The 3-15-11 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


CONTENTS
1. Technology Policies Needed!
2. The Keep My Tennessee Home Program
3. Emerging Kitchen and Bath Trends
4. HOT LINE: Payment to a LLC?
5. HOT LINE: Escrow Account for Rental Deposits?
6. Upcoming Events and Courses
7. Rates Low and Stable
8. Useful Web Links
9. No DIGEST For Two Weeks

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. Technology Policies Needed!

Two recent articles highlight the need for managing brokers to establish policies governing their sales associates’ use of the Internet and social media to garner business:

“Are You Missing a Link in Your Social Media Chain? – 5 Tips to Create a Social Media Policy” by Gee Dunsten
“Brokers Need Technology Policies” by Bob Hunt

As Bob Hunt notes:

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
It is awfully easy to become careless when emailing or posting on a social media site. In the heat of competition agents are sometimes liable to say things that may fall within a range from anti-trust violations to outright slander. The emails that may go back and forth relative to transactions can easily stray into breaches of agency duty (such as confidentiality), fair housing violations, and, these days, even lender fraud.
*** END QUOTE ***

To access Gee Dunsten’s article, CLICK HERE.
To access Bob Hunt’s article, CLICK HERE.

NOTE: Gee Dunsten is one of the featured speakers at our TAR Spring Conference next week!

[SOURCES: RISMedia; Realty Times]


2. The Keep My Tennessee Home Program

The Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) has advised us of “a new program available statewide to assist unemployed and underemployed homeowners cover their mortgage payments while they work to increase their income.”

The Keep My Tennessee Home Program is administered by THDA through trained foreclosure prevention counselors. The preliminary eligibility assessment is made at: http://www.KeepMyTNHome.org

If an applicant is deemed eligible, the applicant is paired with a foreclosure prevention counselor to continue the loan application. Keep My Tennessee Home will provide 0%, deferred, forgivable loans to homeowners to pay their mortgage and mortgage-related expenses. The payments are sent directly to the servicer. THDA is aware that the program will not help everyone, but they anticipate helping 11,000 Tennesseans over the next four years!

For more information, go to: http://www.KeepMyTNHome.org

[SOURCE: THDA]


3. Emerging Kitchen and Bath Trends

A recent article in Residential Architect (“nkba notes 11 emerging kitchen and bath design trends,” by Stephani Miller) reported on a study by the National Kitchen and Bath Association, identifying emerging kitchen and bath design trends “likely to develop further in 2011” …seven kitchen trends, and four trends in bathroom design:

KITCHEN:
1. Shaker Style on the Rise
2. Darker Finishes First
3. Unrefrigerated Wine Storage
4. French Refrigeration
5. Induction Cooking
6. LED Uprising
7. Waste Disposal

BATHROOM
1. Quartz Surfacing
2. Green Color Palettes
3. Vessel Sinks
4. Satin Nickel Faucets

For more details about all eleven, CLICK HERE.

[SOURCES: Real Trends; NKBA]


4. HOT LINE: Payment to a LLC?

QUESTION: If a real estate licensee has also set up a LLC, could their broker pay the licensee’s commission checks to the LLC rather than the individual licensee?  Would it matter if the LLC has any partners as opposed to the licensee being the single partner in said LLC?

ANSWER: Commissions can only be paid to licensees (be they individual licensees or real estate companies).  Therefore, an individual licensee that has “incorporated” or “LLC’ed” himself CANNOT be paid a commission through the LLC. The individual holds the license, not the LLC company.  The only time that a company can hold a license is if it is a firm license. A company cannot be issued an individual license.

[SOURCE: TAR Legal & Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]


5. HOT LINE: Escrow Account for Rental Deposits?

QUESTION: As an agent, if you do property management, can the monies that need to be deposited in an escrow account go through our normal escrow account we use for other real estate transactions?

ANSWER: If this money is for rental deposits, then it MUST be held in a separate escrow account. Pursuant to the revised TREC Rule, 1260-2-.09:

Deposits and Earnest Money
(1)  Each broker shall maintain a separate escrow account for the purpose of holding any funds which may be received in his fiduciary capacity as deposits, earnest money, or the like.  Rental deposits must be held in a separate account.

[SOURCE: TAR Legal & Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]


6. Upcoming Events and Courses

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

March 17 – April 20: GRI 4, From Offer to Contract to Closing (16 hrs. CE) – An E-Class distance-learning course. For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

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: GRI 6, Sticky Situations (16 hrs. CE) – Knoxville. For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

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.

March 25: ABR Elective, Short Sales and Foreclosures (8 hrs. CE) – Chattanooga Association Office. For more information or to register, call 423-698-8001, Ext. 2015.

March 30-31: Land 101, Fundamentals of Land Brokerage, a RLI course (16 hrs. CE) – KAAR Office, Knoxville. For more information or to register, call 865-584-8647.

April 7-8: GRI 4, From Offer to Contract to Closing (16 hrs. CE) – MTAR Office, Murfreesboro. For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

April 7 – May 11: GRI 5, Systems for Success (16 hrs. CE) – An E-Class distance-learning course. For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

LEADERSHIP TAR: Registration is OPEN for the 2011 Leadership TAR Program, that begins APRIL 21! For more information or to become a part of it, CLICK HERE.

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

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


7. Rates Low and Stable

Fixed mortgage rates were relatively flat this past week, with Freddie Mac reporting that the average interest on a 30-year fixed loan bumped up a notch to 4.88 percent from 4.87 percent a week earlier. Average interest on 15-year fixed mortgages, meanwhile, was unchanged at 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


9. No DIGEST For Two Weeks

Due to the TAR Spring Conference next week and staff travel the week after that, the next issue of the TAR DIGEST will be the APRIL 5 Edition!