The Weekly Membership Newsletter of the Tennessee Assn. of REALTORS
Editor:
Pug Scoville


CONTENTS
1. Tell Me More…
2. Foreclosures Rise in 2nd Quarter
3. Contrary to Popular Belief…
4. HOT LINE: Going To Court Over a Commission
5. HOT LINE Follow-Up: Gifts and Prizes
6. Getting Listings Noticed!
7. Rates Rise
8. No TAR DIGEST Next Week


1. Tell Me More…

Whether you are in a leadership position in your company or association, OR you just want to improve your relationships with clients and customers, a new RISMEdia article — “‘Tell Me More’ – How to Lead Through Listening” by David Benzell — makes a few VERY valuable points and makes them well:

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
Dad was waiting in the parking lot at the usual time. As the basketball players left the gym, he noticed his 10-year-old’s head hanging low. When his son jumped in the car, and slammed the door, the father asked, “How was practice?” The boy replied, “I hate my coach.” This kind of response did not sit well with Dad. Three thoughts rushed to his head, all fighting to be delivered in a correcting tone. First, “I’ve taught you not to speak so disrespectfully about any coach or adult.” Second, “Are you kidding? This guy is a great coach – one of the best!” Third, “Do you have any idea how hard I worked to make sure you were placed on this guy’s team?” For some reason, Dad chose not to speak any of those condemning thoughts, and instead three words came out of his mouth, perhaps three of the best words he’d ever accidentally said: “Tell me more.”
*** END QUOTE ***

The complete article can be found HERE.

[SOURCE: RISMedia]


2. Foreclosures Rise in 2nd Quarter

On Friday, RealtyTrac released their national quarterly report on foreclosures, showing a 14 PERCENT RISE in foreclosure filings in the second quarter of 2008. The report also shows that nationally one in every 171 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing during the quarter.

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
“Although much of the fallout from foreclosures is being driven by rampant activity in a few states, such as Nevada, California, Florida, Ohio, Arizona and Michigan, most areas of the country are seeing at least some increase in foreclosure activity,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “Forty-eight of 50 states and 95 out of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas experienced year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity in the second quarter.

“Bank repossessions, or REOs, accounted for 30 percent of total foreclosure activity in the second quarter, up from 24 percent of the total in the first quarter,” Saccacio continued. “This shift in the distribution of activity indicates that there is a progression toward purging the problem loans out of the system — at which point the housing market can regain some sense of normalcy. Of course if another surge in defaults occurs, which could well happen later this year, it would refill the foreclosure pipeline and prolong the recovery.”
*** END QUOTE ***

Tennessee’s foreclosure rate ranked 13th in the U.S., while Nevada, California, Arizona, and Florida ranked 1st through 4th in the nation, respectively.

In their survey of the top 100 Metro Markets for foreclosure activity, most of the top (hardest hit) cities are in the four states mentioned above.

Memphis ranked 25th in the nation with a rate of 1 filing for every 105 households, Nashville ranked 56th  with a rate of 1 filing for every 238 households, and Knoxville ranked 75th (a rate of 1 out of every 354 households).

[SOURCE: RealtyTrac]


3. Contrary to Popular Belief…

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
The victims of the subprime debacle are often portrayed as overwhelmingly poor and members of minority groups.

It turns out that a large percentage of subprime borrowers aren’t poor or minority-group members, according to ComplianceTech, an Arlington, Va., consulting firm. In a report scheduled to be released Wednesday, ComplianceTech says that middle- and upper-income borrowers accounted for more than two-thirds of high-rate mortgages issued in 2006 and that more than 55% of such loans went to white borrowers. The study analyzed data filed under the federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.
*** END QUOTE ***

…reported July 23, 2008 in a Wall Street Journal article entitled “Equal-Opportunity Crisis”.

[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal]


4. HOT LINE: Going To Court Over a Commission

QUESTION: How does an agent take someone to court over a commission, and is there a certain jurisdiction to go through for this?

ANSWER: If the agent wants to receive the commission from a member of the public (who they feel owes them a commission), it will likely be based on a breach of contract claim. In order to do this, there must be a contract in place between the party to be sued and the firm.  [Keep in mind that ALL suits must be brought in the name of the firm by the principal broker.] This would be either a buyer’s representation agreement or a listing agreement that entitled them to a commission.

If the amount of the commission was less than $25,000.00, then this action could be brought in General Sessions Court in the county where the person to be sued lives. If it is more than $25,000.00, it could be brought in the Circuit Court. Please keep in mind that if the licensee’s company is an LLC, corporation or one of the most common types of partnerships, it must be represented by an attorney.

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


5. HOT LINE Follow-Up: Gifts and Prizes

In last week’s TAR DIGEST, we covered the do’s and don’ts of offering gifts and prizes, as well as prohibitions against cash gifts or rebates, AND we cited the actual Rule in Tennessee (1260-2-.33) concerning Gifts and Prizes.

PLEASE REMEMBER that 1260-2-.33(1)(a) requires that any gift or prize offered by a licensees can ONLY be offered “Under the sponsorship and with the approval of the firm with whom the licensee is affiliated….”

Some firms prohibit the offering of gifts and prizes altogether, as a matter of company policy. As with so many things, the firm can be held liable for any licensee’s actions in this area, so approval of the firm’s managing broker should be sought before you make any such offer!

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


6. Getting Listings Noticed!

In a new Inman News article, real estate experts underscore the importance of digital photos and mobile phones in generating interest in property listings. Large photos — and plenty of them — are important for online listings, and Realtor.com has been designed to permit up to 25 photos per listing for an extra fee. Additionally, photo size has been increased by 140 percent. Move Inc. President Lorna Borenstein says, “Consumers tell us if they don’t see multiple photos on a listing, they doubt the credibility of the Realtor.”

Experts note that the best photo should be shown first, contrary to the trend of displaying kitchen or bathroom pictures first. Borenstein points out that it’s also important to post photos even of homes that are not in the best condition and to label them “fixer uppers”. She adds that making sure listings can be viewed on smartphones is “critical for your business.”

To read more, go HERE.

[SOURCES: Information, Inc.; Inman News]


7. Rates Rise

Freddie Mac reports a more than 0.25-percentage point gain in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to 6.63 percent during the week ended July 24 from the prior week, marking the highest level since it reached 6.68 percent last August. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate also increased, climbing to 6.18 percent from 5.78 percent. Meanwhile, the five-year hybrid adjustable mortgage rate rose to 6.16 percent from 5.80 percent; and the one-year ARM surged to 5.49 percent from 5.10 percent.

Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft attributes the jump to “market concerns about rising inflation, further weakness in the housing market and greater probability that the Federal Reserve will raise short-term rates this year.”

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]


8. No TAR DIGEST Next Week

Due to staff travel, there will be NO August 5, 2008 Edition. The DIGEST will, however, return with the August 12, 2008 Edition!

Meanwhile, we hope that all of our readers have a productive and profitable summer …but that you also take some time to enjoy your families and life in this great nation!


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