Did you know? Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act in Takoma Park, Maryland

If you have been involved in real estate in the DC metro area you have likely come across the DC Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act. But did you know that Takoma Park, Maryland also has a Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act ("TOPA")?

The intent of TOPA is to promote the conversion of rentals to owner-occupied housing. Not complying with TOPA does leave the possibility that a court of competent jurisdiction may declare the transfer of the property void.  

As with DC, there are exceptions to the tenant opportunity to purchase. Some transfers that are exempt include transfers to a family member, transfers under a court order, transfers to the State or a local government and transfers of a minority title interest.  For a complete list of exempt transfers, please visit Section 6.32.020 of the City of Takoma Park Municipal Code.   

As the title company, Federal Title will require proof that the seller delivered a written offer of sale at the same price and terms as the third party contract of sale to each tenant, any registered  tenant association, and the City of Takoma Park by first class mail or personal delivery and, except for single family homes, that the offer was posted in a common area.  

For single family homes, the tenant has seven days from the date of receipt of the written offer of sale to provide a written statement of interest, and the City of Takoma Park has 14 days. For properties with two to six units, a group of tenants acting jointly have 14 days, then seven additional days for any individual tenant, then seven more days for the City.  

For properties with seven or more units, a registered tenant association representing at least one-third of the occupied rental units in the rental facility and the City of Takoma Park each have 45 days. (Please note that properties involving four or more units in Takoma Park will also need to comply with Montgomery County’s Right of First Refusal laws).

Similar to DC’s TOPA laws, a tenant does have the right to waive the rights but only if supported by consideration. Also, the closing must take place within 6 months of the offer of sale being mailed or personally delivered. Federal Title will additionally require that both the purchaser and the seller sign a TOPA affidavit. 

This is just a summary of the City of Takoma Park TOPA laws, but the full text can be found at Chapter 6.32 Tenant Opportunity to Purchase.

Headlines: Cat cafe coming? DC Open Doors program closes on $72M in financing so far

Here's a look at what's happening in real estate in the District of Columbia and beyond.

DC Open Doors program has closed on $72M in financing so far

Open Doors works by giving buyers access to mortgage products that can include incentives like down payment assistance, lower mandatory down payments and lower interest rates than a buyer might normally qualify for. -Urban Turf

DC may get its own cat cafe

The Washington Humane Society will supply the cats to the cafe, according to a spokesperson, meaning all the cats will be available for adoption. -DCist

NY realty firm to open office in DC

The company is announcing Thursday that it is moving into the Washington real estate market by acquiring the boutique brokerage Lindsay Reishman Real Estate. Both are small firms. Urban Compass has 108 agents, and Reishman about 40 employees. -Washington Post

Leggett pitches 'development ombudsman' for Montgomery County

The Montgomery County Council will consider legislation pitched by Leggett to create the ombudsman position in his executive office. The hire, to be paid an estimated $198,600 annually, will act as a problem-solving liaison between developers and county and state agencies, bring "systemic concerns to the attention of the county leadership for resolution," recommend improvements and work to implement them. -Washington Business Journal

4 ways to winterize your real estate business

That means exchanging your warm-weather sales tools and tactics in favor of an entirely different approach that will convince home sellers and buyers that “Snowvember” and “Icember” really are a good time to buy or sell — even though the swimming pool looks more like a hockey rink. -Inman News

$1M+ home sales up 16%

Sales of existing homes priced above $1 million jumped over 16 percent in October from a year ago, according to a Realtors report released Thursday, outshining every other price segment. The next strongest was the $750,000-$1 million range, up over 12 percent. Sales of homes priced under $100,000 fell 6 percent. -CNBC

Close It!™ House of the Week: Beautiful blend of row home, condo living

This week we're going across town to check out a top-unit condo unit situated west of RFK Stadium and just a block or so from Lincoln Park in Capitol Hill East. It's listed at $475,000.

It's a 2 bedroom / 2 bathroom condo with private deck and two off-street parking spots. Plenty of sunlight streams in from three exposures. All together, it's about 1,100 square feet and just steps from Eastern Market, H Street, Barrack's Row and Capitol Hill. 

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $109,485.10. Monthly payments with carrying charges would then be around $2,253.33 per month. For a complete picture of the cash to close, or for a run-down of the seller's side of the deal, plug the numbers into the Web version of Close It™ or download the free iOS app.

