The 10-9-12 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


UPCOMING TAR COURSES & EVENTS:
Oct. 11 – Nov. 14: GRI 412: Financing the Successful Transaction (16 hrs. CE) – An E-Class distance-learning course and GRI Elective.
Oct. 17: GRI 402, Staying in Business & Out of Court (8 hrs. CE) – GCAR Office, Chattanooga.
Oct. 19: GRI 402, Staying in Business & Out of Court (8 hrs. CE) – MAAR Office, Memphis.

To see a complete calendar of CE courses around the state, go to: http://tnrealtors.com/education/realtor-courses/

HOT LINES IN THIS ISSUE:
1. HOT LINE: Must All Relationships Be Disclosed?
2. HOT LINE: My Photos Used by Someone Else?

IN OTHER NEWS:
3. Online Access to Fannie Mae Forms
4. Can You Answer These Questions?
5. Accepted Offers Must Be Disclosed
6. The Effects Some Words Have…
7. Follow-up on That Ethics Requirement
8. Cash for Cases!
9. Rates at ANOTHER Record Low: 3.36%!
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: Must All Relationships Be Disclosed?

QUESTION: If a Broker has a licensed real estate agent in his office, who is also a licensed home inspector, is it necessary for the home inspector or broker or both to disclose the relationship on any contracts using this home inspector?

ANSWER: This must be disclosed. Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-403(7)(B) states:

“Not recommend to any party to the transaction the use of services of another individual, organization or business entity in which the licensee has an interest or from whom the licensee may receive a referral fee or other compensation for the referral, other than referrals to other licensees to provide real estate services under the Tennessee Real Estate Broker License Act of 1973, without timely disclosing to the party who receives the referral, the licensee’s interest in such referral or the fact that a referral fee may be received.”

When the agent/home inspector is affiliated with an office, this would need to be disclosed whenever this home inspector is recommended by anyone in this office, as well as whenever he or she is used.

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


2. HOT LINE: My Photos Used by Someone Else?

QUESTION: I had a listing on a property and marketed this listing with photographs that I took.  Now the owner of the property has decided to do a “FSBO” by means of a limited services listing agreement with another firm. In checking the MLS, I noticed that my photos had been used. What can be done about this?

ANSWER: These pictures may be protected by copyright. In the United States, it is not necessary to officially register a copyright. Nor is it required to have any copyright symbols on the site. It is enough to publish it on the website. There are several articles on copyright issues that you may access on the NAR website located at www.realtor.org. Then in the Search field enter “copyright”. They should be of help to you.

However, please keep in mind that your MLS may have language in their agreements that said that you would waive any copyrights that you may have. If the other agent and/or owner will not agree to take them down, then you may have to speak to a copyright attorney.

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


3. Online Access to Fannie Mae Forms

TAR’s partner in providing online forms and TransactionDesk to TAR members, Instanet Solutions, is now providing – as of October 1 – online access to Fannie Mae’s required forms. Fannie Mae has also approved the use of electronic signatures using Instanet’s Authentisign software.

Realtors will now be able to quickly access Fannie Mae’s unique purchase contracts, and related documents, using Instanet’s software already widely used across the United States by 400,000 Realtors. This enables Fannie Mae contracts to be completed online, with MLS data easily imported, after which contracts can be shared electronically with clients to review and sign online using Authentisign.

[SOURCE: Instanet Solutions]


4. Can You Answer These Questions?

Last week, Realty Biz News posted a new article by Jennifer D’Angelo, describing seven questions that she advises buyers and sellers to ask prospective agents. It’s worth looking over her advice to see how YOU would field these questions if asked!

The first questions is: “What are the current owners’ biggest complaints?” The second is “How long did it take you to get here?” The article’s author opines that the closer a Realtor lives to the house being bought or sold, the better. In other words, the more local the agent, the more he/she knows about the area market. Prospective clients will also question their Realtors on the quality of their website? Those agents who do not have their own sites, in her opinion, are most likely amateurs. At the very least, Realtors should be Internet savvy. The fourth likely question is: “Am I asking for too much money?” Fifth, “Do you have anything unlisted?” After all, the author claims, many Realtors have “secret treasures” that they only show to the people who know to ask for them. Clients will often inquire about a Realtor’s references. Finally, the seventh question is: “Is this area improving or declining?” Any good agent should be able to recognize growth trends and other market changes.

Whether you agree or disagree with her advice to consumers, you can access the full article HERE.

[SOURCE: RealtyBizNews]


5. Accepted Offers Must Be Disclosed

In case you missed this item in the Sept./Oct. issue of NAR’s REALTOR Magazine:

Listing agents have different obligations when it comes to disclosing existing offers on a property, depending on whether the bid has been accepted or not. Realtor ethics guidelines dictate that, in cases where an offer has been accepted, that information must be revealed to brokers who are seeking cooperation. The requirement includes “offers with unresolved contingencies,” according to the code, meaning that the type of transaction — whether it is a short sale, buyer’s property sale, or other — is not relevant. If a bid has been made on a home but not accepted, meanwhile, there is no responsibility to disclose the offer unless cooperating brokers or would-be buyers ask for that information and the listing broker has the seller’s permission to give it.

To read the full article online, if you can’t find your issue, CLICK HERE.

[SOURCE: REALTOR Magazine]


6. The Effects Some Words Have…

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an article with truly interesting findings on the effects of certain words – used in describing listings – on whether a property sells quickly or slowly and on the final sales price!

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
Houses that real-estate agents describe as “move-in condition” sell 12% faster than homes listed without those words. “Starter homes” sell 9% faster. But be careful: A house called a “handyman special” sells about 50% faster, but the final price is 30% lower than listings that lack those words.
*** END QUOTE ***

The entire article is fairly short and worth reading. To do so, CLICK HERE.

[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal]


7. Follow-up on That Ethics Requirement

Last week, we reminded everyone of the NATIONAL requirement that every Realtor will have taken an approved 3-hour course in the Code of Ethics, sometime between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2012. In other words, the deadline for doing this, if you haven’t already satisfied the requirement, is less than 3 months away.

We also reminded everyone that this has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with your license, or CE requirements, or the Core Course!

And no members – OTHER THAN Realtors Emeritus – are grandfathered or exempt from this Ethics Course requirement!

We neglected to mention the one and only exception to this requirement: Realtors Emeritus – those members who have been members of NAR for 40 years or more!

[SOURCE: NAR]


8. Cash for Cases!

This past Friday, we sent out a Special Supplement to the TAR DIGEST announcing Cash for Cases! — a way for you to make a few extra dollars, by sending in any case studies or descriptions of problem situations you’ve encountered in real estate! As one TV commercial says, “And who wouldn’t like more cash!?!”

We’ve already had a couple of “winners” and checks are on their way!

Anyone can submit a “case”! For details on this opportunity, go to:
http://instructorresources.wikispaces.com/Cash+for+Cases


9. Rates at Record Low Again: 3.36%!

Last week, average interest on 30-year fixed mortgages according to Freddie Mac dropped to 3.36 percent, with an average 0.6 point, setting ANOTHER all-time low!

And 15-year rates move downward to 2.69 percent, with an average 0.5 point, ALSO setting a new record low!

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/