As many of you are all-too-aware, once you volunteer to serve on one committee, it’s like a sign hovers over your head that says, “Ask me! I don’t know how to say no!” Then you’re on two committees, then three, then your chairing committees and it can all get overwhelming.
That happened to me several years ago and now I have it down to the ones that really mean something to me. I serve on the PGCAR (Prince George’s County Association of REALTORS) Forms Committee, where our goal is to make the 3 pounds of contract paperwork actually cover all the necessary bases. Right now, we’re working on a new disclosure that goes into effect here in Prince George’s County on January 22nd. Any seller who lives in a Special Tax District must disclose that to a potential buyer before the ink is dry on the contract. It’s a good disclosure, aimed primarily at new construction, that only affects three communities, one in Bowie, one in Laurel and one in Greenbelt.
The two committees that are nearest and dearest to my heart are the PGCAR Legislative Committee and the MAR (Maryland Association of REALTORS) Legislative Committee. This year, MAR was very active on a number of issues that affect homeowners. MAR defeated a proposed a sales tax on property management services that would have hurt those least able to afford housing and would have “worsened Maryland’s ranking as the 7th most expensive rental market in the country” (this from the current issue of Maryland REALTOR).
Another bill that would have had a major impact on Maryland homeowners who were planning on selling would have created a Maryland Resident Real Estate Withholding Tax. All Maryland residents would have had a 4.75% withholding tax on any gain from the sales of their real estate, if the net proceeds exceeded $250,000 or $500,000, based on the seller’s tax filing status. MAR successfully worked to defeat this legislation. Since most sellers are using their proceeds towards another property, this could have created a real money crunch.
These are just a couple of the bills that we worked on last year. I think that the general public isn’t aware how much we REALTORS advocate for homeowners, buyers, landlords and tenants.
(C) Susan Pruden.