R E A LTOR
Official publication for the Greater Capital Area Assocation of REALTORS®
BE A METRO MARKET EXPERT WITH SMART CHARTS PROTM $200 VALUE NOW A GCAAR MEMBER BENEFIT – page 6 REALTOR® FEST COMING JULY 20 – page 5
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/Jun 2014
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Contact a branch vice president today for a confidential conversation, or visit CareersCB.com. Nothing in this document is intended to create an employment relationship. Any affiliation by you with the company is intended to be that of an independent contractor agent. ©2015 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Coldwell Banker is a registered service mark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Operated by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. 10533WDC-4/15
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/Jun 2014
R E ALTOR
July20, 22,2015 2014 July
Bethesda North Marriott
Bethesda North Marriott
REALTOR® Fest – p. 5
SmartCharts ProTM – p. 6
Public Policy – p. 16
GCAAR Cares – p. 8
in every issue
Ask the President
Don’t Let This Happen To You
REALTOR® Fest - July 20
GCAAR Cares - Rebuilding Together®
GCAAR in the News
14 MRIS 10
GCAAR Featured on Realtor.com
Making Rapid Transit a Reality
QUIZ: Keeping Customers for Life
New Emeritus Members
NAR Director’s Report
19 RPAC 20
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’ve heard some agents in my office talking about new lockboxes that you can open with your
phone. How do I get them? Will my old lockboxes and card still work?
A: There is a new lockbox in town! GCAAR is currently selling the just-released “Bluetooth REALTOR® Lockbox.” As the name implies, it’s Suzanne Des Marais PRESIDENT
Peg Mancuso PRESIDENT-ELECT
Bluetooth compatible, so you can manage the box with the “SentriSmart Mobile App” on your mobile device. Listing agents can release the shackle on the new lockbox, view showings, and generate one-day-codes on the fly. Showing agents can open boxes and leave quick feedback – all from their phones. This is not a lockbox conversion – the blue boxes currently being used will continue to be supported, and your SentriCard will still work, so no need to bring them all in to GCAAR to exchange them for new ones.
Q: My clients often ask me what they should do to improve the value of their home. Is there a neutral resource I can share with them Jamie Coley SECRETARY
Tim Knobloch TREASURER
that shows return on investment for upgrades?
A: Yes! Every year the National Association of REALTORS® works with “Remodeling” magazine to compile a Remodeling Cost vs. Value
report. It provides estimated costs for 36 midrange and upscale home-improvement projects, along with the percentage of cost that owners can expect to recoup when they sell. Projects range from a new garage door to a master suite addition. Costs were provided by RemodelMax, a publisher of estimating tools for remodelers, and NAR members provided the expected value of the projects at resale.
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® • May/June 2015
To learn more and see all 36 projects broken down by region and market area, including the DC metro area (under the South Atlantic region), visit CostvsValue.com.
Q: I have a lot of out-of-town clients who aren’t sure where they want to focus their housing search in the DC metro area. Is there an easy way for me to compile data for them by subdivision so they can see how much our market varies from the city to the beltway and beyond?
A: Great question - it’s one I’ve had to answer for my own client base. MRIS and its statistical reporting arm, RBI, are constantly evolving to make the wealth of data they have on our market more user-friendly and accessible for subscribers. And GCAAR is always on the lookout for new products and services to enhance the value of your membership.
In this case, we found the perfect match to meet the need you expressed. GCAAR is now providing RBI’s SmartCharts Pro™ subscriptions (a $200 annual value) as part of our member benefits package. SmartCharts Pro™ allows real-time access to hyper-local market statistics and relevant market trends and insights. Once a region, county, zip code, or subdivision is entered, a dashboard provides ready access to the market data in one click. SmartCharts Pro™ is derived from MLS transaction data and provides easy-to-understand charts and reports on any mobile, tablet, laptop, or desktop screen. In fact, there’s more on SmartCharts Pro™ in this issue of Capital Area REALTOR® and on gcaar.com.
association news GCAAR Supports Montgomery County Affordable Housing Conference
GCAAR Members Complete 2015 MAR Leadership Academy
MAR President-Elect and GCAAR Past President Bonnie Casper moderated a panel discussion, “Housing, Transit, and Jobs: Revving Up the Economic Engine” at the 24th Annual Montgomery County Affordable Housing Summit at the Bethesda North Marriott Conference Center on May 4. The summit is sponsored by the Affordable Housing Conference of Montgomery County (AHCMC).
GCAAR members Jacqueline Bennett and Tyrone Whitby recently completed the Maryland Association of REALTORS® (MAR) 15th annual Leadership Academy and were among the honored graduates in ceremonies held in Annapolis.
Panel members included: Dwayne Weeks from the Federal Transit Administration; Tom Street, Office of the County Executive; Clarence Snuggs, Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs; and Sally Sternbach from the County’s Office of Economic Development.
The MAR Leadership Academy was formed to enhance leadership skills, knowledge, and competencies of REALTORS® to help them make a difference in their personal lives and in their communities. The Academy offers an intensive curriculum designed around developing skills in leadership, communications, strategic planning, government affairs, and community involvement. Classes are conducted over seven months and stress the value of professional and personal commitment to business, charitable, and civic endeavors. GCAAR, one of 16 local REALTOR® Associations in Maryland, is a strong advocate that recognizes the importance of the program to the Association’s future. 2015 NAR President-Elect Tom Salomone encouraged MAR Leadership Academy graduates to get involved and to get their peers involved. Salomone added, “…the greatest sign of leadership that one can achieve is to gather a group of people together to achieve one common goal.”
Bonnie with from left to right: Dwayne Weeks, Sally Sternbach, Tom Street, and Clarence Snuggs.
GCAAR was again one of the sponsors of AHCMC’s “Breaking the Barrier to Home Ownership Closing Costs and Down Payment Assistance” contest. The contest is for Montgomery County residents who are first-time home buyers. Winners receive $5,000 or more to use toward a down payment or closing costs on the purchase of a home in Montgomery County. L-R, 2015 NAR PresidentElect Tom Salomone and 2015 MAR President Janice Kirkner with MAR Leadership graduate, Jacqueline Bennett.
GCAAR President Suzanne Des Marais (center) with Breaking the Barriers contest winners.
Tom Salomone and Janice Kirkner with MAR Leadership graduate, Tyrone Whitby. CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/June 2015
Lessons Learned During an Submitted by Joy Liberti, Chair, GCAAR’s Professional Standards Committee Inconsistent Market
Don’t Let This Happen to You!
When Should a Buyer’s Agent Contact a Seller? Real estate is sometimes a waiting game.
You write a contract, the listing agent invites you to present the offer in person to the seller, and then you wait to hear back from the listing agent. Your buyer clients are anxiously waiting to hear a response and you decide to contact the seller directly to find out what’s going on with the offer. After all, the listing agent had invited you to the presentation so you had met the seller and you were working on behalf of your client to get an answer, right? Our NAR Code of Ethics clearly addresses this situation: Article 16 States that “REALTORS® shall not engage in any practice or take any action inconsistent with exclusive representation or exclusive brokerage relationship agreements that other REALTORS® have with clients.” Standard of Practice 16-13 even further clarifies what is allowed: “All dealings concerning property exclusively listed, or with buyer/tenants who are subject to an exclusive agreement shall be carried on with the client’s representative or broker, and not with the client, except with the consent of the client’s representative or broker or except where such dealings are initiated by the client.” NAR Case #16-18: Assumed Consent for Direct Contact REALTOR® A, who held an exclusive listing of Client B’s property, invited REALTOR® C to cooperate with him. When REALTOR® C, shortly thereafter, received an offer to purchase the property and took it to REALTOR® A, the latter took REALTOR® C with him to present the offer to Client B, and negotiations for the sale were started. The next day, REALTOR® C called on Client B alone, recommended that he accept the offer which was at less than the listed price, and Client B agreed. The contract was signed and the sale was made.
