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

1. Short Sale Scams
2. “Impressing” Your Sphere of Influence
3. TAR Governmental Affairs Survey – PLEASE RESPOND!
4. HOT LINE: Lender Dictating Who Closes?
5. HOT LINE: Being Truthful About Who You Are
6. Upcoming Courses & Events!
7. Rates Go Higher Again

1. Short Sale Scams

This spring, FBI Deputy Director John Pistole gave some enlightening testimony before Congress. In a wide-ranging presentation, he noted: “The FBI has experienced and continues to experience an exponential rise in mortgage fraud investigations. The number of open FBI mortgage fraud investigations has risen from 881 in FY 2006 to more than 2,000 [in 2009].”

In his testimony (that you can read HERE in its entirety), Deputy Director Pistole commented on a variety of fraudulent scams and schemes that have sadly become even more common in the midst of the nation’s financial troubles.

There are a growing number of companies and individuals more than willing to profit from others’ misfortunes, not always ethically or legally! Some of the scams involve short sales and attempts to “help” consumers through the short sale process.

REALTORS should, at the very least, become more familiar with some of the legal and ethical pitfalls that surround the short sale process. NAR’s REALTOR Magazine Online has published several articles to help members become better-informed on this topic. Here are two worth reading …and even discussing at your next sales meeting:

Short Sales: The New Wild West

Short Sales: 7 Legal Pitfalls


2. “Impressing” Your Sphere of Influence

Last week, REALTY TIMES columnist Jennifer Allan wrote “Touching’ Your Sphere of Influence versus ‘Impressing’ them. It’s one of those articles with a simple but profound lesson that more REALTORS should take to heart, if they want to see their businesses grow …especially in the current market!

Jennifer explains the difference between “touching” folks and “impressing” them:

…by impress, I mean that the person you just interacted with walks away from the interaction feeling just a little bit (or a whole lot) better than he did before.

Obviously, he’s not saying to himself “Thank GOD I got away – I thought she’d never shut up.” Or “That’s the last time I answer the phone when HE calls” or “What a flake.” The cool thing about impressing someone is that the positive impression you make on them will stick around a lot longer than the impression you make with a farming postcard, drip email or quarterly newsletter.
*** END QUOTE ***

To read the entire article, go HERE.

[SOURCE: Realty Times]

3. TAR Governmental Affairs Survey – PLEASE RESPOND!

The staff and volunteers who work with the Governmental Affairs programs of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS (TAR) work hard to represent and promote your interests. We’ve posted a simple, SIX-QUESTION survey to help us deliver those services more effectively. PLEASE take just a couple of minutes to give us your opinions. And thank you in advance for your help!

To take the TAR Governmental Affairs Survey, just go HERE.

4. HOT LINE: Lender Dictating Who Closes?

QUESTION: I have a buyer whose lending company is dictating who the closing company is. They only gave her one choice for a closing company. Is this a RESPA violation?

ANSWER: A lender can dictate who will represent their interests and close their portion of a loan. However, the buyers can hire their own attorney to represent their interests if they wish. In addition, the lender cannot dictate who will close the seller’s portion of the transaction.

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

5. HOT LINE: Being Truthful About Who You Are

QUESTION: A property is on a 30-day lease. A REALTOR tells the occupants that he is an insurance representative and needs to take pictures, but his intent is to put the pictures on the MLS. Is this legal/ethical?

ANSWER: NO. The taking of the photographs may be permissible – that depends upon the terms of the lease. However, the real estate agent CANNOT misrepresent to the tenants that he is a representative from the insurance company. Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-312(b)(1), a real estate agent can be disciplined for “Making any substantial or willful misrepresentation.” In addition, if the agent is a REALTOR, he has violated Article 12 of the NAR Code of Ethics which states:

REALTORS shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations. REALTORS shall ensure that their status as real estate professionals is readily apparent in their advertising, marketing, and other representations, and that the recipients of all real estate communications are, or have been, notified that those communications are from a real estate professional.

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

6. Upcoming TAR Courses & Events!

July 27: TAR Forms 101 (Nashville, TAR Office), 4 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

July 27: TransactionDesk Basic Course (Nashville, TAR Office), 3 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

A Special Event for Educators & Instructors: On July 28-29, TREEF will host its Educators Conference 2009, an annual event with sessions and workshops for instructors and association staff. For more information, go 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, accredited for 16 hours of CE. For more information, go HERE.

TAR’s 2009 Annual Convention! From September 15th – 19th, TAR will be hosting the 2009 TAR Annual Convention in Point Clear, Alabama, at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club, & Spa. National speakers include real estate guru Stefan Swanepoel, Karel Murray, Internet-savvy Randy Eagar, and productivity wizard Merlin Mann! For more information about the Convention program or our hotel in Point Clear, go HERERegister soon!

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

7. Rates Go Higher Again

Higher interest rates put the brakes on mortgage refinancing last week, according to Freddie Mac. The firm’s weekly survey pegged interest on 30-year fixed mortgages at an average of 5.59 percent — up from 5.29 percent last week and the highest rate since November 2008. Interest climbed to 5.06 percent from 4.79 percent for 15-year fixed loans; to 5.17 percent from 4.85 percent for five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages; and to 5.04 percent from 4.81 percent for one-year ARMs. Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft said the gains are not yet affecting home purchase loans.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]


In July of 2009, we will be changing email distribution of the TAR DIGEST!

Our first issue in July will be the 7-14-09 issue, and — starting with that issue — the TAR DIGEST will be emailed to ALL TAR members who have a valid email address in their NRDS records (that the local associations of REALTORS maintain). To continue receiving the DIGEST in July and beyond, please ensure that your local association of REALTORS has your current and correct email address.

For non-members (e.g., office managers) who have been receiving the TAR DIGEST, there will be a mechanism set up by then so that you may continue to receive it.

The TAR DIGEST will still be posted on the website, for easy searchable access to past editions, and a printer-friendly current edition.

TAR’s Home Page:

TO SUBSCRIBE to the TAR DIGEST: Simply go to the TAR DIGEST website at 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!