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


CONTENTS
1. The Continuing Saga of Rental Scams
2. Did You Know?…
3. 2010 Forms Changes Now Online
4. Spring Conference Registration is OPEN!
5. HOT LINE: Social Media DOs & DON’Ts?
6. HOT LINE: Rules & Regs for Teams?
7. TAR Education Website Revamped, With New Offerings!
8. Upcoming Courses & Events
9. Rates Fall 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. The Continuing Saga of Rental Scams

New reports of an old problem came in last week — the misuse and fraudulent advertising of listed properties, representing them as rental properties, in scams using Craigslist and similar outlets on the Internet.

We have run two different alerts to members about this situation in the TAR DIGEST: one in the 11-10-09 issue and an earlier Fraud Alert in the 5-19-09 TAR DIGEST. You can access both DIGESTS by going to the Archives at: http://www.tardigest.com

As noted in our 11-10-09 DIGEST:

It makes sense to periodically review the primary rental property sites to ensure that your own listings are not being advertised fraudulently:

You may also consider signing sign up for Google Alerts (http://www.google.com/alerts) for each of your listed properties, to get an email anytime that property’s address is published on a website.


2. Did You Know?…

The ranking of statewide professional/membership associations came out recently, and your Tennessee Association of REALTORS, with just over 23,000 members, is currently the SECOND LARGEST association in Tennessee! The largest (by far) is the Tennessee Education Association with 55,000 members, mostly teachers. Third largest in the state is the Tennessee State Employees Association, with 18,200 members.

[SOURCE: Nashville Business Journals’ Book of Lists]


3. 2010 Forms Changes Now Online

Last week, we were pleased to announce that the 2010 TAR forms are all now online and ready for your use!

What’s changed?

The complete description of all of the forms changes — from the 2009 versions to the 2010 versions — is ALSO now online and downloadable as a PDF document by clicking HERE. You can also find a link to this document in the Forms section of the TAR website HERE.


4. Spring Conference Registration is OPEN!

You can now register for the 2010 TAR Spring Conference, coming up March 8-10, 2010! This year, the Conference is being held at the new Embassy Suites Murfreesboro Hotel & Conference Center.

As in previous years, we’re featuring eight (8) hours of education sessions, with several outstanding national speakers:

  • “Client Care and Bear Feeding”, with Alaskan speaker PeggyAnn McConnochie
  • “Article 12 & Web 2.0” with Marcie Roggow
  • “Fraud & Consequences”, with Jerome Mayne (a convicted felon who served time in prison for fraud and now tries to help others stay OUT of prison and out of trouble!)

For more information about the Conference, or to register online NOW, go to: http://tnrealtors.com/main/conferences_and_conventions/

The print brochures are in the mail, but you don’t need to wait for a brochure to secure your registration for the Conference!


5. HOT LINE: Social Media DOs & DON’Ts?

QUESTION: With the increased use of Social Media by REALTORS, has TAR or TREC or NAR come out with a set of specific guidelines for the use of Social Media? My main concerns are the “traditional” marketing guidelines we’ve had when dealing with company name, phone number, etc. These traditional guidelines are not cut and dry when it comes to Social Media and I’m looking for something that gives more specific direction.

ANSWER: That’s really a great plug for one of the education sessions (“Article 12 & Web 2.0”) at the upcoming TAR Spring Conference, highlighted above! Don’t miss that session….

TREC is beginning to look at the use of technology and how it will apply to Internet usage, most of which they classify as “advertising”. However, at this time, the proposed rule changes are not effective as they have not passed all the required hurdles. We recently inquired as to the timeframe for when we would know whether the rules were approved and a potential effective date, but have not heard anything definitive as of yet. Therefore, at this time, you are required to follow TREC Rule 1260-2-.12 which governs ALL advertising, not just what you do on the Internet.

At a minimum, any advertisement of listings must contain the firm name and telephone number. Pursuant to TREC Policy Statement 2000-CPS-004 Internet Advertising, this also applies to internet advertising. You are required to put the firm name and telephone number on each page of the website. Furthermore, you must indicate if some or all of listings do not belong to the firm; if the advertisement contains more than 5 selection criteria, you must also include the listing firm name and telephone number. If any mention is made of the listing agent’s name, you must include their firm name and telephone number as well (even if the ad contains less than 5 selection criteria). To be safe, we would always list the firm name and telephone number of the listing firm so as to avoid confusion.

