DCAR is known for its intense advocacy efforts, which definitely helps with being the voice of real estate in DC! We held our annual Advocacy Day at the John A. Wilson Building to cover the biggest REALTOR® issues directly with Councilmembers and staff.
So what’s the story?
DCAR and our volunteer leadership members got together at the John A. Wilson building to speak directly to the Council about the most important REALTOR® issues we are, and will be, tackling in the next year or so. It was an important and productive opportunity to engage with District officials. Happily, we were received well and the discussions were informative.
What issues did you discuss?
As you know, we aim to keep you informed about all the legislation that affects DC’s vital real estate community. Even so, we still need to inform the Council about what is important to our members and the people they serve. Topics included lowering recordation & transfer taxes, TOPA, affordable housing and economic development.
Where can I learn more about DCAR’s public policy?
You can always keep your eyes on our newsletter, legislative alerts, election endorsements and our always active social media presence.
Who can I contact about REALTOR® issues?
We are happy to receive your comments or questions by e-mail. Please drop us a line anytime by e-mail: DC Legislative.
It only seems like yesterday we were just firing up the grills at the start of the summer season. DCAR remained dutifully busy advocating on your behalf and we would like to show you what we have done so far. Check out our summer public policy review.
Lowering Recordation Taxes
A big tax relief could come to first-time DC home buyers should the council pass the “First-Time Homebuyer Tax Benefit Amendment Act of 2015.” The bill would cut the recordation tax rate from 1.45% to 0.75% as long as the buyers have not owned a home within the District of Columbia.
Addressing Vacant and Blighted Properties
Earlier DCAR gave testimony to the Council’s Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Committee at a public hearing on legislation called the “Nuisance Abatement Notice Act of 2015.” You can read more about it on our blog. Simply put, we pointed out that the goal of posting notice of vacant and blighted properties should be more discreet than they currently are.
CALL FOR ACTION: Housing Tax for Transportation
On Thursday, October 22, 2015, the House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee began consideration on the surface transportation reauthorization legislation. NAR strongly believes that a new tax on homeowners would prevent Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from effectively managing their risk. Click here to learn more and add your voice.
Rat and Vermin Control
We recently came face-to-face with the first and last line of defense against the City’s rat problem. Our October 2015 Speaker Series featured Gerard Brown, Rodent and Vector Program Manager from the DC Department of Health. We covered a brief portion of the seminar in a handy blog post for your information.
The End of DC’s Massive Zoning Code Re-Write
It’s closing time for the epic saga of DC’s first zoning re-write in decades. There’s far too much to cover and that’s because the process has taken nearly eight years to complete. We particularly focused on accessory apartments, parking and alley lots.
Lead poisoning is a preventable crisis and we want to make sure you have the knowledge you need to avoid the pitfalls of renovations and demolitions. In order to deliver that knowledge to you, we brought in the experts from DOEE and the EPA.
DOEE’s Lead & Healthy Housing Director Pierre Erville and from the EPA’s National Program Chemicals Division, Cindy Wheeler gave a great presentation and answered the important questions. We would like to thank Pierre and Cindy for their time and extensive knowledge.
What’s the story?
The DC Council’s Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Committee (which handles DCRA) recently held a hearing at the Wilson Building on the bill related to posting requirements for vacant properties. The topic of the hearing centers on legislation called the “Nuisance Abatement Notice Act of 2015,” which is intended to clarify posting requirements of notices on blighted or vacant properties.
What’s the deal with vacant properties?
When the District registers a property as vacant or blighted, it must notify the owner of record and post a notice to the building. The goal is to ensure the owner receives proper notification that their property has been classified as vacant or blighted.
What’s DCAR’s position?
We attended Monday morning’s hearing and gave testimony for our positions on the bill. Primarily, we made our point to the Council that posting requirements should be satisfied by non-publicly visible signage. The intent of the law is not to notify the public at-large that there is no one occupying a property.
Sounds like a recipe for trouble…
While we understand the DC government’s necessity to notify owners of vacant or blighted property, there are better ways to handle these notifications. We believe this legislation in its current form attracts unnecessary attention to vacant properties, and the notice should only receive the recorded owner’s attention.
