Capital Area REALTOR Magazine: Moving Forward Together

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Official publication of the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS®

May/June 2020


























Innovations in challenging times – p. 10

How the CARES Act affects REALTORS®– p. 14


Moving forward, looking back – p.16

REALTOR® toolbox – p.24


in every issue


Make Rapattoni work for you


A letter from the president


Innovations in challenging times


Association news


Meet this year’s 30 Under 30 honorees


Member Services Corner


How the CARES Act affects REALTORS®


From the GCAAR classroom


Moving forward, looking back


REALTOR® toolbox


RPAC investors


Legal hotline


Welcome, new Affiliate members!


Coach’s corner


Welcome, new REALTOR® members!

32 Why join a NAR committee?

<xx<of directors board

A Letter from the president

President-Elect Jan Brito

President Danai Mattison Sky

What a time we’re experiencing! If there’s one thing I’ve learned from our current environment, it is to look closely at my business. I’ve been adjusting to both make the most of where I am today and plan for the future. As the saying goes, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” One of the best ways we can move forward is to take this time to focus on learning and growing. This issue will help you do just that.

Secretary Harrison Beacher

Treasurer Frank Snodgrass

Some of our esteemed Emeritus members are sharing how they’ve overcome obstacles in the past. You’ll also hear about new and innovative tools and resources available to REALTORS® from the National Association of REALTORS® and Bright MLS. Plus, meet two of our latest 30 under 30 honorees! As a past honoree myself, I am inspired hearing about how others are building their businesses, especially so early in their careers.

Immediate Past President Koki Adasi

Chief Executive Officer Edward Krauze

Directors Avi Adler Thom Brockett Samantha Damato Carlos Evans Jody Goren Gwen Henderson

Marcus Jaffe Daniel Schuler Andres Serafini Sandra Stewart Christopher Suranna Kirsten Williams




Managing Editor Kat Jercich

Advertising Representative Arlene Braithwaite

Design & Layout Sharon Thorpe 4 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — May/June 2020

I hope you will continue to look out for virtual classes, panel discussions and videos from GCAAR leadership answering any questions you might have. As always, please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can help you. We’re in this together. Keeping you and your families in my thoughts, and wishing you all continued health.

Danai Mattison Sky Danai Mattison Sky




Capital Area REALTOR® Volume 7, Issue 3, May/June 2020 (USPS 017-467) is published five times a year by the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS® (GCAAR), 15201 Diamondback Drive, Suite 100, Rockville, MD 20850-3779. Corrections can be sent to Periodicals postage paid at Gaithersburg, MD and additional mailing offices. 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.

GCAAR hopes you’re staying safe and well. Remember, we’re here if you need us. Please reach out to Member Services at 301-590-2000 or; we look forward to serving you!

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Capital Area REALTOR®, ATTN: GCAAR, 15201 Diamondback Drive, Suite 100, Rockville, MD 20850-3779. 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. Reprint with permission only. Reprints may be obtained by contacting the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS® at 301-590-2000, or send an email to 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© 2020 by the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS®.

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Want to give blood? GCAAR is working with the American Red Cross to schedule a blood drive for our members at both our Rockville and Washington, DC offices when we are safely able to do so. Until then, please visit the American Red Cross website at for additional ways to donate during this time.

June is CPR and AED Awareness Month Did you know that CPR administered by a bystander, provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest, can double or even triple a person’s chance of survival? The American Red Cross instructs individuals to take the following steps to perform hands-only CPR:

Kneel beside the person who needs help.

Place the heel of one hand on the center of the chest.

Place the heel of the other hand on top of the first hand, then lace your fingers together.

Position your body so that your shoulders are directly over your hands and keep your arm straight.

Push hard, push fast. Use your body weight to help you administer compressions that are at least 2 inches deep and delivered at a rate of at least 100 compressions per minute. Be sure to let the person’s chest rise completely between compressions.

Keep pushing. Continue hands-only CPR until you see obvious signs of life, like breathing, or another trained responder/EMS professional can take over for you.

For more information about CPR techniques and training, visit

6 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — May/June 2020

An AED (Automated External Defibrillator) is used to help individuals experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. Many offices have an AED onsite. Check with your office to see if you have one, and learn who has been trained to use it. For AED training in your area, visit

Get ready for GCAAR’s first virtual REALTOR® Fest! Set aside the week of July 20 on your calendar, because GCAAR’s REALTOR® Fest is going virtual! During the week-long event, your opportunities to earn CE credits will be plentiful for the District of Columbia, Virginia – AND now Maryland, thanks to the advocacy efforts of GCAAR and other organizations. We’re also offering some fun extras as part of your registration fee, which is only $30 for GCAAR members until June 30 and $50 after that date. Non-members may register starting on July 1 at a cost of $95. Want more for your money? Non-members may choose to join GCAAR as a secondary member and gain access to REALTOR® Fest at the member price! You can find all the details about the event at Interested in sponsorship? Email for information. We hope to see you there!

CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — May/June 2020 7


New features put Rapattoni to work for you Now GCAAR offers more opportunities than ever before for you to stay informed and make sure your fellow REALTORS® and GCAAR members know how to reach you! Through Rapattoni, you can update your member profile with the following information: • Your profile photo • An updated home phone number and/or contact phone number • Your home address • Your GCAAR, state or national, and billing email addresses • A new, unique password Need to update your office information? Just contact or send the transfer form to our office. The form is located under “Membership/Member Forms” at You can also use Rapattoni to make sure your Code of Ethics training is up to date. Finally, through our new communications platform, NoteRouter, you can customize the types of communications you receive from GCAAR and sign up for text messaging to receive breaking GCAAR news! Simply click on the link at the bottom of your GCAAR emails to visit your opt-in screen and select your email and text preferences at any time.

Don’t miss a thing with these new features!

8 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — May/June 2020



BE AN MVP TODAY If you aren’t participating in NAR’s Members Value Plus (MVP) program, you should be! Login to your profile and subscribe to the MVP Newsletter to take part in quick and easy actions that save money and deliver real rewards like free products, gift cards, and discounts – available only to members


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in challenging times

The real estate industry has been changing for decades. It’s more important than ever that we adapt to these changes to the best of our ability. Fortunately, we have support. Organizations around the country stepped up during the coronavirus crisis to equip REALTORS® with the tools necessary tools — even if our day-to-day reality looks different than what we’re used to.

Right Tools, Right Now


n 2009, as the country struggled to recover from a devastating economic crash, the National Association of REALTORS® deployed “Right Tools, Right Now” (RTRN). “It helped our members better themselves and get their businesses back on track,” says Colleen Doyle, director of strategic initiatives at NAR.

ports to inform businesses and clients, digital tools for transactions and marketing, and resources for REALTOR® associations. “Every area of the association was asked to think big about how we can help our members,” says Kristin Maurelia, NAR director of strategic alliances. “Everyone is trying to come up with things that are helpful, including for when the market opens back up.”

“Now more than ever, the idea of RTRN is really the right thing for our members,” says Colleen. “We’re saying, ‘Here’s what we have to offer you during this time. What can build your business?’”

“We’re trying to curate it for what people are using right now,” says Colleen. “Not everything is new, but we’re showing people the tools that they currently have access to and what they can do with those tools.” Colleen notes that the resources are also available in Canada.

Although the resources have changed over time, the RTRN package includes webinars to help manage finances, education courses to expand skills, timely market re-

In 2009, the RTRN initiative lasted for more than a year; Colleen says there’s no set end date for the program this time around. Hundreds of thousands of members have

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already taken advantage, she says. “It’s not just about resources for businesses,” Colleen says. “It’s also about keeping members safe.” As part of the RTRN initiative, NAR expanded its telehealth coverage for members who may have trouble accessing in-person medical care. Telemedicine allows people to contact their doctors via computer, tablet or smartphone about non-emergency care, such as pinkeye, allergies, fever or nausea. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. NAR was able to cover 20,000 members and their families under the initiative within a week and a half of rolling it out. Kristin points out that while telemedicine is certainly helpful when people are supposed to limit their contact with others, it will continue to be useful in the future. After two months of full funding, telemedicine will be available at a significantly reduced rate for members who wish to continue it.

The Bright Steps initiative includes regular market updates and a virtual toolkit, “which highlights existing tools that subscribers may have previously overlooked but are useful in enhancing productivity and working with clients virtually,” Vernon says. “Bright took steps to work with vendors to provide discounts on various services, including virtual tours,” he continues.

“Sometimes tragedy causes a lot of disruption, which makes solutions come about in a really quick way.”

“People who don’t want to drag six kids out the door because they have a sinus infection can have a consultation in a very quick time period,” she says. “Sometimes tragedy causes a lot of disruption, which makes solutions come about in a really quick way,” Kristin reflects. “This is making things that should have happened a long time ago come to fruition. I’m really pleased to be part of this in a small way.”

The Bright Steps


eanwhile, Bright MLS provided its own ways to help subscribers as they navigated tricky situations presented by the coronavirus.

“Bright has been working daily to offer new tools, resources and to provide additional technology enhancements to help our subscribers keep the market moving during this time,” says Vernon Jones, Bright regional vice president for the Washington, DC metro area. Bright launched the Bright Steps campaign, he explains, which includes a number of innovations for REALTORS®. “We added a virtual option to Bright Open Houses through a new field called Open House Method,” he explains. “The virtual open house information displays on consumer websites, as well as within Bright search and reports. In addition, we worked with one of our partners to offer a Virtual Showing option that buyers’ agents can select when requesting a showing. An option for listing agents is being worked on as well.”

The company has relaxed showing requirements for “active” and “active under contract listings” and is permitting public marketing of listings in the “temporarily off market” status. “In order to give agents one less thing to worry about through these challenging times, Bright paused the enforcement of closing/settlement/inspection contingency date violations,” says Vernon. Vernon also urges REALTORS® to remember: “The real estate industry is still open for business!” “Clients and consumers need to be more flexible and creative in order to comply with the various jurisdictional ‘stay-at-home’ mandates, but market activity demonstrates that there are still consumers who need to sell, and historically low mortgage rates make it a good time to buy,” he says. In the future, Vernon says, “We believe subscribers will continue to reimagine their business processes to accommodate more robust virtual options for consumers, as well as remain vigilant in monitoring market conditions so they can pivot and adjust nimbly to support the evolving marketplace.”

CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — May/June 2020 11


Meet this year’s

30 UNDER 30 HONOREES Since 2000, the National Association of REALTORS® has highlighted young REALTORS® who exemplify advocacy, growth and leadership for its annual 30 Under 30 roster. In 2020, after two rounds of judging and vetting, the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS® was thrilled to hear that two GCAAR members were selected among this year’s 30 Under 30 honorees. Capital Area REALTOR® spoke to Sam Medvene and Mary “Christine” Nieva about their real estate careers thus far, how it felt to be selected as a 30 Under 30 member and their hopes for the future of the industry.

Sam Medvene Sam, 27, has been in the real estate business since 2017. He describes his entrance into the industry as “complete luck.” “I have a construction background,” he explains. “I’d been recruited by a startup, but the position unexpectedly folded after I’d gone through the interview process. I already had my real estate license to do ‘fix and flips’ with my brother, and my uncle owned a brokerage. I thought, ‘Well, this is a great time to try this out!’” “I’ve been super fortunate that I stumbled into something that’s now a passion,” he says. Sam was surprised to hear about his 30 Under 30 nomination, given that he almost didn’t apply. “I had a mentor tell me to get over it and take the shot, because you never know,” he says. “I almost waited until next year!”

“My goal in real estate is to create a community of individuals that are all looking out for each other.”

“It’s an amazing group to be a part of,” he continues. “I feel blessed to be on this path that I’m on, surrounded by these colleagues and clients.” Although the COVID-19 crisis has presented challenges for Sam—as it has for many people—he sees it as an opportunity to keep focusing on his clients. “Now, more than ever, they know I’m here to help if I can—whether or not that help is real estate-based,” he says. “It’s important for us to connect and reach out, to foster those genuine relationships.”

The restrictions on in-person contact have given Sam the chance to move his practices into a virtual space. In the past, consumers have been hesitant to adopt digital tools, in part because real estate is such a big purchase. “But now, with everything going on, people don’t want you in their house!” he says. Sam began conducting his buyer consultations via video chat and using a newly purchased 360-view camera to allow clients to view homes virtually. He’s also started doing “drive-arounds,” where clients will follow him in their own cars and check out the surrounding area to see if it’s a good fit without having to leave their vehicles. “I’m on the phone with them the whole time. I feel like I could lead those citywide duck tours now,” he jokes. “Everything is so day-by-day,” he says. “Everyone’s needs are different. Maybe some people need to move out of their houses because it’s clear their spaces are too small. Adaptability requires us to react to those needs.” Ultimately, Sam says the “aha moments” are his favorite part of being a REALTOR®: “That moment clients walk into their house and they can just tell it’s what they want.” “My goal in real estate is to create a community of individuals that are all looking out for each other,” he says. “There are always going to be difficulties in every industry. But in GCAAR, there are so many individuals who like to work toward the common goal with their clients’ best interests in mind. It keeps it all fun.” 12 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — May/June 2020

Mary “Christine” Nieva Christine, 29, became a full-time REALTOR® two years ago. Before that, she worked as an operating-room nurse. “I loved the human element of it: Helping families at the pre-op stage, being a patient’s angel watching over them during surgery and making sure recovery goes well. And I loved the collaborative environment. But I just couldn’t see myself doing it for the rest of my life,” she says. For two years, Christine spent her commutes listening to podcasts about starting her own business. She began her real estate career by transitioning to part-time nursing—but a traumatic event pushed her into taking a leap of faith. “I had a major, life-changing car accident,” she explains. “I was on my way to pick up a buyer and my car was totaled. I still have hardware in my body that reminds me of it. It made me realize: ‘I need to pursue what’s making me happy.’” After she recovered, she made the move to full-time real estate. Christine’s favorite part of the job is how much information she can provide her clients in the decision-making process. “I successfully stay neutral for buyers and sellers, and a lot of that has to do with educating them and helping them make the best choice for themselves. I love getting them that win,” she says. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s been relying on social media, such as Facebook Messenger and Instagram, to network online. She also urges other REALTORS® to collaborate with each other and maximize talents across the board. “I have a real estate coach, and my initial plans were not to renew my contract with them,” she says. “But when COVID hit, I thought, ‘What better way to network than to attend virtual calls with 10 to 15 other agents?’ They’re a big resource for accountability, and they’re big on providing support.” And it’s worked: In the month after quarantine began, she put six families under contract. “The most important thing is asking clients if they’re mentally OK to move,” she says. “And if they don’t feel comfortable, I let them know it’s OK to wait. No one is ever pushed one way or the other. I let them know they have options.” Christine says when she learned about her 30 Under 30 selection, she cried. Since then, she’s been inspired to pursue more leadership in the real-estate industry. “My family came to the U.S. from the Philippines with only $200 in 2001,” she says. “I feel like my career has been validated. I saw this as a door to network with the best of the best.”

