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

1. FHA Makes Welcome Announcement
2. TAR News!
3. The 2009 NAR Member Profile
4. FRAUD ALERT RE: Craigslist!
5. HOT LINE: A Stolen Client?
6. The Recession & TAR’s Dues
7. Upcoming Courses & Events!
8. Rates Stay Under 5

1. FHA Makes Welcome Announcement

At last week’s NAR Mid-Year Conference in Washington, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, said that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is going to permit its lenders to allow home buyers to “monetize” the $8000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers, to be used as a down payment. In his remarks to REALTORS, Secretary Donovan indicated that details of this plan will be released shortly.

[SOURCES: NAR et al.]

2. TAR News!

Committee Request Forms Are Online: In the Members Only section of the TAR website, there is a new page titled “Officer & Committee Forms” – see the link in the left-hand menu – with the Request Form that you can use to request appointment to a 2010 TAR Committee, as well as nomination forms for TAR Officer positions and TREEF Trustee positions.

A Special Event for Educators & Instructors: On July 28-29, TREEF will host its Educators Conference 2009, an annual with sessions and workshops for instructors, education volunteers, and association staff. For more information, go HERE. You can also download a brochure in PDF form by clicking HERE.

Instructor-Training: On August 27-28. we will hold another offering of our popular two-day instructor-training workshop, “The Learning-Centered Instructor”, at the TAR Office in Nashville. For more information, go HERE.

FIVE NAR Designation Courses Are Online: The ABR and ABRM course, as well as a CIPS course and two others, are now available online through REALTOR University and are CE-accredited in Tennessee! For more information, or to enroll, go to the TAR Education Information page of the TAR website at and scroll down to “REALTOR University Online Courses.”


3. The 2009 NAR Member Profile

The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) has published its 2009 NAR Member Profile. As part of its “Right Tools, Right Now” campaign, this 84-page report is available to all NAR members for FREE, as a PDF download! You still have to go through the online REALTOR Store process, as though you were purchasing it, but it really is FREE.

A few highlights:

  • Median gross income of REALTORS fell 14 percent to $36,700 in 2008, a rate consistent with the decline in prices and transaction volume over the past year.
  • The profile of the typical REALTOR has changed only slightly in the past year. The median age of REALTORS rose to 54 from 52, however, reflecting the difficultly many younger, less experienced entrants face when working to earn sufficient income to remain in the real estate business.
  • REALTORS continue to embrace new technology, the latest being social networking; 35 percent indicated that they used one or more social networking web sites on a regular basis.
  • The typical REALTOR has 10 years experience.

To read more, get the Report at REALTOR.ORG, or see NAR’s press release summary of the Report HERE.

4. FRAUD ALERT RE: Craigslist!

Within the past seven days, we’ve received notices of two different, but similar, instances of attempted fraud using Tennessee listings and Craigslist. There is a very good chance these two cases are not isolated incidents!

In both cases that came to our attention (one from Hendersonville and one from Clarksville), properties that had been listed by Tennessee REALTORS showed up – without the listing agent’s knowledge – as rental properties on Craigslist, with an email address to contact for information …although the email address is a fake Yahoo or Gmail address using the actual listing agent’s name as part of the address! The party behind the scam poses, via email, as the listing agent and attempts to collect the first month’s rent and a deposit by email or overnight delivery.

Both Craigslist and (in one of these cases) the FBI have been notified of the scam. In the meantime, it would probably be wise for each firm to scan the rental property listings on Craigslist for their area, just to ensure that none of your listings are being misrepresented.

5. HOT LINE: A Stolen Client?

QUESTION: On or about the first of April 2009, Agent X in my office began working with a potential home buyer. This “buyer customer” signed a Buyers Representation Agreement (exclusive right to buy). This buyer client then made an offer on a home and subsequent to two counteroffers contracted on said home. A short time later, we were notified by the bank there was an issue with the appraisal, and the transaction fell through. Agent X continued to search for properties for this buyer-client, but no properties were found in her price range. Daily contact with the buyer client was and has been maintained.

Recently, while still under contract as a client, the prospective buyer notified Agent X that she had been approached by a friend of hers about buying her home which was listed on the MLS by her mother, a licensed principal broker. Buyer client told her friend that the property was priced out of her range. The listing broker (owner’s mother) contacted our buyer client directly and told her if the home was purchased using her she could cut the commission to make the deal work. The buyer client has told me she advised the listing agent she had been working with an agent (Agent X) but was told again she could cut the commission if the listing broker wrote the offer to purchase. The buyer client told me she did sign a contract to purchase along with a personal interest disclosure stating the listing agent was related to the seller.

ANSWER: If the listing agent knew that the buyer was subject to an agency agreement, then there is definitely a problem! A licensee can be disciplined for “Inducing any party to a contract, sale or lease to break such contract for the purpose of substitution in lieu thereof a new contract, where such substitution is malicious or is motivated by the personal gain of the licensee.” Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-312(b)(10). You can file a complaint with TREC against this broker for convincing the buyer to work directly with her rather than through the agent with whom the buyer had an agency relationship.

In our opinion, it may also violate the NAR Code of Ethics. If the listing agent is a REALTOR, you could file a complaint with the local association for interference with a contract pursuant to Article 16 of the NAR Code of Ethics which states “REALTORS shall not engage in any practice or take any action inconsistent with exclusive representation agreements that other REALTORS have with clients.”

In addition, you could also potentially have a civil lawsuit if the agent received a fee for this transaction based upon her working with the buyer. We would recommend that you speak with an attorney in your area to determine whether you have a strong interference with a contract case.

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

6. The Recession & TAR’s Dues

The recession has taken a painful toll on all of TAR’s members, member firms, and our local and state associations. In response, TAR has reduced its budget significantly in a number of areas. Also, in March, the TAR Board of Directors approved a $20 dues assessment for 2010 to ensure that basic services are continued. This action generated a number of questions regarding TAR’s dues structure, the reasoning behind this assessment, and the earmarked increase for Issues Mobilization that was approved a year earlier.

TAR’s 2009 President Fontaine Taylor has addressed all of those questions in a letter to members explaining the assessment and related issues. That letter may now be read and/or downloaded (it’s in PDF format) at the NEWSROOM section of the TAR website:

7. Upcoming TAR Courses & Events!

May 21-22: GRI 3 – Financing the Successful Transaction (Memphis), 16 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.

June 11: TAR Forms 101 (Nashville, TAR Office), 4 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

June 11: TransactionDesk Basic Course (Nashville, TAR Office), 3 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

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

8. Rates Stay Under 5

Freddie Mac reports a slight rise in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to 4.86 percent during the week ended May 14 from 4.84 percent the previous week, and the 15-year fixed mortgage rate climbed to 4.52 percent from 4.51 percent. Meanwhile, the five-year adjustable mortgage rate slipped to 4.82 percent from 4.9 percent; and the one-year ARM fell to 4.71 percent from 4.78 percent.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]

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