The 7-10-12 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


UPCOMING TAR COURSES & EVENTS:
July 12: GRI 406, Tips, Tools, & Technologies for Your Business (8 hrs. CE) – Mt. Juliet.
July 12: Deadline for 2013 TAR Officer Applications
July 12: Deadline for 2012 TAR Realtor of the Year Nominations
July 12: Deadline for 2013 TREEF Trustee Nominations
July 17-18: TAR Strategic Planning Retreat – TAR Office
July 19 – Aug. 22: GRI 401-402, Professionalism in Real Estate (16 hrs. CE) – A Distance-Learning Course.
To see a complete calendar of other courses around the state, go to: http://tnrealtors.com/education/realtor-courses/

HOT LINES IN THIS ISSUE:
1. HOT LINE: Seller Setting Up “Nanny Cam”?
2. HOT LINE: Buyer Asked for Personal Information?
3. HOT LINE: Buyer Wishes To Remain Anonymous?

IN OTHER NEWS:
4. ALERT: Craigslist Scams …They’re Back!
5. FHA Mortgage Delinquencies Soar
6. Gang-Related Crime Triples in Some TN Towns
7. Succeeding With the New Rules of Engagement
8. Register Now for the 2012 TAR Convention!
9. Mortgage Rates Set NEW Record Low!
10. To Ask a Hot Line Question…

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. HOT LINE: Seller Setting Up “Nanny Cam”?

QUESTION: [As a follow-up to our news item last week about “Realtors Behaving Badly”] Are there any issues (i.e., Code of Ethics, TN law, required disclosures) with a seller setting up a web cam in their home to view all showings, record comments, etc.?

ANSWER: To our knowledge, there is nothing that would prohibit a seller from setting up a “nanny cam” device in their home. HOWEVER, there are several things that concern me from an agent perspective. First, if the video has audio, then this could violate confidentiality and/or expectations of privacy. Buyers often discuss the home and/or terms with their agents while in the home, believing that they are alone. If there is undisclosed audio, the buyer could be disseminating confidential information without knowledge. If there is audio, then we would recommend that it be disclosed.

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


2. HOT LINE: Buyer Asked for Personal Information?

QUESTION: We have a client (buyer) that is looking at a property in foreclosure. The seller is asking us for the personal information on this prospective buyer even before the offer has been submitted, we feel, in order to “steer” them toward the seller’s mortgage company and title attorney. Is this legal?

ANSWER: This would be up to the buyer as to whether they will provide this information. If the buyers feel that they are being steered, they should contact the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Effective July 21, 2011, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) is now administered and enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

If a consumer has a question or complaint related to their mortgage or mortgage servicer, they are asked to contact the CFPB’s Consumer Response team at 855-411-2372 (855-729-2372 TTY/TDD), or by fax number 855-237-2392

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


3. HOT LINE: Buyer Wishes To Remain Anonymous?

QUESTION: With regard to the F33 – Special Stipulations, line 8 – how do I disclose that I am legally representing an anonymous buyer?

ANSWER: We are not aware of any law prohibiting a buyer from submitting an offer in which they remain undisclosed. You would simply put undisclosed in the buyer’s position. However, please bear in mind that this is qualified by the fact that, if the buyer is a real estate agent, this must be disclosed.

Additionally, you are not permitted to mislead the seller. For example, if the seller asks whether the buyer is X or a particular company and it is, you cannot tell the seller that it is not. Also, please bear in mind that if the seller has placed restrictions on who they will sell the property to and the undisclosed buyer is, in fact, a member of the restricted group, you cannot submit the offer. This would be misleading. You are also obligated to honor the requests of your client, the buyer. If he or she wishes to remain anonymous, then you must keep that confidence. Finally, the seller is not required to accept the offer with the undisclosed buyer based on the fact that the buyer is anonymous.

In a situation where the buyer wants to make the offer anonymously, the offer would be presented unsigned. Once the seller agreed to the terms and signed it, then the buyer would sign the offer, making it a contract between the parties.

