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

1. New Tennessee School Data Released
2. When the Seller Won’t Accept a Reasonable Offer
3. The Federal Reserve Wants YOU!
4. HOT LINE: Which Agency Status Do I Choose?
5. HOT LINE: More on Owner/Seller Financing?
6. Upcoming Events and Courses
7. Rates Back Down, BUT…
8. Useful Web 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. New Tennessee School Data Released

A critical issue for many as they consider a move to our wonderful state is the quality of the local school where they will live!

On Friday, the Tennessee Department of Education released a massive assessment of the state’s schools. Those results showed 75.5 percent of schools in good standing, 12.6 percent as “target” schools for not having made adequate yearly progress for one year, and 11.3 percent marked as “high priority.” Of the last group, 29 percent were on their way toward coming off the list of struggling schools.

You can search through the report online to determine how a particular school system, or even a particular school, fared in standardized testing! The report also includes demographic data (race, sex, etc.) for each school.

To find out how the school(s) in your area fared, CLICK HERE.

[SOURCES: TN Dept. of Education; Nashville Business Journal]

2. When the Seller Won’t Accept a Reasonable Offer

A blog-posted article by Christy Crouch (“If You’ve Ever Had A Seller Turn Down A Good Offer Then Read This”) recaps one agent’s approach to a seller who would not come down in price to accept a good offer:

I wanted to show you an email that I recently sent to a client who was seemingly not willing to budge on an offer that was less than $5,000 away from her price on a $350,000 home.

Just minutes after I hit the send button the seller called me. She wanted to thank me for bringing her attention to the points in the email and told me she wanted to accept the buyer’s offer.

My hope is that some of the content will be useful to you in your negotiations.
*** END QUOTE ***

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.


3. The Federal Reserve Wants YOU!

To be more accurate, the Federal Reserve would like your input on four short questions about the current real estate market. Your input is requested by the end of the day on Thursday, January 13. Please answer by clicking the link below. THANK YOU for helping out!

4. HOT LINE: Which Agency Status Do I Choose?

QUESTION: I have an exclusive listing agreement with a seller. I am working with a buyer that has narrowed his choices down to three properties, one of which is this seller’s property. If this buyer decides to put an offer on this property, which box do I check on the buyer’s rep agreement? Facilitator?

ANSWER: There are several ways that this can be handled. First, you do NOT have to enter into an agency relationship with the buyer. The buyer can simply remain unrepresented in this transaction. In this situation, you can perform customer-level services to the buyer; you just cannot represent them or assist them as you would if you were the buyer’s agent. For example, you can provide them with forms and explain them, but you cannot assist them in drafting an offer – suggestions on price, contingencies, etc. You must be certain that the buyer understands that you represent the seller and are looking out for the best interests of the seller.

Another option would be to assign another agent in your office to work with the buyer. The other agent could assist the buyer without a buyer agency agreement (as a facilitator) or with a buyer’s agency agreement (as a designated agent for the buyer). This can option only work in a designated agency office. If you practice traditional agency, then this will not work since all agents represent all clients. However, if the two agents working with the clients/customers are different, you could appoint one as designated agent to the seller and one as designated agent for the buyer.

The third option is to default to a facilitator. This can only be done if permitted under the listing and/or buyer’s representation agreements.  Some company policies dictate that the agent will default in the event that there is an unrepresented buyer. Some do not. If you default, you will need to verbally disclose this to the two parties and then confirm it in writing. TAR now has a new form for this. You can use form F1a – Notice of Change in Agency Status.

WHATEVER you do should be consistent with your office’s agency policy, so ask your broker for a copy of the office agency policy.

NOTE: On the Confirmation of Agency status form, it has been redesigned for 2011 to make it a bit easier. The left hand side of the form is for sellers and the right is for buyers. If you are working with the seller, only complete the left side. In addition, TAR has added a box for an unrepresented seller and an unrepresented buyer.

[SOURCE: TAR Legal & Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]

5. HOT LINE: More on Owner/Seller Financing?

QUESTION: In the December 7, 2010 edition of the TAR Digest had an article on the Safe Act. Have there been any rulings since this edition was published? Also, it states that you cannot negotiate the terms of a mortgage on behalf of a seller. Does this apply to negotiating for the buyer as well?

ANSWER: The Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions has issued a bulletin covering an exception to the law.  Now, an individual who is selling their own property (regardless of whether it is their residence) can do five or fewer mortgage loans within a twelve month period. Please note that this DOES NOT include business entities. Therefore, it must be Billy Bob Seller who owns it, not Billy Bob Seller, Inc., or Billy Bob Seller, LLC.  Please CLICK HERE for a copy of the bulletin.

[SOURCE: TAR Legal & Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]

6. Upcoming Events and Courses

Jan. 13 – Feb. 16: GRI 1, Professionalism in Real Estate (16 hrs. CE) – an E-Class distance-learning course. For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

Jan. 19: At Home With Diversity (7 hrs. CE) – Clarksville. To register, call 931-552-3567.

Jan. 26: Survive and Thrive Program (4 hrs. CE) – Jackson. To register, call 731-668-4907. This program includes two courses: “Timely Tools,” a survey of free and inexpensive tools you can use to build your business; and “Navigating Our Changed Economy,” a panel-based program examining what works and what doesn’t work in today’s market.

Jan. 26: 2011-2012 Core Course (6 hrs. CE) – GNAR, Nashville. To register, call 615-254-7516.

Jan. 27 – March 2: GRI 5, Systems for Success (16 hrs. CE) – an E-Class distance-learning course. For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

NOTE: Beginning in 2011, due to its content and use of Internet tools, GRI 5: Systems for Success will only be offered in E-Class format. This course remains a requirement for the GRI designation.

The complete 2011 schedule of GRI courses (both Classroom and E-Class) is online HERE.

LEADERSHIP TAR: Registrations are now being taken for the 2011 Class of Leadership TAR! For more information or to become a part of it, CLICK HERE.

INSTRUCTOR TRAINING: Registration is now open for our two-day instructor-training program – “The Learning-Centered Instructor Workshop” (16 hrs. CE) – to be held March 10-11, 2011, in Nashville at the TAR Office. For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

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

7. Rates Back Down, BUT…

Freddie Mac reports that mortgage interest was back down after a series of upward spikes. Rates for 30-year, fixed loans averaged 4.77 percent for the week ended Jan. 6, down from 4.86 percent a week earlier. The rate also is lower than a year ago, which Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft says should help foster housing market recovery. Interest on 15-year, fixed loans and five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages also dropped compared to the previous week, according to the mortgage financier.

Optimism might be tempered, however, by looking at a new article in RISMEdia by Mary Ellen Podmolik (“What Home Buyers Can Expect from the Real Estate Market in 2011”). It provides a thoughtful look and analysis of what lies ahead for buyers, especially in regard to financing their home purchase in the new year. To read it, CLICK HERE.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.; RISMedia]

8. Useful Internet Links

Click on any of the following to access:

Back Issues of the TAR DIGEST
Tennessee Assn. of REALTORS
TAR Education
Online Risk Reduction Resources
Online Resources for Association Leaders
Tennessee Real Estate Commission