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


CONTENTS
1. Low Rates To Continue…
2. TAR Spring Conference Reminder
3. The Chinese Drywall Issue
4. HOT LINE: A Question of Confidentiality?
5. HOT LINE: Conflict of Interests?
6. HOW TO USE the TAR HOT LINE
7. Upcoming Events & Courses
8. Rates Rise Slightly
9. No DIGEST Next Week


1. Low Rates To Continue…

…at least according to the Washington Post and the Mortgage Bankers Association. Although there have been, and will continue to be, variations from week to week, experts predict rates will remain low for a while, but won’t go very much lower.

A boost in refinancing demand usually pushes interest rates up and puts a damper on refi activity, but experts say borrowers have no need to worry about rising costs as they rush to take advantage of the U.S. government’s new no-equity refinance program. Mortgage Bankers Association economic forecaster Orawin Velz explains that the Federal Reserve plans to purchase $500 billion in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage bonds to hold interest rates at about 5 percent by maintaining demand for the securities. Experts say borrowers should not wait in hopes that rates will fall as low as 4 percent, as this scenario is unlikely.

[SOURCES: Washington Post; Information, Inc.]


2. TAR Spring Conference Reminder

To keep our TAR Conference registration fees as low as possible and save trees in the process, education session handouts will NOT be provided on-site next week for those attending, BUT you can download outlines for any session(s) in advance!

Simply go to: http://taredsessions.wikispaces.com

…and you can download (in PDF format) ANY or ALL of the speakers’ handouts for education sessions next week! [A couple of the handouts are large files, so make sure they are fully downloaded before you try to open them.]

Again, printed handouts will NOT be distributed at the Conference.


3. The Chinese Drywall Issue

The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) has posted a new informational bulletin about Chinese drywall:

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
Chinese-manufactured drywall has caused problems in approximately 25 states nationwide. The drywall could potentially cause an electrical fire in homes and is alleged to cause certain respiratory health problems. However, the Florida Department of Health and other private laboratories and have yet to conclude that the Chinese drywall is the source of such health problems.

Lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers of Chinese drywall. It is possible that unhappy buyers of homes containing the drywall may add home sellers to that list of defendants. All of this has real estate agents and brokers wondering: How does one know whether a home was made with Chinese drywall, and how can real estate practitioners assist clients in avoiding future litigation regarding Chinese drywall?
*** END QUOTE ***

To read the entire bulletin, go HERE.

[SOURCE: NAR]


4. HOT LINE: A Question of Confidentiality?

QUESTION: I have submitted an appraisal to a lender. The lender has requested a copy of a listing that is pending. They want the list price and the pending price. The brokers in this area will not give me the information because they don’t think it is ethical. Is it unethical and/or illegal for an agent to divulge this information?

ANSWER: The terms of a contract are confidential information. The agent can only disclose that information if he has the permission of his client.

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


5. HOT LINE: Conflict of Interests?

QUESTION: I have a contract on a FSBO where I am the designated agent for the buyers. The buyers have not been able to obtain preapproval for their scheduled closing which will occur in a few weeks. The sellers would like me to list their home, and let the current buyers keep their contract with the sellers’ right to continue to market the property. Is it possible for me to list their home as long as I put in writing that I cannot represent them on the contract with my buyers should my buyers obtain their financing? Or, should I let one of my agents be the designated listing agent until my buyers are released from their contract?

ANSWER: We would NOT recommend that you work as an agent for this seller until the contract with your buyers falls through. The buyers have until closing to come up with the financing on the property. If your company lists the property at all, then you should have another agent be the designated agent for the sellers. Otherwise, you have a conflict of interest. In addition, the sellers must understand that you will have to label the property as pending in the MLS since there is a contract on it. We would also recommend that you advise the buyers that this is occurring.

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


6. HOW TO USE the TAR HOT LINE

The TAR Legal & Ethics Hot Line service is designed to answer members’ real estate related legal questions, as well as questions concerning the REALTOR Code of Ethics. It is designed for members to have direct toll-free access to a qualified attorney and intended to provide legal preventative maintenance to all TAR members.

Hours of Operation: M-F, 9:00AM – 5:00PM CST
Local to Nashville: 244-3344
Not Local: 800-899-5297
E-mail:

TAR members can ALSO use the “HELP DESK” for communicating with both the Legal & Ethics Hot Line Staff and TAR Staff. [Login under the “Member Services” navigation link on the TAR website at http://tnrealtors.com]

To email a legal or ethics question to TAR’s Hot Line, you must include your full name, firm name, broker’s name, and local association name and then send your question to:

IMPORTANT: Put “Hot Line Question” in the Subject line of your email! And do NOT email attachments with any Hot Line questions. Any attachments may cause your email to be deleted without being read.

Please note that your Managing Broker will always be copied on the response to any help request forwarded to the TAR Legal & Ethics Hotline. In addition, any inquiry handled by the TAR Legal & Ethics Hot Line does not result in attorney-client relationship.


7. Upcoming Events & Courses

March 16-17: TAR Spring Business Meetings – the Cool Springs Marriott & Convention Center, just south of Nashville.

March 18: REALTORS Day on the Hill – when REALTORS visit their legislators. Contact the TAR Governmental Affairs Department for more information.

March 18-19: TAR EDUCATION CONFERENCE & TRADE SHOW – the Cool Springs Marriott & Convention Center, just south of Nashville.

March 26: E-Class GRI 4 – From Offer to Contract to Closing (a 5-week distance-learning course) begins – 16 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

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


8. Rates Rise Slightly

Freddie Mac reports that interest on 30-year, fixed home loans rose to an average of 5.15 percent this past week, up from 5.07 percent a week earlier. Mortgage rates increased along with the increase in bond yields following reports of a decline in economic growth in the fourth quarter and rising jobless claims, according to Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft. He also cites the slowing housing market as a factor.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]


9. No DIGEST Next Week

The TAR staff will be on-site next week at the TAR Spring Business Meetings, Education Conference, and Trade Show! The TAR DIGEST will not be published next week, but we’ll return with the March 24 edition!


TAR’s Home Page: http://tnrealtors.com

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