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Update Th e

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N o r th e r n

Vi rg i n ia


published by the northern virginia association of realtors®

March/April 2011

Ingenuity & Elbow Grease

Low-Cost Tips



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From Doorknobs to Rubber Ducks, Realtors® Share Their Spruce-Up Secrets


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March/April 2011


Enjoy Great in 2011


Volume 94, Issue 1

2011 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Chairman of the Board:  Karen Trainor Chairman-Elect: Pat Kline, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC Immediate Past Chairman:  Vinh Nguyen, CRB Secretary/Treasurer:  Jon Wolford DIRECTORS-AT-LARGE Bob Adamson, CRS, GRI Julia Avent, ABR, CRS, GRI Tammy Bagnato Robyn Burdett, CDPE, CRS, GRI Chris Call, GAA, IFA, RAA Scott MacDonald Shane McCullar Thai-Hung Nguyen Peter Rickert, ABR, e-PRO, GREEN, ESRES Mario Rubio, CIPS, SRES Trudy Severa, ABR, CRS, GRI, SRES Merlin Smith, ABR, CDPE, GRI, RCC Publisher/CEO: Christine M. Todd, CAE, RCE Editor-In-Chief: Jill M. Landsman Managing Editor: Ann Gutkin Associate Editor: Amy Larrabee Editorial Assistant: Ainsley McDougal Advertising Sales: Tracy Reynolds Graphic Designer: Tricia Chroussis Contributors: Todd Carpenter, Michele Lerner, Lisa Vierse May, Liz Milner, Maggie Mueller-Tyler, Sarah Louppe Petcher, Lisa A. Sturtevant and Michele Yam

Interested in advertising? Please call 703. 207. 3206 for information. The Realtor® UPDATE (ISSN 10988475) is published bi-monthly by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors® as follows: combined issues for January/February, March/April, May/June, July/ August, September/October and November/ December. Periodicals postage paid at Fairfax, VA 22030 and additional mailing offices. Subscriptions account for $19 of each member’s annual dues. Annual subscriptions are available to non-members for $39. Subscription inquiries may be sent to the Realtor® UPDATE at the address below. Copyright 2011 by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors®. All rights reserved. Postmaster: Please send address changes to: Realtor® UPDATE Northern Virginia Association of Realtors® 8407 Pennell Street Fairfax, VA 22031-4601 Telephone: 703. 207. 3200 - FAX: 703. 207. 3268 Web: E-mail: Advertising Info:


By Karen Trainor, 2011 Chairman of the Board


ho doesn’t like a good bargain? In this issue’s cover story on page 24, Michele Lerner offers money-saving ideas that can help your listings shine.

At NVAR, the staff is always looking for ways to help you work smarter by stretching your marketing dollars. I would like to point out some of the no-cost member benefits that come with your NVAR membership. As you know, in 2011 NVAR contracted with Instanet Forms to provide free online fillable forms for all members – with no dues increase! This is a fantastic member benefit that can improve every agent’s efficiency. To help you get the most out of the NVAR facilities, this year brokers are invited to schedule a free office meeting in either the new Fairfax headquarters or the Herndon location. Complimentary beverages are available for your meeting. At your request, our CEO, Christine Todd, will present a market update for your agents. In Fairfax, you can even take a tour to learn about the new facility’s sustainable features. If you’re reading this column, you already know that Update magazine offers a wealth of association and industry news on a bimonthly basis. You can find it online at, too. Free programming is another business-building bonus for NVAR members. In March, members will have the opportunity to attend a free Census data seminar. And at the end of March, NVAR is offering a free Identity Theft Seminar. (See page 41.) These are just two examples of programming designed to give our members excellent value for their membership! And remember – coming up on October 11 is NVAR’s free annual Convention and Trade Show, with a technology focus. (See page 32.) Check regularly for information about all these benefits and more. Also, be sure to read your NVAR News, CareerLink and Town Hall Notes emails, which will keep you informed about the latest soundbites, news and offerings to keep your business headed in the right direction. Help us help you. Let NVAR staff and volunteer leadership know what’s on your mind. Is there programming you’d like to see? Are there services that we can improve? Send an email to, or click on the virtual e-suggestion box link on our home page. Remember: NVAR is at your service! We strive to be more than just a bargain. Our goal is to exceed your expectations.

2011 Chairman of the Board NVAR Realtor® UPDATE

March/April 2011


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in this issue

In This Issue

3 C  hairman of the Board Column: Work Smart, Save Money and Enjoy Success

Features 12 THE BASES ARE LOADED: Is BRAC a Home Run for Realtors®? 16 Market Update: The Important Role of Housing in the Economic Recovery

6 New Members; NVAR Partners 7 NV/RPAC 2011 Contributors List

15 YPN Event Recap: Dispelling Condo Complexities 19 Membership – New SentriLock Products at Your Service 20 legal lines: 2011 Changes to the Code of Ethics Implemented

8 Legislative Trip: NVAR Members Ride to Richmond to Lobby Lawmakers 22 NVAR Trendsetters: Angela Eliopoulos Recognized for 9 Government Affairs: Global Business Success POLITICO Praises RPAC 28 MRIS Compliance: 10 Stats to Know: Simple Dos and Don’ts Home Buyer Comparison 29 Mario Rubio Honored with VHDA Service Award at VAR Event

Ingenuity & Elbow Grease

Low-Cost Tips


to Make Listings


30 Technology Corner: Facebook Friends: Less is Definitely More 33 Fairfax HQ Receives Building of America Award; 2011 Nationwide Open House: June 4-5

34 ASK NVAR: Brokerage Relationship Disclosure; Manufactured Homes in the MLS 35 Agents Need to Know: Property Tax Deductions 36 Your Opinion Counts — Please Share Your Comments; NVAR Online: Registrations & Realtor® Shop Are Now Live 37 NVAR Leadership Day Recap 38 Graham Road Students Tour NVAR HQ 40 Education Calendar 43 Statistics: Q4 Rental 44 NAR Town Hall Meeting: Photos from Live Broadcast @ NVAR

The views expressed in this publication may not reflect NVAR policy, and may be the opinions of the writer or interviewee.


March/April 2011

45 Appraiser & Affiliate Directories 5


new members


elcome New Members

Shahzad Ali

Gerard V. DiRuggiero

Fernando Alvarez Jay Andrews

Teresa A. Kidwell

William B. Rucker

Milton Drewer, III

Jin K. Kim

Brittany L. Salem

Myunghai Eby

Kevin E. King

Liche Sastro

Zeynep Atay-Fader

Jessica L. Evans

Leah M. Knight

Sukhinder S. Sehmbi

Donna Bahrami

T. Woody Evans III

Kristine S. Kozlowski

Jessica Sessions

Hamid Barka

Kevin B. Fennell

Diana H. Kuai

Farzad Shabestari

Nicole R. Bass-Gibbons

Alex Fernandez

Rima Kumar

Kymberly Shade Duffin

Gina Baum

Gabriel O. Fernandez

Benjamin H. Laneave

Mary Sheehan

Mazzaro L. Blanco

Sharmane O. Fernandez

Hee Taek Lee

Rosanne Sheehan

Christina V. Bonfanti

Jonathan P. Ferris

Young Limm

Burin Shinawatra

Sebrina I. Boyce

Joseph M. Fleming

Wang B. Liu

Bhupender S. Sinsunwal

Stephen P. Bray

Svetlana Flewelling

Sophie Lutz

Marianne Sipple

Nickolas A. Brown

Terry W. Freeman

Edson Magallanes

Stephanie M. Sirh

Tracy Brown

Howard R. French


Abolfazl Soroush

Ronald L. Bryan

Blanche G. Garrell

Rosemary Martin

Colleen Sparda

B. Gray Bryan

Qamer Ghumman

Kristy R. Matthai

Jerome Stack

William G. Buck

Darren T. Gibson

Karla Mautz

Terry A. Stevens

Kenneth J. Burris

Frank Gilmore

Carolyn G. McDonald

Jason Stubblefield

Oscar Busch

Allison I. Goldberg

Harry J. McMahon Jr.

Colleen Suarez

Steven Capalbo

Marie A. Golden

Cora B. McManis

Melinda N. Sullivan

Omni Casey

Deepinder S. Grewal

Juana H. Medrano

Tuvshinjargal Sumiya

Ya-Ting Chen

Tracy Griffin

Rachael A. Miller

Kelly Sweitzer

Gang Chen

David R. Grover

Gretchen M. Mitchler

Veronica B. Teate

Christopher T. Chen

Lois R. Hanbury

Leigh A. Monk

Keith L. Thompson

Hannah Choi

Michael P. Hartman

Santos E. Montoya

Kathleen F. Tuthill

Nelson J. Chou

Amanda N. Haven

Kelli J. Moyar

Danilo E. Urrutia-Guevara

Dyana J. Clarke

Charmaine D. Hill

Dusty L. Muhammad

Terry van Brakle

Gage H. Cole

Joyce R. Hill

Mary E. Muller

LeRoy Van Der Heyde

William Coleman, Jr.

Kirby A. Hoag

Daniel J. Noel

Maria E. Van Der Heyde

Benjamin H. Cooper III

Lan D. Hoang

EunYoung O. Nystrom

Jennifer C. Vassil

Carmela J. Corey

Andrew H. Hoffecker

Craig P. Ohlhorst

William E. Wagner

James F. Crawford

Amy L. Hotaling

Steven A. Patten

Crystal K. Walent

Thomas C. Crawford

Teresa K. Jackson

William G. Pennetti

David B. Walker

Linda P. Cumba

Masoud Jame

Richard W. Peppe

Shenglun Wang

Stefanos N. Dalakuras

Nicole E. James

Kamber A. Petty

Anita G. Weyland

Sherry D. Daminski

Julie A. Jeffrey

John D. Pope

William W. Wiard III

Michael Damsky

Janet T. Johnson

Kelly S. Putz

William W. Wiard IV

Theodore Dang

Katherine M. Judy

Adam T. Rackliffe

Beth B. Widic

John S. Darvishi

George L. Kalangi

Sarah A. Ramira

LaDoris Y. Wiggs

Ramakanth Dasaradi

Simran Kang

Chad R. Ramthun

Matt A. Wilkins

Renee E. Davis

Sangeetha Kanjarla

Constance L. Reaves

Jerry L. Worley

Kathleen A. Defloria

Francis K. Kenney Jr.

