Posted by & filed under Tuesday Tidbits.

Here at DCAR, we want to make your jobs easier. That’s why we’ve started up our Tuesday Tidbits series, a 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.

Importance of Pets

Whether you’re a dog person or a cat person (or maybe a lizard person?), there’s a pretty good chance you’re a pet person. Most people are. According to a recent survey, roughly 80 million households in the US have a pet, and more than 40% of those households have multiple pets.

So when it comes time to buy or sell a home, it’s crucial to remember the furry (or scaly) creatures that also share the living space.

How a Pet Fits in a Home

So how do we take that knowledge and translate it into useful information? Consider the ways each aspect of a home or neighborhood can help or hinder a pet and its owner.

Here are some things to take into account when buying or selling a home, courtesy of an NAR profile on animal impact on homes, whether there are pets involved or not. Because after all, even if there aren’t any pets in the equation now, there very well might be pets involved down the line.

  • 95% of consumers believe it’s important that a housing community allows animals, and 89% wouldn’t give up their pet due to housing restrictions or limitations. Make sure to check if there are any restrictions on animals or breeds in the neighborhood or building.
  • More than 50% of consumers want to be near a walking path, nearly 50% want to be near a pet store, and 38% look for proximity to a dog park. Do some quick research to find the nearest of each — it could be a deal-maker or a deal-breaker.
  • According to REALTORS®, 92% of city/urban buyers with pets consider having a fenced yard important, 72% find laminate flooring important.
  • About 50% of consumers completed home renovations to accommodate their pet. The most common renovations: building a fenced yard (23%), adding a dog door (12%), and installing laminate flooring (10%). If a home is missing any of these features, do some research to see how difficult and expensive it would be to add them.

There are plenty of other useful pieces of information in the guide linked below, but the key takeaway here is to not forget about the animals. After all, 99% of animal owners consider their pet to be part of their family.

And that includes REALTORS®! About 80% of REALTORS® consider themselves animal lovers, nearly 70% have a pet of their own, and 12% volunteer for an organization that helps animals.

Don’t forget: Your home is their home, too.

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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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DCAR Members,

This is Colin Johnson, the 2017 DCAR president. I’m reaching out to you today to express my concern and condolences for those suffering in and around the Houston area this week. This catastrophe is not only an unspeakable tragedy, but also a time for us to unify and show our humanity, not just as REALTORS®, but as people.

There are two things I ask you to do, both of which can help people who are facing complete devastation.

First, the REALTOR® Relief Foundation is accepting donations that will go toward helping the victims of Hurricane Harvey. I strongly encourage you to donate anything you can spare, as every dollar can help save a life. You can donate to the REALTOR® Relief Foundation here.

Second, we need to remember this tragedy doesn’t go away with the water. The victims of Hurricane Harvey have a long, difficult journey ahead of them, just as victims of Hurricane Katrina are still recovering. Lives are uprooted, property is destroyed and income disappears.

Certain things can never be replaced, chief among those being the lives that are tragically taken in the storm and subsequent flooding. But for the millions of people whose lives have been impacted by this disaster, the least we can do is help provide a speedy road to recovery.

With the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) set to expire at the end of September, we could witness countless individuals and families left helpless, or homeless. Only about 27% of the costs incurred by this storm are expected to be covered by private insurance, due to the significant flooding Harvey is responsible for, per CBS News. For comparison, about 42% of costs incurred by Hurricane Katrina were covered by private insurance.

Without the NFIP, homeowners and residents will be forced to pay these tremendous costs, which will only increase over time, on their own. But with the safety net of the NFIP, those who have seen their entire existence completely altered by a single storm can at least receive some aid at a time in which they’ve never needed it more.

I urge you to help get the NFIP renewed by clicking here. This is a program that can help restore lives, something millions of people need now more than ever.
Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Colin Johnson
2017 DCAR President

Posted by & filed under Tuesday Tidbits.

Here at DCAR, we want to make your jobs easier. That’s why we’ve started up our Tuesday Tidbits series, a 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.

Staging a Home

Staging a home is one of the best tools for selling a home, and it’s hard to overstate the value of it, when done properly. Per NAR’s Profile of Home Staging, 29% of sellers’ agents reported a 1-5% increase in dollar value offered by buyers, and 21% reported a 6-10% increase.