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/June2015
These facts were detailed in a complaint by REALTOR® A to the Board of REALTORS® charging REALTOR® C with unethical conduct in violation of Article 16, having made this second contact with the client without his, REALTOR® A’s consent. At the subsequent hearing, REALTOR® C defended his actions on the basis that since he had been invited to cooperate with REALTOR® A, and particularly since REALTOR® A had invited him to be present when his offer was presented to the seller, REALTOR® C had assumed that he had REALTOR® A’s consent for subsequent direct contacts with Client B. He stated further that he had a good reason for going alone because in his first visit to the client, REALTOR® A had undertaken to present his, REALTOR® C’s, offer without fully understanding it and had made an inept presentation. Questioning by members of the Hearing Panel revealed that there had been some important considerations that REALTOR® A had notbyunderstood or Michele Lerner explained to the client. The conclusion of the panel was that the consent of the listing broker required by Article 16, as interpreted by Standard of Practice 16-13, cannot be assumed, but must be expressed; and that REALTOR® C had violated Article 16 by negotiating directly with REALTOR® A’s client without REALTOR® A’S consent.
For more information, visit the Code of Ethics section at realtor.org
July July 22, 20, 2014 2015
Bethesda North Bethesda North Marriott Marriott
It’s a DC Renewal Year Get Required CE Classes at
REALTOR® Fest Brian Willingham
Apex Home Loans
Enjoy a day of education and networking with dynamic instructors and relevant courses to take your real estate career to the next level! Receive up to nine continuing education hours from Maryland, DC, and Virginia. You can also take advantage of a packed trade show with over 50 exhibitors, great food, and a silent auction.
How long have you been an Affiliate with GCAAR? I have been a GCAAR Affiliate for almost three years.
What are some of the events you support?
For the past two years, I have been a member of the Events Planning Committee and have had the opportunity to support several events through GCAAR. One of the things I am most proud of as an Events Committee member is that last year I suggested providing a REALTOR® Fest booth to a nonprofit organization as a way of giving back. Also, this year will be the third consecutive year that I have represented Apex Home Loans at REALTOR® Fest. I also teach a Veterans Administration Loan CE class for REALTORS® through GCAAR.
Why do you continue to support GCAAR as an Affiliate?
It’s an event you shouldn’t miss!
Monday, July 20 8:00 a.m. – 8:15 p.m. Bethesda North Marriott 5701 Marinelli Road, North Bethesda, MD
GCAAR is a great organization with a mission I feel strongly about supporting. As advocates for the real estate community, GCAAR is a huge resource for our local industry. The association provides lots of great networking opportunities which has given me the chance to greatly expand my contacts with local REALTORS®. I enjoy being active in helping the local real estate industry and helping grow my business at the same time.
Why do you think being a member of GCAAR is important?
It’s an important organization to support as it acts as a unique resource for the real estate community. The opportunities to connect and network with experts in our industry, coupled with the feeling of doing good while part of a large organization, are just some of the reasons being a member of GCAAR is important.
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/June 2015
Why use SmartCharts Pro™? We all know that the internet has changed the real estate business in many ways. Well over 95 percent of customers and prospects actively use the internet when selling or buying. While there’s a good deal of helpful information out there, there’s also a lot of inaccurate information generated by the AVMs (Automated Valuation Models) featured on most consumer websites. That’s where SmartCharts Pro™ from RBI comes in. SmartCharts Pro™ provides one-click access to vital LOCAL market stats on any device: phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop on demand.
GCAAR Offers SmartCharts Pro™ as Member Benefit GCAAR is yet again leading the way by becoming one of the first MRIS associations to provide SmartCharts Pro™ subscriptions (a $200 annual value) FREE to all REALTOR® members! SmartCharts Pro™ subscriptions allow real-time access to hyper-local market statistics and market trends and insights. 6
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/June 2015
SmartCharts Pro™ covers over 80 zip codes and more than 600 subdivisions across Montgomery County and the District so YOU become the Metro Market Expert! Once a region, county, zip code, or subdivision is entered, a dashboard provides ready access to the market data in one click. SmartCharts Pro™ is derived from MLS transaction data and provides easy-to-understand charts and reports on any mobile, tablet, laptop, or desktop screen. And, SmartCharts Pro™ is not just for working with sellers… your buying prospects also need your local market expertise.
SmartCharts is my primary source of information for my neighborhood and the communities I serve. Regional data that you can get from other sources just doesn’t tell the true story of what’s happening right around me. Thanks to the dynamic data feed SmartCharts provides, I can show real-time information on my own website so I can be the best resource of information for my clients, and capture more
HowHow do Istarted? get started? do I get
If you already have a “FREE” account for SmartCharts (The Basic Service): Your account has automatically been transitioned to SmartCharts Pro™ (free of charge). Your Username and Password for SmartCharts will remain the same, but the next time you log in, you will have access to all the features of SmartCharts Pro™ (interactive charts; ZIP/ City/Subdivision stats; Market Gauges; Explore; etc.). If you’ve forgotten your username or password, click “Log In” at the top right of the site and then the “Forgot Password” link below the form. If you are a GCAAR member with an EXISTING SmartCharts Pro™ subscription: Your account has automatically been transitioned to the complimentary version of SmartCharts Pro™. The next time your account is up for renewal (meaning the next time your recurring payment is due), no charges will be incurred. As long as you remain a member of a participating association, your SmartCharts Pro™ service will be free of charge. Your existing Username and Password for SmartCharts will not change. As part of the site license agreement between your association and RBI, refunds for past payments are not being issued. Please contact email@example.com if you have further questions. “We constantly evaluate tools we make available to our members to make sure they’re competitive in today’s internet-driven marketplace,” said 2015 GCAAR President Suzanne Des Marais. “GCAAR covers both Montgomery County, Maryland as well as the District of Columbia, two national bellweather markets. By equipping all of our members with SmartCharts Pro™, we seek to provide them with the tools they need to expand their local market knowledge, provide even better value-added customer service to sellers and buyers and, as a result, grow their businesses.”
Who’s the market expert? You are!
leads. I’m thrilled as both a GCAAR Director and an active salesperson to have been a part of bringing this
valuable tool to our members as an added benefit.
— David Bediz 2015 GCAAR Director
Don’t TELL them how the market’s doing, show them! SmartCharts ProTM delivers accurate, timely market data in easy-to-understand charts and reports.
Show clients and prospects exactly what’s happening with pricing, sales, time on market, and other points of interest that will help them make smarter decisions.
FOR MORE INFORMATION about SmartCharts Pro™, please visit: getsmartcharts.com.
® CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® • May/Jun 2014 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR • May/June 2015
Rebuilding Together® Rehabs Montgomery County Home
GCAAR Cares Rebuilding Together® Rehabs Montgomery County Home Each year, GCAAR sponsors a home that is in need of critical repairs and renovations for low-income homeowners through the non-profit organization, Rebuilding Together®. This year’s renovation day was Saturday, April 25 in Montgomery County with over 40 volunteer participants! GCAAR Cares Committee member Robert “Bob” Corbey was this year’s Rebuilding Together® House Captain, with Monique Malabet serving as House Ambassador. Many thanks to our Community Service Chair Chuck Clapper and the entire GCAAR Cares Community Service Committee and staff who coordinate this project every year, making a difference in our community. More importantly, we
thank YOU, our volunteers and supporters, for coming out to support GCAAR Cares 2015 Rebuilding Together® project in Montgomery County!