Wendy S. Reed

Matthew S. Zaccarino

Heather Dibble

E. Lorraine Kent

Ping Zhu

Wendy Dickinson

Ismael Khalique

Robert D. Rice Abid R. Rizvi

Ala A. Ziari

Richard O. Dickson

Nary Khaoung

Juan M. Rodriguez

George C. Zoulias March/April 2011

2011 NVAR Thanks Our Partners Platinum





DOMINION Title Corporation


nv/rpac contributors

2011 NV/RPAC Contributors List* Golden R ($5,000) John McEnearney Crystal R ($2,500) Jane Quill Trish Szego Sterling R ($1,000) Bob Adamson Mary Bayat David Charron Commission Express Virgil Frizzell Margaret Handley Shane McCullar Susan Mekenney Tom Meyer Susan Oh Anne Rector Zinta Rodgers-Rickert Fetneh Schacht Trudy Severa Christine Todd Karen Trainor Governor’s Club ($500) Terry Belt Lauren Kivlighan Burma Klein Patricia Kline Thai-Hung Nguyen Mario Rubio Gene Sampson Jon Wolford Capitol Insider ($250) Phil Bolin Russell ‘Tom’ Boyle Michael Briggs Heather Embrey Margaret Ireland Nicholas Lagos Ali Mansouri Kimberly McClary Barbara Noll Thomas Pietsch Audrey Shay Jonathan Spinetto Lawanda Swope $99 Club Jean Abood NVAR Realtor® UPDATE

Are Andreson Kannan Annamalai Jane Applegate Roger Applegate Gay Ashley Carlo Baietti Fahad Bakir Thomas Beames Eleanor Beaver Barbara Bechtle Thomas Bellanca Patricia Blackburn Ann Bogat Jaime Borda Susan Boslough Joan Bready James Bryant Robyn Burdett Shirley Buford Clotilda Cassidy Ronald Cathell Lin Chen Siu Cheung Moon Choi Tracy Comstock Georgiana Copelotti Kathleen Coradetti Janet Croft Bic DeCaro Lynne DePaso Charles Diss Maryann Dunn Kathleen Eaton Anna Edwards Nita Elder Melody Elliott Donna Evers Nancy Fahy Laura Fall Miriam Fernandez Michele Forbes James Foster Larry Foster Charles Fowler Brandon Green Shelia Gregory Teddy Goodson Carmen Guerrero William Halloran Rebecca Hanrahan Terrylyn Harrell Anita Hartke

Conrad Heer Fredia Heppenstall Janet Hewitt Tom Hoang Michael Huang Leslie Hutchison Forrest Jagger David Jandrositz Rosemarie Johnson Lynne Jones Lilian Jorgenson Eui Kang Rick Khosla Augustine Kim Robert Koenig Sally Kramer Rolfe Kratz Frank Lackman Judith LaMorte Cindy Lancaster Jill Landsman Anita Lasansky William ‘Kip’ Laughlin William Lauler Doris Leadbetter Diane Mun Lee Francis Lee Kevin Lee Ashley Leigh Roberta Letkiewicz Sonni Lieberman Margo Lockard Scott MacDonald Ann Malcolm Zohreh Mansouri Raymond Mayer Thomas Mazzei Natalie McArtor Richard McCaffrey Ann McClure Pam McCoach James McGrath John McMillin Debbie Menzer David Michalski Puran Mittal Priscilla Moore Diane Murphy Allene Murray Muraji Nakazawa James Nellis Truc Nguyen March/April 2011

*As of February 21, 2011

Daniel Odio-Paez Peggy Oremland David Palmer Eleanora Panizza Maria Pastorelli Julie Pearson Marie Phillips Gwenda Plush Cecil Ray Powers William Rakow Thomas Reed III Esin Reinhardt Christine Richardson Ross Richmond Katreen Rinaldi Mike Rokni David Rosenmarkle Carol Ross Elizabeth Ross Mario Rubio James Sabatino Peter Schlossberg Tazuko Schmitz Carol Simmons Suzanne Simon Monica Sims Sukhjiwan Singh Thomas Sklopan Anise Snyder Jim Souvagis Nora Stamper Greg Stiger Carol Sutfin Swindell Sutton April Taylor Patricia Toenniessen Kathleen Trainor Kenneth Ulsaker Rajiv Vashist Virgilio Vasquez Sridhar Vemuru Kamlesh Verma Diane Wagner Benjamin Wasz Judith White Kevin Wiles Sandra Wilkinson Sherry Wilson Holly Worthington Cynthia Wrenn Felicia Wu 7

legislative trip

Realtors® On the Road Again

NVAR Members Ride to Richmond to Lobby Our Local Lawmakers By Mark Dickemann, NVAR Government Affairs Assistant

After a snow day postponement, NVAR members boarded a bus for the annual NVAR legislative trip to Richmond on Thursday, February 17. Sunny skies greeted the NVAR contingent, who spent the day meeting with their local representatives, attending committee hearings and listening to presentations from the Northern Virginia elected officials. “The trip was mind boggling,” says first-time attendee Rick Khosla of Westgate Realty Group. “It was a great experience and eye-opener to how bills are passed and how the Senate works. I recommend this trip to anyone who would like to see how the NVAR Government Affairs staff does the work behind the scenes.” Redistricting, transportation and pending legislation were some of the topics that legislators reviewed with their Realtor® audience. “I learned so much, in a very short period of time, about some of the issues affecting us as both Realtors® and residents of Northern Virginia,” says Siu Cheung of Global One Realtors®, another firsttime participant. “The experience not only made me more knowledgeable about the issues, but also reinforced our presence as an organization.” The large number of repeat attendees emphasizes the value of this annual NVAR event. ❈ 8

VAR RPAC Campaign Chairman Susan Mekenney (left) and NVAR board member Shane McCullar lead the pack of NVAR Realtors® after their visit to the General Assembly building in Richmond on Thursday, Feb. 17.

Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun) describes the effect that redistricting will have on his district, which has experienced exponential growth during the past decade.

Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton discusses the planned improvements in Northern Virginia and the status of proposed transportation measures with NVAR members.

Del. Mark Keam (D-Fairfax) explains the similarity between Realtors® and elected officials: both are in the business of selling oneself to the public and promoting the realization of the “American Dream.” NVAR Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs, Mary Beth Coya (background), who stays in Richmond during the legislative session, hosted both Realtors® and legislators.

Del. Tim Hugo (R-Centreville) meets with NVAR members outside his office to discuss Realtor® legislation banning private transfer fees. Pictured (l to r) are: Hugo, NVAR Chairman-elect Pat Kline, former NVAR Chairman Susan Mekenney, and Realtors® Moon Choi, Mary Kay Stults and Dedra Brown.

March/April 2011



What are RPAC and NV/RPAC? RPAC stands for the Realtors® Political Action Committee. It collects contributions from Realtors® across the country and uses them to support candidates who support your business. The Northern Virginia/Realtors® Political Action Committee (NV/RPAC) is your locally-based RPAC division, comprised of NVAR contributors.

What is the “Realtor® Party”? The Realtor® Party refers to elected officials who support our industry and to the Realtors® who support RPAC, whether they are Republicans, Democrats or Independents. It is RPAC’s mission to look at the efforts and voting records of our candidates and incumbents, regardless of their political party affiliation. That’s why we created a new affiliation, the Realtor® Party, to designate our industry champions both in elected office and in our Realtor® organization. ❈

POLITICO: ‘Realtors®’ Effort Could Be Next Wave in Fundraising’

Capitol Hill News Source Touts RPAC’s Issues-Driven, Targeted Support For Politicians Who Endorse Real Estate Friendly Laws The 2010 election cycle featured a number of campaign groups formed to elect favored candidates. But POLITICO is touting one political action committee as a model for the rest: Yours. The Realtors® Political Action Committee found election day success not by identifying with one political party, but by supporting those with a proven voting record on real estate and housing issues – Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

way that RPAC has always worked and will continue to work. Support for a strong housing industry can be found on both sides of the political aisle. And by sticking with those who stick up for you and your clients, RPAC will continue to be successful – and so will you.

In the coming months, we have planned a series of articles exploring our Government Affairs and RPAC activities – what they are, how they The article states that “by 2012, some work and what role you, our NVAR experts envision a day when industry Realtors®, play in each and every step of groups … target their spending in ways the process. If you have a question that that have less to do with Democrat or Republican, and more to do with who is you’d like us to answer, please contact us at You can read the pro or con on their big issues.” full article, ‘Realtors’ Effort could be Next Wave in Fundraising,’ at But Realtors® don’t have to wait for http://go. ❈ 2012 for that to be a reality. That is the

When REALTORS® asked for their support, they listened. Please join us in thanking Northern Virginia's elected officials for their service to our region and support of REALTOR® issues.

2011 NVAR Legislative Reception Enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres while socializing with local and state government officials and other REALTORS®.

Free Event! Registrations are required

Thursday, June 2 | 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. NVAR Fairfax Headquarters, 8407 Pennell Street, Fairfax, Virginia 22031 Questions? Call Lisa May at 703.207.3201 or email NVAR Realtor® UPDATE


March/April 2011

Register early at:


home buyer comparison chart

Above The Median And Above The Fold:

Also, our association participates in the over sample of eight metro areas along with national data. The chart below cites preliminary results, from which we can conclude: » Northern Virginia has the lowest number of FSBO sellers —only 1 percent— compared to the nation and the other seven participating metro areas. » Our region is among the top three of the surveyed regions for people who will enlist Realtor® services for their next buying or selling experience. » Clients in this region are among the smallest percentage who purchase detached single-family homes, likely attributable to the cost of housing here. » Internet use while conducting a home search is highest in our region, likely a reflection of our well-educated, tech savvy population.

Comparison Sheet for Over sample Metro Areas

Charlotte Regional

Greater Baltimore City

Greater Baltimore County


Long Island

Metropolitan Indianapolis

Northern Virginia

Orlando Regional

The answers to these survey questions, along with other findings that will appear in future Update editions, will help real estate professionals better understand the regional housing market. ❈ U.S.

Internet Use is Highest in Northern Virginia For Buyers and Sellers, Study Shows

Each year, NVAR requests that the research department of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® survey our local home buyers and sellers to gather information about the home buying and selling process.

Percent first-time buyers




























Married couple










Single female










Single male










Unmarried couple




















Percent who purchased a detached single-family home










Age of Home (Median)










Percent who purchased a new home










Used the Internet in home search










Percent purchased a foreclosed home










2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

Age (Median) 2009 Household Income (Median)

Percent purchased through a real estate agent










Percent who would definitely or probably use agent again or recommend to others










Percent who financed










Median percent financed










Percent of sellers who reduced the asking price










Percent of sellers who offered incentives










Percent of FSBO sellers










Percent who used an agent to sell










Percent who would definitely or probably use agent again or recommend to others











March/April 2011


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! d e d a o L e r a s e s The Ba

Is BRAC a Home Run for Realtors ? ®

By Liz Milner


outed as both a dream come true for the regional real estate market and also a traffic nightmare, Base Re-Alignment and Closure (BRAC) is about to arrive in Northern Virginia. It will involve a major shift in government workplace locations as more than 19,000 federal Defense Department employees relocate from the Crystal City area in Arlington to other Northern Virginia communities. Several thousand other employment positions will likely be created in support services to the federal job surge.

The move is primarily dictated by national security considerations. Concentrating the Defense Department in one place makes it possible for a well-targeted attack to wipe out the military’s top command. Spreading Defense Department offices throughout a wider area reduces this risk.

Goldmine or Boondoggle? BRAC’s incipient arrival has inspired a flurry of media attention. It is described either as a shot of adrenaline for Northern Virginia’s real estate industry or as a mere “shuffling of the deck” that will bring more gridlock to an area that has the third worst traffic in the nation. Lee District Supervisor Jeff C. McKay says that BRAC will be a shot in the arm for the region’s economy. “BRAC is an enormous economic win. It’s one of the best things that’s happened to 12

this end of the county in my lifetime. It’s the greatest opportunity in Southeastern Fairfax County in a great long time for residential and commercial real estate.” He continued that BRAC is also good for the county-at-large, and would bring revitalization and increased prosperity to the Rt. 1 Corridor, an area that has been passed over by much of the wealth and opportunity that the rest of the county has enjoyed. How Realtors® view BRAC depends a lot on who their clients are. There are two classes of government employees that will relocate: military personnel and civilian Defense Department employees. A third group, independent contractors and consultants, also will be affected by the government relocations. Whether this shift will play out into an increased demand for new homes and office space remains to be seen. “A lot of people think that when they hear that 21,000 jobs are coming to Ft. Belvoir, it means that there are 21,000 new people coming,” says Cindy Jones, the broker owner of CJ Realty group in Woodbridge. Jones specializes in military relocations, and BRAC is a frequent topic of her blog, The BRAC relocation, she says, does not mean that there are going to be 21,000 new arrivals to the area. The majority of people who will be relocated already have homes in the Washington D.C. area and it’s not likely, in her opinion, that they will rush out immediately to buy houses. With the anticipated traffic congestion that will accompany BRAC, some local residents may opt to relocate. “I think the demand for the residential real March/April 2011

estate that we have is only going to grow as people want to migrate closer to where they work,’ says McKay. Eric Guggenheimer, managing broker of PenFed Realty in Kingstowne/ Belvoir, sees the opportunities residing with the civilians coming in; not the military people. This is because a lot of the military personnel already live in the Washington, D.C. area. “The civilian contractors who are going to be on base are coming in from California, Texas, New York, and because of BRAC we have about 1,000 people with the potential to buy in the next 24 months.” To tap this potential, his credit union is opening up a new office at Ft. Belvoir. Jones believes it will take a few years for the full effects of BRAC to be realized. “I do think that there will be local folks who will discover that the drive from Ft. Meade to Ft. Belvoir is going to be impossible and will make a decision to move,” Jones says. “We’ve certainly seen an impact in some of the closer-in neighborhoods already. I get calls from people who are coming to NGA [National Geospatial Intelligence Agency], and they’re relocating and looking for homes close by.” It is not just home sales that could be affected, according to Jones. She believes that BRAC will stimulate rentals in the area because of an influx of short-term contractors. “I’ve just done three rentals for contractors who are coming in for a year to set up offices that will be working with BRAC,” Jones says. A flourishing rental market is also something that McKay anticipates. “Whenever you talk about military/ DoD jobs, there are two benefits: there’s growth in the civilian workforce NVAR Realtor® UPDATE


according to Guggenheimer, so he is expecting sales rather than rentals to dominate this market.

