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

1. Fannie, Freddie Foreclosures Suspended
2. HOT LINE: Failure to Update Listing Status?
3. HOT LINE: A Non-Refundable Deposit?
4. New Data on Home Buyers and Sellers!
5. WORKING SMARTER: Finding Good Graphics
6. Rates Continue To Drop

1. Fannie, Freddie Foreclosures Suspended

Christmas comes early for some homeowners!

As December approaches, the saying “home for the holidays” may hold more meaning to those facing foreclosure right now, and that spirit, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced a suspension on foreclosures and evictions through January of 2009.

The two mortgage giants have issued a notice to its loan servicing organizations and retained foreclosure attorneys directing them to suspend foreclosure sales on occupied single-family properties as well as the completion of evictions from occupied single-family properties scheduled to occur from November 26, 2008 until January 9, 2009. The effort was made to support the streamlined modification program that was announced on Nov. 11.

The suspension will help servicers implement the Streamlined Modification Program recently announced by Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), HOPE Now and 27 mortgage servicers, scheduled to launch December 15. The temporary suspension is also expected to give servicers more time to help borrowers avoid foreclosure.
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For the complete story, go HERE.


2. HOT LINE: Failure to Update Listing Status?

QUESTION: I have a question regarding the listing status of an active listing. A lot of REALTORS are not changing the status on their listings if they have a contract in place with a “sale of home” contingency but are only mentioning the contract in the REALTOR Remarks section. My question is this: If a REALTOR has a contract on a home with a “sale of home” contingency, are they obligated to change the status of the home on the MLS from “Active” to “Active with contract”? Or, are they in their rights to leave the status active and only mention the contract in REALTOR Remarks? I know that at times when a house is placed with an active contingency it does slow down showings on that property. I feel that is why agents hesitate to change the status in this market since “sale of home” can delay completion of a transaction, but it is very confusing for other REALTORS if they don’t take the time to read REALTOR Remarks.

ANSWER: You ARE required to change the status of the property once it goes under contract. This would be “contract with contingencies”, “active with contract”, etc. — it varies depending upon your MLS. To do otherwise would be misrepresentation. Furthermore, Standard of Practice 3-6 states “REALTORS shall disclose the existence of accepted offers, including offers with unresolved contingencies, to any broker seeking cooperation.”

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

3. HOT LINE: A Non-Refundable Deposit?

QUESTION: One of my agents has a seller who wants a $1000 non refundable deposit on a contract he is extending. The agent has written it up as follows on an amendment: “Buyer to release to the seller $1000 non-refundable deposit which will count toward the purchase price at closing. Listing broker to receive the check from the buyer and then write a check to the seller upon the clearing of the check from the buyer.” Is this legal and can we handle it this way?

ANSWER: It IS permissible to have non-refundable deposits that will be held by the seller. The manner in which this was written appears to be fine.

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

4. New Data on Home Buyers and Sellers!

Earlier this month, the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) released the results of their annual consumer survey: the 2008 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers!

Among the findings:

  • Sixty-one percent of home buyers are married couples. Single women account for the next largest share of buyers – 20 percent.
  • First-time home buyers accounted for a larger market share of home purchases compared to the past FIVE surveys. The share of first-time buyers rose to 41 percent from 39 percent of transactions in last year’s survey and 36 percent in 2006.
  • The “typical” first-time home buyer was 30 years old — slightly younger than the typical age reported in 2007. The median income of first-time buyers was $60,600.
  • While married couple households account for 49 percent of all first-time buyers, single females represent a quarter of first-time purchasers.
  • The typical first-time buyer purchased a home costing $165,000 and plans to stay in that home for 10 years, up from seven years in 2007.
  • The typical repeat buyer was 47 years old, earned $88,200, purchased a home costing $236,000 and plans to stay in that home for 10 years.
  • 87 percent of buyers used the Internet in their home search, while 85 percent used a real estate agent. Home searchers also relied on yard signs (62 percent), open houses (48 percent) and print or newspaper ads (47 percent).
  • Slightly more than one third of buyers cited their real estate agent as the source of information on the home they ultimately purchased. Thirty-two percent cited the Internet. Indeed, buyers most commonly start their search process online and then contact a real estate agent!
  • More than 80 percent of home buyers purchased their property through a real estate professional. One in ten buyers purchased their homes directly through a builder or builder’s agent.
  • Because agents often are chosen based on a referral, or were used in a previous transaction, two-thirds of buyers contacted only one real estate agent in the search process. Nearly three out of ten buyers cited honesty and trustworthiness as the most important factor in choosing an agent. More than two out of ten said that the reputation of an agent was an important factor. One or the other of these two factors was considered most important for half of home buyers.

To read a complete summary of the new Profile, go HERE.


5. WORKING SMARTER: Finding Good Graphics

Whether you are “dressing up” a new flyer or a listing presentation or a course you’re teaching or a speech you’re giving, good quality graphics (photos, illustrations, high-quality clip art, etc.) are a MUST!

But where to find them?

There is a wonderful online directory of graphics resources — many of which are free! — at the Internet home of your very own educational foundation, TREEF (the Tennessee Real Estate Educational Foundation)! just go to:
…and click on “Resources”.

There is a section on “Finding Graphics” — with LOTS of links — as well as other things you might find useful. Although the site was started for instructors, there is no reason everyone can’t use it! It was created as a service for the industry.

6. Rates Continue To Drop

Freddie Mac reports a drop in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to 6.04 percent during the week ended Nov. 20 from 6.14 percent the prior week. During the same period, interest on 15-year fixed loans slipped to 5.73 percent from 5.81 percent. Five-year and one-year ARMs declined as well, down to 5.87 percent from 5.98 percent and to 5.29 percent from 5.33 percent, respectively.

“Long- and short-term mortgage rates fell for the third consecutive week amid continuing signs of a slowing economy,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.

[SOURCES: Information, Inc.; Freddie Mac]


Dec. 1: DEADLINE for Applications for the 2009 Class of leadership TAR

Dec. 3: 2009-2010 Core CE Course Instructor-Training (TAR Office)

Dec. 9: 2009 TAR Executive Committee Planning Session & Meeting (TAR Office)

Dec. 10: Leadership Session for Local Association Presidents & Presidents-elect for 2009 (TAR Office)

Dec. 11: Governmental Affairs Training Session (TAR Office)

To register for any GRI courses (E-Class or Classroom) or Instructor-Training offerings, or for more information about any of them, go HERE.

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