Ways to Make a Home More Appealing

HouseLogic, a site created by the National Association of REALTORS®, compiled a whopping 81 tips for staging a home. The list is broken up by room, so you can find all the kitchen staging tips you need at any given point, then come back when you’re done for the living room tips. We’ve picked out one tip per room, but head over to HouseLogic (link below) for all the others, and be sure to check out the rest of the site for other helpful tips.

  1. Living room: Help buyers imagine their life in your home. Set the scene by displaying a board game or tea service on the coffee table, and arrange furniture in conversational groups.
  2. Kitchen: Empty all trash cans and move them out of sight.
  3. Bedrooms: Consider giving extra bedrooms a new identity as a home office, sewing room or another interesting function.
  4. Dining room: Let buyers entertain the idea of entertaining. Set out some chic place settings around the table, or a few wine glasses and a decanter on the buffet.
  5. Bathrooms: Take a daring sniff of the drains. Odorous? Clean them out, and deodorize with baking soda, boiling water or vinegar.
  6. Walls, windows and more: Have a dark corner or hallway? Brighten it up with a decorative mirror.

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.

Posted by & filed under Tuesday Tidbits.

Here at DCAR, we want to make your jobs easier. That’s why we’ve started up our Tuesday Tidbits series, a 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.

Moving into a New Home

Moving into a new home can be overwhelming, and it’s easy to lose track of the many tasks at hand. Some things can be made up once everything is settled, but other tasks must be handled immediately. It’s a good idea to keep this information handy for both you and your clients.

What to Do When You First Move In

HouseLogic, a site created by the National Association of REALTORS®, came up with a handy checklist of the most important tasks a homeowner must take care of upon moving into a new home. Check out the link below for more information on each of these tasks, and be sure to check out the rest of the site for other helpful tips.

  1. Change the locks. You might have the only set of keys to your new home, or perhaps there are other pairs floating around. Either way, get those locks changed.
  2. Check for plumbing leaks. Home inspectors are supposed to take care of this, but you never know what they might have missed, and you don’t want to find out the hard way.
  3. Steam clean the carpets. This is an easy one to put off, but the best time to do it is before you move in the furniture for the first time.
  4. Wipe out the cabinets. You hope the previous owners did this before they moved out, but you should do it yourself in case they only gave it a once-over.
  5. Rid yourself of pests. Even if you don’t see any bugs or rodents upon moving in, there might be some lurking about. Better safe than sorry, as few things ruin the luster of a new home as much as an infestation.
  6. Find the circuit breaker and main water valve. With any luck, you won’t need to use either of these any time soon. But if you do, you’ll want to know where they are and how they work.

READ MORE

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.

Posted by & filed under Tuesday Tidbits.

Here at DCAR, we want to make your jobs easier. That’s why we’ve started up our Tuesday Tidbits series, a weekly email that will provide you with a useful, relevant piece of information that will hopefully come in handy as you work. First was wire fraud. Next up: home inspections.

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

Home Inspections

A home inspection is one of the many important steps to be taken before a prospective buyer purchases a home. But it’s imperative that you know what to look for and what to ask when the time comes, otherwise your buyer could be left unhappy.

What Questions to Ask Home Inspectors

The National Association of REALTORS® offers a guide to home inspections, which is linked below, that features five questions buyers should be asking of their home inspectors. Check out the link for more information on each of these questions, and make sure to check out the rest of the site for helpful information.

  1. What do you check? Home inspectors are limited to “visual, general inspections,” and it’s important the buyer knows what is not covered in the inspection.
  2. What do you charge for an inspection? Always find out the cost of the inspection you’re getting before you hire an inspector.
  3. How many inspections have you done? Everybody has to start somewhere, but experience matters, especially if there are “unusual home features” involved.
  4. Can I come along during the inspection? NAR says it would be a red flag for the inspector to not want the buyer to join for the inspection.
  5. Can I view a sample report? A sample report can show how a potential problem is cited in an inspection, which can help give perspective.

READ MORE

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.

Posted by & filed under Tuesday Tidbits.

Here at DCAR, we want to make your jobs easier. That’s why we’ve started up our Tuesday Tidbits series, a weekly post that will provide you with a useful, relevant piece of information that will hopefully come in handy as you work. First up: wire fraud.

Wire Fraud

Wire fraud is one of the most common and devastating problems REALTORS® face on a day-to-day basis. This most frequently manifests in the following form:

  • The hacker breaks into the email of somebody involved in the transaction (you, your clients, other agents, etc.)
  • The hacker learns all about the buyer and the transaction
  • Right before closing, the hacker sends a fake email, which looks identical to previous real emails, to the buyer with revised instructions on how to wire the money for the sale
  • As soon as the money is wired, the account is closed, the hacker disappears completely and the money is gone forever

How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Wire Fraud

Most importantly: Never click links in emails you don’t recognize!

