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

1. Gains in Pending Sales
2. Download Profile of Buyers & Sellers for FREE!
3. HOT LINE: Repairs & Counter-Offers?
4. HOT LINE: Disclose Owner/Agent If Retired?
5. Free Webinar on First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit
6. Upcoming Courses & Events!
7. A Small Drop in Rates

1. Gains in Pending Sales

From NAR’s Research Division this past week:

Pending home sales have edged up, hinting at a possible pickup of sales activity in coming months, according to the National Association of REALTORS. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in February, rose 2.1 percent to 82.1 from a reading of 80.4 in January, but is 1.4 percent below February 2008 when it was 83.3.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market is continuing to underperform. “Pending home sales have a way to go for there to be a meaningful increase, but recent increases in shopping activity are hopeful indicators that we’ll see additional sales gains,” he said. “More buyers are getting into the market to take advantage of stimulus incentives and much improved housing affordability conditions, but it will take a few months before we could see this turn up in measurable sales contract activity.”
*** END QUOTE ***


2. Download Profile of Buyers & Sellers for FREE!

As part of its Right Tools, Right Now services to members, the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) is making available the 2008 Profile of Buyers and Sellers available to NAR members for FREE!

As you make plans for your business in the year ahead, this report answers many, many questions including:

  • Who are today’s home buyers and sellers?
  • Do they use the services of a real estate professional?
  • What role does the Internet play?

In the past, this report has only been available in print, at a cost of $125 …but NAR is now offering it to you as a PDF download for free! [You can still order a printed copy, if you want one, for $25.] On REALTOR.ORG, you can obtain this Report HERE.


3. HOT LINE: Repairs & Counter-Offers?

QUESTION: With regard to the repair counter-proposal from seller to buyer, there is no way the buyer can counter back, only to accept or reject. Can we not add a block to the form for whether it is a counter from either the buyer or seller, like the one on an amendment?

ANSWER: The TAR Forms Committee changed this portion of the form because in years past, the seller was “stuck” on a merry-go-round of counters under the old contract. The buyer had the ability to terminate the agreement, but the seller did not. Therefore, many sellers were forced into keeping their house under contract for weeks while the parties argued over the cost of repairs. Under the new contract, a seller can respond with a repair counter offer form.

Given the changes to the 2009 TAR form, if you have a lengthy list of repairs that have been submitted to your seller, we would recommend verbally discussing this with the buyer’s agent to try and come to an agreement concerning repairs before countering. This is because the seller has only one opportunity to counter. The buyer can then either accept or reject the seller’s counter. If the buyer rejects, then the contract is terminated and a new offer must be presented. By working things out verbally, you can prevent having to make a new offer.

You should not simply add a block to the counter repair form. This will not solve the problem as it does not change the language contained in the contract which only permits one counter repair proposal from the seller and then only allows the buyer to accept or reject.

Another option is to indicate in the special stipulations that the buyer and seller have x number of repair counter offers that they will consider. However, we recommend that you have an attorney help you draft this type of language.

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

4. HOT LINE: Disclose Owner/Agent If Retired?

QUESTION: If a real estate agent has their license in retirement, is a owner/agent disclosure necessary when listing/selling their residence?

ANSWER: Yes, an agent should disclose and advertise that he is an owner/agent even though the license is retired. According to the Tennessee Real Estate Commission (TREC), the Commission is of the opinion that even though the license is retired, it can be brought out of retirement at anytime and therefore the agent should make this disclosure. The agent should let them know that he is a retired agent. we would recommend that this disclosure be made in writing and signed off on by the buyer.

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

5. Free Webinar on First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit

The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) is offering a FREE webinar on Tuesday, April 28, to explain the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit.

This temporary incentive provides up to $8,000 in tax benefits to buyers who haven’t owned a home in the last three years. The tax credit does not have to be repaid.

REALTOR Magazine has invited a tax expert and a real estate professional to share their knowledge with you. The tax expert will talk about what your customers will need to know to get the most out of the credit; the real estate professional will share strategies for reaching out to households who are ready to jump off the fence once they learn about this great incentive.

This one-hour program is scheduled for 3:00PM Eastern time, 2:00PM Central on Tuesday, April 28, 2009. To register go HERE.


6. Upcoming TAR Courses & Events!

April 21: 2009-2010 Core CE Course (TAR Office, Nashville), 4 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

April 22-23: Leadership TAR Retreat #1 – “Authentic Leadership” (Montgomery Bell State Park)

April 23: TAR Residential Forms Committee Meeting (TAR Office, Nashville)

May 6-7: GRI 4 – From Offer to Contract & Closing (Cool Springs), 16 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

May 7: E-Class GRI 6 – Sticky Situations (a 5-week distance-learning course) begins – 16 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

May 12: TAR Forms 101 (TAR Office, Nashville), 4 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

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

7. A Small Drop in Rates

Freddie Mac reports a drop in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to 4.82 percent during the week ended April 16 from 4.87 percent the prior week, while interest on 15-year fixed loans fell to an average of 4.48 percent from 4.54 percent. The five-year hybrid adjustable mortgage rate slipped to 4.88 percent from 4.93 percent, but the one-year ARM rose to 4.91 percent from 4.83 percent.

Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft says, “The housing industry is starting to exhibit some positive signs, albeit scarce and too early to tell how permanent.”

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]

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