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

1. First-Time Homebuyers In Retreat
2. Leadership TAR Graduates – Class of 2010
3. HOT LINE: Requiring a Particular Title Company?
4. HOT LINE: Agents Doing Property Management?
5. Rebuild Your Business, Earn Your GRI!
6. GRI and Other Courses
7. Rock-Bottom Rates

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

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1. First-Time Homebuyers In Retreat

First-time home buyers are retreating from the housing market, accounting for only 39% of home purchases in July, down from 48% in March, according to the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance Monthly Survey of Real Estate Market Conditions, released this week.

The percentage of first-time buyers last month was at the lowest level in at least a year.

“The end of the tax credit has clearly had an effect,” said Thomas Popik, research director for Campbell Surveys, in a news release. “First-time home-buyer participation is continuing to drop. We expect a further decline in first-time home-buyer activity, perhaps reaching as low as 30% to 35% of the market by the fall months.

…First-time home buyers are crucial to the health of the housing market because they soak up excess inventory; repeat buyers don’t have the same effect because they’re selling a home at the same time they’re buying another.

Having fewer first-timers buying a home will likely put downward pressure on home prices in the late summer and fall, according to the Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance survey.
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To read the entire article from which the above was excerpted, CLICK HERE.


2. Leadership TAR Graduates – Class of 2010

Congratulations to the following individuals, all graduating members of the 2010 Class of Leadership TAR:

Frances Anderson (Collierville)
Marilyn Blankenship (Brentwood)
Travis Close (Signal Mountain)
Jonathan Davis (Nashville)
Audrey Davis (Memphis)
Deanna Dellinger (Gatlinburg)
Gayle Haggard (Cookeville)
Shay Gresham Howard (Nashville)
Pat Lichterman (Memphis)
Russ Quarles (Jefferson City)
Karen Randolph (Kingsport)

The above will all be formally recognized at the Directors Meeting at the upcoming TAR Annual Convention in Memphis. Well done, folks!

Plans for the 2011 Leadership TAR program will be released later this year!

We also want to congratulate two members of past Leadership TAR Classes, who were recently selected for the 2011 Class of NAR’s Leadership Academy: Hagan Stone (2005) and Jennie Zopfi (2009)!

3. HOT LINE: Requiring a Particular Title Company?

QUESTION: One of our agents has a good success record with short sales. He knows how to structure transactions that actually close, and he always recommends working with a particular title company that helps ensure a successful closing process. Another agent has brought a buyer but is not happy about working with my agent’s recommended title company. Can the listing agent promote the benefits of using the recommended title company to the seller, and let the seller decide if the seller wants to insist on using the recommended title company in the counter offer?

ANSWER: There is a serious problem with this approach. Under RESPA, if the buyer is paying for the title insurance, they get to pick the title insurance company. If the seller is paying for the title insurance, then they can select the company. Since this is a short sale, it is very likely that the bank will not allow the seller to pay for the title insurance. This is something that you would need to discuss with the bank. Again, if the buyer is paying for it, they get to pick the insurance company.

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

4. HOT LINE: Agents Doing Property Management?

QUESTION: I’m the managing broker and I have agents who want to do property management. I want no part of this activity. Is there a way they can have their own escrow account for this that will not involve our firm financially other than insurance is concerned?

ANSWER: NO. The agents cannot have their own escrow account. Under the Broker’s Act, the Broker is responsible for any funds which come into the company which belong to third parties and is ultimately responsible for ensuring that they are deposited into the escrow account. Brokers are responsible for opening the escrow accounts.

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

5. Rebuild Your Business, Earn Your GRI!

While business is still very slow in many parts of the state, using your “down time” to rebuild your business is the best strategy.  This could be your best time to consider earning your GRI:

The GRI is the one designation you DON’T have to pay to keep! While other designations charge you annual dues just to keep using the designation, GRI is the one designation that is yours for life with no annual dues or other fees required!

The GRI is one of the most respected designations in real estate! We have never “grandfathered” REALTORS into the designation or allowed anyone to purchase their way out of course requirements, so REALTORS know that those who achieve the GRI designation have truly earned it!

The GRI is one of the most up-to-date designation programs in real estate! The GRI designation has been offered in Tennessee for over 40 years, but the courses are updated annually to keep pace with a changing industry. Almost no other designation programs can make that claim!

6. GRI and Other Courses

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

In addition to GRI Courses:

Sept. 10: 2009-2010 Core CE Course (4 hrs. CE) – Clarksville. For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

Sept. 15-17: 2010 TAR Annual Convention (12 hrs. CE) – Memphis.  For more information, CLICK HERE.

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

7. Rock-Bottom Rates

Average interest on long-term mortgages slid to a NEW record low for the eighth time in nine weeks and could dip more. Freddie Mac reports that 30-year fixed loans averaged 4.36 percent last week, down from 4.42 percent a week earlier; the 15-year fixed rate fell to a new low of 3.86 percent from 3.90 percent; and adjustable-rate mortgages were also below 4 percent. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Michael Fratantoni said the group expects that rates “will begin to rise as the economic situation improves along with jobs.”

The steep drops in July that were reported last week – in both existing home sales and new home sales — obviously added to worries about the speed with which the real estate market may recover. National sales of new homes hit a 40-year low, and sales of existing homes hit a 15-year low!

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]

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