The 3-13-12 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


CONTENTS
1. Spring Conference DEADLINES!
2. “Must-Know” Stats About Real Estate Customers
3. NAR Combats Tax Rumors
4. Rates Drop Slightly
5. HOT LINE: Isn’t the Principal Broker Responsible?
6. HOT LINE: Lot Was Illegally Subdivided?
7. HOT LINE: How Quickly Must Copies Be Given?
8. Upcoming Courses!
9. Herding Cats…

NOTE: If you are reading a hard-copy of this DIGEST, and want to access some of the links cited, simply go to http://www.tardigest.com to access the current issue with “live” links!


1. Spring Conference DEADLINES!

As we go to press today (Monday, March 12), the deadline is TODAY for registrations for the TAR Spring Conference at the Early-Bird rate of $75! [The rate goes up by $50 AFTER TODAY!]

REMEMBER: There is NO on-site registration for the Spring Conference, and ALL registrations must be received by March 20!

We’re at the Cool Springs Marriott again this year, and the 2012 Spring Conference offers a great education program!! TEN hours of CE education in all! This is traditionally our largest meeting of the year. For links to register for the Conference, or just for more information, go to: http://tnrealtors.com/main/meetings/spring_conference/


2. “Must-Know” Stats About Real Estate Customers

Statistics from the National Association of REALTORS, Pew Research, Nielsen, and other sources shed some light on the modern real estate customer – information that agents can use to connect with prospects and grow their business.

The percentage of first-time buyers fell to 37 percent in 2011 from 50 percent in 2010; and the average buyer is older at 45 years, compared to 39 years. However, 37 percent of buyers were younger than age 31; 32 percent were older than 55; 21 percent were single females; and 12 percent were single males. More than 50 percent of buyers want to see property videos, 83 percent find real estate agents most useful – compared to 81 percent who cited the Internet – and 92 percent view open houses as very useful or somewhat useful.

The average seller last year was a Baby Boomer, and a quarter of sellers sold their homes within two weeks of the house hitting the market. Moreover, 61 percent were repeat clients or referrals, and 66 percent interviewed just one agent.

As for technology, 200 million consumers use their smartphones to access social networks, and consumers spend about 33 percent of their time watching videos on their mobile devices. Among other statistical findings, social media is more popular with single women than single men.

[SOURCES: Maryland REALTOR; Information, Inc.]


3. NAR Combats Tax Rumors

Misinformation being passed along over the Internet and email is throwing some prospective home sellers into a panic, but NAR says that very few owners will actually be affected by a new tax taking effect in 2013.

Beginning January 1, 2013, a new 3.8 percent tax on some investment income will take effect. Since this new tax will affect some real estate transactions, it is important for REALTORS to clearly understand the tax and how it could impact your clients. It’s a complicated tax, so you won’t be able to predict how it will affect every buyer or seller.

To get you up to speed about this new tax legislation, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS has developed an informational brochure. In it you’ll find examples of different scenarios in which this new tax – passed by Congress in 2010 with the intent of generating an estimated $210 billion to help fund President Barack Obama’s health care reform law – could be relevant to your clients.

To download NAR’s brochure, CLICK HERE.

[SOURCE: NAR]


4. Rates Drop Slightly

Mortgage rates remained near record lows this past week, Freddie Mac reports. The 30-year fixed rate fell to 3.88 percent for the week ended March 8, down from an average of 3.9 percent the previous week; and rates on 15-year fixed loans declined over the same period to 3.13 percent from 3.17 percent. Also, five-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage slipped to 2.81 percent, down from 2.83 percent a week earlier.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Information, Inc.]


5. HOT LINE: Isn’t the Principal Broker Responsible?

QUESTION: I have an agent working on a deal. It is not a binding agreement yet, and when I asked my agent about it, she stated that it was “not my business because it was not yet binding”. I believe under the law it is my responsibility, therefore, it is my business. Can you point me in the right direction on how I can explain this to my agents?

ANSWER: The principal broker is responsible for supervising all activities of licensees. Essentially, the “buck stops” with the principal broker in the eyes of TREC.

Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-312(b)(15), a broker can be disciplined for “In the case of a licensee, failing to exercise adequate supervisions over the activities of any licensed affiliate brokers within the scope of this chapter.”

The principal broker is responsible for supervising all activities which require a license. This involves all aspects of real estate sales, NOT just once a contract is binding!

