The 2-21-12 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville

1. From Your TAR President
2. Ben Bernanke Assesses the Housing Market
3. What’s Hot in Home Styles!
4. HOT LINE: Payment for BPOs?
5. HOT LINE: Who is the “Authorized Licensee”?
6. HAPPENINGS – This Week and Next
7. Register for TAR Spring Conference!
8. Rates STILL at Record Lows!
9. 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. From Your TAR President

A new video message from 2012 TAR President Sue Turner — with an invitation for every TAR member — can be viewed online at:

2. Ben Bernanke Assesses the Housing Market

On February 10, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke addressed the 2012 National Association of Homebuilders International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Florida. His topic was the national housing market, including an analysis of where it stands and where it’s going:

One way to understand conditions in the housing market is to focus on the balance of supply and demand. For the past few years, the actual and potential supply of single-family homes has greatly exceeded the effective demand. The elevated number of homes that are currently vacant instead of owner occupied reflects the imbalance. According to the most recent estimate, about 1-3/4 million homes are currently unoccupied and for sale. While this figure has declined slightly during the past few years, it is nonetheless up dramatically from the first half of the 2000s, when readings of about 1-1/4 million vacant homes were the norm. Of course, housing conditions vary by region, and vacancy rates in some locations are substantially higher than the national average….

Moreover, a very large number of additional homes are poised to come on the owner-occupied market. In each of the past few years, roughly 2 million homes have entered the foreclosure process, and many of these homes have been put up for sale, crowding out much of the need for new building. Looking ahead, the relatively high rate of foreclosures is likely to continue for a while, putting additional homes on the market and dislocating families and disrupting communities in the process.

At the same time, a number of factors are constraining demand. Household formation has been down, particularly among young adults. High unemployment and uncertain job prospects may have reduced the willingness of some households to commit to homeownership. Availability of mortgage credit is an important constraint, to which I will return later. Additionally, housing may no longer be viewed as the secure investment it once was thought to be, given uncertainty about future home prices and the economy more generally.
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To see a transcript of his remarks, in their entirety, go to:

[SOURCE: Federal Reserve]

3. What’s Hot in Home Styles!

At the same Builders’ Show that Bernanke addressed [see article above], the “New American Home 2012” was unveiled in Orlando, showcasing the styles felt to be both “Hot” and “Not So Hot” this year:

HOT: Modern, Neo-Mediterranean, and Craftsman styles
NOT SO HOT: McMansions, Split Levels, and Victorian styles

For a detailed description of each style (with pictures), and a more complete description of features that are — and are not — selling, go to:

[SOURCE: Yahoo! Real Estate]

4. HOT LINE: Payment for BPOs?

QUESTION: Can BPO (broker’s price opinions) fees be paid directly to an agent at the broker’s discretion?

ANSWER: NO. This has come up before. These BPOs are made pursuant to the individual’s license. Under the Appraiser’s Act, only licensed real estate agents are permitted to give these opinions as a part of their duties as an agent. Therefore, payment for the BPOs must be paid through the principal broker.

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

5. HOT LINE: Who is the “Authorized Licensee”?

QUESTION: On the last page of the Exclusive Buyer Representation Agreement, it has a signature space for “Broker or Licensee Authorized By Broker”. With regard to the term “Licensee Authorized By Broker”, does that meant the licensee must have permission from the broker to sign the form?

ANSWER: This was the Forms Committee’s intent. Some companies require that the principal broker sign all agency forms, while others will allow the individual agents to sign the form and bind the company. The answer to your question depends upon the office policy of your individual company.

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

6. HAPPENINGS – This Week and Next

Feb. 21: GRI 402, Staying In Business & Out of Court (8 hrs. CE) – KAAR Office, Knoxville. For more information or to register, go to:

Feb. 21: Digital Flood Map Course (2 hrs CE) – GNAR Office, Nashville. For more information or to register, go to:

Feb. 22: GRI 406, Tips, Tools & Technologies for Your Business (8 hrs. CE) – MAAR Office, Memphis. For more information or to register, go to:

Feb. 28: Professional Standards Procedures Training (3 hrs. CE) – NETAR Office, Gray, TN. For more information or to register, call NETAR at 423-477-0040.

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. Register 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 early-bird registration fee (for TAR members) remains a low $75! So reserve your spot NOW! For more information on the TEN hours of education offered or to register, go to:

8. Rates STILL at Record Lows!

The average rate for 30-year fixed mortgages remained at its all-time low of 3.87 percent for the week ended Feb. 16 and now has held steady at that level since the first week of the month, says Freddie Mac. The 15-year fixed mortgage also was unchanged, matching the prior week’s average of 3.16 percent. Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft said fixed mortgage rates were flat this past eek amid mixed consumer sentiment data.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]

9. 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: