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

1. New FHA Guidelines for Condominium Financing
2. Enforcement Restraint Promised for New RESPA Rules
3. Working Smarter: Top 10 Cool Tools
4. REMINDER: Agency Brochures for Consumers
5. Upcoming Courses & Events
6. Rates at Record Lows!

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

1. New FHA Guidelines for Condominium Financing

If you’re working with any transactions involving the purchase or sale of a condominium, or anticipate doing so in the future, you need to look at the following. It looks like financing may get tougher….

HUD has released a NEW set of guidelines (Mortgagee Letter 2009-46 B) for financing of condominium purchases, as well as a companion letter (Mortgagee Letter 2009-46 A) as “temporary guidance,” waiving five provisions of the first letter until the end of 2010, in light of the present economy. [These new guidelines replace those issued earlier this year in Mortgagee Letter 2009-19.]

Mortgagee Letter 2009-46 B may be downloaded by clicking HERE.

Mortgagee Letter 2009-46 A may be downloaded by clicking HERE.

Clifford Hockley, writing for Realty Times, authored an article on this subject last week — “Condominiums Face Lack of Affordable Financing Due to Changes in FHA Rules” — that’s also worth reading. To do so, go HERE.

[SOURCES: HUD; Realty Times]

2. Enforcement Restraint Promised for New RESPA Rules

HUD says it will implement a 120-day period of “restraint” on its enforcement of new Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) rules that take effect Jan. 1, 2010. Restraint will be shown for FHA approved lenders acting in good faith to comply with the new mandatory Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and HUD-1, among other provisions.

For more details, go HERE.

The new RESPA changes do not affect existing anti-kickback provisions of RESPA or their enforcement. Exercise extreme caution in this area!


3. Working Smarter: Top 10 Cool Tools

At the end of each year, REALTOR Magazine tallies the submitted Reader Service Cards requesting more information about products that have appeared in the NAR publication. These tools and gadgets won’t all save you time or money — you may have to spend some of both! — but you can now check out the top 10 “Cool Tools” that readers wanted to learn more about by going HERE.

[SOURCE: REALTOR Magazine Online]

4. REMINDER: Agency Brochures for Consumers

Just a reminder… in 2008, TREEF and TAR issued two camera-ready brochures (in PDF format) that you can download and print — for FREE — for your buyers and sellers, to explain how agency works in Tennessee. Those brochures are still just as applicable as they were when first released!

You can download the brochure for buyers by clicking on this link:

And you can download the brochure for sellers by clicking on this link:

5. Upcoming Courses & Events

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.]

2010 Schedule of Classroom and E-Class GRI Courses is now online HERE.

How do E-Classes work? These are NOT your typical online courses! To understand how they work, go HERE.

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

6. Rates at Record Lows!

Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey last week in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.78 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending November 25, 2009, down from the prior week when it averaged 4.83 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 5.97 percent. The 30-year has not been this low since the week ending April 30, 2009, when it averaged 4.78 percent.

The 15-year FRM last week averaged 4.29 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from the previous week when it averaged 4.32 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 5.74 percent. The 15-year FRM has never been this low since Freddie Mac started tracking it in 1991.

“Long-term mortgage rates eased for the fourth consecutive week to record levels,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.” Interest rates for 30-year fixed mortgage loans tied an all-time record low while both 15-year fixed mortgages and 5-year ARMs broke their corresponding records. Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate loans are currently 0.8 percentage points below this year’s peak set in mid-June, which shaves roughly $100 off the monthly payments on a $200,000 mortgage.

House prices are slowly beginning to firm now. For instance, annual house price declines slowed for the sixth consecutive month in September, down only 3 percent, and represented the smallest decline since February 2008, according the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s purchase-only house price index.”

[SOURCE: Freddie Mac]

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