Special thanks to the following:
House Captains: Bob Corbey, Captain; Monique Malabet, House Ambassador Skilled Laborers: Vinnie Garabed - Vinnie’s Handyman, LLC, Hank May - Carpentry, Stuart Gordon - Freelance cameraman Food Sponsors: Hutton Patt Title & Escrow Embrace Home Loans, Counselors Title
Maya Bosse Represents GCAAR at MAR’s Annual Fair Housing Poster Contest Congratulations to GCAAR’s Fair Housing Poster Contest winner for Montgomery County, Maya Bosse of Julius West Middle School in Rockville. Maya is the daughter of GCAAR Affiliate Lisa Bosse of Capitol Title. The Maryland Association of REALTORS® (MAR) and special guest Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced the winners of the annual Fair Housing Poster Contest at a ceremony on April 23 at the Annapolis State House. Students representing 13 schools across the state received a certificate and a gift card co-sponsored by BB&T Bank. As part of the contest, students were asked to illustrate the theme: Everyone Wins with Fair Housing. The contest allows school children to express their ideas creatively, while fostering the principles of equal opportunity in housing.
Poster Winners & Maya with Governor Larry Hogan and MAR President Janice Kirkner.
In addition to being GCAAR’s poster winner, Maya’s poster also will be the 2016 calendar cover! MAR will distribute the calendars statewide to promote the principles of fair housing.
CAPITALAREA AREAREALTOR REALTOR® •® •May/Jun May/June CAPITAL 20142015
Maya Bosse with from left to right: Mom Lisa Bosse, GCAAR CEO Mike Moran, GCAAR Cares Chair Chuck Clapper, 2015 GCAAR President Suzanne Des Marais.
We are grateful for your commitment to serve.
P. Joy Siegel, Esq., Settlement Ink
Social Media Strategies for Real Estate Professionals 1. FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGES – DELETE THEM! Facebook is now strictly limiting posts from your Facebook business page to the Newsfeed, so chances are your page is not getting any exposure. Unless you are willing to spend money on regularly “boosting” your posts or you have a committed network of people that are actively engaging with you it is recommended that you delete the page. Spend your time and enthusiasm on expanding your network under your personal profile.
2. ONLY ONE PERSONAL PROFILE, PLEASE You should not have two personal profiles such as Mary Smith and Mary Smith, REALTOR®. Two personal profiles violates Facebook rules and it is confusing to your friends. Although you may want to keep your business and personal lives separate, in the world of real estate, business is based on personal relationships. Just make sure what you do on your personal profile is not a negative reflection on your real estate business. Your plan should be to engage with your sphere in a social manner under your personal profile. In using any social media the concentration should be on creating commonality between you and your friends and very occasionally sharing unique information about a property you have seen. The posting of listings should be avoided entirely. Rather, post a picture of a fabulous feature of the home or that you are hosting a wine and cheese at an open house and invite your friends to come visit you.
3. PICK THE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS THAT WORK BEST FOR YOU Pick three social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, plus either Instagram or Pinterest as your number three). Engage regularly and keep your profile up to date with current information. By far most agents report deepening connections with their sphere and new clients finding them by way of Facebook and LinkedIn.
4. RESIST USING CANNED POSTS AND PICTURES OF EXOTIC HOMES Using them is unrealistic and frustrating to buyers and sellers and doesn’t allow your personality to show. It is the equivalent of sending a body double to your own birthday party; everyone who knows you will know it isn’t you.
5. CULTIVATE AND MONITOR YOUR TESTIMONIALS AND ONLINE REVIEWS Be sure to create your own profile on YELP, Zillow/Trulia, and set up your notifications so you are aware if a review is posted. Reviews will help you be found in online searches more than you can imagine. Social Media Optimization (SMO) is rumored to eventually overtake search engine optimization (SEO). Negative reviews need to be addressed promptly and properly with a short and sweet explanation or apology for what went wrong.
6. TWITTER: GOOD FOR NEWS, NOT FOR LISTINGS Twitter is starting to be and probably will be the major source of real time news. Not a place to post listings, but a good source for getting news out in real time. I haven’t heard anyone actually get business from Twitter.
The information in this article is offered by P. Joy Siegel, Esq., an attorney with Settlement Ink. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AREA REALTOR • May/Jun 2014 CAPITAL CAPITAL AREA REALTOR • May/June 2015 ®
GCAAR happenings Panel Covers “How Not to Get Sued” at April Broker/Manager Forum Jill Pogach Michaels and her legal team of Alexei Silverman and Owen Jarvis spoke to a captive audience on the topic: “The Top 5 Reasons You Can Get Sued and How to Dodge the Bullet” on April 15. Jill and team listed the top five reasons that land brokers and/or their agents in court, as well as how to avoid litigation.
Broker/Manager Forums are free seminars available to GCAAR members who are brokers, associate brokers, or office managers. Mark your calendars for the remaining Broker/Manager Forums for 2015:
SEPT. 9 Procuring Cause Speaker: Al Monshower, Esq.
Advertising Compliance vs. Personal Marketing Speaker: Thom Brockett
Meetings are held the third Wednesday of the month, noon – 2 p.m.
L-R: Alexei Silverman, Esq., Jill Pogach Michaels, Esq. and Owen Jarvis, Esq., listen to questions.
at GCAAR’s Rockville office, 15201 Diamondback Drive, Suite 100. The events are free, but advance registration is required.
membership corner Coming Soon Signs Are Here! The much anticipated “Coming Soon” signs have arrived! MRIS has released its requirements concerning using “Coming Soon” on listings which applies to signs as well. Coming Soon indicates that the broker and the seller are preparing the property for sale and for marketing as Active status. This status is not intended to give the listing broker an advantage in finding a buyer for the property to the detriment of cooperating brokers or to circumvent the selling of the property on an open market. The intended use of this status is to provide a vehicle for subscribers to notify other subscribers of properties that will be made fully available for showing and marketing after preparations have been completed. While the property is in Coming Soon status, the seller and the listing broker may not promote or advertise the property in any manner other than as “coming soon.” Properties in this status may not be shown. This status is for short-term use preparatory to Active status, 21 days or less, and must have a listing agreement and seller approval.
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/June 2015
REMINDER: Upgrade Your SentriLock Card Utility Program Before August 31!
A 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. For questions about SentriLock service call SentriLock Support at 877.736.8745 or send an e-mail to Support@ SentriLock.com.
Thank you for being a valued GCAAR member!
GCAAR in the news After a Faulty Home Inspection, Can Buyers Recoup Some Cash? The Washington Post June 5, 2015 — GCAAR mentioned
Million Dollar Listings Flood DC Metro Market MRIS Press Release/PR Newswire May 12, 2015
“A million dollar home costs about $65,000 a year for principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI) …with a 20% down payment, a gross income of $200,000 and above would be necessary to get “jumbo” mortgage approval .” — Suzanne Des Marais 2015 GCAAR President
Sales, Prices and Inventory Are Up As Housing Market Gets Into Full Swing The Washington Post May 11, 2015 “Prices are going up, so people are making money, people are getting value…buyers are willing to pay now, but they want quality. They want to know that they have gotten something for their money.”
