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History has been made!

The DC Council on Tuesday voted in favor of passing Bill 22-0315, which exempts single-family homes from TOPA legislation — some exceptions are made for elderly (62 and up) and disabled tenants.

More on the specifics of this bill will be coming soon. The bill still must be signed by Mayor Bowser and approved by Congress before it can become law.

Again: This bill is not yet law.

However, the bill passing through the Council is an enormous victory for homeowners, buyers, sellers and affordable housing in the District.

We’d like to thank to the hundreds of homeowners, buyers, sellers and other interested residents who came out time and again to show their support for this exemption.

We’re not quite there yet, but we’re closer than we’ve ever been before to a common-sense single-family home exemption. Stay tuned for more!

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On Tuesday, March 6, 10 DC Councilmembers voted to move forward on a bill that would exempt single-family homes from TOPA legislation.

This is a step toward TOPA reform that the real estate community and homeowners have been fighting for for years, and while the bill still has a ways to go before becoming law, it’s an enormous step in the right direction.

More than 100 supporters of Bill 22-0315 showed up to the Wilson Building Tuesday to voice their approval, and the building was so full of supporters donning #FixTOPA stickers that the hearing room reached capacity. A second hearing room was opened for all those who couldn’t get seats in the primary hearing room, and those folks were able to watch the proceedings via a live stream.

When the vote was announced at 10-2 in favor of (with one recusal), the room erupted in applause. The exultation was further proof that TOPA has no place in the single-family realm; the Councilmembers have worked hard to address concerns voiced by residents of the District, and Tuesday’s hearing marked their success.

Councilmember Robert White recused himself from the vote, as his spouse is in the process of selling a single-family home in which TOPA rights could come into play. Councilmembers Elissa Silverman and Brianne Nadeau voted against the single-family exemption, while the other 10 Councilmembers voted in support of the bill.

Said Anita Bonds, the chair of the Council’s Housing Committee, after the vote: “It’s the right thing to do.”

Frankly, we couldn’t agree more.

What’s Next

Despite this incredible victory, we’re not all the way there yet. The next step is a second reading, which is tentatively scheduled for April 10. More updates about that hearing will be provided as they become available.

If the bill is voted through again at the second reading, then it goes to the Mayor for approval.

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Huge TOPA news: We have a single-family exemption working its way through the DC Council!

If this bill goes through the Council’s legislative process and becomes law, it would create a full exemption from TOPA for single-family homes; the only exclusions currently noted in the bill are tenants who are A) 62 years or older or B) disabled.

On Friday, Feb. 23, the DC Council’s housing committee voted to push the exemption through to the full Council. The full Council is scheduled to review the bill on Tuesday, March 6. That hearing is set to start at 10 a.m. and will be held in Room 500 of the Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW).

Full DC legislative calendar

Several dozen REALTORS® were in attendance for the housing committee’s hearing, and their presence helped prove the impact this legislation will have on the real estate industry. Now, we just need to keep filling the hearing rooms.

When the full Council convenes on March 6, we need a room full of REALTORS® showing their support. As we’ve proven twice before, when we pack the room, the Council listens.

Stay tuned for updates.

NBC4 TOPA Coverage

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The new DC office is almost done, and we are absolutely thrilled with how it’s coming together. We don’t yet have a date set for a grand opening, but it’s not far away, as you’ll see in the pictures below. It’s remarkable how much has changed since our last big update on the building, which was less than two months ago.

For information on location, directions, parking and more, visit our main info page. The address is 1615 New Hampshire Ave. NW, just off Dupont Circle, and we have the entire third floor.

 

Stay tuned!

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DCAR hosted its fourth annual Advocacy Day on Nov. 16, and it was a resounding success! About two dozen DCAR leaders spent the day at the Wilson Building meeting with DC Councilmembers and their staffs, discussing a number of issues that are of utmost importance to REALTORS®.

The primary topic was, of course, TOPA reform. We were quite pleased with the response the Councilmembers took to our concerns regarding TOPA, and we appreciated them taking the time to learn more about the problems TOPA has caused DC’s single-family homeowners.

READ TOPA HORROR STORIES

TOPA was not the only issue discussed, however.

DCAR’s representatives also spoke with the Council about short-term rental regulations, and we were able to engaged in a cordial back-and-forth with the Councilmembers on a number of pieces of relevant proposed legislation. We also discussed the idea of changing the process in which real-estate professionals are able to conduct business through business entities such as LLCs, an idea that most Councilmembers were open to.

Overall, it was an incredible experience for all in attendance, and the Council was incredibly receptive to all of DCAR’s issues of interest.

SEE THE PICTURES

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The new DCAR office is under construction, and while we don’t have an exact date yet for its grand opening, it’s coming along nicely. We went to take a look at its progress last week, and we wanted to share an update with you, as you’ll be affected by it as much as anybody.

1615 New Hampshire Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20009

Some pictures are available below, and more information — including initial details, parking options, driving directions and more — is available here.

More to come soon. As always, please reach out to us at contact@dcrealtors.org if you have any questions or concerns.

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Don’t Wait Until Winter

It’s important to act early. Winterizing your home once winter has already started is like putting on sunscreen after you’ve already gotten a sunburn. Take some time to winterize your home now to save yourself a huge hassle — and bill — later.

How to Winterize Your Home

It feels like we were all walking around in short sleeves just a few weeks ago, but this past weekend brought the first frost of the year. And according to The Washington Post, the first snow usually comes to the DC area about a month from today.

