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


CONTENTS
1. Is the End in Sight?
2. Relocation Forecast: Down for 2009
3. HOT LINE: Use of SOLD Signs?
4. HOT LINE: Professional Privilege Tax?
5. HOT LINE: Unusual Agent Remarks on Listing?
6. Our Leadership Wants To Hear From YOU
7. Upcoming Courses & Events!
8. Mortgage Rates Drop with Fed Action


1. Is the End in Sight?

We mean, of course, the end of the slump …not the end of the world!

Over this past weekend, former NAR Chief Economist John Tuccillo posted a weblog entry (“Is the End in Sight?”) with a good analysis of several factors in the current economy and housing market. He seems generally hopeful.

One of his conclusions: “Your potential buyers need to know that their window is closing and that when sales begin clearly to rise, prices will soon follow. …In 2005, sellers didn’t want to believe and were left behind. Now, it’s buyers who are in danger of watching the train leave the station.”

To read John’s entire post, go HERE.

[SOURCE: RealBlogging.com]


2. Relocation Forecast: Down for 2009

That’s the conclusion reported last week by Atlas Van Lines. According to their annual Corporate Relocation Survey, companies are cutting their relocation budgets as well as the number of people being relocated, and expect that trend to continue at least through 2009.

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
More than half (52 percent) predict that they will decrease the number of employees they move in 2009, and 48 percent predict relocation budgets will be cut again, as well. These percentages are more than double those seen in the past five years and represent the gloomiest outlook since 1975, when 38 percent of companies predicted lower relocation volumes than the previous year.
*** END QUOTE ***

Also noted: “Fewer employees are willing to accept a relocation. Roughly two-thirds (65 percent) of respondents had employees refuse relocation requests last year, up from 56 percent in 2007.”

To read the entire summary of results, go HERE.

[SOURCE: Atlas Van Lines]


3. HOT LINE: Use of SOLD Signs?

QUESTION: Recently I have had two of my listings sell where the sellers stayed in the properties fifteen and thirty days after closing, respectively. The selling agent had SOLD signs posted while we were at closing. Her buyers have not yet taken possession. She certainly didn’t have written permission from the sellers. Both of my sellers were bothered by the timing. Who controls the posting of signs? Should she wait until her buyers take possession?

ANSWER: Once the property has closed, the buyers are the owners of the property. They would control who is permitted to place a sign in the yard AFTER closing. In the future if you are working with sellers who will remain in possession of the property and do not want a SOLD sign in the yard following closing, then they should make that part of the contract or part of the Seller’s Occupancy Agreement.

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


4. HOT LINE: Professional Privilege Tax?

QUESTION: Does just the principal broker have to pay the Professional Privilege Tax, or does a broker working under a principal broker have to pay as well?

ANSWER: Principal Brokers are required to pay the $400 Professional Privilege Tax, due by June 1 each year. According to Tenn. Code Ann. 67-4-1702(a)(3)(C), “There is levied a tax on the privilege of engaging in the following vocations, professions, businesses, or occupations: …(3) Persons licensed or registered under Title 62 as: …(C) Brokers, as defined in S 62-13-102(4).”

The tax code states that “Notwithstanding any provisions of this part to the contrary, any professional fee levied by this part upon persons licensed as real estate brokers shall be levied only upon such licensees who act as principal brokers pursuant to 62-13-309.” Tenn. Code Ann. 67-4-1708(b). Therefore, only principal brokers are required to pay this Professional Privilege Tax.

It’s important to note that, when this legislation was originally introduced several years ago, this tax would have been levied on ALL real estate licensees!  Thanks to the lobbying efforts of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS, however, all licensees other than principal brokers were exempted from this tax.

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


5. HOT LINE: Unusual Agent Remarks on Listing?

QUESTION: A MLS listing includes the following agent remarks: “Home is up for sale to the Highest Offer Sunday Night at 7:00 03/15/09. Buyer Agent Commission to be paid if buyer agent does the following. 1. Attends Open House with Buyer. 2. Allows their buyer to be contacted directly on Sunday Night for the Offer by Listing Agent. 3. Handle the normal buyer agent duties if buyer contract is accepted. 4. Broker to pay buyer Broker commission paid on final sales price if the buyer Broker has an accepted contract.” Please advise me if this constitutes an auction, and if it is ethical to withhold a commission unless the buyer’s agent meets certain criteria.

ANSWER: This is troubling. Depending upon how this is done, it could likely be in violation of the law concerning auctions. In addition, it could be deemed to be misleading. By using language such as “for sale to the Highest Offer”, it could easily lead one to believe that it was an auction. If it is deemed to be misleading, this would be in violation of the Broker’s Act, TREC Rules and the Code of Ethics.

You are also correct in that there is an additional issue with the restrictions on paying the buyer’s agent’s commission. If the property is listed in the MLS, it is a unilateral, unconditional offer of compensation. You cannot place conditions on this offer of compensation. There is also an issue as to whether these conditions would be interfering with the contract between the buyer and their agent.

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


6. Our Leadership Wants To Hear From YOU

Our 2009 TAR President, Fontaine Taylor and the other members of the 2009 TAR Executive Committee welcome any questions, comments (good and bad), and/or suggestions for improvement in TAR’s services to its members! Our officers invite your input.

To contact any officer of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS — by phone or email — simply use the Member Login on the TAR Website at: http//tnrealtors.com
…and then use the link on the left-side menu to go to “Executive Committee Contacts.”


7. Upcoming TAR Courses & Events!

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.

FREE – May 18-29: Referral Expo 2009 an online educational opportunity featuring several national speakers, to help you build or REbuild your business! To learn more and register, go HERE.

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


8. Mortgage Rates Drop with Fed Action

Freddie Mac reports a decline in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to 4.80 PERCENT during the week ended April 23 from 4.82 percent the prior week, while average interest on 15-year fixed loans held steady at 4.48 percent. Experts attribute the drop in the 30-year rate to the Federal Reserve’s plan to purchase upwards of $750 billion in additional mortgage-backed debt.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]


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

TO SUBSCRIBE to the TAR DIGEST: Simply go to the TAR DIGEST website at www.tardigest.com with your web browser, and look down the left-hand column of that page for “Get News By E-Mail”. Click on that and follow the instructions.

After entering your email address, you will receive an email from the system () with a link that you MUST click on, to activate your subscription.  Thanks!