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


6. HOT LINE: Lot Was Illegally Subdivided?

QUESTION: We had a listing that was a foreclosure owned by a hedge fund. It was zoned residential agricultural. The buyer bought the property “AS IS”, where is, no warranties. There were no red flags at the closing. The title seemed to be fine. Now the home buyer is having trouble pulling the necessary permits to refurbish the property because allegedly the lot was illegally subdivided back in the 1950’s. The home buyer has threatened me with a complaint stating I should have disclosed this information.  Is there any way I could have known this?

ANSWER: Real estate agents are required to disclose adverse facts.  Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-403(2), a real estate agent is required to “[d]isclose to each party to the transaction any adverse facts of which the licensee has actual notice or knowledge.”  Tennessee law defines an adverse fact as “conditions or occurrences generally recognized by competent licensees that have a negative impact on the value of the real estate, significantly reduce the structural integrity of improvements to real property or present a significant health risk to occupants of the property.” Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-102(2). Therefore, if an agent has actual knowledge of an adverse fact, he must disclose it.

HOWEVER, an agent is not required to perform a title search or investigate every piece of property for potential adverse facts. This is the job of the buyer. If you used the TAR Purchase and Sale Agreement, there is disclaimer language which should assist you. That language has appeared in the PSA for quite some time.

If you had no knowledge of the issues with the subdivision, then you would likely not be responsible for failing to disclose an adverse fact.  However, if the buyer files a complaint against you, we would recommend contacting your E & O carrier to determine whether you have coverage for this issue.

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


7. HOT LINE: How Quickly Must Copies Be Given?

QUESTION: In an article on the TAR Risk Reduction Wiki (“21 Ways To Lose Your License”) is this item: “62-13-312 (b) (8) Failing to furnish a copy of any listing, sale, lease, or other contract relevant to a real estate transaction to all signatories thereof at the time of execution;….”

How narrowly is “furnish a copy…at the time of execution” interpreted?

I am often in a place without access to a copy machine at the moment my client actually signs a document – in the car, at a property location, etc. How soon is an acceptable time frame to get a copy to them? Is it acceptable to prepare two copies for signature, have them sign both – one for me and one for them?

ANSWER: The literal reading of the statute states that the copies must be provided at the time of execution (in other words, at the time when everyone signs the contract). However, we are not certain how TREC interprets this. Obviously, there may be occasions when this is not practical and/or possible.  Therefore, if at all possible, we would recommend that it be done at signing.  If not, then get the copies to the signatories as quickly as possible. You can send it via fax or email when you get to the office or home.

To access the Risk Reduction Wiki referenced above, go to: http://riskreduction.wikispaces.com/

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


8. Upcoming Courses

March 13: 2011-2012 Residential Core Course (6 hrs. CE) – Hampton Inn, Paris, TN. For more information or to register, call the TVAR Office at: 731-336-7844

March 13: Professional Standards Training Session (3 hrs. CE) – Hampton Inn, Paris, TN. For more information or to register, call the TVAR Office at: 731-336-7844

March 14: Effective Negotiating for R. E. Professionals (8 hrs. CE) – MAAR Office, Memphis. For more information or to register, go to: http://www.maar.org/maarcalendar

March 15: 2011-2012 Residential Core Course (6 hrs. CE) – SMTAR Office, Columbia. For more information or to register, call the SMTAR Office at: 931-381-5556

March 15: Professional Standards Training Session (3 hrs. CE) – NETAR Office, Gray, TN. For more information or to register, go to: http://netartn.org

March 20: DEADLINE for All Registrations for the TAR Spring Conference (March 26-28)!

March 21: TransactionDesk Basic Course (3 hrs. CE) – MAAR Office, Memphis. For more information or to register, go to: http://www.maar.org

For information on the NEW 2012 GRI Program, go to: http://tnrealtors.com/main/education/gri_in_2012/

For information on the NEW Master GRI designation, download the Application Form at: http://tnrealtors.com/files/pdf/Master_GRI_Application.pdf

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: http://tnrealtors.com/main/education/e-class_gri_info/

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


9. Herding Cats…

If you have ever tried to set up a meeting, conference call, lunch, etc., with several people involved, busy schedules make that task nearly impossible! It is truly akin to “herding cats”…

In a recent CyberTips article, however, Jack Peckham alerted us to a site that you can use – for FREE (which we always like!) – to find the time that fits most peoples’ schedules.

Simply go to: http://www.doodle.com/

[SOURCE: Realty Times]


NOTE TO READERS: To ask a TAR Legal and Ethics Hot Line question, CLICK HERE.