The 12-18-12 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


HOT LINES IN THIS ISSUE:
1. HOT LINE: Paying a Referral Fee to Out-of-State Agent?
2. HOT LINE: Agent Selling Own Property?
3. HOT LINE: Withdrawal by Text Message?
4. HOT LINE: Complaint About An Unlicensed Individual?

IN OTHER NEWS:
5. TAR FORMS NEWS!
6. Showcasing Listings During/After the Holidays
7. Forbes Ranks TN’s Business Climate
8. Leadership TAR 2013
9. USEFUL LINKS
10. Final DIGEST of 2012

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: Paying a Referral Fee to Out-of-State Agent?

QUESTION: I am a Licensed agent in TN, and I had a friend who is a licensed agent in Hawaii call and tell me that a friend of hers was looking for a home to purchase in TN and she had recommended me to them. They contacted me and we now have a binding contract scheduled to close in the next week. Is it legal for my broker to send a referral to this agent’s broker since they are located in a different state?

ANSWER: Under Tennessee law, you can only pay a licensed individual. As long as your friend is a licensee in another state, she can be paid a referral fee (through her broker) IF she did not conduct or participate in any of the subsequent negotiations in Tennessee. If she did, then you cannot pay her.

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


2. HOT LINE: Agent Selling Own Property?

QUESTION: I have an agent that owns property with his brother. They do not want to list it with our firm, but sell it on their own. Can they advertise on the internet and have my agent’s name as a contact without having our firm information on said site? What about property that is solely owned by the brother but the agent is still the contact person on the site?

ANSWER: An agent is legally allowed to advertise a property for sale outside the company IF that agent owns the property (as long as he abides by company policy). The agent would need to disclose that he is an owner/agent and that he has a personal interest in the transaction. However, he would not have to include the firm information in his advertising.

If the property is owned by someone else, however, the agent is not allowed to advertise it for sale (or be the contact person in an ad) unless it is done through his real estate firm. Then, he would have to include your firm information in the ad. Moreover, if the property is owned by an LLC, a corporation and certain types of partnerships, then the property has to be advertised for sale through a licensed real estate company.

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


3. HOT LINE: Withdrawal by Text Message?

QUESTION: I represent a seller in a transaction. We received an offer last night and my seller accepted the offer this morning. I emailed the acceptance to the buyer’s agent; however, when I contacted said agent, I was informed that they did not receive the accepted offer. I then received a text message stating that the buyer was withdrawing their offer. Does this meet the requirements for withdrawal of an offer?

ANSWER: Please note that the TAR Legal Hotline cannot provide legal advice to buyers and/or sellers. Whether the sellers have an enforceable contract under these conditions constitutes legal advice to the sellers. As such, the sellers should consult with their own legal counsel concerning this issue.

The main issue the sellers face is proving that the contract was accepted before it is withdrawn. Therefore, if you are emailing, faxing, etc., we strongly recommend following up with at least a phone call to verify that it has been received (although written response is always better). In addition, we do not recommend doing something as important as accepting or withdrawing offers via text unless you have a way of confirming receipt by the other party. Since the technology is relatively new, there is very little case law on whether this form of communication is acceptable in a contract situation.

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


4. HOT LINE: Complaint About An Unlicensed Individual?

QUESTION: I want to know how to file a complaint on an individual who is unlicensed and practicing real estate. I have checked and she has no license of any kind and is taking rental business from several agents in this area. We all want to complain about this person. This person is taking money out of our pockets and doesn’t have a license to practice real estate. What can we do?

ANSWER: If you wish to file a complaint against this person, you would need to get in touch with the Tennessee Real Estate Commission (TREC). You can find the appropriate documents at: http://www.tn.gov/commerce/boards/trec/complaint.shtml

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


5. TAR FORMS NEWS!

Recently the 2013 TAR Managing Brokers Forum was held and video taped. It is an education session for Managing Brokers across the state that specifically examines changes to the TAR standard forms rolling out in January 2013. The three-part video along with its supporting documents are NOW AVAILABLE to all TAR members. To view the 3-part video series, go to:
http://bit.ly/TrkQo1


6. Showcasing Listings During/After the Holidays

Assuming that the Mayan Apocalypse doesn’t occur and we’re still here after December 21… 🙂

NAR recently ran a useful article (“9 Steps for Showcasing a Listing During the Holidays”) in REALTOR Magazine. In case you missed it, the article includes some good practical tips, as well as some advice that many readers probably never thought of!

To read the article, CLICK HERE.

[SOURCE: REALTOR Magazine]


7. Forbes Ranks TN’s Business Climate

A new business-climate ranking from Forbes Magazine ranked Tennessee’s 24th in the U.S., sandwiched between No. 23 New York and No. 25 Arizona.

“The Volunteer State scored well in the business costs and regulatory environment rankings, at No. 14 and No. 13, respectively. However, the state was hampered by relatively weak showings in labor supply (No. 31), economic climate (No. 30), growth prospects (No. 30) and quality of life (No. 41).”

As the Business Journal noted, however, a recent ranking by Site Selection Magazine ranked Tennessee 8th best state in the country for business!

[SOURCES: Nashville Business Journal; Forbes]


8. Leadership TAR 2013

We’re taking applications for the 2013 Class of Leadership TAR!

  • Develop your own leadership skills and self-knowledge,
  • Join a growing network of leaders across Tennessee, and
  • Learn more about the issues and challenges facing the REALTOR organization and the real estate industry!

The 2013 Leadership TAR Retreat Dates are March 10-11, June 5-6, and August 14-15. All of the retreats will be held at Montgomery Bell State Park in 2013.

Any TAR member may apply for Leadership TAR! The deadline for application is JANUARY 15, 2013. A panel of Leadership TAR alumni who have served in various leadership roles at TAR will select the members of the 2013 Class from applications received. Enrollment is limited to ensure a good retreat experience for everyone.

For more information, and a downloadable application form, go to: http://tnrealtors.com/education/leadership-tar/


9. USEFUL LINKS

For CE classroom courses around the state, go to:
http://tnrealtors.com/education/realtor-courses/

For online CE courses, go to:
http://tnrealtors.com/education/online-courses/

To check your CE credits on file with TREC, go to:
http://verify.tn.gov

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

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. Final DIGEST of 2012

This is our final TAR DIGEST of 2012! We will return, however, in 2013, with the January 8 edition!

In the meantime, please accept our warmest holiday wishes and sincere gratitude from the TAR staff and leadership! Thank you for your membership in 2012; we look forward to an exciting and productive 2013!