Capital Area REALTOR® Spring 2020

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Get Ready for Spring! Official publication of the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS®


<xx< - M O R E T H A N G R E A T C O M M I S S I O N S-

























Bright Off-MLS Policy – p. 22

Helping Your Seller Manage Stress – p. 32



Set the Stage for Spring – p.16

Real Talk with GCAAR – p. 24

in every issue 4

A Letter From the President


Association News



Inspection Questions


From the GCAAR Classroom


Staging Tips From the Pros


NAR Director’s Report


Montgomery County’s Sign Ordinance


GCAAR Happenings


REALTOR® Toolbox: Fast Facts on Termites


Public Policy


Bright Off-MLS policy


Economic Outlook & Forecast


Listen In: Real Talk With GCAAR


Coach’s Corner


Designations and Certifications


Legal Hotline


RPAC Investors


Education Calendar


Welcome New Members!


GCAAR Sponsorship Package


Get Ready for the Spring Market


Answers to Your Home

<xx<of directors board

A Letter from the president

Happy New Year!

President Danai Mattison Sky

President-Elect Jan Brito

Secretary Harrison Beacher

Treasurer Frank Snodgrass

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 Ecoprint Creative/Sharon Thorpe 4 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — Spring 2020

What a wonderful celebration with our holiday party and installation, thanks to our incredible sponsors and GCAAR staff! I’m honored to be your 2020 President and will work to lead GCAAR forward along with our amazing Executive Team and Board of Directors. It is because of everyone’s commitment to our association and our industry that we are able to succeed. A special thank you to our 2019 President, Koki Adasi, for all that you have done and continue to do to make us better. I am so grateful for your leadership and friendship—you have always shown us what it means, and how important it is, to lead by example! As we reflect on the past and begin this new year, we plan to carry on many of the initiatives started under Koki’s wonderful leadership. 2020 will be centered on improving communication between you as our members and the consumers whom we serve. We’re excited about doing so, both in new ways and through tried and true methods of strengthening our relationships, providing resources and opportunities to exchange ideas, and celebrating hard work! We will be kicking off these events with our second annual GCAAR Recognition Awards on March 23 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel and introducing our first RPAC Casino Night on April 30, so mark your calendars! Please always feel free to reach out to me with any questions and feedback—we are here to serve. Thank you all for your continued support of our association! Best,

Danai Mattison Sky Danai Mattison Sky




Capital Area REALTOR® Volume 7, Issue 1 Spring 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, etc., 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. 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. 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 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.

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” –Leo Tolstoy

It’s time to get ready for spring, and we can help.

Copyright© 2020 by the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS®. All rights reserved.


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association news <xx<

On Monday, December 9, GCAAR members gathered at the Conrad for our Annual Meeting and Holiday Party. There, we celebrated the installation of the 2020 Board of Directors. Congratulations to our 2020 GCAAR Officers: President Danai Mattison Sky, President-Elect Jan Brito, Secretary Harrison Beacher, Immediate Past President Koki Adasi, and Treasurer Frank Snodgrass. And congratulations to our 2020 GCAAR Board of Directors: Avi Adler, Thom Brockett, Samantha Damato, Carlos Evans, Jody Goren, Gwen Henderson, Marcus Jaffe, Daniel Schuler, Andres Serafini, Sandra Stewart, Christopher Suranna, and Kirsten Williams.

“Just like any relationship, communication is key—and one of my goals for 2020 is to continue to strengthen our relationship and connection with you, our members and consumers alike, and for us to work together to communicate even more effectively. To do so in new fun ways and through new mediums to showcase, like our NAR motto says, ‘who we R’,” said Danai in her installation speech. Thank you all for joining us, and here’s to a great new year!

Apply Today for a GCAAR Recognition Award!

Mark Your Calendars for These Upcoming Events!

The GCAAR Recognition Awards are an opportunity for any GCAAR REALTOR® member to be recognized for their successful year. REALTORS® who qualify should apply today for the prestigious Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards at A breakfast will be held on Monday, March 23 at the Omni Shoreham in Washington, D.C. to honor all award winners.

March 5: YPN Event

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March 23: GCAAR Recognition Awards Event (Omni Shoreham) April 25: Rebuilding Together (Washington, D.C.) April 30: RPAC Casino Night (Hyatt Regency, Bethesda) July 6: REALTOR® Fest (Bethesda North Marriott)


Danai Mattison Sky, GRI

Jan Brito, CRS

Urban Pace




Koki Adasi, ABR, CRS®, GRI, SRS

Harrison Beacher

Frank Snodgrass, GRI


Keller Williams Capital Properties

TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

Immediate Past President




Avi Adler Long & Foster | Christie’s

Marcus Jaffe TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

Thom Brockett GRI, SHS

Samantha Damato Esq., MPH, SRS

Carlos Evans CRS®, CIPS

Long & Foster Real Estate

Long & Foster Real Estate

TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

Daniel Schuler CRS®, MilRes Long & Foster Real Estate

Andres Serafini RLAH Real Estate

Jody Goren, GRI, SRES

Gwen Henderson

Weichert REALTORS®

All Seasons Real Estate

Sandra Stewart AHWD, CRS®, GRI

Christopher Suranna, CRS, GREEN, MRP

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

RLAH Real Estate

Kirsten Williams TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — Spring 2020 7

<xx< REALTORS® Care

Grants Luncheon On December 12, GCAAR REALTORS® Care hosted its Grants Luncheon, where nine local nonprofit organizations received financial awards to continue their charitable endeavors in 2020 and beyond. A total of $21,405 was donated to the organizations, which are based in either the District of Columbia or Montgomery County. Representatives from each organization were present to receive the grant and describe how they serve the community in which we live and work.

Winter Clothing Drive The Winter Clothing Drive organized by the 2019 Community Service Committee and Young Professionals Network (YPN) Committee was a tremendous success. More than 250 coats were collected and donated to the National Center for Children and Families. GCAAR members also contributed hats, scarves, gloves, and earmuffs. Thanks to everybody who donated and helped spread the word!

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GCAAR is proud to officially announce the release of our first full-year sponsorship package, available now!


his sponsorship package includes the majority of all expected sponsored events this year, along with other unique sponsorship opportunities such as New Member Orientations, Broker Manager Forums, and Young Professionals Network (YPN) activities. This package will allow GCAAR to provide our future sponsors with the expectation of what the year will look like ahead of time, which will help you plan out your year financially and reduce the number of times you are reached out to about sponsorships. In turn, sponsors can network with thousands of real-estate industry professionals, allowing you to build relationships while also growing your business! A few events to keep an eye out for in the new year are the GCAAR Recognition Awards Event on March 23 at the Omni Shoreham in D.C., Casino Night on April 30 at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, and REALTOR® Fest on July 6 at the Bethesda North Marriott. If boosting your company’s brand recognition among the more than 12,000 GCAAR members is important to you, sponsor now! To learn more about these events or to view the sponsorship package, you can visit or reach out to Kayla Neiderer, Events Manager, directly at 301.590.8776 or We look forward to having you as a sponsor in 2020!

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Attention GCAAR members! GCAAR is relaunching the District of Columbia Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI) program in 2020! What is GRI? The GRI Designation is a National Association of REALTORS® nationally recognized designation that is administered through state associations. The GRI symbol is the mark of a real estate professional who has made a commitment to providing a high level of professional services by securing a strong educational foundation.

Who is it for? GRI is for you! Earning the GRI designation is a way to stand out to prospective home buyers and sellers as a REALTOR® who has gained in-depth market knowledge and increased their expertise in a broad array of subjects to enhance their professionalism and business success.

What you gain Higher earnings: The national median income of GRI designees in 2012 was $61,000, compared to the median income of non-designees of $33,500. You will be better able to serve and protect your increasingly sophisticated clients through an understanding of new technology, laws, and procedures.

The details The D.C. GRI program is a total of 90 hours of education, divided into 3 modules of 30 hours each. You have up to five years to complete the GRI program. Designees who are interested in obtaining the D.C. broker’s license also have the option of completing the program’s Post-Graduate Module 400.

