Posted by & filed under For Homebuyers & Renters, For Policymakers & Media, For REALTORS.

We talked all about regulations at our latest Speaker Series

You won’t believe how much we packed the house for our latest Speaker Series. Our members were treated to a great discussion about DCRA’s overall approach to regulations, zoning, and permits among other topics. We covered many topics, but we’ll bullet-point some of the broader subjects to keep you informed.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to DCRA’s Melinda Bolling and Matt Orlins for taking time out of their busy schedules to join our discussion on DC’s regulations.

Posted by & filed under For REALTORS.

Celebrate REALTOR® Advocacy in DC!

The upcoming REALTOR® Party Convention (A.K.A. Midyear) is bringing a lot of excitement to the DC area as real estate professionals from around the country will attend NAR’s Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in May. You also have an opportunity to apply for an NAR committee position.

REALTORS® from across the country will be in DC again this May, and there will be a whole lot of excitement. The race for the White House is in full effect with nail-biting primaries and a potential photo finish. Register now for NAR’s Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.

You can also spend time advocating for DC. While you’re schmoozing with your colleagues and NAR higher-ups, let them know how DC struggles with its lack of voting representation in Congress.

Do You Want A Seat At NAR’s Table? – Here’s how you can apply to work on an NAR committee.

The 2017 committee appointment process is now open and accepting applications. The deadline for submitting committee applications and endorsements is May 23, 2016. You may apply here.

NAR members may enter committee applications and endorsements online. There’s a whole lengthy process to the ordeal, so it takes some time for NAR to choose volunteers. You can read more about it here.

Posted by & filed under For Homebuyers & Renters, For Policymakers & Media, For REALTORS.

Tax Season can really get a REALTOR® down if they’re not prepared. Let us help you out! As DC residents, you are often left with the short end of the citizenship stick when you are forced to pay taxes and expected to accept taxation without representation. Why not join  us at the DC Tax Day Protest?

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However, this year there is a unique opportunity for DC REALTORS® and residents to show solidarity and make Congress hear their voices.

On April 15th, DC residents will gather at Freedom Plaza (1455 Pennsylvania Avenue) to protest “Taxation Without Representation” and march to Capitol Hill – Federal tax forms in hand – to demonstrate. We are unified and determined to be treated as full and equal American citizens.

Will you answer the call and gather with your neighbors in making this protest meaningful and successful? Visit DCTaxDayProtest.org to endorse, sign on, or learn more. We hope you will join us.

April 18th is Tax Day – Yes, Really.

Why is Tax Day on April 18th this year instead of the 15th? The answer has to do with Abraham Lincoln and Emancipation Day.

Emancipation Day is a holiday in the District of Columbia to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act.  On April 16, 1862, President Lincoln signed the Bill, which freed more than 3000 slaves in the District of Columbia; eight months before the Emancipation Proclamation liberated slaves in the South.

Since the holiday falls on Saturday, April 16th this year, the federal government will be closed on Friday, April 15th.  Thus, pushing back your Federal tax deadline to Monday, April 18th.  Conveniently, the change gives you time on Friday, April 15 to march on Capitol Hill.

For those still working on your taxes, here are some helpful links:

  • The ultimate real estate tax deductions checklist
  • Five things your accountant wishes you knew about owning a home.

(UPDATE: 04/19/2016)

What Does Freedom Mean In DC? – A Post-Tax Day Recap of DC’s Emancipation Day

Statehood activists saw a prime opportunity to spread their message of freedom and representation thanks to Emancipation Day. The Tax Day Protest and March for Equality event brought civic groups and public servants together to march for fair representation in Congress.

Posted by & filed under For Homebuyers & Renters, For REALTORS.

Balancing DC’s Budget is far from simple, but Budget Director Matthew Brown illustrated how it could be most easily understood at our recent Speaker Series. Speaking of money,

Of course, we are talking about pie charts, specifically the DC Budget chart that adds up to over $11 billion. How does one jurisdiction handle a number like that? DC’s Budget Director Matthew Brown gave the facts to our members at our March Speaker Series.

