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

1. Options for Distressed Homeowners
2. ALERT: Registration Discount Continued!
3. HOT LINE: Property Slated for Foreclosure?
4. HOT LINE: My Listing Advertised by Someone Else?
5. Discrimination Doesn’t Pay….
6. WORKING SMARTER: Boosting Personal Productivity
7. Upcoming Events & Courses
8. Rates Drop Again

1. Options for Distressed Homeowners

A new Realty Times article by Ralph Roberts equips you to better explain the options available to distressed homeowners — those who are upside down on their mortgages or approaching rough waters financially.

As a real estate agent, you have a vested interest in the financial success of your clients. When homeowners default on their mortgage loans and lose their properties to foreclosure, you not only lose customers, but you also see lower commissions as property values throughout the neighborhood plummet. By helping homeowners in your area keep their homes, you can do your part to stabilize the housing market in your area while winning loyal customers for life and perhaps even saving a few families in the process. But just what can you do to help?

The first step is to educate homeowners in your area. Most homeowners think they have only two options – pay up or move out. The fact is that more than a dozen options are available.
*** END QUOTE ***

Ralph’s article should help you educate, serve, and KEEP your clients!

To read what he has to say, go HERE.


2. ALERT: Registration Discount Continued!

Good news!

Due to the recession and the strain that it’s putting on everyone, the TAR Spring Conference registration fees were NOT increased after Friday, Feb. 20, as previously announced, and as printed in the conference brochure that was mailed to everyone.

The registration fee will REMAIN at $75 until March 4, the deadline for all registrations! [Remember that there is no on-site registration for the Education Conference & Trade Show.]

Note that the cutoff for the room block and room discount at the hotel was still February 20. That’s a contract date we cannot change.

We hope that this move encourages as many as possible to take advantage of an education program that directly addresses your needs to rebuild business in a slow economy!

To register for the Conference, folks should go to:

3. HOT LINE: Property Slated for Foreclosure?

QUESTION: My firm has a listing and I have someone that wants to look at it. I know that it is slated to be sold on the courthouse steps in a week. The bank said they would consider an offer, but no promises as to acceptance. What, if anything, do I need to disclose to a potential buyer?

ANSWER: YES. Since you are working with the seller, you must disclose the fact that this is scheduled for foreclosure in a week. We would recommend talking to the seller and advising him that you are required to disclose adverse facts about the property. Secondly, we would advise the buyers in writing that the property is due to be sold at foreclosure in a week, but that the bank may be willing to entertain an offer and postpone the sale but would not guarantee acceptance.

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

4. HOT LINE: My Listing Advertised by Someone Else?

QUESTION: Someone else posting my listing on Craigslist as their own.   He actually even pulled my photos off of the MLS and posted them on Craigslist. I assume this is improper; am I correct?

ANSWER: You are correct. The agent is required to have obtained your permission, as the listing agent. In addition, the ad must contain the listing firm’s as well as the advertising company’s information (firm telephone number). It MUST be obvious from the advertisement that this listing is not the advertiser’s. Otherwise, the advertisement will be misleading and in violation of the Broker’s Act and the Code of Ethics. In addition, the firm name and telephone number for both the advertiser and the listing agent is required on the advertisement.

Since this agent used your pictures off the MLS, he may have also violated copyright law. We would recommend requesting that he pull the ad. If he does not do so, we would recommend speaking to an attorney who may be able to assist you.

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

5. Discrimination Doesn’t Pay…

It costs!

A real estate firm and agent in Elmhurst, Ill., have agreed to pay $120,000 to settle allegations that they illegally steered prospective homebuyers toward and away from certain neighborhoods based on race and national origin, the Justice Department announced last week. The consent decree was signed on Feb. 17, 2009.

If your next company sales meeting needs a good example to show why agents need to be VERY careful to observe Fair Housing laws, this case is a good one to highlight.

For a complete description of the complaint and its outcome, see the Department of Justice’s press release HERE.

[SOURCE: US Dept. of Justice]

6. WORKING SMARTER: Boosting Personal Productivity

When business is slower and times are tough, it’s essential that we maximize our personal productivity …WITHOUT ruining our health, physical or mental, in the process!

Email, texting, the Web, social networking, etc., can all be wonderful and useful enhancements to business, but everything must also be managed to keep you in control of your day and NOT controlled by everyone else’s needs.

Tips and tricks to manage your life more effectively – in Web lingo – are called “life hacks”, and they are not hard to find!

Three blogs, in particular, are probably the most popular personal productivity sites on the Internet. All three are worth bookmarking and visiting regularly, for life hacks to keep your sanity in an often nutty world:

Almost every week, at least one of these site will feature SOMETHING ( a website, free application, tip, etc.) that you can use to save time or otherwise make your life a little more manageable. Check them out!

SPECIAL NOTE: The founder and primary contributor to is a fellow named Merlin Mann, an Internet “celebrity” AND our Keynote Speaker at TAR’s upcoming Annual Convention in Point Clear, Alabama, Sept. 16-18!

7. Upcoming Events & Courses

Feb. 24: RESPA Really Matters! (TAR Office, Nashville) – 4 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

Feb. 25-26: GRI 1 – Professionalism in Real Estate (Memphis) – 16 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

Feb. 25-26: GRI 2 – Smart Marketing (Knoxville) – 16 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

March 5-6: GRI 6 – Sticky Situations (Nashville area, Cool Springs) – 16 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

March 5-6: INSTRUCTOR TRAINING WORKSHOP – Our popular 2-day instructor-training program — “The Learning-Centered Instructor” Workshop – 16 hours CE. More information is available HERE.

March 5: E-Class GRI 3 – Financing the Successful Transaction (a 5-week distance-learning course) begins – 16 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

March 18-19: TAR EDUCATION CONFERENCE & TRADE SHOW. [TAR’s Spring Business Meetings will be held at the same location – the Cool Springs Marriott & Convention Center, just south of Nashville — on March 16-17.] Online information & registration is located HERE.

Watch each week’s TAR DIGEST for schedule changes and additions!

8. Rates Drop Again!

Freddie Mac reports a drop in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to 5.04 percent during the week ended Feb. 19 from 5.16 percent the prior week, while the 15-year fixed rate fell to 4.68 percent from 4.81 percent. Meanwhile, interest on five-year hybrid adjustable-rate loans dropped to 5.04 percent from 5.23 percent; and the one-year ARM slipped to 4.80 percent from 4.94 percent. Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft attributes the declines to reports indicating further weakness in the economy.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]

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