Only licensed in Maryland? No problem! GRI is a nationally recognized designation, so a Maryland licensee who completes the D.C. GRI program will still earn the designation.

The 2020 schedule is in the works. Look for the class listing on or contact

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NAR Director’s Report My Story of Disruption:

How I Stay in the Game By Harrison Beacher Disruption is a popular topic in the real estate world. But all the talk about “disruption” is really a conversation around the future of our jobs—and what we need to do as REALTORS® to stay integral to consumers’ home-buying experiences. In my humble opinion, the answer is quite simple: We need to do better. We need to shift our focus from the shiny objects coming at us—and supposedly coming for us and our jobs—and look in the mirror. There have been billions of dollars poured into real estate tech, including apps and startups providing more efficient and thoughtful solutions to the home-buying and -selling process. This is an exciting time! There are so many new and different ways that consumers can engage with the homes they want to buy and sell. The way our clients find us is changing, and there are major changes to the status quo—like there always are. With excitement comes challenge. Our challenge is relevance: How do we stay in the mind of the consumer as someone helpful who provides value? My favorite part about being involved in the National Association of REALTORS® and getting to speak to REALTORS® around the country is gaining perspective. One thing I’ve learned from connecting with REALTORS® at all phases of their careers is that the way we conduct business has changed, and it will continue to change based on new technology and consumer preference. However, the fundamentals of the business have not. At its core, being a REALTOR® is about people, relationships, effort, and connection. As a person who works with a lot of clients from different generations, I am confident in the future. I am focused on getting back to the basics and being better with people. Specifically, we need to double down on our professional development—stay ahead of the curve by being informed about current trends and the new tech our consumers use, while also making sure we focus on the consumer experience. We need to put the majority of our time, thought, and effort into making things better for them. Quite often, our clients ask: What’s in it for me? As REALTORS®, we have to try harder than ever to make it clear that what is in it for them is sound advice, thoughtful context, detailed expertise, and a commitment to them as people. Those are at the core of our fiduciary responsibility—and they have not been replicated by technology yet!

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Get Ready for Spring! By Nadia Evangelou, NAR Research

Mortgage rates are starting off in the new decade at very good levels. According to mortgage finance provider Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage dipped to 3.7 percent in the first two weeks of January, compared to 4.5 percent a year prior. Thus, mortgage rates started off the new year nearly 80 basis points lower than they were at the start of 2019. At the same time, the unemployment rate is below 4.0 percent, with inflation hovering around the Federal Reserve’s 2.0 percent target. In this fairly stable interest-rate environment, homebuyers are expected to benefit in 2020. Economic activity early in the year usually provides useful clues about the future. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the economic factors expected to affect the housing market at the national and local levels.

Employment The labor market continues to be one of the economy’s strongest points. Nationwide, employment grew an average of 1.4 percent per month from January through November 2019, pushing the national unemployment rate down to 3.5 percent in November 2019. Employment grew 1.6 percent per month during the same period in the District of Columbia, while increasing 1.4 percent per month in Montgomery County. However, the unemployment rate in Montgomery County as of November was much lower than the national level, at 2.6 percent; it was 5 percent in the District of Columbia. Employment is expected to increase further in the metro area since Amazon will soon place the company’s second headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Amazon expects to add 2,500 new jobs in the area annually during the next 10 years. And in regional economics, whenever a new

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job is created, the increased demand for local goods and services may lead to additional jobs. This increase in jobs, in addition to the new hires by Amazon, is referred to as the “multiplier effect.” While the multiplier varies by industry and area of the country, each additional hire by Amazon can be expected to add two to four additional jobs to the local economy. Assuming that holds true, then 7,500 to 12,500 new jobs are expected to be added in the market every year. Thus, for the next 10 years, Amazon will boost employment every year about 17 to 28 percent in the Washington, D.C. area.

Construction Nationally, housing starts have increased over the last eight years. NAR estimates that construction around the country will rise 12 percent in 2020. In Montgomery County, permitting increased 19 percent between 2017 and 2018. However, in the District of Columbia, the number of total permits dropped 24 percent during the same period. Construction is still lagging in both counties. It seems that housing production cannot keep up with population and employment growth. For instance, the population in the District of Columbia grew about 16 percent between 2010 and 2018, compared to 6 percent nationwide. In Montgomery County, population increased 8 percent over the same period. Moreover, vacancy rates are low in both counties (10 percent in the District of Columbia and 6 percent in Montgomery County) compared to the national level (12 percent) as a result of housing underproduction. Thus, an additional 25,000 jobs over the next decade as a result of the Amazon effect, coupled with the additional 50,000 to 100,000 jobs (due to the multiplier impact), will add new challenges in these counties as well.

Mortgage market Mortgage rates have been declining in the first two weeks of 2020. Thus, homebuyers can benefit from lower rates. They should bear in mind that, back in 1982, the rate was over 17 percent for more than a year. Historically, the average mortgage rate dating back to 1972 is 8 percent. Therefore, rates are still historically low. Looking ahead, NAR is forecasting the 30-year fixed rate mortgage to average 3.8 percent for 2020. How can homebuyers benefit from these lower rates in the District of Columbia and Montgomery County? Comparing the monthly payment at 3.5 percent and 4.0 percent rates, homebuyers in the area will pay $140 less on average every month for their payment at a 3.5 percent rate in these counties.

Real estate activity Nationwide, the National Association of REALTORS® forecasts that home sales will increase 4 percent in 2020. Since employment in both the District of Columbia and Montgomery County is growing faster than nationwide, these two markets are expected to outperform. Every year, transactions and prices tend to be above-trend in the summer while activity typically slows down in the winter. The number of home sales actually increases significantly in the spring season. Nationwide, sales activity between February and March typically increases by 34 percent while prices rise by 3 percent. Therefore, the months ahead will be a busy period for REALTORS®. All in all, the combination of strong employment growth and limited housing supply is expected to push up home prices and decrease affordability in the Washington, D.C. area. How the factors above affect the local housing market in 2020 will be worth watching in the months ahead.








For many buyers and sellers, the home inspection step can be a daunting one— and they may have questions for you! Can a home inspector tell them whether to make the purchase? Do they have to read the report? What if the inspector refuses to go on the roof? And what if they disagree with what the inspector has to say? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, never fear! Home inspection professionals weighed in on how best to help your clients through the process.


he main thing that buyers need to know is that we have their best interests at heart,” says Jim Johnston, Owner of All Around Inspections. “We look for major defects in a house—but we find numerous minor issues in the process.”

Alan encourages buyers to put themselves in a seller’s shoes when it comes to things like outdated appliances. “Is the issue urgent, or is it just cosmetic? Is the broken window going to let winter air in, or is it just unattractive? If you were the seller, would you have paid to fix this?” he urges buyers to ask themselves.

“The home inspection is designed to give the buyer a good understanding of the overall condition of the property, the types of expenses they are likely to incur moving forward, and how to maintain their new home,” say Lexy Krause and Michelle Hopkin of ProTec Inspection Services.

The pros say it’s helpful for a buyer to be present for the inspection. “I prefer to have the buyer present so I can talk about aspects of the inspection that might not make it into the report, such as maintenance issues and possible improvements,” says Jim. “This is a visual inspection and we can’t see hidden defects, but we do know when something doesn’t look right.”

It’s important that buyers are realistic with expectations, says Alan Beal, President of Mid-Atlantic Inspections. “It’s like buying a classic car,” he says. “A baby-blue 1955 T-bird won’t have seatbelts or air conditioner. So don’t expect a house built in 1955 to have all the amenities of a modern one.” Jim agrees: “Older houses tend to have more minor issues than new houses. Older houses won’t be up to today’s codes, and our standard is, ‘Does it work as intended?’” 14 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — Spring 2020

“There’s a lot of information conveyed verbally during the inspection that doesn’t make it into the report,” confirms Alan. This is also a great opportunity to ask an inspector in-depth questions about the home without the seller being present. “By not attending the inspection, the buyer will miss out on a wealth of knowledge the inspector can offer regarding maintenance tips, prioritizing projects, and

alternative solutions they may not have considered,” says the ProTec team. “Most people find it to be a fun experience!”

