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Real Estate Notes

Shane Keaton, branch manager of Weichert, Realtors’ Centreville/Clifton office, announced Farah McCard has joined the office as a sales associate.

Possessing 20 years of experience as a licensed real estate professional, McCard previously was a sales associate at another local firm, earning membership in its Million Dollar Club. She chose to join Weichert because of its extensive presence in the metropolitan area and because of its superior services.

McCard has experience in property management and serves buyers, sellers, corporate clients and military personnel relocating to Virginia. She also conducts monthly home buying and selling seminars throughout the state.

Karen Trainor, branch manager of the Fair Oaks office of Weichert, Realtors, announced that Rosemary Graham was recognized with two regional awards for the month of January. She led associates from 31 offices located throughout Virginia to earn the regional honors.

Graham led the region in Weichert Family of Companies units and dollar volume, achieved by helping her clients take advantage of Weichert Financial's Gold Services Program. The program is an innovative concept that not only streamlines the mortgage process, but also provides home ownership solutions for a wide array of services encompassing Title Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Home Protection Plan and Weichert Home Connections services.

Shane Keaton, branch manager of Weichert, Realtors' Centreville/Clifton office, announced that several sales associates have been honored for their achievements in January.

Leading the office in dollar volume was Tony Saa, a member of the President's Club. Million Dollar Club member Hamida Miller led the way in revenue units, listings sold and sales, earning the honor of top seller. Miller has been a licensed real estate agent for two years and is fluent in Persian. For the second month in a row, President's Club member Lynn Rowland topped the branch in listings.

The Gold Team of Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. recently hosted a professional development brunch for its top Sales Associates called “Keep the Fires Burning.” The networking and educational event, chaired by Gold Team president, Cathy McGarrigan, Ft. Washington, Md., held at The Ritz Carlton, Tyson Corner, was host to 650 of Long & Foster’s top sales associates who are members of the firm’s “Gold Team.”

Guest speaker for the event was real estate economist John Tuccillo, Ph.D., formerly Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors. Tuccillo spoke on the economic outlook and recent changes in the real estate business.

In addition, nine top producers from Long & Foster served on a panel of experts during the half-day event, each discussing how they manage a successful real estate business in a changing market and how they have achieved enormous success during their careers.

Panelists were: Diane Bellaschi, McLean, Va.; Sarah Funt, Bethesda, Md.; Lisa Goodfellow, Deep Creek Lake, Md.; Robin Hurst, Richmond, Va.; Jean Legal, Columbia, Md.; Dale Mattison, Chevy Chase; Arelis Perez, Silver Spring, Md.; Phyllis Weinstock, Haverford, Pa.; and Butch Cazin, Martinsburg, W.Va.

Potential home buyers who are interested in finding out how they can secure a home mortgage are invited to attend a free Home Financing Seminar on Tuesday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Select next to the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly.

Learn about the home-buying process including: common mistakes people make with their credit, equity and tax advantages of buying versus renting, the hidden costs most buyers miss and more.

All seminar attendees will receive a free credit report. Seats are limited and registration is required. To register, call 703-734-7499, ext. 299 or email afuentes@olympiawest.com

Fourteen top Northern Virginia agents from Keller Williams Fairfax Gateway were selected to attend this year's 20th annual conference. Entitled "Family Reunion," the 2007 summit took place at The Mandalay Bay Conference Center in Las Vegas.

Keller Williams Realty agents chose from 180 interactive workshops and professional seminars to attend. Among the top Northern Virginia Agents, Tim Horinko, Katrina Eaheart, Dawn May and Rich Anthony were singled out at a formal awards ceremony for individual recognition of their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the real estate profession.

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.

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.