That means now is the time to take preventative measures. While the weather is still moderate, take a few hours to make sure your home is in good shape for the coming months. And, of course, don’t forget to pass on these tips to your clients, especially those who are entering their first winters as homeowners!

  1. Buy a faucet protector: Faucet protectors prevent cold air from getting into your pipes and home via outdoor faucets. They’re available from a variety of retailers for less than $10, and they could prevent a disastrous and pricey flood.
  2. Clean your gutters: Nobody likes to clean gutters, but clogged gutters can lead to water and snow seeping into a home’s foundation, which can lead to incredibly expensive repairs.
  3. Seal cracks: It’s so cheap and easy to fix cracks in window sills, but people always put off doing it. Yet spending an hour caulking those cracks can help cut down on heating bills over the next few months.

READ MORE

Help us help you!

Have an idea for a Tuesday Tidbits subject? Looking for help on a particular topic? Send an email to bfrantz@dcrealtors.org with your input and you might see it in a future Tuesday Tidbits email.

The information expressed herein is intended to serve as a general resource guide for the members of the District of Columbia Association of REALTORS® and is subject to change. While the District of Columbia Association of REALTORS® strives to make the information in this email as timely and accurate as possible, the Association makes no claims or guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the contents, and expressly disclaims liability for any errors and omissions. This information should not be taken as legal counsel.

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Creepy Crawlies

Whether you have spiders or crickets, rats or bats, or any other unwanted guests this Halloween, help is available.

Halloween Dangers and Damages

Halloween is a holiday that can be enjoyed by any age group, but all it takes it one little slip-up and the whole day can be ruined. Here are some tips to help you have a happy Halloween, and not a harrowing one.

  • Homeowners insurance has a fun way of paying for itself on certain holidays. Halloween is one of them. A trick-or-treater takes a tumble down your steps? Some hooligans find their way to the dairy aisle of the grocery store before going out for the night? Most of these are covered by standard policies. Read more here.
  • Speaking of egging, if your house does fall victim to Halloween hijinks, here are some tips on November 1st cleanup.

Help us help you!

Have an idea for a Tuesday Tidbits subject? Looking for help on a particular topic? Send an email to bfrantz@dcrealtors.org with your input and you might see it in a future Tuesday Tidbits email.

The information expressed herein is intended to serve as a general resource guide for the members of the District of Columbia Association of REALTORS® and is subject to change. While the District of Columbia Association of REALTORS® strives to make the information in this email as timely and accurate as possible, the Association makes no claims or guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the contents, and expressly disclaims liability for any errors and omissions. This information should not be taken as legal counsel.

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Angela Jones has been named the DCAR 2017 REALTOR of the Year! Please join us in congratulating her.

Angela has been an authentic and powerful voice for DCAR. She has never been afraid to ask the hard questions, whether it’s of the Council or her peers, and she has helped keep DCAR on the right path for years. She has been actively engaged in public policy for nearly a decade, and her guidance and leadership have been considerable assets for the Association for years.

Whether it was starting our Advocacy Happy Hours or more recently testifying on TOPA, Angela has helped move DCAR and DC real estate forward.

If you know Angela, be sure to congratulate her. And if you don’t know her, you surely know somebody who does!

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Here at DCAR, we want to make your jobs easier. That’s why we’ve started up our Tuesday Tidbits series, a now bi-weekly email that will provide you with a useful, relevant piece of information that will hopefully come in handy as you work. If you missed any of the previous editions, those are archived here.

Much of the information we use in these emails comes from the National Association of REALTORS® resources RealtorMag and HouseLogic. We encourage you to browse through their content for other useful tips.

Intangibles Matter

More often than not, the highest bid for a home will be the one that a seller ends up choosing. However, that’s not always the case. If your buyer isn’t willing or able to top the other offers, there are other ways to win the bid.

How to Help Sell Your Buyer

Money talks, but there are plenty of examples of sellers choosing a lower offer, and the reasons they do so vary greatly. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances with the specifics of the offer. Sometimes the seller would rather see the house maintained as opposed to demolished and rebuilt. Sometimes they simply don’t like the individuals who made the highest offer.

The point is sometimes it’s going to all be about the money, but other times, you can tip the scales in your favor without upping the offer.

  1. Don’t be a ruthless negotiator: You want to get the best deal for your client, but sometimes pushing for that extra perk can break the deal. “Don’t nitpick over items that are insubstantial, like a torn window screen or a $50 valve on a hot water heater. This will anger a seller more than anything.”
  2. Make a personal appeal: Sometimes a seller doesn’t want their home going to an investor or somebody who’s going to destroy the house, and instead wants to sell to somebody who will take good care of it. If your buyer feels a personal connection to a home, it can be a good idea to write the seller a heartfelt letter.
  3. Each seller is different: Some sellers are trying to get out as quickly as possible, others need time to find a new home. Learn what’s important to the sellers, then appeal to that. “The more flexible a buyer can be on closing and possession, the more likely they’ll be able to negotiate a lower price. They’re giving the seller peace of mind and the comfort of not having to rush out.”

READ MORE

Help us help you!

Have an idea for a Tuesday Tidbits subject? Looking for help on a particular topic? Send an email to bfrantz@dcrealtors.org with your input and you might see it in a future Tuesday Tidbits email.

The information expressed herein is intended to serve as a general resource guide for the members of the District of Columbia Association of REALTORS® and is subject to change. While the District of Columbia Association of REALTORS® strives to make the information in this email as timely and accurate as possible, the Association makes no claims or guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the contents, and expressly disclaims liability for any errors and omissions. This information should not be taken as legal counsel.