“I successfully stay neutral for buyers and sellers, and a lot of that has to do with educating them and helping them make the best choice for themselves. I love getting them that win.”

Through the years: GCAAR members selected among NAR’s 30 Under 30 2003 - Brandon Green and Jim Roy 2005 - Anthony Bozzi 2006 - Bo Menkiti 2007 - Anslie Stokes 2008 - Koki Adasi 2009 - Rachel Valentino 2010 - Cara Pearlman

2011 - Kira Epstein and Pamela Wye 2013 - Danai Mattison and Barak Sky 2014 - Constance “CJ” Davis and Ron Mangas Jr. 2016 - Brittany Allison, Harrison Beacher and Jessica Evans

2018 - Sammy Dweck and Gigi Luu 2019 - Timothy Savoy CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — May/June 2020 13


How the CARES Act affects REALTORS® The federal government in March approved more than $2 trillion in economic assistance to try and offset some of the harms of the coronavirus pandemic. This stimulus was the highest in modern U.S. history—and since then, there have been a number of additional attempts to assuage the financial damage many of us are personally experiencing. Although the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was unprecedented, it could also be confusing, especially for self-employed people. If you still have questions about what the CARES Act means for you as a REALTOR®, Capital Area REALTOR® is here to help.

Tax changes • Certain businesses with 100 or fewer employees can claim a refundable employee retention tax credit against payroll taxes of up to $5,000 per employee. • Eligible employers and self-employed individuals can delay the payment of the employer portion of the FICA (Social Security) payroll taxes or one-half the SECA (self-employment taxes) until after 2020—one half is due in 2021 and the other half in 2022. • Businesses with losses can carry back net operating losses to prior taxable years and get refunds of earlier taxes paid. • Charitable donations of up to $300 in 2020 are tax-deductible, regardless of itemization.

Housing • The act provides for mortgage forbearance. Borrowers of government-backed mortgages (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD, VA and USDA) can request up to a 360-day payment forbearance without proof of hardship. No additional fees, interest or penalties can be assessed for the forbearance. Except for abandoned or vacant property, there may be no foreclosure actions for 60 days from May 18, 2020. • The act creates a moratorium on eviction filings, or fees or penalties for tenants for nonpayment of rent for 120 days on properties insured, guaranteed, supplemented, protected or assisted in any way by HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the rural housing voucher program or covered by the Violence Against Women Act of 1994.

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Credit reporting • If a furnisher offers payment relief or another accommodation, and the customer satisfies that accommodation, then the furnisher must report the customer as current to credit agencies. • If the customer was delinquent before the accommodation, but then satisfies the accommodation, then the furnisher must report the customer as current. • These provisions apply from January 30, 2020 to 120 days after enactment of the bill, or the end of the national emergency.

Student loans • All payment due on federal student loans is suspended for six months. Interest shall not accrue during this forbearance. • For the purpose of loan forgiveness, loans will be deemed paid during the forbearance. • Negative credit reporting or involuntary debt collection is prohibited during the forbearance period. These details are subject to change with time and more federal legislation. For the most up-to-date information, visit the NAR website at coronavirus-aid-relief-and-economic-security-act.


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ADVICE ON WEATHERING THE STORM FROM GCAAR’S EMERITUS MEMBERS The last few months have brought unprecedented changes to the real estate industry and to the world. It’s still unclear when things will return to normal—or if they will at all. But this isn’t the first time REALTORS® have faced upheaval. Capital Area REALTOR® spoke to some of GCAAR’s Emeritus members about their strategies for weathering past ups and downs and their tools for staying resilient amid crises.

Be prepared For Betty Pair, who began her real estate career in 1977, it’s all about adapting to marketplace demands. “As far as I’m concerned, this business means accepting there has to be a healthy perspective about emotions, because we are inundated with [them] from buyers and sellers both, and understanding we are subject [to risk] ourselves because of the finances involved,” she says. “We are not salaried, and our financial obligations remain whether we have business being consummated or not.” By going through industry fluctuations, she says, “I learned how to save for the lean times and not to become overwhelmed by not having the business I wanted.” Gary Ditto, who also started in real estate in 1977, agrees that being nimble is key. “REALTORS® are at the cutting edge of any economic dynamic, be it easy money or restricted markets, and you have very little institutional protection,” he says. “For me, that has translated into living well below ‘my means’ for business and expenses. And that helps with the sanity factor.” At the same time, he says, he keeps looking forward: “I always put as many resources as possible into marketing. That represents the future.”

CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — May/June 2020 17


Kristin Gerlach worked in the same office for 11 years before creating her own brokerage in October 1989. She says, “that financial crash in ‘89 earned me my master’s degree from the school of hard knocks!” “The advice for self-employed people to have six to 12 months’ expenses in the bank as a cushion at all times has helped me weather the ups and downs of the past four decades,” she says.

