The Weekly Membership Newsletter of the Tennessee Assn. of REALTORS

1. Ban on Cash Rebates Remains In Effect…
2. We Need YOUR Help!
3. What the Average Homebuyer Wants
4. HOT LINE: Inspection by an Unlicensed Inspector?
5. Pricing It Right in a Declining Market
6. New E-Class GRI Schedule Posted!
7. Rates Jump Slightly, Remain Below 6

1. Ban on Cash Rebates Remains In Effect…

As we announced last week, new rule changes (adopted by the Tennessee Real Estate Commission last year) took effect this past week …on Saturday, Feb. 16!

In reading through the rule changes, some of you have already noticed that the TREC rule banning cash rebates to consumers was eliminated. PLEASE understand that — while the rule was eliminated — it was REPLACED by a STATE LAW banning cash rebates, which took effect this past year! TAR, in anticipation of the Commission’s action, successfully lobbied for this new law to ensure that the ban on cash rebates remained in effect in Tennessee!

NOTE: The TAR General Counsel’s office has authored a helpful document explaining the nature and impact of ALL of the various rule changes. This document ALSO explains the TAR Governmental Affairs Committee’s actions in respect to a number of the changes. We have posted this explanatory document in PDF format on the TAR website, for you to download at:

[SOURCE: TAR’s General Counsel]

2. We Need YOUR Help!

We want to improve the TAR DIGEST – this emailed publication – and we want YOUR opinions!

We have a short 8-question online survey for you. PLEASE take just a few moments to complete it. It won’t take much time, and it will give us needed direction as to the future format, frequency, and contents of the TAR DIGEST.

To take the survey, simply go to the “What’s New” page on the TAR website at:
…and click on the link near the top of that page to the “TAR DIGEST Readership Survey”!


3. What the Average Homebuyer Wants

Gayle Butler, editor in chief of Better Homes and Gardens, said people want a home that supports their busy lifestyles, “The house needs to be part of the solution in successfully handling that active lifestyle.”

That need makes specialty areas key in home design. When asked what specialty space they would prefer, respondents to a Better Homes and Gardens consumer survey listed sunroom (36 percent), extra large front porch (35 percent), oversized laundry room (34 percent) and mudroom (26 percent).

Butler said consumers also want an inviting space that allows them to gather with family and friends. And that space now includes the outdoors.

“Outdoor spaces have gone beyond the barbeque to include dining rooms, entertaining areas and full cooking and refrigeration capabilities,” she said.

Finally, consumers want homes that cannot only manage a busy lifestyle, but also adapt with it. According to the Better Homes and Gardens study, about one in three people expects an aging parent to move in within the next five to ten years. Many are planning for an adult child or relative to move in (23 percent). Most demand guest accommodations in their home for grown kids and grandkids (66 percent).

[SOURCE: RECON, from the Texas A & M Research Center]

4. HOT LINE: Inspection by an Unlicensed Inspector?

QUESTION: Our Purchase and Sale Agreement states that if a buyer contracts with a 3rd party to do home inspection, it must be a licensed inspector. It goes on to state that nothing precludes a buyer from doing his own inspection. Question is this: in order for a buyer to either exercise option 1 and void a contract based on the home inspection, or present a repair request based on the home inspection, does the inspection have to have been done by a licensed inspector rather than by buyer (or dad or uncle for that matter)? I have always told my buyers that if they expect a seller to do repairs, or accept the list of objections and void contract and release binder, there must be a home inspection report (which I interpret to have to come from a licensed inspector). But several agents in my office believe there is nothing that would keep a buyer from doing their own inspection and then presenting repair requests, or a list of objections and then voiding the contract. If that interpretation is true, I think I need to have my sellers make sure they put something in any contract they accept, stating that any repair request or objections must be based on a home inspection report done by a licensed inspector. What is the correct interpretation of the contract on this issue?

ANSWER: There is nothing in the home inspector law which would prohibit a buyer from performing their own inspection. Additionally, it is my opinion that the seller would be bound by the list provided by the buyer regardless of whether it was the result of an inspection done by himself or by a licensed home inspector. However, the seller IS NOT obligated to a list that was made as a result of a third party (i.e., Uncle Bob who builds houses or is a contractor, etc.) who “inspected” the house.

If the seller does not want to honor a list provided by a buyer, then he/she should negotiate that on the front end in the special stipulations.

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

5. Pricing It Right in a Declining Market

If you are listing or marketing a property in an area that has slowed down considerably, you may find some helpful pricing tips and strategies in a recent article (“Keeping it Priced Right Even in a Declining Market”) on Realty Times by Richard Daskam:

In a Buyer’s market, if you miss the target, not only will the house not sell, the seller will get angry and frustrated, the agent will feel helpless and worthless, and the home will lose value daily. Even in a Buyer’s market, with average 75 days on the market, if a home hasn’t sold in the first 21 days, the seller has lost their “honeymoon period.” That is the time where the limited number of buyers that are out there, looking for the right home at the right price, would have bought the house if it was priced right. After 21 days, the house loses the “new kid on the block” advantage.
*** END QUOTE ***

You can read the entire article at:

[SOURCE: Realty Times]

6. New E-Class GRI Schedule Posted!

Our 2008 season of E-Class (distance-learning) GRI courses begins soon. E-Class courses are each five weeks long, require no travel or travel expense on your part, and involve classes of no more than 20 students, each student working independently under the guidance of an instructor-coach. The first complete series of courses is scheduled as follows:

* 3/6 – 4/9: E-Class GRI 1 – Professionalism in Real Estate
* 3/13 – 4/16: E-Class GRI 2 – Smart Marketing
* 3/20 – 4/23: E-Class GRI 3 – Financing the Successful Transaction
* 3/27 – 4/30: E-Class GRI 4 – From Offer To Contract To Closing
* 4/3 – 5/7: E-Class GRI 5 – Systems for Success
* 4/10 – 5/14: E-Class GRI 6 – Sticky Situations

For more information on how E-Class GRI courses work, go to:

There is a link to enroll/register at the bottom of that page, OR you can visit the “Education Information” section of the TAR website ( for information about the entire GRI program!

7. Rates Jump Slightly, Remain Below 6

Freddie Mac reports a jump in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to 5.72 percent during the week ended Feb. 14 from 5.67 percent the prior week. Interest on 15-year fixed loans, meanwhile, climbed to 5.25 percent from 5.15 percent over the same period. Rates dropped, however, for five-year adjustable mortgages to 5.19 percent from 5.21 percent; while the one-year ARM held steady at 5.03 percent.

Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft says economic uncertainty is responsible for the movement in mortgage rates, noting that some borrowers are finding it difficult to obtain mortgages due to stricter credit standards.

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

TAR’s Home Page for Tennessee REALTORS is at: