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


CONTENTS
1. What Buyers Are Looking For
2. FHA Relaxes Anti-Flipping Rule
3. NEWS BRIEFS…
4. HOT LINE: Getting Signature Page Only?
5. NOTICE: Registration for TAR Spring Conference
6. Upcoming Courses & Events
7. Rates Slightly Above 5

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. What Buyers Are Looking For

A recent survey of home buyers, conducted by the California Association of REALTORS, has lessons for the rest of the country. When the survey explored what home buyers are asking for from their real estate agent, buyers put the greatest value on:

  • A better understanding of the direction of the market;
  • An improvement in the agent’s negotiation skill; 82% were dissatisfied;
  • More assistance in the mortgage approval process;
  • A good understanding of purchasing distressed properties; and
  • A faster response time from the agent.

Also, even though the buyers can now access a world of information on the Internet, “54% of them still think the information they gathered on the Internet was less useful than that provided by their real estate agent.”

Training and knowledge obviously remain valuable assets!

[SOURCE: Stefan Swanepoel’s Real Estate Trends Update]


2. FHA Relaxes Anti-Flipping Rule

Beginning February 1, the Federal Housing Administration will provide mortgage insurance for some purchases in which the seller bought the property and held it for fewer than 90 days.

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
“FHA borrowers, because of the restrictions we are now lifting, have often been shut out from buying affordable properties,” said FHA Commissioner David H. Stevens. “This action will enable our borrowers, especially first-time buyers, to take advantage of this opportunity.”

The waiver will take effect on February 1, 2010 and is effective for one year, unless otherwise extended or withdrawn by the FHA Commissioner. To protect FHA borrowers against predatory practices of “flipping” where properties are quickly resold at inflated prices to unsuspecting borrowers, this waiver is limited to those sales meeting the following general conditions:

* All transactions must be arms-length, with no identity of interest between the buyer and seller or other parties participating in the sales transaction.
* In cases in which the sales price of the property is 20 percent or more above the seller’s acquisition cost, the waiver will only apply if the lender meets specific conditions.
* The waiver is limited to forward mortgages, and does not apply to the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for purchase program.
*** END QUOTE ***

To read more, see HUD Press Release No. 10-011 HERE.

[SOURCES: REALTOR Magazine Online; HUD]


3. NEWS BRIEFS…

  • Houses are getting smaller. Data recently released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found the average size of a new home that was completed in 2009 fell to 2,480 square feet from 2,520 square feet in 2008. The last time the average completed-home size fell by a statistically significant amount was 1982.
  • NAR’s REALTORS Relief Foundation is contributing $550,000 to the relief of victims of the Haiti earthquake.
  • REALTORS who took part in a national survey in November, 2009, reported that the number of first-time home buyers continued to climb to 51 percent.

4. HOT LINE: Getting Signature Page Only?

QUESTION: It seems that almost all of the paperwork I send over to the other agent in a transaction to get signed only comes back with the last (signature) page. Shouldn’t I be getting the entire agreement back?

ANSWER: We would strongly recommend getting copies of ALL the pages back in addition to the signatures on the last page. Unless you get all pages back, you will not know if one of the parties has stricken or added anything to the contract. The best practice is to always send all pages of any agreement. If you do not get them, call and ask for them to resend all pages.

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


5. NOTICE: Registration for TAR Spring Conference

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 DO need everyone to register in advance for the Conference!

There is NO charge to attend the Conference if you are not attending any of the education sessions, but registration is still required… we need an accurate count for seating, etc.  If you are attending, but have not yet registered, please do so now. It will only take a minute or two!

For more information and/or to register, please go HERE.


6. Upcoming Courses & Events

Feb. 9, 10: Divisional Information Exchange Forums & Professional Standards Training sessions – Middle & East TN

Feb. 11: RESPA Really Matters! (4 hrs. CE) – TAR Office, Nashville

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

Feb. 22: Deadline for 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 8-10: 2010 TAR Spring Conference (8 hrs. CE) – Murfreesboro

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!


7. Rates Slightly Above 5

Long-term mortgage rates climbed above 5 percent this past week, as 30-year, fixed loans averaged 5.01 percent compared to 4.98 percent the previous week, according to Freddie Mac. Average interest on 15-year, fixed loans rose to 4.40 percent from 4.39 percent; and five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages climbed to 4.27 percent from 4.25 percent. One-year ARMs fell to 4.22 percent from 4.29 percent a week earlier.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]


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