The 3-8-11 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville

1. Higher Costs Ahead for FHA Mortgages
2. Do You Want To Be On TV?
3. DEADLINE TODAY – TAR Spring Conference!
4. HOT LINE: Paying Buyer’s Closing Costs?
5. HOT LINE: Disbursing Earnest Money to Third Party?
6. Upcoming Events and Courses
7. MARCH 2011 Online CE Promotion!
8. Rates Fall Again
9. 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. Higher Costs Ahead for FHA Mortgages

An article published online at (“Higher costs ahead for FHA-insured mortgages” by Amy Hoak) explains why FHA-insured mortgages have grown as a percentage of the mortgage market AND the changes ahead for the FHA.

As one of the few backers of low-down-payment mortgages in a time of stringent lender underwriting, the Federal Housing Administration has become a primary means of financing for U.S. home buyers.

But as the government moves to reform the mortgage market, the FHA is heading for some changes that could limit borrowers’ access to the loans – or at least make them more expensive.

About 56% of mortgages for a home purchase were FHA-insured in 2009, up from 6% in 2007, according to a report from the George Washington University School of Business.
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To read more, CLICK HERE.


2. Do You Want To Be On TV?

MY FIRST PLACE, HGTV’s popular series, is coming back for a tenth season and they’re looking for first-time homebuyers (and their agents!) in Nashville and surrounding areas RIGHT NOW!

They are looking for fun, high-energy people who are just starting the home-buying process for their first place and would like to share their story with HGTV! The goal is to capture all the trials and tribulations of looking for, bidding on and buying someone’s “first place.”

Taping takes place this spring. Ideal candidates will be enthusiastic buyers with a unique story to tell and a desire to share their experiences! Singles, couples and families are all invited to apply.

Candidates who complete taping will receive a monetary gift as part of the show and also a DVD copy of their episode to document their first home buying experience for all time! For more information, you can request an application by emailing: [Or call Kari Woodard at (303) 872-8697.]

3. DEADLINE TODAY – TAR Spring Conference!

The deadline for the Early-Bird Registration Rate ($75) for this year’s Spring Conference is TODAY, Monday, March 7! After today, the rate goes up to $125!

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

4. HOT LINE: Paying Buyer’s Closing Costs?

QUESTION: I think you may have dealt with this question a while back, but can an agent in my office agree to pay part or all of a buyer/client’s closing costs?

ANSWER: The Legislature passed a law that states: “A real estate licensee shall not give or pay cash rebates, cash gifts or cash prizes in conjunction with any real estate transaction.  As part of the Tennessee Real Estate Commission’s general rulemaking authority the commission may regulate the practices of real estate licensees in regard to gifts, prizes or rebates that are not otherwise prohibited by law.”  Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-302(b). The Tennessee Real Estate Commission (TREC) has interpreted this law as prohibiting agents from paying closing costs for their clients. You can offer to reduce your commission, but you cannot pay the closing costs. In addition to this, the lender may likely have a problem with a third party paying a portion of the closing costs.

[SOURCE: TAR Legal & Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]

5. HOT LINE: Disbursing Earnest Money to Third Party?

QUESTION: I have a listing where the contract did not work out due to financing issues on the buyer’s side. This morning, the buyer’s agent advised me that we needed to make the earnest money refund check out to his company so they could recoup the cost of the appraisal and then give buyer the remaining amount. I believe the earnest money check must be made out to the buyer, and they should deal with the appraisal money as a separate issue. Can you please clarify?

ANSWER: We would NOT recommend disbursing the check in this fashion.   The earnest money check should only be made payable to either the buyer or the seller, depending upon who is entitled to it. Otherwise, it should be stated in the purchase and sale agreement as to any other instructions for distribution. If you were to cut a portion of the earnest money check to a third party, this could raise the eyebrows of a TREC auditor.

[SOURCE: TAR Legal & Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]

6. Upcoming Events and Courses

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 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.

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. March 2011 Online CE Promotion!

The CE Shop is an online CE partner of TAR and TREEF, with affordable online versions of the 2011-2012 Core Course and other offerings. They have a special MARCH promotion that began on 3/1/2011 and extends to 3/31/2011:

If you are in need of fulfilling your continuing education hours, they have a great option for you!


For a limited time, they are offering you a special 17% discount for online CE! Go to:

Enter the promotional code March11 at checkout to receive your discount.

[SOURCE: The CE Shop]

8. Rates Fall Again

Mortgage rates fell again this past week, along with the lower yields on Treasury bonds, reports Freddie Mac. Average interest on 30-year fixed loans declined to 4.87 percent from 4.95 percent a week earlier, and the 15-year fixed home loan rate slipped to 4.15 percent from 4.22 percent.

[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
TAR on Facebook
Follow TAR on Twitter
Online Risk Reduction Resources
Online Resources for Association Leaders
Tennessee Real Estate Commission