The Weekly Membership Newsletter of the Tennessee Assn. of REALTORS


CONTENTS
1. Recharging Yourself & Your Business!
2. Best Places To Buy Foreclosed Homes
3. NEW! Consumer Brochures on TN Agency Law!
4. Key Actions By TAR Directors Last Week
5. HOT LINE: Helping With a Buyer’s Closing Costs
6. NEW Website for Real Estate Instructors/Educators!
7. Long-term Rates Below 6, Again


1. Recharging Yourself & Your Business!

Spring is trying VERY hard to burst forth, so it’s time for our optimism to do the same!

Two recent articles are well worth a few minutes of your time, if you want to recharge yourself AND your real estate business for 2008.

A new RISMedia article by Dr. Maya Bailey (“How to Stay Positive in the Wake of Negative Real Estate Reports”) has some sound advice …beginning with “Avoid toxic people”! To read what she has to say, click HERE.

AND a recent article on REALTY TIMES (“Read Your Mind: What’s in YOUR Library? Fueling Your Brain, Business and Life with the Written Word”) suggests a good basic reading list to get your mind working on new ideas, new approaches to business, and tips to GROW your business! This article was authored by Julie Escobar and you can access it HERE.

[SOURCES: RISMedia; Realty Times]


2. Best Places To Buy Foreclosed Homes

Last week, FORBES.COM published a news story listing the 10 “Best Places To Buy Foreclosed Homes.” The nation’s 100 largest metro areas were studied in the process of selecting the Top 10. Basing their analysis on recent data from RealtyTrac, the report identifies markets where properties in foreclosure may, in fact, be a good investment …because the markets in those areas are stabilizing and “foreclosures aren’t symptomatic of local economic ruin.”

In other words, making the list is GOOD news for those who work in these markets …and TWO Tennessee cities (and surrounding areas) made the Top 10 List:

1. Charlotte, NC
2. Raleigh, NC
3. NASHVILLE, TN
4. Oklahoma City, OK
5. San Antonio, TX
6. Albuquerque, NM
7. KNOXVILLE, TN
8. Seattle, Wash.
9. Indianapolis, Ind.
10. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria

[SOURCE: FORBES.COM]


3. NEW! Consumer Brochures on TN Agency Law!

As a service to TAR members, the Tennessee Real Estate Educational Foundation (TREEF) has produced two consumer brochures on TN’s agency law: one for buyers and one for sellers! These two brochures are the product of several months of work and editing by various agency instructors AND several attorneys who graciously gave their time to this project. The brochures are FREE for you to use and distribute!

The two brochures – “When Buying Your Next Home” and “When Selling Your Home” – are in printable PDF format. Both firms and individual members may reprint them for prospective clients and customers!

To download BOTH, go to the TAR Website at http://tnrealtors.com and click on the “What’s New!” section of the website …fourth hyperlink down on the left. Links to both brochures are in the first article on the “What’s New!” page.

TIP FOR BROKERS: A sales meeting discussion on both brochures would be helpful, in case you have any sales associates not well prepared for consumer questions about agency!


4. Key Actions By TAR Directors Last Week

Last week, the approximately 150 members of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS met at the state association’s TAR Business Meetings, for the first of their two annual meetings. Among the actions they took:

— The Directors increased the annual state membership dues from $70 to $85, with the increase earmarked for the Issues Mobilization Fund.

— The Directors voted to support a bill (SB 2400 / HB 2344) to regulate scrap metal dealers, in an effort to curb or stop copper theft. The association joins the Home Builders, law enforcement agencies, and industry in supporting this measure.

— The Directors voted to request that the TN Legislature authorize a special vanity license plate just for REALTORS.

— The Directors voted to oppose any amendment to the County Powers Relief Act of 2006, as part of their opposition to any taxes or fees that could inhibit home sales in Tennessee.


5. HOT LINE: Helping With a Buyer’s Closing Costs

QUESTION: Is it still allowable for a real estate agent to apply a portion of her percentage of commission to the purchase price for a buyer? If so, what is the proper way to word this in a contract?

ANSWER: NO, this is no longer permitted. We recently discussed this issue with the Tennessee Real Estate Commission, and they are of the opinion that the new statute regulating cash gifts, Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-302(b) will NOT allow the paying of closing costs for their client. This new law states “A real estate licensee shall not give or pay cash rebates, cash gifts or cash prizes in conjunction with any real estate transaction. As part of the Tennessee Real Estate Commission’s general rulemaking authority the commission may regulate the practices of real estate licensees in regard to gifts, prizes or rebates that are not otherwise prohibited by law.”

This is a change in the previous rules governing this type of activity. The Real Estate Commission is of the opinion that the paying of closing costs would amount to a cash gift. You can still offer to cut your commission, but this would require that the sales contract be amended in order to reflect that the price has been changed. For example, if you are offering to reduce your commission by $1,000.00, the sales contract would have to be amended demonstrating that the sales price has been reduced by $1,000.00.

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


6. NEW Website for Real Estate Instructors/Educators!

Last week, the Tennessee Real Estate Educational Foundation (TREEF), TAR’s educational partner, unveiled a new website – the TREEF Center for Real Estate Education – at:
http://www.treefcenter.org

The Foundation will operate this new website as a NATIONAL resource center for instructors, trainers, and managers in the real estate industry, to help them train real estate professionals more effectively! The front page will carry occasional articles by real estate instructors (and other trainers and educators), and the Resources section will carry an ever-expanding array of links and other features to help real estate instructors, managers, and schools train folks more effectively!


7. Long-term Rates Below 6, Again

According to Freddie Mac’s data, national average mortgage rates dropped back below 6 percent after spending more than a month above that threshold. Thanks to the Federal Reserve’s aggressive moves to insulate the U.S. economy by slashing borrowing costs, 30-year fixed home loans averaged 5.87 for the week ending 3/20/08. That compares to 6.13 percent a week earlier and represents the first time since mid-February that the benchmark interest rate has been less than 6 percent.

“Slowing consumer spending and weak employment conditions are among the concerns behind the Fed’s decision to lower the target federal funds rate,” said Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft.

[SOURCES: Information, Inc.; Freddie Mac]


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