The 3-1-11 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville

1. ALERT: New FTC Rule on Short Sale Disclosures!
2. REALTORS Move to Promote Homeownership
3. HOT LINE: Terminating a Listing?
4. HOT LINE: Seller Wants to Know Intended Use?
5. DEADLINE – TAR Spring Conference!
6. Upcoming Events and Courses
7. Rates Drop 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.

1. ALERT: New FTC Rule on Short Sale Disclosures!

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has issued a final rule that may impact real estate professionals who represent clients involved in a short sale transaction. Depending on certain factors, the rules may require real estate professionals to make certain disclosures to consumers if they negotiate a short sale with a lender, advertise short sales experience, or take upfront fees from short sale sellers. The MARS rules took full effect on January 31, 2011.

If a real estate professional represents clients in short sales, takes an upfront fee for his/her services, or promotes himself/herself to potential short sale sellers, the real estate professional needs to be aware of the MARS rule and the disclosure requirements.

For more detail about the rule itself, and an interpretation of what this means for REALTORS, NAR has published a complete analysis in its Letter of the Law newsletter. You can read this analysis at:


2. REALTORS Move to Promote Homeownership

A Fannie Mae survey of 3,407 people reveals that 71 percent expect home prices to stay the same or drop this year, up from 59 percent in January 2010; and 65 percent agree it is a good time to buy a house, down from 70 percent in June. Fannie Mae chief economist Doug Duncan expressed surprise at the bleak outlook given the government focus on helping homeowners. The poll also reflects an attitude change toward ownership, and expected rent gains this year signal rising demand for rental housing.

Meanwhile, the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) has launched a campaign to promote homeownership, with a tour bus slated to make stops in Chicago, Denver, and Portland. NAR believes a proposal to restrict or eliminate the mortgage interest deduction and efforts to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac threaten homeownership — which already has been hit by a decline in property values, stricter mortgage standards, and rising interest rates. The organization says homeownership gives people a sense of satisfaction and estimates that each purchase boosts the economy by more than $58,000 in terms of consumer spending and new jobs. NAR President-elect Maurice Veissi says, “I think the consumer is still sensitive to the importance of homeownership in America. They may be thinking this is a better time to rent than to buy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

[SOURCES: Financial Times; NAR; Information, Inc.]

3. HOT LINE: Terminating a Listing?

QUESTION: I have a client, seller who wants to end our contract. Is there a form that we both need to sign to relieve me of any obligation to him? He is very contentious and wants to sell the house himself. Probably has a buyer in the bush, so to speak. But I have never had this happen before and I want everything to be legal from my standpoint.

ANSWER: A listing agreement is a written contract which establishes an agency relationship between a seller and a real estate company. In order to terminate this contract, it requires a termination and release in writing and signed by all parties to the listing agreement. It should terminate the contract and release both sides from the obligations under the original listing agreement. Until this is completed, the listing agreement will continue in place until its natural termination.

Simply withdrawing the listing from the MLS does NOT, by itself, terminate the listing agreement. TAR does provide a form which will effectively terminate the listing. This is form F82. This form will allow you to place limitations on agreeing to release the listing such as a carry over period or a termination fee.

[SOURCE: TAR Legal & Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]

4. HOT LINE: Seller Wants to Know Intended Use?

QUESTION: I had a client who put an offer on a commercial property. Before the listing agent would accept the offer, they wanted my prospective buyer to disclose their intended use for the property. Is this legal?

ANSWER: In compliance with both the Broker’s Act [Section 62-12-404(3)(A)(ii)] and the Code of Ethics [Standards or Practice 1-6 and 1-7], the agent would have to present any offer that the agent receives.

However, sometimes sellers want to know what someone intends to do with their property before they will consider their offer. This may be an instruction that was given to the agent. This is fine, but it cannot be required for a discriminatory purpose (such as race, religion, national origin, etc.).

[SOURCE: TAR Legal & Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]

5. DEADLINE – TAR Spring Conference!

The deadline for the Early-Bird Registration Rate ($75) for this year’s Spring Conference is Monday, March 7, just ONE WEEK AWAY! After that date, the rate goes up to $125!

Make plans to attend an outstanding educational program and REGISTER TODAY! For more information about the March 21-23 Conference, go to:

6. Upcoming Events and Courses

March 2: Workshop for Agency Instructors (4 hrs. CE) – TAR Office, Nashville. For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

NOTE: This Workshop for Agency Instructors was originally scheduled for Feb. 22, but was rescheduled for March 2!

March 10-11: The Learning-Centered Instructor Workshop (16 hrs. CE) – TAR Office, Nashville. For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

March 14: TransactionDesk Advanced (3 hrs. CE) – MAAR Office, Memphis. For more information or to register, call 901-818-2421.

March 17: 2011-2012 Core CE Course (6 hrs. CE) – GNAR Office, Nashville. For more information or to register, call 615-254-7516.

March 21-23: TAR Spring Conference (8 hrs. CE) – Cool Springs Marriott, Franklin, TN. See news item #5 above for more information!

March 24-25: The REALTORS Land Institute is holding their 2011 National Land Conference in Nashville this year at the Hilton Nashville Downtown. If you are involved in land sales, this is a unique opportunity to attend a national conference without traveling cross-country! For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

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.

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

7. Rates Drop Again

Borrowing costs for long-term home loans dipped in the latest week, reports Freddie Mac. According to the firm, average interest on 30-year fixed mortgages slid to 4.95 percent for the week ended Feb. 24 from 5.0 percent the prior week and 5.05 percent a year ago. Meanwhile, the 15-year fixed rate settled at 4.22 percent compared to 4.27 percent the previous week and 4.40 percent in the year-earlier period. Five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.8 percent interest, down from 3.87 percent the week before and 4.16 percent during the same period of 2010; but one-year ARMs bumped up to 3.40 percent from 3.39 percent, although still significantly below the year-ago average of 4.15 percent.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]

8. Useful Internet Links

Click on any of the following to access:

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