2015
housing statistics MONTGOMERY COUNTY & DC Montgomery County Sales Market
Single-Family Listings and Inventory 2/14 - 2/15
For the month of February, combined (single-family and condo/ coop) sales market showed a mixed performance compared to February of 2014. The total sold listings volume came in at 549 properties, up 1.3% from a year before. However, the average sold price came in at $449,372, down 5.4% from last year; and, the median price of $360,000 slipped 4% from a year ago. Properties sold in February turned over more slowly than a year ago. Average days on the market totaled 76 – 16 more than the previous February.
3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0
February Single-Family Homes
For the first two months of 2015, Montgomery County year-todate settlements and contracts are up significantly from a year ago. February year-to-date single-family settlements (857) came in at 4.3% over the same period in 2014; and, year-to-date contracts (1,270) jumped almost 14% from a year before. The February monthly results were also as impressive. Settlements (410) rose 5% compared to a year before; and, new contracts for the month (686) bounced up 10%.
yearly prices. After the big and solid markets of 2013 and 2014, some price adjustments are to be expected, but there is still plenty of time for improvement. Montgomery County Single-Family Prices: 2007 - 2/2015 $650,000 $600,000 $550,000
Single-Family Contracts and Settlements 2/14 - 2/15
February Condominiums and Cooperatives F
Similarly, February inventory was up substantially from February 2014. In 2014, single-family active listings totaled 1,425 homes. At the end of this February, 1,736 property listings were 22% above those of the previous February. Nevertheless, even with this strength in listings, at the February contracts pace, there was only about a 2.5-month’s supply. However, this is early in the year, so there is plenty of time to build inventory. While the unit sales pace has been up so far, 2015 price performance has slipped. In 2014, the year-end average sales price was $576,205, and the median was $460,000. Through February, the average and median prices were $526,412 and $415,000, respectively. These are down 8.6% and 9.8%, respectively, from the 2014
CAPITAL AREAREALTOR REALTOR® •® •May/Jun March/April CAPITAL AREA 2014 2015
The February condominium and cooperative market started out weaker than last year. Through February, there were 317 settled sales, and these were up only 1% from a year ago. And, for the month, settlements came in at the same 150-unit rate as last year. However, the picture for contracts was worse. February contracts showed significant declines. Year-to-date contracts (404) dropped over 5% from a year before; and, the 210 new monthly contracts declined by over 6%. On the supply side, February inventory substantially exceeded the levels of 2014. Condo/coop active listings (536) came in almost 26% above the level of a year before. And, monthly new listings (281) jumped almost 18% above the February 2014 figure. Nevertheless, at the monthly contract pace there was slightly less than a 2.6-month’s supply of properties. Clearly, supply has responded to the strong markets of the last couple of years.
by Fred Flick, PhD, Consultant/Housing Economist Condo/Coop Contracts and Settlements 2/14 - 2/15 350 300 250
unit sales pace was down substantially compared to a year before. Sold listings totaled 450 units, dropping 9% from February a year ago. However, the average sold price came in at $631,857 -- up almost 5%; and, the median sold price was $499,000, up about 7%. The average days on the market figure came in at 51, and that was the same as in February 2014.
200 150 100 50 0
February Single-Family Homes
February was strong for both single-family contracts and settlements, although year-to-date settlements were a bit soft. February year-to-date settlements (506) edged down by 0.8% (almost one percent), but February new settlements (252) rose by almost 3% from a year before. The performance of contracts was stronger. February year-to-date contracts (620) rose by 4.2% from a year ago; and, monthly performance of single-family contracts (317) increased 4.6%.