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


4. ALERT: Craigslist Scams …They’re Back!

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
A homeless man posted a foreclosed home available for rent that he had no ties to on Craigslist, and then pocketed the cash from potential renters so that he could afford a place to live for himself, according to police reports.

Eric Sisson, 27, posted a foreclosed home in Ormond Beach, Fla., on Craigslist, saying that he just recently purchased it and wanted to rent it out. Two people responded to his ad, agreeing to rent the home and giving Sisson a total of $1,375 for the “fake” rental agreements, police say.

One victim soon after asked for her deposit back, and Sisson sent her a check. But when she went to deposit it, the bank said the check was from a closed bank account.
*** END QUOTE ***

Lest you think that this only happens in other places, these Craigslist scams are ALSO happening in Tennessee!

We’ve published alerts about this type of scam before:

The 1-12-10 TAR DIGEST
The 11-10-09 TAR DIGEST
The 5-19-09 TAR DIGEST

The FBI has an information page on this tactic HERE.

Complaints can be filed with the FBI at: http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

[SOURCES: REALTORMag Online; FBI]


5. FHA Mortgage Delinquencies Soar

CNNMoney reports that FHA mortgage delinquencies, from the first quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012, have JUMPED 26.6%!

Meanwhile, delinquencies on bank-held mortgages have DROPPED by 39.0%.

And delinquencies of mortgages guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie MAc have DROPPED by 14.7%!

At least some figures are moving in the right direction.

To read more, CLICK HERE.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has warned that U.S. banks could suffer fresh mortgage losses over the next five years on home equity loans made a decade earlier, with more than half the amount borrowed from national banks leading to higher payments from 2014 to 2017.

To read more: http://realtormag.realtor.org/node/11859

[SOURCES: CNNMoney; REALMag.com]


6. Gang-Related Crime Triples in Some TN Towns

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
Gang-related crimes statewide rose by nearly 25 percent in 2011, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. They have more than doubled since 2005, the first year gang crimes saw a significant spike. But the real story isn’t necessarily in places like Nashville or Memphis.

While larger cities unveil gang task forces, sweeping federal racketeering investigations and large-scale drug raids, the state’s small towns are becoming incubators of gang violence. Since 2005, cities with fewer than 50,000 residents saw gang crime more than triple.
*** END QUOTE ***

To read more, CLICK HERE.

[SOURCE: The Tennessean]


7. Succeeding With the New Rules of Engagement

Barbara Pronin, a RISMedia Columnist, has an interesting new article out (“New Rules of Engagement: The Real Estate Landscape Is Changing …Again”) describing what she sees as a very different real estate world than the one we had before the recession.

A changing buyer profile, changing expectations, new ways of accessing information, and the growing influence of social media have all transformed the industry.

Her observations — even if you disagree with some — are worth reading by CLICKING HERE.

[SOURCE: RISMedia]


8. Register Now for the 2012 TAR Convention!

Our 2012 TAR Annual Convention takes place September 19-22, in Kingsport, TN, and our theme this year is “Race To Excellence”! You won’t find a more attractive setting than the beautiful mountains surrounding the Tri-Cities area. AND this is everyone’s opportunity to enjoy an outstanding lineup of national speakers and events here in the Volunteer State!

Speakers include David Knox and Jerry Rossi, as well as some new faces! Education sessions are designed to get your businesses in shape for recovery!

To learn more and/or to register online, go to: http://tnrealtors.com/meetings-and-events/convention/


9. Mortgage Rates Set NEW Record Low!

Last week, average interest on 30-year fixed mortgages according to Freddie Mac set ANOTHER record low at 3.62 percent (with an average 0.8 point), the lowest level since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s!

Also, 15-year rates remained extremely low at 2.89 percent.

To see current mortgage rates, go to: http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/mortgage_rates/

To see THDA rates and programs, go to: http://tn-tennesseehda.civicplus.com/index.aspx?NID=8


10. To Ask a Hot Line Question…

To ask a TAR Legal and Ethics Hot Line question, go to: http://tnrealtors.com/services-support/legal-ethics-hotline/