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

Today we are briefly touching on a few of the legislative priorities NAR and DCAR are handling for 2016.

House Passes Transportation Bill Without G-fees
On November 5, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of a landmark highway and transit bill. The 6-year, approximate $340 billion highway and transportation legislation includes an NAR supported amendment.

The amendment removes an extension of higher Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Guarantee Fees. The removal is due in part to NAR’s recent Call for Action.

HUD Announces Change to FHA Condo Policies
New changes to FHA condominium policies are on the horizon. The announcement came from HUD representatives and NAR President Chris Polychron. Changes NAR is advocating include,

  • adjusting the lengthy and complex recertification process in place today,
  • burdensome owner-occupancy requirements, and;
  • limits on the types of property insurance that are considered acceptable coverage under FHA’s rules.

NAR 2015 President Chris Polychron testified before the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee advocating to make the process of purchasing condominiums an easier process for first-time homebuyers.

Public Policy Recap – Looking At DCAR’s Advocacy
The year will soon come to a close, which means it would be a good idea to look at what we did for you so far. DCAR remained vigilant, advocating for the interests of DC’s real estate community. The sweltering DC heat was nothing to us as we remained fired up to advocate for you. That dedication showed when we recently held our Advocacy Day with the DC Council and staff.

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

“When in Rome.” That’s what DC REALTORS® say when they travel far and wide to attend the National Association of REALTORS®’ Annual Conference & Expo. As it so happens, your colleagues are living it up in San Diego. If you couldn’t make it, that might leave you feeling like you’re in a glass case of emotion. Don’t worry, because we have it covered!

DC Realtor NAR Convention CollageThis is an exciting time of the year to be a REALTOR® as the annual NAR Conference & Expo just kicked off in San Diego on November 13, 2015. Thousands of real estate professionals like you have descended onto the southern California city to paint it red, white and blue while spreading the voice of real estate far and wide.

However, there’s no reason to feel down if you couldn’t make it. There’s still a chance to feel like you were there by checking out REALTOR® Conference Live. We will also touch on some of the legislative issues NAR will tackle in 2016. In the meantime, you can absorb all the convention goodness by checking out the

Conference Live Highlights

That’s all for your conference resources. Tomorrow we’ll touch on a few legislative topics coming down the pipe.

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

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.

Hey, that’s a neat picture!We’re glad you like it! You can check out the album on DCAR’s Official Facebook Page!

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

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.

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

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.

DOWNLOAD the Lead Safety 101 paper


Posted by & filed under For REALTORS.

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.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

What was accomplished?

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.

Where can I find more information?

Read the full text for the “First-time Homebuyer Tax Credit Amendment Act of 2015” and watch Councilmember Grosso discuss the legislation at the 10:25 mark of this video.

What happens next?

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!

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

DOH Rodent and Vector Control Program Manager Gerard Brown spoke to members of DCAR about how they help stem the tide of DC's rat issues.

DOH Rodent and Vector Control Program Manager Gerard Brown spoke to members of DCAR about how they help stem the tide of DC’s rat issues.

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!

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


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.

You can see more about the Zoning Commission’s action on accessory apartments here>>. Other topics we kept our eyes on included vehicle parking and alley lot rules.

Ultimately, what the Zoning Commission has recommended is near its final version. But there is still one last period to send your comments to the Zoning Commission. To send your comment, you can fill the Office of Zoning’s comment module. Accessory Apartments can be found under “Subtitle U-Use Permissions,” while parking can be addressed at “ Subtitle C-General Rules.” Alley lot comments can be addressed at “ Subtitle B-Definitions, Rules of Measurements, and Use Categories.”

This comment period ends on Friday, September 25th. After that, we’ll have to wait to see when the dust settles.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Dupont Circle

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!


Originally posted by iimarzia

DCAR will continue working to reduce recordation and transfer taxes. Mention the issue to your local elected officials every chance you get!

What is DCAR?

The voice of real estate.

What does that mean? Find out here.


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