The 1-17-12 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville

1. In Re-Booting Your Career, Strategy Comes First
2. Register NOW for TAR Spring Conference!
3. Foreclosures Declined Last Year
4. HOT LINE: “Bait and Switch” Pricing?
5. HOT LINE: Former Buyer-Client Buys?
6. HAPPENINGS – This Week and Next
7. Rates Hit NEW Record Low!
8. Useful Web Links

To ask a TAR Legal and Ethics Hot Line question, go to:

For other questions about this newsletter, please use the “CONTACT” form at:

1. In Re-Booting Your Career, Strategy Comes First

Speakers at Inman’s recent Agent Reboot conference said real estate professionals tend to embrace the newest technologies without first determining how they will use them and what audience they hope to reach. Instead, they should have marketing strategies in place first.

When using Facebook, for example, they should post photos of their favorite neighborhood, with 30 great images providing a month’s worth of content. They also could post articles on comparing home prices and local amenities, among other topics.

When using Facebook ads, agents should create targeted lists by interest and geographic area; and keeping in mind that they are charged by the click, they should insert the words “Call me” and their phone number in each ad in an attempt to hold down costs.

As for Twitter, agents should search to find people in their area who are tweeting about real estate, re-tweet relevant content, use HootSuite to schedule tweets and track clicks, and tweet on a regular basis. Some agents said Facebook and Twitter are customer relationship management tools and stressed that they should interact with prospects on social media just like they would in real life.

To read more, go to:

[SOURCES: Inman News; Information, Inc.]

2. Register NOW for TAR Spring Conference!

Registration is now open for the 2012 TAR Spring Conference, at the Cool Springs Marriott just south of Nashville. This is traditionally our largest meeting of the year, and the 2012 Spring Conference offers a great education program! TEN hours of education in all!

The first day features six 1-hour REBarCamp-type sessions, presented by three speakers popular at REBarCamps across the country: Nobu Hata, Jason O’Neil, and Leigh Brown! The second day features two well-known national speakers, both veteran CRS Instructors: Pat Zaby and Ed Hatch!

The early-bird registration fee (for TAR members) remains a low $75! So reserve your spot NOW! For more information or to register, go to:

3. Foreclosures Declined Last Year

RealtyTrac reports that foreclosure filings and repossessions were down 33 percent in 2011 to 2.7 million, the lowest level since 2007. The number of homes entering foreclosure fell to one in 69 last year, down from one in 45 in 2010; and the number of repossessed properties fell to 804,000 from 1.05 million.

The decline can be attributed to delays in processing foreclosures following the “robo-signing” scandal, which has banks spending more time on checking paperwork for accuracy and legality. That, in turn, pushed up the length of the foreclosure process to 348 days in the fourth quarter of 2011 from 305 days in the same period of 2010.

RealtyTrac CEO Brandon Moore believes foreclosures will pick up this year as lenders work through the backlog, but he does not expect a repeat of 2010’s record highs. For the fifth straight year, Nevada ranked first in foreclosures, followed by Arizona and California; while Florida dropped to No. 7. Metro areas with the highest foreclosure rates include Las Vegas; Stockton, Calif.; Phoenix; and Reno.

[SOURCES: CNN Money; Information, Inc.]

4. HOT LINE: “Bait and Switch” Pricing?

QUESTION: Realtor A has a listing in MLS at a list price of $75,000. The listing is advertised as a short sale. Realtor B brings a full price offer to Realtor A and the seller accepts it. Amazingly the bank responds in a decent time, but responds with a counter offer of $97,000! This is happening at an alarming rate.  It is the old “bait & switch” scenario. Could Realtor A be found in violation of the law or the Code of Ethics if they are purposefully listing the properties at low prices to encourage offers when they know the bank won’t let it be sold for that? Could it be just pure ignorance of the way short sales work?  I would rather think of it as that, rather than flat out misrepresentation. Consumers are getting into many sticky situations over short sales and agents who do not know how to deal with them.

ANSWER: This is a delicate situation. There is a fine line in pricing a home low enough so that it will sell quickly for the seller in a short sale situation so that they avoid foreclosure, and pricing it preposterously low so that the bank would never approve it.

If possible, we would encourage an agent to contact the lender and determine what they would consider accepting. This is not always possible as lenders obviously want to get as much as possible. However, an agent must use common sense when listing a property. By their nature, short sales are often below market value. However, if a seller owes a great deal on a piece of property, the lender will not accept a very low sales price. An agent should have an honest discussion with the seller and advise the seller as to what he/she could realistically expect. Then the SELLER should determine the listing price of the home.

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

5. HOT LINE: Former Buyer-Client Buys?

QUESTION: I worked for a buyer for a year on a property that is currently pending. We could never get the seller to agree to the buyer’s offers which were considerably lower than the listing price. The buyer even had his own appraisal done which came in at list price, but he still did not feel the property was worth it. My buyer’s agreement expired on a while back, and when I saw the property was pending & contacted the listing agent, he informed me that it was my previous buyer who came to him directly once our agreement expired, and they are now closing in the near future. Do I have any legal rights or recourse with this buyer or the seller in regards to commissions?

ANSWER: You may have a chance on two different arguments. First would be on a procuring cause argument if the property is listed. We cannot determine who is the procuring cause of a transaction as that is a decision to be made at the local association. Procuring cause is determined by the local board after the property is closed. You can request the local association to have a hearing once the closing has occurred.

NAR has published an article examining factors to be considered in a procuring cause determination:

Another argument may be under a carry-over clause under the buyer’s representation agreement. If there is a carry-over clause, then this may be applicable under these circumstances. Your principal broker can consult with an attorney to determine whether this is an argument which the firm can make.

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

6. HAPPENINGS – This Week and Next

Jan. 17: Professional Standards Procedures Training (3 hrs. CE) – TAR Office, Nashville. This is a training session for local association Prof. Standards and Grievance committee members. For more information or to register, go to:

Jan. 25: GRI 403, Working More Effectively With Buyers (8 hrs. CE) – GCAR Office, Chattanooga. For more information or to register, go to:

Jan. 25: E-Pro Day 1 Course (7 hrs. CE) – CAR Office, Clarksville. For more information or to register, call 931-645-2337.

Jan. 26 – Feb. 29: GRI 401-402, Professionalism in Real Estate (16 hrs. CE) – Distance learning (E-Class) course. For more information or to register, go to:

Jan. 27: Professional Standards Procedures Training (3 hrs. CE) – GCAR Office, Chattanooga. This is a training session for local association Prof. Standards and Grievance committee members. For more information or to register, call 423-698-8001.

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

NOTE: E-Class GRI courses are NOT webinars and they are NOT “online” courses in the way that most people think of online courses. How do E-Class courses work? Go to:

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

7. Rates Hit NEW Record Low!

Fixed mortgage rates have hit another record low, according to Freddie Mac, but chief economist Frank Nothaft says the impact will be offset until hiring improves and unemployment falls significantly. The 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.89 percent this past week, down from a record 3.91 percent three weeks ago; and the 15-year fixed loan declined to 3.16 percent from a record 3.21 percent, also three weeks ago. The Mortgage Bankers Association reports that loan application volume has declined slightly on a seasonally adjusted basis over the past four weeks.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]

8. Useful Internet Links

To access:

Back Issues of the TAR DIGEST:

Tennessee Assn. of REALTORS:

TAR Education:

Follow TAR on Twitter at:

TAR’s LinkedIn page:

TAR’s page on Facebook:

Online Risk Reduction Resources:

Online Resources for Association Leaders:

Tennessee Real Estate Commission: