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

1. Understanding the New HAFA Program
2. SCAM Alert
3. Troubling News re: Commercial Real Estate
4. HOT LINE: Another Company Listing My Seller?
5. HOT LINE: No Desire To Be a Facilitator?
6. Your LAST Week To SAVE…
7. Upcoming Courses & Events
8. Rates Dip Below 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. Understanding the New HAFA Program

RISMedia has just published a pretty comprehensive article explaining the Treasury Department’s new Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA).

The HAFA program “is designed to simplify and streamline the use of short sales and deeds-in-lieu-of-foreclosure by improving the process.”

To learn more and read the entire article, go HERE.


2. SCAM Alert

The combination of desperation and confusion in the marketplace has led to an increase in efforts to profit from the spread of short sales and foreclosures.

Many short sale “consultants” and schemes — some quite legitimate and respectable, and others on the shady (or even fraudulent) side — have become more common. We encourage everyone to check out any short sale advisors and/or resources THOROUGHLY before responding to or using them!!!

In the past few days, some of our readers may have been invited to a GoToMeeting webinar on short sales that APPEARS to have come from a governmental agency. It does not. While we cannot say whether or not the sponsor of this webinar ( is engaged in anything improper, the fact that their identity is concealed is a red flag.

3. Troubling News re: Commercial Real Estate

A new study by the Congressional Oversight Panel notes that some $1.4 trillion in commercial real-estate loans, nearly half of which are underwater, will reach the end of their terms between now and 2014. Losses could hit $300 billion, which the panel is concerned “could jeopardize the stability of many banks, particularly the nation’s midsize and smaller banks, and that as the damage spreads beyond individual banks, that it will contribute to prolonged weakness throughout the economy.”
*** END QUOTE ***

To read more, go HERE.

[SOURCES: Marketwatch; Information, Inc.]

4. HOT LINE: Another Company Listing My Seller?

QUESTION: Our company had a listing, which was not expired nor withdrawn. Another real estate company got their paperwork signed prior to our listing being withdrawn or expired (paperwork such as Residential Disclosure). Is it legal for another agency to get paperwork signed prior to a release of contract?

ANSWER: Possibly. Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-312(b)(10), an agent can be disciplined for “Inducing any party to a contract, sale or lease to break such contract for the purpose of substitution in lieu thereof a new contract, where such substitution is malicious or is motivated by the personal gain of the licensee.”

The NAR Code of Ethics also sheds some light on this situation. Standard of Practice 16-6 states:

“When REALTORS are contacted by the client of another REALTOR regarding the creation of an exclusive relationship to provide the same kind of service, and REALTORS have not directly or indirectly initiated such discussions, they may discuss the terms upon which they might enter into an agreement which becomes effective upon expiration of any existing exclusive agreement.”

Article 16 of the NAR Code of Ethics states: “REALTORS shall not engage in any practice or take any action inconsistent with exclusive representation agreements that other REALTORS have with clients.” Standard of Practice 16-9 affirms: “REALTORS, prior to entering into a representation agreement, have an affirmative obligation to make reasonable efforts to determine whether the prospect is subject to a current, valid exclusive agreement to provide the same type of real estate service.” And Standard of Practice 16-8 states: “The fact that an exclusive agreement has been entered into with a REALTOR shall not preclude or inhibit any other REALTOR from entering into a similar agreement after the expiration of the prior agreement.”

If you feel that the agent violated one of the above provisions of the Code of Ethics and this agent is a REALTOR, then you can file a complaint with the local board. If you feel that this agent has violated the Broker’s Act, you may file a complaint with TREC.

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

5. HOT LINE: No Desire To Be a Facilitator?

QUESTION: I have a property listed and represent the seller. If an unrepresented buyer contacts me about the property, and I have no interest in being a facilitator AT ALL, how do I proceed with the unrepresented buyer? Can I give them a blank TAR contract to make an offer?

ANSWER: If the buyer is unrepresented, then they can simply remain that way unless they want to have some assistance. You can represent the seller and the buyer can remain unrepresented. You would still be able to provide them with the forms they need and explain the fors to them, BUT would not be able to represent them or advise them on how to complete the forms. You can fill it out for them, but they must make all decisions on their own. Another option would be to recommend that they seek another real estate agent to assist them. If you practice designated agency in your office, another agent in the office can assist them. Make sure that they understand that you represent the seller and that anything that they say to you would be disclosed to the seller.

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

6. Your LAST Week To SAVE…

February 22 — only ONE WEEK AWAY — is the DEADLINE to register at the Early-Bird Rate of $75 for the upcoming TAR Spring Conference! The registration fee jumps up to $125 after Feb. 22, and ALL registrations must be received by March 1, 2010.

NOTE: The cut-off date for the group rate on overnight rooms at the Embassy Suites has been extended to Feb. 28! Make your hotel reservations right away!

Our March 8-10 TAR Spring Conference, usually our biggest educational event of the year, takes place in Murfreesboro at the new Embassy Suites Hotel! [The Cool Springs Marriott, our location in years past, was not available for this year’s event.]

As in the past, we’re offering eight (8) hours of CE-accredited education sessions featuring several noteworthy national speakers, in addition to our business meetings!

EVEN IF you are not attending the education sessions at the upcoming TAR Spring Conference and are ONLY attending the committee meetings and/or Directors meeting, we STILL need you to register in advance for the Conference! For more information and/or to register, please CLICK HERE.

7. Upcoming Courses & Events

Feb. 19: TransactionDesk – Basic (3 hrs. CE) – Contact the Chattanooga Assn. of REALTORS, 423-698-8001

Feb. 22: Deadline for Early-Bird TAR Spring Conference Registrations

Feb. 24: Agency in Tennessee (4 hrs. CE) – Contact the Chattanooga Assn. of REALTORS, 423-698-8001

Feb. 25 – March 31: E-Class GRI 3, Financing the Successful Transaction (16 hrs. CE)

March 3: Agency in Tennessee (4 hrs. CE) – Contact the Clarksville Assn. of REALTORS, 931-552-3567

March 3: NAR Quadrennial Ethics course (3 hrs. CE) – Contact the Clarksville Assn. of REALTORS, 931-552-3567

March 8-10: 2010 TAR Spring Conference (8 hrs. CE) – Murfreesboro

March 17-18: GRI 2, Smart Marketing (16 hrs. CE) – Memphis

March 17-18: The Learning-Centered Instructor Workshop (16 hrs. CE) – TAR Office, Nashville

April – August: Leadership TAR 2010

The complete 2010 schedule of Classroom and E-Class GRI Courses is online HERE.

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

8. Rates Dip Below 5 Again

Interest on 30-year fixed home loans dropped below the 5 percent threshold this past week, reported Freddie Mac. The rate slipped to 4.97 percent after averaging 5.01 percent the previous week and 5.16 percent a year ago. Long-term mortgage interest set a record low of 4.71 percent in early December and has hovered near 5 percent since — largely due to a Federal Reserve MBS purchase program, which is slated to end on March 31.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]

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