The 7-9-13 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS
2. HOT LINE: Can Agent Pay Closing Costs?
3. HOT LINE: Keep Records for HOW Long?
4. Authentisign Now iPad Compatible!
5. An Opportunity to Serve!
6. Mastering the New Real Estate Rules
7. DID YOU KNOW… ?
8. Google Yourself
9. Destination: Destin!
10. USEFUL LINKS


1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS

Save time! Save money! Online CE Course Promotion for July: Enroll in any online CE Shop courses during the month of July and save 20%! Enter JULY15 at checkout to receive your discount. Enroll at: http://tarnet.theceshop.com/

GRI Courses start up again in August and September! To see the full year’s schedule, go to: http://tnrealtors.com/education/gri/


2. HOT LINE: Can Agent Pay Closing Costs?

QUESTION: Can an agent direct part of his commission to go toward his client’s closing costs? I thought that was considering giving the client money and therefore not allowable. Therefore, I thought the contract needed to be amended, having the seller pay that much of the buyer’s closing costs and the agent receiving that much less in commission. Which way is correct or are they both viable options?

ANSWER: TREC does not permit agents to pay closing costs. The Legislature recently passed a law that states: “A real estate licensee shall not give or pay cash rebates, cash gifts or cash prizes in conjunction with any real estate transaction. As part of the Tennessee Real Estate Commission’s general rulemaking authority, the Commission may regulate the practices of real estate licensees in regard to gifts, prizes or rebates that are not otherwise prohibited by law.” Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-302(b).

TREC has interpreted this law as prohibiting agents from paying closing costs for their clients. Therefore, if these items are closing costs that appear on the HUD, you cannot pay them. Furthermore, an agent should make sure that the lender approves this as well. Otherwise, an agent can offer to reduce his or her commission, but cannot pay the closing costs. However, this does NOT mean that the overall commission would be reduced. A buyer’s agent would have to have both the seller’s agent and the seller agree to reduce the commission and apply this to the closing costs (this is because the seller is typically under contract to pay a certain percentage to his agent regardless of whether there is an agent working with the buyer).

Also, the lender may have a problem with a third party paying a portion of the closing costs.

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


3. HOT LINE: Keep Records for HOW Long?

QUESTION: How long are we required to keep records on real estate transactions?

ANSWER: It’s been a while since we addressed this issue.

The firm must have a copy of all records for a minimum of three years. Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-312(b)(6) states that a licensee can be penalized for “Failing to preserve for three (3) years following its consummation records relating to any real estate transaction.”

According to TREC, these records must contain, at a minimum, the following: listings; offers (even those that do not become contracts); contracts; closing statements; agency agreements; agency disclosure documents; property disclosure forms; correspondence; notes; and any other relevant information.

Based upon issues that have arisen in the errors and omissions cases our firm has handled over the years, we STRONGLY recommend that licensees keep each and every document that comes into their hands while representing a client or customer, regardless of whether they are working as sellers’ agents, buyers’ agents, or facilitators. We cannot stress how important it is to keep documents that evidence contact with clients, customers, cooperating agents, and/or inspectors. Such documents include email and facsimile confirmations. These records can be stored electronically, but you must be able to access them whenever the auditor comes to the office. It would likely fall upon the principal broker to keep these records.

Although the Brokers’ Act requires that records be retained for only three years, it is a good business practice for licensees and firms to maintain their records for at least six years following the consummation of a transaction. The reason is that the statute of limitations for breach of contract actions is six years. In other words, if a former customer or client brings a cause of action against a licensee or a firm under a breach of contract theory, he/she has six years from the date of the breach to do so!

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


4. Authentisign Now iPad Compatible!

Authentisign for the tablet is here – it’s now iPad compatible! This new version of Authentisign (Authentisign2GO) allows users to create signings on their tablets. Users will now be able to fill out forms, prep them for signing and have the documents signed on their tablet, right then and there.

TransactionDesk released the Upgrade and NEW features July 2nd. TAR and its members are among the first customers! The nationwide rollout for everyone else is scheduled in the next 2-3 weeks. For more info regarding Authentisign2GO visit: http://tnrealtors.com/2013/07/3769/


5. An Opportunity To Serve!

It won’t be too long before TAR’s 2014 Leadership will be appointing members to the state association’s 2014 committees!

2014 could be YOUR year to serve and make a difference in the future of your state association! To complete an easy online application and express YOUR interest in a 2014 committee appointment, log into the Members Only area of tnrealtors.com, and go to: http://tnrealtors.com/members-only/committee-request-application/

The deadline for committee requests is August 30, 2013.

P.S. If you are interested in serving as a Trustee of our educational foundation (TREEF), go to TAR Staff contacts (http://tnrealtors.com/contact-us/) and email a brief description of your background and interest in supporting education to Pug Scoville. The deadline for TREEF Trustee applications is July 17, 2013!


6. Mastering the New Real Estate Rules

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article by Karen Blumenthal (“Mastering the New Real-Estate Rules”) to help consumers navigate their next real estate purchase or sale. It’s always helpful to know what advice your future clients are getting! In this case, the Wall Street Journal’s advice is generally good, including such topics as:

  • Cash matters.
  • Get prequalified.
  • Get a connected real-estate agent.
  • Prepare for auction (a multiple-offer situation).

The article aslo recommends that buyers “forgo a low initial bid and instead make their best offer”.

To read more, go HERE.


7. DID YOU KNOW… ?

The recent TAR Membership Survey – a big THANK YOU to all who responded! – revealed that a large number of members aren’t really aware of many services and activities of TAR that are ALREADY provided to you!

To help you take greater advantage of your membership and learn more about TAR, we’ve installed a “DID YOU KNOW?” feature on the TAR Home Page at: http://tnrealtors.com

Periodically, we will highlight different facts and services for you to view at the Home Page! Why not go there now to see what’s being featured this week?


8. Google Yourself

Every now and then, we remind members to safeguard your online reputations by frequently Googling yourself, just to see what web pages on the Internet mention you by name. You COULD be surprised, pleased, shocked, flattered, or even angered by what you find!

Just go to http://www.google.com and – in the Search field – put “John Doe” with quotes around your first and last names. Then see what comes up!


9. Destination: Destin!

Register for the 2013 TAR Annual Convention (Sept. 18-20) in Destin, Florida and enjoy GREAT education featuring a selection of national speakers, as well as a beautiful beach, wonderful events, area golf, and a chance to network with other Tennessee Realtors! Learn how to be more productive and successful in a beautiful setting!

With the revival of a healthy real estate market, this whould be the PERFECT WAY to reward your own hard work this year! For more information or to register, go to: http://tnrealtors.com/meetings-and-events/convention/


10. 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