The 2-19-13 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville

1. HOT LINE: Assigning a Contract?
2. HOT LINE: Requiring Pre-Qualification by a Certain Lender?

3. Real Estate Is STILL The Best Profession
4. GRI Changes for 2013!
5. Bad News: TN Credits Scores Drop
6. Buzzwords To Use, And Avoid!
7. The Top 10 Real Estate Websites
8. TAR’s Social Media Links
9. 2013 Spring Conference COMING SOON!

NOTE: If you are reading a hard-copy of this DIGEST, and want to access some of the links cited, simply go to to access the current issue with “live” links!

1. HOT LINE: Assigning a Contract?

QUESTION: Is it legal to assign or sell a bound real estate contract?

ANSWER: Contracts for the sale of real property are assignable or “sellable” in Tennessee unless the original contract states otherwise. While the Hot Line cannot interpret an executed contract, we can tell you that a blank F9 TAR agreement (PSA) does not have any language contained in it that would prohibit this. The buyers should speak with their own attorney concerning whether they can do this and to have the attorney draft the appropriate documentation for this type of transaction if it is possible.

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

2. HOT LINE: Requiring Pre-Qualification by a Certain Lender?

QUESTION: I know that it is not uncommon, nor illegal for a seller to request a “Proof of Funds” or “Pre-qualification Letter” from the prospect before viewing or submitting an offer on a property. My question is: Can the seller require the potential viewer or buyer of their property to obtain such pre-qualification from a specific lending institution, rather than the institution of the buyer’s/purchaser’s choice?

ANSWER: This one has come up before. A seller may require that a buyer obtain a pre-approval letter from a particular lender PRIOR to entering into a contract with them, even if they have been pre-approved by someone else. HOWEVER, under RESPA they may not require that buyer to use that particular lender for the mortgage. Also, a lender can offer incentives for a purchaser to do business with them.

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

3. Real Estate Is STILL The Best Profession

The results are in and according to the 2013 Top National Workplaces rankings by WorkplaceDynamics, real estate is the best profession to be in. It has been a tough business the past five years, no question, but despite that, Realtors “continue to love their jobs and the companies they work for,” according to the survey. Reasons given were, control over their own destiny, a strong connection to their work, and a sense of personal accomplishment each and every day. All of which led them to highly rank their workplaces.
*** END QUOTE ***

The survey of companies also revealed the top 150 companies to work for in America, and several national real estate companies or franchies made the list.

To read more, CLICK HERE.

[SOURCES: Maryland Daily Record; WorkplaceDynamics]

4. GRI Changes for 2013!

At the end of 2012, Trustees of the TN Real Estate Educational Foundation (TREEF) made several improvements to Tennessee’s GRI program, so that you can now earn the GRI designation more quickly and economically!

Among the changes:

  • You can now get some GRI credit for your experience (transactions)! With proof of fifteen or more transactions, you can receive 42 hours of GRI Elective Credit, leaving just 48 hours of coursework to complete, instead of 90!
  • IF your company offers a TREEF-approved in-house training program, you can earn up to 30 hours of GRI Elective Credit and pay nothing to use those hours toward your GRI!

One thing didn’t change. The GRI designation remains the ONLY nationally recognized designation for Realtors that you don’t have to pay annual dues or an annual fee to keep! Once you earn it, it’s yours for your entire career.

A new season for GRI courses begins later this week:

Feb. 21 – March 13: GRI 401, Doing the Right Thing (8 hrs. CE) – an E-Class distance-learning course. For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

To learn more about GRI courses and the designation requirements, visit:

5. Bad News: TN Credit Scores Drop

Credit scores for Tennessee residents dropped significantly over the past year, from an average of 692 in January of 2012 to an average of 636 in January of 2013.

Other highlights: “Tennessee’s average student loan debt soared 20 percent from $23,886 to $28,704, and credit card debt declined 38 percent, to $4,880 in January 2013. Mortgage debt also declined from $129,481 to $123,921.

To read more:

[SOURCE: Nashville Business Journal]

6. Buzzwords To Use, And Avoid!

During the slower winter months, descriptions of real estate listings should be filled with catch words and phrases that will catch buyers’ attention. Buyers are drawn to listings that mention “open floor plan,” “downstairs master,” “walkability,” “solar” or “energy efficient,” “updated,” and “low HOA fee.” Certain terms work better in certain markets, with “light and bright” desired by buyers in Manhattan and “new construction” likely to reel in buyers in Southern California. Listings should be specific, noting “oak floors” instead of “wood floors;” and those denoting high-end appliance brands, like Sub-Zero and Viking, also will generate buzz.

HOWEVER, with a focus on “turn-key” or “move-in-ready” properties, sellers should use “income property” instead of “fixer” or “needs work,” although the latter might grab the attention of first-time buyers looking for homes in neighborhoods they otherwise could not afford. Other terms to avoid include the overused “Hurry, won’t last!,” “gourmet kitchen,” “luxury bath,” and “rare” along with “charming,” which often means “small,” and “classic,” which is thought to mean “outdated.”

To read more, CLICK HERE.


7. The Top 10 Real Estate Websites

A report by Experian Marketing Services shows that nonmobile traffic to U.S. real estate Web sites hit a 12-month high in January, with 482 million visits42 percent of which were to the 10 biggest real estate listing portals.

Zillow ranked first with 9.17 percent of visits, followed by Trulia and, with 7 percent and 6.09 percent, respectively. Rounding out the top 10 are Yahoo Homes (5.50 percent), FrontDoor Real Estate (5.43 percent), (3.73 percent), MSN Real Estate (1.49 percent), (1.48 percent), AOL Real Estate (1.36 percent), and Apartment Guide (1.22 percent).

However, Zillow and’s relationships with other Web sites complicates the rankings., for instance, powers listings on MSN Real Estate; and ListHub, a subsidiary of operator Move Inc., supplies listings to AOL Real Estate. Taking these agreements into consideration, market share jumps to 14.67 percent for Zillow and 8.94 percent for

Zillow’s influence is likely to grow. Inman News annouced last week that “Zillow is now powering real estate search and listings for Google Now, an intelligent personal assistant that’s an extension of Google’s search app for mobile devices running on the Android operating system.”

[SOURCE: Inman News]

8. TAR’s Social Media Links

To join your fellow Realtors online ….

Follow TAR on Twitter at:

TAR’s LinkedIn page:

TAR’s page on Facebook:

ALSO: Check out the other links at the end of this email!

9. 2013 Spring Conference COMING SOON!

March 25-26: TAR Spring Conference – Cool Springs Marriott, Franklin, TN!

This is typically our best-attended event of the year, and a SUPER educational bargain! Once again, we feature several national speakers and an assortment of VERY timely topics. 10 hours of education in all …and an opportunity to mix and mingle with Realtors from across the state!

There is NO on-site registration for this event, so you need to sign up ahead of time. You can get more info & register for this one NOW at:


To access past TAR DIGESTS:

To ask a TAR Legal and Ethics Hot Line question:

For CE classroom courses around the state, go to:

For online CE courses, go to:

Online Risk Reduction Resources:

Online Resources for Association Leaders:

Tennessee Real Estate Commission:

To check your CE credits on file with TREC, go to:

To see current mortgage rates, go to:

To see THDA rates and programs, go to: