The Weekly Membership Newsletter of the Tennessee Assn. of REALTORS


CONTENTS
1. Tennessee Makes News as Affordable Market
2. HOT LINE: Website Links to Sexual Predator Info?
3. HOT LINE: Using Someone Else’s Photos?
4. REMINDER: Agency Brochures for Buyers & Sellers
5. Postal Service Helps Make Moves Easier
6. NAR Looking for Good Neighbors
7. Mortgage Rates Mixed, Still Very Low


1. Tennessee Makes News as Affordable Market

A newly-released study by Bizjournals.com ranked the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. as to housing affordability. Tennessee had TWO cities make it into the top 20!

Memphis ranked 9th, and Nashville ranked 16th! [FYI: The LEAST affordable market in the study, ranked 50th? Los Angeles, CA]

The study looked at median household income per month and the median total housing payment per month – for each of the 50 markets – to compute total housing payment as a percentage of household income. This showed 22.43% of income spent on housing in Memphis. In Nashville, the figure was 24.15% spent on housing. [And in Los Angeles? 75.46%!]

[SOURCE: Bizjournals.com]


2. HOT LINE: Website Links to Sexual Predator Info?

QUESTION: Agents are beginning to put a link to one or more websites about sexual predators on their personal websites. Even though these are well intentioned, are we going down a “slippery slope” if we start appearing as “the providers of information about criminal behavior” for the community? These links only provides customers information about sexual predators.

ANSWER: We would NOT recommend including these types of links on an agent’s website. As you indicated, this information only pertains to sexual predators. It excludes other types of violent crimes. Furthermore, the information on these sites may or may not be up-to-date and accurate. The agent is endorsing the use of these sites and, if something terrible were to happen to a buyer, the agent (and/or firm) may be looking at a lawsuit since the buyer relied upon the information that was provided by the agent for this particular neighborhood!

Instead, we would advise an agent to give a prospective buyer the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s website and also recommend that the buyer consult with the local police department if they have concerns regarding a particular neighborhood.

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


3. HOT LINE: Using Someone Else’s Photos?

QUESTION: I listed a property for six months. The owner decided not to sign a new listing agreement, and re-listed with another agency. The other agency re-listed the property two to three days after the end of my agreement and used all of the photos that I took of the property without my permission. Is this legal and/or ethical?

ANSWER: NO. The agent should NOT have used your pictures without your permission. In the United States, it is not necessary to officially register a copyright. Nor is it required to have any copyright symbols on the site. It is enough to publish it on the website.

There are several articles on copyright issues that you may access on the NAR website located at http://www.realtor.org. In the search field there, enter “copyright”. They should be of help to you. If the other agent will not agree to take them down, then you may have to speak to a copyright attorney.

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


4. REMINDER: Agency Brochures for Buyers & Sellers

Two new brochures explaining Tennessee agency law to consumers – one for buyers and one for sellers – are NOW available for you to download and give out to your customers and clients!

They are both in print-ready PDF format and can be downloaded from the “What’s New” section of the TAR website at:
http://tnrealtors.com/main/whats_new/

They would also make good material for a sales meeting discussion!

[SOURCES: TAR; TREEF]


5. Postal Service Helps Make Moves Easier

One of those pesky little details that your customers and clients must tend to, when moving to a new address, is now easier to handle!

Notifying the Postal Service of a Change of Address can all be done ONLINE! You can now send your clients to:
http://usps.com/realmove
…where they can change their address online, quickly and conveniently.

When they use the online service, they will also receive special move-related offers “worth over $400”.

To help REALTORS recommend this service, the Postal Service has ALSO created a REALTOR exclusive website with information for you at: http://www.realmovevalue.com

[SOURCE: USPS]


6. NAR Looking for Good Neighbors

…And your favorite charity COULD get $10,000 if you are selected!

REALTOR Magazine is seeking nominations for the ninth annual Good Neighbor Awards, which recognize those REALTORS — across the U.S. — who impact their communities through volunteer work. Five winners will be recognized at the 2008 REALTORS Conference & Expo in Orlando and will receive travel expenses to attend the show and a $10,000 grant for their community cause!

Volunteer work includes affordable housing initiatives, youth mentoring, homelessness prevention, or anything else that makes a community a better place to live.

Entries must be received by May 23. More info and an entry form are online HERE …or see the March issue of REALTOR Magazine. For more info contact Sara Geimer, 312/329-8296.

[SOURCE: NAR]


7. Mortgage Rates Mixed, Still Very Low

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaging 5.85 percent with an average 0.4 point for the week ending March 27, 2008, down from the prior week when it averaged 5.87 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.16 percent.

The 15-year FRM averaged 5.34 percent in the latest report, with an average 0.4 point, up from the previous week when it averaged 5.27 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 5.86 percent.

“Long-term mortgage rates were mixed, but relatively unchanged in the past week as the latest economic indicators came in much as expected,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “On the housing front, house prices keep declining across the nation. Lower prices improve affordability and the National Association of Realtors reported that its home affordability index was at the highest level in nearly five years, contributing to a pickup in existing home sales in February.”

[SOURCE: Freddie Mac]


For information on using the TAR Legal & Ethics Hot Line, look under “More TAR Services” at the TAR website:
http://tnrealtors.com