Condo/Coop Listings and Inventory 2/14 - 2/15 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0
Single-Family Contracts and Settlements 2/14 - 2/15
Accordingly, the early 2015 market, as with the single-family market, has experienced declining price appreciation rates. Through February, the year-to-date average price of $258,694 has slipped over 2.8%; and, the median of $199,900 dropped almost 10.4% from 2014. For 2014, the yearly average price of $266,285 was down about 1.4% from that of 2013; but, the median price of $223,000 rose 1.4%. Of course, it is early, and there is plenty of time for demand to perk up. Montgomery County Condo/Coop Prices: 2007 - 2/2015
400 300 200 100 0
On the supply side, the District’s February single-family inventory was only slightly above the levels of a year before. February active listings totaled 473 properties— up 3.7%. However, new single-family listings for the month (385) vaulted 23.4% from a year before. Accordingly, as we have seen for several months, at the February contracts pace, there was only a 1.5-month’s supply of homes. While this is early in the selling season, the supply is amazingly tight.
$315,000 $295,000 $275,000 $255,000 $235,000 $215,000 $195,000 $175,000
Washington, DC Sales Market For the month of February, the District of Columbia combined
Even with the tight inventory, the District’s single-family price performance has slipped substantially from last year’s levels. For 2014, the average DC single-family home cost $750,771 with the median price at $620,250. This translated to appreciation rates of 5.5% and 3.4%, respectively, above 2013 prices. However, through this February, the average price of $723,313 slipped by almost 3.7% and the median of $595,000 fell by 4% from 2014 prices. CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/Jun 2014 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • March/April 2015
housing statistics Condo/Coop Contracts and Settlements 2/14 2/15 500 Single-Family Listings and Inventory 2/14 - 2/15 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0
400 300 200 100 0
M J J A S O N Contracts Settlements
Condo/Coop Listings and Inventory 2/14 - 2/15 District of Columbia Single-Family Prices: 2007 - 2/2015 $800,000 $750,000
$500,000 $450,000 $400,000
2010 2011 2012 2013 Average Median
February Condominiums and Cooperatives
The DC condominium and cooperative market, through February, is showing a significantly negative unit sales trend. Year-to-date February settlements (423) dropped over 8% and year-to-date contracts (569) edged down 0.4% from a year ago. Moreover, February settlements (205) fell almost 18% from a year before; and, monthly contracts (297) slipped 3.3% compared to last February. Furthermore, the supply of listings is down 6% from a year ago. By the end of September 2014, listings totaled about 750 units and then fell sharply through December. While the inventory has increased since then, by the end of February, total actives included only 491 properties. Similarly, new February listings (350) were 3% lower than a year before. At the February contracts pace, there was only a 1.7-month’s supply of properties. Looking on the bright side for sellers, this shortage of supply seems to be contributing to recent price appreciation.
2014 2015 CAPITAL AREA AREAREALTOR REALTOR® •® •May/Jun March/April
With tight supply, condos and coops have experienced solid appreciation rates. In 2014, annual average and median prices were up 5.5% and 1.6% from their respective 2013 figures. Through this February, prices are still showing significant upward movement. The year-to-date February average of $497,943 edged up 3.8%; and, the $439,000 median rose 5.8% from the 2014 figures. The tight supply has helped and the appreciation rates are very good, given the current economic trends.
National Resale Market
Nationwide, total existing home resales in January were a disappointing 4.82 million units at a seasonally adjusted and annualized rate (saar). The monthly figure dropped almost 5% below December, but was still 3.2% above the rate for January 2014. Also, the January median price of $199,600 increased 6.2% from a year before with the $248,100 average rising 4.9%. At the end of January, there was a 1.87-million unit inventory (saar), which represented a 4.7-month’s supply of homes. The month’s supply was up 0.5% from December, but down 0.5% from the January 2014 level. At the national level, the month’s supply was below the normal range of 6 months for all of 2014.
District of Columbia Condo/Coop Prices: 2007 - 2/2015 $525,000 $500,000 $475,000 $450,000 $425,000 $400,000 $375,000 $350,000 $325,000 $300,000
For the single-family resales market, January sales (4.27 million, saar) were down 5.1% from the level of December, but were 3.9% above the pace of January 2014. Moreover, the single-family median price ($199,800) was up 6.3% from December and the average ($247,900) rose 5% from a year ago. In the existing condo/coop market, sales units (550,000 saar) slipped 3.5% below the December figures, and were almost 2% below January 2014. The national condo/coop median price came in at $198,300 – edging up 5.3% from a year before. The average price ($249,700) increased 4.4%.