So how should your client choose a home inspector? In many cases, you get what you pay for.

Even if a buyer has waived the inspection contingency, that doesn’t mean they can’t have an inspection.

“The cost of the inspection is generally a reflection on the quality of the inspection. Good inspectors go through extensive additional training far above the basic licensing requirements and minimum standards of practice that most inspectors follow,” say Lexy and Michelle from the ProTec team.

“People will say ‘this deal is as-is,’ but an inspection helps define that ‘is,’” says Alan. New construction, flips, and condos also still need to be inspected; a county inspector isn’t going to be looking for the same kinds of issues. And sellers, take note: If you’ve been meaning to fix something, now is the time! “Replace lightbulbs,” Alan advises; buyers will frequently interpret a burned-out bulb as a greater electrical issue. “Clean the gutters once a quarter—almost all water problems in basements have to do with poor roof water management. Don’t light scented candles or use plug-in air fresheners; if there’s an odor, fix that. And make sure your sump pump is working.” The ProTec team says one of the biggest mistakes a seller can make is not getting a pre-listing inspection: “The pre-listing inspection will allow you to get a feel for what will come up on a buyer’s home inspection and devise a strategy with your real estate agent on how to deal with it.” “Concerns about an old roof or HVAC system can be headed off by providing a roof or HVAC certification. The seller should also hire a handyman to get as many of the minor repairs and cosmetic issues fixed as possible to avoid the appearance of a poorly maintained home,” says the ProTec team. All of the experts say that sellers should make sure the paths are clear to service panels, HVAC systems, and crawl space access points. Once the inspection is complete, say the pros, actually read the report! “Buyers shouldn’t ignore items that are brought up in a home inspection. Deferred maintenance almost always leaves a costly repair,” says Alan. Meanwhile, if a seller disagrees with the inspection, it’s not the end of the road. “They should get a written second opinion from a qualified licensed contractor who is a specialist in their field,” says the ProTec team. “Documentation is helpful. Just because we find a defect, doesn’t mean that the seller is required to repair it. They may need to get other professional opinions to document the concerns,” says Jim. “The report is a negotiating tool as well as for informational purposes.”

“A cheap home inspection may end up being the most expensive thing you will ever buy. It could cost you thousands of dollars in the long run due to obvious defects being overlooked by an inexperienced inspector,” they continue. Alan says it’s helpful if the inspector has construction experience, and if they’re a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors. He advises asking inspectors for sample reports to see if their communication style is compatible with the client’s. Plus, he advises, ask them if they go on the roof! “For some reason, most inspectors don’t,” he says. “It’s not a requirement. But if you overlook a problem, it’s going to be in the place you didn’t go.” At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that home inspectors aren’t miracle workers. “Home inspectors can’t see behind walls; we don’t necessarily use specialized gauges and equipment,” says Jim. “We don’t turn on shutoff valves or light gas-fired equipment.” “Home inspectors aren’t deal killers,” says Alan. “There’s no pass/fail, no grades, and no ‘scores.’” He says buyers often ask him “Would you buy this house?” But that’s not a question he can answer. “Some buyers are under the impression the home inspector will give them a complete list of house defects and eliminate any future problems from cropping up after they move in,” say the ProTec team members. “The inspector looks for the visible major expenses and safety concerns that exist at the time of the inspection and the types of concerns and expenses a buyer can expect moving forward.” “No home inspector is able to warrant against current or future defects.”

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Set the Stage for Spring Spring is just around the corner, which means now is the perfect time to start thinking about how to make your clients’ homes look their best for potential buyers. Good staging can make a world of difference—and the pros are here to help.


f you’re a little short on time, says Vivian Gilbert, Principal at Home Staging by Vivian, do your best to create as much space as possible without emptying the room entirely.

“If there are extra side tables with knick-knacks or chairs, you’ll want to remove those,” she says. “But leave something to give buyers a sense of how big the room is.” “Most buyers don’t have a visual concept of size,” she says, so giving them some cues with a few furniture pieces will help them envision the layout. Monica Murphy, Owner of Preferred Staging, agrees. “The first step in decluttering is to remove any furniture items that really aren’t needed in a space, especially small items like extra accent chairs or small accent tables. If these items cannot be purposefully used in another area of the house, then they need to be stored away,” she says. “The next decluttering step is to address surface areas in the house,” Monica says. “Start by removing those items that are personal, political, or religious. The last two on that list are self-explanatory, but the first can sometimes throw people off. ‘Personal items’ basically refers to anything with your name on it like diplomas, awards, and family pictures, or items that are of a very unique or personal nature.” “The goal is for the buyer to envision their family already living in the house, not for them to get to know the family who already lives there.”

Monica continues, “This is also the time to pack up your treasures, which I define as those things that are of high sentimental or financial value to the homeowner. That collection of beer steins in the basement or figurines in the living room are also things that should be either pared down or packed up completely.” Vivian notes, however, that doesn’t mean you should take all art off the walls. “Bare walls can seem sterile and give buyers the impression no one lives there,” she says. Plus, you can use dominant colors in art to create “flow” through color—a blue painting in the dining room can echo a blue pillow in the living room, blue glassware in the kitchen, and blue decorative soap in the bathroom. She also advises making sure the pathways through each room are clear. “You don’t want to put the back of a sofa facing the entrance,” she says. Monica agrees, adding that showcasing the back of furniture in a listing photo “acts as a visual stop sign and doesn’t allow people to see the entire room.” “If you have a bit more time, then you can go a bit further with the decluttering and not just focus on those areas that will make the best first impressions. You can start to take into account how people are going to move through and live in the space and the lifestyle that is being sold. You can also start to address some bigger projects, like a fresh coat of paint.” “Keep in mind that now is really not the time to start major renovation projects, but sometimes there are things that need to be updated,” Monica continues. “I see this often in bathrooms that have old and sometimes rusted light fixtures; an on-trend light fixture can breathe some new life into the space and replacing it is not an expensive or time-consuming project.” More time will also allow for things like the purchase of a few small items that will help the house to sell: “Whenever we’re working with an occupied

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“Everyone thinks they have to clear out everything! You want a few accessories.”

“We want to show there’s space in the house with room to grow.” VIVIAN GILBERT MONICA MURPHY

listing, we always work with what the homeowner already has; however, we often find that sometimes a new comforter set for the master bedroom, a set of new towels, or two new lamps for the living room can really freshen up these rooms, and the items’ purchases can be used in the homeowners’ next house, so they’re really an investment in getting the current house sold.” Storage is important too, Monica says: Don’t just move the clutter behind a closed door! “Once surface items are pared down, then it’s time to go through the storage spaces of the house— closets, cupboards, vanities, pantry and bookshelves—and make sure each of these areas is only two-thirds full, which leaves just enough open or empty space to show that these areas aren’t overstuffed.” “We don’t want a prospective buyer to open a closet and think, ‘If there’s no room for their stuff, there won’t be any room for my stuff,’ and then cross the house off their list for not having enough space,” she continues. But don’t declutter too much. That’s one of the most common mistakes, say the experts. “Everyone thinks they have to clear out everything!” says Vivian. “You want a few accessories, but not too many.” “I’ve had clients who have decluttered to the point of virtually emptying their house—they removed all tabletop and countertop items, all art, and even gave away some of the older furniture they weren’t going to take with them to their new home,” says Monica. “The problem in this situation is that they basically removed everything that gave their house its charm and warm, welcoming feeling.” “We don’t want to empty a house, but we do want to show there’s space in the house with room to grow,” she says. The next thing to focus on, Monica says, is a deep cleaning, with extra attention paid to the bathroom and kitchens. “Replace items that can make

