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

1. TAR Officers Announce 2010 Priorities
2. Taking Advantage of the Homebuyer Tax Credit
3. Registration is Open for 2010 Leadership TAR!
4. License Plate Update
5. Quick MEMBER POLL: Professionalism
6. HOT LINE: Pricing for a Divorce?
7. Upcoming Courses & Events
8. Rates Move Up from Record Lows

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

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

1. TAR Officers Announce 2010 Priorities

TAR’s Executive Committee is composed of ten REALTORS elected to serve in various offices by the TAR Board of Directors. The 2010 Executive Committee met this past week and announced their pursuit of six priorities for TAR in 2010:

  • Enhance the member’s value to the consumer by raising the professionalism and competence of our membership
  • Maintain a strong influence on legislative and regulatory matters
  • Address the needs of all segments of membership by delivering relevant education and other services to members as economically as possible
  • Develop a policy for scheduling and planning TAR meetings and events that makes financial sense to both the association and to our members
  • Educate members about the services and value they receive from TAR
  • Recognize and implement new communication tools and methods

All six priorities are included in TAR’s current Strategic Plan, adopted by the TAR Board of Directors this past September.

2. Taking Advantage of the Homebuyer Tax Credit

RISMedia published a new article last week by speaker Bob Corcoran (“7 Ways to Take Advantage of the Extended Tax Deduction”) with tips on how to use the extended Homebuyer Tax Credit program to increase business and better serve your clients:

Hats off to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and its lobbying efforts for bringing us fantastic news out of Washington, D.C. –lawmakers have extended the homebuyer tax credit to April 30, 2010. And they’ve sweetened the deal: the law increases the limit for couples to $225,000 in annual income, roughly $55,000 more than the existing law.

Plus, it adds a nice $6,500 carrot for those who’ve lived in their homes for five of the prior eight years to buy up or buy elsewhere. I believe this will move houses at both the lower and higher ends as well.

This news is a perfect opportunity for Realtors to capitalize on several levels…
*** END QUOTE ***

To read the full article, go HERE.


3. Registration is Open for 2010 Leadership TAR!

Eighteen (18) Tennessee REALTORS were recognized this past December as Graduates of the Leadership TAR Program: Bill Beecher, Dana Berry, Shirley Davidson, Leon Dickson Sr., Pat Goldstein, Daniel Hayes, Bryan Kendrick, John Kivlighan, Tracy L. Manning, Kimberly McConkey, Wendy McNeil, Leslie O’Leary, Harold Reed, Patricia Shepherd, Karen Stephens, B. J. Swinehart, Aaron Taylor, and Jennie Zopfi!

Registration is now OPEN for the 2010 Program! For more information about Leadership TAR and registration for each of the three retreats, go HERE.

Despite tough economic times for the industry, TAR remains committed to the critical importance of leadership development. Leadership TAR helps participants improve their leadership skills to address the challenges that their businesses and associations face. At difficult times, wise leadership is more important than ever!

4. License Plate Update

The specialty REALTOR License Plates for Tennessee REALTORS — “Celebrate Homeownership!” — are in production!

The State of Tennessee tells us, however, that they will probably not be available until March or April.  For those of you who have already purchased one, the Department of Motor Vehicles will be notifying you, by mail, when you may come in and get your plate.

If your license should come up for renewal before then, just go ahead and do what you would normally do.

For any additional inquiries about the REALTOR License Plate, contact the TN Dept. of Motor Vehicles at: 615-532-1135

Thank you for your patience! State government rarely moves as quickly as we would like.

5. Quick MEMBER POLL: Professionalism

We’re taking a short THREE-QUESTION Member Poll on REALTOR Professionalism at:

It’s completely anonymous and will only take a few seconds, so PLEASE respond. Results will be posted in next week’s TAR DIGEST!

6. HOT LINE: Pricing for a Divorce?

QUESTION: A lawyer asked if I could help in a divorce case by providing a price opinion on the husband’s property and to testify regarding same at the divorce trial. Which form should I use for the price opinion? Would it be legal and safe to testify at the divorce proceeding?

ANSWER: This particular activity is governed by the Appraiser’s Act.  Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. 62-39-335, “This chapter shall not act or be construed to prohibit a real estate broker licensed under chapter 13 of this title from testifying as to the value of property in court cases as an expert witness and receiving a fee for the testimony subject to review by the court.” Therefore, if you are a licensed real estate broker, you may testify IN COURT as to the value of the property.  There is not a standardized form for this.  Regarding the safety issue, you could always be held responsible if you do not perform up to the standards of a real estate agent under the Broker’s Act, TREC Rules and/or the Code of Ethics.  If you have concerns about this, you may want to contact your E & O carrier to determine if you have coverage for this type of activity.

REMEMBER, however, if you are giving your opinion in a CMA or BPO, you may NOT give an opinion as to value. This would be in violation of the Appraiser’s Act, which distinguishes between court testimony and other occasions when your opinion may be given. Outside of courtroom testimony, the Appraiser’s Act prohibits anyone other than a licensed appraiser from giving an opinion as to value; real estate brokers are permitted only to give opinions as to list price or purchase price. In order to provide an opinion as to list price or purchase price, you must be a licensed real estate broker or salesperson.

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

7. Upcoming Courses & Events

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!

8. Rates Move Up from Record Lows

Interest on 30-year fixed mortgages rose to 4.81 percent last week, after the prior week’s fall to a record low of 4.71 percent, reports Freddie Mac.

While the Federal Reserve’s effort to purchase $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae has helped keep rates attractive, Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft says they rose because a favorable unemployment report pushed long-term bond yields up slightly.

With the Fed program projected to end in March, the Mortgage Bankers Association forecast in October that 30-year fixed mortgages will rise to 5.4 percent next year, increase to 6 percent in 2011, and hit 6.3 percent in 2012.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]

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