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

1. UPDATE: Truth in Lending Changes
2. TREEF and TAR Awarded Major Grant!
3. HOT LINE: What Counts as Square Footage?
4. HOT LINE: Principal Broker as Designated Agent?
5. Upcoming TAR Courses & Events
6. License Plate Update – We’re VERY Close!
7. Rates Ease Up Slightly

To ask a TAR Legal & Ethics Hot Line question, go HERE.

For other questions about this newsletter, please use the “CONTACT” form HERE.

1. UPDATE: Truth in Lending Changes

In addition to the White Paper on regulatory changes (prepared by TAR’s Hot Line attorneys) that we highlighted in last week’s DIGEST, you should read the posting by Ron Phipps, 2009 NAR First Vice President, regarding the new Truth in Lending changes that will apply to any loan applications filed on or after July 30, 2009. To read Ron’s post on REALTOR.ORG, go HERE.

As he notes: “REALTORS will want to learn the basics so we can advise our clients of potential delays and the new procedures. Having this information is part of our effort to re-enforce your position as a primary information source in the sales process.”


2. TREEF and TAR Awarded Major Grant!

This past week, TREEF and TAR were officially awarded a $100,000 grant through NAR’s Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grants Program! This grant funds development and operation of a 3-year program titled “Homeownership Options for Tennessee’s Workforce!”

A primary goal of this program is to develop and deliver a training program for REALTORS across Tennessee, so they are better able to inform and assist lower-income consumers needing help finding an affordable residence in the communities where they work. A secondary goal is to develop an online “information resource center” for consumers and REALTORS, where both can go to find valuable resources available for lower-income homebuyers in Tennessee. A third goal is to implement a public relations campaign to build awareness of the program among REALTORS and to educate consumers on the resources available to them.

We are excited about this new opportunity and the resources that we can now apply to a valuable service for both consumers and REALTORS!

This grant comes in addition to another grant that TREEF received earlier this year, for over $8000, to develop a DVD course for REALTORS on “Reducing Risks in Short Sales and Foreclosures.” We hope to have that project completed by mid-September!

3. HOT LINE: What Counts as Square Footage?

QUESTION: What are the rules with regard to what you can count as square footage? I have a room in a house that has the heating and air unit in it and that is all. Can this area be included in the square footage?

ANSWER: There are several acceptable ways in which people determine square footage, and — if three different people determine square footage in a home — you will likely get three different answers. Nevertheless, if the square footage included in the MLS is incorrect, the REALTOR could be liable for negligent misrepresentation depending upon what he or she did to verify the information obtained and when the discrepancy is discovered (i.e. before contract entered into, after closing).

We recommend that square footage be listed as an “approximate” amount and that a disclaimer be included noting that the amount of square footage is not guaranteed. We also recommend either listing the square footage as what is listed on the tax records or as calculated by an appraiser and indicate the source.

In this situation, the advertisement should contain a disclosure that the square footage includes the room containing the heating and air unit in order to be safe, if you choose to include it in the square footage. The important thing is that the information concerning square footage is disclosed so as to avoid misrepresentation.

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

4. HOT LINE: Principal Broker as Designated Agent?

QUESTION: Can a principal broker be a designated agent on an in-house transaction?

ANSWER: YES. A principal agent can be a designated agent on an in-house transaction. Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-406(c), “There shall be no imputation of knowledge or information among or between clients, managing broker and any designated agent(s) in a designated agency situation.” This means that the broker will not automatically know the information that the other agent knows in his office. However, the principal broker CANNOT access any of the confidential information concerning the other side of the transaction. The only information he can see is that provided in the offer and amendments.

If there is another broker in the office, that broker can assist the affiliate agent if he needs help and/or supervision in this transaction. However, the principal is still responsible for ensuring that the agent is supervised.

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

5. Upcoming TAR Courses & Events

DEADLINE for submitting a request to serve on a TAR Committee – Aug. 14! To submit a request, login to the member section of the TAR website at, and look for “Office & Committee Forms” in the menu.

GRI 2: Smart Marketing — Aug. 20 to Sept. 23 (E-Class distance learning course), 16 hrs. CE. For more information, go HERE.

RESPA Really Matters! — Aug. 20 (Nashville, TAR Office), 4 hrs. CE. For more information, go HERE.

2009-2010 Core CE Course — Aug. 26 (Nashville, TAR Office), 4 hrs. CE. For more information, go HERE.

Instructor-Training Workshop — Aug. 27-28 (Nashville, TAR Office), 16 hours CE. This is 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.

GRI 2: Smart Marketing — Sept. 3-4 (Nashville/Cool Springs area), 16 hrs. CE. For more information, go HERE.

TAR’s 2009 Annual Convention! — Sept. 15-18 (Point Clear, AL), 12 hours CE. TAR will be hosting the 2009 TAR Annual Convention in Clear Point, 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 to:

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

6. License Plate Update — We’re VERY Close!

As of Monday, August 10, 925 specialty license plates for Tennessee REALTORs have been sold! As soon as 1,000 are sold, they go into production!


Take pride in your profession and Celebrate Homeownership in Tennessee! For $35, you can put an attractive license plate on your car that tells everyone you help make the American dream a reality for Tennesseans. REALTOR license plates only cost $35 for a standard plate and $70 for a personalized vanity plate with 5 characters.

But these plates cannot be produced and distributed until 1,000 are sold. For more information, go to the NEWSROOM section of the TAR website at:

Scroll down to see the License Plate, and order one online! There you can also access a one-page information sheet with more Frequently Asked Questions about the Plates.

7. Rates Ease Up Slightly

Freddie Mac reports a drop in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to 5.22 percent during the week ended Aug. 6 from 5.25 percent the prior week. Over the same period, the 15-year fixed-mortgage rate slipped to 4.63 percent from 4.69 percent. As for adjustable-mortgage rates, the five-year fell to 4.73 percent from 4.75 percent, and the one-year dipped to 4.78 percent from 4.80 percent.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]

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