The Weekly Membership Newsletter of the Tennessee Assn. of REALTORS


CONTENTS
1. National Crackdown on Mortgage Fraud!
2. “The Worst Is Behind Us…”
3. HOT LINE ADVISORY: Agency Law Questions
4. HOT LINE: Agent No Longer Licensed?
5. REMINDER: TAR Committee Requests for 2009
6. Interest Rates Move Higher
7. DIGEST Takes a Week Off

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1. National Crackdown on Mortgage Fraud!

The “heat” on mortgage fraud is getting more intense:

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The national takedown, titled “Operation Malicious Mortgage” highlights enforcement efforts throughout the United States to identify, arrest and prosecution of mortgage fraud violators.

Nationally, Operation Malicious Mortgage resulted in 144 mortgage fraud cases in which 406 defendants were charged. Charges in Operation Malicious Mortgage cases were brought in every region of the United States and in more than 50 judicial districts by U. S. Attorneys’ Offices based upon the law enforcement and investigative efforts of participating law enforcement agencies. The FBI estimates that approximately $1 billion in losses were inflicted by the mortgage fraud schemes employed in these cases.
*** END QUOTE ***

Two Memphis, TN, prosecutions are included in Operation Malicious Mortgage. For names and details, click HERE.

[SOURCE: Attorney Rachel Dollar]


2. “The Worst Is Behind Us…”

At least one major industry figure sees a change for the better in the wind…

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James M. Weichert, president and founder of Weichert Realtors, told his sales professionals and employees that the extraordinary market at the start of the decade may not be repeatable, but said, “Now, everything I am seeing is telling me the worst is behind us and we’ll begin to see a gradual increase in sales activities.”

Weichert acknowledges that the recovery will happen at slightly different times and at different rates throughout the country because real estate remains a local business. He stated he recognizes that some areas locally and some states nationally are not there yet, but by and large, the market is turning.
*** END QUOTE ***

[SOURCE: REAL Trends]


3. HOT LINE ADVISORY: Agency Law Questions

We continue to receive questions about agency law in Tennessee, several of which would be unnecessary if more brokers and affiliate brokers familiarized themselves with two agency brochures for consumers, produced earlier this year for use by TAR members by TREEF, in consultation with several attorneys:

“When Buying Your Next Home…”
“When Selling Your Home…”

Each link above allows you to download the respective brochure in PDF format. Although both brochures are written simply enough for consumers, each is also useful as a summary of Tennessee agency law for licensees.

Each brochure would make a good topic for your next sales meeting — if you’ve not already used them this way.  And, brokers, this would be a good time to review your office agency policy with everyone!

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


4. HOT LINE: Agent No Longer Licensed?

QUESTION: A referral was made sometime ago from an agent in Nashville to an agent in Knoxville. The sale is finally due to close in May, and the referring agent is no longer licensed and has been out of the business for some time. What is to be done with the referral fee?

ANSWER: It will depend upon whether the agent’s license was active when the property came under contract. An agent is deemed to have earned his or her commission (or referral fee) when the contract is signed. Therefore, even if their license is inactive or in retirement when the property closes, they will still get their commission or referral fee.

HOWEVER, if the agent’s license was not active when the property went under contract, then that agent cannot be paid the commission or referral fee. Furthermore, whether the agent is entitled to a commission will depend upon the terms of that agent’s independent contractor’s agreement with his or her managing broker.

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


5. REMINDER: TAR Committee Requests for 2009

If you would like to be considered for appointment to a committee (or task force, etc.) of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS in 2009, please download and submit the form linked below.

The deadline for 2009 committee requests is AUGUST 15!

You may access the COMMITTEE REQUEST FORM — it’s a downloadable PDF — by clicking HERE.

You can also access this form in the “What’s New” and “TAR & NAR Applications” sections of the TAR website.

The deadline for TAR Officer and TREEF Trustee nominations is JULY 7.


6. Interest Rates Move Higher

Freddie Mac reports a jump in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to 6.42 percent during the week ended June 19 from 6.32 percent the prior week, marking a nearly nine-month high. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate rose to 6.02 percent from 5.93 percent, the five-year adjustable mortgage rate climbed to 5.89 percent from 5.70 percent and the one-year ARM jumped to 5.19 percent from 5.09 percent.

Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft attributes the gains to concerns about inflation after the consumer- and producer-price indexes for May were issued. Higher mortgage rates sparked an 8.7-percent drop in loan applications in the past week and a 21-percent decline year over year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]


7. DIGEST Takes a Week Off

There will be NO July 1, 2008 Edition, since the TAR DIGEST is taking a week off. The DIGEST will return with the July 8, 2008 Edition!

Meanwhile, please celebrate July 4, 2008 safely …but DO celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, and remember how fortunate we are to live in this country!


TO SUBSCRIBE to the TAR DIGEST: Simply go to the TAR DIGEST website at www.tardigest.com with your web browser, and look down the left-hand column of that page for “Get News By E-Mail”. Click on that and follow the instructions.

After entering your email address, you will receive an email from the system () with a link that you MUST click on, to activate your subscription.  Thanks!

TAR’s Home Page: http://tnrealtors.com