How to Prosper with BRAC

which positions Springfield well for commercial tax base growth, but then there’s also growth in the military ranks as a result of these moves,” he says. “And clearly, in the military ranks, there are a lot of folks who are here for short tenures; in and out for a few years and they’ve always created a strong rental market. The rental market’s been strong in this end of the county in part because of Ft. Belvoir and any growth you see at Ft. Belvoir can only help the rental market.” However, housing that exists for rental in the Belvoir area is of limited supply,

Jones says the best way a real estate agent can help families resettle is by being a fund of hyper-local knowledge. “Know your neighborhoods and answer inquiries quickly,” she advises. Knowing the neighborhoods includes being able to help clients understand how the new development brought about by BRAC will affect their commute. It’s also important for agents to understand the special needs of military families, and to be sure their clients are aware of available benefits. For example, military personnel who have been overseas can still qualify for the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit, and some of the relocated personnel may be eligible for BRAC ‘05 benefits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

”Agents should make sure clients have obtained the documents they will need for their move, such as income verification and credit worthiness,” says Rick Eul, vice president of retail mortgage sales with Bank of America. “And make sure they have taken advantage of resources such as Veterans Administration loans and Virginia housing loans,” he adds. “Washington isn’t as expensive as it’s believed to be," Eul notes. “There’s quite a bit of affordable housing for all ranks of the military in and around the area, especially with BRAC in Southern Fairfax and Prince William County.” Guggenheimer reminds us that real estate is still a “very personal contact business…What we’ve seen the most of is the civilian contractors. They’re reaching out to us for information about the region. BRAC continued on next page

Décor Decorum

Home Staging & Interior Re-Design


March/April 2011


brac BRAC continued from previous page

“Housing decisions are based on where you are in life,” he says. “If you’re single, you are more likely to look for a rental or a group house. If you have a family, you’re more likely to want to buy a home in an area with a good school district. It’s very difficult to transition to a new area. Taking the time with these people is critical. They will require 3040 percent more of an agent’s time than someone who already lives in the area.”

Economic Effects Ft. Belvoir is located approximately 14 miles south of Washington, D.C. in the Richmond Highway Corridor of Southern Fairfax County. The anticipated new business and influx of personnel that will come with BRAC has been the catalyst for a revitalization of parts of the area. “What this BRAC move has meant is that we’re seeing more and more applications for office development,” says McKay. “Particularly around

Springfield — all indicators show a very strong office commercial market in an area where there was no office commercial market before.” Officials of The South Fairfax Development Corporation write that “The Richmond Highway corridor will reap continual economic benefits thanks to the BRAC actions. The anticipated increase of visitors and employees has spurred development of hotels and office space.” Further, the SFDC estimates that for each job added to the Ft. Belvoir installation, between one and four contracting jobs will follow, creating a need for approximately 7 million square feet of office space. [Source: (South Fairfax Development Corporation)] Guggenheimer expects that BRAC will be a tonic for Northern Virginia’s housing market. “We’re at equilibrium now but I think the demand over the next 24 months will increase. So,

potentially, we’ll see competition again in the zip codes around Belvoir like we did in 2003 and 2004.” The City of Alexandria, already a “desired location,” is becoming even more desirable due to BRAC. PenFed Credit Union, for example, is opening a new branch with a real estate office there that will employ 30 real estate agents. There is an expectation of rapid growth at Mark Center due to the ripple effect from new jobs associated with BRAC. The influx of office workers will create a need for new construction, service workers, restaurants, stores and other businesses. More wealth and more people translates into a healthier market. Guggenheimer sums it up, “BRAC brings greater intellectual capacity to the Washington area. The more college degrees you have, the better real estate is going to be.” ❈ Liz Milner is a freelance writer who lives in Annandale, VA.

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March/April 2011


condo complexities

Dispelling Condo Complexities

Frequently-Asked Condo Sales Questions Answered at YPN Event By Ann Gutkin, NVAR Communications & Media Relations Manager


osted by the Northern Virginia Young Professionals Network, more than 50 NVAR members gathered on Wednesday, Feb. 16 to hear experts answer commonly-asked questions about the condominium purchase process. Representatives from the Realtor®, property management, legal

and mortgage professions shared their perspectives about topics ranging from reserves to investor ratios. The differences between newly constructed condos and older developments was a common thread among the discussions. Tom Meyer, broker/owner of Condo 1, Inc. in Arlington cautioned buyers to be wary of low condo fees in new projects, warning that once the home owner association takes over, those fees could increase substantially.

Tracy Reynolds, NVAR outreach & development manager, introduced a panel of condo experts on Wednesday, Feb. 16. Pictured (l to r) are: Tom Meyer, broker/owner of Condo 1, Inc. in Arlington; Bob Johnson, a Realtor® with Arlington Premier Realty; Brenda Harrington, executive vice president, operations & business development with property management company Legum and Norman; Marcus Simon, settlement attorney with the law firm of Leggett, Simon, Freemyers and Lyon, PLC, and a founder of Ekko Title; Thad Wise, senior loan officer with First Savings Mortgage; and Reynolds.

Noting the importance for a condo association to sustain adequate reserves, Brenda Harrington, executive vice president for operations & business development with Legum

and Norman, stated that builders often choose to cover an association’s operating expenses in lieu of paying assessments on unsold units in new developments. In most cases when this happens, the builder is not funding reserves during that period. “In a new building, this is not generally a problem if those reserves are not being met for about a year,” Harrington stated, “but if it’s an older building conversion, that’s not good.” Studying financial statements for the existence of adequate reserves in a condo development should be part of a buyer’s due diligence. “They shouldn’t be robbing reserves to pay association bills,” said Bob Johnson, a Realtor® with Arlington Premier Realty. As with any real estate transaction, agents were also advised to read condo packet materials and governing documents carefully to avoid surprises at closing time. ❈


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market update

The Important Role of Housing in the Economic Recovery year


1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010*

starts 1292.2 1084.2 1062.2 1703 1749.5 1741.8 1805.4 1620.5 1488.1 1376.1 1192.7 1013.9 1199.7 1287.6 1457 1354.1 1476.8 1474 1616.9 1640.9 1568.7 1602.7 1704.9 1847.7 1955.8 2068.3 1800.9 1355 905.5 554 560

he economy has begun its slow and Figure 1. U.S. New Housing Starts 2500 steady recovery. Economic indicators continue to show signs of improvement. 2000 However, one major missing piece of the 1500 economic recovery is the housing sector. In 1000 the past, the residential construction sector 500 either led or supported the economy in the early stages of post-recession recovery. Since 0 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010* the housing sector was a critical cause of the most recent downturn—and because this recession has been intensified by persistent Trends in the US Housing Market Nationally, home sales have plummeted since 2006. There high unemployment and lingering uncertainty— was a bump up in sales of existing homes at the end of 2009 the residential construction sector has basically and in late spring 2010, which largely was a result of the tax ground to a halt. The revival of housing is essential credit pulling forward some sales. By one estimate, the tax credit program for first-time and repeat buyers generated for sustained economic growth as we head into 400,000 additional buyers nationally that would not have 2011. 4

The Contribution of Housing to GDP New Exist

Dec-06 1123 6270

Source: U.S. Census Bureau. *2010 estimates based on data through the 3rd quarter.

Jan-07 882 6440

otherwise been in the market. However, many of the sales inFeb-07 late 2009 and early 2010 were that would haveAug-07 Mar-07 Apr-07 May-07salesJun-07 Jul-07 836 844 930 were moved 893 795 occurred otherwise but up846 to take 867 advantage 6150 5980 5750 of6680 the tax credit. And6010 the pace of sales5760 moderated after 5500 the expiration of the program.

Housing is an important component of the national economy. Since 1947, residential fixed investment (new home construction and remodeling spending) has accounted for about 5 Figure 2. U.S. Housing Trends New & Existing Home Sales percent of U.S. gross domestic product 8000 (GDP). Total housing expenditures— 7000 which includes residential fixed Existing investment as well as housing services 6000 (Left scale) (e.g. rents), furnishings, and other 5000 housing-related expenditures—have 4000 accounted for about one-fifth (20 New 3000 (Right scale) percent) of total GDP.1 During the most recent recession, housing’s contribution to GDP dropped to a record low. In 2009, residential fixed investment accounted for just 2.5 percent of GDP and in the third quarter of 2010, residential fixed investment was only 2.4 percent of GDP.2

1000 800 600 400

2000 200

1000 0


Source: National Association of Realtors (existing), U.S. Census Bureau (new)

Importance of Housing to Economic Recoveries

The fall off in housing’s contribution to GDP can be seen in the dramatic drop in new home construction. Since 1980, there has been an average of about 1.47 million new housing starts each year, with a peak of more than 2 million starts in 2005. Since 2005, however, new housing starts have declined, with the most rapid drops in 2008 and 2009. Current estimates for 2010 suggest that new housing starts will be about the same as last year – around 550,000 starts.3 16


Historically, recovery in the housing sector has been essential to overall economic recovery. During the past nine recessions, the housing sector accounted for about 16.5 percent of economic growth in the first year of recovery. Following the most recent recession, residential fixed investment has not been growing steadily. While the residential sector was fairly strong in the second quarter of

March/April 2011


Sep-07 735 5480

market update By Lisa A. Sturtevant, PhD , Assistant Research Professor George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis

buyers. Some say that the lack of confidence among wouldbe buyers stems from the current employment/economic situation and negative media coverage of the economy and housing market.

2010 (compared with the first quarter), residential investment dropped again in the third quarter. Thus, volatility and uncertainty remain in the residential sector of the national economy. This uncertainty and lack of sustained growth do not help to move the recovery forward.

Housing Demand Exists The supply of new housing is at an all-time low, mortgage rates—though rising slightly—are still at historically low levels, and there is substantial pent-up demand for housing. So why isn’t there more residential construction activity? The number of building permits issued for new residential construction is at a historic low.

Many buyers also indicate that they cannot sell their present home.5 Builders view customer reluctance as a growing problem, with nearly 70 percent citing this as a reason for being cautious in September 2010, compared with about 55 percent in May 2010, according to surveys by the National Association of Homebuilders. [Source:]

The Housing Sector and the Washington Area Economy The Washington area housing market experienced the same housing bubble and bust as was felt in most of the rest of the country. The housing market here is stronger now than in many other parts of the country; however, the residential construction sector—and particularly the single-family home building sector—is still lagging. The slow pace of home building is a drag on the rest of the region’s economy. However, market fundamentals in the region are positive for new home building, and consumer confidence, though still low, is poised to increase.

