The Weekly Membership Newsletter of the Tennessee Assn. of REALTORS


CONTENTS
1. NAR Urges Higher Loan Limits
2. HOT LINE: Jointly Marketing with a Mortgage Company
3. Register NOW for TAR Spring Education Conference!
4. Code of Ethics REVISED for 2008!
5. A FREE Introduction to the E-Pro Program
6. 30-Year Rates Lowest Since 2005!


1. NAR Urges Higher Loan Limits

NAR has called on Congress and the Bush administration to increase the loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from the current ceiling of $417,000 to $625,000. National Association of REALTORS President Dick Gaylord noted, “This change will permit more families to enter the housing market by making more mortgages available with lower interest rates. Increased home sales will lower inventories and immediately start stabilizing the housing market and the economy.”

[SOURCE: NAR]


2. HOT LINE: Jointly Marketing with a Mortgage Company

QUESTION: Is it legal for a mortgage company to pay for some of my marketing expenses? For example, I’ve seen other agents send out postcards that I suspect were paid for by a mortgage company featured on those cards. What are the rules about this?

ANSWER: Under RESPA, “No person shall give and no person shall accept any fee, kickback, or thing of value pursuant to any agreement or understanding, oral or otherwise, that business incident to or a part of a real estate settlement service involving a federally related mortgage loan shall be referred to any person.” 12 USC 2607(a)

Allowing a mortgage company to pay for some of your marketing expenses would likely constitute an illegal kickback as it would defray your costs of marketing and would therefore constitute a thing of value to you.

You can undertake joint advertising under certain conditions. Under RESPA, lenders and real estate agents are permitted to have joint advertisements AS LONG AS each pays their pro rata share — and NO MORE — of the advertising costs.

[SOURCE: TAR’s Legal & Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]


3. Register NOW for TAR Spring Education Conference!

For the past SIX YEARS IN A ROW, the TAR Spring Conference has SOLD OUT ahead of time! Registration for the 2008 event is NOW available ONLINE! Don’t wait or procrastinate if you want to attend!

NOTE: A major change has been made in the 2008 TAR Spring Meetings:

1. The TAR Business Meetings (which includes committee meetings, affiliate chapter meetings and the TAR Directors Meeting) is a STAND ALONE meeting this year and will take place on March 17th and 18th!

2. The TAR Spring Education Conference and Trade Show will be held the following two days, on March 19th and 20th!

Please be advised that you do not have to pay a registration fee, or even register to attend the TAR Business Meetings on MARCH 17th and 18th.

HOWEVER, if you plan to attend ANY education session on the 19th and 20th (whether you need CE or not!), you MUST register in advance and pay a registration fee. There will be NO “ON-SITE” registrations for the TAR Spring Education Conference and Trade Show held on March 19th and 20th and SPACE IS LIMITED, so register early!Early Registration deadline is February 15th and the Member Registration Fee is $75.

Speakers at the Education Conference include DAVID KNOX and OLIVER FRASCONA!

Please visit the TAR web site and click on the “Conventions & Conferences” navigation button, then click on “TAR Spring Business Mtgs & Educ” link for more information about the meetings AND to register!


4. Code of Ethics REVISED for 2008!

The 2008 Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice are now online at:
http://www.realtor.org/mempolweb.nsf/pages/code

Save the link! …AND NOTE ESPECIALLY the totally-rewritten Article 12 and the two brand new Standards of Practice 12-12 and 12-13:

ARTICLE 12
REALTORS shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations. REALTORS shall ensure that their status as real estate professionals is readily apparent in their advertising, marketing, and other representations, and that the recipients of all real estate communications are, or have been, notified that those communications are from a real estate professional. (Amended 1/08)

New Standard of Practice 12-12:
REALTORS shall not use URLs or domain names that present less than a true picture, or register URLs or domain names which, if used, would present less than a true picture. (Adopted 1/08)

New Standard of Practice 12-13:
The obligation to present a true picture in advertising, marketing, and representations allows REALTORS to use and display only professional designations, certifications, and other credentials to which they are legitimately entitled. (Adopted 1/08)

[SOURCE: NAR]


5. A FREE Introduction to the E-Pro Program

e-PRO is the only technology certification program offered by the National Association of REALTORS!

Attend the upcoming FREE e-PRO Workshop to learn invaluable tech tips and how e-PRO will benefit you, plus receive a $25 discount for your e-PRO course enrollment!
Discover Hidden Secrets:
* Interact with the “Connected Customer”
* Plug into an electronic community.
* Create a Web-based marketing strategy.
* Utilize the latest high-tech advances such as:
* Digital cameras, virtual tours, MLS systems

Date: Friday, February 08, 2008
****Select One Session****
Time: 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM OR 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Location: Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Address: 901 19th Avenue S., Nashville, TN 37212

Register Now! Seating is Limited!
To register, simply visit:
http://ePROworkshop.InternetCrusade.com
…or call toll free 1-866-ePRONAR (1-866-377-6627)


6. 30-Year Rates Lowest Since 2005!

Long-term mortgage rates remain in a downward pattern, registering the third week in a row of declining interest. According to Freddie Mac’s numbers, average interest on 30-year fixed loans settled the week at 5.69 percent – the lowest level since July 2005.

Rates for 15-year fixed mortgages slipped to 5.21 percent from 5.43 percent a week ago; while the five-year adjustable-rate average retreated to 5.4 percent from 5.63 percent, and interest on one-year ARMs dropped to 5.26 percent from 5.37 percent. Observers generally agree that borrowing costs will remain at or near 6 percent for 2008 unless a U.S. recession surfaces – in which case they expect rates to decline further.

[SOURCES: Information, Inc.: Freddie Mac]


TAR’s Home Page for Tennessee REALTORS is at:
http://tnrealtors.com