The 1-29-13 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


HOT LINES IN THIS ISSUE:
1. HOT LINE: Disclosing Another Agent’s Pay?
2. HOT LINE: Legal Use of a YouTube Video in Marketing?
3. HOT LINE ADVISORY: “Prepping” Your Seller-Clients

IN OTHER NEWS:
4. One Scam Apparently Stopped, For Now
5. Housing Market Growth Predicted for 2013
6. New Mortgage Rules = More Paperwork!
7. Adding Photos Can Increase Sales Price
8. This Week’s Weird News…
9. REMINDER: 2013 Conference/Convention Dates
10. USEFUL LINKS

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: Disclosing Another Agent’s Pay?

QUESTION: I represent a seller/builder. A represented buyer has asked us what their agent is getting paid. Can we supply this information ethically?

ANSWER: This is really a question which should be answered by that buyer’s agent. Under both the Broker’s Act and the Code of Ethics, the buyer’s agent is required to disclose what he is receiving as a commission on the transaction, even in a cooperative compensation situation. A licensee can be punished for “(17) Paying or accepting, giving or charging any undisclosed commission, rebate, compensation or profit or expenditures for a principal or in violation of this chapter” – Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-312.

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


2. HOT LINE: Legal Use of a YouTube Video in Marketing?

QUESTION: If we upload a video to www.youtube.com, where does our required firm information need to be placed? In the video or in the comments, or both?

ANSWER: See TREC Rule 1260-2-.12(4) Internet Advertising:

“(a) The listing firm name and telephone number must conspicuously appear on each page of the website.
(b) Each page of website which displays listings from an outside database of available properties must include a statement that some or all of the listings may not belong to the firm whose website is being visited.
(c) Listing information must be kept current and accurate.”

Under the above rule, the name and telephone number must appear on each page of the website. Therefore, to be safe, we would recommend that you include this both in the comments section as well as in the video itself. That way, if the video is enlarged to full screen, that information is included.

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


3. HOT LINE ADVISORY: “Prepping” Your Seller-Clients

Last week, we covered the items that Realtors are obligated to disclose to buyer-clients (under the Realtor Code of Ethics) at the outset of their relationship with them.

This week, we remind everyone of what you MUST advise seller-clients, when entering into a listing agreement:

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
Standard of Practice 1-12

When entering into listing contracts, REALTORS must advise sellers/landlords of:

  • the REALTOR’s company policies regarding cooperation and the amount(s) of any compensation that will be offered to subagents, buyer/tenant agents, and/or brokers acting in legally recognized non-agency capacities;
  • the fact that buyer/tenant agents or brokers, even if compensated by listing brokers, or by sellers/landlords may represent the interests of buyers/tenants; and
  • any potential for listing brokers to act as disclosed dual agents, e.g. buyer/tenant agents. (Adopted 1/93, Renumbered 1/98, Amended 1/03)

*** END QUOTE ***

The REALTOR Code of Ethics turns 100 this year! Celebrate it!

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


4. One Scam Apparently Stopped, For Now

Two weeks ago in the TAR DIGEST, we alerted readers about a scam involving a website that collected complaints about Realtors, and then offered — for a fee — to remove them!

Last Thursday, Stacey Moncrieff (NAR’s Managing Editor) posted an update on NAR’s Speaking of Real Estate Blog:

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
It didn’t take long once the pressure was on to shut down Realtor-complaints.com. The Web site was misusing the REALTOR trademark, posting false complaints about real estate practitioners, and demanding money to have the complaints removed from the site.

….Yesterday, a page appeared indicating that the site had been sold and that it would be re-launching May 1. Today, the site is simply a page of links operated by one of the advertising sites.

The WHOIS record indicates that the site is suspended. “That is encouraging,” says National Association of REALTORS attorney Mike Thiel, “but we are trying to find out what that means going forward.”

One thing’s for sure: The closure of Realtor-complaints.com isn’t the end of such Internet scams. My Jan. 10 post included simple steps you can take to manage your own reputation online. But there’s one step you should never have to take: paying money to have false information removed from a site.
*** END QUOTE ***

To read more: http://speakingofrealestate.blogs.realtor.org/2013/01/24/fake-complaint-site-now-dormant/

[SOURCE: Speaking of Real Estate]


5. Housing Market Growth Predicted for 2013

The housing market has bottomed out and should show solid improvement, especially next year, top housing economists said at the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas.