Remember your priorities “People need our service in good markets and bad,” observes Kristin. “So while it may take longer to sell homes during this time, people need our calm guidance more than ever.” Even as technology has changed the real estate industry, Gary says one thing has remained the same: He puts his clients first. “I want every buyer or seller to know that, during the transaction, I put their interests first every time and that I’m totally dedicated to achieving a good outcome,” he says. “Not every transaction is great, but I do my best. The result has been having customers refer their friends and family to me, and that is a wonderful honor.” He notes that years ago, he started distributing a local newsletter that went beyond communicating about his business. “Right now, we are in the midst of something not in anyone’s experience,” says Betty. “COVID-19 is changing everything. We will not be the same; our clients will approach buying and selling differently. It has already happened with virtual tours and open houses, and with limited showings. I sold a co-op unit last week that the buyer did not see in person. Would this have occurred before COVID-19? No.”

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Rely on your resources “This is such a hard business to master,” says Gary. “A lot of people get worn out— you’re dealing with multiple personalities at the same time. And it can be a 24/7 job. It’s daunting. But some people have the magic elixir to make it work.” His advice is to use this time to focus on your strengths. “Study information on how to market yourself and stay close to your personal contacts. And when you are eligible, take the broker’s course and exam. This experience will significantly deepen your real-estate knowledge and will be an immeasurable asset to your career,” he says. Kristin says she uses meditation and yoga to keep herself centered and overcome obstacles. Also, she says, “being fiscally conservative gives me staying power in tougher times.” And being part of a team has made a huge difference for Betty: “There is always someone to whom I can scream primordially!” All three acknowledge that the current crisis is bringing unique challenges to the industry. “This is unlike anything we’ve seen, and so far clients and agents have been helpful and willing to try new approaches,” says Kristin. “Hopefully the spirit of cooperation will continue once this is over.” “I love what I do, and I’ve been fortunate to have a career that is still interesting and viable,” says Betty. “We have to forge on and not become depressed. If one stops working, there is no possibility of work.”

CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — May/June 2020 19



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Center for REALTOR® Development GCAAR is excited to be part of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Center for REALTOR® Development, designed to help REALTORS® grow their real estate business and to keep members up to date with professional requirements. The Center for REALTOR® Development: • Provides online courses that can help you earn NAR credentials, designations and certifications. These courses teach skills in pricing and listing properties, helping clients make more informed decisions based on their needs and working with military service members. • Provides online continuing education courses for some local jurisdictions. • Provides Code of Ethics training for members of NAR.

Code of Ethics Training All REALTOR® members must complete at least two-and-a-half hours of ethics training during a cycle. In November 2019, NAR’s Board of Directors approved a change to extend the required cycles to three (3) years, starting with the current cycle, which was extended to December 31, 2021. To meet the Code of Ethics requirement, current REALTOR® members must complete Code of Ethics training between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2021. Training may be completed through a free course offered by the Center for REALTOR® Development, through courses offered by local REALTOR® associations, or an alternative class. The class must meet specific learning objectives and criteria established by the National Association of REALTORS®. GCAAR members who complete a GCAAR Code of Ethics continuing education course during the current cycle will fulfill the requirement, and GCAAR will report the training directly to NAR. GCAAR members who complete Code of Ethics training through the CE Shop or a qualifying alternative class should submit the completion certification to GCAAR’s education team. GCAAR will then report the completion to NAR. The completion certificate should be sent to Don’t wait until the deadline to complete or report your training! Doing so could result in suspension of your NAR membership. For more information about the requirements and to review the frequently asked questions, visit

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Check us out on the GCAAR website! Our education pages have important resources to help you maintain your license and expand your skill base. Take a few minutes to explore!

See the schedule of upcoming classes at

Find important resources to build and grow your brand.

Stay up-to-date on licensing requirements and your CE status.



When was the last time you helped a client buy or sell a property with a well or septic system? If you haven’t yet, chances are you will at some point in your career. According to Eric Garrett, technical development trainer at GCAAR Affiliate Home Land Environmental, “it’s important for REALTORS® to understand septic systems.” He has some fast facts to get you started.

1. Septic systems require maintenance. ”Proper maintenance includes not flushing feminine products, baby wipes or personal wipes. It is also important to limit the use of a garbage disposal,” says Eric. All tanks need to be pumped or cleaned out every one to five years, depending on the size of the septic tank and number of people in the home.

2. But they don’t last forever! Septic systems are designed to last for 30 to 40 years, with routine maintenance. But eventually, they will need to be replaced. “Generally, signs that a septic system is not working as designed are multiple slow-draining fixtures in the home, back-ups into the home or septic tank, and surfacing effluent in the yard,” says Eric.

3. They should be inspected during a sale. “During the inspection process, digging may be necessary to access parts of the septic tank,” says Eric. “A properly functioning septic system works by trapping solid waste in the septic tank and allowing the liquid effluent to be reabsorbed and filter into the ground via the absorption area.”

4. All wells aren’t equal. “Buyers should be aware of both quality and quantity,” says Eric. “The water should be safe to consume and they should have a well that can produce enough water to fulfill their needs.” A seller’s water needs might be different from a buyer’s, depending on the number of people in the home, hobbies and water consumption practices.