In short, trying to digest a massive Budget for 2017 at face value is nearly impossible. Instead, as Mr. Brown pointed out, it’s better to look at the Budget as a single dollar, which is then allocated to various public functions, agencies and initiatives.

We would like to extend our thanks to Matthew Brown for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk shop with our members.

Posted by & filed under For Homebuyers & Renters, For REALTORS.

As Springtime turns the corner, Mayor Muriel Bowser is prepping to release her 2017 Budget. One of the hot-button issues is the Mayor’s homeless shelter plan, which is going to take a lot of budgetary wizardry at $200M.

To make sense of it all, Budget Director Matthew Brown will host DCAR’s Speaker Series this month.

Budget Basics

DC’s Budget season is starting, which means Mayor Bowser is putting together a proposal aimed to best utilize your tax dollars. It accounts for everything from transportation to new economic development projects.

Beginning in April, the Council will conduct hearings and have their own round of amendments. The final Budget usually passes in June and goes into effect October 2016.

What DC REALTORS® Should Know

DCAR is keeping a close eye on Recordation and Transfer taxes, the Real Estate Guaranty Fund, affordable housing and infrastructure investments.

DCAR’s Plan

Your State Association advocates every year to ensure the Budget reflects the best interests of the real estate community. For a more detailed look at the DC Budget, visit the Office of the Chief Financial Officer’s website.

 

Budget Highlight: Homeless Shelters

The District’s homelessness crisis has been a major sticking point for Mayor Muriel Bowser. DC has spent more than $172,000 on homeless encampment cleanup. Furthermore, the Mayor has laid the groundwork to establish shelters throughout DC’s eight wards.

In early February, Mayor Bowser revealed her Office’s selection of seven proposed family homeless shelters across DC’s wards. The Mayor’s announcement also cleared a path for the District to close the beleaguered DC General shelter.

DC’s residents responded quickly to the announcement with FOIA requests to learn more about the proposal. The investigation revealed nearly three dozen sites considered by the Mayor’s office.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

While temperatures continue to drop, DCAR refuses to flinch. We are too busy fighting for first-time homebuyers. A Bill in front of the DC Council could drastically reduce the recordation tax for first-time DC homebuyers from 1.45%* & 1.1%**  to 0.725%.

This week, DCAR and individual members testified at hearing urging the Council to pass the Bill. It was a great show of solidarity, and the Council was blown away by the dozens of REALTORS® who showed up to support us. You can read a full recap below.  THANK YOU to all those who joined us!

*over $400k | **under $400k

Read more »

Posted by & filed under For Homebuyers & Renters, For REALTORS.

DC Council Hearing

What is the call for action?

Take a field trip with DCAR to the DC Council.

The Council’s Committee on Finance and Revenue will be holding a public hearing on the “First-Time Homebuyer Tax Benefit Amendment Act of 2015,” and we need you there.

This significant piece of legislation could lower the recordation tax for first-time DC Homebuyers from 1.45% to 0.725%.

Come out and support your Association and attend this public hearing!

Please click here to register
(Event details are included on the registration page.)

DC Council BuildingWhat’s up with this bill?

DCAR’s advocacy efforts continue to make waves with the DC Government. Because REALTORS® like you spoke up, Council members David Grosso (I At-Large), Anita Bonds (D At-Large) and Jack Evans (D Ward 2) re-introduced the “First-Time Homebuyer Tax Benefit Amendment Act of 2015.” Other Council members who co-sponsored the bill include, Charles Allen (D Ward 6) and Yvette Alexander (D Ward 7).

Who qualifies?

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 could be in for a huge win if this legislation passes.

What’s DCAR’s Position?

We are excited to make home ownership a reality for your clients and families who wish to establish firm roots in DC. Now we need the rest of the Council to jump on board!

Please register here for important details on where and when to meet on February 10.

We’ll bring free coffee and donuts!

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

What did DCAR do for you this year?

2015 moved by in the blink of an eye. This is how it feels when your Association advocates all 365 days of the year for you. Where to begin? How about with TOPA? We kicked off the year with a big meeting connecting our members with top officials in the Department of Housing and Community Development. There is also so much more we did this year as well.