Economic Growth and Jobs
The Bureau of Economic Analysis’ second estimate of fourth quarter real GDP growth (the economic growth rate minus the inflation rate) came in at 2.2% -- revised downward from 2.6% in the initial estimate. The third quarter increased an outstanding 5%. The fourth quarter rate is more in line with what economists have been expecting as a yearly average. The fourth quarter lower real GDP growth was due to an upturn in imports, a downturn in federal government spending, and declines in nonresidential fixed investment and exports. These “negative” factors were partly offset by acceleration in consumption expenditures, a rise in private inventory investment, and growth in state and local government spending. Because the BEA fourth quarter number is weak, many analysts are still concerned that growth is too slow and the economic well being of many workers is not strong enough. While most economists are now more bullish on U.S. growth, there are significant international barriers to higher growth. These include slow to negative growth in the Eurozone countries, possible deflation there and in Japan, and slowing growth in China. Nevertheless, the February payroll employment report was extremely positive with 295,000 (SAAR) new non-farm jobs. Also, the most recent household survey for the unemployment rate came in at a new low of 5.5% -- the lowest rate since May 2008, just before the great recession started. However, this rate is now at a level where many economists consider the economy close to “full employment” and they are fearful that further declines in unemployment may set off wage inflation.
Most economists feel the labor market is getting stronger, but nothing like it was before the recession. There has been an increase of only 2% in hourly wages, over the past year; and, those increases have usually been in lower paid restaurant and retail jobs. Only 8,000 of the February new jobs were in manufacturing, likely due to weak global demand. Furthermore, jobs in mining and extraction industries (i.e., oil-and-gas extraction) fell by 9,300. So, we still have a mixed picture on the labor side.
Monetary Policy, Interest Rates and Inflation
The Fed continues to give assurances that it is likely to keep interest rates low through the next two meetings. Economists are split on whether they will push short-term rates up in early summer or wait until the fall. Inflation has been trending down due to declines in energy prices, Europe is heading into another recession, and China has a housing bubble and slowing growth rate. The European monetary authority is just starting bond and mortgage asset purchases from European banks, an application of the Fed’s quantitative easing policies of recent years. Hopefully, that will be effective in turning the Eurozone around. Recently, there was a move up in the 10-year Treasury to 2.39% —a recent high. In the second week of March, Freddie Mac national surveys put the 30-year fixed conforming mortgage rate at 3.86%, up from 3.75% in the first week of March. The 15-year fixed averaged 3.1%, the 5/1-year ARM was at 3.01% and the 1-Year ARM averaged 2.46%. While it is not likely that the Fed will push up interest rates over the next two months, it is possible the market will do the work for them. The U.S. stock markets continue to maintain high values although volatility has risen and is likely to continue.
The Bottom Line
This will be a pivotal year for the economy and our local housing market. So far, for both Montgomery County and the District of Columbia, single-family contracts have been up, but accompanied by declining prices. However, for condominiums and coops, we have declining contracts and prices in the County, but declining contracts and rising prices in the District. Some of this can be explained by preferences for housing types by area. Nevertheless, only economists would find comfort in these results. We have come off two big years for real estate where most everything was going up. And, now financial markets are approaching a critical period of adjustment. While the housing markets should have solid sales this year, you should expect some adjustments in prices. Other than macroeconomic factors, local area growth may be affected by the federal government sequester, but we won’t know how much until 2016. CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/Jun 2014 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • March/April 2015
public policy Montgomery County Members Packed the Room for Elected Officials at GCAAR’s Legislative Breakfast US Congressmen Chris Van Hollen and John Delaney joined an impressive cast of Montgomery County local and state legislators on March 9 at GCAAR to meet their REALTOR® constituents for breakfast. Attendees had an exclusive opportunity to hear from influential leaders representing them at all levels of government. Addressing guests were GCAAR President Suzanne Des Marais, who stressed the important role of REALTORS® in our communities; Congressman Van Hollen, who continues to be a staunch advocate for the Mortgage Interest Deduction; and Anne Kaiser (Maryland House of Delegates Majority Leader), who explained
L-R: Congressman Chris Van Hollen, 2015 GCAAR President Suzanne Des Marais, Congressman John Delaney, 2015 GCAAR President-Elect Peg Mancuso.