a big impact on listing photos and in-person visits, such as shower curtains (plain white always works), old bath towels (again, white or cream is best), well-worn comforter sets and bed pillows, and throw pillows that no longer hold their shape,” she suggests. Both Monica and Vivian emphasize the importance of an abundance of light, either natural or with the highest wattage possible in light fixtures. “Buyers feel better if there is more light,” Vivian says. “But stay away from fluorescent bulbs.” And don’t forget curb appeal! “Honestly, what’s important is what a buyer sees when they first pull up to the house and when they first walk in,” Vivian says. “It might not even be conscious, but it contributes to that gut feeling of how they feel about the house.” Monica and Vivian advise teaming up with a stager who can help maximize the benefit of the staging process for your clients’ individual homes. “A consultation is a very cost-effective way of making the home look its best,” says Vivian. “A stager will go through and see how it all fits together.” “Anytime someone with less experience can team up with someone who is willing to show them the ropes is always a good thing. Ultimately, though, the best person to work with is a professional stager,” says Monica. At the end of the day, don’t wait, say the stagers. “The sooner you start, the better the results. Getting a house ready for the market takes a lot of effort, and a lot of sellers may not know where to start or feel overwhelmed with all that needs to be done to present their house in the best possible manner to appeal to the most people,” says Monica. “It’s best to come up with a plan of action with a priority list, and make sure the homeowner is on board.” “Living in a staged home can be a bit inconvenient, but the payoff in the end is worth it,” she says.

CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — Spring 2020 17

<xx< Montgomery County’s Sign Ordinance:

What You Need to Know May flowers aren’t the only thing popping up this spring; real estate signs will be on full display as the winter months melt away. As you gear up for our industry’s busiest season, it’s a great time to refresh your knowledge on Montgomery County’s sign policies. The County Code dedicates Chapter 59 to all zoning ordinances. Included in that chapter is Section 6.7.11, which covers the rules for most real estate-related signage. It says a permit is not required for a limited-duration sign on private property, but any sign placed in the public right-of-way requires a sign permit. The permit must be obtained before a sign is constructed. Signs must be placed in accordance with the details in the approved permit. There are also specific size and shape requirements the sign must adhere to for it to be deemed acceptable. If the sign includes illumination, an electrical permit must be obtained under the rules, as outlined in Chapter 17 of the County Code. The illuminated sign also must use an enclosed lamp design or indirect lighting from a shielded source; flashing, revolving or intermittent lights are prohibited. To get a sign permit, log on to the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services website——and go through the electronic permit process. In addition to a non-refundable permit fee that must be paid at the time of application, the process includes submitting the sign plan with the size, dimension, location of the sign on the property, and a copy of the sign text. You can also submit photographs of the property indicating where the sign is to be located, as well as drawings and documents about the project. All drawings and documents should be uploaded within five business days of the application’s submission to avoid possible forfeiture of filing fees and withdrawal of the application. The information provided above is for informational purposes only and not to be relied upon as formal legal advice. These sign ordinance guidelines are for most residentially zoned areas of the county. Agricultural and rural zones may have different rules. If you have any questions, it’s recommended you call DPS at 240-777-0311, as well as contacting your broker of record. Information on what must be included on real estate signs can be found by contacting the Maryland Real Estate Commission at 410-230-6230 or

18 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — Spring 2020



Five Fast Facts on

Uh-oh! You’re not the only one who’s more active in the warmer weather. Spring is “termite swarming” season, when the critters start new colonies—and your home might be at risk. Here are five fast facts you need to know about termites, with thanks to Julio Gonzalez from the Greentree Group termite specialists. 1. Termites Snack on More Than Wood. Termites actually feed on almost anything that contains cellulose, the main component of wood—including wood paneling, paper products, cardboard boxes, art canvases, the paper covering of sheet rock, carpeting, etc. While foraging and feeding, they may also tunnel through other materials, such as plastic and foam board. 2. They Look Similar to Ants. Termite swarming usually takes place during the day, particularly on warm days following rain. If you see a swarm indoors, it usually means that you have an infestation of termites somewhere in your house. Several species of ants also swarm at the same times of the year as termites—but you can tell them apart by certain features. If you’re not sure whether you have termites or ants, show them to a pest management professional. 3. You’ll Rarely See Them Out in the Open—But You’ll See Their Tubes! When they’re not tunneling through the soil or other material, termites will travel inside pencil-size (or larger) “mud tubes” that they build from soil, wood particles, and other materials. You can find these tubes on foundation walls, floor joists, wood, or drywall, usually on the lower levels of the house. Although termites are most active in the spring, signs like these can be found year-round.

4. They Can Make Wood Sound “Hollow” When It’s Tapped With the Handle of a Screwdriver. Other signs of termites include soft wood that is easily probed with a knife, or a thin, gritty gray-brown film on the surface of damaged material.

5. You Should Call in the Professionals to Deal With Them. When purchasing a house, it is important to order a termite inspection—which actually inspects for all wood-destroying insects—to determine not only if there is an active termite infestation, but also if there’s evidence of a previous infestation, previous termite damage, or conditions that might lead to future infestations. The initial inspection report should note the findings of the inspection. All annual re-inspection reports should note any changes in the condition of the house, including new construction, modifications, or signs of infestation.

CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — Spring 2020 19

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TAMMY IRBY Samson Properties allows my team and I the freedom to provide our clients with more value, bottom line. My team is a family team, and family values run deep at Samson Properties. We love that! The support we get as agents is second to none, and you can tell that they truly care for us and are invested in our careers. Cardinal Title Group is in-house, so if there are ever any questions, you can go right to the source for answers. I could write paragraphs explaining why you should join the Samson family, but I can’t think of one reason why you shouldn’t!”

ERNIE DILL I joined Samson Properties in June of 2015, leaving a large corporate brokerage to do so. As a significant producer, keeping 100% of my commissions was an enormous plus! Ideas for your growth are prevalent throughout the company—in sales meetings, on the administrative sites, and directly from Samson Family hands-on management. I am honored to recommend this stellar and fast-growing company!”


Before any of us agents came to Samson Properties we asked ourselves if it was really as good as advertised. Truth is, it’s way better. Danny has given us all the framework to build a business as big as we can dream! I feel like I’m a dreamer, but the tools and support Samson Properties continues to add outpace what I could envision. In my near six years with the company, our family has benefited from his kindness, generosity, vision, support, encouragement, and all the tools to build a sustainable and growing business. For that we are forever grateful.”




I’ve been with Samson Properties for almost two years and it’s been absolutely incredible. What you see and hear from Danny Samson is exactly what the company is all about. Agents gain respect; we are respected for what we do, and there’s more support than you could ever need. I was with another company for 32 years, so it was a hard decision to make, but it was the best move I’ve ever made.”


Samson is amenity rich for agents selling at all levels of production. The brokerage is unabashedly agent centric and their vision has brought them to the forefront of regional real estate brokerages which operate for the benefit of the agent not the company. With 21 offices, training 6 days a week, a Social Media Manager, etc., you can take the net commission split paid to your former broker and use that money to market and develop more business at Samson!”



bright MLS <xx<

Top Five Questions:

Bright’s Off-MLS Policy

As the spring season picks up, the Bright Off-MLS policy is on many brokers’ and agents’ minds. We’ve compiled some top questions and information to help you better understand the policy and prepare for your spring listings. What is the policy? Within one business day of marketing a property to the public, the Participant must submit the listing to Bright MLS for cooperation with other Bright MLS Participants. Public marketing includes—but is not limited to—flyers displayed in windows, yard signs, digital marketing on public-facing websites, brokerage website displays (including IDX and VOW), digital communications marketing (such as email blasts), multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, and applications available to the general public.

Why was the policy created? The policy was created to provide sellers with access to the largest possible group of buyers, and buyers with the widest possible section of listings, by eliminating the practice of Off-MLS or Pocket listings. Off-MLS or Pocket listings are listings that are marketed and sold outside of the MLS system. These listings go against the cooperative nature of the MLS and challenge the tenets of Fair Housing.

Does this mean I can’t pre-market a property? If you would like to pre-market your upcoming listing, use the Bright Coming Soon status. You can publicly market the listing in this status. The listing cannot be available for showings.