— Bonnie Casper, MAR President-Elect, GCAAR Past President
As Aging D.C. Rowhouses Are Renovated, Scores of Alleged Construction, Permit Problems The Washington Post May 7, 2015
“There’s certainly a lot of people running around who see opportunity — developers and people who want to be developers — and take properties that haven’t been touched in decades and go up or back with them.” — Tom Daley, GCAAR Board Member
Two REALTOR® Associations to Provide RBI’s SmartCharts Pro™ as Member Benefit MRIS Press Release/PR Newswire May 5, 2015 — GCAAR featured
Indie Broker, Joe Himali Inman News April 30, 2015
“I started my business because I had values that were different from other brokerages.” — Joe Himali, 2009 GCAAR President
Inclusionary Zoning Sales Remain Skimpy The Georgetown Dish April 15, 2015
“It’s a very specialized niche for us, and it has required a significant amount of investment both in time and labor.” — Suzanne Des Marais 2015 GCAAR President
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR • May/June 2015 ®
association news GCAAR Featured on Realtor.com GCAAR was recently featured on realtor. com’s REALTORS® Action Center, which draws over 30 million unique readers each month. The REALTORS® Action Center on realtor.com is a resource for consumers wanting to learn about home ownership issues. GCAAR was selected because of its size and strong government affairs program. The article discussed how GCAAR is working with state and local officials, developers, and business leaders to make a rapid transit system a reality in Montgomery County, MD. Suzanne Des Marais, 2015 GCAAR President, said that one of the greatest benefits of a rapid transit system is that it would enable members of the local community to access affordable housing and more job opportunities.
To read the article, go to: www.realtor.com/actioncenter/greater-capital-area-association-realtorsworks-improved-transit-options/
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CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/June 2015
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Montgomery General Hospital
W Old Baltimore Rd
transit planners to address
community members have
Little Seneca Pkwy
with the legislature and
GCAAR has been working
Eastern Ave to Olney
the metropolitan area.
of fronts to make the rapid transit system a reality for
Rapid Transit for Montgomery County
been working on a number
Only 11 percent of buyers and 28 percent of sellers choose a real estate practitioner based on their previous experience with that person, according to research by the National Association of REALTORS®. Those numbers show that there’s plenty of room for improvement when it comes to garnering repeat business.
Take this quiz to find out if you’re doing what it takes to keep customers for life.
Q.1 You should give people time - several weeks at least - to get settled in a new house before delivering your closing gift. o True o False Q.2 People are so busy today that you are likely to lose potential clients if you follow up with them more than once a year. o True o False Q.3 According to the IRS, you can deduct up to $50 per couple for a closing gift. o True o False Q.4
A customer-satisfaction survey of at least four pages is the best vehicle to elicit feedback because it will allow you to ask customers about every aspect of the transaction. o True o False
Q.5 It’s appropriate to include information about yourself and your achievements in your client newsletter. o True o False Q.6 Consistency in follow-up marketing programs means that you should send the same piece to clients several times in a row. o True o False Q.7 Developing a recommended list of vendors could create liability problems for you if the vendor fails to perform adequately. o True o False Q.8
When you deal with an angry client, it’s best to wait a day or two before calling so that things will cool off. o True o False
Correct answers on page 26
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/Jun 2014 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/June 2015 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • Nov/Dec 2014
Take Your Business on the Road. Go Mobile with MRIS! Did you know that you can update your listing’s price, status, expiration date or remarks with the new MRIS Mobile, search homes and view agent-only listing information using Homesnap Pro, schedule a showing through ShowingTime for the MLS or use MRIS Close It! to create a Closing Disclosure for your client – all from your mobile device? As an MRIS subscriber, you can use any of these mobile products – at no additional cost! They’re all included with your core MRIS subscription.
MRIS Close It!
If you find yourself away from the office more than you’re in it, we encourage you to try using these mobile apps and tools to help you manage your business while you’re on the go. To get the most out of these products, MRIS-U is offering our new training course: Go Mobile with MRIS. In this class, you will learn about these products that you can use as part of your core MRIS subscription.
• Produce accurate and editable Closing Disclosures • Email, save, and share these reports with your clients • Create multiple pricing scenarios with different setups for on-the-fly reporting
MRIS Mobile - NEW • Easily keep your listing information as accurate as possible
• Upload, delete and replace listing photos right from your mobile device • Update the most frequently updated fields quickly • List Price • Status • Expiration Date • Internet Remarks
• Search homes and view agent remarks, commission splits, showing instructions and more
• Get quick and easy approvals for listing appointments
• Use Rapid CMA to create quick and accurate reports to print and share with your clients
• Plot several showings along a route with Showing Cart to keep your day running smoothly
• Stay safe on the job with the Homesnap Safety Timer and Distress Alert
• Use the new 2-way text messaging and Showing Voice automated calls to confirm showings in less time
• Send a text from Matrix to view a listing in Homesnap Pro
Take full advantage of our mobile-friendly MRIS apps and tools to keep you working efficiently anytime, anywhere. Visit MRIS.com/Training to find a free training class near you! firstname.lastname@example.org | MRIS.com | MRISblog.com | Facebook.com/MRISonFB
20142015 CAPITAL AREA AREAREALTOR REALTOR® •® •May/Jun May/June
director’s report Jamie Coley, 2015 GCAAR Secretary, NAR Director 1 of the following year, and for associations and MLSs to implement them within 60 days of their effective date.
NAR’s Board of Directors meets twice a year to discuss and vote on changes to the functioning and regulation of your National Association. On occasion we also have the opportunity to change the direction of our industry.
• MLS participants may now augment IDX displays with property information from an outside source, as long as the source is identified in immediate proximity to the data.
This May we did just that by approving a Nationwide Broker Data Entry System to run through RPR®’s advanced Multi-list platform (AMP™). The system gives brokerages a single place to input their listing data for distribution on multiple platforms, including local MLSs, broker websites, realtor.com and any other end-points identified by the broker. Funded using NAR operating reserves (not to exceed $12 million), this initiative helps brokers maintain control of their listing data while creating a single back-end entry point. Learn more about the system from the video posted on REALTOR.org. Other new initiatives announced include a plan to support ‘boomerang buyers’ (owners who lost their homes in the recession who are now back in the market) with lending, counseling, and other programs. We also established Community Outreach Awards for local and state associations doing exemplary work using NAR’s housing opportunity, smart growth, and diversity programs. Continuing our work on existing initiatives, we approved the content of the first REALTORS® Commitment to Excellence, a concept which was approved at the November 2014 meeting. The Commitment to Excellence extends beyond the Code of Ethics to include REALTOR® participation in advocacy efforts, promoting healthy communities, maintaining professional education, nurturing excellent customer service, and more. To help oversee the Commitment, an advisory board of nine members of the Professional Standards Committee was created. Updates to established programs are always necessary and this May’s meeting was no exception. The following were updated or amended: • The member association application for new local Associ- ations was updated to address the associations’ obligation to meet NAR’s Core Standards. • A new Core Standards Certification form is now required for local and state Associations. • The MLS Policy Statement was amended requiring MLS changes mandated by NAR be implemented by January
• MLSs are now required to the timely process of requests for IDX data feeds and clarify the term “publicly accessible” sold information.
• NAR Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual changes include shorter time frames for arbitration case administration, shifting the burden of initiating litigation from the prevailing party to the non-prevailing party, and several changes to what hearing panels and directors can do in the Code of Ethics case process. Helping fight for the rights of our members is always top priority at NAR. This year we announced two grants to state associations (Texas and Missouri) totaling $3.5 million to advocate for ballot measures prohibiting any future imposition of sales tax on real estate transactions. We also approved $180,000 in legal assistance to help two real estate companies fight a patent troll’s effort to extract licensing fees from them for their use of certain online search technology. Always with an eye on the opportunities and threats coming down the road, the Board heard a summary of the Strategic Thinking Committee’s D.A.N.G.E.R. Report*, which covers 50 issues that keep brokers, sales associates, associations, and MLSs up at night. The biggest issues include loss of listing data control, new regulations, and dilution of the REALTOR® brand by substandard performance. Looking back at a full week of meetings, where over 8,000 REALTORS® came to our Nation’s Capital to reflect on and advocate for their industry, I am more convinced than ever before of the power of our Associations to change real estate for the better.