the legislative process and how REALTORS® can have a profound affect on new laws. Council President George Leventhal went on to thank GCAAR for being one of the most influential organizations in the County. Legislation that affects how REALTORS® conduct business and represent their clients, both buyer and sellers, is frequently being looked at by all levels of government. Through events such as this one, GCAAR provides you access to government officials making the decisions that change your industry.
Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal and Maryland Delegate Anne Kaiser address attendees.
Transportation GCAAR Participates in Rapid Transit System Corridor Advisory Committees In an effort to gain insight from the communities directly affected by the proposed Bus Rapid Transit System, Montgomery County and the State of Maryland have formed Community Advisory Committees (CACs). Greg Ford (2014 GCAAR President) and Elley Kott (2014 Public Policy Chair) have been selected to serve on the MD 355 CAC, and will advise the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and the state on issues such as design, coordination, and community needs. An effective and efficient transportation system is vital to the quality of life for the residents of Montgomery County. GCAAR is actively engaged in all transportation related issues to make sure that REALTOR® interests are broadly represented.
CAPITAL AREA AREAREALTOR REALTOR® • May/Jun • March/April 2014 2015 ®
public policy Montgomery County GCAAR Leadership Meets with Members of the County Council Members of GCAAR’s Board of Directors and Public Policy Committee headed to the Montgomery County Council in February and March to address key REALTOR® issues. Attendees held in-depth meetings with Councilmembers, including Council President George Leventhal, focusing on the Association’s legislative priorities: • Affordable housing • Voluntary incentives for energy improvements • Transportation infrastructure • Lowering recordation and transfer taxes • Unintended consequences of rent control proposals Councilmembers and staff were extremely receptive and are eager to continue working with GCAAR throughout the year.
GCAAR Supports “Design for Life” Developments GCAAR recently supported a zoning amendment allowing increased density in townhome communities which include Design for Life features to make access easier for residents with disabilities. The goal is to expand housing options for homebuyers with mobility impairments, and allow those who might develop impairments to stay in their homes. GCAAR supports Design for Life tax credits for builders and homeowners to include accessibility features in new and existing residential housing, and agrees with the Council that additional incentives are needed. The new legislation is expected to pass and GCAAR will continue working to move Design for Life initiatives forward.
Common Ownership Community Legislation Passes with GCAAR Recommendations The County Council recently passed two Bills to improve the operation of Common Ownership Communities (COCs), which include homeowner associations, condos, and co-ops.
GCAAR Public Policy Chair Dick Stoner (left) and GCAAR Board member Pat Weed (right) meet with Councilmember Hans Riemer.
The first bill will require owners of COC units to certify that COC fees have been paid before receiving a rental housing license. COC funds are used to maintain common areas, so unpaid fees result in a loss of property value for all owners. GCAAR worked to improve this legislation, and is pleased it passed with an amendment limiting COC fees to $25. The Bill also allows associations to prove non-payment of fees with a recorded statement of lien. The second bill, which Treasurer Tim Knobloch testified in support of, will provide additional education to members of a COC Board. The Council accepted GCAAR’s suggestions and will make the course available online and affordable.
Dick Stoner and GCAAR Immediate Past President Greg Ford discuss transportation with Councilmember Nancy Floreen.
® ® • May/Jun 2014 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR CAPITAL AREA REALTOR • March/April 2015
public policy District of Columbia
Learn more from realtor.org.
