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Real Estate Notes

Weichert, Realtors' Fair Oaks office announced that several sales associates have been honored for their achievements in December. Belinda Beaudry led the office in dollar volume, revenue units and listings sold, earning the honor of top producer. She is a member of the Chairman of the Board Elite Club and President's Gold Club, the latter signifying a high level of sales financed through Weichert Financial. Beaudry has been licensed for more than 20 years and possesses GRI (Graduate, Realtor Institute) and CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) designations.

Earning the honor of top seller for the month was Courtney Riley. Rosemary Graham, a member of the Chairman of the Board Premiere Club and Chairman's Gold Club, led the way in listings. A longtime resident of Fairfax, Graham earned her real estate license in 1987 and has since earned several designations and honors such as GRI, CRS and Lifetime Top Producer from the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors. She is also a 2003 inductee into the Weichert, Realtors' Hall of Fame.

Weichert, Realtors is offering free informational career seminars.

* Centreville/Clifton — Tuesdays at 6 p.m. at 5955 Centreville Crest Lane, Centreville. Call Shane Keaton at 703-803-1000 to confirm reservation.

* Dulles/Sterling — Thursdays at noon and the first Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at 21351 Ridgetop Circle, Sterling. Call Becky Hanrahan at 703-444-4700 to confirm reservation.

* Fair Oaks — Fridays at 11 a.m. at 3998 Fair Ridge Dr., Fairfax. Call Cecil Frazier at 703-934-0400 to confirm reservation.

* Fairfax — Thursdays at noon and 6 p.m. at 10201 Fairfax Blvd., (Lee Hwy.) #140, Fairfax. Contact Kathy Shea at 703-691-0555.

The Capital Home & Garden Show returns in full bloom to the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly from Thursday, Feb. 22 through Sunday, Feb. 25. Show hours are 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Thursday); 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Friday and Saturday); 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sunday). Highlights include celebrity appearances from TV’s Vern Yip and how-to improvement gurus the BeJanes, dazzling garden displays, the Geisha Fountain, daily stage presentations, hot trends and styles and more than 750 experts on-site. Admission is $10 for adults, $3 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for kids 5 & under. Visit www.CapitalHomeShow.com or www.dullesexpo.com. The address is 4368 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly.

Some 149 Regional “Contractor of the Year” (CotY) Winners were named by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) during this year’s regional competition. Judging for the regional projects took place at NARI’s national headquarters in Des Plaines, Illinois, in early January. Regional CotY Winners will now advance as finalists to the national level.

Contractors from seven regions around the country vie for CotY Awards on an annual basis, and all regional winners will now be eligible for National CotY Awards and will be honored at NARI’s Evening of Excellence on March 24 in Austin, Texas.

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) named The Gallick Corporation of Sterling Regional Contractor of the Year (CotY) in the Residential Interior Specialty category of its annual awards competition.

To be considered for a CotY Award, a company must be a NARI member in good standing. NARI with more than 7,000 member companies nationwide, the Association represents an elite group from the approximately 800,000 companies and individuals in the U.S. identifying themselves as Remodelers.

Beginning with mortgage loans originated on Jan. 1, 2007, private mortgage insurance is now deductible on federal income tax returns. Private mortgage insurance, or PMI as it is commonly known, generally is required by lenders whenever the down payment is less than 20 percent.

According to Fred Watkins, president of Weichert Financial Services, the new tax break will make the dream of homeownership more attainable. He said, “We believe this new tax deductibility makes loans with private mortgage insurance more affordable. In some cases, it will enable buyers to qualify for a larger loan.”

As he explained, those buying with little or no money down typically weigh the financial pros and cons of a single loan carrying a PMI premium versus a piggyback or combo loan. The latter consists of a first mortgage plus a second mortgage at a higher interest rate. Now that PMI is federally tax deductible for qualified buyers, the single loan with PMI is now as affordable or, in some cases, even lower in overall cost versus most combo loans. And unlike the fluctuating interest rates typical of second mortgage loans, premiums are fixed so that buyers can enjoy the convenience and peace-of-mind of one stable monthly PMI payment.

In addition, while second mortgages must be paid in full, typically homeowners may request the cancellation of PMI coverage once their home appreciates to the point that their new combined loan-to-value ratio is 78 percent.

According to the bill passed by Congress late in 2006, PMI premiums are fully deductible for buyers with adjusted gross incomes of $100,000 or less. Deductions are phased out at 10-percent increments for those with adjusted gross incomes between $100,001 and $110,000. The cost of private mortgage insurance generally averages one-half of one percent of the loan amount.