There were about 585,000 building permits issued nationwide in 2010, including 445,000 single-family houses and 141,000 multi-family units (including townhouses and duplexes). This is about the same level as in 2009 and further demonstrates housing sector. 2000 the stalled 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006

The region’s unemployment rate is the lowest in the country. The Washington area is growing jobs, which is bringing new people to the region who need housing. In addition to the net new jobs, we are beginning a significant 2007 2008 2009 2010 wave of federal575.554 retirees.441.148 Many of these Single-family 1198.067 1235.55 1332.62 1460.887 1613.445 1681.986 1378.22 979.889 444.7 retirees will leave Multi-family 394.2 are401.126 415.058 428.327 473.33 460.683 418.526 329.805 141.1 their jobs but stay in the141.815 area and consequently, in their When builders asked why they remain on456.632 the sidelines, houses. However, the new workers taking their jobs will they are most likely to cite reluctance among potential need housing. Figure 3. U.S. Annual Building Permits by Housing Type

Other market fundamentals also suggest a strong housing market in the beginning of 2011. Mortgage rates remain low. While they will rise somewhat in 2011, it is likely they will stay low—below 5 percent—for most of the year.



Multi-family Single-family



There is significant pent-up demand in the Washington area. Like nationally, there has been a slowdown in household


0 2000











Market Update continued on next page

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

1 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, NIPA tables, Table 1.5.5 Gross Domestic Product, Expanded Detail, accessed 1/11/2011. Figures based on average annual estimates from 1947 through 2009. 2 National Association of Homebuilders, Housing’s Contribution to GDP spreadsheet, accessed from 12/20/2010. Residential fixed investment plus housing services totaled 12.9 percent of GDP in 2009 and 15.1 percent in the third quarter of 2010.


3 U.S. Census Bureau, quarterly residential construction starts press release and Center for Regional Analysis annual estimate. 4 Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The State of the Nation’s Housing: 2010. June 2010, p. 28. 5 According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Homebuilders.

March/April 2011


market update Market Update continued from previous page

formation. And while many first-time home buyers have purchased homes, many potential move-up buyers are still reluctant to put their house on the market out of fear that they may not find a bigger house. Prices are lower than they have been in years in many parts of the region, so there are bargains to be found. However, recent price increases and the relatively limited supply of certain types of housing mean that home prices are going to rise in 2011, and good deals are going to be harder to find later in the year. Thus, as we look ahead to the remainder of 2011 and early 2012 we see that the residential construction sector in the region will begin to improve. Activity will be slow at first, and focused in multi-family construction. Single-family home building will take longer to recover. The multi-family rental construction began ramping up at the end of 2010.

Over time, though— into 2012 Small rental buildings will be delivered in early to mid and beyond— 2011, with larger projects there will be by the middle and end of increased demand the year. There will be a for smaller singleshortage in rental units by the end of 2011, with family homes, vacancy rates falling and particularly rents rising. By mid 2011, around Metro, larger condominiums including the will break ground as financing becomes more Dulles corridor, easily available. Demand and in Loudoun is already there, first in and Prince William the District and inside the counties. Beltway, then further out.

Finally, in late 2011 and in early 2012 there will be unmet demand for larger single-family detached homes and townhouses from move-up buyers who cannot find an existing home. This will put pressure on the singlefamily home building sector and encourage a ramp up in construction.

Later in 2011, we will see the start of some construction of small single-family detached homes and townhouses. These will be mostly infill development, so they will amount to relatively few units. New construction on greenfield sites has a longer lead time, requiring approvals for more density. Over time, though—into 2012 and beyond—there will be increased

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demand for smaller singlefamily homes, particularly around Metro, including the Dulles corridor, and in Loudoun and Prince William counties.

All of these factors point to a housing sector pick up in the Washington area this year. Housing demand exists and market fundamentals are improving. This increase in residential construction and home sales activity is important to the sustained and strong recovery of the region’s economy. ❈

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March/April 2011


membership news

SentriLock at Your Service By Maggie Mueller-Tyler, NVAR Chief Operations Officer

New Products Promote Agent Efficiency


s part of an ongoing commitment to enhance the products and services they bring to SentriLock users, the lockbox company has developed two great new products.

SentriLite Showing Suite System As promised, SentriLock has introduced a new product that can now automate your feedback process and save countless hours every month obtaining valuable showing comments. The SentriLite Showing Suite System is powered by Showing Suite, the developer of The best thing… SentriLite Showing Suite System is FREE! The SentriLite Showing Suite System automatically imports SentriLock lockbox showings and sends out the feedback request. No longer do you need to open up software or websites every time you have a showing to request reactions; it’s all automated for you. Simply set up your Showing Suite account to send an automatic series of feedback request emails to every buyer’s agent who shows your home. Then sit back and collect the responses that your sellers need.

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Associations need a streamlined method to track agent and broker attendance at CE events and classes that earn credit(s) towards their license renewals. Event Tracker will facilitate fast reporting to VREB. Once event attendance is tracked, you have the option to send a survey to the attendees. For instance, how about sending a survey to each attendee at an Open House asking how they liked the property? You can also view, print or export the attendance roster to a .csv file. For more information on SentriLock’s new Event Tracker go to Stay tuned! More to come from SentriLock in 2011. You can also view SentriLock training videos on ❈

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March/April 2011


legal lines

2011 Realtor® Code of Ethics Substantive, procedural changes By Sarah Louppe Petcher, NVAR General Counsel


ealtors® know that the Code of Ethics is a dynamic set of rules that adapts to the marketplace and its current issues. This has never been more evident than in the 2011 Code revisions. In addition to NAR’s fairly radical amendments to Article 10, NVAR has also made some internal changes, instituting an optional shortened complaint filing process.

2011 Code of Ethics – Summary of Changes This year NAR updated Article 10, the article that addresses discrimination, to add sexual orientation as a protected class. Article 10 previously protected the public from discrimination by Realtors® on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. The addition of sexual orientation will modify practices in Virginia, where, on a state-wide level, sexual orientation has not been a protected class. Please note that the article covers discrimination in your real estate business and in your employment practices. NAR also clarified Article 3. This Article obligates Realtors® to cooperate with other brokers to promote their clients’ interests. A new Standard of Practice 3-10 explains that the duty to cooperate includes a duty to share information about a listed property and to make a property available to other brokers for showing to prospective purchasers. In addition, Standard of Practice 3-7 was clarified, substituting “relationship with the client” for “representational status.” This acknowledges that a Realtor® performing an appraisal may be seeking information about a property, yet not actually be “representing” a buyer or seller.1 In the last few years, NAR has focused its attention on ensuring that the Code of Ethics stays relevant in light of the new marketing tools that become available to Realtors®. Prior to amendment, Standard of Practice 12-5 required Realtors® to disclose the name of their firm in all advertising of real estate services and listed property. However, in an evolving social media platform, Realtors® could no longer comply with these disclosure requirements. If this requirement were enforced, limited character posts (such as those on Facebook and Twitter) would only show the name of a firm and maybe that of the agent, but never get to the substantive messages. Standard of Practice 12-5 was amended to take these limitations into account, and 20

now provides that these displays are exempt from the requirement to disclose the firm’s name, but only if they are one click away from these disclosures. Please note that this tracks the disclosure requirements set forth by DPOR for electronic advertising.

NVAR Citation Policy Realtors® have often called the NVAR Professional Services department wanting to file a complaint against another Realtor®, but were reluctant to do so because it is time consuming. We heard you; and now, in a case where the Grievance Committee issues a citation and the Respondent pays the fine, neither the Complainant nor the Respondent is required to attend a hearing. As of January 1, 2011, NVAR complaint procedures were amended to allow for a citation policy. What is it? For certain violations, the Grievance Committee will now be allowed to issue “tickets.” Have you ever been caught speeding? If so, you know that if the speed you were traveling was not high enough to be deemed reckless, then you can choose to pre-pay your ticket. As you may know, the amount of the fine is calculated by multiplying the number of miles above the speed limit by a set dollar amount and adding court costs. The Citation Policy works the same way. If a Respondent violates one of the articles listed on the facing page, the Grievance Committee can assign a set fine. The Respondent could decide to pay it, along with a reduced administrative fee, or go for a full hearing. If the Respondent elects to proceed to a full hearing and is found in violation of the Code of Ethics, the hearing panel can assess the full range of sanctions. These sanctions can range up to $5,000 and the panel can also assign classes and refer cases to DPOR for further processing. In addition, the Respondent will have to pay a $500 administrative fee if a full hearing is held. The Citation Policy thus provides a shorter process in which a Respondent may be sanctioned for a violation of the Code of Ethics or the Lockbox Rules, but without the burdens associated with a full hearing. However, a Respondent may only utilize the Citation Policy three times in three years. After that, the Grievance Committee may only refer a case against that individual to a full hearing, if appropriate. ❈ 1 Dominic Cardone, The Code Meets Today’s Realities, January 2011

March/April 2011


legal lines CODE OF ETHICS Article 1 Article 3 Article 4 Article 5 Article 6 Article 9 Article 12

Article 14 Article 16

Failure to disclose dual representation and obtain written informed consent from both parties Failure to disclosure existence of a dual or variable rate commission Failure to disclose existence of other contracts to cooperating brokers Failure to disclose Realtor’s® interest in a property being bought or sold Providing professional services without disclosing interest in the property Accepting any commission, rebate or profit on expenditures without client’s knowledge or consent

$500 $400 $250 $300 $300 $400

Failure to fill out all necessary forms fully and completely Failure to obtain necessary signatures on forms

$200 $400

Failure to present a true picture in real estate communications and advertising Failure to disclose professional status in advertising or other real estate communications Advertisement offering to sell/lease property without the authority of the owner or the listing broker Failure to disclose name of firm in advertisement for listed property Claiming to have “sold” a property when not the listing broker or cooperating broker Failure to cooperate in any professional standards proceeding Use terms of an offer to modify listing broker’s offer of compensation

$250 $150 $500 $150 $250 $500 $400

Placement of for sale sign/lease on property without permission of landlord/seller



Policy 10 Policy 17

Use of lockbox to gain unauthorized access to a property Attaching PIN to card Sharing PIN with another person Lending card or property key to another person Duplicating card or property key Using lockbox to enter a property while not holding a current license Publication or distribution of Call Before Showing codes Failure to remove lockbox within 48 hours of settlement

$500 $450 $450 $500 $500 $500 $450 $250

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March/April 2011


nvar trendsetters

NVAR Trendsetter: Angela Eliopoulos Transcends Borders to Serve Diverse Clientele By Ann Gutkin, NVAR Communications & Media Relations Manager


purred by NAR reports that foreign buyers and recent immigrants purchased 7 percent of the total U.S. residential market last year and paid in cash 55 percent of the time, it is no surprise that more agents are expanding their business model to include a global component. To at least one NVAR member, this is old news. Angela Eliopoulos, a Realtor® with Long & Foster in Washington, D.C., founded Global Owner Properties, with offices in Europe and the U.S., 10 years ago. Beginning her career as a relocation consultant in Europe assisting U.S. firms with housing needs for their overseas employees, Eliopoulos was comfortable working with international clientele. When her family returned to the U.S. in 1999, she was well-positioned to begin a career in real estate sales. Despite her international background, Eliopoulos’ specialty has not centered exclusively around international buyers and sellers. However, when she learned about the CIPS Designation, she realized it would be a perfect fit.

Eliopoulos’ transition to a global practice began in 2000. “I was working with a seller in D.C. who mentioned he had a problem,” says Eliopoulos. “He had just inherited his father’s family home in Frankfurt, Germany and had no idea how to proceed with the sale. This is when I realized that there was a specific need for services beyond U.S. borders.” Recalling that encounter, Eliopoulos recognized a need existed for real estate services offered by knowledgeable professionals trained in the U.S. who were also familiar with other cultures and business standards. “The right agent for these clients also had to have the right team of expert contacts to facilitate international transactions,” she says.

