The Weekly Membership Newsletter of the Tennessee Assn. of REALTORS


CONTENTS
1. NEW TREC Rules Effective 2-16-08!
2. HOT LINE: Filling In The Blanks
3. HOT LINE: Agents Covering For Each Other
4. HOT LINE: Exterior Injection Wells
5. A Useful Website Address To Save
6. DEADLINES: Spring Conference Registration
7. Rates Slightly Lower, Mortgage Applications U
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1. NEW TREC Rules Effective 2-16-08!

New rules adopted by the Tennessee Real Estate Commission on 5/3/07 take effect this coming SATURDAY, Feb. 16, 2008. Happy Valentine’s Day!

The rules affect:
* the licensing of anyone with a criminal record,
* fees and penalties,
* E & O insurance standards,
* gifts and prizes,
* septic system inspection letters,
* continuing education course offerings and records,
* approval of correspondence courses, and
* course approval periods.

To read all of the rule changes verbatim, go to the TN Real Estate Commission’s website at:
http://www.state.tn.us/commerce/boards/trec/
…and look under Consumer Resources, to view or download a PDF of the actual rules.

[SOURCE: TREC]


2. HOT LINE: Filling In The Blanks

QUESTION: Should we fill in all the blanks on the contract with something (for example, sometimes we might just put “NA” for “not applicable”), or is it okay to leave completely blank lines? What about Loans to be obtained, line 71–does that one need to be filled in if the buyer is checking “B”?

ANSWER: It is our STRONG recommendation that ALL blanks be completed when drafting an offer. Some things may not be applicable to your situation. In that case, it is permissible to put “N/A” in the blank. However, if the blank is asking for a monetary amount, put in $0.00. “N/A” will not work in that situation. Also, in the event that there is a choice (for instance A or B where the one not checked is not part of the agreement), you are only required to complete the lines for the option checked.

Failure to complete all lines could potentially cause problems down the road. In order for there to be a binding contract, all material issues in the contract must be decided. If the parties cannot agree on these material issues, then a judge could rule that there is no contract.

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


3. HOT LINE: Agents Covering For Each Other

QUESTION: What is the proper procedure for each of the following items, when one licensee is covering for another licensee while on vacation, out of town, etc.: Agent A covering for Agent B. Buyer (or Seller) makes (receives) offer. Does Agent A put Agent’s B’s name on the contract, even though Agent A is negotiating the contract? Who’s liable – Agent A or B? Even if Agent B returns prior to closing and completes the sales process? Can Agent A be compensated either by referral fee or a portion of the commission?

ANSWER: Whether the agent is to put his name on the contract or the name of the agent for whom he is covering is a matter that should be determined by office policy. We would recommend that the principal broker determine the correct plan of action. Secondly, liability is generally assessed to whomever did the misdeed. HOWEVER, both agents could be brought into a lawsuit. Finally, whether the agent covering for the regular agent is entitled to a share of the commission or a referral fee should also depend upon, and be determined by, office policy.

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


4. HOT LINE: Exterior Injection Wells

QUESTION: What is the State’s description of an Exterior Injection Well?

ANSWER: An injection well is defined by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation as:

(26) “Injection well” means a structure or other device which is used for the emplacement of fluids into a subsurface stratum including, but not limited to:
(a) a well used for the emplacement of fluids;
(b) a subsurface fluid distribution system;
(c) an improved sinkhole; or
(d) infiltration cell and any other structures or devices designed, constructed or used to emplace fluids into the subsurface, except as provided in rule 1200-4-6-.03(3). Rule 1220-4-6-.02

Basically, this is a well with a pump on one end that forces fluids down into the earth. It is usually used for equalizing pressure to combat sinkholes, to improve drainage, etc. They are not common in all areas of the state. However, if they are on someone’s property and they break, they are very expensive to repair.

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


5. A Useful Website Address To Save

The Social Security Administration NOW has an “eServices” link that can answer a number of questions pertaining to Social Security. The public will be able to complete SEVERAL useful actions when accessing this link:
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices/

By using their online services, you (or your buyers!) can:
* Apply for disability and spouses benefits;
* Find out what social security benefits they qualify for;
* Use a benefit planner to calculate the amount of their retirement, disability, and survivors benefits;
* Change an address or telephone number;
* REQUEST PROOF OF INCOME;
…and much more.

The eServices links can be accessed from any computer with internet capabilities.

[SOURCE: SSA]


6. DEADLINES: Spring Conference Registration

The Early Registration DEADLINE for the TAR Spring Education Conference and Trade Show — to be held on MARCH 19TH AND 20TH — is approaching quickly! To register at the price of $75, registrations must be received on or before FEBRUARY 15. [After that date, the fee for members jumps to $125!] There will be NO “ON-SITE” registrations for the TAR Spring Education Conference and Trade Show, and SPACE IS LIMITED, so register early!

ALSO, the cutoff date for hotel reservations, while rooms are available, is FEBRUARY 25.

To register, or get more information, go to:
http://tnrealtors.com/main/conferences_and_conventions/
…and click on “TAR Spring Business Mtgs & Educ”


7. Rates Slightly Lower, Mortgage Applications Up

Freddie Mac reports a slight decline in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to 5.67 percent from 5.68 percent during the week ended Feb. 7. Interest on 15-year fixed loans also dropped, falling to 5.15 percent from 5.17 percent. Over the same period, the five-year adjustable mortgage rate slipped to 5.21 percent from 5.32 percent, and the one-year ARM moved down to 5.03 percent from 5.05 percent.

Meanwhile, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports a 3-percent jump in home-loan applications to a nearly four-year high last week and a year-over-year gain of 73 percent as borrowers try to refinance in order to reduce their interest rates. While purchase loan requests shot up 12 percent, a three-fold increase in refi applications since December is responsible for the recent gain.

According to MBA senior director of economic forecasting Orawin Velz, “We can’t say that this is going to be a refinancing boom or that we have hit bottom in the housing market, but it shows renewed interest.”

[SOURCES: Information, Inc.; Freddie Mac; MBA]


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