The Weekly Membership Newsletter of the Tennessee Assn. of REALTORS


CONTENTS
1. What Does Your Profession Look Like?
2. No National Weather Forecast!
3. HOT LINE: Thanking Agents for Referrals?
4. HOT LINE: Right of Redemption?
5. HOT LINE: Keeping Fax Confirmations
6. National Property “Library” Idea Moves Forward
7. Rates Move Slightly Lower


1. What Does Your Profession Look Like?

The 2008 National Association of Realtors (NAR) Member Profile shows almost 21,000 members obtained one or more professional designations in the last year, with over 33 percent of all members now having at least one.

Many members specialize in residential real estate and have secondary specialties, with relocation, commercial brokerage, commercial property management, land development, and counseling being the most popular.

Realtors’ median income slipped, however, to $42,600 last year from $47,700 in 2006, with licensed brokers and sales agents earning a median of $65,200 and $31,000, respectively. The median income was $69,500 for those in the field for at least 16 years, $52,000 for those with six to 15 years under their belt, $34,600 for those with three to five years in the industry, and $10,500 for those with two years or less experience.

With regard to technology, the survey shows 92 percent of Realtors use e-mail just about every day, 88 percent employ computers, 82 percent use cell phones, and 60 percent have personal Web sites. Additionally, 34 percent use Internet-equipped smartphones, 27 percent use digital cameras, 19 percent use GPS devices, 18 percent use instant messaging, and 15 percent use PDAs.

The survey also reveals a slight drop in membership of 1.5 percent from 2006, though NAR still boasts over 1.2 million members.

FOOTNOTE: At the NAR Midyear Conference last week, it was reported in one session that, in 2007, of the association’s 1.3 million members nationally, 500,000 did NOT share in a single transaction during the year!!!

[SOURCES: NAR; Information, Inc.]


2. No National Weather Forecast!

To reinforce the message that was repeated many times at last week’s NAR Midyear Conference in Washington — that “all real estate is local” — one commentator observed that we also don’t look for a national weather forecast!

Neither REALTORS nor their customers and clients should be too heavily influenced by national media reports about the housing market. It’s obvious that there has been some slowdown of activity in most markets, actually a return to normal levels of business in many markets. The examples of most severe problems generally come from the east or west coasts or hard-hit places like Michigan.

According to a Washington Times article last week, “Of the 10 metropolitan areas with the most foreclosures, nine were in California and Florida.”

[SOURCES: NAR; Information, Inc.; Washington Times]


3. HOT LINE: Thanking Agents for Referrals?

QUESTION: Can a service company such as a home warranty or pest control company provide gift cards to local real estate agents in exchange for referral business?

ANSWER: NO. Pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 2607(a), “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.”

The statute goes on to define a real estate settlement service as any service provided in connection with a real estate settlement including, but not limited to, the following: title searches, title examinations, the provision of title certificates, title insurance, services rendered by an attorney, the preparation of documents, property surveys, the rendering of credit reports or appraisals, pest and fungus inspections, services rendered by a real estate agent or broker, the origination of a federally related mortgage loan (including, but not limited to, the taking of loan applications, loan processing, and the underwriting and funding of loans), and the handling of the processing, and closing or settlement.

12 U.S.C. 2602(3). Since the services rendered by a real estate agent or broker, home warranty companies and pest control companies are considered real estate settlement services, the home warranty and pest control companies may be violating RESPA for making this referral fee if they are also involved in the transaction. However, if you are performing services for which you are being compensated with a reasonable fee, then this is permitted.

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


4. HOT LINE: Right of Redemption?

QUESTION: I have a client interested in purchasing a foreclosure property. There is a statement in the addendum from the mortgage company that states, “Buyer understands that the Property may be subject to redemption by the prior owner…”. How long is this redemption period and how can we determine if the previous owner has initiated redemption?

ANSWER: In Tennessee there is a two year right of redemption in the event that a property is sold to satisfy debts. [See Tenn. Code Ann. 66-8-101.] In order to exercise that right of redemption, “Any debtor whose interest in real estate has been so sold, and is subject to redemption, may redeem the interest by paying to the purchaser, or to anyone claiming under the purchaser, the amount bid or paid by the purchaser, with interest thereon at the current composite prime rate as published by the federal reserve board as of the date of purchase per annum, together with all other lawful charges.” – Tenn. Code Ann. 66-5-106. If the purchaser cannot be found, then the funds can be paid into the court clerk’s office of the county in which the property sits. – Tenn. Code Ann. 66-8-113.

If your client has questions about the right of redemption, he/she needs to speak with their own attorney. Please remember that you cannot provide legal advice to your client.

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


5. HOT LINE: Keeping Fax Confirmations

QUESTION: I represent a buyer. I wrote up an offer on a TAR contract. I faxed the offer to the seller’s agent. The seller signed it and returned it. However, now they are saying they did not receive page 5 (regarding home inspection and repairs). How do I handle this situation?

ANSWER: We would recommend finding your fax confirmation page which indicates how many pages were successfully transmitted. Thereafter, it is up to the seller’s agent to prove that he did not receive all of the pages of the document.

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


6. National Property “Library” Idea Moves Forward

Among the actions taken last week by the Board of Directors of the National Association of REALTORS:

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
Directors gave the go-ahead for NAR staff to negotiate with a technology provider to deliver a “proof of concept” working model for a national library/archive of all real estate parcels in the United States. The library is intended to arm Realtors with a broker-controlled, member-only accessed, one-stop repository of property information to compete against the current availability of such information from a variety of online sources – all of which are accessible to consumers.

Speaking before the Board of Directors, NAR CEO Dale Stinton emphasized that the repository is not a national MLS and, among other things, would not provide offers of cooperation or compensation. NAR was given approval for start-up funding for the project last year. The repository would be revenue neutral but may eventually be fee-based to cover operating costs. The association plans to complete the proof of concept as soon as possible, utilizing one or more pilot locations around the country, Stinton said.
*** END QUOTE ***

[SOURCE: NAR]


7. Rates Move Slightly Lower

Freddie Mac reports a drop in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate for the week ended May 15 to 6.01 percent from 6.05 percent a week ago. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate remained unchanged at 5.60 percent. Meanwhile, the five-year adjustable mortgage rate slipped to 5.57 percent, and the one-year ARM dipped to 5.18 percent; the previous week, they averaged 5.67 percent and 5.29 percent, respectively.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]


You can always access back issues of the TAR DIGEST at: http://www.tardigest.com