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nvar trendsetters Conducting international real estate is a multi-faceted effort. Eliopoulos said, “It really takes hours of training but in a nutshell, I recommend the following: » Identify the market you are familiar with or interested in. » Visit the area to explore, meet with residents and colleagues and to understand the local culture and business practices. » Acquire the knowledge and education needed to transact efficiently in that country or area of interest. » Market your services locally, nationally and internationally via the Internet, newspapers, magazines, etc. » Network-network-network on all possible levels by attending conferences, events and by joining social media professional groups active in this field; it will open numerous doors and opportunities for future business. One basic action that most agents forget is to simply

add an “International” button on their existing website. The power of the Internet cannot be underestimated in this niche, Eliopoulos notes. “Internet is the real game changer in our global profession; we are now open for business aroundthe-clock, every day,” she says. “The demands and potential of the marketplace that never sleeps require that we structure our business and our lives accordingly.” Eliopoulos cites the need to differentiate serious and qualified clients from those hidden behind fake identities with the purpose of committing fraud. “Now more than ever,” she adds, “we need to have in place strict rules and procedures for controlling and protecting global business.” Also, political and economic factors can have a direct effect on real estate investments. “We have to stay well informed about issues and

Joseph A. Cerroni, esq.

developments and understand the interplay between government and private sector,” she says. Representing a client in a real estate transaction requires skills that transcend borders. “If there was one critical factor that we could say differentiates local from global agents it would be open-mindedness ­—being able to embrace differences,” Eliopoulos says. “In the end, we all live similar lives, worry about the same issues and go on with our daily lives under the same sun. “I remember, while working for the U.S. Consulate in Saudi Arabia and visiting Bedouin women in the desert, how close we felt with these women who lived in tents (albeit equipped with TV sets and oriental rugs),” she recalled. “These friendly and hospitable ladies still talked about their children, their husbands, their future plans and the food they would put on the table that day. It is just fascinating how similar we all are.” ❈


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March/April 2011


ingenuity and elbow grease

Ingenuity & Elbow Grease

Low-Cost Tips


to Make Listings

From Doorknobs to Rubber Ducks, Realtors速 Share Their Spruce-Up Secrets


March/April 2011


ingenuity and elbow grease

By Michele Lerner


very Realtor® knows that selling a home is not child’s play, but there is no denying that a buyer’s attention is often caught by bright and shiny objects. Some Realtors® suggest that buyers can be attracted to a home right from the beginning simply by replacing an old front door lock with a brand new one with a glitteringly clean key. A shiny new front door lock may not be the key for every listing, but Realtors® have plenty of other suggestions for free or low-cost fixes that can highlight a special amenity or just brighten the prospects for selling a home.

First Impressions A simple thing such as making sure the key turns easily in the lock makes a good first impression, according to Susan Mekenney, an associate broker with RE/MAX Allegiance in Alexandria. “Buyers and agents get turned off if they have to struggle with the key,” says Mekenney. “Either make sure it works smoothly, or better yet, replace it with new hardware.” Jeanne Siracuse, a Realtor® with Weichert Realtors® in Ashburn suggests replacing the doorbell with something other than a cheap plastic one, particularly on a high-end home. The importance of the front entrance to buyers should not be ignored. Fresh paint on the door and a pot of pansies or other flowers next to the entrance are economical touches. Deb Gorham, a Realtor® and Accredited Staging Professional with Long & Foster Real Estate in Fairfax, says home owners can easily buy a cheap pot or two and put plants in their plastic containers inside so they don’t even have to do any planting. A new welcome mat is another inexpensive way to make the home more inviting. “Change the hardware on the front door, especially if the brass looks dark or is peeling,” says Judi La Morte, a Realtor® with Long & Foster Real Estate in Centreville who works with home NVAR Realtor® UPDATE

March/April 2011

stager JoAnne Deeley for her listings. “Use a pewter tone instead of brass for the door knocker, the door knob and the kick plate to add a more modern look.”

Knobs, Hinges and Hardware Sprucing up hardware throughout the home can provide a fresh look. Angie Bresnahan, a Realtor® with Weichert Realtors® in Ashburn, suggests switching from knobs to handles on all the doors in the house, including the front door, since most upscale new homes have them. “Putting an upscale touch, especially if you switch to brushed nickel, can make a big improvement on an entry level home,” says Bresnahan. “I always suggest replacing the knobs on kitchen cabinets as an inexpensive fix, especially if the knobs are brass. Brass knobs look like builder-grade materials and are outdated.” Bic DeCaro, a Realtor® with Westgate Realty in Falls Church, recommends going beyond just the door knobs and cabinet knobs, and also changing the hinges to match the knobs. “Another easy fix is to change the switch plates, since they tend to get dirty or yellowed or painted over with time,” says DeCaro. “The bright white plates are extremely inexpensive and look great with white trim, or you can go with brushed nickel in the bathroom or kitchen to match the knobs. These small changes can make the house look newer and cleaner.” Replacing vent covers that are visible, especially if they look old or rusty, is another tip that DeCaro suggests. Ingenuity continued on next page 25

ingenuity and elbow grease Ingenuity continued from previous page

Let There Be Light Changing dated light fixtures, especially in the entrance and hallways, is another update that DeCaro recommends. She says attractive new fixtures can be found for as little as $20 in places such as Home Depot. Floor lamps placed in dark corners of rooms light them up, she points out. Siracuse recommends replacing the dining room chandelier, if the home owners have an older or builder-grade brass light fixture, with something more modern. Replacing or even just cleaning light fixtures can make a good impression, Gorham suggests, particularly light fixtures that are visible from the entrance or from the top of a staircase. She recommends replacing the light bulbs in the house when a home goes on the market since light bulbs can get grimy with time. “Sellers should avoid using those environmentally-friendly light bulbs for a little while,” says Siracuse, “because they take too long to be fully lit. Buyers won’t wait around in a dark basement for five minutes while the light bulbs warm up.” Mekenney says she is sometimes surprised that light bulbs are burned out in different homes, when replacing them should be a priority to make sure buyers see the home at its brightest.

Highlight a View In addition to upping the artificial light in a home, Realtors® recommend some fixes to enhance the natural light, starting with a good cleaning. “I take off all the screens from the windows while a home is listed because this instantly lets more light through the glass,” says DeCaro. “I also take down old window treatments and leave the windows bare, or buy inexpensive faux wood blinds for a more modern look.” Removing all the drapes and the shears to emphasize the light coming in through windows is a strategy employed by Gorham.“If there’s a gorgeous view 26

out a window, I always put a plant or a picture right next to it so people will be drawn to it,” says Siracuse. “In one listing there was a long narrow room with a bay window overlooking a pond, but sometimes buyers just glanced into the room without going all the way in. I decorated the space to pull people in.”

Bathroom Bling Most sellers understand how important kitchens and bathrooms are to buyers. Baths are also one of the easiest places for a quick fix. “Buy a brand-new shower curtain and replace the fan cover with a new, clean one,” suggests Gorham. “Buy a new set of towels, too, and don’t use them. Toss the ones you use into the dryer each time the house is being shown and put up the unused towels. People want a home to look completely sanitary, and new towels can do that.” Gorham also recommends packing all shower and bath products into a clear container and keeping it under the sink, bringing it out only when they need to be used. “It is easier to keep the shower clean that way and buyers prefer not to look at the products the sellers use,” says Gorham. For homes with multiple baths, Gorham suggests that the residents limit themselves to using one bathroom while the home is on the market to make it easier to keep all bathrooms spotless. Some buyers will linger in the doorway of a bathroom and not see all the amenities in it, so Siracuse suggests making sure something bright entices them into the room. She recalls entering the master bath at a listing held by Weichert Realtor® Frank Roche, where her eye was immediately caught by the giant yellow rubber duck resting in the soaking tub. “I might not have noticed that tub as it was tucked behind the door, but the flash of color brought everyone’s attention to that attractive feature,” says Siracuse. For a more traditional look, silk flowers can have the same effect, she adds. March/April 2011


ingenuity and elbow grease

Give Them Some Kind of Sign Cleverly worded signs poster-taped to the wall is a tactic Siracuse sometimes uses to make sure buyers see the special features of a home, including hard-to-detect features such as a new furnace, upgraded water heater or recently cleaned duct work.

Using a white caulk gun to fix the caulk along the edges of the tub and along the edges of stairwells and mouldings that have loosened from the wall is an easy fix, says Gorham. “If the sellers are even a little bit handy, they can touch up the paint around doorways and baseboards to make these areas look fresher,” says DeCaro.

Carol Greco, an associate broker with Long & Foster Real Estate in Annandale, places these “Silent Salesman Signs,” around the house to make sure buyers are aware of the hardwood flooring, moldings or simply the size of a dining room.

Take a Deep Breath Filling a home with scented candles and strong deodorizers may seem like a good idea, especially if the home has pets or a musty basement odor, but many Realtors® say this can offend people with allergies and function as a red flag to buyers. “I always wonder what they are trying to cover up with a lot of deodorizers,” says Mekenney. “I prefer to put a glass bowl of coffee beans out in the kitchen, which gives off a more natural smell and is attractive.” DeCaro says home owners should purchase odor neutralizers rather than scented products to give off a neutral smell rather than an overpowering scent. As spring arrives, one of the best things sellers can do is open their windows to get fresh air into the rooms.

Also, Siracuse advises against people attempting to power wash their own homes, as the exterior could be damaged if not performed by the power wash pros. Clients with pets may also want to have their ductwork cleaned, suggests Gorham, because this will improve the air quality and can be used as a marketing tool.

It should go

without saying

“The rooms appear larger if they flow into one another,” says La Morte, “and accent pillows draw the eye from one space to another.”

that a coat of

Adding life and greenery to rooms with a living plant suggests that the home owners are nurturing people and have been taking care of their home as well as the plant, LaMorte advises.

fresh paint and a decluttering

Simple Fixes for the Seller: Do-It-yourself Many homes have a half-wall or knee-wall that collects dust and too much clutter. Bresnahan says that many of them are finished on top with an inexpensive plywood material that can look cheap.


Home owners should consider hiring someone to power wash the exterior of the home, the deck and walkways to improve their appearance, DeCaro recommends.

Picture Perfect It should go without saying that a coat of fresh paint and a decluttering session are the two seller fixes that provide the biggest impact at little or no cost. Realtors® should also suggest that as part of the process sellers consider storing their superfluous belongings with a friend or relative, or even renting a short-term storage pod.

Add a Splash of Color Sellers sometimes over-neutralize, so La Morte suggests that they should choose three colors from the artwork in their home to work as accent colors throughout the house.

“I recommend that sellers measure the size of the top of their half-wall and go to a place that sells granite scraps to have a piece cut,” says Bresnahan. “The sellers can pick up a glue like ‘Liquid Nails’ at Home Depot and install it themselves in a few minutes. The granite adds a really elegant touch.”

When to Call in the Pros While a thorough cleaning should always be step one for sellers, some Realtors® suggest that hiring a professional to clean the windows and carpets is worth the extra money.

session are the two seller fixes that provide the biggest impact at little or no cost.

March/April 2011

Sellers should make sure they do all their fixing up before a photographer comes to the home since buyers will see the home first online, Greco recommends. “Buyers see what they see, not what’s going to be,” says Greco. “If a house looks bad on the Internet, with dated wallpaper or too much clutter, they won’t come in to see it.” Most of these tips for sellers require little more than time and a small outlay of money, yet they can result in a more attractive setting for buyers and, hopefully, a quicker sale. ❈ 27


MRIS Compliance:

Simple Dos and Don’ts Ensure Consistency, Data Soundness By Michele Yam, Compliance Department Manager


reserving the MRIS Rules and Regulations in the ever-changing practice of real estate is the top goal of the MRIS Compliance Department. “We update our policies accordingly to keep current,” says Michelle Yam, Manager, MRIS Compliance Department. “We know that real estate professionals make their living from the database we provide. As a result, we take this process very seriously for their benefit.”