Can I still have an Office Exclusive listing? If your client does not want the listing in the MLS for privacy reasons, Office Exclusive listings are permitted with a signed waiver of cooperation. Public marketing is not permitted for Office Exclusive listings.

Are there any exemptions? Commercial listings are exempt from the Off-MLS policy due to the unique nature of these listings.

New constructions and rentals are not exempt.


Through extensive discussions with brokers and agents, our Board of Directors has decided to expand the policy to include new construction and rentals in order to ensure the principles of fair housing, cooperation, and compensation are being adhered to across the spectrum of listings entered into Bright. Technical changes are being made to allow new construction properties to remain in the Coming Soon status for an unlimited amount of time until showings begin, or there is a Certificate of Occupancy or similar permit obtained. No warnings or fines will be sent on these listings until these technical changes are live in early February. New construction includes all newly built homes. Condo conversions and major renovations where there is no current Certificate of Occupancy are considered similar to new construction and will also have the option for unlimited time in Coming Soon. Rentals include all properties available for rent that are zoned for residential use. Vacation or seasonal rentals are not considered part of the policy. Want to learn more? Visit for articles, videos, FAQs and more. 22 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — Spring 2020

Off-MLS Policy: Four Ways To Be in Compliance The Bright Off-MLS policy states that all listings must be entered into the MLS within one business day of public marketing. The policy was created to eliminate Off-MLS or Pocket listings, which are listings marketed and sold outside of the MLS system. They go against the cooperative nature of the MLS and challenge the tenets of Fair Housing. We know that most agents are doing everything they can to adhere to the policy, so here are four ways to follow the policy and avoid a fine.

1. Enter your listing into the MLS within one business day of publicly

marketing the property. You can market your listing as much as you want. The listing just needs to be entered into the MLS within one business day of that marketing. If the property is not quite ready for showings, you can enter the listing in the Coming Soon status.

2. Check your email and promptly respond to any warnings or

requests for information from the Accuracy and Policy Team. If you do something that you didn’t know violated the Off-MLS Policy, the Accuracy and Policy Team will reach out and let you know. By promptly responding and entering the listing into the MLS, you will avoid any further warnings or fines.

3. Contact the Accuracy and Policy Team as soon as possible if

you missed the warning. If you miss the warning, there is still a process to explain what happened and appeal the fine. The key is not to delay. Begin the appeals process, and if you’re uncertain of any of the steps, email

4. Sign up for training. Understanding the policy is key to avoiding

a fine. Our training team is answering questions and sharing all of the details surrounding the policy during the Off-MLS Policy Explained webinar. Register to attend or watch a recorded version at

The best way to avoid a fine is to follow the policy. If you want to post a coming soon picture on social media to generate buzz or put a sign on the front lawn, you just need to enter the listing into the MLS.

Want to learn more?

Visit for articles, videos, FAQs, and more.

CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — Spring 2020 23


Listen In: Real Talk With GCAAR GCAAR’s new podcast, Real Talk With GCAAR, explores a wide variety of topics—including conducting business more efficiently, navigating the home-buying and selling-process, real-life success stories, avoiding pitfalls, adhering to rules and regulations, and much more! Real Talk is produced by GCAAR members, for GCAAR members—and real estate professional colleagues everywhere. Episodes are released every other Monday morning on, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, and Spotify. Each one is a quick dive into an important topic in the real estate world. As a 12,000-member association, GCAAR has a wealth of knowledge among its membership. On the show, GCAAR members lend their expertise to the program as we help unravel important questions from the listing to the closing table and everything in between.

Intrigued? Here’s a sneak preview of the first few episodes.

Episode 1: Selling to Millennials Real Talk With GCAAR opens with REALTOR® and GCAAR Board member Harrison Beacher, who shares insights on working with millennial buyers and sellers in the D.C. metro area.

Episode 2: Breathe: Smoke Detectors, Carbon Monoxide, and Radon In this episode, we talk with Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein, who shares ways to keep your home safe and discusses the new smoke detector law in Montgomery County, which GCAAR was instrumental in helping to pass.

Episode 3: Cover Your Asset: Properly Insuring One of Your Greatest Investments Managing risk and protecting yourself and your client is one of the most important parts of being a real estate professional. REALTOR® Christina Koch-Garcia talks with Bryan Aguirre of Capital Insurance Partners about the importance of being properly and adequately insured.

Episode 4: 10 Ways to Get More Business Developing new strategies to create new business for yourself and your team can be a tall order. Tune in as REALTORS® Christina Koch-Garcia and Daniel Goldstein engage in a lively roundtable session about ways to generate more business.

Episode 5: Explaining the 2018 Tax Reform Legislation GCAAR instructor Linda de Marlor, founder and owner of Tax-Masters, Inc., dissects the recent changes in the tax code from the 2018 passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and explains how it will impact you both personally and professionally.

24 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — Spring 2020

Episode 6: Agent Value: Defining and Validating the Benefit of Your Services In 2020, with a growing number of online listing websites, it is more important than ever to be able to define your value as an agent. So how do you validate the benefit of your professional services? Listen to REALTOR® Cynthia Press discuss ways to define the value you bring to your clients. Upcoming episodes include Fair Housing, Mold and Its Effect on Real Estate, D.C.’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, Working With Hoarder Homes, and more. Subscribe, rate, review, and stay tuned for more Real Talk With GCAAR! If you have any topic ideas or suggestions for the show send them to us at


GCAAR happenings YPN Tacky Sweater Party GCAAR’s Young Professionals Network (YPN) hosted its Annual Tacky Sweater Party at Hawthorne’s in Washington, D.C. Roughly 50 members showed up dressed in their best costumes to celebrate the beginning of the holidays.

GCAAR Legislative Breakfast More than 100 GCAAR members joined GCAAR to hear from our county’s local, state, and congressional legislators. These members had the opportunity to share their thoughts and learn about important issues happening in the county.

Photo credit Montgomery County PIO – Clark Day CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — Spring 2020 25

<xx<public policy District of Columbia REALTORS® Testify at Monumental D.C. Rent Control Hearing The DC Association of REALTORS® (DCAR) testified at a recent hearing on a bill that would renew rent control in the District, stating that the policy should not be expanded. Those in favor of the policy argued that current rent control policies should be expanded to include those who own fewer than five units, amongst other changes. By contrast, DCAR proposed a five-year extension of current rent control policies, as well as the creation of a task force that would collect data and suggest alternate solutions to the affordable housing problem in the city. This issue is expected to gain significant traction in the next few months, as the current policies are set to expire at the end of 2020. DCAR will remain at the table representing the interests of small housing providers as the issue moves forward.

Montgomery County and Maryland 2019 GCAAR President Koki Adasi Testifies Against New Tax Legislation On December 3, 2019, GCAAR President Koki Adasi testified at the Montgomery County Council against Bill 34-19, Development Impact Taxes—Affordable Housing. If passed, Bill 34-19 would apply a new impact tax and a new excise tax on a teardown property where 51% or more of the structure is demolished. The testimony points out flaws behind the legislation, including how much revenue the taxes would bring in. GCAAR has objected to the categorization of taxation on teardowns as a “loophole” that needs closing. Bethesda Magazine covered the public hearing, citing GCAAR’s opposition: Koki Adasi, representing the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS®, said teardown homes were deliberately left untaxed because they didn’t require additional infrastructure. “What this goal seems to miss is that the playing field was tiered specifically to address each type of housing and its impact, then tax them appropriately,” Adasi said. The legislation now moves to the Council’s Government Operations (GO) Committee. The GO Committee will hold a work session to discuss the bill for further review. GCAAR will continue to keep our members updated on this important issue.