The National Association of Home Builders expects construction of single-family homes to surge nearly 22 percent in 2013 to 650,000 units and spike 30 percent to 844,000 in 2014, said chief economist David Crowe. Starts of multifamily units should rise 22 percent to nearly 300,000 this year, followed by a more modest gain of 6 percent in 2014. Freddie Mac expects residential sales to climb 8 percent this year as mortgage rates remain below 4 percent, according to chief economist Frank Nothaft. And home prices could increase between 2 percent and 3 percent this year, he adds. Still, builders remain concerned about the rising cost of building materials, gridlock and uncertainty in Washington, the stagnant job market, and ongoing issues with home appraisals.

To read more, CLICK HERE.

[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal]


6. New Mortgage Rules = More Paperwork!

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new rules for the private mortgage market – once they take effect in 2014 – will prevent lenders from issuing loans without verifying a borrower’s income or assets, which could make private jumbo mortgages more expensive and more difficult to obtain.

The rules will restrict low-documentation and interest-only mortgages, and some lenders could stop writing private loans that do not adhere to the “qualified mortgage” criteria in order to minimize liability. They also could raise borrower costs to compensate for the increased risk. Low-documentation and interest-only loans made up 12 percent and 14 percent, respectively, of all private mortgages originated during the first 10 months of 2012, according to CoreLogic. The rules also will require lenders writing adjustable-rate mortgages to approve borrowers based on the loan’s fully indexed rate, meaning that some borrowers will qualify for smaller loans than they would have otherwise. In the meantime, jumbo-loan borrowers seeking low-documentation mortgages should make sure their applications and documents are submitted by this summer and be prepared to make down payments higher than the 30 percent currently required as more rules are issued. They also should expect to wait longer for approval for interest-only mortgages and expect to see fewer lenders writing loans with balloon payments.

To read more, CLICK HERE.

[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal]


7. Adding Photos Can Increase Sales Price

Some interesting research into the effect that photos have on marketing homes was recently reported in NAR’S REALTOR Magazine Online. In case you missed the story (“Study: Photos Can Increase Sales Price”):

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
Adding at least one photo of your residential listing online can boost the final sales price by 3.9 percent, according to a new study of more than 4,000 homes.

Adding interior photos were found to be more effective than exterior photos in increasing the sales price. For example, adding interior photos netted buyers a 3.9 percent increase versus a 1.9 percent increase from exterior photos, the study found.

Each additional photo you add of the listing could potentially pay off too, adding about $150 to $200 to the final sales price, found researcher Ken H. Johnson, an associate professor of finance at Florida International University’s Hollo School of Real Estate.
*** END QUOTE ***

To read more, CLICK HERE.

[SOURCE: REALTOR Magazine Online]


8. This Week’s Weird News…

Using nude photos to showcase empty or abandoned houses!

Yes, while we noted above how photos can increase the sales price of a home, apparently nude photos can really spark interest in empty homes!

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
People have done all sorts of things with abandoned and/or foreclosed homes – college students have turned them into party pads, entrepreneurs have turned them into pot farms, and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has turned them into a citywide redevelopment initiative. Australian photographer Jana Mare, on the other hand, used one such blighted structure as the set for her newest body of work.
*** END QUOTE ***

To read more and see examples, CLICK HERE.

[SOURCE: Curbed.com]


9. REMINDER: 2013 Conference/Convention Dates

March 25-26: TAR Spring Conference – Cool Springs Marriott, Franklin, TN
You can get more info & register for this one NOW at:
http://tnrealtors.com/meetings-and-events/spring-conference/

March 27: Realtor Day on the Hill (Legislative Visits in Nashville)

May 13-18: NAR Midyear Meetings & Expo – Washington, DC

Sept. 18-20: TAR Annual Convention – Sandestin Hilton, Destin, FL

Nov. 8-11: NAR Annual Conference & Expo – San Francisco, CA


10. 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