The 2-5-13 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


HOT LINES IN THIS ISSUE:
1. HOT LINE: Changing The List Price in the MLS?
2. HOT LINE: Terminating a Buyer Agency Agreement?
3. HOT LINE ADVISORY: Copies of Contracts

IN OTHER NEWS:
4. Yet Another Scam …They Never Stop!
5. Movies Used To Sell Luxury Nashville Homes
6. Homeownership at 16-Year Low
7. TECH TIP: A Mainstream App for Realtors!
8. 2013 Spring Conference Coming SOON!
9. SPECIAL: February Discount for Online CE Courses
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: Changing The List Price in the MLS?

QUESTION: A buyer’s agent has requested that I change the list price in the MLS. We have an executed contract in place. Is this permitted?

ANSWER: Be very careful here. Generally, the list price should ONLY be changed under very limited circumstances.

First, you should NOT change the price in the MLS once a contract is in place. You are permitted to change the price in the MLS only under certain circumstances. The price in the MLS is set by the seller. There are only two instances in which the price may be changed in the MLS. One is where there is an obvious mistake, and the second involves a change in market prices. For example, the home has been on the market for months and the seller decides to lower the asking price in order to possibly speed the sales process. The seller may also decide that he wishes to increase the cost of the home. The main key is that the seller wants to adjust the asking price and he does so BEFORE there is a contract on the home.

If an entity requests that the seller’s agent increase the asking price on the MLS in order to attempt to get financing for their client and the agent does so, this may place the agent in a situation involving FRAUD against a lender. Therefore, you should ONLY make changes to the pricing in the MLS in cases of obvious mistake or in cases in which the owner requests an increase or decrease in the price PRIOR to a contract being in place.

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


2. HOT LINE: Terminating a Buyer Agency Agreement?

QUESTION: I have been working with a buyer on a property. They signed a buyer’s rep agreement with me, but they have been difficult to deal with. They went to another Realtor and tried to write an offer on a property, but could not get qualified. Then they went to another different Realtor. I’ve decided I do not want to work with them. Can I do this on my own?

ANSWER: A buyer’s rep agreement is a written contract that establishes an agency relationship between a buyer and a real estate company. In order to terminate this contract, it requires a termination and release in writing and signed by all parties to the buying agreement. TAR provides a form for you to use if you wish to agree to terminate the buyer’s representation agreement – form F82. It terminates the contract and releases both sides from the obligations under the original buyer’s rep agreement. Until this is completed, the buyer’s representation agreement will continue in place until its natural termination.

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


3. HOT LINE ADVISORY: Copies of Contracts

While everybody knows that a consumer must be given a copy of any Purchase and Sale Agreement that he/she signs, some folks apparently don’t understand that this requirement extends to ALL agreements!

Article 9 in the Realtor Code of Ethics spells out your ethical duty:

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
REALTORS, for the protection of all parties, shall assure whenever possible that all agreements related to real estate transactions including, but not limited to, listing and representation agreements, purchase contracts, and leases are in writing in clear and understandable language expressing the specific terms, conditions, obligations and commitments of the parties. A copy of each agreement shall be furnished to each party to such agreements upon their signing or initialing. (Amended 1/04)
*** END QUOTE ***

If that’s not sufficient motivation to ensure that consumers are promptly given a copy of any contract or agreement they sign, then look at 62-13-312(b)(8) under reasons that the Tennessee Real Estate Commission can suspend or revoke a license:

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
(8) Failing to furnish a copy of any listing, sale, lease, or other contract relevant to a real estate transaction to all signatories thereof at the time of execution;
*** END QUOTE ***

Remember that both a listing agreement and a buyer representation agreement are contracts!

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

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


4. Yet Another Scam …They Never Stop!

This one is going to primarily hit business owners.

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office has received inquiries about an official-looking notice from Corporate Records Service. It appears that these notices began arriving in mailboxes around January 22, 2013. Corporate Records Service is not registered, affiliated, or associated with the Tennessee Secretary of State.

The mailer is causing confusion for Tennessee corporations due to its appearance as an official document. Tennessee corporations are required to file annual reports with the Tennessee Secretary of State. Most corporations have also recently received annual report notices from the Secretary of State.

Corporate Records Services is requesting a $125 fee. The standard fee to file a corporation annual report in Tennessee is only $20.

“We can confirm that Corporate Records Service is not a business entity on file with our office,” Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “I strongly advise corporations to exercise caution before providing their private and confidential information or credit card information to this or any company that is representing itself in this manner.”
*** END QUOTE ***

For more info: http://tnsos.org/Press/story.php?item=476

[SOURCE: TN Secretary of State]


5. Movies Used To Sell Luxury Nashville Homes

One Realtor’s creative use of video and YouTube to market some higher-priced homes in Nashville is the focus of an article (“How YouTube mini-movies are helping sell luxury Nashville homes”) on the Nashville Business Journal’s NashBizBlog, as well as an article in the print edition of the Journal.

Each mini-movie, complete with actors and a story line that showcases various property features, is obviously not the type of project that anyone would undertake unless the investment were truly worth it. This approach does, however, take advantage of a truth about human nature we don’t fully appreciate: We are a story-loving people!

The Nashville Realtor responsible for these videos is Keith Merrill with Worth Properties. The article linked HERE contains more information about his approach and some links to a couple of examples of his mini-movies.

It’s worth a visit, if only to kindle your own creative spirit!

[SOURCE: Nashville Business Journal]


6. Homeownership at 16-Year Low

The homeownership rate in this country at the end of December was 65.4 percent — its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 1996, according to the Census Bureau. The pace has been falling since cresting at 69.2 percent in 2004. Data from the Census Bureau also reveals that only 8.7 percent of rental units nationally were vacant at the end of last month, marking the lowest fourth-quarter vacancy rate since at least seven years. And the median asking rent for vacant rental units rose during the quarter to $724.

To read more, CLICK HERE.

HOPEFULLY, what this means is that there is a lot of pent-up demand for housing that should result in more sales as the economy improves!

A new survey (linked HERE) by Prudential, in fact, shows that homeownership is increasingly important to younger Americans.

[SOURCES: Chicago Tribune; RISMedia]


7. TECH TIP: A Mainstream App for Realtors!

A new article in Honolulu Magazine (“Mainstream apps that realtors should use”) provides a good description of an app that Realtors should take the time to try out.

While many of our readers complain that they don’t want to “waste” any more time on technology or social media, the first app that author Melissa Chang profiles – Instagram – is one that could both save you time AND increase your effectiveness! She does a nice job of showing HOW TO ACTUALLY USE the app in your business.

To read the article, before trying out the app, CLICK HERE.

This is obviously the first of a series of articles on various apps, so we’ll monitor this site for more useful tips in the future.

[SOURCE: Honolulu Magazine]


8. 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: http://tnrealtors.com/meetings-and-events/spring-conference/


9. SPECIAL: February Discount for Online CE Courses

Happy Valentines Day! Our CE partner, The CE Shop, is showing some love this month by offering 15% off on CE courses purchased!

Enroll today: http://tarnet.theceshop.com/

Enter FEB15 at checkout to receive your discount!

This promotion expires February 28th, 2013


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