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

1. What You Told Us…
2. TAR Spring Conference – March 21-23
3. Upcoming TAR Division Forums
4. HOT LINE: Is This OK at Closing?
5. HOT LINE: Listing Agent Changed Firms?
6. REBarCamp 2011
6. Upcoming Events and Courses
7. Rates Decline Again
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. What You Told Us…

Last week, we conducted a simple four-question survey (for the Federal Reserve) as to the current real estate market in Tennessee. FYI, this is what you told us:

Has there been any sign of stabilization or improvement in your area for sales of new or existing homes?
.7% – Yes, much improvement
33.3% – Yes, some improvement
10.0% – I’m not sure
55.9% – No

Are foreclosures increasing and adding downward pressure in home prices?
75.6% – They still seem to be increasing and adding downward pressure on prices.
8.2% – They still seem to be increasing but they are not affecting prices.
6.4% – I’m not sure.
9.8% – No, foreclosures don’t seem to be increasing.

Have you heard any of your contacts in banking say mortgage applications are increasing?
13.5% – Yes
8.9% – I’m not sure
77.6% – No

Have you heard that qualifying for a mortgage is more difficult in your area?
89.9% – Yes
1.4% – I’m not sure
8.7% – No

2. TAR Spring Conference – March 21-23

March 21-23 are the dates for this year’s TAR Spring Conference! We’ll be back at the Cool Springs Marriott and Convention Center in Franklin, TN.

As in recent years, this year’s Conference will feature 8 hours of outstanding education sessions on March 21 & 22 – including sessions by national speakers Gee Dunsten, Pam Ermen, and Richard Flint, as well as THDA’s Debbie Reeves.

DON’T look for a Conference brochure in the mail …it’s not coming! In an effort to tighten our belts financially and keep the early-bird rate for members at a low $75, TAR’s leadership opted to promote this Conference (and future Conferences and Conventions) using email and our website!

SO, you can access the Conference schedule, registration information, hotel information and much more at:

Don’t put off registration! Early-bird Conference registration ends on March 7, and the deadline for hotel reservations is February 25There will be NO on-site registration.

3. Upcoming TAR Division Forums

TAR’s President along with other elected officers and TAR staff will be appearing at SIX upcoming Division Forums (two in each of Tennessee’s Grand Divisions) in early February. These Division Forums are open to ALL members, and there is no charge for attending!

The goal at each Forum is to update members on governmental affairs, education, and other services of TAR …AND to hear what you, the members, are most concerned about in this challenging time for the real estate business and the REALTOR organization!

Feb. 7 (8:30-11:00AM) – Central West Association office, Jackson
Feb. 7 (1:15-3:45PM) – Memphis Area Association office, Memphis
Feb. 9 (8:00-10:30AM) – TAR Office, Nashville
Feb. 9 (12:00-2:30PM) – Middle TN Association office, Murfreesboro
Feb. 10 (8:00-10:30AM) – Northeast TN Association office, Kingsport
Feb. 10 (1:00-3:30PM) – Knoxville Area Association office, Knoxville

Even though there is no charge to attend, we DO ask that everyone register in advance. CLICK HERE for more information or to register for one of the above Forums.

4. HOT LINE: Is This OK at Closing?

QUESTION: I have a closing and the closing attorney wanted to deduct the earnest money from my commission and have me write a check from my escrow account to my firm for the difference. Is this legal?

ANSWER: This is an acceptable practice. Certain closing attorneys prefer to do things this way. The important thing is to have a clear paper trail so that you can demonstrate to the TREC auditors what occurred, why you wrote a check from your escrow account to your operating account, and that you were entitled to this money. If you have a clear paper trail, you should be fine.

[SOURCE: TAR Legal & Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]

5. HOT LINE: Listing Agent Changed Firms?

QUESTION: I represent the buyer in a contract pending with another agent. The other agent has recently left the other firm. I spoke with him, and he said he was still working on the transaction; however, I sent him a contingency release and he has still not gotten it back to me. We are very close to the closing date on this, and I want to make sure I handle this transaction properly. Do I need to contact the principal broker of the other firm? Please advise.

ANSWER: Please keep in mind that the listings belong to the firm, not the agent who was working on them. Therefore, you will need to confirm that the listing is still with the previous company. If so, we recommend talking with your broker to see if it is OK to contact the broker for that firm to determine who in their office is the contact person for this listing, so that you know who to communicate with now concerning the contract. You should not communicate with the other agent who transferred firms if that listing was not transferred to the new firm.

[SOURCE: TAR Legal & Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]

6. REBarCamp 2011

Real Estate “BarCamps” are unique events in which attendees learn from – and share their own know-how with – one another!

According to all reports we’ve heard, last year’s REBarCamp was a huge success and this year’s program will hopefully be just as good, if not better!

This year’s event will be held at the ICON in The Gulch, Nashville, and will take place on Wednesday, April 13, 2011, 8:30AM – 5:00PM.

Best of all, there is NO CHARGE to attend!  For more information, go to:

7. Upcoming Events and Courses

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.

Jan. 27: At Home With Diversity (7 hrs. CE) – Memphis. To register, call 901-818-2421.

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!

8. Rates Decline Again

Fixed home-loan rates have declined for a second straight week along with a dip in Treasury yields, Freddie Mac reports. Rates for 30-year mortgages averaged 4.71 percent this past week from 4.77 percent the previous week. The 15-year mortgage, meanwhile, had an average rate of 4.08 percent, down from 4.13 percent the week before.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]

9. 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