Mark Your Calendars!
for the REALTORS® Conference & Expo November 13-16 in San Diego D.A.N.G.E.R. Report – Definitive Analysis of Negative Game Changers Emerging in Real Estate *
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • March/April 2015
public policy New Maryland Laws The Maryland General Assembly has come to a close for its 2015 Session and several key changes for REALTORS® will be effective October 1 – see the highlights below. For a full run-down of all legislation reviewed by MAR and GCAAR, visit mdrealtor.org.
Continuing Education Changes Requires all real estate licensees to take the agency class every two years (rather than every four.) Licensees who need the broker supervision class must take that class every two years as well (rather than every four.) The total number of hours needed to renew your Maryland license has not increased that is unless you hold a graduate degree in law or real estate. Those who met the partial exemption from CE requirements because of their advanced degrees will now have to take the full 15 hours.
Licensee Corporation Formation Permits real estate licensees to organize as any legal business entity with the consent of the real estate broker. Prior law limited real estate licensees to forming only professional service corporations or limited liability companies. Both MAR and GCAAR supported this bill.
New Home Financing Contingency Allows the buyer or builder to terminate a contract if financing is not obtained and requires the return of the deposit money. MAR amended the bill to clarify that if a licensed real estate broker holds the deposit money, the broker must follow current real estate law regarding its return.
MAR and GCAAR strongly supported this legislation and are confident it will improve the professionalism of our industry.
Montgomery County GCAAR Backs Affordable Housing Bill GCAAR recently sent a letter of support for the “Development Impact Tax-Exemptions Bill.” The Bill allows developments with at least 25% affordable housing units to be exempt from transportation and school development impact taxes. GCAAR strongly favors the concept of reducing the hefty Impact Tax burden on new housing and increasing affordable housing units. We suggested lowering the percentage requirement of affordable units for the credit, which would make it possible for smaller developers to partake. We also asked the Council to take into account the demand for three and four bedroom units in the County. Any incentives that could increase such units would be welcome in developments consisting mostly of studios and one bedrooms. As Montgomery County becomes more economically diverse, it is critical that all residents have access to safe and affordable housing. GCAAR praises the Council for advancing legislation that aims to increase the stock of affordable housing!
CAPITAL AREAREALTOR REALTOR® •® •May/Jun May/June CAPITAL AREA 20142015
Common Ownership Community Update: GCAAR Participates on Task Force to Find Solutions for High Delinquency Rates GCAAR is participating in a dedicated Task Force charged to resolve issues threatening Common Ownership Communities (COCs) across the County. COCs are facing severe financial burdens, mounting debt, and operating issues primarily related to unit-owner delinquencies. Issues include lack of FHA certification, regulation of utilities and amenities, condo board by-law amendments, and the State priority lien. GCAAR, along with community and government stakeholders, are diligently looking at ways to alleviate the difficulties COCs are having. Task Force members have already met with local and state legislators to tackle all sides of the problem. Over the next few months they more closely delve into ideas such as making foreclosures more efficient, amending COC by-laws and creating an ombudsman specifically geared towards condo associations. Have ideas for solutions? Email email@example.com!
public policy District of Columbia DCAR Speaker Series: DCRA & Chairman Mendelson DCRA’s Legislative and Public Affairs Officer Matt Orlins joined DCAR in April for a one-on-one discussion of housing regulations and permits for District residents. Orlins gave attendees a full run down of the most pressing topics before the agency, including pop-ups and vacant properties. His presentation also featured DCRA’s Property Information Verification System (PIVS) - an app that allows people to check on holds and reviews for properties. Access it now at pivs.dcra.dc.gov. In May, DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson gave REALTORS® a brief glimpse into the daily operation of the Council and filled us in on some of the major legislative issues coming across his desk. He touched on topics such as DC’s 2016 Budget, the role of the Attorney General in the District, and how government transparency is vital for maintaining public trust. He also hinted that there may be room to consider lowering recordation and transfer taxes. We are confident that the current relationship between REALTORS® and the Council is strong enough put the issue back on the table! We thank Chairman Mendelson and Mr. Orlins for directly addressing an extensive list of questions from our members and look forward to a continuing our discussions on real estate matters.
L-R: Christopher Suranna, Fred Bates, DCAR Public Policy Chair; Phil Mendelson, DC Council Chairman; DCAR Immediate Past President Bonnie Roberts-Burke, Jennifer Smira, Kirsten Williams.
DCAR President Ed Wood (right) with DCRA’s Legislative Officer, Matt Orlins.
GCAAR Welcomes New Emeritus Members! The National Association of REALTORS® Emeritus status is given to those REALTORS® who have 40 years of membership in the national organization. GCAAR is proud to congratulate the following members who have reached Emeritus status: Donna Evers Robert Goldfinger Claude Owen Marie Shannon
CELEBRATING 40 YEARS CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/Jun 2014 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/June 2015
public policy Learn more from realtor.org.
District of Columbia Keeping DC Lead Safe: New GCAAR Online Resource Disclose. Disclose. Disclose. But how to keep track of it all? We’re here to help, with GCAAR’s new tool for members: “Lead Laws Resource Guide in Washington DC.” The tool can be found on the gcaar.com Forms page, and includes: • Information on the DC Lead Paint Disclosure Law (including the definition of Lead Paint Hazard and the most recent updates to the regulations)
• Lead Paint Disclosure Form (and instructions for completion) • Understanding the District’s Lead Laws Guide (with FAQs for real estate professionals) • Tenants’ Rights under the DC Lead Paint Disclosure Law (are you aware this needs to be given to all tenants?) • Clearance check-lists, tenant relocation, and other forms • A list of the DC Certified Lead Paint Abatement Companies and Lead Paint Consultants (including Certified Inspectors)—something many members have asked for! Lead paint disclosure is a serious issue, and GCAAR wants to make sure you have the materials you need. For more information on lead paint and other environmental issues, visit the District Department of the Environment’s website at green.dc.gov.
REALTORS® Support Database of Affordable Housing Solutions DCAR recently testified in support of a bill to create a database of rent-controlled properties in the District. DCAR has consistently advocated for a streamlined online system where residents can have easy access to the location of DC’s affordable properties. A comprehensive system would help residents find homes and give government officials a better framework to develop new affordable housing policy. DCAR highly encouraged the District to use all available technologies to cut down on implementation time, and noted the importance of a simple, user-friendly layout. We also advocated for the database to include ALL types of affordable housing units. We commend the Council for taking a giant leap towards making affordable housing options more accessible to all District residents!
20142015 CAPITAL AREA AREAREALTOR REALTOR® •® •May/Jun May/June
on the Hill REALTORS® Take Grassroots Approach to Federal Issues at Legislative Meetings REALTORS® from across the country arrived in DC for the 2015 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in mid-May. Held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, the week-long convention connected real estate professionals with members of Congress to talk shop on federal issues. The big topic this year was tax reform, which is coming in 2017 according to Illinois Congressman Peter Roskam, who presented at a meeting of NAR’s Commercial Legislation & Regulatory Advisory Board. The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act/Truth in Lending Act (RESPA/TILA) and new rules and documents for closing were also a focus of attention. NAR is urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to implement a grace period for those seeking to comply in good faith with the new rules set to go into effect August 1, 2015. NAR President Chris Polychron’s testimony to the U.S. House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance clarified our position: “NAR is supportive of CFPB’s efforts to harmonize RESPA-TILA regulations, as long as it benefits consumers and the real estate transaction.” The week was packed with visits to Congressional leaders on the Hill. In the mix were Maryland REALTORS® who visited the offices of Congressmen Chris Van Hollen and John Delaney, and Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin.