DCAR Members’ Top Recommendations for Improving DC Government At the beginning of each year, the DC Council holds oversight hearings on the performance of various government agencies. DCAR reached out to our members to find out what parts of DC government could use the most improvement. Here’s what we heard from you and passed on to the City Council: • More outreach about new regulations • Streamline the permitting and inspection process • Simplify business licensing • Improve inter-agency communication As always, we also made the case for decoupling funding for the Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF) from recordation and transfer taxes (currently a small portion of these taxes go towards the HPTF). DCAR recommended lowering DC’s extraordinarily high recordation and transfer taxes and finding a more stable source of revenue for the Fund. This change would provide more affordable housing making homeownership possible for more District residents. DCAR thanks both Councilmember Anita Bonds and Vincent Orange for their leadership in conducting the oversight hearings. We look forward to working together throughout the year to implement our recommendations.
DCAR Hosts DC’s Deputy Budget Director Jenny Reed DC Deputy Budget Director, Jenny Reed, joined DCAR’s Public Policy Committee for a special visit in March to discuss the District’s upcoming 2016 Budget. With newly-elected Mayor Muriel Bowser taking over, the Budget office is reaching out to stakeholders across the City. The Mayor’s main priorities include affordable housing, education, public safety, and infrastructure. DCAR took this opportunity to convey our strong opposition to increased recordation and transfer taxes and encourage Budget officials to consider lowering them. We also stressed the importance of protecting the Real Estate Guaranty Fund. Ms. Reed explained the extensive process the Budget must go through, and reassured members that the Mayor is carefully addressing the important issues raised in community meetings. DCAR will continue working closely with the DC government to ensure real estate interests are fully accounted for in any fiscal proposals.
® CAPITAL AREA 2014 2015 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR REALTOR®••May/Jun March/April
on the Hill RESPA/TILA Changes Effective August 1 Changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act/ Truth in Lending Act (RESPA/TILA) go into effect August 1, 2015. GCAAR is making updates to our forms and we recommend that REALTORS® and settlement professionals take time to familiarize themselves with the new requirements. Here are some key things you should know: • The “Good Faith Estimate” and “Truth in Lend ing” disclosures have been combined into a single “Loan Estimate” or “LE.” Lenders will be held accountable to the exact charges listed and must come within 10% on many others. • The HUD-1 Settlement Statement is being replaced by the “Closing Disclosure” or “CD.” It must be deliv- ered to the consumer three days prior to closing. Changes during that three-day period could delay closing. • Prepare your clients (and yourself!) that lastminute changes at the closing table will no longer be accepted. RESPA/TILA information from NAR: Members should consult a licensed attorney for more details.
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/Jun 2014 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • March/April 2015
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(as of March 11, 2015)
® CAPITAL AREAREALTOR REALTOR • March/April CAPITAL AREA • May/Jun 2014 2015 ®
legal hotline By Chris Darby, Tom Muldoon, and John Nalls of Counselors Title, LLC, and Pardo & Drazin, LLC, General Counsel
QUESTION: How long does a real estate agent/broker need to retain documents in Maryland and DC?
ANSWER: This information can be found at gcaar.com>Resources> Tool Kit>. The details are as follows:
Both the State of Maryland and MARYLAND LAW the District of Columbia have laws regarding how long real estate documents must be maintained and for what period of time they must be kept. Please review the following information to make sure that you have the proper retention policies in place on all real estate transactions throughout your offices. State of Maryland
Q 1: Where must a real estate broker maintain records of trust money? A:
Each real estate broker shall maintain all records of trust money in a secured area within the office of the broker.
Q 2: What is a real estate licensee responsible for keeping copies of? A: Each licensee shall keep copies of the following items: a) listings; AND
b) any other document executed or obtained by the licensee in connection with a transaction involving the provision of real estate brokerage services, including any electronic signature contained on a document.
Q 3: How long shall the real estate transaction records be held for? A: 5 years starting on the date of the closing of a real estate transaction; or, if the transaction is not closed, 5 years after the date of the listing.