Of course, that won’t keep you completely safe. Part of what makes hackers so dangerous is their ability to impersonate senders you do recognize. It helps to be vigilant and double-check to make sure the email address is the one you think it is.

For example, emails coming from DCAR staff will always come from either @dcrealtors.org or @gcaar.com; if you get an email from somebody at @dcrealtors.com, that’s a fake!

But if a hacker has gained access to a legitimate email address, it can be especially difficult to spot a red flag.

REALTOR® Mag has created a guide to help you keep hackers out of your email, which is linked below, but the ever-important first step is simply to educate yourself and others involved in a transaction:

“When it comes to a real estate transaction, you have so many different players, and all it takes is one person in that transaction who isn’t aware of the signs of fraud to make the whole thing implode,” says Jessica Edgerton, associate council of the National Association of REALTORS®. “As the initiators of a transaction, you can spread the word about these security problems to everyone in the transaction who needs to know about it.”

READ MORE

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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Coming Soon: The New DCAR Office!

DCAR has called 500 New Jersey Avenue its DC home for several years now, but we have exciting news: We’re one step closer to opening our brand new DC office! The tenants moved out this past weekend; now, we’re getting ready to begin work on the building to make sure it’s in tiptop shape. It’s a day we’ve long awaited, and we’re thrilled to be able to report this development.

The office is located at 1615 New Hampshire Avenue, near Dupont Circle, and we’ll have the entire third floor to ourselves.

Happy closing day to DCAR! We are excited to announce that we will be moving to 1615 New Hampshire Ave, NW towards the…

Posted by District of Columbia Association of Realtors – DCAR on Monday, July 17, 2017

See it on the map!

Among the amenities planned for the new DC headquarters are offices for some of our employees, private work space, a reception area, a 40-person classroom and a store well-stocked with all your REALTOR® needs. More details on the amenities will come soon, but we’re looking forward to sharing the information with you as we get it.

Colin Johnson, the 2017 DCAR president, issued the following statement Monday morning:

“We at DCAR, with combined design input from GCAAR, set out to build a space that not only serves today’s needs, but offers flexibility for future growth and association needs. The space features expandable meeting areas for large or small groups. It features entertainment/reception space for events for Association or outside organizational needs. We worked with several local groups in assisting in providing lessons learned to ensure we can take advantage of changing commercial needs in DC market space. We also worked with a local shared space company to provide insights for potential flexible office space needs. The vision for the first purchase in our more than 100-year history was to reflect proudly on the hard work and smart strategic thinking by members from the past, while capturing the mission to advocate, protect and promote the interests of our members and the public we serve. This new space will now be an added tool to ensure We continue to be the voice of real estate in the District, and aid us in ensuring homeowner rights are preserved.”

More details will be provided as we get them, and we hope to be able to give an estimated move-in date soon, but we wanted to share this excellent news with you as soon as we got it.

Until then, you can always reach us at our current DC office (500 New Jersey Ave. NW) or our Rockville office (15201 Diamondback Dr.), or you can contact us individually.

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WELCOME TO THE NEW DCAR

The brand new DCAR website is here!

There are other changes in the works, some of which have already occurred behind the scenes, some of which are happening now, and others are coming in the near future, but we wanted to take a brief moment to re-introduce ourselves to you, whether you’re one of our more than 2,800 members, or simply a member of the public who wants to know who we are and what we do.

The District of Columbia Association of REALTORS®, also known as DCAR, has been around for more than 100 years. We won’t go into the history of our association here, because we have all of that in full detail right here. Make sure to acquaint yourself with the association via our history book and videos.

If you’re unclear of what it is exactly that we do, either in the long term or on a day-to-day basis, perhaps this will help. In (very) short: We fight for the things that are important to REALTORS® in the District. But don’t let that simple understatement speak for itself; take a moment to read through some of the work that we do to get a feel for what DCAR is.

The Association is headed by CEO Ed Krauze, Government Affairs Director Katalin Peter and Communications/Member Outreach Specialist Bryan Frantz. In addition, many of our members spend countless hours volunteering to help guide DCAR in its various endeavors, and we would be nothing without their incredible work. You can see who we’re talking about here.

