The 7-24-12 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


UPCOMING TAR COURSES & EVENTS:
July 25: GRI 406, Tips, Tools & Technologies (8 hrs. CE) – GCAR Office, Chattanooga.
July 27: DEADLINE for Convention Registrations at Early-Bird Rates!
Aug. 2-3: Leadership TAR Retreat #3 – TAR Office, Nashville.
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: Is a Personal Interest Disclosure Required?
2. HOT LINE: Contingency Release Not Provided?
3. HOT LINE: Only An Agent Can Be Paid…

IN OTHER NEWS:
4. DEADLINE This Week!
5. Builder Confidence Ts Rising
6. CHECK THIS OUT!
7. Common Social Media Mistakes by REALTORS
8. TECH TIP: Instagram
9. Again, Mortgage Rates Set RECORD LOWS!
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: Is a Personal Interest Disclosure Required?

QUESTION: My husband’s brother wants to buy a house. Do I need to submit a personal interest disclosure to the sellers?

ANSWER: Yes. Pursuant to Section 62-13-403(7)(A) of the Broker’s Act, a licensee shall not engage in self-dealing nor act on behalf of the licensee’s immediate family members without prior disclosure of such interest and the timely written consent of all parties to the transaction. Thus, if you act as an agent for an immediate family member (i.e. parent, child, sibling, spouse, in-laws, grandparent, or grandchild), the relationship must be disclosed, and if you sell your own property, you must identify yourself as a licensee.

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


2. HOT LINE: Contingency Release Not Provided?

QUESTION: I represented the buyer on a contract. The buyer backed out of the contract due to a contingency. I noticed the property was back on the market (in the MLS), but I have not yet received any paperwork from the seller’s agent. Is there a specific time period that the other party has to execute and return a release from a contract?

ANSWER: If the contract is terminated via a contingency, then technically a release is not needed. All that is required is written notice from the party exercising the contingency. TAR DOES recommend having written documentation in the file so as not to have any problems.

If the earnest money is being held by an agent, then there IS a TREC Rule which governs release of the earnest money. A principal broker is required under the Broker’s Act to distribute the funds in your escrow account “within a reasonable time.” -Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-312(b)(5).

TREC has just issued a new rule which defines what constitutes a reasonable time. Pursuant to TREC Rule 1260-2-.09(7), “Funds in escrow or trustee accounts shall be disbursed in a proper manner without unreasonable delay. Funds should be disbursed or interplead within twenty-one (21) calendar days from the date of receipt of a written request for disbursement of earnest money.” Therefore, the broker should distribute the funds within 21 days of it being requested in writing.

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


3. HOT LINE: Only An Agent Can Be Paid…

QUESTION: Can I pay one of my agents through a trust, or do payments have to be made to the name on their license?

ANSWER: An agent can only be paid by their broker. Therefore, an individual licensee that has “incorporated” or “LLC’ed” himself CANNOT be paid a commission through his personal company. The individual holds the license, not the individual’s company. The only time that a company can hold a license is if it is a firm license. A company cannot be issued an individual’s license. Furthermore, pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-302(a):

“It is unlawful for any licensed broker to employ or compensate any person who is not a licensed broker or a licensed affiliate broker for any of the acts regulated by this chapter. A licensed nonresident broker may pay a commission to a licensed broker or another state if such nonresident broker does not conduct in this state any of the negotiations for which a commission is paid.”

In addition, Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-312(b)(11) states that an agent can be disciplined for “Accepting a commission or any valuable consideration by an affiliate broker for the performance of any acts specified in this chapter, from any person, except the licensed real estate broker with whom the licensee is affiliated“.

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


4. DEADLINE This Week!

Register for the TAR Convention by this coming FRIDAY, JULY 27, in order to get the best rate! After this Friday, the registration fee increases by $55 for TAR members, from $195 to $250!