Q 4: How long shall property management service records be kept? A: 5 years after the termination of the management agreement. Q 5: Is a licensee allowed to keep records and store them in an electronic method?
Yes, if a) the stored record cannot be erased or edited;b) the stored record is made or preserved as part of, and in the regular course of, the licensee’s business; c) the original record from which the stored record was copied was made or prepared by the licensee or the licensee’s employees at or near the time of theactivity described in the record; d) the custodian of the record is able to identify the stored record, the mode of its preparation, and the mode of storage; and e) the electronic storage system contains a reliable indexing system that provides: i. convenient access to the document or record; ii. appropriate quality control of the
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR • March/April 2015 ®
storage process; and iii. chronological arrangement of stored documents or records.
Q6: Is the Maryland Real Estate Commission allowed to inspect a licensee’s records?
A: Yes. On reasonable notice from the Commission, a licensee shall allow
a representative of the Commission to enter the licensee’s place of business during business hours to inspect a record required to be kept. And the licensee shall provide, at the licensee’s expense, a paper copy of any document or record requested by the Commission. A licensee shall display to the Commission on demand all records, books, and accounts of any money held in trust.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA LAW
Section 42-2853.197(22) of District of Columbia real estate law outlines the requirement of real estate documents:
Q 1: Must a real estate broker keep an escrow or trustee accounting of funds deposited relating to a real estate transaction?
Yes. Brokers must keep an escrow or trustee accounting of all funds that are deposited with him or her relating to real estate and business transactions.
Q 2: How long must real estate transaction records be maintained? A: 3 years Q 3:
What information must the real estate records contain that are maintained?
A: The records must show to whom the money belongs, the date of deposit, the date of withdrawal, to whom paid, and other pertinent information as the Board mayrequire by regulation.
Q 4: Is the DC Real Estate Board allowed to inspect a broker’s records? A:
Yes. The records must be made available to the Board on demand or upon written notice given to the depository. 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. CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/Jun 2014 25
??? Answers to Quiz from page 13 1 – FALSE Find out before the presentation if the sellers use the Internet and e-mail. Tech-savvy sellers may appreciate a laptop presentation; others may just find it impersonal. 2 – FALSE Since real estate is your profession and homes are your inventory, you should at least be able to identify common architectural styles. A seller who’s proud of the Tudor influences on her home won’t be impressed if you know nothing about the style. For an architectural style primer, visit REALTOR® Magazine Online’s Architecture Guide. 3 – TRUE Take your cue from the sellers. If they’re all business, don’t gush about all the wonderful things you’ll do together. However, if they’re informal and demonstrative, you can respond in kind. 4 – FALSE Your work is about relationships, and the moment your cell phone rings, you telegraph to sellers that they aren’t as important as the person calling you on the phone. Turn the cell phone off once you arrive to a listing appointment. 5 – TRUE A borrower commits mortgage fraud when he or she takes part in a silent second mortgage. This is when a buyer borrows the down payment from the seller in order to purchase the house but fails to disclose the source of the down payment to the lender. Since this is a loan that will need to be repaid, it counts as debt, and the lender needs to figure it into the borrower’s debt to income ratio. 6 – TRUE A listing presentation is a great time to demonstrate your expertise in preparing homes for the market. Be ready to counsel sellers on everything from curb appeal to staging the interior. 7 – TRUE You’ll do sellers a disservice if you don’t prepare them mentally for some of the inconveniences inherent in a sale: broker tours, no-shows, last-minute appointments, open houses, arrangements for their pets, and strangers looking through their closets. 8 – FALSE Black-and-white photocopies may suggest you aren’t serious about your work. Make color copies on high-quality paper stock for your presentation and marketing materials. Also, make sure all of your materials have a consistent look and reinforce your brand. 9 – FALSE You can build answers into your presentation from questions you know sellers will have. You’ll come across as prepared and straightforward. For example, if you suspect your youth or inexperience may give an older seller pause, proactively address the issue by noting a specific example of your ability. “I realize I’m young (or haven’t been in the business very long), but my listings are selling X days faster than other salespeople’s listings.” You could also quantify and compare your sales volume with other practitioners if it’s strong, or emphasize that you’re working closely with your broker on transactions. 10 – TRUE Pre-listing inspections not only reduce the possibility of last-minute surprises but also give sellers’ homes a marketing edge. The need to make certain repairs — such as to mechanical systems (heating and air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical) and to address safety issues (broken locks, loose handrails, etc.) — almost goes without saying. But the pre-listing inspection can help the owner and practitioner decide which, if any, of the remaining projects to address before putting the house on the market. Even if sellers decide not to make any of the suggested fixes, a pre-listing inspection can still prove beneficial. For example, it allows sellers to obtain cost estimates for needed work, so they can offer potential buyers an appropriate, not excessive, discount off the listing price.