The year saw DCAR connect with many more regulatory arms of the District such as DCRA, DOH and DOEE to name a few. We also extended a helping hand to those who needed it most through our volunteer initiative. A little fun was squeezed in as well to keep things light and fresh between our advocacy and community service endeavors. Let’s take a look back before we move forward.

We think the better question is, “What didn’t DCAR do for you this year?” To start, DCAR’s second annual Advocacy Day was a great success! We discussed the Association’s 2015-2016 legislative agenda with the Council and the overall experience was rewarding and productive. You benefit from efforts such as Advocacy Day, which gives us the ability to make headway on lowering the recordation tax for first time home buyers in DC.

DCAR’s Government Affairs staff worked directly with the Office of Tenant Advocate to ensure DC’s new Tenant Bill of Rights was as streamlined as possible, giving you access to OTA for any questions. Our members met extensively with District officials to find ways to improve TOPA in DC. REALTORS® like you reached out to the Zoning Commission throughout the Pop-Up debates, urging them to carefully consider density issues comprehensively and presented solutions.

But that’s not all!

  • DCAR supported legislation to help senior citizens and our most vulnerable residents make safety improvements to their homes.
  • We worked actively over the past year with MANNA on making the District’s affordable housing programs (e.g., Inclusionary Zoning) more efficient.
  • We backed LaRuby May for Ward 8 on her strong connection to the real estate community and her sterling business acumen.

You could say DCAR went all out this year but it would be an understatement.

What connections did you make with DC officials?

Our year was chock full of insightful guests and top regulators in the District of Columbia. We started with Talking TOPA featuring Lauren Pair & Tonya Butler-Truesdale (DHCD), plus an exclusive DC TOPA class with Lauren Pair. We also hosted Joel Cohn from the Office of the Tenant Advocate to discuss working with Tenants.

Ahead of the Ward 8 election, we hosted a Ward 8 Council debate. We also learned about getting the Facts on Lead Safety. Finally, we learned how to handle creatures who go bump in the night.

We would be remiss to not mention the following DCAR events:

We covered a whole lot of topics throughout the year and we are planning even more for 2016!

What did DCAR do for the greater good?

It was a year for DCAR to show the heart of its members. We began helping out the N Street Village, which serves as a haven for women who are victims of domestic violence. Next, we spread the good word at the 7th Annual DC Housing Fair. We then partnered with Friendship Place to spruce up the grounds at the Center for Creative Non-Violence. Lastly, we spread the holiday cheer at Food & Friends.

Want to get involved? Be sure to keep a lookout and join us for our next volunteer opportunities!

Did DCAR remember to have a little fun?

We can’t believe how fast the year went by; however, we did find time to slow things down and enjoy the ride. We held some great happy hours throughout the year, and we also took the time to engage District Residents in a fun atmosphere.

Did you miss out? Keep an eye out for our next batch of happy hours this year!

In Memoriam:
DC Real Estate Commissioner Tony Duncanson
(August 5, 1948 – June 28, 2015)
Tony Duncanson will be remembered for years to come.Not everything landed on a high note for the Association this year. In 2015, the DC real estate community and the greater region lost a dear friend and consummate professional.
We all reeled upon hearing about DC Real Estate Commissioner Tony Duncanson’s death on June 28, 2015. Tony was sixty-seven years old. The positive impact of his life was felt far and wide. We shared our thoughts and condolences.
In the wake of his passing, the outpouring of support from the real estate community was overwhelming. Many members and friends reached out to the Duncanson family and published their memories of him on social media.
As a world-renowned musician and business mentor, his brilliance touched the lives of many people. His life was celebrated at the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation in August.
We will miss Tony but we take comfort in knowing that his legacy will live on for generations.

Posted by & filed under For Policymakers & Media, For REALTORS.

Who Is DCAR’s New President & Board Of Directors?
DCAR is confident that our future lies in the capable hands of the 2016 Board of Directors. Lead by President Angela Jones, the Board will guide DCAR’s advocacy efforts throughout the year. Your Board also includes Immediate-Past President Ed Wood, President-Elect Colin Johnson, Secretary Chris Suranna, and Treasurer Frank Pietranton.

