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

1. Lower for Thee, But Not For Me
2. Many Homeowners are “Underwater”
3. HOT LINE: Spousal Ownership of the Listed Property?
4. Designations Pay!
4. WORKING SMARTER: Better Pictures With Your Phone
5. Rates Are Still Bouncing Around

1. Lower for Thee, But Not For Me

A significant number of consumers feel that, while the market values of OTHER peoples’ homes have probably dropped, theirs haven’t.

Months of government bailouts and stock market volatility brought Americans’ perception of the values of their own homes closer to reality than it was last quarter, but surprisingly half of U.S. homeowners still believe their home is insulated from the nation’s home value declines, according to the Zillow Q3 Homeowner Confidence Survey.

This quarter, 49 percent of homeowners said they think their own home’s value has increased or stayed the same over the past year. However, nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of homes have lost value in the past 12 months, according to preliminary analysis of Zillow’s Q3 Real Estate Market Reports, which will be released Nov. 12.
*** END QUOTE ***

And Zillow’s survey was conducted from Oct. 7 through Oct. 9, during the worst week in stock market history.

[SOURCE: REAL Trends, Inc. newsletter]

2. Many Homeowners are “Underwater”

According to a report by First American CoreLogic, at least 7.5 million American homeowners are “underwater borrowers,” meaning they owe more on their mortgages than their homes are currently worth.

This is called negative equity, and the report shows an additional 2.1 million people are on the brink of falling into it. Their homes are worth less than 5 percent more than the mortgages they’re paying on them.

The report’s 7.5 million estimate is a conservative number. Some organizations, including Moody’s, estimate that as many as 12 million borrowers may be underwater.

…Nevada is home to the highest number of underwater borrowers, with 48 percent of homeowners having negative equity. Michigan follows with 39 percent.

New York is faring best at 4.4 percent.
*** END QUOTE ***

[SOURCES: Real Estate Research Center;]

3. HOT LINE: Spousal Ownership of the Listed Property?

QUESTION: In our MLS, we have an agent that may or may not need to disclose the fact that her husband owns said property. Should she have to disclose this?

ANSWER: This situation often arises with builders whose spouses work as agents. If the husband owns the property in his name (or holds partial ownership in the property), then for all practical purposes the agent owns it as well, due to family law in Tennessee. She will need to indicate on the yard sign that the home is an owner/agent and she will also probably need to put this in the comments section of the MLS as well. We would even suggest indicating that the owner is the spouse of the agent.

Also, the agent will need to make the personal interest disclosures which must be done as quickly as possible but always prior to accepting any offer. We recommend making these disclosures when the TN Residential Property Condition Disclosure Form is provided.

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

4. Designations Pay!

November is known as REALTOR DESIGNATION AWARENESS MONTH. Earning a designation from NAR or one of its affiliated Institutes, Societies and Councils CAN help you succeed in all aspects of your business and help you earn more money. REALTORS who pursue professional designations have a distinct competitive edge as a result of their increased expertise and marketability.

Based on 2008 survey data, the median income of REALTORS without a designation was $33,200 and the median income of those with at least one designation was $67,900! The difference between the two is $34,700.  There is an official NAR designation for practically every specialty area in the real estate industry!

NOTE: In the schedule of upcoming Events & Courses (below), you may notice that we’ve added an E-Class GRI 2 Course to our 2008 schedule, beginning November 13!

5. WORKING SMARTER: Better Pictures With Your Phone

This past week, RISMedia ran an article online (“10 Tips for Taking Better Camera Phone Pictures”) with several good pointers on improving your photography skills with that little camera that almost everyone carries with them today — their cell phone!

To read the article, go HERE.


6. Rates Are Still Bouncing Around

After jumping up two weeks ago, and then dropping almost as much the next week, national average rates rose again this past week.

Freddie Mac reports a jump in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to 6.46 percent during the week ended Oct. 30 from 6.04 percent the prior week, as long-term mortgages rates moved in line with long-term Treasury bonds. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate rose as well, climbing to 6.19 percent from 5.72 percent. Meanwhile, the five-year hybrid adjustable mortgage rate moved up to 6.36 percent from 6.06 percent; and the one-year ARM increased to 5.38 percent from 5.23 percent.

Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft expects short-term rates to remain low due to the Federal Reserve’s recent cut in the discount and federal-funds rates, and he notes that falling home prices have jump-started residential sales in some markets by making properties more affordable.

[SOURCES: Information, Inc.; Freddie Mac]


Nov. 4: VOTE!

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

Nov. 13 – Dec. 17: E-Class GRI 2 – Smart Marketing

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)

Nov. 20: TREEF Trustees Meeting (TAR Office)

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