5. Don’t be intimidated! “Agents, along with buyers, should not fear a home that uses well water or a septic system,” says Eric. “They should understand that they are two more systems a home can have, just like the HVAC system.”

24 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — May/June 2020

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<xx< Realtor Party ®

Thank you to our 2020 Major and Large RPAC investors

Golden “R”

Ed Krauze Carole Maclure Bonnie Roberts-Burke Dale Ross Chris Suranna Holly Worthington Crystal “R”

Jamie Coley Mike Moran Sterling “R”

Koki Adasi Avi Adler Wendy Banner Stacey Barton Fred Bates Elizabeth Blakeslee Lisa Bosse Jan Brito Charles Burger

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Ellie Shorb Brenda Small Frank Snodgrass Marty Stanton Kirsten Williams Capital Club ($250-$999)

Abeer Abou Elmakarem M. Jacqueline Bennett Russell Brazil Kevin Brunell Carolyn Burns Lori Connor Samantha Damato Lauren Davis Joe Detrick Tony DeVol Lauren Donnelly Carlos Evans Michael Fowler Jennifer Frewer

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As of May 4, 2020

“I contribute yearly to RPAC because I support the goal of homeownership. I do my very best as a REALTOR® to support my clients. I rely upon those representing our profession through RPAC to work with local, state and federal lawmakers to support our buyers, sellers and REALTORS®. It is important to fund those efforts and ensure that our interests and our clients’ interests are protected.” – CATHERINE CZUBA

26 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — May/June 2020

GCAAR would like to recognize and thank our newest National Association of REALTORS® RPAC Hall of Fame members, H. Fred Kendrick and Chris Suranna. The RPAC Hall of Fame recognizes dedicated REALTORS®, members and staff who have supported RPAC and the REALTOR® Party over the years, and who have invested at least $25,000. “As a real estate professional and a REALTOR®, I have always believed in the importance of supporting my local, state and national REALTOR® associations. That support has included serving on GCAAR and NAR committees, and it has also meant a long-term financial commitment to RPAC. As REALTORS®, we don’t always know what actions go on behind the scenes at City Council meetings or U.S. House and Senate hearings that affect the real estate industry. However, the professionals who work on our behalf represent our interests every day in these venues. With my RPAC contribution, I am proud to support our REALTOR® lobbyists and staff, as well as the political candidates who go to bat for us every day.” – H. FRED KENDRICK

“As a past DC Representative on the NAR RPAC Participation and Major Investor Committees, I have found that investing in RPAC means different things to every REALTOR®. A common misconception is that all of your investment goes to NAR. That is not true. In fact, only a very small portion goes to NAR. All the remaining investment stays local and is used by our state and local associations to fund efforts to secure the property rights in our local markets. Both REALTORS® and GCAAR have been super successful in asking elected officials to change the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act and reconsider property tax initiatives. I am proud to invest in RPAC and hope all REALTORS® will do the same. The minimum NAR Fair Share is $15. If you can invest more, by all means do so, as all of our investments when pooled together can do great things in protecting property rights and our livelihoods as REALTORS®.” – CHRIS SURANNA

GCAAR would like to also recognize and thank our newest Maryland REALTORS® RPAC Hall of Fame member, Randall Rothstein. Maryland REALTORS® recognizes members who have invested $15,000 to RPAC over the years as Hall of Fame members. “As RPAC contributors, Paragon Title and Escrow Company and I are regularly reminded about the tireless support and unending efforts of the selfless RPAC members across our state in support of important housing and real estate issues. We look at our RPAC contributions as valuable investments that have yielded great returns in the form of essential work done and goals accomplished.” – RANDALL ROTHSTEIN

CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — May/June 2020 27


Legal Hotline

By Chris Darby, Tom Muldoon, and John Nalls of Counselors Title, LLC, and Pardo & Drazin, LLC, General Counsel

28 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — May/June 2020

QUESTION: I represent a seller on a GCAAR Sales

QUESTION: I represent the sellers of a home that

Contract in which the buyer defaulted and agreed to forfeit his Earnest Money Deposit (EMD). I know that my broker is entitled to a portion of the EMD as part of the brokerage commission. How is the deposit split between the broker and seller?

includes the main house and, 30 feet away, the detached garage and a carriage house (a complete apartment) on top of the garage. The buyers performed a termite inspection and found evidence of live termites with non-structural termite damage in the garage, but no evidence of termites at the main house. The wood-destroying insect report recommended that the main house (where there was no evidence of termites) and the garage both be treated. The seller wants to treat the garage only and fix the damaged wood. The buyer wants the garage and the main house treated. Which is correct?

ANSWER: Pursuant to Paragraph 25 (“DEFAULT”) of the GCAAR Sales Contract (GCAAR Form 1301): “If the Deposit is forfeited, or if there is an award of damages by a court or a compromise agreement between Seller and Buyer, Broker may accept and Seller agrees to pay Broker one-half of the Deposit in lieu of the Broker’s Fee, provided Broker’s share of any forfeited Deposit will not exceed the amount due under the listing agreement.” QUESTION: My client is purchasing a newly constructed condominium in the District of Columbia. How much time does he have to review the Public Offering Statement (POS) and, if he chooses to do so, void the contract?