And what a gorgeous location!!! Your Editor had the opportunity this past week to visit the Meadowview Resort, the site of our Convention, and you cannot appreciate what an appealing resort this is unless you’ve been there! The facilities are outstanding, and the adjacent golf course is absolutely beautiful!

Our 2012 TAR Annual Convention takes place September 19-22 at the above-mentioned Meadowview Resort in Kingsport, TN. Our theme this year is “Race To Excellence”! Again, you won’t find a more attractive setting than the beautiful mountains surrounding the Tri-Cities area. This is also everyone’s opportunity to enjoy an outstanding lineup of national speakers and events right 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/


5. Builder Confidence Is Rising

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index of builder sentiment rose six points in July to 35, the highest level since March 2007! The jump was the largest one-month gain in a decade, with builder confidence rising markedly in all regions of the country. The report is the latest indication that housing is returning to its traditional role of driving economic recovery, said NAHB chief economist David Crowe.

To read more: http://www.nahb.org/news_details.aspx?newsID=15401

[SOURCE: NAHB]


6. CHECK THIS OUT!

A warning like “CHECK THIS OUT!” often accompanies an email that has been forwarded to you by a friend or acquaintance, usually alerting you to an often-incredible, scandalous, or even quite believable piece of news!

Too frequently, however, the alert turns out to be bogus! And whoever forwarded this to you, expecting that you’ll forward it on to everybody you know (!), has probably sent it to everybody in their address book! This is how bad information circulates faster than a speeding bullet.

BEFORE YOU FORWARD ANY SUCH EMAILS:

Do everyone a favor, and check out the truthfulness of what you’ve just received. It’s not hard to do, and you may spare yourself some later embarrassment for being much too gullible …and very unprofessional!

Two good sites you can visit to check out email rumors are:
http://www.snopes.com/
http://www.truthorfiction.com/

Use the “Search” feature on either site to look for key words in that email rumor you just received.  And save these links!


7. Common Social Media Mistakes by REALTORS

Realtors often make a few mistakes when they start incorporating social media, such as trying to manage multiple channels right away and leaving some profiles neglected in the process. Experts say a better strategy is to start with just one or two social media sites and focus on engaging visitors.

Agents should avoid viewing social media as a one-way street in which all they do is post listings and promotional materials. Instead, they should post the kind of content that elicits a response from prospects and clients and that also benefits them in some way.

Finally, Realtors should have fun with social media, taking care not to cross the professional line since posting inappropriate content can damage their reputations.

To read more: http://realtybiznews.com/3-common-social-media-mistakes-made-by-realtors/98713996/

[SOURCE: Realty Biz News]


8. TECH TIP: Instagram

A recent blog posting on FoxNews’ website (“Is Instagram real estate’s next frontier?”) describes a new app growing in popularity with many Realtors: Instagram.

The Instagram app makes it easy for amateur photographers with smartphones to create works of art. Some real estate firms are taking advantage of the app’s popularity and using it to accentuate their listings.

Instagram offers numerous filters, with the home’s appearance and the targeted audience determining which one will help it sell. Buyers who are cynical about real estate photos will appreciate images without a filter; while homes with a rustic feel, natural wood siding, or adobe could benefit from the sepia filter, Toaster. Meanwhile, the black and white filter, Inkwell, could help emphasize the elegance and strong lines of modern and post-modern homes or those with underwhelming exterior colors. Featuring a purplish tint, the Nashville filter will attract buyers who like movies and want to imagine living in one; and the 1977 retro filter with white border would work well with ranch and vacation-style lake homes.

To read more: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2012/07/14/is-instagram-real-estates-next-frontier/

[SOURCE: FoxNews.com]


9. Again, Mortgage Rates Set RECORD LOWS!

Last week, average interest on 30-year fixed mortgages according to Freddie Mac set ANOTHER record low at 3.53 percent (with an average 0.7 point), the lowest level since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s!

Also, 15-year rates ALSO hit a record low at 2.83 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/