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

1. Wishing You the Very Best!!!
2. Memphis REALTORS Thinking Outside The Box
3. “Blog About WHAT?”
4. POLL RESULTS: Professionalism
5. HOT LINE: Increasing the Commission to the Selling Agent?
6. HOT LINE: The 50-Mile Rule?
7. Upcoming Courses & Events
8. Rates Rise Again, But Still Very Low

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

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

1. Wishing You the Very Best!!!

This is our final TAR DIGEST of 2009, so we want to wish all of our readers the happiest of holidays and a VERY prosperous New Year! As you enjoy family, fellowship, and football, reflect on the fact that you live in one of the greatest countries on earth and don’t forget those who — even during these holidays — fight and serve to protect our freedoms!

Thank you, and we’ll be back with the January 5, 2010, Edition!

2. Memphis REALTORS Thinking Outside The Box

Last week, the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL published an article about REALTORS getting innovative in the current market, “Memphis-area real estate agents think outside box to attract buyers”.

The persistently sluggish economy is forcing property agents to take some novel approaches to run-of-the-mill open houses. Recent marketing events in the Memphis, Tenn., area reflect the lengths REALTORS are willing to go to in order to attract attention to their listings. Some have partnered with other practitioners to host festive open houses featuring Christmas music and refreshments. Others have used even more creative ideas!

To read some interesting — even fun-filled — examples of REALTORS finding new ways to attract buyers, go HERE.

[SOURCES: Information, Inc.; Memphis Commercial Appeal]

3. “Blog About WHAT?”

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve encountered at least a few speakers, articles, etc., urging you to devote some time to “social networking” (Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to build your business!

When it comes to starting their own blog (weblog), however, many REALTORS scratch their heads and ask,“Blog about WHAT?”

REALTOR Anna Kruchten has a new posting on the BrokerAgentSocial website to answer that question. Her article — “Deciding What To Write” — should give you LOTS of ideas to get started; it’s part of a five-part series of helpful articles for “Blogging Newbies.”

If blogging is something you want to explore further, you really should read through her suggestions HERE.

[SOURCE: BrokerAgent Pro]

4. POLL RESULTS: Professionalism

Last week, we polled readers on three facets of professionalism — Integrity, Dedication to Client Service, and Commitment to Stay Up-To-Date (well-trained and well-informed) — among REALTORS in Tennessee today versus REALTORS 5-10 years ago.  Results follow…

1. The integrity of REALTORS today?

Much greater integrity 2.2%
Greater integrity 25.7%
About the same integrity 39.9%
Less integrity 26.5%
Much less integrity 5.7%

2. The dedication of REALTORS today to client service?

Much greater dedication 3.7%
Greater dedication 30.8%
About the same dedication 32.3%
Less dedication 29.4%
Much less dedication 3.7%

3. The commitment of REALTORS today to stay up-to-date?

Much greater commitment 6.2%
Greater commitment 40.0%
About the same commitment     29.1%
Less commitment 20.1%
Much less commitment 4.5%

Whether you agree or disagree with the findings, we hope everyone makes a New Year’s resolution for 2010 to excel in all three areas! Our entire industry would truly shine if this happened!

5. HOT LINE: Increasing the Commission to the Selling Agent?

QUESTION: Is it legal for one agent to call another agent who has a listing for the purposes of increasing the commission offered?  If so, what is the proper way to do that? If not, what prohibits an agent from doing this?

ANSWER: It is not illegal nor is it unethical to ask if the seller’s agent will reconsider increasing the amount of cooperative compensation being offered BEFORE an offer is submitted.  However, if the agent says no, you cannot then withhold that property from the buyer, refusing to show it …unless, of course, the buyer instructs you to do this.

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

6. HOT LINE: The 50-Mile Rule?

QUESTION: I was checking to see if the 50-mile radius rule is still in effect (if an agent has to live within 50 miles of their office address)?

ANSWER: Pursuant to TREC Rule 1260-2-.01(2): “No principal broker shall engage a licensee (other than as a property manager) who lives more than fifty (50) miles by a straight line calculation from the firm office, unless the principal broker demonstrates in writing to the Tennessee Real Estate Commission’s satisfaction that the distance involved is not unreasonable and that adequate supervision can be provided. For purposes of this rule, a property manager is defined as a licensee who engages exclusively in leasing and otherwise managing rental properties.”

This means that the agent MUST live within 50 miles of the location where his Tennessee license is hanging unless he receives special permission from TREC.

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

7. Upcoming Courses & Events

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

The 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 Rise Again, But Still Very Low

Long-term mortgages moved closer to 5 percent this week, with interest on 30-year, fixed loans averaging 4.94 percent compared to 4.81 percent last week and 5.19 percent a year ago. Freddie Mac also reports hikes for 15-year, fixed mortgages, five-year adjustable-rate mortgages, and one-year ARMs. The 15-year, fixed rate rose to 4.38 percent from 4.32 percent; the five-year ARM climbed to 4.37 percent from 4.26 percent; and the one-year ARM jumped to 4.34 percent from 4.24 percent.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]

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