ANSWER: Paragraph 12 of the GCAAR Contract (GCAAR Form 1301), Wood-Destroying Insect Inspection, requires the seller to treat for live wood-destroying insects in dwellings and/or garages. If there is only a live infestation in the garage and/or carriage house, then that is the only area the seller is responsible to treat. It’s understandable that the buyer wants the main house treated, but it does not make the seller obligated to do so.

ANSWER: Pursuant to Section 42-1904.04, the seller of a newly constructed condominium must provide a Public Offering Statement (POS) to the buyer that shall disclose fully and accurately the characteristics of the condominium and the units therein offered and shall make known to prospective purchasers all unusual and material circumstances or features affecting the condominium. The POS must be on the form approved by the mayor and include a total of 13 items of information and copies of various documents, including budgets and the condominium declaration and deed. Under Section 42-1904.02, the seller may not sell a new condominium unit until the POS is provided to the buyer and the buyer has an absolute right to cancel the contract within 15 days of execution of the contract or within 15 days after delivery of the current POS, whichever is later. A purchaser of a condominium that is being re-sold (not new construction) is entitled to a different type of disclosure and has a much shorter time to cancel (three business days).

QUESTION: One of our agents had a broker’s open house in Bethesda today. A group of agents came and took videos inside the house. We don’t know how those videos might be used. None asked for permission to record, nor did they ask for consent from any agent or buyer who might inadvertently have been recorded. Plus, we almost always post a tour on MLS and our website, if the client consents in the listing agreement. This seems like an invasion of privacy, especially because this was a broker’s open house, not a public one. Were these agents right to do this?

ANSWER: The marketing authorizations in the listing agreement are ONLY for listing brokers. There is no right for cooperating or sub-agents to take videos or create any form of marketing above or beyond what the listing broker creates. As an invitee, the visiting agents’ authorities are limited. No cooperating or sub-agent should be taking videos or pictures of a property without the express consent of the owner.

DISCLAIMER: The answers provided here are the opinion 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/June 2020 29


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Are you stuck in a rut? When you think of innovation, you probably think “fresh” or “brand new.” Even if you’ve never considered yourself to be an innovator, now is the perfect time to challenge those assumptions. It’s time you looked at every aspect of your business with fresh eyes, from how you answer your phone, to how you greet open-house visitors, to how you follow up with new prospects and past clients. Too often, real estate agents get in a rut of doing the same thing over and over again, without taking the time to analyze why. Often, we don’t know if what we’re doing is producing results. Just because you’ve been an agent for decades doesn’t mean all your strategies are effective. You could simply be a survivor rather than a thriver. Does the way you’re currently doing business still make sense in 2020? Do your branding and presentations look dated? Are you meeting your goals with the tools you’re using? If you aren’t sure, ask a person you trust or admire for their honest opinion. When engaging with their critique, keep an open mind: Don’t try to justify why you do what you do. Instead, listen and learn.

Innovation is not always about creating something new. It can also be viewed as creating better solutions that meet new requirements.

Some of you may be thinking the way you’re doing business works just fine, which might be true. But the goal here is to see what you can do better. All of us have room for improvement. Take your years of experience and rebrand them so you can capture a different buyer or seller. Reinvent yourself.

Innovation is not always about creating something new. It can also be viewed as creating better solutions that meet new requirements. How can we improve the way we conduct business? How can we improve the client experience? These are the questions that spark innovation. In our ever-changing real estate world, we must constantly evaluate and reinvent ourselves to stay relevant, to stay current and to appeal to every generation of clients as best we can. For real estate agents, innovation is not optional.

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CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — May/June 2020 31


Why join a NAR committee? The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) establishes committees to research policy issues, develop policy proposals and advocate for policy initiatives with members of Congress. There are nearly 100 committees at NAR, working to advance the interest of REALTORS® around the country. “Member involvement on NAR committees gives voice to our state and local real estate issues at the highest federal policy levels, influences and impacts major national legislative decisions, protects REALTOR® member interests, and advocates for fairness in the opportunity and right to own personal property,” says former GCAAR President and 2020 Public Policy Coordinating Committee Chair Brenda Small. “Volunteer leadership is a value-added experience that fosters professional learning and growth through networking, camaraderie, collaboration and building long-lasting relationships. It offers the opportunity to directly make a difference in selflessly serving and investing in our industry, our members, our clients and our communities.” Capital Area REALTOR® heard from GCAAR members about a few of these many committees and why joining a committee is so important.

Commercial Committee Harold Huggins says the purpose of the Commercial Committee is to serve as the clearinghouse for all commercial committees, advisory boards and forums. It identifies, monitors, reviews, analyzes and recommends policies addressing commercial real estate industry issues and trends. It focuses on emerging commercial data trends and products, professional development, industry awareness and local leadership support to help members achieve their business goals. It also advocates for the membership and makes recommendations to NAR’s political advocacy team on ways to improve the commercial markets and legislative environment. “This committee has raised the bar overall of the commercial members through its many programs and services that have been suggested and created over the past several years,” says Harold.

