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


CONTENTS
1. TAR Legislative Update Published
2. New Survey Reveals Unhappy Clients!
3. HOT LINE: Is He Licensed or Not?
4. HOT LINE: Upping the Purchase Price?
5. HOT LINE: Referral Fee for Transferred Listings?
6. TREC Recognizes, Congratulates Woods
7. Upcoming Courses & Events
8. Rates Remain Low, Virtually Unchanged

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. TAR Legislative Update Published

You can download the March 22 Legislative Update from TAR – as a PDF document – by CLICKING HERE.

In addition to news about several bills before the Legislature, the Update includes the reminder that “RPAC financially supports many campaigns but does not officially endorse candidates for public office.”


2. New Survey Reveals Unhappy Clients!

A recent survey revealed a disturbing trend in consumer opinion among buyers and sellers:

*** BEGIN QUOTE *** The study reported on consumer responses to one simple proposition: “Yes, I would use the same agent” over the six-year period from 2004 to 2009. It reports that 79% of respondents said “Yes” in 2004 but only 22% said “Yes” in 2009. Statistics like these do not inspire loyalty campaigns or much hope for referrals, do they? *** END QUOTE ***

While the survey was conducted by the California Association of REALTORS, the results likely point to changes in consumer opinion that extend well beyond the borders of California!

Mike Parker discusses and analyzes the survey results in a new RISMedia article (“Report: Only 22% of Home Buyers are Happy with Their Agent – What That Means to You and How to Get Past It”) that you can read HERE.

[SOURCE: RISMedia]


3. HOT LINE: Is He Licensed or Not?

QUESTION: How do I verify that someone is both licensed and a REALTOR without asking for their license number? I have a person who said he is a commercial REALTOR and wants to receive my coop fee of 3%. His card has his home address and he isn’t a member of the MLS. Is there a lookup service?

ANSWER: In order to determine whether someone is a Tennessee licensed real estate agent, you can check on TREC’s website HERE.

On the left hand side, there is a License Search option. This will lead you to a page in which you can look up anyone who is licensed through the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. [Of course, you can also look up your OWN license on this site …as well as the Commission’s records of your CE courses taken! Save the bookmark.]

REALTOR membership is obviously different from licensing, since one could be a licensed agent without being a REALTOR. You can determine whether someone is a REALTOR by looking on NAR’s website HERE.

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


4. HOT LINE: Upping the Purchase Price?

QUESTION: I represent a buyer in a transaction. We are upping the purchase price to include closing costs. Is this legal?

ANSWER: There is nothing wrong with this practice AS LONG AS several things are taken into account. First, the property will have to appraise for the amount or else the buyer’s lender will likely not approve the loan. Secondly, the buyer’s lender will have to approve. NOTE: The actual lender – the institution funding the loan – is the one that needs to approve this arrangement, not simply the loan originator or mortgage broker.

Finally, you indicated that this is a foreclosure property. The seller may not approve this provision in the contract. This is not as likely in this situation as it would be on a short sale, but it is a possibility.

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


5. HOT LINE: Referral Fee for Transferred Listings?

QUESTION: I have a new agent who just transferred from another firm. Her prior firm is asking for a 25% referral fee on any listings they released to her. Is this legal?

ANSWER: PLEASE remember that listings are the property of the firm, not the individual agents. It is up to the discretion of the principal broker as to whether they will permit any exiting agents to take their listings with them when they leave. The principal broker is permitted to negotiate conditions for releasing any listing. This would include requiring that a referral fee be paid on the listings.

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


6. TREC Recognizes, Congratulates Woods

At its recent meeting, the Tennessee Real Estate Commission honored TAR’s Linda Woods with a “Triple T Award” for being “Tireless, Tremendous, and Terrific”! Linda Woods, as countless TAR members know, has served as TAR’s Administrative Vice President for more years than she wants anybody to know, and this award is SO well-deserved! Join us in congratulating Linda!

[SOURCE: TREC]


7. Upcoming Courses & Events

March 24-25: GRI 1, Professionalism in Real Estate (16 hrs. CE) – Chattanooga.

March 24-25: GRI 5, Systems for Success (16 hrs. CE) – Knoxville.

March 24: Workshop for Agency Instructors – TAR Office, Nashville.

March 25: Workshop for Contracts Instructors – TAR Office, Nashville.

April 7-8: GRI 1, Professionalism in Real Estate (16 hrs. CE) – Cool Springs, Franklin.

April 8 – May 12: E-Class GRI 5, Systems for Success (16 hrs. CE).

April 10-11: REALTOR Nationwide Open House Weekend! The Tennessee Association of REALTORS joins with state and local associations around the country to promote the Nationwide Open House Weekend, April 10-11. Encourage your buyers to visit and your sellers to participate!

April 20: TransactionDesk Basic Course (3 hrs. CE) – TAR Office, Nashville.

April 20: Forms 101 Course (4 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 Remain Low, Virtually Unchanged

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaging 4.96 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending March 18, 2010, up slightly from the previous week when it averaged 4.95 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.98 percent.

The 15-year FRM averaged 4.33 percent with an average 0.6 point, up slightly from the prior week when it averaged 4.32 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.61 percent.

“Mortgage rates for fixed-rate mortgages were virtually unchanged this week as the effects of the prior storms emerged in recent housing data,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “Both the South and Northeast regions had all the declines due to the snow storms. In addition, homebuilder confidence unexpectedly dipped in March according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.”

[SOURCE: Freddie Mac]


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