A core objective for MRIS is to ensure 100 percent integrity of the MLS database, and the Compliance Department is charged with implementing that mission. “The most valuable benefit we can offer our customers, and the consumers they serve,” Yam says, “is the timeliness and accuracy of data. This high standard can only be obtained with responsible and meticulous attention to detail with each property listing.” These helpful DOs and DON’Ts assist agents in the correct data input of a listing:

SHORT SALES Compensation DO enter Compensation as a percentage of the gross or net sales amount or enter a dollar amount. DO make an unconditional offer of cooperation and compensation. DON’T enter a compensation amount, or indicate in the remarks that the amount depends or is contingent upon third-party approval. DON’T indicate that the third party will determine compensation for cooperating brokers based on negotiated contract terms. Status DO update listing status to Contingent upon acceptance/ ratification of an offer. DO update status of a listing pending third-party approval to Contingent Contract. DON’T keep a property in ACTIVE status after accepting/ ratifying an offer even if the seller or any third party requests that the status remain active. 28

LISTINGS DO enter all property information accurately. DO make all status changes and other updates within 48 hours, weekends and holidays excluded. DO update Contingency Expiration dates or Settlement dates when the dates change or have passed. DO use the Tax ID Auto fill feature when entering listings. DON’T try to manipulate Days on Market, using tax and address information. DON’T enter two or more active listings for the same property unless the property is both for rent and for sale. REMARKS Internet: Public DO include information about the property only. DON’T include any of the following information: commissions, showing contacts, agent or broker names, phone or fax numbers, website or email addresses, virtual tours, alarm codes, lockbox codes or other security measures. DON’T include links, active or animated content, or other comments containing HTML or programming code. General DO enter information intended for cooperating brokers, such as special showing instructions, contacts, special contract information, special compensation information, properly excluded prospects, virtual tours, broker or agent websites and emails. Foreclosure or Auction listings may reference a third-party website where contracts must be registered. DON’T include any lockbox codes or other security system information. MRIS Rules and Regulations can be found online by visiting For more information, or to offer your feedback on how MRIS can improve the process, please call 301.838.7140 or contact ❈

March/April 2011


vhda award

Mario Rubio Recognized For Dedication To Multicultural Home Buyers In Virginia


esponding to a lack of housing information and resources in the Hispanic community, Mario Rubio, broker/owner of Rubio Real Estate in Annandale, VA, was awarded the 2010 Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) Realtor® Service to Virginia Award. The award was presented during the Virginia Association of Realtors®’ annual awards banquet in Richmond on February 10.

“Mario Rubio has shown a long commitment to VHDA’s principles and values,” said VHDA Executive Director Susan Dewey. “Through the Rubio Foundation, a non-profit organization he created in 2004, Mr. Rubio brings much needed housing information and education to the Northern Virginia Latino community through seminars, workshops and a weekly radio

program. Mario is certainly deserving of this award, and we are proud to honor him as the recipient of the 2010 VHDA Service to Virginia Award.” Currently serving as an NVAR board member, Rubio is also the National Association of Realtors®’ Liaison to Peru, his home country. ❈

NVAR’s Real Estate Finance & Settlement Forum Co-Chair Michele Watson, VHDA Director of Home ownership Programs, presented the award to Rubio during the February 10 ceremonies. The award recognizes the efforts of a Realtor® who is dedicated to serving the multicultural home buying public in Virginia.  Trish Szego (l), NVAR member and VAR 2011 president-elect, congratulates Mario Rubio on his 2010 VHDA Service to Virginia Award at the VAR annual awards banquet in Richmond on Thursday, Feb. 10.

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March/April 2011


technology corner

Less is Definitely More How many of your friends on facebook would really send business your way? the correct answer should be 'all of them' By Todd Carpenter | March 2011


’ve spent much of the last year unfriending people on Facebook. At my peak, I had more than 1,400 friends on my personal profile page; today, about 400 remain.

That may sound like an unusual social networking strategy, especially for someone who holds the title of social media manager for the National Association of Realtors®. Indeed, I’m the same person who has helped NAR earn more than 70,000 likes on its Facebook page and has more than 6,000 “followers” on Twitter. And yet I’m going through my personal friend list with a fine-tooth comb. Why? I feel that when it comes to Facebook, or any social network for that matter, having a friend shouldn’t be taken too lightly. Today, after months of quietly deleting “friends,” I can say with confidence that the 400 who remain truly are my friends—online and in the real world. They’re the ones who would open the doors of opportunity for me; they

would recommend me to their peers and defend me when I’m not around. And I’d take these 400 friends over a million fans on a Facebook business page any day. I may not sell real estate—I did, for several years, work on the mortgage side of the business—but I believe that by focusing my networking time and effort on fewer people, I’ve forged stronger relationships that have led me to greater career and personal success. I know my friends and they know me, so I can be myself. And because of this, I can build connections that transfer seamlessly when I see them in person. There’s science behind my desire to cull my friend list to a manageable number. Robin Dunbar, professor of evolutionary anthropology with the University of Oxford, is known for his theory that there’s a “cognitive limit” to the number of individuals with whom one person can maintain stable relationships. He doesn’t propose an exact value, but a so-called “Dunbar’s Number” has been estimated at about

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technology corner

150 people. The average Facebook user has 130 friends. Coincidence?

the same broadcast message is applied to a social network, why would anyone expect the result to be different?

As social marketers, real estate practitioners are taught that this business is a numbers game. The more people you meet, the better the chance that you’ll get the call when someone needs help buying, selling, leasing, or managing a piece of property. When you think of it that way, Facebook and other online social networks seem like ideal tools for expanding your sphere. These networks make it faster and easier than ever to build relationships with more and more people, right?

What do you know about them? The key is to focus not on how many friends you have online but on how well you know each of them. Business columnist and networking guru Harvey Mackay, in his book Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive (Ballantine Books, 1996), provides a different number—the “Mackay 66.” It’s a list of 66 questions that he says salespeople should be required to ask or know of their clients to fully understand their personality and needs. Mackay’s list includes political affiliations, educational background, favorite restaurants, and even drinking habits and sources of pride.

Not really. Marketing and networking are two very different disciplines. While the Web makes it easy to broadcast marketing messages to consumers, those relationships tend to become shallower as the size of the audience increases— unless, of course, you’re really tending to every person in your network, and that takes more time than most real estate practitioners can afford to give. As a result, when real estate professionals try to apply the numbers marketing game to online social networks, it often doesn’t work as expected. It’s not Facebook’s fault; it’s the result of unrealistic expectations placed on this new medium. When the numbers game is applied to a direct mail campaign, the expected response rate is very, very small. If


The theory behind the list is that salespeople who know the most about their clients will have a natural advantage over business competitors. Now, here’s where online social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are helpful. These sites are a goldmine for acquiring personal information and learning about your prospects. But for real estate practitioners who’ve focused mainly on acquiring thousands of online “friends” in their pursuit to win the marketing numbers game, how likely is it that

March/April 2011

Technology Corner continued on next page


technology corner Technology Corner continued from previous page

even a quarter of the questions in the Mackay 66 are being online communities where these people are likely to be participants. Conduct a search for these groups on local researched? Rather than play the numbers game, carry over what you already know about forging business connections. websites, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Search for keywords on Twitter and follow those who fall into your profile. The long-term success of most professionals in the real estate industry is based on a well-established sphere of influence that includes key people who can deliver business For example, let’s say your local newspaper has established a Facebook forum for people who are passionate about opportunities through direct and referral business. These the restoration of your community’s parks. If you share relationships are traditionally built by participating in small that passion, why not join the discussion, talk about your groups—places of worship, charities, schools, and clubs. To involvement in parks’ restoration, and establish those relationships online, the provide the group’s members with useful same sort of intimate conditions need to Once you have a data about parks’ impact on real estate be created. general profile of sales? If a particular community doesn’t exist, you may have the opportunity to To start, you must identify people with the individuals and create one. To create a group on Facebook, whom you want to network and then type of people you just search for “Group” and click on abate the noise from everyone else. Groups App. Then click on Create Group. Sure, connecting to 5,000 other real need to reach in your The process is simple. Once you’re done, estate pros may lead to some relocation networking efforts, invite like-minded friends—and start referrals, but most real estate is local. So your next step is to networking. focus on finding and networking with local professionals, business owners, seek out and join the For the full text of the article, and to learn community activists, and like-minded online communities about making stronger bonds, visit individuals. ❈ where these people Once you have a general profile of the are likely to be Reprinted from REALTOR® Magazine, March 2011, with individuals and type of people you need permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. to reach in your networking efforts, your participants. Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. next step is to seek out and join the







2011 CONVENTION & TRADE SHOW Tuesday, October 11, 2011 Northern Virginia Community College | Annandale Campus


March/April 2011


fairfax hq award


Open House

NVAR Fairfax Garners

'Building of America' Gold Status Check out the NVAR Headquarters Case Study on Its Homepage

Save the Date!


he new NVAR Fairfax headquarters continues to attract attention for its construction and design innovations. Our building project has been selected as a featured Building of America Award case study.


lan to participate in the 2011 Realtor® Nationwide Open House Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, June 4-5. Join NVAR and other state and local Realtor® associations across the country hosting the nation’s largest open house campaign. Expect regular updates and promotional materials available soon on and in NVAR e-News emails to help drive buyer traffic. Questions? Contact ❈


The Building of America Network is a 15-year compilation of the nation’s most important and unique new construction and renovation projects, and the companies responsible for their planning, designs, engineering, construction and finishes. Tens of thousands of projects have been submitted for recognition. Editors, publishers and consultants evaluate each submission. This organization chooses to publicize the projects and teams that show innovation, unique solutions to challenges and the ability to reach new heights in their respective market sectors. The network publishes in more than 25 markets throughout the United States. The NVAR case study will appear on the homepage. In addition to highlighting the facility’s features and design/build team, each project analysis slated for the site’s homepage demonstrates how it is making a difference for its community. ❈

March/April 2011


ask nvar

Ask NVAR By NVAR Attorney Roundtable

For Disclosure of Brokerage Relationships, Timing is Key When must a licensee disclose a brokerage relationship? Pursuant to Virginia Code §54.1-2138, a licensee must disclose any brokerage relationship that licensee has with another party to the transaction upon having a substantive discussion about a specific property or properties with an actual or prospective buyer/seller/landlord/tenant who is not the client of the licensee and who is not represented by another licensee. The disclosure shall be made in writing at the earliest practical time, but in no event later than the time when specific real estate assistance is first provided. The disclosure must be conspicuous, printed in bold lettering, all capitals, underlined, or within a separate box. NVAR form K1207 “Disclosure of Brokerage Relationship” meets all of the legally required notice requirements for formatting, and need only be completed with client and brokerage specific information to comply with the disclosure requirements. Example 1: Listing Agent is affiliated with ABC Brokerage and has entered into a brokerage relationship with Seller evidenced by a ratified listing agreement. Listing Agent holds an open house at Seller’s property. Mr. and Mrs. Buyer attend the open house, express that they are actively seeking to 34

purchase a home, and ask several substantive questions of Listing Agent about the property. Listing Agent asks if Mr. and Mrs. Buyer are represented by an agent and is told that they do not have a brokerage relationship with another agent. Listing Agent must stop and provide Mr. and Mrs. Buyer with written disclosure of her brokerage relationship with Seller. In order to be prepared to make proper disclosure, Listing Agent should be equipped with completed copies of NVAR Form K1207 “Disclosure of Brokerage Relationship,” indicating clearly that Listing Agent represents Seller. Example 2: Buyer’s Agent is affiliated with XYZ Brokerage and has entered into a brokerage relationship with Buyer as evidenced by a ratified buyer/broker agreement. Buyer would like to purchase a home in a specific neighborhood where there are currently no homes listed for sale. Buyer’s Agent knocks on doors in the neighborhood with the intent of asking owners if they are interested in selling their home. Buyer’s Agent knocks on the first door and first asks if the owner is represented by an agent. The owner responds that he is not represented by an agent. Buyer’s agent must stop and provide the owner with written disclosure of her brokerage relationship with Buyer. In order to be prepared to make proper disclosure, Buyer’s Agent should be equipped with completed copies of NVAR Form K1207 “Disclosure of Brokerage Relationship,” indicating clearly that Buyer’s Agent represents Buyer. Editor’s Note: This information was provided with input from NVAR’s Attorney Roundtable, a group of NVAR attorney members who meet bimonthly to discuss legal issues that affect Realtors®. For more information, contact NVAR General Counsel, Sarah Louppe Petcher at

