The 9-20-11 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville

1. The Changing Responsibilities of Agents
2. TAR Installs 2012 Officers!
3. Award Recipients Named
4. HOT LINE: Is a Referral Fee Still Due?
5. HOT LINE: When Are Agency Duties Fulfilled?
6. Upcoming GRI & Other Courses
7. Rates Hit NEW Record Low
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. The Changing Responsibilities of Agents

The weak housing market and the economic downturn have forced real estate agents to add therapist and life counselor to their job description, as the buying and selling process becomes more emotional.

“Most of my time is spent fielding phone calls and also calling other people to make sure they’re okay – emotionally okay – and making sure their financing situation is holding. It’s very, very different,” says Roberta Baldwin, agent-owner of Montclair, N.J.-based Keller Williams NJ Metro Group.

Agents must have more patience and savvy to close deals in the current market, and some have turned to bank-owned properties to ensure a more straightforward process. Agents must deal with clients calling about job losses and asking for advice, as well as voicing their concerns about declining home values. Experts say agents must not get dragged down by their clients’ negative attitudes, but they must take care to listen to their clients and be upfront about current market conditions. Rich Levin, a productivity consultant, says, “The agent needs to be the source of both solid information so people look to them, but also optimism.”

[SOURCE: Information, Inc.]

2. TAR Installs 2012 Officers!

The TAR Annual Convention concluded this past week with the installation of TAR’s 2012 Officers:
2012 TAR President – Sue Turner (Memphis)
2012 TAR President-elect – Randy Thomas (Kingsport)
2012 TAR Secretary/Treasurer – Neal Clayton (Nashville)
2012-2013 Division 1 VP – Joan Smith (Humboldt)
2012-2013 Division 2 VP – Brian Copeland (Nashville)
2012-2013 Division 3 VP – Randy Durham (Chattanooga)

Our best wishes for success to everyone in their new leadership roles!

Continuing on the TAR Executive Committee are: 2011-2012 Division 1 VP Glenn Moore, 2011-2012 Division 2 VP Rex Brown, 2011-2012 Division 3 VP Mike Pappas, and Immediate Past President Emil Mongeon.

TAR’s 2012 Officers will assume office in mid-November.

3. Award Recipients Named

TAR’s Annual Convention this past week was also the site where several statewide honors were bestowed!

Fontaine Taylor from Memphis, a past president of MAAR and TAR, was named TAR’s 2011 REALTOR of the Year for her ongoing contributions of time and talent to so many areas of REALTOR life!

2011 TAR President Emil Mongeon awarded the Presidential Award to his wife Elaine for her wonderful support of him throughout his presidency.

Eastern Middle TN Association Executive Karen Lowe was named 2011 State REALTOR Educator of the Year for her behind-the-scenes work and encouragement of others in furtherance of quality REALTOR education.

Finally, REALTOR Steve Hill from Lawrenceburg was named Outstanding GRI Student of the Year for achieving both his GRI designation and a record of involvement and leadership in his community.

As you see or interact with any of these individuals, please congratulate them!

4. HOT LINE: Is a Referral Fee Still Due?

QUESTION: I have an agent that received a referral from Agent A with Company X in 2008. My agent is the listing and selling agent. The transaction has now closed. After extensive searching, my agent finally found the other agent, who is no longer with Company X. Is Agent A still due a referral fee?

ANSWER: Referrals would be handled in the same manner as listings. The referral agreement would be negotiated with the firm, not the individual agent. Therefore, the agent would have to have the permission of the principal broker to take the referral with them when they left. We would recommend paying the former company. That company can then forward the commission to the agent if they have negotiated arrangements to do so.

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

5. HOT LINE: When Are Agency Duties Fulfilled?

QUESTION: Once you close a transaction, it is my understanding that the agency relationship has been fulfilled. If a client contacts an agent after this, does it create any liability for the agent or the agent’s firm?

ANSWER: The agency relationship will end according to the terms of the listing agreement or the buyer’s representation agreement.  Usually this will be a period of time or when a transaction has closed, but not always.

Another issue to bear in mind is that an agent can have liability regardless of whether or not there is an agency relationship with someone. There are two sets of standards under the Broker’s Act.  First, there is a duty which an agent owes to ALL parties in a transaction.  These are found at Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-403.

Then, there are the duties which an agent owes to their client (with whom there is an agency relationship). These are found at Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-404.

NOTE: Some duties, such as the need to keep some information confidential, extend beyond the agency relationship (or, if the information was obtained from an unrepresented party prior to agency disclosure, must be kept even if the agent represents the “other side” in a transaction).

Therefore, it will depend upon the specific circumstances as to whether an agent will incur liability. So, yes, an agent may have liability if a client contacts them following a transaction. It will depend upon the circumstances and the actions of the agent. If a client contacts you following closing with an issue that they wish conveyed to the other party, we would offer to forward that information to the other side, but then step out of the issue.  You could wind up making more trouble for yourself.

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

6. Upcoming GRI & Other Courses

Sept. 22 – Oct. 26: GRI 4, From Offer to Contract to Closing (16 hrs. CE) – an E-Class distance-learning course. For more information or to register online, CLICK HERE.

Sept. 28-29: GRI 2, Smart Marketing (16 hrs. CE) – TAR Office, Nashville. For more information or to register online, CLICK HERE.

Sept. 29: E-Pro Day 1 Course (7 hrs. CE) – CAAR Office, Chattanooga. For more information or to register, call 423-698-8004.

Oct. 3: 2011-2012 Residential Core Course (6 hrs. CE) – NETAR Office, Gray. For more information or to register, call 423-477-0040.

Oct. 3: 2011-2012 Residential Core Course (6 hrs. CE) – GNAR Office, Nashville. For more information or to register, call 615-254-7516.

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

For information on the NEW 2012 GRI Program, go to:

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

7. Rates Hit NEW Record Low

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell this past week to a new record low of 4.09 percent, down from 4.12 percent a week earlier and 4.37 percent a year earlier, reports Freddie Mac; the company’s statistics date back to 1971. Homeowners who refinance would be able to save almost $1,715 a year in interest payments on a $200,000 loan, calculates Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft. The 15-year fixed rate also fell to a new low, declining to 3.30 percent from 3.33 percent the previous week; Freddie Mac’s data for those loans go back to 1991.

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