The 3-12-13 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


1. Upcoming DEADLINES & EVENTS
2. A QUESTION OF ETHICS: Truth in Advertising?
3. IN OTHER NEWS…
4. TREC UPDATE: Changing Firms
5. USEFUL LINKS


1. Upcoming DEADLINES & EVENTS

March 14 – April 3: GRI 402, Staying In Business & Out of Court (8 hrs. CE) – An E-Class distance-learning offering of this course. For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

March 19: DEADLINE for Registrations for the TAR Spring Conference (March 25-26). There will be no onsite registrations! For more information or to register before the deadline, go to: http://tnrealtors.com/meetings-and-events/spring-conference/


2. A QUESTION OF ETHICS: Truth in Advertising?

QUESTION: Is it ethical to call an owner agent or agent and ask to set up an appointment for a client who wants to see their property, only to have them tell you that it’s under contract …when you have looked several times in the MLS and even two weeks later it is not “pending” nor has “pending” ever been indicated? It doesn’t seem fair to agents who try hard to help their clients look for properties and cannot show all of them that show up as active. Please advise.

ANSWER: This has to do with truth in advertising. The Broker’s Act states that an agent can be disciplined for “Misleading or untruthful advertising” – Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-312(b)(4). This is explained in Rule 1260-2-.12(4)(c) which states “Listing information must be kept current and accurate.”

But the Realtor Code of Ethics also addresses this issue! Article 12 states in part, “Realtors shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations.”

This is explained in Standard of Practice 12-8 which states: “The obligation to present a true picture in representations to the public includes information presented, provided, or displayed on Realtors’ websites. Realtors shall use reasonable efforts to ensure that information on their websites is current. When it becomes apparent that information on a Realtor’s website is no longer current or accurate, Realtors shall promptly take corrective action.”

It is up to the local board and TREC as to how the above are interpreted. However, we recommend that agents classify their listings with the option which most closely fits the current status of their listing.

It is possible that Article 3 of the Code of Ethics could also be involved, depending on the circumstances. Article 3 states: “Realtors shall cooperate with other brokers, except when cooperation is not in the client’s best interest. The obligation to cooperate does not include the obligation to share commissions, fees, or to otherwise compensate another broker.”

Standard of Practice 3-8 states: “Realtors shall not misrepresent the availability of access to show or inspect a listed property.”

Standard of Practice 3-10 states: “The duty to cooperate established in Article 3 relates to the obligation to share information on listed property, and to make property available to other brokers for showing to prospective purchasers/tenants when it is in the best interests of sellers/landlords.”

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


3. IN OTHER NEWS…

A Businessweek article worth reading: Why Redfin, Zillow, and Trulia Haven’t Killed Off Real Estate Brokers. To read it, CLICK HERE.

Nashville got some good news this past week. according to a story in the Nashville Business Journal, “Job openings in the Nashville grew at the highest rate in the country in February, according to a new report from Simply Hired.” To read more, CLICK HERE.

A report by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found differing priorities between first-time homebuyers and trade-up buyers. According to the NAHB report “Characteristics of Home Buyers,” price and proximity to work are the most important factors to first-time homebuyers in their purchase decision. About 38 percent of buyers in the study reported price as the primary consideration in their home purchase. Convenience to work was the top factor for 30 percent of first-time buyers. The majority of trade-up buyers (36 percent), however, cited home design as most important. For more info, CLICK HERE. [SOURCES: RECON; NAHB]

According to RealtorMag online, “Young home buyers are making up their smallest share in the housing market in more than a decade, and a new report blames it on rising student loan debt.” To read more, CLICK HERE.

Rebranded realtor.com Debuts: Seeking to make a better connection with consumers online, Web site realtor.com (yes, with a lowercase “r”) unveiled new branding this past week. The rebranding effort covers – for now, anyway – the corporate logo and the overall design and structure of the Web site. To read more, go to: http://speakingofrealestate.blogs.realtor.org/2013/03/06/rebranded-realtor-com-debuts/


4. TREC UPDATE: Changing Firms

The Tennessee Real Estate Commission (TREC) just passed a policy that should make it easier when agents transfer to another company. Pursuant to TREC Rule 1260-2-.02(2), “Within ten (10) days after the date of release, the licensee shall complete the required administrative measures for either change of affiliation or retirement. The licensee shall not engage in any activities defined in 62-13-102 until a change of affiliation is received and processed by the Commission.” In the past, this could take days, meaning that the transferring agent would not be able to work until this process was completed.

TREC recognized this could cause problems for an agent. Therefore, they’ve developed a way for licensees to affiliate with a new company online. This can be done at: https://apps.tn.gov/ciupdates/

In addition, TREC enacted Policy 2013-CPS-001 which states:

With regard to firm transfer requests which are completed online, the Commission recognizes the transfer of an affiliated license to a new firm as having been completed at the time that said transfer request is completed online and the transfer confirmation is printed only if the following conditions are met:

1. Prior to the submission of the online transfer request, the principal broker who is receiving the affiliated licensee has an active Tennessee license and current errors and omissions insurance; and

2. A completed and signed TREC 1 form is submitted to the Commission within five (5) business days of the date of the online transfer request.

This will enable agents to continue working as soon as their online transfer request and payment have been made, rather than having to wait several days or a week for the paperwork to be processed. This policy went into effect on March 6, 2013.


5. USEFUL LINKS

To access current and past TAR DIGESTS: http://www.tardigest.com

Follow TAR on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/tnaor

TAR’s LinkedIn page: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=852077&trk=hb_side_g

TAR’s page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nashville-TN/Tennessee-Association-of-RealtorsR/15041383689

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

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/

Tennessee Real Estate Commission: http://tn.gov/regboards/trec/

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