Headlines: Rents on the rise; 45% of homes deemed 'affordable' to DC metro middle class

Here's a look at what's happening in real estate in the District of Columbia and beyond.

Report: 45% of DC homes are affordable to middle class

Statistics refer to the DC metro area as a whole — a very large statistical area — not to DC proper. -Urban Turf

Rents skyrocket well beyond wages 

Rents are rising most in the local housing markets where renters are already stretched thinnest. In the five least affordable markets, rents are now 7.8 percent higher than they were a year ago. -CNBC

What buyers and sellers can do in a slow market

Buyers have more leverage in the negotiations, including price, earnest money deposits and contingencies. The longer a home sits on the market, the more control buyers will enjoy. -Washington Post

Inside the Atlantic Plumbing Building (Photos)

Developer JBG Cos. recently announced prices for its Atlantic Plumbing condos at Eighth and V streets, Northwest, with junior one-bedrooms starting in the high $300,000s to penthouses for $1.9 million. - Washingtonian Magazine

Md. regulation discourages referrals by real estate agents

Real estate agents making referrals to service providers in Maryland can now be fined up to $5,000 if they violate a new state Real Estate Commission regulation. -Washington Post

DC's historic buildings can anchor a neighborhood; some in jeopardy

Lists such as the National Register of Historic Places and the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites were formed to preserve landmark buildings. Properties on the list are acknowledged and protected from being completely demolished because of their cultural significance. -Elevation DC

5 marketing ideas for real estate agents from Close It!™

The best real estate agents are constantly on the look-out for ways to better market themselves to their home buyers.

And while the latest report shows it's 34% more affordable to buy versus rent in the DC metro area, many would-be homebuyers remain on the fence

How can you get these homebuyers off the fence – and then convince them to buy the fence along with the house that comes with it? Here are 5 ways Close It!™ can help you market your real estate business:

1. Follow up with clients by sharing Close It!™ in your email, social media or blogging campaigns. 

You've already got a database of email addresses, Facebook page likes and Twitter followers. Perhaps some of those contacts are would-be homebuyers who aren't quite sure if they can really afford to buy a house. Reach out to them about the only app in the region that calculates a homebuyer's total cash to close. It's a fun and useful tool that lets them crunch the numbers any way they want. 

2. Customize your Close It!™ reports with photo and contact info.

You're already working with several prospective homebuyers who no doubt have lots of questions about how much everything is going to cost in the end. Follow up on last weekend's house tour with a set of HUD-1s custom branded with your professional photo and contact information. Your homebuyers will be impressed when you outline every cost for them down to the penny.

3. Appeal to the foreign investor market.

If you're working in neighborhoods like Georgetown, Foggy Bottom and the West End, it's quite possible you've worked with foreign investors or that you will at some point. Did you know that sellers who do not participate in the U.S. tax system must pay the IRS a tax of 10% of the sales price for all properties over $300,000? A surprise like that at closing could cost you a client, or worse yet, merit you a negative online review. Close It!™ helps you better serve foreign clients by accounting for FIRPTA withholding along with every other nuance of real estate law and tax code for each jurisdiction.

4. Appeal to the first-time homebuyer market.

The first-time homebuyer demographic may make up a smaller share of homebuyers now compared to historic levels, but it's only a matter of time before an influx of millennial homebuyers causes it to explode. And the millennials, more than previous generations, are more likely to look to technology to help them gather information about the process. Be their guide. Keep up with real estate technology, including mobile apps, and share your favorite findings with your millennial homebuyers. Close It!™ is one app homebuyers in the DC metro region in particular will appreciate, but there are many more apps, tools and resources to discover. 

5. Appeal to the move-up buyer market with seller's calculator. 

For buyers in the move-up market, how much house they can afford often depends on how much money they can net from their existing home sale. Introduce those clients to the app that toggles between a net proceeds calculator for the seller side and a cash-to-close calculator for the buyer side. 

Close It!™ is a free iOS and Web app that helps real estate agents, buyers and sellers drill down the costs of buying and selling real estate.

Our blog contains general information only, not intended to be relied upon as, nor a substitute for, specific professional advice. Rate tables and figures that appear on our blog are deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For current rates & policies, refer to our Quick Quote and Consumer Guide. We accept no responsibility for loss occasioned to any purpose acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material on our blog.