Dear Friends, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! I hope that you had a wonderful time with family and friends over the holidays. We are back to work and busy setting both personal and professional goals for the New Year…but before 2006 is too far away we wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for making our success possible. This year in lieu of fancy holiday cards and thank you gifts we decided to donate to a number of charities that our team selected. Our amazing staff continues their very busy lives outside the office all of which brings great dynamics, energy and enthusiasm to our office. A few highlights from this past year: Mae Rose was born in July to Moira who worked up until going into labor and was back to work in a flash (was she ever really gone?); Rebecca’s enthusiasm for walking marathons motivated a client to join her in completing one in San Francisco and another in Virginia Beach (go Ellen!) and her training continues; Anne Marie jaunted off to England to rendezvous with an old friend, camped at Medieval reenactment retreats and in the spring will present a paper to the 42nd International Medieval Congress; Mel took a long overdue trip to enjoy her family in Florida over the holidays. As the real estate market quieted down from the frenzied pace of the last few years we took the opportunity to pursue getting licensed in additional states. So now, in addition to Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, Delaware and Florida, we also hold title licenses for North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Indiana and New York….New Jersey and Pennsylvania are still pending. So, if you are considering a 2nd or 3rd home, investment property or are relocating we can assist you! This past year I taught a lot of “Continuing Education” for Realtors. While teaching requires a lot of research and preparation the whole team pitches in and helps. We have created a huge game board for “Settlement Pros Land” (our take on Candy Land) and our own Jeopardy board. Playing a game helps the 3 hour class fly by. I really enjoy the teaching and I always learn something new from my class…I just need a power nap afterwards! If you would like to attend any of our classes just get in touch and we will add you to our announcement list. Starting around November we saw a considerable up-tick in real estate activity. Talk of multiple offers and quick transactions, as in days gone by, has gotten everyone excited again, so only time can tell what our spring market will hold. The economists say that our Washington market is a “micro-market” that continued to appreciate this year…just not at double digit rates. With interest rates having taken a recent dip you might want to hop off the fence if you are considering a transaction sometime in the next year and get it done before everyone else realizes the market has picked-up. Now is also a great opportunity to take another look at your interest rate to see if it makes sense to refinance out of an adjustable rate. Just a thought…. A very exciting piece of new business for the coming year is that we have been selected as the designated settlement agent for Fox Hill Senior Condominium at River and Burdette. Sunrise Corporation is developing this beautiful compound and anyone wanting more information should stop in to the sales center. We are giving monthly seminars on the home buying process and look forward to handling the 240 settlements starting in 2008! At the Siegel home it has been a big transition year as Amanda, Cydney and Nathan left home and went off to college together at Indiana University in Bloomington. Yes, 3 together…no one can believe it but the girls talked Nathan into it and he is glad they did. Coincidentally, they are in the same dorm but on different floors! It made move-in day much more manageable…did I say day? I meant, move-in week! They are loving college life and see each other often. Jon, Paige and I have enjoyed our trips to visit at every opportunity and then some….Freshman Parent’s Weekend, regular Parent’s Weekend and even a spur of the moment sick visit. Paige who now loves being an only child at home just turned 12 and she is most delighted about not having to share our 3 dogs. On any given night you can find Dewey, Lewes and Trixie all in bed with Paige. Quite a sight! Paige is an amazing athlete and plays soccer, basketball and tennis. Her schedule is packed tight with either games or practices and she is presently trying out for a new soccer team which will take her to a more competitive level. Our vacation home in Florida has turned out to be a wonderful family retreat….no TV (by Mom’s choice), which leaves lots of time for books, Dominoes, pinball, pool and boating. Over one vacation the kids kept a reading chart as a contest. Amanda won the reading contest with over 500 pages read in a short time but the best was when I woke up one morning to a note stuck in Cyd’s door….”Don’t wake me up….stayed up all night reading!” Eureka! I have continued my reading of Presidential Biographies and every once in awhile spice it up with some Historical Fiction. I have also enjoyed taking tennis and boating lessons….I’m getting better at both! It was great to hear from so many of you that have family and friends in the Sarasota area, keep making introductions for us and if you want any information about real estate on the West Coast of Florida I would be happy to fill you in……now is the time to buy! I would love to hear from you, even if it has been awhile, call or write, firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-907-8100. Thank you again for the privilege of working with you again and again over the years. Fondly, P. Joy Siegel, Attorney-at-Law President Settlement Pros, Inc.