For full recaps of events and legislative summaries, keep an eye on realtoractioncenter.org and realtor.org!
Thank You RPAC Investors
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Rockville, MD 20850
(as of June 4, 2015)
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/Jun 2014 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/June 2015
housing statistics MONTGOMERY COUNTY & DC Montgomery County Sales Market For the month of April, the combined (single-family and condo/ coop) sales market showed a strong performance compared to April of 2014. The total unit sales volume came in at 1,016 properties, up 17% from a year before. However, the average sold price came in at $514,000 -- down about 0.5% from last year. Nevertheless, the median price of $405,450 jumped 1.4% from a year ago. Although unit sales were up strongly, properties turned over more slowly than a year ago. Average days on the market totaled 56, up 12 days from the previous April.
April Single-Family Homes
For the first four months of 2015, Montgomery County year-todate settlements and contracts were up double-digits from a year ago. April year-to-date single-family settlements (2,312) came in almost 14% over the same period in 2014; and, year-to-date contracts (3,357) jumped over 15% from a year before. Moreover, the April monthly results were at least as impressive. Settlements (783) vaulted almost 21% compared to a year before; and, new contracts for the month (1,197) jumped up 13%.
4.4% from the 2014 yearly prices. These price slippage rates are slightly lower than earlier this year, so the market will appreciate with the sales season. We’ll know more after the summer sales period.
April Condominiums and Cooperatives
Similarly, April inventory was up double digits from a year before. In April 2014, single-family active listings totaled 2,127 homes. At the end of this April, 2,452 property listings were 15% above those of a year ago. Although total actives are up significantly so far, at the April contracts pace, there was just slightly over a 2-months’ supply. This is early in the year, but it seems we continue to have a long-term shortage of supply. While the unit sales pace has been up, we are continuing to see signs of price slippage from the yearly figures for 2014. In 2014, the average sales price was $576,205 and the median was $460,000. Through April, the average and median prices were $553,647 and $440,000, respectively. These are down 3.9% and
CAPITAL AREA AREAREALTOR REALTOR® • May/Jun • May/June 2014 2015 ®
The April condominium and cooperative market has firmed up a bit from earlier in the year. For the first four months, there were 771 settled sales, and these were up 5.2% from a year ago. April settlements came in at 235-units, up 5.4% from last April. The picture for contracts was not quite as good, albeit improved over the earlier months of the year. April year-to-date contracts (974) rose 1.5% from a year before. But, the 305 new ones were up by only two contracts from a year ago. On the supply side, April condo/coop inventory continues to substantially exceed the levels of 2014. Condo/coop active listings (677) came in almost 27% above the level of a year before. And, monthly new listings (399) rose almost 10% above the April 2014 figure. Nevertheless, at the monthly contract pace there was only a 2.2-months’ supply of properties. Supply has responded to the strong markets of the last couple of years, but levels are still below historical averages.
by Fred Flick, PhD, Consultant/Housing Economist
from April a year ago. The average sold price came in at $624,195 -- up just over 1%; however, the median sold price of $524,900 was up 5%. Properties turned over at about the same pace as in April 2014.The average days on the market figure came in at 35, just two more than in March 2014.
April Single-Family Homes
April was solid for both single-family contracts and settlements, although the year-to-date figures were slightly less positive. April year-to-date settlements (1,161) edged up by 3%, but monthly new settlements (337) gained 4.7% over a year before. The performance of contracts was stronger. April year-to-date contracts (1,455) rose by 3.6% from a year ago. However, the monthly performance of single-family contracts (494) bumped up by 6.9%.
Although the early 2015 condo/coop market experienced some declining price appreciation rates, average prices have risen slightly through the spring. Through April, the year-todate average price of $281,013 rose 5.5%; but, the $220,000 median slipped almost 1.4% from the 2014 median. (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%.) This year the median also should rise, as there is plenty of time for demand to perk up.
Looking at the supply, the DC April single-family inventory was somewhat above the levels of a year before. April active listings totaled 605 properties— up 4.5%. However, new single-family listings for the month (599) rose 7.3% from a year before. While this is a prime period of the selling season, the supply is still amazingly tight. As we have seen for several months, at the April contracts pace there continues to be only a 1.2-months’ supply of homes. Even with the tight inventory, the DC average single-family price performance has slipped substantially from last year. 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 April, the average price of $737,727 slipped by 1.7%; although, the median of $625,000 is still up slightly less than 1% from the 2014 prices..
Washington, DC Sales Market Paralleling Montgomery County, the District of Columbia’s April combined unit sales pace was up double digits compared to a year before. Sold listings totaled 711 units, jumping almost 12%
April Condominiums and Cooperatives
The DC condominium and cooperative market showed a positive unit sales trend during and through April. Year-todate April settlements (1,099) edged up 2.7% and year-to-date contracts (1,404) rose 4.5% from a year ago. Moreover, April settlements (375) leapt over 21% from a year before; although, ® ® • May/Jun 2014 CAPITAL REALTOR CAPITAL AREAAREA REALTOR • May/June 2015
monthly contracts (452) moved up only 3.2% compared to last April. While sales have been solid, the April supply of listings was down about 1% from a year ago. Although the inventory has increased since February (491), total actives at the end of April totaled only 632 properties. And, at the April contracts pace, there was only a 1.4-months’ supply of properties. On the bright side for sellers, this shortage of supply seems to be contributing to modest recent price appreciation. With tight supply, DC condos and coops have experienced positive appreciation rates. Through April, prices are still showing some upward movement. The year-to-date April average of $481,407 edged up 0.3%; but, the $430,000 median rose 3.6% from the 2014 figures. The tight supply has helped, although the average appreciation trend seems to be flattening out. In 2014, annual average and median prices were up 5.5% and 1.6% from their respective 2013 figures.
National Resale Market
The national resale market has been on a roll and could beat
® ® CAPITAL • •May/Jun 20142015 CAPITALAREA AREAREALTOR REALTOR May/June
out recent years. Total existing home resales in March were 5.19 million units at a seasonally adjusted and annualized rate (SAAR). The monthly figure gained over 6% above February, and was 10.4% above the rate for March 2014. Also, the March median price of $212,100 increased 7.8% from a year before with the $257,400 average rising 5.1%. At the end of March there was a 2-million unit inventory (SAAR), which represented a 4.6-months’ supply of homes. This inventory was up 5.3% from February, and 2% above the March 2014 level. At the national level, the March months’ supply was still below the 2014 average figure of 5.2 months. For the single-family resale market, March sales (4.59 million, (SAAR) rose 5.5% from the level of February, and were 10.9% above the pace of March 2014. Moreover, the single-family median price ($213,500) was up 8.7% from March 2014 and the average ($258,000) rose 5.7% from a year ago. In the existing condo/coop market, sales units (600,000 (SAAR) jumped 11% above the February figures, and were 7% above March 2014. The national condo/coop median price came in at $201,400 – edging up 1.6% from a year before. The average price of $252,800 increased 1.3%.
