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

1. FHA Tightening Standards
2. 10 Most Desirable Features in New Homes
3. For a New Kind of Experience…
4. HOT LINE: Counter or New Offer?
5. HOT LINE: Adequate Facilities Fee Disclosure?
6. TAR Spring Conference!
7. Upcoming Courses & Events
8. Rates Under 5 Again

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

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

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1. FHA Tightening Standards

In a new Realty Times article, columnist Kenneth Harney reviews the changes that FHA is making to its standards for homebuyers:

FHA is tightening up its standards for home buyers – but the changes are not as tough as some analysts had feared – especially on downpayments.

FHA commissioner David Stevens outlined the agency’s new underwriting policies last week, including an increase in the “upfront” mortgage insurance premium charged all borrowers, and a decrease in the amount of financial inducements a home seller can provide a buyer.
*** END QUOTE ***

To read more, see Mr. Harney’s complete article HERE.

NAR has also posted a helpful summary of the FHA changes (as a downloadable PDF) HERE.

[SOURCES: Realty Times; NAR]

2. 10 Most Desirable Features in New Homes

A new RISMedia article by Steve Kerch (“Top 10 Must-Have Features in Today’s New Homes”) summarizes consumer reports recently released at the NAHB International Builders Show in Las Vegas. One survey, by AVID Ratings Co., solicited home buyer preferences, revealing “10 ‘must’ features in new homes”:

  1. Large kitchens, with an island
  2. Granite countertops
  3. Energy-efficient appliances, high-efficiency insulation and high window efficiency
  4. Home office/study
  5. Main-floor master suite
  6. Outdoor living room
  7. Master suite soaker tubs
  8. Stone and brick exteriors
  9. Community landscaping, with walking paths and playgrounds
  10. Two-car garages

It’s an interesting article, worth reading in its entirety, HERE.

For a separate report — this one highlighting which features homebuilders are and aren’t likely to include in new homes this year — see the first news report in the Jan. 22 edition of RECON (from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M) at:

[SOURCES: RISMedia; Real Estate Center]

3. For a New Kind of Experience…

A groups of REALTORS in Tennessee, and a few others from nearby states, are organizing a RE (Real Estate) BarCamp, to take place Wednesday, April 28, 2010!

Cost: Free!!!

Where: 5th and Main, Nashville (across from the Titans Stadium)

What is it? It’s a conference with open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants. The event is not structured like a typical planned conference. Every session is not planned out in advance. Nobody is paid to deliver a session. Anybody can deliver a session, and attendees are strongly encouraged to participate.

If this idea of a user-generated conference intrigues you, then check out:

4. HOT LINE: Counter or New Offer?

QUESTION: Representing a buyer, I presented an offer to the seller’s agent. Seller rejected the offer without countering as to price or terms. The buyers agreed to increase the price offer, and I submitted a Counter Offer form which referenced the contract and changed the price. The seller’s agent says she cannot work from this and we will need to prepare a new contract inasmuch as the first contract was rejected, rather than countered. I believe that proceeding with a Counter Offer form is satisfactory inasmuch as it follows and references the original contract. Am I correct with this line of thinking?

ANSWER: No. The better practice would be to submit a new offer. The original offer is dead because the seller rejected it instead of countering.

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

5. HOT LINE: Adequate Facilities Fee Disclosure?

QUESTION: With regard to form F83 – Adequate Facilities Fee Disclosure – what type of transaction(s) does this apply to?

ANSWER: Tenn. Code Ann. 66-5-211 states:

(a) In transfers involving the first sale of a dwelling, the owner of residential property shall furnish to the purchaser a statement disclosing the amount of any impact fees or adequate facilities taxes paid to any city or county on any parcel of land subject to transfer by sale, exchange, installment land sales contract, or lease with an option to buy.

(b) For the purpose of this section, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) “Adequate facilities tax” means any privilege tax that is a development tax, by whatever name, imposed by a county or city, pursuant to any act of general or local application, on engaging in the act of development;
(2) “Development” means the construction, building, reconstruction, erection, extension, betterment, or improvement of land providing a building or structure, or the addition to any building or structure or any part of any building or structure that provides, adds to, or increases the floor area of a residential or nonresidential use; and
(3) “Impact fee” means a monetary charge imposed by a county or municipal government pursuant to any act of general or local application, to regulate new development on real property. The amount of impact fees are related to the costs resulting from the new development and the revenues for this fee are earmarked for investment in the area of the new development.

This means that on transactions which are the first sale of residential property, the seller MUST provide the buyer with a statement of the amount of any impact fees or adequate facilities taxes which were paid to a city or county.

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

6. TAR Spring Conference!

Register ONLINE for the 2010 TAR Spring Conference, March 8-10, 2010, at the new Embassy Suites Murfreesboro Hotel & Conference Center!

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 HERE.

7. Upcoming Courses & Events

Feb. 3: 2009-2010 Core CE Course (4 hours CE). This course is sponsored by TREEF, hosted by the Clarksville Assn. of REALTORS. To register, contact the Clarksville Assn. at: 931-552-3567

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

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

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

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

March 8-10: 2010 TAR Spring Conference! – See news item #6 above!

April – August: 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 HERE.

The complete 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 Under 5 Again

Long-term mortgage rates fell for the third straight week, pushing the average rate on 30-year fixed home loans below 5 percent again, according to Freddie Mac. This past week, average interest on 30-year mortgages was 4.99 percent, compared to 5.06 percent the previous week and 5.16 percent a year ago. Rates on 15-year fixed loans also followed bond yields lower, averaging 4.40 percent, compared to 4.45 percent the previous week; and adjustable-rate mortgages also fell this past week.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]

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