What is DCAR’s plan moving forward?
DCAR pledged to work with DCRA on alternative solutions which would maintain the security of the property while effectively contacting the owner of record. We will continue advocating for safe neighborhoods to the Council and make sure legislation keeps these communities in mind.
DCAR’s advocacy efforts continue to make waves in DC’s government and real estate community! DC Councilmembers David Grosso, Anita Bonds and Jack Evans have re-introduced the “First-Time Homebuyer Tax Benefit Amendment Act of 2015 (Yvette Alexander and Charles Allen co-sponsored),” which would cut the recordation tax rate from 1.45% to 0.725% for first-time buyers in the District.
How does qualification work?
To qualify, buyers must have never purchased a home in the District, and the property must be a primary owner-occupied residence. Basically, new home buyers in DC are getting a huge win.
What’s DCAR’s position?
We couldn’t be happier to see Councilmembers Grosso, Bonds and Evans take such a giant step to make home ownership a reality for many DC families. We thank them for their continued focus on DC families. Reducing the recordation tax rate will leave a positive impact for years to come.
The Bill must still make it through the Council’s (lengthy) legislative process. For now, we say CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who participated in DCAR’s advocacy efforts towards lowering the barriers to homeownership. If you by chance bump into your ward’s council member, give them a little nudge to support this bill!
He is in charge of clearing your rat and rodent problems. Find out how his team can help you. (Watch the video)
On Thursday, October 08, 2015 DC DOH Rodent and Vector Control Program Manager Gerard Brown visited our members about the importance of rodent control. Rodents and other pests can be a big issue for DC residents and REALTORS®, which we wanted to address with this session. The informative and entertaining discussion covered a whole range of topics, but we took away a few pointers you would appreciate.
DC DOH rodent control services can be reached through dialing 311 or accessing theirwebsite.
There is a difference between rats and mice. While both can be nuisances, DOH’s rodent and vector control only deals with rats and rodents outside the home.
DC DOH is very customer-friendly, and DC residents who request service will receive a follow-up to make sure the job was completed.
We would like to thank Gerard for sharing his expertise while also answering the many questions our members asked.
DCAR’s monthly speaker series connects DC REALTORS® to the top officials in the City. To learn more about DCAR events and issues, follow DCAR on the web and social media!
There’s a big chance for you to speak out, and the deadline is September 25th.
Have you been following the District’s massive zoning re-write? If you fell off the wagon at some point, we don’t blame you. The Zoning Commission kicked off the revision back in 2008 to make comprehensive changes to a code dating back to 1958! Of course, it had seen its fair share of amendments over the years, but certain elements just didn’t hold up to modern standards.
The Zoning Commission’s re-write process has been an arduous process. What the commission originally saw as a five-year plan to finish the re-write, it has stretched well beyond that point. Through it all, local blog Greater Greater Washington (GGW) has followed the process for most of its lifetime. Pages on pages of content has been written on the process, and the blog’s founder David Alpert has boiled it all down in GGW’s interpretation to a convenient summary before the final approval.
DCAR has also kept a watchful eye on the process, focusing on the provisions in the Zoning Commission’s proposal affect residential units. We submitted public comments particularly on accessory apartments. As the Commission has taken preliminary action to approve new regulations for accessory apartments, here is what you should be aware of moving forward:
Removing the requirement for a Special Exemption and allow them by-right;
eliminating a public hearing process, and;
adding a Special Exemption to waive up to two requirements.
The District’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget recently passed with the Council accelerating the Tax Revision Commission’s recommendations to lower taxes in September 2015.
Okay, that’s not the most exciting news in the world, but this could be a big deal for DC residents. What’s the big deal? If a DC taxpayer earn less than $500K, their DC taxes will more than likely decline next year.
Here’s a breakdown of the tax brackets* for the nerds:
* $25-50K = 33% DC tax reduction
* $50K-100K = 16% DC tax reduction
* $100K-200K = 10% DC tax reduction
* $200K-$350K = 5% DC tax reduction
* $350-500K = 2% DC tax reduction
*Numbers are approximations. See a licensed tax professional for exact tax calculations.