March/April 2011


agents need to know

Federal Tax Deductions for Real Estate Property Taxes

On the Road Again – or Not? Manufactured [Mobile] Homes Defined

Source: U.S. Internal Revenue Service


Under what circumstances is a manufactured [mobile] home a “vehicle” versus “real estate?” When may it be listed for sale or lease in the MLS? If a manufactured [mobile] home has wheels and/or other equipment used for mobility, it is considered to be a vehicle, and therefore personal property, and should accordingly be titled through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. A Virginia real estate license does not authorize the licensee to assist clients in buying/selling/leasing manufactured [mobile] homes as personal property. A manufactured [mobile] home is considered to be real estate if: (i) its wheels and/or other equipment used for mobility have been removed; (ii) it has been attached to real estate;  and (iii)  the vehicle title has been cancelled via surrender to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. See DMV Guidelines: vehicles/mobile.asp. Pursuant to Virginia Code §46.2-653, once the manufactured [mobile] home has been converted to real estate, then it can only be sold as real estate is sold. As Virginia real estate agents are licensed to assist clients in buying/selling/leasing real estate, they are therefore able to assist clients with buying/selling/leasing manufactured [mobile] homes that have effectively been converted from personal property to real property. In addition to determining whether the structure is a vehicle or real estate, it is also important for the agent to determine if the underlying land is owned by the owner of the manufactured [mobile] home, or if it is leased from the landowner. If the owner of a manufactured [mobile] home which has been effectively converted to real estate also owns the underlying land, then that owner may list the land and improvements for lease/sale just as they would any other improved real estate. If the owner of a manufactured [mobile] home which has been effectively converted to real estate does not own the underlying land, then that owner only has the right to sell the structure, and would only be able to negotiate a transfer of the lease of the underlying land as allowed by the home owner’s specific lease agreement. Accordingly, if a manufactured [mobile] home is a vehicle with wheels and/or other equipment used for mobility intact, it may be transferred only as a vehicle, which is personal property, and which may not be listed for sale/lease through the MLS. If a manufactured [mobile] home has been effectively converted to real property, it may be listed for sale/lease through the MLS. Note that the listing agent will need to be clear in the listing whether the underlying land is included in the sale/lease. NVAR Realtor® UPDATE

roperty taxes are usually deductible items on federal income tax returns if the taxes are charged uniformly against all property in a given jurisdiction, and if they are based on the assessed property value. However, it can be very difficult for customers to determine if certain items that appear on a bill or statement are legally deductible. Legally deductible property taxes, based on the property’s assessed value, have a tax (millage) rate that is multiplied by the assessed value to calculate the tax. A review of various bill formats used by some towns and counties reveal that often there is no clear indication as to which items on the documents are legally deductible for the customer. Often, tax bills issued by local tax jurisdictions include taxes and fees that are not allowable. Certain Service Charges and fees are not legally deductible » A tax or fee that doesn’t show a rate and an assessment amount is usually not deductible. » Unit fees for service delivery, such as fees charged for water usage, are not deductible. Periodic charges for service, such as sanitation charges, also fall into that category. Flat Fees And Assessments That Are not Deductible » Flat fees for services provided by your local government (or home owners association) to ensure compliance with local ordinances are not deductible. » Assessments for improvements to property, such as new streets, sidewalks or sewer lines, are not deductible. Exceptions Charges that are specifically allocable to maintenance or repair of local benefits may be currently deductible if all other requirements are met. For example, the cost of constructing a new sidewalk is not a deductible expense; however, charges that are specifically allocable to the repair or maintenance of existing sidewalks throughout the entire taxing jurisdiction are deductible. For more information contact the IRS at 1.800.829.1040 or visit the official IRS Web site at and enter Publication 530 in the search window. ❈

March/April 2011


your opinion counts

We’re Listening: At NVAR, Your Opinion Counts

NVAR Class Registrations and Realtor® Shop Are

Now Live on Our Website


e become a better local association by meeting — or exceeding — your expectations. Please tell us what’s on your mind. We are always listening! What issues are important to you? What type of programming interests you? If we’ve fallen short, please let us know about it. Our staff will review your comments — and work with staff in addressing your concerns. If you have an idea or suggestion about how we can make our programs and service even better, please share it with us. You can reach us by: » Clicking on our E-Suggestion Button on’s homepage » Sending an email to » Sending a letter to the editor to » Replying to your NVAR e-News email, from


elcome to the newest features of the website: Class Registration and Realtor® Shop Online. » Register for all Education classes or buy store merchandise 24/7. » Ability to change passwords is a feature that's coming soon! Announcements about website functions will be made on our homepage, in NVAR e-News and the Matrix/NVAR landing page. ❈

» Or calling us at 703.207.3200. NVAR is at your service. ❈

ds, r o l d n a L se Advertintal Your Re rty, Prope ! Free List one property for rent — or hundreds! Easily add photos, amenities, neighborhood info and more. Log on any time, or call 877-428-8844. Sponsored by the Virginia Housing Development Authority


March/April 2011


leadership day

Season Opener for 2011 Leadership Team Sets Optimistic Tone Volunteer Leaders Coached to Aim High While Playing by Association Rules Members of NVAR’s 2010 Leadership Class received graduation certificates from 2011 NVAR Chairman Karen Trainor. Pictured (L to R) are: Christine Todd, NVAR CEO; Trainor; Theo Theologis of Arbour Realty, Arlington; Merlin Smith of RE/MAX Premier, Fairfax; Sita Kapur of Arlington Premier Realty, Arlington ; Angie Delboy of RE/MAX Distinctive, Arlington; Brian Block of RE/MAX Allegiance, McLean; Tammy Bagnato of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Springfield ; and Lorena Rios of Aelis Realty Group, Reston . NVAR Chairman-Elect Pat Kline explained to incoming leaders the import role that NV/RPAC plays in the association. She presented a Crystal R Award, signifying a 2010 campaign contribution of $2,500, to Past Chairman Jane A. Quill. Incoming 2011 Leadership Class members completed their first required milestone by attending leadership training on January 6. Pictured (L to R) are: Karen Trainor, Weichert, Realtors® - NVAR 2011 Chairman of the Board; Jeanne Siracuse, Weichert, Realtors®; Brooke Schara, Arbour Realty; Karen Kidwell, Long & Foster Real Estate; Reggie Copeland, Long & Foster Real Estate; Ruth Henriquez, Casa Latino Real Estate International; Dedra Brown, RE/MAX Allegiance; Lorraine Arora, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage; Moon Choi, RE/MAX Presidential; Siu Cheung, Global One Realtors,Inc.; Rick Khosla, Westgate Realty Group; Heather Embrey, McEnearney Associates; James Nellis II, RE/MAX Allegiance; and Michael Huang, Kirin Realty.


Vietnamese Forum leaders for 2011 shared the opportunity to meet with other leadership teams and strategize for the coming year. Pictured (L to R) are: Vice Chair Anne Thai, Westgate Realty Group; Vice Chair John Nguyen, Long & Foster Real Estate; and Chair Bic DeCaro, Westgate Realty Group. Sporting a scarf from her beloved Capitals hockey team, NVAR CEO and head coach Christine Todd shared her team strategy with incoming leaders. Pictured (left to right) are: 2011 Leadership Class member Rick Khosla, Westgate Realty Group; Todd; Immediate Past Chairman Vinh Nguyen, Westgate Realty Group; and Community Outreach Vice-Chair Ruth Henriquez, Casa Latino Real Estate.

March/April 2011


graham road tour

Read, Write, I


NVAR Fairfax Tour Bolsters Graham Road Curriculum About Saving The Environment By Ann Gutkin, NVAR Communications and Media Relations Manager

Leah Palmer, LEED AP and Project Manager with Advanced Project Management, explained to the Graham Road students that a building the size of NVAR’s new Fairfax headquarters generates around 97.5 tons of construction waste. During construction of our facility, 85 percent, or 78 tons, was diverted from landfills through the construction recycling process.

t’s not often that bathrooms are a legitimate topic of discussion for a school fieldtrip. When NVAR hosted 52 Graham Road Elementary School sixth-graders and their teachers for a Friday, Feb. 11 tour of our new Fairfax headquarters, these eco-friendly facilities were prominently featured. Along with the building’s green roof and other amenities, these sustainable features provided a backdrop for a hands-on learning experience the children will not soon forget.

NVAR COO Maggie Mueller-Tyler (center) led one group of students on a tour of the Fairfax headquarters, during which they learned about the environmental benefits of NVAR’s underground parking spaces.

NVAR’s Realtor® Shop is now ONLINE. Shop now 


Your one-stop-shop for real estate business products & accessories, 24/7. NVAR Members Only

Save 1

Coupon redeemable toward any purchase made at the NVAR Realtor® Shop. Non-transferable. No cash value. Cannot be combined with any other vouchers or coupons, or used on sale items. Cannot be used on Sentrilock items.

In stores only Expires: 05/13/2011

Or visit our convenient locations: NVAR Fairfax Headquarters 8407 Pennell Street Fairfax, VA 22031


Herndon Service Center 520 Huntmar Park Drive Herndon, VA 20170 March/April 2011

5% on Open H ouse R egistri & es Shoe C overs Store: 703.207.3215


graham road tour “One thing I learned is that even toilets can help the environment by using less water when you flush it [sic],” remarked one student. Others were impressed by the “cool” hand dryer. “It dries your hand in 12 seconds!” That is the kind of hands-on, or hands-in, encounter that students remember. To supplement their guided tour, students were treated to a video demonstration of the process used for

Testing the building’s Dyson Airblade hand dryers was a high point of the tour for many students. “The best part of the tour was getting to see the cool bathroom,” according to at least one visitor.


recycling construction materials that were removed from the building site. The Graham Road sixth graders are responsible for their school’s recycling program, and this field trip offered a first-hand look at recycling in action. Leah Palmer, LEED AP and Project Manager with Advanced Project Management, who oversaw the NVAR build, spoke about the volume of waste recycled during the NVAR

A group of future Realtors® perhaps? Students learned during their visit about how Realtors® serve the community. In addition to hearing about the sustainable features of the Fairfax board room, the children took turns pretending to be home ownership experts.

March/April 2011

headquarters project. She also described the recycled content of materials used during the building’s construction. Based on positive student feedback, this visit will serve as a model for future school group tours of our eco-friendly facility. “This adventure was awesome,” one student exclaimed. We know that sharing our green business practices is one way to spread the word and set a good example in our community. ❈

Following their tour, students completed “sustainable scavenger hunt” worksheets and wrote about what they learned during their visit to the NVAR Fairfax headquarters.


class schedule

To register for a course listed or view a class description, visit Continuing Education

Principles of Real Estate

Fairfax Headquarters

Fairfax Headquarters DATE





16 hr CED - Evening (Part 2A)

6 - 9:30 p.m.


16 hr CED - Evening (Part 2B)

6 - 9:30 p.m.


16 hr CED - Evening (Part 1A)

6 - 9:30 p.m.


16 hr CED - Evening (Part 1B)

6 - 9:30 p.m.


16 hr CED - Day 1

8:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.


16 hr CED - Evening (Part 2A)

6 - 9:30 p.m.


16 hr CED - Evening (Part 2B)

6 - 9:30 p.m.


16 hr CED - Day 2

8:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.