Monetary Policy, Interest Rates and Inflation
Economic Growth and Jobs
The Bureau of Economic Analysis’ advance estimate of first quarter 2015 real growth (economic growth rate minus the inflation rate) came in at a paltry 0.2 percent – that is, significantly less than one percent. This was a shock to the system, mostly blamed on bad weather in the Midwest and Northeast. The Bureau did caution that the data were still incomplete and are subject to further revision, which should be upward. However, the outlook among economists is what I would call “lukewarm” optimism. The fourth quarter 2014 real GDP growth was only 2.2%, although the third quarter increase was an outstanding 5%. The fourth quarter rate is more in line with what economists have been expecting as a yearly average. The first quarter lower real GDP growth was due to a deceleration in personal consumption; and, declines in exports, nonresidential fixed investment, and state and local government spending. These “negative” factors were partly offset by declines in imports, a rise in private inventory investment, and growth in federal government spending. Because this first quarter number was weak, many analysts are still concerned that growth is too slow. Although most economists are somewhat bullish on U.S. growth, significant international barriers remain. These include slow to negative growth in the Eurozone countries and slowing growth in China, with its debt and real estate bubbles. However, the April payroll employment report was extremely positive with 223,000 (SAAR) new non-farm jobs – a big improvement over March’s pathetic 85,000 new jobs. Also, the most recent household survey for the unemployment rate came in at a new low of 5.4% -- the lowest rate since 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 job losses in mining and extraction industries (i.e., oil-and-gas) are still occurring; although, the rate at which frackers are shutting down rigs is slowing.
The Fed has slightly modified its language regarding future interest-rate hikes. It is indicating there will be increases but very vague on the exact timing. Speculators, of course, are betting, with most bets focused on the September meeting. 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. China is lowering its internal bank interest rates, trying to support the economy. And, the European monetary authority is just starting to apply policies similar to the Fed’s quantitative easing policies of recent years. Inflation has been and still is quite tame. The overall personal consumption expenditures index (the Fed’s preferred inflation measure) over the past year was up only 0.3%. Furthermore, when food and energy were subtracted out, that residual “core” inflation was only 1.3% over the past year (because gas and oil prices were declining). Accordingly, regardless of when the Fed pushes on short-term rates, it is likely to go slow to avoid derailing our modest prosperity. One salubrious outcome of low inflation is that mortgage rates are still relatively low by historical standards. In the first week of May, Freddie Mac national surveys put the 30-year fixed conforming mortgage rate at 3.80% (up from 3.75% in the first week of March). The 15-year fixed averaged 3.02%, the 5/1-year ARM came in at 2.90% and the 1-year ARM was 2.46%. It is increasingly likely that the Fed will not push up interest rates over the next two months, but will wait until late summer or fall. The U.S. stock markets continue to maintain high values although volatility has persisted with frequent 100- to 200-point daily changes in the Dow Jones industrials. While some research shows that stocks can still hold on even with rising interest rates, it is bonds that are the most vulnerable.
The Bottom Line
The recent improved job performance indicates the U.S. economy should grow at about a 2% rate over the next year. Interest rates will rise but at a slow rate – short-term rates at 25 basis points per quarter (one percent per year). However, it will take another year of solid performance to get us back to the pre-recession levels of well being. The world is watching the Eurozone and China. So far, national sales and price numbers show that this will be a pivotal year for the economy and our local housing market. Currently, for both Montgomery County and the District of Columbia, sales are up double-digits, with prices up or only slightly declining, depending on the market segment. While only economists would find comfort in these results, given the scarce inventory, GCAAR members are finding a way to get properties sold.
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/Jun 2014 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/June 2015
® CAPITAL AREAREALTOR REALTOR • May/June 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
Is there a first-time Homebuyer credit in Washington, DC similar to the one in Maryland?
ANSWER: The short answer is no. In the State of Maryland, if you are buying a principal residence for the first time then you are exempt from paying your portion of the State Transfer Tax (.25% of the Sales Price) at settlement. There are no caps or limits as far as sales price and income are concerned. From 1998 to 2011, Washington, DC did offer a $5,000 tax credit when purchasing a principal residence in the District. The credit was a direct offset of any federal income tax owed to the IRS and could be used for up to five years if a balance remained from the previous year. A person would qualify for the program if they did not own a property in the District one year prior to the purchase. The amount of the credit was reduced for individual and joint taxpayers at certain income levels. This program has not been renewed since 2012. There are other programs that the District does offer, such as Tax Abatement, which are not strictly for first-time home buyers, but do offset certain closing costs and other expenses to make home ownership more affordable.
My buyer was unable to obtain a loan. When we sent over the release with the lender rejection letter the Seller refused to sign it because he wanted to keep $2000 of the earnest money deposit for home inspections repairs made. Can they refuse to sign the release?
ANSWER: Either party can make a determination as to whether they
want to sign to a release or not, and that decision typically relates to the specific facts of the transaction. However, as stated in the Default paragraph (Para 23) of the Regional Contract (GCAAR Form #1301), if either Seller or Purchaser refuses to execute a release of deposit (“Release”) when requested to do so in writing and a court finds that such party should have executed the Release, the party who so refused to execute the Release will pay the expenses, including, without limitation, reasonable attorney’s fees, incurred by the other party in the litigation. As far as wanting to maintain a part of the deposit for repairs made, there is nothing in the Home Inspection or Financing Contingencies, or elsewhere in the Regional Contract, that would obligate the Buyer to reimburse the Seller for these expenses incurred.
My client signed a contract using Paragraph 3 of the Addendum of Clauses (GCAAR Form 1332), entitled “General Inspection Contingency (No Right to Negotiate.)” He is dissatisfied with the
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR • May/June 2015 ®
inspection results and now wishes to void the contract. Is there a form by which he can do so?
ANSWER: If you are still within the time period agreed upon in
the contingency, you may use Paragraph B of the “Home Inspection Contingency Notice and/or Addendum” (GCAAR Form 1344) to declare the contract void. While this form is used when parties negotiate Home Inspection Items, it may be used to void the contract as well.
I am the listing agent for an estate. We are about to go to closing in a couple of days and the estate attorney is now telling the personal representative (PR), my client, that she should be signing a quitclaim deed and not the special warranty deed prepared by the title company. Is this the norm for DC? Do personal representatives sign quitclaim deeds and have their agents change the contract to reflect that? Do you recommend this or is it the norm for PR’s to sign the special warranty deed in DC?
ANSWER: In a special Warranty deed, the grantor (seller) covenants
to warrant and defend the title against any claims and demands of the grantor and all persons claiming by, through, and under him or her. In other words, the grantor agrees to defend the title against any claims which arose during the term of their ownership. Since a personal representative is not the actual owner of the property and is representing the deceased owner, they are not necessarily in a position to make such a warranty. However, you are correct that Paragraph 16 (“TITLE”) of the Regional Contract (GCAAR Form 1301) requires the seller to provide a special warranty deed for DC and Maryland properties (for Virginia transactions, the contract requires a General warranty, which is a similar covenant but which extends to claims of all persons whatsoever) and thus, in the case of an estate, the contract should be changed if the personal representative is unwilling to provide a special warranty. If the contract is already ratified, the parties should amend it. On a related note, the warranty paragraph of a deed also typically contains a “further assurances” provision whereby the grantor agrees to execute such further assurances of the land as may be requisite. Often, buyers and title insurers will agree to removal of the special warranty language provided that this language is retained in the deed, so this may be a potential place of compromise for the parties. 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 this material. 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 – You should give people time - several weeks at least - to get settled in a new house before delivering your closing gift. FALSE Give your closing gift very soon after the closing, if not immediately after. In addition, call customers within a day or two of their move to see how they are doing and to offer referrals for plumbers, electricians, or other service vendors they may need. 2 – People are so busy today that you are likely to lose potential clients if you follow up with them more than once a year. FALSE People are busy, but their memories are short. You should follow up with referrals and past clients at least every 60 days. 3 – According to the IRS, you can deduct up to $50 per couple for a closing gift. TRUE Current allowable deductions for business-related gifts are $50 per couple, $25 per individual. 4 – A customer-satisfaction survey of at least four pages is the best vehicle to elicit feedback because it will allow you to ask customers about every aspect of the transaction. FALSE Experts recommend no more than eight questions in a survey. Otherwise, the survey will be too cumbersome and it’s less likely that customers will respond. 5 – It’s appropriate to include information about yourself and your achievements in your client newsletter. TRUE Adding some newsletter stories about yourself gives people the sense they know you and offers a subtle way to promote yourself. But be sure that the vast majority of the content is centered on the needs and interests of your clients and prospects. 6 – Consistency in follow-up marketing programs means that you should send the same piece to clients several times in a row. FALSE The consistency comes in repeating your marketing line and some graphic elements in each piece you send. Newsletters, door hangers, and brochures should all have a similar tone and look. To keep clients from becoming bored, vary the type of piece you send each month. Send a newsletter one month, a postcard the next, and make a personal phone call the third. 7 – Developing a recommended list of vendors could create liability problems for you if the vendor fails to perform adequately. FALSE To avoid liability problems, the key is to always include more than one vendor in each category, and let the homeowner make the final decision. If you have a full-scale concierge program, it’s also a good idea to have vendors you recommend sign a letter freeing you from all liability. 8 – When you deal with an angry client, it’s best to wait a day or two before calling so that things will cool off. FALSE Always respond to complaints promptly; allowing time to elapse just lets resentments fester.