Residents earning over $500K will see a slight increase in their taxes paid.
What does that mean for REALTORS®?
More money in residents’ pockets, more money in the economy, and more funds available for housing!
DCAR will continue working to reduce recordation and transfer taxes. Mention the issue to your local elected officials every chance you get!
The DC real estate community lost one of its most important members when longtime DC Real Estate Commissioner Tony Duncanson passed away June 28th. The loss of Tony was felt far and wide, and we shared our thoughts and condolences.
In Memory of Tony Duncanson
It is with a profound sense of sadness that I inform you of Tony Duncanson’s passing. The sudden loss has caused a widespread and heartfelt ripple through DC’s real estate community. He was a soulful and immensely talented musician, and an inspiring force of nature to real estate professionals both local and far away. He will be missed terribly.
Tony spent over 20 years in the real estate business in the DC metro area. He was a consummate professional who truly saw it all. His charisma and sense of humor made him an endearing person. His expertise and no-nonsense, no-excuses work ethic made him a leader. He combined those qualities to become one of the best real estate sellers and instructors in the business. A personality too grand to keep in DC, Tony touched the lives of real estate professionals across the nation.
He was also an accomplished musician and performing artist. His talent led to tours through the US and abroad in concert and television. Tony’s brother, Eric, said Tony “literally defines the term ‘good vibrations.'” I can personally attest to that sentiment having known him for quite some time; moreover, he was warmly received by members of DCAR last year during our Speaker Series. Nobody left that room without a smile on their face.
Words truly cannot express how empty the world feels after losing Tony. And I am saddened to have to deliver this news. As of now I do not have information about services, but you will know as soon as that information is made available. Please join with me in expressing sincere condolences to his family and friends.
CEO, District of Columbia Association of REALTORS
We are fired up this week, because August is the month of real estate license renewals for agents and REALTORS® in the District of Columbia. It’s kind of a crazy time, so we want to make sure the stress is cut out with this handy little guide.
First thing’s first, here are some details that you need to know:
The license renewal deadline is rapidly approaching, and must be fulfilled by Monday, August 31st.
Effective July 1, 2015, all Sponsor Broker Changes for Salesperson license applications cannot be processed before your license is renewed with your existing broker company.
All new license applications must be submitted online.
All duplicate license and letter of certification requests must be submitted online.
Paper service requests will no longer be accepted and will be returned to the address indicated on the application.
Right now, you may have one of two thoughts going through your head:
Thanks, but I’m a seasoned and/or grizzled veteran of this licensing process. I’m just going to click out and keep looking at silly cat videos on Youtube.
Wait! Okay, we know that you know the ropes, but this article is supposed to be a super helpful guide for those who aren’t as in-the-know. Could you please be a good sport and share this page with your lightly or un-seasoned colleagues?
Sweet, thank you! Now you can get back to those cat videos.
Or you’re thinking…
Ahh, jeeze, I’m new, and this stuff is so confusing! Can you break the process down for me?
Absolutely, Joe (or Jane!) Realestate Agent. Have a moment to take a breather. We’re going to get through this together. First, take your little arrow guy on the screen and click on the link below:
All set? Fantastic. On that page you should see three columns of content. Do you see that one on the way-right labeled “Licensing?” That’s your ticket to a good future in this business.
Are you having trouble finding the licensing section, or still reading? Below are the links you need for your reference:
Online licensing services are a quick, convenient, and environmentally responsible way to manage your licensing needs. All of the functions listed below can be accessed through the Online Services – PULSE Portal link below.
Now that you have the general lay of the land, let’s talk about the PULSE Portal. PULSE Portal is where you can renew your license. When you click on that link, you will come to a page with a drop-down menu, which expands as you enter your information.
Okay, so you may be feeling better about renewing your license, but hold the phone! You may not have met your Continuing Education requirements. If that’s the case, time may still be on your side. Our wonderful local organization, the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS® is still running CE courses throughout the month. You can find the calendar by clicking here.
Feeling better now? Great. Once you complete the renewal process, please share this page with your colleagues and fellow agents. Together, we can help DC’s 12,000-ish agents renew their license.