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

1. More Financial News
2. MAAR Promotes Memphis in Unique Way!
3. Applications Being Taken for Leadership TAR 2009!
4. HOT LINE: Who Chooses Title Company?
5. HOT LINE: Whose Responsibility?
6. Senator Corker Explains His Vote
7. Rates Barely Move

1. More Financial News

A global sell-off and panic on world markets has prompted yet another major drop in stock prices on Wall Street, at the time this DIGEST is being written. Over the weekend, governments across Europe rushed to prop up failing banks, while the governments of Germany, Ireland and Greece also said they would guarantee bank deposits.

It will still be a while before there is ANY clarity about the effects of all this on our housing market in Tennessee …and clarity as to how long and how deep the economic slowdown will be before we see some recovery and relief.

The financial rescue plan that was pushed through Congress last week (see “Senator Corker Explains His Vote” below) will undoubtedly take time to have any real effect, and there has always been a question as to whether that strategy would be enough to avert a deeper crisis. Panic itself may be the biggest obstacle to overcome.

Stay tuned…

2. MAAR Promotes Memphis in Unique Way!

Our members in Memphis are showing true creativity in marketing their area to others! Last week, a new campaign by the Memphis Area Association of REALTORS made the news:

The Memphis Area Association of Realtors will give away $20,000 to the winners of a new YouTube contest it has launched.

MAAR is asking Memphians to show off what makes Memphis home to them in a contest dubbed “Your Memphis: Take One.”

The contest will run through midnight on Nov. 24.

Participants are asked to submit an original three-minute digital video displaying why Memphis is home to them. Each video will be judged based on relevance, creativity and entertainment value. Winning videos will be announced and posted at

“As an organization, we promote home ownership and the value of being able to call a piece of Memphis your own,” said John Snyder, board president of MAAR, in a statement. “We also understand that home means many things to many different people, and we want to feature these distinct viewpoints through this creative avenue.”

Said Jules Wade, executive vice president: “These will serve as invaluable tools for Realtors looking to show why a particular section of Memphis is a wonderful place to live.”
*** END QUOTE ***

Well done!

[SOURCE: Memphis Business Journal]

3. Applications Being Taken for Leadership TAR 2009!

Applications are now being accepted for the 2009 Class of Leadership TAR! Program criteria, dates of the retreats, program criteria, etc., are all explained on page 1 of the Application Form.

Applications for the LEADERSHIP TAR Program are invited from all TAR members. Participants will work together at three different retreats in 2009 (April 22-24, June 10-11, and August 12-13) to build their leadership skills and self-awareness, build a network with their peers, and learn more about the challenges facing the REALTOR organization and our industry. For more information, download the Application Form.

The APPLICATION DEADLINE for the 2009 Class is DECEMBER 1, 2008! To download an Application Form, in either Word  or PDF format, go to The NEWSROOM section of the TAR Website at:

4. HOT LINE: Who Chooses Title Company?

QUESTION: I have presented two (2) offers to purchase on a piece of property. One was countered, so I made a new offer. I put in each offer the buyer has chosen XX Title Co., and seller can use this title company or whatever title company they choose. The seller’s agent is insisting that the buyer use the title company of seller’s choosing. What can we do about this, as I am having to back down and my buyers are suffering?

ANSWER: Under RESPA, if the buyer is purchasing the title insurance, then the seller cannot dictate which title company must be used.  However, if the seller is paying for the title insurance, then it is up for negotiation. If the parties cannot agree, then you could have a split closing, each at the title company of their own choosing.

If the seller’s agent is insisting that the seller dictate the title company and the buyer is paying for the policy, then you could report them to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for a RESPA complaint.

For more information about RESPA, look HERE.

You can also file a complaint with the local board (if you feel that the agent is violating the NAR Code of Ethics) or with TREC (if you feel that the agent is violating the Broker’s Act or TREC Rules).

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

5. HOT LINE: Whose Responsibility?

QUESTION: Is it my responsibility as agent for the seller to ask a customer whether or not they are working with another agent when they are viewing a home?

ANSWER: When encountering a customer, an agent should ALWAYS ask if they are working with another agent. If there is already an agency agreement in place with another agent, then you could be charged with interference with a contract if you try to “squeeze out” the agent with the contract. However, if there is not an agency agreement in place, then you really have not done anything illegal. We would STILL recommend that if the customer tells you he is working (or has been working) with another agent, that you contact that agent. This protects not only the customer, but also the agent.

In addition, see Standard of Practice 16-9:

“REALTORS, prior to entering into a representation agreement, have an affirmative obligation to make reasonable efforts to determine whether the prospect is subject to a current, valid exclusive agreement to provide the same type of real estate service. (Amended 1/04)”

…and Standard of Practice 16-13:

“All dealings concerning property exclusively listed, or with buyer/tenants who are subject to an exclusive agreement shall be carried on with the client’s representative or broker, and not with the client, except with the consent of the client’s representative or broker or except where such dealings are initiated by the client.

“Before providing substantive services (such as writing a purchase offer or presenting a CMA) to prospects, REALTORS shall ask prospects whether they are a party to any exclusive representation agreement. REALTORS shall not knowingly provide substantive services concerning a prospective transaction to prospects who are parties to exclusive representation agreements, except with the consent of the prospects’ exclusive representatives or at the direction of prospects. (Adopted 1/93, Amended 1/04)”

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

6. Senator Corker Explains His Vote

Last week U. S. Senator Bob Corker invited the TAR Governmental Affairs Committee to join him on a conference call to discuss the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act that passed last week. With his seat on the Senate Banking Committee, Senator Corker was front and center during the debate over the legislation.

Senator Corker said it was a tough decision to vote in favor of the bill but necessary to “avoid an economic calamity that would affect every Tennessean’s and every American’s ability to get a car loan, a home loan, a student loan, use a credit card or even cash a paycheck.”  A strong emphasis was made that his backing of the measure was NOT about Wall Street or fluctuations in the stock market, but instead, Sen. Corker’s support was about unfreezing credit markets and getting the nation’s economy back on track.

To learn more about the economic relief legislation passed by Congress and how it will impact the housing market go to NAR’s website.

TAR greatly appreciated Senator Corker asking for an audience with Tennessee REALTORS. TAR Governmental Affairs Chair Christie Wilson, TAR President Mike Gaughan and Senator Corker’s Federal Political Coordinator George Kangles all served as co-hosts for the call.

7. Rates Barely Move

Freddie Mac reports a small rise in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to 6.10 percent during the week ended Oct. 2 from 6.09 percent the prior week. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate nudged up to 5.78 percent from 5.77 percent. However, the five-year adjustable mortgage rate slipped to 6.00 percent from 6.02 percent; and the one-year ARM dropped to 5.12 percent from 5.16 percent. The report shows that the 30- and 15-year mortgage rates are down substantially from the same time in 2007, when they averaged 6.37 percent and 6.03 percent, respectively.

[SOURCE: Freddie Mac]


Oct. 9: Surround Sound Training by NAR (TAR Office, Nashville)

Oct. 9-10: GRI 5 – Systems for Success (Memphis)

Oct. 16: Commercial Forms Committee Meeting (TAR Office, Nashville)

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

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