® CAPITAL 2014 2015 CAPITALAREA AREAREALTOR REALTOR• May/Jun • May/June ®
education schedule (elective) Instructor: Jill Michaels Time: 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
July 8, 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 July 8, 2015 FHA Financing CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Debbie Benkert Time: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor July 8, 2015 Unconventional Transactions CEU: 4 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Michael Gross Time: 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. July 8, 2015 GCAAR@NVAR: Maryland Fair Housing CEU: 1.5 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: Chad Older 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. * NVAR – Fairfax Office July 8, 2015 Mortgage Basics CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Debbie Benkert Time: 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor July 9, 2015 Title Insurance CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Amy Klein Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. July 9, 2015 Reverse Mortgages CEU: 1.5 hours MD, DC and 1 hour VA (elective) Instructor: Eric Rittmeyer Time: 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. July 10, 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 July 10, 2015 New Member Orientation CEU: No CE Instructor: Shahnaz Tehraniazad Time: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. July 10, 2015 Maryland Code of Ethics and Predatory Lending CEU: 3 hours MD (required) and DC
July 10, 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 July 13, 2015 MREC Required Supervision CEU: 3 hours MD (required for brokers, associate brokers and office managers) and DC (elective) Instructor: Al Monshower Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. July 13, 2015 MREC Agency - Residential CEU: 3 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: Al Monshower Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. July 16, 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. July 16, 2015 Renovation and Construction Financing CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Cedric Johnson Time: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor July 16, 2015 Strategies in a Multiple Offer Market CEU: 1.5 hours MD and DC (elective) Instructor: Suzanne Feinstein Time: 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. July 17, 2015 RPR Basics CEU: No CE Instructor: Win Singleton Time: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. July 17, 2015 RPR Advanced CEU: No CE Instructor: Win Singleton Time: 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. July 20, 2015 REALTOR® Fest CEU: Up to 9 hours DC (required); 9 hours MD (required); 8 hours VA (required) Time: 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. * Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center July 23, 2015 DC Fair Housing CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Suzanne Feinstein Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. July 23, 2015 Solving Sellers Issues CEU: 1.5 hours MD and DC (elective) Instructor: Colleen Smyth Time: 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
NOTE: All classes are held at GCAAR’s Rockville office unless otherwise noted.
July 24, 2015 203K CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Scott Shelton Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. July 24, 2015 Working with Investors CEU: 1.5 hours MD and DC (elective) Instructor: Chad Older Time: 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. July 27, 2015 Home Inspections CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Vimal Kapoor Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. July 27, 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 July 27, 2015 Home Innovations and Trends CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Vimal Kapoor Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. July 27, 2015 Maryland Code of Ethics and Predatory Lending CEU: 3 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: Jacqueline Talpa Time: 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor July 29, 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. July 29, 2015 DC Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Jacqueline Talpa Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. July 29, 2015 DC Fair Housing CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Tony Duncanson Time: 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. July 30, 2015 DC Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Cammie Reed Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. * NAR Building/2nd Floor July 30, 2015 2010-2014 Maryland Legal Update CEU: 3 hours MD (required) Instructor: Chuck Kasky Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. July 30, 2015 DC Fair Housing CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Cammie Reed Time: 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. * NAR Building/2nd Floor
continued, p. 28
CAPITAL AREA REALTOR® • May/Jun 2014 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR • May/June 2015 ®
education schedule July 30, 2015 Mortgage Basics CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Debbie Benkert Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. July 30, 2015 Financing Issues/Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) and MD and VA (elective) Instructor: Michael Chelst Time: 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. * NAR Building/2nd Floor July 31, 2015 DC Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Thom Brockett Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. July 31, 2015 Maryland Fair Housing CEU: 1.5 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: Thom Brockett Time: 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
August 5, 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 August 5, 2015 DC Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Jacqueline Talpa Time: 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor August 6, 2015 Financing Issues/Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required); MD and VA (elective) Instructor: Debbie Benkert and Chris Darby Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. * NAR Building/2nd Floor August 6, 2015 DC Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Joy Siegel Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. August 6, 2015 DC Fair Housing CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Jacqueline Talpa Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. August 6, 2015 DC Fair Housing CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Counselors Title Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. * NAR Building/2nd Floor
August 3, 2015 DC Fair Housing CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Ned Rich Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. August 3, 2015 Financing Issues/Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) and MD and VA (elective) Instructor: Jim Semeyn Time: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor August 3, 2015 DC Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Jacqueline Talpa Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. August 3, 2015 Mortgage Basics CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Jamica Browne Time: 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor August 5, 2015 FHA Financing CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Russell Rothstein Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
CAPITAL AREA 2014 2015 AREAREALTOR REALTOR® • May/Jun • May/June ®
August 6, 2015 DC Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Counselors Title Time: 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. *NAR Building/2nd Floor August 6, 2015 Financing Issues/Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required)and MD and VA (elective) Instructor: Chanin Wisler Time: 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. August 7, 2015 Maryland Code of Ethics and Predatory Lending CEU: 3 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: Al Monshower Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
NOTE: All classes are held at GCAAR’s Rockville office unless otherwise noted.
August 7, 2015 RPR Advanced CEU: No CE Instructor: Win Singleton Time: 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. August 10, 2015 2011-2013 Maryland Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: Carole Maclure Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. August 10, 2015 Financing Issues/Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) and MD and VA (elective) Instructor: Jamica Browne Time: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor August 10, 2015 Maryland Property Conditions Disclosure CEU: 3 hours MD and DC (elective) Instructor: Mary Chieppa Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. August 10, 2015 Understanding Credit Reports, Scoring Models and How to Improve Credit CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Michael Chelst Time: 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor August 12, 2015 DC Fair Housing CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Counselors Title Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. August 12, 2015 Financing Issues/Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) and MD and VA (elective) Instructor: Debbie Benkert and Chris Darby Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. August 12, 2015 DC Legislative Update CEU: 3 hours DC (required) Instructor: Counselors Title Time: 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. August 13, 2015 New Member Orientation CEU: No CE Instructor: Shahnaz Tehraniazad Time: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
August 7, 2015 RPR Basics CEU: No CE Instructor: Win Singleton Time: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor
August 13, 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.
August 7, 2015 Maryland Fair Housing CEU: 1.5 hours MD (required) and DC (elective) Instructor: Al Monshower Time 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
August 13, 2015 203K CEU: 3 hours MD, DC and VA (elective) Instructor: Cedric Johnson Time: 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. * NAR Building/3rd Floor
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