If the ad contains photos, then copyright laws may be in force. You will need to get written permission from the agent before using any photos on the internet.

NAR has also updated Article 12 of the Code of Ethics, so refer to the 2010 version of the Code of Ethics HERE …for the latest there, and attend the TAR Spring Conference session.

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


6. HOT LINE: Rules & Regs for Teams?

QUESTION: I am trying to find the section in the Official Manual of The Tennessee Real Estate Commission that deals with teams within a Real Estate company. Could you tell me where it is at?

ANSWER: Teams are allowed in Tennessee. HOWEVER, TREC does not have any specific rules governing how they operate. That being said, there are some guidelines which they follow in regulating teams. First, if one team member is a designated agent for a client, then the entire team is the designated agent for that client. Therefore, all members must be listed on the listing agreement or buyer’s representation agreement. In addition, anything that one team member knows, ALL team members know (think adverse facts). This can be dangerous in the event that the team does not communicate well. If the team represents the buyer and the seller in a transaction, then they ALL would default to facilitator or disclosed dual agents.

In advertising, it is important that the advertising not be misleading. Therefore, the team name should not give the impression that the team is a stand-alone real estate company. In addition, the firm name and telephone number must also appear on any advertising. Although it is not technically required, we would recommend including the team members’ names on the advertising to make things easier on the public.

The NAR Code of Ethics also prohibits misleading advertising under Article 12.

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


7. TAR Education Website Revamped, With New Offerings!

The Education section of the TAR Website has been totally updated, with NEW offerings and separate sections for GRI Courses (of all types), Other Classroom CE Courses, Online CE Courses, the Leadership TAR program, and Instructor-Training Workshops.

To see what’s available, go to: http://tnrealtors.com/main/education/

Among the latest additions to our offerings, we’ve posted information about our upcoming instructor-training program, The Learning-Centered Instructor Workshop, scheduled for March 17-18 in Nashville!

A new selection of online CE courses will ALSO be posted later this week, in addition to what’s already offered!


8. Upcoming Courses & Events

GRI 1: Professionalism in Real Estate — Jan. 14 – Feb. 17. (E-Class distance learning course), 16 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

GRI 2: Smart Marketing — Feb. 4 – March 10. (E-Class distance learning course), 16 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

Feb. 4, 9, 10 — The Divisional Information Exchange Forums and Professional Standards Training sessions are coming up in early February. For more information about these events, go HERE.

RESPA Really Matters! — Feb. 11 (TAR Office, Nashville), 4 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

GRI 3: Financing the Successful Transaction — Feb. 25 – March 31. (E-Class distance learning course), 16 hours CE. For more information, go HERE.

Leadership TAR 2010 — Registration is OPEN for the 2010 Program! For more information about Leadership TAR and registration for each of the three retreats, go to: http://tnrealtors.com/main/education/leadership_tar/

The complete 2010 schedule of Classroom and E-Class GRI Courses is now online at: http://tnrealtors.com/main/education/gri_courses/

How do E-Classes work? These are NOT your typical online courses! To understand how they work, go to: http://tnrealtors.com/main/education/e-class_gri_info/

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


9. Rates Fall a Little

Average interest on long-term mortgages fell this past week, after rising in the four previous weeks. Freddie Mac reports that 30-year fixed mortgage rates averaged 5.09 percent, down from 5.14 percent a week ago and compared with 5.01 percent last year. Also, 15-year, fixed loans fell 0.4 percent to 4.5 percent; five-year adjustable-rate mortgages were unchanged; and one-year ARMs declined 0.03 percent to 4.31 percent.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]


TAR’s Home Page: http://tnrealtors.com

Members receive the TAR DIGEST automatically, through their email address in NRDS. Non-members (such as Office Managers) may subscribe at: http://www.tardigest.com

Back issues of the DIGEST may be viewed and searched at: http://www.tardigest.com