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


CONTENTS
1. “Disclosure By Neighbor”
2. Your Help IS Needed
3. HOT LINE: Advertising Listings on Facebook?
4. HOT LINE: Census Takers Asking Questions?
5. HOT LINE: TAR Forms Made Available to Public?
6. Upcoming Courses
7. Rates Remain Near Record lows

To ask a TAR Legal and Ethics Hot Line question, CLICK HERE.

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

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1. “Disclosure By Neighbor”

A blog post by Antonio Cardenas caught our attention last week: “Sellers, If You Don’t Tell The Buyer Everything… Your Neighbors Will”

His article captures a truth that all experienced REALTORS know …full disclosure at the outset is always preferable when dealing with property conditions that many sellers would rather not talk about, or document!

In addition to good advice, Mr. Cardenas’ article includes the story of one seller’s non-disclosure of a foundation issue that had occurred long before the seller even acquired the house, a non-disclosure that resulted in a costly lawsuit:

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
But how did the new owner knew? The neighbor across the street come to greet the new owners, and as they unloaded their belongings, she told them the history of the house, and how the foundation gave way, and how it was fixed. The new buyers felt they should have been told, consulted an attorney who made a case and got some money from the seller.
*** END QUOTE ***

The result? The sellers ended up paying $120,000 to the buyers, on top of legal fees for both parties after two years of haggling and sleepless nights!

To read the full posting, CLICK HERE.

[SOURCE: BrokerAgentSocial weblog]


2. Your Help IS Needed

We want your opinions ….no, let me rephrase that: We NEED your opinions!

Please take just a minute or two and respond to a SHORT (5-Question) survey of the TAR membership by CLICKING HERE.

We are preparing to update our Strategic Plan for the Tennessee Association of REALTORS and we want to know what YOU think about the future! This won’t take long, the survey ends in one week, and we’ll publish a summary of survey results in next week’s TAR DIGEST, for your viewing pleasure!


3. HOT LINE: Advertising Listings on Facebook?

QUESTION: Can I advertise my listing on Facebook?

ANSWER: Advertising on Facebook would be just like advertising in any other medium. You must comply with all advertising rules and regulations. At a MINIMUM, all advertising must contain the firm’s name AND firm telephone number.

In addition, Standard of Practice 12-9 in the REALTOR Code of Ethics states:

“REALTOR firm websites shall disclose the firm’s name and state(s) of licensure in a reasonable and readily apparent manner.

Websites of REALTORS and non-member licensees affiliated with a REALTOR’s firm shall disclose the firm’s name and that REALTOR’s or non-member licensee’s state(s) of licensure in a reasonable and readily apparent manner.”

Since a REALTOR’s Facebook page may be construed as just another website, compliance with all of the above would appear necessary.

[SOURCE: TAR Legal and Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]


4. HOT LINE: Census Takers Asking Questions?

QUESTION: I am getting calls on my listings and foreclosures from people saying they are with the Census Bureau about either the occupancy of the home or the forwarding address of the owners. They are giving me a call back number; but I am concerned this may violate my clients’ privacy. Should I respond?

ANSWER: You have a duty to preserve your client’s confidential information (and this would include information received from clients who have already closed). Therefore, you cannot disclose this information to the census workers unless you have the permission of your client. You can take down the census worker’s information and offer to ask your client to call them.

[SOURCE: TAR Legal and Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]


5. HOT LINE: TAR Forms Made Available to Public?

QUESTION: Is it acceptable for a firm (or an individual REALTOR) to have the TAR Forms online and accessible to the general public, without a password? I thought these forms are for the exclusive use of TAR members and should at least be secured behind a password.

ANSWER: You are correct that these forms are copyrighted and may ONLY be used by members of TAR. Therefore, it is NOT permitted for these forms to be posted online for use by members of the general public.

[SOURCE: TAR Legal and Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]


6. Upcoming Courses

June 28: TransactionDesk Basic Course (3 hrs. CE) – Union City. For more information contact Jennifer Hooks with the Reelfoot Regional Association of REALTORS at:

A new series of E-Class GRI courses begins in July, and more classroom GRI courses are scheduled in 2010, beginning in August. The complete 2010 schedule of Classroom and E-Class GRI Courses is online and accessible by CLICKING HERE.

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


7. Rates Remain Near Record Lows

The national average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 3 basis points this past week, to 4.95 percent with an average total of 0.45 discount and origination points, according to the Bankrate.com national survey of large lenders. A basis point is one-hundredth of 1 percentage point. One year ago, the 30-year mortgage index was 5.65 percent. Last week, the benchmark 15-year fixed-rate mortgage edged up at 4.36 percent.

Today’s mortgage rates remain near record lows, spurring on refinance activity. Refinance mortgage loan application volume is now at its highest level since October 2009, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

[SOURCE: Bankrate.com]


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

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