The 8-23-11 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


CONTENTS
1. Homebuyers Hunkering Down?
2. New FTC Rule May Affect Brokerages
3. DEADLINE For TAR Committee Requests!
4. HOT LINE ADVISORY: Use the Counter Offer Form Correctly
5. HOT LINE: Is Other Agent Currently Licensed?
6. HOT LINE: Writing Up A Very Low Offer?
7. Upcoming GRI & Other Courses
8. Rates At 40-Year Low!
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. Homebuyers Hunkering Down?

The National Association of REALTORS reports a 10 percent jump in home buyer cancellations over the last two months from the same period in 2010, mainly due to low appraisals and strict lending standards, but observers say recent stock market losses also have prompted home buyers to back out of deals. HSH Associates Vice President Keith Gumbinger says home buyers’ “hunker-down mentality” has been reinforced by the fact that many have lost the money they would have used for down payments due to declines in the stock market. Experts say low mortgage rates will spur home buyers to take action only if they are not worried about their retirement money being lost on the stock market or home prices falling again.

For more information, CLICK HERE.

[SOURCES: Bloomberg News; NAR; Information, Inc.]


2. New FTC Rule May Affect Brokerages

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has recently issued its Mortgage Acts and Practices – Advertising, or “MAP”, rule (“Rule”). The Rule imposes requirements on those that provide information about mortgage credit products to consumers by prohibiting misrepresentations during these communications and also imposing recordkeeping requirements. The Rule will impact real estate professionals that provide this information to consumers, such as giving a consumer a lender’s rate sheet. The Rule took effect on August 19, 2011, this past Friday.

For more information, see NAR’s advisory on REALTOR.ORG HERE.

[SOURCE: NAR]


3. DEADLINE For TAR Committee Requests!

The deadline is this WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24, for requests to serve on a TAR committee in 2012!

To fill out a committee request form (online), just go to:
http://tnrealtors.com/members/officerforms.php

Logging in at the TAR website (http://tnrealtors.com) is required to get to the above page.


4. HOT LINE ADVISORY: Use the Counter Offer Form Correctly

There seems to be a great deal of confusion on the proper way to use form F8, the Counter Offer form, which can lead to very big problems at or before closing, possibly even threatening the entire transaction. It is very important that REALTORS understand and use the form correctly to protect both your clients and yourselves. Pay close attention to lines 23-26:

It states “ALL OTHER TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE ORIGINAL ATTACHED PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT ARE ACCEPTABLE TO THE UNDERSIGNED. ALL TERMS AND CONDITIONS PROPOSED IN PREVIOUS COUNTER OFFERS, IF ANY, ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THIS COUNTER OFFER UNLESS RESTATED HEREIN.

For an in-depth explanation and example of a multi-counter situation, TAR Counsel has provided the following document:
http://tnrealtors.com/pdf/Counter_Offer_Explanation.pdf

[SOURCE: TAR’s Legal & Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]


5. HOT LINE: Is Other Agent Currently Licensed?

QUESTION: If I suspect the other agent in a transaction is not actually (or currently) licensed, how can I check this out?

ANSWER:  It’s easy to do. You can always go to TREC’s website and do a license search at: http://verify.tn.gov/

Not only can you check out someone’s current license status there; you can also – by clicking on their name – see which CE-accredited courses they have taken, etc.

Of course, you can ALSO look up your own license and education record at the same location!

[SOURCE: TAR’s Legal & Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]


6. HOT LINE: Writing Up A Very Low Offer?

QUESTION: If a listing agent gets a very low offer on a property from an unrepresented buyer, is he required to write up and present it? I know that, if he is a seller’s agent and has in writing that the sellers do not want to see any offers below a certain amount, that would be okay. This is not the case, but the listing agent did not want to write up and present the buyer’s offer.

ANSWER: The Broker’s Act states “Unless the following duties are specifically and individually waived, in writing by a client, a licensee shall assist the client by receiving all offers and counter-offers and forwarding them promptly to the client.” Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-404(3)(A)(ii).

TREC Rule 1260-2-.08 states “A broker or affiliate broker promptly shall tender every written offer to purchase or sell obtained on a property until a contract is signed by all parties.”  Therefore, an agent must present all offers to the client unless they have instructed you not to do so in writing and signed by them. It is arguable as to whether an agent would be required to write up the offers. However, it is likely that TREC would deem that there is a duty to your seller to write up any offer that is presented to you orally regardless of whether you think it is too low. Therefore, an agent should write up the offer, even if they are representing the seller unless the seller states that they will not accept or consider an offer such as that.

Furthermore, under Standard of Practice 1-6, “REALTORS shall submit offers and counter-offers objectively and as quickly as possible.”  In addition, Standard of Practice 1-7 states in pertinent part, “When acting as listing brokers, REALTORS shall continue to submit to the seller/landlord all offers and counter-offers until closing or execution of a lease unless the seller has waived this obligation in writing.”

[SOURCE: TAR’s Legal & Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]


7. Upcoming GRI & Other Courses

Aug. 25 – Sept. 28: GRI 3, Financing the Successful Transaction (16 hrs. CE) – An E-Class distance-learning course. For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

Aug. 25: 2011-2012 Residential Core Course (6 hrs. CE) – EMTAR Office, Mt. Juliet. For more information or to register, go to: http://www.emtar.com/2011educationSchedule.htm

Aug. 31: Quadrennial Ethics Course (3 hrs. CE) – RCAR Office, Cleveland. For more information or to register, call 423-476-5912.

Aug. 31: Agency in Tennessee (4 hrs. CE) – RCAR Office, Cleveland. For more information or to register, call 423-476-5912.

Sept. 1: 2011-2012 Residential Core Course (6 hrs. CE) – GNAR Office, Nashville. For more information or to register, call 615-254-7516.

Sept. 9: TransactionDesk Advanced (3 hrs. CE) – MAAR Office, Memphis. For more information or to register, call 901-818-2421.

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!


8. Rates At 40-Year Low!

Freddie Mac reported on Aug. 18 that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to 4.15 percent for the week from 4.32 percent the prior week, marking the lowest level since 1971. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate dropped to a new low of 3.36 percent. Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisers says low mortgage rates will not spark a recovery in the housing market, citing the difficulty of qualifying for a mortgage.

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

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