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Same-sex couples are significantly more likely to face discrimination in the online rental housing market than heterosexual couples, according to a new study of 50 metro markets released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“This is simply wrong. It is unjust, and we as a country cannot stand for it,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said about the study’s findings.

For the study, HUD testers sent to landlords one e-mail from a heterosexual couple and another e-mail from a gay couple about the availability of a rental unit.

Heterosexual couples were “significantly more likely” to receive an e-mail response than gay male and lesbian inquiries.

“Heterosexual couples were favored over gay male couples in 15.9 percent of tests and over lesbian couples in 15.6 percent of tests,” according to the study.

“Federal housing laws do not prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but 20 states and Washington D.C. have taken preventative measures to pass laws that prohibit discrimination again LGBT people,” MSNBC reports.

http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/06/18/same-sex-couples-face-housing-discrimination-new-study-shows/

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NOTE: REALTORS, members of National Association of REALTORS, are bound by The REALTOR Code of Ethics, Article 12, against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

SOURCE: MSNBC

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The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 has been signed into law. The Act includes a number of changes to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Loan Guaranty program, including reverting back to the previous method of calculating maximum guaranty. This resulted in some loan limits increasing.

While VA does not have a maximum loan amount, the following county “limits” must be used to calculate VA’s maximum guaranty amount for a particular county. These limits apply to all VA loans closed August 6, 2012 through December 31, 2012. (more…)

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Money Magazine published its annual “Best Places to Live” list.

In 2012, Carmel, IN, took first place overall on the 100 top places list, with Reston, VA, topping the list locally at No. 7, followed by Centreville, VA, at No. 17. Four Maryland localities were ranked in the top 25.  Ashburn, VA, ranked No. 30 overall and No. 6 on the “Top-Earning Towns” list.

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Bethesda, MD, took the top prize for MEDIAN FAMILY INCOME with $184,606.  Ashburn, VA, 6th-place median family income averaged $146,093. The only other area in the region on the income list was Arlington, VA, with $132,580. (more…)

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The 2012 Report is in and dozens of Virginia, Maryland and D.C. schools made U.S. News & World Report‘s list of the highest ranking high schools.

To produce the report,  21,776 public high schools were analyzed in 49 states and the District of Columbia. This is the total number of public high schools that had 12th-grade enrollment and sufficient data, primarily from the 2009-2010 school year, to analyze. (Nebraska was the only state that did not report enough data and therefore was not evaluated for any part of the rankings.)

The rankings are based on state proficiency standards, how well they prepare students for college, as well as other factors.

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In Virginia, top-ranked schools were clustered in Fairfax County, Falls Church and Loudoun County, with Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology rated second out of 100 nationally.

The following schools made the top 10 list for Virginia:

  1. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
  2. George Mason High School
  3. George C. Marshall High School
  4. McLean High School
  5. James W. Robinson Jr. Secondary School
  6. Langley High School
  7. W.T. Woodson High School
  8. James Madison High School
  9. Oakton High School
  10. Stone Bridge High School

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In the Maryland rankings, Montgomery County had seven out of the top 10 schools schools, with Winston Churchill, Walt Whitman and Thomas Wootton ranking in the top three spots. The other schools in the top 10 are in Anne Arundel, Howard and Baltimore counties.

The Following schools made the top 10 list for Maryland:

  1. Winston Churchill High School
  2. Walt Whitman High School
  3. Thomas S. Wootton High School
  4. Poolesville High School
  5. Walter Johnson High School
  6. Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School
  7. Richard Montgomery High School
  8. Severna Park High School
  9. Eastern Technical High School
  10. River Hill High School

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  • In Prince William County, Osbourn Park High made the top 600.
  • In Prince George’s County, Eleanor Roosevelt High School, made the list at No. 23.
  • The top-ranked D.C. Public Schools are Benjamin Banneker High School and Coolidge High School.

The full list of schools is available on U.S. News & World Report’s website.