Broker CE : Brokerage Risk and Liability

8:45 a.m. - 12:25 p.m.


Broker CE : Productive Agents and Offices

1 - 4:45 p.m.


16 hr CED - Day 1





Principles Exam Prep Course

9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

3/26 - 5/21

Principles of Real Estate: Saturdays 1 - 9

9 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Principles Exam Prep Course

9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Post Licensing Fairfax Headquarters DATE




Post Licensing (Day 4) - Listing Strategies and Pricing the Property

9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


Post Licensing (Day 1) - What’s In a Contract and Real Estate & Contract Law

1 - 5 p.m.

8:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.


New Member Orientation

9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

16 hr CED - Day 2

8:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.


Post Licensing (Day 2) - Agency Law & Ethics

8:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.





Post Licensing (Day 3) - Fair Housing & Business Planning

9 a.m. - 1 p.m.


16 hr CED - Day 2

8:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.


Post Licensing (Day 4) - Listing Strategies and Pricing the Property

9 a.m. - 6 p.m.


CED: Environmental Issues

8:45 a.m. - 12:25 p.m. 4/14

Post Licensing (Day 5) Prospecting & Selling and Marketing with Technology

9 a.m. - 4 p.m.


New Member Orientation

9 a.m. - 4 p.m.



CED: Construction Essentials

1 - 4:45 p.m.


CED: 8 hr Mandated Course

8:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.


CED: Agency & Disclosure

8:45 a.m. - 12:25 p.m.


CED: Negotiations

1 - 4:45 p.m.





CED: 8 hr Mandated Course

8:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.


New Member Orientation

9 a.m. - 4 p.m.


New Member Orientation

9 a.m. - 4 p.m.


Post Licensing (Day 1) - What’s In a Contract and Real Estate & Contract Law

9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

D.C. Continuing Education


Fairfax Headquarters






Post Licensing (Day 2) - Agency Law & Ethics

9 a.m. - 4 p.m.


D.C. Fair Housing and D.C. Legislative Update

9 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.


Post Licensing (Day 3) - Fair Housing & Business Planning

9 a.m. - 4 p.m.


D.C. Fair Housing and D.C. Financing Issues

9 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.


Post Licensing (Day 4) - Listing Strategies and Pricing the Property

1 - 5 p.m.


Post Licensing (Day 5) Prospecting & Selling and Marketing with Technology

8:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.


New Member Orientation

9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

March/April 2011


class schedule


Featured Offerings Fairfax Headquarters DATE




Accredited Buyer Representative - Day 1

8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Accredited Buyer Representative - Day 2

8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Short Sales and Foreclosures (ABR Elective)

9 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) - Day 1

9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.


Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) - Day 1

9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.





Green Designation - Day 1

8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Green Designation - Day 2

8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Green Residential Elective

9 a.m. - 5 p.m.


GRI 409: Business Development

8 a.m. - 4 p.m.




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Attend this FREE seminar to learn the common causes behind identity theft, steps to protect yourself and what to do if you believe you are a victim. Taught by the Fairfax County Government, Consumers Affairs Branch. 


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Alexandria 703.922.2100

Annandale 703.813.5171

Fairfax 703.227.2500

Leesburg 703.443.2183

McLean 703.848.2031

Oakton 703.319.2616

Sterling 703.433.5458

1 Preapproval is subject to satisfactory appraisal and title review and no change in

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THIS INFORMATION IS INTENDED FOR MORTGAGE, REAL ESTATE AND/OR BUILDER PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY AND IS NOT AUTHORIZED FOR CONSUMER OR PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION. Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC Equal Housing Lender © 2009 Bank of America Corporation. Credit and collateral are subject to approval. Terms and conditions apply. This is not a commitment to lend. Programs, rates, terms and conditions are subject to change without notice. 00-62-0197D 04-2009 AR70173

q4 rental statistics



Q4 2009


Q4 2010



$2,041 $2.010



Q4 2009

Q4 2010

Q4 2009

Q4 2010

Q4 2009

Q4 2010

Q4 2009

Q4 2010

Q4 2009

Q4 2010

274 292 118 246



Q4 2009


Q4 2010



$2,160 $2,160



322 320 148 281



Q4 2009


Q4 2010



$1,809 $2,228



20 31 13 23



Q4 2009


Q4 2010



$2,040 $1,964



1,660 1,589 724 1,366



$2,068 $2,112 $2,021 $2,305


Q4 2009


Q4 2010 Rent


17 17 12 11

March/April 2011


town hall meeting

Lights, Camera. . . Live Town Hall Meeting NAR Airs Q&A with NAR Leadership and NVAR Audience


NAR dispatched a satellite truck to NVAR’s Fairfax Headquarters on Monday, Jan. 24 to broadcast NVAR member questions during the first NAR Town Hall Meeting.

Phipps appeared via live stream from a television station in Washington, D.C. along with NAR President-Elect Moe Veissi, Vice President and Liaison to Committees Elizabeth Mendenhall, and Vice President and Liaison to Government Affairs Vince Malta. NVAR members stepped to the microphone to pose their questions to the assembled NAR leaders. To view a video of the Town Hall Meeting, login to ❈

Realtor® Dan Daniels of Governmental Employees Realty waits his turn at the microphone to question NAR panelists about proposed legislation that could affect the mortgage interest deduction.

VAR was selected to be the inaugural host for President Ron Phipps’ and NAR’s first ever Town Hall Meeting. The event was broadcast from our Fairfax Headquarters’ Mount Vernon classroom on Monday, Jan. 24. NVAR was the only association in the country selected to have an interactive audience during the live streaming event.



Dr. Stephen Fuller, Director Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University Mr. Barry H. Biggar, CDME President & CEO / Visit Fairfax



March/April 2011



appraisers & affiliates directory


Leah Powell CRA


Commission Advance

Lesley Omega Appraisers


Commission Express

McGraw Appraisals


Credit Union

Michael S. Mc Mahon


Realtors® Federal Credit Union

Monir Moshashaie


Environmental Services

NoVaStar Appraisals Inc.


SES Companies

NVA Appraisal


Financial Services

Omni Appraisal Services


1st Portfolio Lending


P & C Appraisals


Acacia Federal Savings Bank


Patricia C. Johnson Appraisal


AG Capital Holdings


Pen Fed Realty, LLC


Bank of America - Annandale


Philip Arnold Appraisal Co., LLC


Bank of America - Fairfax


Preston Hummer


Bank Of America - Oakton


Real Estate Appraisals 4 You


Bank of America - Commercial


Renner, Hansborough & Reese


BB&T Mortgage


Residential Appraisal Group Inc.


Brickstone Financial Services


Residential Valuation Services


Chase Home Finance - Falls Church 703-326-9711

Ryan Appraisal Services


Chase Home Lending - Columbia


Sandra A. Le Blanc


George Mason Mortgage


Silvey Appraisals, LLC


Greenpoint Mortgage


Square Feet Appraisals Inc.


Intercoastal Mortgage


Stewart Jarrett R E Appr & Cons


Member Options, LLC


Suburban Appraisers


MetLife Home Loans - Alexandria


Suburban Appraisers


MetLife Home Loans - Fairfax


Suellen Wohlfarth - Appraiser


MetLife Home Loans - Vienna


Susan Vanderzyl


Navy Federal Credit Union


T. L. Hoover Appraisal Service


PNC Mortgage


The Benjamin Group Inc.


Prospect Mortgage, LLC


VA-MD Appraisal Group, LLC


Specialty Lending Group


Washington Appraisal Group Inc.


SunTrust Mortgage


Weichert Realtors


Union Mortgage Group


William C. Harvey & Associates




Woodbridge Appraisal Service


Wells Fargo Mortgage - Annandale 703-333-5541

World Mortgage


Wells Fargo Mortgage - McLean

A+ Appraisals


AAA Appraisals


AD Brown Appraisals


Anthony Appraisers


B. H. Potter






Chevy Chase Bank


Chevy Chase Bank, FSB


Classic Appraisals


DCO Appraisal Services


Dennis J O’Brien


Dennis J. Park


Dickman & Associates


Distinctive Homes Realty, LLC


Dittmar Realty Group


Donald R. Drake, Jr.


Elite Appraisal Service


F & F Appraisals


Forte Appraisal Service


Fred Byrne R E Appraiser


G. Miller Real Estate Appraiser


Gee Appraisers Inc.


Harry Graef


Harry H. Arikan


Hartmann Group


Hendershott Appraisal Services


Home Appraisers


Hundley and Associates


Inman Appraisal Services Inc.


John Halacy Appraisals


John L. Brady, Jr.


JR Witt & Assoc.


Karas Inc.



Government Services

Kinder Appraisal Services


Cell phone Services

Fairfax County



Verizon Wireless







301-938-7700 March/April 2011


appraisers & affiliates directory

Gutter Repair Gagnon’s Gutterworks

Mold Services 703-523-6225

Home Cleaning Services Maid Brigade


MBH Settlement Group - Burke 877-932-7177

Moving & Storage 703-823-1726

Home Inspection


MBH Settlement Group - Fair Oaks 703-279-1500 MBH Settlement Group - Kingstowne 703-417-5000

Busy Buddies Inc.


MBH Settlement Group - McLean


Interstate Moving & Storage


MBH Settlement Group - Oakton


All Pro Services Inc.


JK Moving & Storage


MBH Settlement Group - Reston


Consumer Resources


Quality Services Moving


MBH Settlement Group - Vienna


Hurlbert Home Inspection


Pest Control Services

Mid-Atlantic Settlement Svcs


Keystone Home & Environmental


Asian Pest Services, LLC


Monarch Title - Alexandria


Old Dominion Home Inspection


Country Termite & Pest Control


Monarch Title - Herndon


Pillar To Post


My Exterminator, LLC


Monarch Title - McLean


Pillar To Post Inc


property management services

Monarch Title - Springfield


Lamar Companies


New World Title & Escrow



Old Virginia Title, LLC


Paragon Title & Escrow Co.


Provident Title & Escrow, LLC


Shamrock Title


Stewart Title & Escrow, Inc.


Home Staging Services Decor Decorum


WJD Management

Preferred Staging


Real Estate FORMS

Staged Interior


MB Associates


Staging, Living, Wellness by Brigitta, LLC

Real Estate Photography

Bert Goulait Photography


Home Warranty


Real Estate SERVICES

American Home Shield


All American NOVA Home Buyers

Old Republic Home Protection


Real Estate Signs

Insurance Services

Realty Sign Post Co., LLC

Liberty Mutual Insurance Group



Victor Schinnerer & Co., Inc.


DryHome Roofing & Siding Inc.

Junk Removal

The Settlement Group - Alexandria 703-933-3090 703-344-1385



The Settlement Group - Ashburn


The Settlement Group - Burke


The Settlement Group - Franconia


The Settlement Group - McLean


Universal Title



Settlement Services



Absolute Title & Escrow




College Hunks Hauling Junk


Advanced Title, LLC


Listingbook, LLC


Dominion Title Corporation



703-838-7100 973-337-5666

Legal Services Brincefield, Hartnett, Maloof


Ekko Title


Realty Vision

Joseph A. Cerroni, Esq.


Ekko Title


Virtual Tours

Keegan & Associates, PLC


Gold Cup Title & Escrow, Ltd.


Mouse on House Inc.

Peterson, Noll & Goodman, PLC


Key Title



MBH Settlement Group - Alexandria 703-739-0100

Homebuyer’s Journal


MBH Settlement Group - Annandale 703-852-3000

The Washington Post


MBH Settlement Group - Arlington 703-237-1100



March/April 2011

Bold signifies NVAR Partners (Last updated February 21, 2011) Do you have a correction to this list? Please e-mail changes to Tracy Reynolds at NVAR Realtor® UPDATE

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March/April 2011 Update Magazine  
March/April 2011 Update Magazine  

This issue of Update Magazine covers a wide range of topics to help Realtors® get prepared for the Spring market influx.