Montgomery County Accessory Dwelling Unit Rules Now In Effect Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 19-01, adopted on July 23, 2019, went into effect on Tuesday, December 31, 2019. The ZTA eased many of the County’s requirements for accessory apartments (sometimes referred to as accessory dwelling units, or ADUs). GCAAR supported the legislation and worked to move it forward. Allowing more ADUs and removing some of the permitting hurdles will add to the limited affordable housing stock in the area, as well as provide an additional revenue source for homeowners. GCAAR also made sure to advocate for more enforcement to ensure a smooth transition and to keep in mind the impacts these may have on already density-burdened areas. While this law applies countywide, many of the county’s municipalities abide by their own zoning codes and therefore operate with different registration guidelines. Any property owner located in one of Montgomery County’s municipalities who is interested in ADU policy should check with their city/town governing body. Units previously licensed with DHCA as an “accessory apartment” will be reclassified as an ADU. Residents can find information regarding the guidelines for the new ADU rules on the County’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) website - - or call 240-777-0311.

26 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — Spring 2020


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economic outlook & forecast By Nadia Evangelou, NAR Research

Who’s Buying and Selling Homes in the D.C. Area?


ationwide, a typical home buyer is 47 years old and earns $93,200 a year, while a typical home seller is 57 years old, with a median household income of $102,900, according to the 2019 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Based on the survey, first-time buyers made up 33 percent of all home buyers— the same percentage as last year. Low inventory, weak affordability, and student debt are factors that make it more difficult for some people to buy a home.

How does the Washington, D.C. area compare to these national figures? We took a closer look at the housing market in both the District of Columbia and Montgomery County.

Buyers Millennials—or buyers between the ages of 22 and 40—made up the largest group of home buyers in the District. Specifically, 53 percent of all home buyers in D.C. were millennials; 34 percent of Montgomery County home buyers were millennials. Typical buyers in the District are younger, earn about $15,000 more, and are more likely to be unmarried compared to buyers in Montgomery County. That said, only 12 percent of D.C. transactions were all-cash, while all-cash transactions accounted for 20 percent of those in Montgomery County. Since housing is more expensive in the District, there are fewer buyers who are able to purchase their home without financing.

28 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — Spring 2020

Regarding purchase characteristics, we found that buyers in the District buy more expensive and smaller homes than buyers in Montgomery County. The median home value was $635,000 in the District compared to $494,000 in Montgomery County. Data shows that a typical buyer in the District typically purchases a two-bedroom home, while Montgomery County buyers typically purchase a three-bedroom home. It is true that these two areas have very different housing inventories. Based on the sales distribution by home type, 16 percent of homes that sold in D.C. last year were detached single-family homes, 35 percent were townhomes and 48 percent were apartments. Meanwhile, in Montgomery County, 55 percent of the sales were detached single-family homes, 21 percent were townhomes, and 24 percent were apartments. Thus, the size of a typical home for sale in the District was about 1,600 square feet compared to 2,300 square feet in Montgomery County.

“Potential Sellers” Data from the American Community Survey shows that the median duration of homeownership in the United States was 13 years in 2018. But homeowners in some areas move more frequently than those in the rest of the country. Owners in the District of Columbia typically stay in their home for 11 years; those in Montgomery County generally stay for 13. Thus, owners who purchased their homes about a decade ago are expected to put their homes on the market in the near future. Let’s name these owners “potential sellers” and take a closer look at their characteristics. These “potential sellers” are typically 51 years old in D.C. and 54 years old in Montgomery County. In the District, “potential sellers” earn about $145,000 annually, compared to $154,000 in Montgomery County. The median value of their homes was $650,000 in the District and $490,000 in Montgomery County. While home prices continue to rise in both counties, these “potential sellers” have already built up some equity from price appreciation. For instance, in the District of Columbia, where home prices increased 27 percent in the last 11 years, 15 percent of these “potential sellers” don’t have any mortgage or similar debt. This means that these mortgage-free owners can fully benefit from the price appreciation of their properties.



COACH’S <xx< CORNER Helping Your Seller Manage


elling real estate is stressful—there’s no way around it. But as real estate agents, we can work to minimize that stress on behalf of our clients. The recent Zillow Group 2019 Consumer Housing Trends Report found that 95 percent of home sellers are stressed by some aspect of the process. According to the report, one of the most common stressors was whether a seller’s home would sell for their desired price.

This is where you come in. One way to decrease this major stressor is getting the price right. This is easier said than done, because pricing is not an exact science. The seller needs to understand that buyers have access to information. When looking for a home, the buyer has done their research, and they know the price points for various neighborhoods. Serious buyers may not even look at an overpriced property, let alone write an offer—and then there’s the stress of waiting for the property to appraise. When pricing a property, agents do the best they can with the data that is available. We only know if we got the price right when it hits the market, because the market sets the price. Not the seller, not the agent—the market. If a property sits on the market for months, it’s probably priced too high. But when a property gets lots of showings and multiple offers, it was priced within the appropriate range. Pricing a property based solely on the desires of the seller is not wise. When confronted with a seller who wants an unrealistic price, you have a decision to make. Do you want to spend time and energy marketing an overpriced listing, do you want to build in a price reduction after a certain period of time, or do you want to walk away? Make the choice, and stick with it. At the listing appointment, don’t just be “happy to be there.” This means, don’t accept whatever the seller says just so you get the listing. The listing appointment is your opportunity to manage the expectations of the seller. Managing expectations helps to manage stress—and reducing their stress can make for a better transaction.

CANDY MILES-CROCKER “The Real-Life REALTOR®,“ coaches, mentors, and trains new and experienced real estate agents to transform their business by mastering her proven systems for success. She is a firm believer in managing expectations and her goal is to elevate the perception of real estate agents among the general public through education so every client has an amazing real estate experience. Candy’s unique training methods have shown agents what it takes to be successful! Inman News selected Candy as one of the Top 25 Real Estate Coaches in 2016. Learn more at 30 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — Spring 2020




Legal Hotline

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

32 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — Spring 2020

QUESTION: If attorneys in D.C. act as their own buyer’s agent in a real estate sales transaction, are they then also entitled to the buyer’s agency fee, or is that fee only available to licensed D.C. real estate brokers and salespersons? ANSWER: Generally, only a licensed D.C. real estate broker or salesperson may collect a commission for real estate services. However, a D.C. attorney acting in the ordinary practice of their profession is exempt from the licensing law and thus may collect a commission. The text of the exemption, which is contained in DCMR 17-2624.3(a): is as follows: Persons acting in the following capacities are exempt from the licensing requirements of this chapter: (a) Receivers, referees, administrators, executors, guardians, conservators, trustees, or other persons appointed or acting under the judgment or order of any court while acting in that capacity, or attorneys-at-law in the ordinary practice of their profession. Therefore, an attorney licensed to practice law in D.C. who provides real estate services in the ordinary course of their profession may collect a commission for those services.

QUESTION: We have a client who is listing a property on behalf of a revocable trust (the principals have deceased). How is the seller best reflected in our listing agreement and on the subsequent sales contract, and how do we reflect the authorized agent to facilitate signatures on behalf of the trust? ANSWER: The seller will be the trust, so you should insert the name of the trust in the appropriate places. Who is authorized to sign on behalf of the trust, now that the principals/settlors have passed, will be determined by the trust. The trust should appoint successor trustees who will be authorized to act on behalf of the trust. You will need to obtain a copy of the trust. QUESTION: Can you please clarify the “First-time Homebuyer in Maryland” program? My client was a co-owner on a property prior to 2010. They are now purchasing a home as primary owner. They haven’t owned a property in three years. ANSWER: As set forth in the Montgomery County Jurisdictional Addendum (GCAAR Form #1312) a buyer is a first-time Maryland homebuyer if: (a) Buyer has never owned residential real property in Maryland that has been the individual’s principal residence; AND (b) The Property will be occupied as a principal residence; OR (a) The buyer is a Co-Maker or Guarantor of a mortgage or Deed of Trust to be secured by the Property AND the Co-Maker or Guarantor will NOT occupy the Property as a principal residence.

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.



