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

1. National Real Estate Market Shows Signs of Life!
2. Are You a Rising Young Real Estate Star?
3. HOT LINE: Disclosing Seller’s New Address?
4. HOT LINE: An Unlicensed Assistant?
5. Possible BPO Pitfalls
6. REMINDER: REALTOR License Plates Available!
7. Rates Back Down

1. National Real Estate Market Shows Signs of Life!

Nationally, existing-home sales increased in September, as buyers responded to improved housing affordability conditions, according to the National Association of REALTORS (NAR).

NAR President Richard F. Gaylord, a broker with RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, Calif., said low home prices and low interest rates have been attracting buyers. “This is the first time since November 2005 that home sales have been above year-ago levels,” he said. “Credit tightened at the end of September, but the improvement demonstrates that buyers who’ve been on the sidelines want to get into the market to make a long-term investment in their future.”

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said there may still be market disruptions. “The credit markets are not settled yet, although the mortgage market stabilized with the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Inventory remains high, and price declines are pressuring owners,” he said.

For an optimistic, long-term look at the real estate business, see George Mantor’s recent commentary (“The Future of Real Estate“) published on RISMedia and available HERE.


2. Are You a Rising Young Real Estate Star?

…and, by “Young”, we mean under 30!

Each June, REALTOR Magazine features 30 rising young stars in the real estate industry. Now’s your chance to be considered for the 2009 class of “30 Under 30.”

Who is eligible?
Any REALTOR member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS who is under age 30 as of May 31, 2009, and who has not been profiled in a previous “30 Under 30” feature is eligible for the 2009 feature.

How does someone apply?
NAR began accepting applications for the 2009 “30 Under 30” feature on Sept. 22. The online application form is available HERE. Applications must be submitted by 11 p.m. CST, Monday Jan. 12, 2009.

For more information, go HERE.


3. HOT LINE: Disclosing Seller’s New Address?

QUESTION: I had an agent that represented a seller. The seller did not, according to the buyer, do the repairs as per the contract. The buyer now wants the forwarding address of the seller. Am I required to give this to the buyer?

ANSWER: We would recommend NOT providing that information voluntarily, without the seller’s express permission. The address of the seller is now confidential and your obligation to protect that information would survive the listing period. If this information is needed, then you can be subpoenaed to produce it or called to a deposition to disclose that information. Otherwise, you will need permission of your seller to disclose it.

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

4. HOT LINE: An Unlicensed Assistant?

QUESTION: What can an unlicensed assistant do and not do, under Tennessee law?

ANSWER: According to the Tennessee Real Estate Commission, an unlicensed employee, secretary, or assistant MAY NOT:

  1. Make cold calls by telephone or in person to potential listers or purchasers;
  2. Show properties for sale and/or lease to prospective purchasers;
  3. Host public open houses, licensee open houses, home show booths or fairs;
  4. Answer questions concerning properties listed with the firm except only that information contained on the listing agreement as limited by the Principal Broker;
  5. Prepare promotional material or advertising of properties for sale or lease without the approval of the Principal Broker;
  6. Discuss or explain listings, offers, contracts, or other similar matters with persons outside the firm;
  7. Be paid on the basis of real estate activity; such as percentage of commission, or any amount based on listings, sales, etc.;
  8. Act as a “go-between” with a seller and buyer such as when an offer is being negotiated; or
  9. Negotiate or agree to any commission split or referral fee on behalf of a licensee.

To see what an licensed assistant MAY DO, look at the Real Estate Commission’s Frequently Asked Questions in this PDF document (see Pages 2 & 3).


5. Possible BPO Pitfalls

The NAR Legal Affairs podcast is a resource for reporting current legal issues related to real estate professionals. [A podcast is an audio file you can listen to on the Internet, usually by simply clicking on a link …you do NOT need an iPod to listen to one!]

In their October Podcast, NAR’s Legal Affairs Department interviews Nevada REALTOR Pamela Kinkade about the potential risks for real estate professionals when completing BPOs. It’s a short interview (less than 10 minutes long), and you can listen to it HERE.


6. REMINDER: REALTOR License Plates Available!

An attractive new license plate — celebrating homeownership in Tennessee — has been designed especially for Tennessee REALTORS!

You can now view this license-plate design online, and pre-order one for your car! DO note that, in order for members to receive their license plate, we need at least 1,000 of our members to order them in advance, before manufacturing and distribution of plates can occur. Earlier this year over 2,200 REALTORS petitioned TAR to make this product available through the State of Tennessee. REALTOR plates are priced at $35, and $70 for additional personalization.

All proceeds collected from the REALTOR license plate program will be used to support your Tennessee Real Estate Educational Foundation (TREEF)!

To view the license plate, and place your personal order for one, go to the NEWSROOM section of our TAR Website at:

7. Rates Back Down

Mortgage rates moved south last week, reaching their lowest point in five weeks, according to Freddie Mac’s nationwide survey. The company reported a drop in the average interest on a 30-year fixed loan to 6.04 percent from 6.46 percent last week and a slide in the 15-year fixed rate to 5.72 percent from 6.14 percent. Interest on adjustable-rate mortgages slipped to 6.06 percent from 6.14 percent for five-year ARMs but bumped up to 5.23 percent from 5.16 percent for one-year ARMs.

[SOURCES: Information, Inc.; Freddie Mac]


Oct. 28-29: GRI 2 – Smart Marketing (Knoxville)

Nov. 4: VOTE!

Nov. 5-10: NAR Convention (Orlando, FL)

Nov. 13-14: GRI 5 – Systems for Success (Nashville, Cool Springs area)

Nov. 17-18: GRI 4 – From Offer To Contract To Closing (Chattanooga)

Nov. 19-20: GRI 6 – Sticky Situations (Memphis)

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