32 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — May/June 2020

Public Policy Coordinating Committee Brenda Small is the 2020 chair of the Public Policy Coordinating Committee (PPCC). The PPCC is a policy-recommending committee and reviews all the work of NAR’s other policy committees. It also debates and votes on the policy motions coming out of those committees. Approved policy proposals are further presented to the NAR executive leadership team for advancement to the full NAR Board of Directors for final adoption. “This is a critical process that underpins the strength and relevancy of NAR’s policy positions for advocating to Congress on legislation impacting our real estate industry, members’ businesses, homeowners, consumers and local economies and communities,” says Brenda. Legislative, regulatory and policy matters may involve fair housing, private property rights, federal taxation, insurance, conventional and federal financing, appraisal, mortgage reform, environment, climate, land use and business issues.

Leading Edge Advisory Board “One valuable adjunct to your real estate practice is the act of being involved and contributing to the environment of the business that supports you,” says Dale Mattison, who serves on the Leading Edge Advisory Board. “I have found that volunteering for committees on the national level has deepened my understanding of all facets of real estate, while at the same time broadening my reach and relationships to other REALTORS® around the country.” The Leading Edge Advisory Board, says Dale, is charged with providing feedback to the Strategic Thinking Advisory Committee in identifying, analyzing and providing input on emerging issues and the competitive landscape regarding the industry and association. “It’s important for our industry that we individually and as a group be prepared for future business methods and customer expectations. Change is here to stay,” says Dale. “I encourage you to consider getting involved in a national committee,” Dale continues. “Your real estate life will change!”

For a full list of NAR committees, please visit CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — May/June 2020 33



Welcome, new REALTOR® members!

We are pleased that you have chosen to join our organization. GCAAR is your voice for real estate issues in DC and Montgomery County, Maryland. It offers venues for networking and allows you to connect with your peers and exchange best practices. We invite you to take full advantage of your benefits as a member. Mecal L. France

Daniel C. McCoy

Scott J. Sachs


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Lilly M. Cieplak

Shaukat R. Karimi ERA Realty Group

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Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

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Marshall T. Masterson

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Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Olav R. Abel

Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

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Ransom Realty Inc.

Miguel A. Alvarez Muriel Samson Properties Exit Deluxe Realty

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RE/MAX Platinum Realty

Gregory S. Robinson

Keller Williams Realty Professionals 34 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — May/June 2020


eXp Realty LLC

Douglas Realty LLC

Keller Williams Capital Properties Realty One Group Performance RE/MAX Town Center Caldwell Thompson Co Inc. Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. Old Line Properties LLC Fairfax Realty Premier Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. Keller Williams Capital Properties Barsch Realty LLC Spotlight Realty

Exit Deluxe Realty

Bennett Realty Solutions Redfin Corporation Eluvial Realty Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. Signature Home Realty LLC Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.


Daniel L. Jones

Lana D. Africano

Wayne A. Lee

Keller Williams Realty

Fathom Realty

Syed Ahmed

William R. LeStrange


Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

RE/MAX Platinum Realty

Adunni N. Aliu

Katy A. Levin


Keller Williams Capital Properties

Mitchell Baer

Ethan S. Lieberman


Keller Williams Capital Properties

Takonia M. Barber

Jordan M. Lombardo

Bennett Realty Solutions

Scout Properties

April L. Bloom Compass

Daniel Maldonado

Richard A. Bosl

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KW Metro Center

United Real Estate

Linda M. Brown

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Real Living Reserve REALTORS®

Keller Williams Capital Properties

Jacqueline M. Budgen

Walter R. Mendoza

EZ Realty LLC

O’Neill Realty Advisors LLC

Erick C. Burke

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Cinnamon B. Burton

Patrice H. Monroe

Kevin Z. Carlson

Kurt M. Muhlbauer

Keller Williams Capital Properties Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. Compass

Abhijit Chatterji


Benjamin L. Clemons

Bennett Realty Solutions

Robert J. Cole

Keller Williams Realty Falls

Hassan Collins

Pearson Smith Realty

Kristine E. Desmarais Compass

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Fairfax Realty Premier Capitol Real Estate Partners

Julie Owens & Co Real Estate LLC

Felipe C. Peres Keller Williams Capital Properties

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Dwight M. Gill Jr.

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Go Brent

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Washington Fine Properties

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Allison James Estates & Homes

Caldwell Thompson Co Inc.

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HomeSmart LLC

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Kiano D. Wilder

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eXp Realty LLC

Ilana D. Tanowitz

Artavia L Winslow

Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

William A. Taylor

Weichert REALTORS®

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Lee Taylor Butler

The Agency Maryland LLC

Ellis Theodorakos

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Kristin A. Thompson-Randall Keller Williams Capital Properties

Julius Tikum

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Realty Executives Premier


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Jesse D. Valentine

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Realty One Group Performance

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CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — May/June 2020 35

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