<xx< Realtor Party ®

Thank You to Our 2020 Major and Large RPAC Investors

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REALTOR® Party The REALTOR® Party has utilized RPAC to protect the real estate industry and advance the REALTOR® brand. Over the last five years, our work has contributed to convincing Congress to remove the use of guaranteed fees as a financing mechanism for programs other than supporting the GSEs; supporting the creation of provisions that allow REALTORS® to deduct 20 percent of their qualified business income; and winning final rules from the U.S. Department of Labor enabling independent contractors to join association health plans. At the state level, Maryland REALTORS® have fought to keep industry professionalism at the forefront of their legislative agenda and DC REALTORS® have succeeded in allowing for a single-family exemption from the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA). Locally, in Montgomery County we have worked to expand our affordable housing stock and keep burdensome sales contract disclosure from expanding. Though we have had many successes, the next one will only come with support from REALTOR® and Affiliate members like you!

Make the investment today! Invest online at: 34 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — Spring 2020

Designations and Certifications Look to GCAAR Education in 2020 to start on your path to success in real estate. Designations and certifications are an excellent ways to enhance your professionalism and increase your skills, proficiency, and knowledge in the field of real estate.

NAR Family Designations Accredited Buyer’s Representative / ABR® The Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation is designed for real estate buyer agents who focus on working directly with buyer-clients at every stage of the home-buying process. Certified International Property Specialist / CIPS Instantly align yourself with the best in international real estate by earning the CIPS designation. The designation requires completion of five full-day courses focusing on the critical aspects of international real estate transactions. CIPS designees are connected to an influential network of more than 3,500 professionals who turn to each other first when looking for referral partners. 5-Day CIPS Institute, October 5 – 9, 2020, GCAAR Rockville

Certified Residential Specialist / CRS The CRS designation is the highest credential awarded to residential sales agents, managers, and brokers. On average, CRS designees earn nearly three times more in income, transactions, and gross sales than non-designee REALTORS®. Graduate, REALTOR® Institute / GRI REALTORS® with the GRI designation have in-depth training in legal and regulatory issues, technology, professional standards, and the sales process. Earning the designation is a way to stand out to prospective buyers and sellers as a professional with expertise in these areas.

NAR Family Certifications Military Relocation Professional / MRP NAR’s Military Relocation Professional certification focuses on educating real estate professionals about working with current and former military service members to find housing solutions that best suit their needs and take full advantage of military benefits and support. 1-Day MRP Designation Course, November 6, 2020, GCAAR Rockville

Pricing Strategy Advisor / PSA Enhance your skills in pricing properties, creating CMAs, working with appraisers, and guiding clients through the anxieties and misperceptions they often have about home values with NAR’s Pricing Strategy Advisor certification. The National Association of REALTORS® and its affiliated Institutes, Societies, and Councils offer many other designations and certifications. If you would like to learn about other NAR Family Designations & Certifications, please visit

CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — Spring 2020 35

Education <xx< Calendar FEBRUARy Monday, February 24, 2020

Maryland Fair Housing

CEU: 1.5 required for MD, 1.5 elective for DC Instructor: Jill Malloy Time: 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom Monday, February 24, 2020

Maryland Legislative Update CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Jill Malloy Time: 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom Tuesday, February 25, 2020

New Member Orientation CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Ned Rich Time: 10:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Maryland Code of Ethics and Predatory Lending

CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Ned Rich Time: 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Understanding Credit Reports CEU: 3.0 elective for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Chanin Wisler Time: 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom Saturday, February 29, 2020

Maryland Legislative Update CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Thom Brockett Time: 8:30 - 11:30 a.m. Location: Rockville Classroom

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Maryland Fair Housing

CEU: 1.5 required for MD, 1.5 elective for DC Instructor: Thom Brockett Time: 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom

MREC Brokerage Relationships and Disclosure CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Kevin Bayly Time: 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Location: DC Classroom

Saturday, February 29, 2020

MREC Brokerage Relationships and Disclosure

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Monday, March 2, 2020

Saturday, March 14, 2020

CEU: 3.0 elective for MD, 3.0 elective for DC, 3.0 elective for VA Instructor: Dan Deist Time: 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom

CEU: 3.0 required for DC Instructor: Mary Chieppa Time: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom

CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Thom Brockett Time: 2:30 - 5:30 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom

Home Inspections

Mortgage Basics

CEU: 3.0 elective for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Amy Goldstein Time: 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom

DC Fair Housing

Saturday, March 14, 2020 Monday, March 2, 2020

Maryland REALTORS® Residential Contract of Sale CEU: 3.0 elective for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: James Savitz Time: 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom Friday, March 6, 2020

Maryland Fair Housing CEU: 1.5 required for MD, 1.5 elective for DC Instructor: Lisa Bosse Time: 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. Location: DC Classroom Saturday, March 7, 2020

New Member Orientation CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Sandra Stewart Time: 8:30 - 10:00 a.m. Location: DC Classroom Saturday, March 7, 2020

Maryland Code of Ethics and Predatory Lending CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Sandra Stewart Time: 10:15 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. Location: DC Classroom

36 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — Spring 2020

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

DC Law Exam Prep

CEU: non-CE Instructor: Mary Chieppa Time: 12:45 - 3:45 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom Wednesday, March 18, 2020

New Member Orientation CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Dana Hollish Hill Time: 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Maryland Code of Ethics and Predatory Lending CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Dana Hollish Hill Time: 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom Friday, March 20, 2020

MREC Required Supervision CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Bob Pettis Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Thursday, April 16, 2020

CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Tara Houston Time: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom

CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Dana Hollish Hill Time: 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom

Maryland Legislative Update

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Maryland Fair Housing

CEU: 1.5 required for MD, 1.5 elective for DC Instructor: Tara Houston Time: 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom

New Member Orientation

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Maryland Code of Ethics and Predatory Lending CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Dana Hollish Hill Time: 5:45 - 8:45 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom

Saturday, March 21, 2020

MREC Brokerage Relationships and Disclosure CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Tara Houston Time: 2:30 - 5:30 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom Thursday, March 26, 2020

New Member Orientation CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Thom Brockett Time: 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Location: DC Classroom

Monday, April 27, 2020

New Member Orientation CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Mary Chieppa Time: 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Location: DC Classroom Monday, April 27, 2020

Maryland Code of Ethics and Predatory Lending

Save the Date for REALTOR® Fest! July 6, 2020 Location: Bethesda North Marriott

CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Mary Chieppa Time: 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Location: DC Classroom

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Maryland Code of Ethics and Predatory Lending CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Thom Brockett Time: 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Location: DC Classroom Monday, April 6, 2020

New Member Orientation CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Bob Pettis Time: 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom Monday, April 6, 2020

Maryland Code of Ethics and Predatory Lending

CEU: 3.0 required for MD, 3.0 elective for DC Instructor: Bob Pettis Time: 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Location: Rockville Classroom

New Classes are being added daily. Please visit the GCAAR Education and Events Calendar at: *Location: Rockville Classroom – 15201 Diamondback Drive, Ste 100, Rockville, MD 20850 DC Classroom – 1615 New Hampshire Ave, Suite C-4, Floor 3, Washington, DC 20009 OTG: “On the Go” Classes are held at locations other than GCAAR Classrooms. Please visit to view the location of OTG classes.




NEW MEMBERS November Elliot S. Abrams

Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Gabriele C. Adams TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

James B. Addis Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Sebrin K. Adem RE/MAX Allegiance

Avnish Aggarwal Weichert REALTORS®

Patrice P. Angle TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

Iroda Basitova Keller Williams Capital Properties

David A. Bautista RE/MAX Excellence Realty

Janeth P. Behr

Home4All Realty Inc.