Members of DCAR also elected Frederic Bates and Kevin Breckenridge to two-year terms.  Also serving on the board of Directors are presidential appointees Michael McGreevy and Kymber Menkiti. Members serving a one-year term include Vanessa Brown, Ed Downs, Michael Fowler, Bonnie Roberts-Burke, Dianah Shaw and Jennifer Smira.

How Did Our 2015 President Do?
2015 President Ed Wood gave a subtle but uplifting review of DCAR’s advocacy throughout 2015. He spoke about how the Association made great strides to move a serious discussion about the outdated TOPA law forward. We also moved the DC Council to support a bill to lower the recordation tax for first-time District home buyers. In the end, Wood passed the torch to Angela, expressing his assurance in her leadership.

Who Is Our REALTOR® of the Year?
Meet your 2015 REALTOR® of the Year Bonnie Roberts-Burke! Bonnie has proven herself as a consummate professional and leader. Her service to District communities, to the Association and for the REALTOR® name has left an indelible mark on the profession as a whole. These, and many more are the qualities that make her a great leader and REALTOR® of the Year!

Who Is DCAR’s New President?
As 2015 comes to a close, DCAR reflects on its accomplishments and now we must turn to the future. Now Angela Jones steps in as the 2016 President of DCAR. In her address at the close of her installation, Jones emphasized the importance of RPAC to the real estate profession. She highlighted how investments to RPAC protect REALTORS® from onerous legislation that can potentially harm the real estate community.

Did I Miss Anything Else?
When the installation concluded, it was time to begin the festivities. Our attendees enjoyed a spread of food and drink along with great conversations. At the end of the night, we attended a presentation of Step Afrika’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show 2015. It was a stirring holiday performance that left the audience breathless. After all was said and done, it was a night to remember!

Posted by & filed under For Homebuyers & Renters, For REALTORS.

Three recently introduced bills could impose a number of new rules on residential leases, condominium associations and the exemption process for vacant/blighted properties. DCAR wants to ensure you are fully informed on their implications.

Please take a look at the bulleted outline below, as well as the more detailed ‘Policy Brief’ in PDF form. We also ask you to participate in a short survey to help us gauge your views on blighted or vacant properties. Your feedback is necessary, so we can best formulate our official position on the proposed legislation.

What’s Up With These Bills?

We are considering a course of action on the following bills that could affect the way you do business in DC.

Click here for more information.

  • The Residential Lease Amendment Act of 2015

    • This Bill aims to clarify some elements relating to residential leases, both in the realm of rent controlled properties and non-rent controlled properties.

Our take: While many of the provisions are generally in line with standard practices, most concerning to DCAR is an expansion of TOPA. The Bill would require TOPA rights be afforded if the owner attempts to sell within one year of reoccupation. 

  • The Condominium Owner Bill of Rights Amendment Act of 2015

    • Aims to clarify and set protocols for executive board powers and duties.
    • Establishes an advisory council to serve as advisors to the Mayor, Council and District agencies on matters relating to condominium ownership in the District.
    • Would impose mediation before foreclosure and require a Condo Owner Bill of Rights to be afforded to purchasers of condominiums.

Our take: DCAR has gone on the record for a previous iteration of this Bill. Now condo community stakeholders are actively working to improve upon the current Bill.

  • Vacant and Blighted Building Enforcement Amendment Act of 2015

    • Currently, DCRA must reclassify a property that has been designated as vacant or blighted every six months. The Bill would now put the onus on the property owner to show in good faith the DCRA that the property has been misclassified.

Our take: While the introducers of this legislation believe it aims to eliminate inefficiencies in DCRA and incentivize the productive use of properties, DCAR has a number of concerns on the property rights front and have already begun expressing them to the Council.

What’s your take? Fill out our vacant and blighted properties survey. If you would like more in-depth information, you can read our policy brief on these issues.

If you have questions, please contact DCAR’s legislative counsel Katalin Peter, Esq.

Your expertise is greatly appreciated. Please click on the link below to complete a short surveyhttps://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DCBlightedProperties