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

1. Need Motivation? Read This…
2. Social Media Usage and Risks
3. Credit Scores Slip Across U.S.
4. Last Week for Early-Bird Rates!
5. HOT LINE: Removing Spouse from Contract?
6. HOT LINE: Which Items Stay with the Property?
7. GRI and Other Courses
8. Rates Hit New Record Lows, Again!

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1. Need Motivation? Read This…

Every now and then, an article captures my attention with a wake-up call and a good motivational message in the midst of otherwise depressing news!

This past week, a blog posting by speaker Denise Lones “hit the spot”!  Her article (“You Make the Market – The Market Doesn’t Make You!”) contains good advice, and steps to take, for agents who refuse to let the market determine their attitude or their success:

When I managed a large real estate office, I learned a powerful lesson. Sitting at my desk one day, it suddenly hit me. It was a revelation.

The revelation was this: I make my own market. No matter how dire the news.  No matter how “downward trending” the statistics may be. No matter what anyone else says.  My market is the one I create for myself.
*** END QUOTE ***

To read her entire posting, CLICK HERE.


2. Social Media Usage and Risks

Last week, Facebook announced that it had reached a major milestone: there are now 500 MILLION users on Facebook! In a recent TAR survey, Facebook was also – by far – the most popular social media platform among our REALTOR members.

A new article by Jim Crawford on Realty Times, however, emphasizes the need for brokers to establish policies on social media use by the agents for whom they are legally responsible! The article — “Public Social Media Policy: Does Your Office Have One?”

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***’
Be careful what you say is sage advice for anyone, and even more so in what you Blog or comment about online. The recent story of a real estate Blogger and his broker being sued by a developer should’ve reached the ears of many in our industry, but I am sure it hasn’t. It should be viewed as a wake up call that we will be held accountable for what is placed online either by ourselves or our agents. Agents need to understand the basics of what we can or cannot put into writing, and then share it with the world. If they do not, they may find themselves in a similar uncomfortable life changing legal event.
*** END QUOTE ***

Since Mr. Crawford’s admonition that “Brokers are charged by the state to review all advertising of their agents and are responsible for their agents’ actions” is very true for Tennessee, his warnings are timely!

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.

[SOURCE: Realty Times]

3. Credit Scores Slip Across U.S.

FICO data show that more than a quarter of consumers have a credit score of 599 or below, making them a poor risk to lenders and likely unable to get mortgages under tougher bank criteria. The analysis also shows that 17.9 percent of consumers have a top score of 800 or above, up from the historical average of 13 percent; and that the ranks of those with moderate credit – scores between 650 and 699 – has fallen from the historical average of 15 percent to 11.9 percent.

[SOURCES: Information, Inc.; Detroit News]

4. Last Week for Early-Bird Rates!

This is your last week to register at Early-Bird Registration Rates for the TAR Convention in September. The deadline is THIS FRIDAY, JULY 30, so ACT NOW and save $80! Those registering by July 30 will ALSO be entered in a drawing for a FREE iPad!

The 2010 Annual Convention of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS – slated for September 15-17 in Memphis – features a star-studded array of national speakers this year, to help TAR members recharge and rebuild their businesses in a troubled economy:

  • Entertainer and guitar virtuoso Mike Rayburn
  • Famed entrepreneur David Oreck
  • Tech guru Brian Copeland
  • National CRB President John Mayfield
  • Popular NAR instructor Tony Macaluso
  • National consultant and speaker Mike Staver
  • CRS instructor Pam Ermen
  • National safety expert Andrew Wooten

It’s a program you don’t want to miss. And Memphis offers a wealth of things to do and see while you’re there!

For more information and/or to register online, go to:

5. HOT LINE: Removing Spouse from Contract?

QUESTION: A married couple made an offer to purchase (and was accepted), however, the husband’s bad credit prevented the bank from granting the loan. Can the husband be removed from the purchase contract to allow the wife to continue as the buyer on her acceptable credit status alone? What would be the legal procedure to remove him from a contract and move forward to closing?

ANSWER: Any change to a contract would require an amendment. If the parties and the lender agree to remove the husband from the transaction, then you can draft an amendment to the contract removing the husband as a purchaser of the property. You would need to have all the parties to the original contract (including the husband) sign this amendment. F6 is a TAR form which you can use for the amendment.

[SOURCE: TAR Legal and Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]

6. HOT LINE: Which Items Stay with the Property?

QUESTION: If an agent submits an offer on a property and the MLS states certain things are included with the property at the listed price and an offer comes in at a price below the asking price, which items stay with the property?

ANSWER: The Hot Line cannot determine who is entitled to certain items in a particular sale. However, in order to avoid issues after the contract has been executed, we ALWAYS advise agents to make sure that any desired appliances and/or personal items are included in the real estate contract (such as refrigerators, washer/dryers, dishwashers, microwaves, flat screen tvs, water filters, pool tables, etc.). In addition, if you represent the sellers and you do not want to include something specific, make sure that you put that in the contract as well.

We also recommend that you NOT attach the MLS sheet as part of the contract. This is a very dangerous practice in that it makes everything in the MLS sheet binding (such as square footage, acreage, etc.) – items that are often in dispute and the causes of lawsuits.

[SOURCE: TAR Legal and Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]

7. GRI and Other Courses

July 29: Agency In Tennessee Course (4 hrs. CE) – Chattanooga. For more information or to register, call 423-698-8001.

Aug. 2: TransactionDesk Advanced Course (3 hrs. CE) – Chattanooga. For more information or to register, call 423-698-8001.

Aug. 4: 2009-2010 Core CE Course (4 hrs. CE) – Clarksville. For more information or to register go to:

Aug. 5 – Sept. 8: E-Class GRI 2, Smart Marketing – Your Listings & Your Services (16 hrs. CE) – a distance learning course. For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

Aug. 6: 2009-2010 Core CE Course (4 hrs. CE) – Chattanooga. For more information or to register, call 423-698-8001.

CLICK HERE for the complete 2010 schedule of Classroom and E-Class GRI Courses!

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

8. Rates Hit New Record Lows, Again!

Long-term mortgage borrowing costs continued in a downward pattern this past week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, which reported new lows in the 30- and 15-year rates. Average interest on the former dropped to 4.56 percent from 4.57 percent the previous week, while interest on the latter averaged 4.03 percent compared to 4.06 percent a week earlier. Also hitting a new low was the one-year adjustable-rate mortgage, which slipped to 3.7 percent from 3.74 percent the prior  week. The five-year ARM, meanwhile, was down to 3.79 percent from 3.85 percent week over week.

Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft said the slide in rates over the past few weeks “echoes the recent signs of weakening confidence in the strength of the economy, particularly the housing and consumer sectors.”

[SOURCES: Wall Street Journal; Information, Inc.]

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