Smadar M. Ben-Atar Maven Real Estate

Biniam Berhe Keller Williams Capital Properties

Marcus D. Blair Keller Williams Capital Properties

Alma A. Blake Structure Realty LLC

Paula Cassell Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Vadsana A. Chanthamixay Coldwell Banker Residential

Hashan H. Chowdhury RE/MAX PROS

Matthew E. Cochran Senate Real Estate Services LLC

WELCOME to the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS®

We are pleased that you have chosen to join our organization. GCAAR is your voice for real estate issues in D.C. 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. Elias L. Cox

Kevin L. Jackson

Andres O. Piedra

NextHome Capital City Realty

Exit Flagship Realty

Veterans Realty Group LLC

Karla G. Cruz

Andrea K. Jenkins

Lonnie G. Plaster

Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Fairfax Realty Elite

Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Idus J. Daniel

Samantha M. Kaufman

Dyanna M. Prater

Keller Williams Capital Property

RE/MAX Fine Living

Theresa R. Kaufman

Paulina G. Proper

Keller Williams Capital Property

Redfin Corporation

John Keister

Alice K. Reed

Century 21 The Real Estate Centre


Ana C. Kloth

Boaz Renard

Keller Williams Realty Centre

Coldwell Banker Residential

Bertha A. Layman

Keshia R. Ridley

Weichert REALTORS®

Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Cecilia E. Ledee

Fredy Rincan

Century 21 New Millennium

Smart Realty LLC

Carolina Lopez Dussan

Oneyda L. Rubio

RE/MAX Realty Services

Heymann Realty LLC

Samantha N. Lowenthal

Edwin A. Sanchez-Elias

Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Weichert REALTORS®

Tiffany A. Lucas

Nicole P. Schreibstein Simon

Samson Properties

Rory S. Coakley Realty Inc.

Raymond Marshall

Gabriela Selva-Steiner

Century 21 Redwood Realty

Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Rachel M. Miller

Jarrod B. Silver

Redfin Corporation


Matthew R. Mitchell

Tae E. Stange

Rory S. Coakley Realty Inc.

Keller Williams Realty Falls

Andre G. Mitchell

Shahrokh Taleghani


Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Hana Munshi

Rocky Tkacz

Keller Williams Capital Properties

Fortney Fine Properties LLC

Akila Nayak

Teresa A. Tolson

eXp Realty LLC

Structure Realty LLC

John A. Parks

Shauna R. Toussaint

Weichert REALTORS®

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty

Coldwell Banker Residential

Nina Daoud Keller Williams Capital Properties

Catalina D. Dumitrache Coldwell Banker Residential

Lyn M. Dyson Exit Deluxe Realty

L’Erin Epps Century 21 Certified Realty Group

Fabiola Flores Carera Carr REALTORS®

Stacie Foreman Express Broker Realty LLC

Sarah Galloway Coldwell Banker Residential

Ann K. Gegelys TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

Petra H. Glimaker-Socolovsky Compass

Ricardo A. Grant Own Real Estate LLC

Michelle L. Guillette Century 21 Redwood Realty

Kawanna L. Gurley Keller Williams Select REALTORS®

Saunvah L. Hamidi Century 21 Redwood Realty

Ahmed S. Helmy Century 21 The Real Estate Centre

John P. Hemler RE/MAX Realty Services

Ronald F. Ibanez RE/MAX Elite Services

Christopher M. Perry Keller Williams Realty Professionals

Jerald J. Trott II Optime Realty LLC

38 CAPITAL AREA REALTOR ® — Spring 2020

April Van Overbeek

Linney A. Figueroa

Abraham B. Maasho

Christopher J. Tynes

Bennett Realty Solutions

Wright Brokerage

Metropol Realty

Keller Williams Capital Properties

Jennifer D. Young

Ilyse Filowitz

Lasheda D. McNeil

Jairzinho A. Tyson

Keller Williams Realty Chantilly Ventures LLC

Coldwell Banker Residential

Keller Williams Capital Properties

Smart Realty LLC

Latoya N. Finney

Ian E. McTiernan

Trequon M. Wallace

Fairfax Realty Elite


David E. Golladay

Reubena C. Acuesta

Margaryta Golovchenko

Weichert REALTORS®

Samuel B. Adewunmi LLC

Tristan J. Alleyne Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Demetrios J. Arvanitis Keller Williams Capital Properties

Niesha A. Backus Keller Williams Realty Centre

Tiruwork A. Belay HomeSmart LLC

Kneegel A. Benjamin eXp Realty LLC

Lois M. Brown Weichert REALTORS®

Karja Carr DC Urban Living LLC

Mark A. Carr RE/MAX West End

Nicole K. Carter Coldwell Banker Residential

Rayna S. Chambers Exit Flagship Realty

Lindsey M. Cochran Compass

Casey L. Davis Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Maria P. Domenge Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Dioscorydes Encarnacion Peralta Senate Real Estate Services LLC

Starr Cummins Essex Nitro Realty

Christian Eustace Samson Properties

The ONE Street Company Weichert REALTORS®

Kevin Goodnight Trident Homes Realty

Maya L. Harris Keller Williams Capital Properties

Mayra X. Hernandez Wright Brokerage

Karissa Huntington Quasar Property Management & Real Estate

Lubna S. Hussain Fairfax Realty Premier

Olufemi Ilori Altruist Realty LLC

Catrina A. Jackson Real Living at Home

Catherine L. Jackson Fairfax Realty Elite

Chengmin Jiang Keller Williams City Wide Realty

Kalid Johnson Realty Executives Premier

Esther W. Karanja The ONE Street Company

Joan V. Leach Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Janice R. Lin Coldwell Banker Residential

Amanda L. Littlepage Compass

Alain Llanos RE/MAX Town Center

Rebecca P. Logan Keller Williams Capital Property

Margot L. Lynn McEnearney Associates Inc.

Nhabit Real Estate Co.

eXp Realty LLC

Kiran G. Mehta

Geri West

Tower Hill Realty

Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Diane H. Mishoe

Antoine D. Woods

Realty Executives Premier

Keller Williams Capital Properties

Natalie D. Moore

Carolyn A. Wright

Coldwell Banker Residential

Keller Williams Capital Properties

Luke P. Nguyen

Yanbei Yao

RE/MAX Town Center

Coldwell Banker Residential

Trent D. Nickels

Omar F. Younes

United Real Estate HomeSource

Yeonas & Shafran RE LLC

Alexandra F. Nicoletti

Jing Yu

Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Samson Properties

Tammy L. Olinger RE/MAX Town Center

Hossana G. Ramirez Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Stefany N. Ramirez Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Gabriel A. Reyes Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Daniel N. Rosales Berstein Wright Brokerage

Mary Ellen Rotondo McEnearney Associates Inc.

Carmelita Sinkler-Pugh Coldwell Banker Residential

Michael Smith Bennett Realty Solutions

Jared I. Soon Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

Jayson A. Stone Keller Williams Capital Properties

Erminia L. Teyes W Realty Services LLC

Glen L. Thomas II Keller Williams Capital Properties

Luise Tudyka Keller Williams Capital Properties





Join the


Independent Brokerage in Maryland 100% commission for $49/month 85% commission for $0/month

100% Commission on 2 Sales – (3% of $300,000) x 2 Monthly Broker Fee (No Agent Transaction Fees)

Your Monthly Income

• Commission paid same day as settlement • Full broker service • Seminars by industry leaders • Open your own branch at no extra cost

$18,000 - $49


• Set your own commission rates • In-House lender and title company • Training/mentoring program • In-House Continuing Education

Office Locations

Annapolis, Bethesda, Silver Spring, Columbia and Bowie (NEW OFFICES)

Licensed in MD, VA, DC and now PENNSYLVANIA Call Today (800) 590-0925

Articles inside

Education Calendar

pages 36-37

Designations and Certifications

page 35

RPAC Investors

page 34

Legal Hotline

pages 32-33

Economic Outlook & Forecast

pages 28-29

Coach’s Corner

pages 30-31

Bright Off-MLS policy

pages 22-23

Listen In: Real Talk With GCAAR

page 24

Public Policy

pages 26-27

REALTOR Toolbox: Fast Facts on Termites

pages 19-21

GCAAR Happenings

page 25

Montgomery County’s Sign Ordinance

page 18

Answers to Your Home Inspection Questions

pages 14-15

From the GCAAR Classroom

page 10


page 8

GCAAR Sponsorship Package

page 9

A Letter From the President

pages 4-5

Get Ready for the Spring Market

pages 12-13

Staging Tips From the Pros

pages 16-17

NAR Director’s Report

page 11
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