DCAR is sometimes confused with GCAAR, the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS®. DCAR exclusively deals with DC matters, while GCAAR deals with DC matters and Montgomery County matters, but there is more to it than that. A more thorough explanation of the distinction between the two associations, and a breakdown of how the REALTOR® association structure works, can be found here.

Much of what we do concerns legislative affairs. Put simply: We fight to protect the rights of homeowners, we work to make sure only necessary regulations regarding property rights are passed, and we help make it easier to put people in homes. For a brief summary of where we stand on some of the most pressing issues at any given time, head over to our policy positions page.

While our work most often requires time spent at the Wilson Building, the home of DC government, sometimes we’re asked to give public comment outside of the hearing rooms. For example, we spent some time with NBC4 over the past few months to help shine a light on a law we’re working hard to get amended. You can find links to those appearances, and any other media information you might need, here.

If you need any tools or tips on buying, selling, renovating or renting out a home, our resources page has plenty of good information for you to browse.

And if you’re just totally lost by all the many acronyms and abbreviations thrown around on this website, hopefully our glossary will clear things up for you.

That’s just a quick tour of DCAR. There’s plenty more to the association, and its members, and we hope you’ll spend the time taking a look around the new website. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or anything else to say, please let us know. Here’s how to reach us.

Thanks, and come back soon!

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1-STOP SHOP: GOVERNMENT RESOURCES

The DC government is a complicated beast, to be sure, but we’re here to help. Across our new website, we have a number of resources that aim to help you find the government information you need, or, when appropriate, to put you in contact with various government representatives.

For starters, make sure you head over to our quick-hitting explainer on the ins and outs of the DC government. It has information on how the actual system works, who is in charge of what, as well as some agencies and services that would be relevant to REALTORS®, homeowners, renters and others. You can find that guide here.

There are 13 DC Councilmembers — one for each of the city’s eight wards, four at-large Councilmembers that are voted upon by the entirety of the District and the Chairman, who is also elected by the city as opposed to a particular ward or subset — and along with the mayor, they are the primary governmental body for the city. They craft legislation, debate it, amend it, pass it and work to fund it.

If you ever need to get in touch with one of your Councilmembers, whether it be your ward Councilmember or an at-large Councilmember, you can find their contact information here. Sometimes, DCAR will appeal to its members to reach out to their Councilmembers regarding a particular piece of legislation or a specific issue at hand.

Moving away from the governmental bodies, there are many important resources we have on our website that can be useful to you on a day-to-day basis. For example, if you’re looking to purchase a home, our guide of homeownership programs in the District has a great deal of information that you’ll want to peruse. Many of those, such as the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP), are government-backed programs that would not exist without the work of the Council.

And if you need information on zoning regulations, historic districts and more, our compilation of useful links will be helpful.

If there is anything else you need that you can’t find on our website, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at contact@dcrealtors.org. We’re always willing to help!

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HOW TO REACH US

Those of you who have been in contact with us before might have noticed in our Contact Us page a few new email addresses. For example, DCAR staff members have traditionally had an email address format of first initial + last name [at] gcaar.com.

Those email addresses are still active, as the DCAR staff still works with the GCAAR staff. However, we have now added our own personalized email addresses that more accurately reflect our affiliation.

If you need to reach one of the three DCAR employees, and you have their previous @gcaar.com email address, simply swap out the “@gcaar.com” and replace it with “@dcrealtors.org” and it should get where it needs to go. (All of this information is available on our Contact Us page, linked above.)

In addition to those changes, we have also added a pair of new general email addresses: Contact and Advocacy.

If you need to reach out to us regarding anything in the advocacy realm, whether it’s a question about our stance on a particular matter, a proposed bill, an update on a law, or really anything else in that general area, send an email to advocacy@dcrealtors.org. We’ll make sure the question/comment goes where it needs to go.

At times, we’ll use the Advocacy email address for particular causes. For example, we’re currently asking for TOPA horror stories our members or their clients may have, and we’re asking those stories to be sent to advocacy@dcrealtors.org. However, you can always send general relevant emails to that address, whether it’s regarding the specific issue (in this case, TOPA) at hand or not.

If you have general comments, concerns or questions about anything else, please send your email to contact@dcrealtors.org.

Want to know about our next event? Interested in joining our Communications Committee? Just want to speak your mind? contact@dcrealtors.org.

We think this is pretty self-explanatory, but we also realize many of you have been sending emails to the same addresses for weeks, months or years, and change is hard. If you ever can’t get through to us, however, you can always call us at our DC office, at (202) 626-0099.

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