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SOURCE: U.S. News & World Reports; WTOP

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More Americans are showing a preference for living closer into the city than the outer suburbs, according to newly released U.S. Census data. The annual rate of growth in American cities and surrounding urban areas recently surpassed exurbs for the first time in two decades. (more…)

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Loudoun County in Virginia held to its designation as the county with the highest MEDIAN household income.

http://www.LoudounTimes.com published a great article on that topic:

“The county has held the top spot, intermittently swapping with neighboring Fairfax County, for the past five years. Loudoun’s median household income totals $119,540 followed by Fairfax County with a median income of $103,010; Howard County, Md., at $101,771; Hunterdon County, N.J., ($97,874); and Arlington County, Va., ($94,986).”

To read the article and the comments visit:    http://www.loudountimes.com/index.php/news/article/economist_loudouns_richest_in_the_nation_designation_an_overstatement454/

NOTE: Loudoun County VA is located in the high cost of living area with high home prices and high taxes, therefore high median household income should NOT necessarily be equated with high median household wealth.

NOTE: Loudoun County MEDIAN household income of $119,540 means that 50% of households earned less than $119,540 in 2011 and 50% of households earned more than $119,540 in 2011 in Loudoun County, VA

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SOURCE: LoudounTimes.com

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Real estate agents are always bombarded by SPAM email, bogus advertisers who promise that only their companies deliver miracle results and are the best deal around, not to mention the ever pushy viagra marketeers, etc  – we are used to it. It is almost an expected part of our business because our e-mail addresses are so very public.

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However, this morning I received an email that established *new bottom* in scamming and brazen, nonchalant white collar crime.

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For clarification, MRIS, Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, is the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area MLS, Multiple Listing Service and is used by real estate agents to market and list real estate and homes for sale or rent. The MRIS is available only to member real estate agents and is supported solely by membership fees.

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The email I received this morning was sent from Mris.com  <helpdesk@mris.com> which requested a payment needed to upgrade the email to 2.5GB.  

The link included in the email asked for the email address and — the PASSWORD – to the email account so MRIS could upgrade the account. Agents are allowed to have THREE email accounts, so THREE payments would have to be made to upgrade each account …. and of course three passwords disclosed…..

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Now, real estate agents are some of the MOST SAVVY, SMART, INTELLIGENT, even SHREWD people that walk on this Earth – one has to be *shrewd* in real estate business. This is the ONLY business where being *shrewd* is actually a VIRTUE, a necessary part of daily life.

Please note that being *shrewd* does NOT prevent one from being HONEST, CARING agent with HIGH level of INTEGRITY.

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When I received the email, one look at it told me that it could NOT possibly be a legitimate email sent by MRIS office:

  • our email accounts were upgraded a while ago and are now at a nice size of 2GB
  • I mostly use a KW-email account, so my MRIS accounts have a LOT of memory space left
  • MRIS help desk uses (helpdesk@MRIS.***) …. NOT helpdesk@MRIS.com  – the scam email address did not match address used by helpdesk at MRIS office.

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Needless to say, I reported the scam immediately to the MRIS office.  Do you think it should be *hard* to find the crooks responsible for the fraudulent email???

I do NOT think so.  Perhaps someone from FBI would like to earn some brownie points and take interest in this case. Let me know.

But do NOT tell me it is impossible to find those brazen arrogant criminals – white collar criminals – that plague the internet … and get away with a murder. Literally.

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HERE BELOW IS  THE E-MAIL I RECEIVED FROM helpdesk@MRIS.com

—- Webmail Technical Services—–

Dear Mris.com Email Subscriber,

You have exceeded your email quota limit of 450MB and you are advice to expand your email quota limit within 48 hours. You need to upgrade your email quota limit to 2.5GB. You can use the below weblink to upgrade your email account:

www.nw-binc.com

Thank you for using our web-mail.

Checkout new features and enhancements with our newly improved and secured webmail.

—-Copyright © 1997-2011 Webmail Technical Services!. All rights

reserved—–

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Anyone at the FBI looking to earn some brownie points?

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