LISTING PRESENTATIONS 26
® CAPITAL 2014 2015 CAPITALAREA AREAREALTOR REALTOR• May/Jun • March/April ®
education schedule May 8, 2015 Maryland Code of Ethics and Predatory Lending CEU: 3 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: Jill Michaels Time: 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. May 1, 2015 MREC Agency - Residential CEU: 3 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: David Politzer Time: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor May 1, 2015 Serving the First Time Homebuyer CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Dana Hollish Hill Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. May 1, 2015 Maryland Fair Housing CEU: 1.5 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: David Politzer Time: 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor May 4, 2015 MREC Agency - Residential CEU: 3 hours MD (required) & DC (elective) Instructor: Mary Chieppa Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. May 4, 2015 DC Fair Housing CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Mary Chieppa Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. May 6, 2015 Reverse Mortgages CEU: 1.5 hours MD and DC (elective) and 1 hour VA (elective) Instructor: Eric Rittmeyer Time: 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. May 7, 2015 Montgomery County Green REALTOR® Class CEU: 3 hours MD (elective) Instructor: Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. May 7, 2015 Veterans Administration (VA) Financing CEU; 3 hours MD and DC (elective) Instructor: Brian Willingham Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. May 8, 2015 DC Fair Housing CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Jacqueline Talpa Time: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor May 8, 2015 New Member Orientation CEU: No CE Instructor: Shahnaz Tehraniazad Time: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
May 8, 2015 DC Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Jacqueline Talpa Time: 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor May 11, 2015 2011-2013 Maryland Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: Counselors Title Time: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor
NOTE: All classes are held at GCAAR’s Rockville office unless otherwise noted.
Instructor: Jacqueline Talpa Time: 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. May 15, 2015 Advising Foreign Real Estate Clients CEU: 2 hours MD and DC (elective) Instructor: Lisa Lu Britton Time: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor May 18-19, 2015 Seller Representative Specialist (SRS) Designation Class CEU: No CE Instructor: Adorna Carroll Time: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. May 20-21, 2015 Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) Designation Class CEU: No CE Instructor: Adorna Carroll Time: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
May 11, 2015 Maryland Code of Ethics and Predatory Lending CEU: 3 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: Counselors Title Time: 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor
May 20, 2015 Condo Underwriting Update CEU: 1.5 hours MD and DC (elective) and 1 hour VA (elective) Instructor: Chanin Wisler Time: 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
May 13, 2015 Professional Enrichment: Social Media Do’s and Don’ts CEU: No CE Instructor: P. Joy Siegel, Esq. Time: 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
May 20, 2015 Mortgage Basics CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Jamica Browne Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. *NAR Building/2nd Floor
May 13, 2015 Financing Issues/Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) and MD and VA (elective) Instructor: Jamica Browne Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
May 20, 2015 GCAAR @ NVAR: MREC Agency Residential CEU: 3 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: Counselors Title Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. * NVAR – Fairfax Office
May 14, 2015 Maryland Legal and Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: Al Monshower Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. May 14, 2015 Maryland Code of Ethics and Predatory Lending CEU: 3 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: Al Monshower Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. May 15, 2015 Basics of Government Lending Programs CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Michelle Mathews Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. May 15, 2015 DC Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Cammie Reed Time: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor May 15, 2015 Maryland Fair Housing CEU: 1.5 hours MD (required) and DC (elective)
May 20, 2015 Rental Property Management CEU: 3 hours MD and DC (elective) Instructor: Jean Poitevien Time: 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. * NAR Building/2nd Floor May 20, 2015 Comparative Difference Between the MAR and Regional Contract CEU: 1.5 hours MD and DC (elective) Instructor: Carrie Anne Messina Time: 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. May 21, 2015 RPR Basics CEU: No CE Instructor: Win Singleton Time: 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. May 21, 2015 RPR Advanced CEU: No CE Instructor: Win Singleton Time: 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. May 27, 2015 DC Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) continued, p. 32
