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


CONTENTS
1. Flawed Foreclosure Documents Thwart Home Sales
2. Mediation Explained!
3. TAR Directors Endorse Benevolent Foundation Proposal
4. HOT LINE: Referral Fee to an Attorney?
5. HOT LINE: Advertising “Short Sale” Without Lender Approval?
6. GRI and Other Courses
7. Rates Lowest in 39 Years!
8. IMPORTANT LINKS

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. Flawed Foreclosure Documents Thwart Home Sales

Major lenders are conducting reviews after learning that employees rubber-stamped foreclosures without properly assessing the documentation. Thousands of foreclosures and pending home sales are now in limbo, and revelations of sloppy paperwork are prompting law enforcement officials and homeowners to challenge lenders’ rightful ownership of the notes underlying foreclosed homes.

The impact is being felt most in states like Florida that have a glut of distressed properties. Realty agents there and elsewhere are being told by Fannie Mae – which bought many of the troubled loans – to freeze deals and take sale properties off the market for as long as 90 days or more.

[SOURCES: Information, Inc.; New York Times]


2. Mediation Explained!

Since January 1, 2002, all local associations of REALTORS have been required by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) to offer mediation as an alternative to arbitration for arbitrable disputes.

Since 2002, in fact, NAR has referred to mediation as the PREFERRED method of dispute resolution, although many still don’t understand the service or the process. To help all of us out, NAR has posted several really helpful videos explaining mediation – videos that you can easily view online – by CLICKING HERE.

In order to offer mediation, as NAR policy requires, a local association needs one or more REALTORS trained as mediators who can provide the service.

As noted in our course announcements below, TAR is offering mediation training on Oct. 21-22. This is not a workshop that we often hold, so we encourage everyone who desires to be trained to attend this one!


3. TAR Directors Endorse Benevolent Foundation Proposal

At the recent meeting of the TAR Board of Directors in Memphis, the Directors approved a resolution in support of the campaign to encourage NAR to establish a Benevolent Foundation, to aid REALTORS, their staffs and families who experience catastrophic situations. More information can be found at: http://forpatssake.com/

If you would like to show your personal support of this project, the website above ALSO includes a petition that you can sign online.


4. HOT LINE: Referral Fee to an Attorney?

QUESTION: We have always heard that in order to receive a commission as a result of a real estate transaction, one must be 1) a licensed real estate agent, or 2) an attorney. An attorney-acquaintance of ours has referred business to us (more than once, actually). We haven’t done so, but is it legal for us to pay him a referral fee? If so, is there any special documentation we should put in the file to be compliant with real estate laws?

ANSWER: Actually, an attorney is not permitted to receive a commission or referral fee in a real estate transaction unless the attorney is also a licensed real estate agent. Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-302, only licensed real estate agents can receive referral fees (or gifts).

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


5. HOT LINE: Advertising “Short Sale” Without Lender Approval?

QUESTION: A lot of agents in my area are advertising a “short sale” on properties prior to getting any type of approval or numbers from the lender. Is this legal?

ANSWER: The important thing to remember is that the agent cannot be misleading in their advertising. We would advise all agents to be cautious and not advertise anything that could turn out to be false.

If the seller informs them that they are “under water” or that there is a possibility of a short sale, then advertising that fact is likely permissible without confirming. Remember, the lender will not speak to the agent unless they have permission to do so from the seller.  Even with that permission, the lender may still not speak to the real estate agent.

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


6. GRI and Other Courses

Oct. 14-15: GRI 4, From Offer to Contract to Closing (16 hrs. CE) – Cool Springs/Nashville Area. For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

Oct. 14 – Nov. 17: GRI 5, Systems for Success (16 hrs. CE) — an E-Class distance-learning course. For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

Oct. 25-26: GRI 4, From Offer to Contract to Closing (16 hrs. CE) – Gray, TN (Kingsport area). For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

Oct. 27-28: GRI 1, Professionalism in Real Estate (16 hrs. CE) – Knoxville. For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

The complete 2010 schedule of GRI Courses (both Classroom and E-Class) is online HERE.

In addition to GRI Courses:

Oct. 18: Homeownership Options for Tennessee’s Workforce (6 hrs. CE) – Gray (Northeast TN). For more information or to register, call 423-477-0040.

Oct. 20: NAR Ethics Course, for 2009-2012 Cycle (3 hrs. CE) – Springfield. For more information or to register, call 615-384-0816.

Oct. 21-22: Mediation Training – TAR Office. For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

Oct. 27: At Home With Diversity (7 hrs. CE) – Clarksville. For more information or to register, call 931-552-3567.

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


7. Rates Lowest in 39 Years!

Thirty-year fixed mortgages slipped to 4.27 percent this past week, the lowest on records dating back to 1971, from 4.32 percent the previous week. A drop in interest on 15-year loans to 3.72 percent from 3.75 percent, meanwhile, was the lowest on records dating back to 1991. Freddie Mac also reported that the five-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 3.47 percent from 3.52 percent the prior week, and the one-year ARM dropped to 3.40 percent last week from 3.48 percent.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]


8. IMPORTANT LINKS

Click on any of the following to access:

Back Issues of the TAR DIGEST
Tennessee Assn. of REALTORS
TAR Education
Tennessee Real Estate Commission