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

1. Federal Policy on Homeownership May Be Changing
2. Foreclosure Filings Up Nationally
3. HOT LINE: An Unhappy Seller?
4. HOT LINE: Expiration of Tax Credit?
6. Upcoming TAR Courses & Events!
7. Rates Rise a Little

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

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

1. Federal Policy on Homeownership May Be Changing

The Obama administration, in a major shift on housing policy, is abandoning George W. Bush’s vision of creating an “ownership society” and instead plans to pump $4.25 billion of economic stimulus money into creating tens of thousands of federally subsidized rental units in American cities.

The idea is to pay for the construction of low-rise rental apartment buildings and town houses, as well as the purchase of foreclosed homes that can be refurbished and rented to low- and moderate-income families at affordable rates.
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To read the entire article, go HERE.

[SOURCE: Boston Globe]

2. Foreclosure Filings Up Nationally

Foreclosure filings were reported on 360,149 U.S. properties in July, an increase of nearly 7 percent from the previous month and a 32 percent increase from July 2008, according to RealtyTrac’s July 2009 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.

“July marks the third time in the last five months where we’ve seen a new record set for foreclosure activity,” noted James J. Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac.

“Despite continued efforts by the federal government and state governments to patch together a safety net for distressed homeowners, we’re seeing significant growth in both the initial notices of default and in the bank repossessions.”

California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada posted the top foreclosure activity totals in the nation, accounting for nearly 57 percent of the nation’s total. Texas ranked among the top ten at number six with 12,077 properties.

Tennessee finds itself in the “middle of the pack” nationally, ranking 22nd nationally for rate of filings. Foreclosures in Tennessee were up .15 percent from July of 2008, with 1 in every 595 housing units in Tennessee receiving a foreclosure filing in July, 2009.

[SOURCES: RealtyTrac; Nashville Business Journal; Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M]

3. HOT LINE: An Unhappy Seller?

QUESTION: I have been contacted by a seller unhappy with his current REALTOR’s lack of performance trying to sell his home. The seller wants to be let out of the listing agreement but the listing agent and broker refuse to let him out of the listing agreement even though the seller has put his dissatisfaction in writing and mailed that to the broker and listing agent. I don’t know how to advise him since he is not my client and what his options are at this point. Please advise.

ANSWER: The ONLY thing that you can do at this point is to advise this individual to speak with their own attorney and/or their broker. If you do anything else, you may be accused of interference with a contract. Both Tennessee law and the Code of Ethics prohibit you from such interference. Please remember too that advising a customer as to how to terminate a contract also constitutes legal advice, and you are not permitted to give legal advice unless you have a law license.

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

4. HOT LINE: Expiration of Tax Credit?

QUESTION: What is the deadline for the $8,000.00 first-time home buyer’s incentive?

ANSWER: According to the IRS website, a person must purchase the home before December 1, 2009! If the home is one which you construct, then the purchase date is the date that you first occupy the home. For additional information on this program, please go HERE.

If your clients have any particular questions, they should speak to their own attorney or accountant.

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


The penalty for illegally giving or receiving a kickback, which is covered in Section 8 of RESPA, is (pick one):

A. Up to 90 hours of community service
B. Loss of real estate license
C. Requirement to attend a RESPA education program
D. A fine of up to $10,000 or up to one year in prison or both


To stay out of trouble and learn more about what RESPA does and doesn’t allow, attend the new course “RESPA Really Matters” on Aug. 20 …see below.

6. Upcoming TAR Courses & Events!

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 HERENOTE: Monday, August 24, is the deadline for advance registrations! And Tuesday, August 25, is the cutoff for hotel room reservations at the TAR rate!

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

7. Rates Rise a Little

Freddie Mac confirms that average interest on 30-year fixed mortgages rose this past week to 5.29 percent from 5.22 percent a week earlier. Meanwhile, the average rate on a 15-year fixed loan climbed to 4.68 percent from 4.63 percent. Five-year adjustable-rate mortgages ticked up to 4.75 percent from 4.73 percent, but one-year ARMs slipped to 4.72 percent from 4.78 percent. Housing officials remain concerned that higher rates could cause some prospective home buyers to delay purchases if they are unable to qualify for larger amounts, thus slowing down recovery efforts.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]

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