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/Jun 2014 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR • March/April 2015 ®
education schedule June 4, 2015 Maryland Code of Ethics and Predatory Lending CEU: 3 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: Ned Rich Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Instructor: Thom Brockett Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. May 27, 2015 DC Fair Housing CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Thom Brockett Time: 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. May 28, 2015 ABCs of Rentals CEU: 3 hours MD and DC (elective) Instructor: Shahnaz Tehraniazad Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. May 28, 2015 Financing Issues/Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) and MD and VA (elective) Instructor: James Semeyn Time: 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor May 28, 2015 Maryland Property Conditions Disclosure CEU: 3 hours MD and DC (elective) Instructor: Mary Chieppa Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. May 28, 2015 Non-Conforming Financing CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: James Semeyn Time: 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor May 29, 2015 Environmental Issues CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Vimal Kapoor Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
June 1, 2015 Financing Issues/Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) and MD and VA (elective) Instructor: Alex Peters Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. June 1, 2015 Non-Conforming Financing CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Debbie Benkert Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. June 3, 2015 Financing Issues/Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required); MD and VA (elective) Instructors: Debbie Benkert and Chris Darby Time: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. * NAR Building/2nd Floor June 3, 2015 DC Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Amy Klein Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
May 29, 2015 Working with Buyers CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Dana Hollish Hill Time: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor
June 3, 2015 GCAAR @ NVAR: 2011-2013 Maryland Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: Greg Flynn Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. * NVAR – Fairfax Office
May 29, 2015 Going Green CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Vimal Kapoor Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
June 3, 2015 DC Fair Housing CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Mary Chieppa Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
May 29, 2015 DC Fair Housing CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Tony Duncanson Time: 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor
June 3, 2015 GCAAR @ NVAR: Maryland Fair Housing CEU: 1.5 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: Greg Flynn Time: 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. *NVAR Fairfax Location (8407 Pennell Street) June 3, 2015 DC Fair Housing CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Counselors Title Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. * NAR Building/2nd Floor
NOTE: All classes are held at GCAAR’s Rockville office unless otherwise noted.
CAPITAL AREA 2014 2015 AREAREALTOR REALTOR® • May/Jun • March/April ®
June 3, 2015 DC Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Counselors Title Time: 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. *NAR Building/2nd Floor
June 4, 2015 Financing Issues/Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) and MD and VA (elective) Instructor: James Semeyn Time: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor June 4, 2015 Veterans Administration (VA) Financing CEU: 3 hours MD and DC (elective) Instructor: James Semeyn Time: 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor June 5, 2015 2011-2013 Maryland Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: P. Joy Siegel, Esq. Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. June 5, 2015 MREC Agency - Residential CEU: 3 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: Jacqueline Talpa Time: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor June 5, 2015 Maryland Fair Housing CEU: 1.5 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructors: Chad Older and Adam Polsky Time: 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. June 5, 2015 Maryland Fair Housing CEU: 1.5 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: Jacqueline Talpa Time: 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor June 8, 2015 Regional Sales Contract Update CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Casey Aiken Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. June 8, 2015 DC Brokers Exam Prep Class CEU: No CE Instructor: Cammie Reed Time: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor June 8, 2015 MREC Agency – Residential CEU: 3 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: Colleen Smyth Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
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CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/Jun 2014
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