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


CONTENTS
1. Action STILL Needed For Homebuyer Tax Credit!
2. November is REALTOR Designation Awareness Month
3. HOT LINE: Records Kept for Limited Service Listing?
4. HOT LINE: Termination Based on Buyer’s Own Inspection?
5. Tech Tip: Using Postlets and RealEstateShows
6. Upcoming Courses & Events!
7. Rates Remain Low, Don’t Move Much

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

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


1. Action STILL Needed For Homebuyer Tax Credit!

Despite some misinformation that apparently circulated late last week, the battle to renew and extend the Homebuyer Tax Credit is STILL very much alive, and your help is STILL needed!

As of Monday, Nov. 2:

The extension and expansion of the homebuyer tax credit is the pending business in the Senate. After a long week of negotiation on the credit, an agreement on the scope of both expansion and extension has been reached. The extension is part of a larger bill that has not yet gone to a vote, however. A Senate vote on the underlying bill will occur in the Senate during the week of November 1. The package will then go back to the House. The House is expected to accept the Senate amendments, vote on the package and send it to the President for signature. The underlying bill is an extension of unemployment benefits. Other provisions in the bill include expansion of the net operating loss carryback rules, new requirements for some tax return preparers and noncontroversial provisions that “pay for” these changes.

The agreement on the extension and expansion of the credit is as follows:

  • Credit available for purchases before May 1, 2010. Prospective purchasers with binding contracts in place as of April 30, 2010 will be allowed an additional 60 days to complete the transaction.
  • Credit remains at $8000 for first-time purchasers. No change to definition of first-time purchaser.
  • New $6500 tax credit for repeat buyers who purchase between December 1, 2009 and May 1, 2010. Repeat buyers must have lived in their homes consecutively for 5 of the previous 8 years.
  • Income limits are expanded to $125,000 on a single return and $225,000 on a joint return. Current law $20,000 phase-out retained.
  • New anti-fraud limitations are imposed.

The White House has indicated that President Obama will sign the legislation.

Call your Tennessee Senators to urge passage:
Senator Alexander: (202) 224-4944
Senator Corker: (202) 224-3344

[SOURCE: NAR]


2. November is REALTOR Designation Awareness Month

Celebrate November as REALTOR Designation Awareness Month by starting, completing or continuing the courses necessary to earn an official REALTOR designation.

Earning a REALTOR designation such as the GRI can help you succeed in all aspects of your business and help you earn more money.

REALTORS who pursue professional designations have a distinct competitive edge as a result of their increased expertise and marketability. Based on 2009 survey data, the median income of REALTORS without a designation was $28,400 and the median income of those with at least one designation was $57,700. The difference between the two is $27,300!

[SOURCE: NAR]


3. HOT LINE: Records Kept for Limited Service Listing?

QUESTION: I recently took a limited services listing. Now that the property is sold, do I need to keep a folder in my office with the settlement statement and the contract?

ANSWER: Record retention for limited services listings is just like that for other listings. The firm MUST have a copy of ALL records for a minimum of three years. According to the TREC, these records must contain, at a minimum, the following: listings; offers (even those that do not become contracts); contracts; closing statements; agency agreements; agency disclosure documents; property disclosure forms; correspondence; notes; and any other relevant information.

Based upon issues that have arisen in the errors and omissions cases our firm has handled over the years, we strongly recommend that licensees keep each and every document that comes into their hands while representing a client or customer, regardless of whether they are working as sellers’ agents, buyers’ agents, or facilitators. We cannot stress how important it is to keep documents that evidence contact with clients, customers, cooperating agents, and/or inspectors. Such documents include email and facsimile confirmations.

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


4. HOT LINE: Termination Based on Buyer’s Own Inspection?

QUESTION: The Buyer has the right to do their own inspections but to have a “Home Inspection” as defined by state law they must use a licensed inspector. My question regards the Buyer’s right to terminate based upon “Home Inspection.” Does a Buyer have the right to terminate if they do their own inspection under the TAR Purchase and Sale Agreement?

ANSWER: The Home Inspector License Act of 2005 made it a requirement for home inspection reports to be made by licensed home inspectors.

There is nothing in the home inspector law which would prohibit a buyer from performing their own inspection. Additionally, it is our opinion that the seller would be bound by the list provided by the buyer regardless of whether it was the result of an inspection done by himself or by a licensed home inspector.

HOWEVER, the seller IS NOT obligated to a list that was made as a result of a third party (i.e., Uncle Bob who builds houses) who “inspected” the house.  If the seller does not want to honor a list provided by a buyer, then he/she should negotiate that on the front end.

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


5. Tech Tip: Using Postlets and RealEstateShows

Real estate blogger Brett Miller posted an article last week that should be helpful to REALTORs seeking create greater exposure for their listings:

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
Leveraging yourself is one of the key ingredients of any successful entrepreneur. Here are a couple of great tools, both free and paid, that will save you lots of time. And time is money!

A free tool on the internet called Postlets (http://www.Postlets.com) will allow you to post your new real estate listing to 10 different real estate listing and classified websites including Google Base, Zillow, Oodle, Vast, HotPads, Backpage, Trulia, ByOwnerMLS, Enormo, DotHomes, and Frontdoor.
*** END QUOTE ***

To read the entire posting, go HERE.

REMINDER: Please check with your managing broker as to company policies on advertising. The managing broker is still responsible to TREC for ensuring agent compliance with state rules and regulations governing advertising.

[SOURCE: Realblogging. com]


6. Upcoming Courses & Events!

GRI 1: Professionalism in Real Estate — Nov. 5-6 (Nashville – Cool Springs, TN), 16 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

RESPA Really Matters! — Nov. 9 (Memphis), 4 hours CE. Sponsored by TREEF, hosted by the Memphis Area Assn. of REALTORS.  For more information, go to: http://www.maar.org/ce/schedule.asp

GRI 6: Sticky Situations — Nov. 12 to Dec. 16 (E-Class distance learning course), 16 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

Local Assn President/President-elect Leadership Session — Dec. 9 (TAR Office, Nashville). [This session is for local association Presidents and Presidents-elect only.]

Joint Governmental Affairs/RPAC Training Workshop — Dec. 10 (TAR Office, Nashville). [This session is for local association Governmental Affairs and RPAC chairs and vice-chairs, local AEs and Governmental Affairs Directors, and TAR RPAC and Governmental Affairs Committee members.]

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


7. Rates Remain Low, Don’t Move Much

Freddie Mac reports that mortgage rates continued to drift higher last week, with average interest of 5.03 percent on a 30-year fixed loan — up from a flat 5 percent the previous week. The government-sponsored enterprise reports that 30-year fixed rates have been hovering around the 5 percent mark mainly due to government intervention. The result has been a refinancing boom, with refis accounting for seven of every 10 mortgages this year. For 15-year fixed loans, this past week’s rate averaged 4.46 percent compared to 4.43 percent a week earlier.

Bankrate.com’s national survey of large lenders put the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 5.35 percent, up slightly for the third week in a row.

The Mortgage Bankers Association says applications have fallen more than 25 percent in the past two weeks.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.; Bankrate.com]


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