The 9-3-13 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS
2. HOT LINE: Flat Fee in Lieu of Commission?
3. HOT LINE: Offer Not Presented?
4. HOT LINE ADVISORY: Gifts and Prizes
5. AUCTION Coming Next Week!
6. Housing Price Increases May Slow
7. “Rethinking The Pitch”
8. Single Women Home Buyers
9. USEFUL LINKS


1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS

Sept. 5: DEADLINE for Advance Registrations for the TAR Convention! After this date, only on-site registrations will be accepted, and fees will go up! Go to: http://tnrealtors.com/meetings-and-events/convention/

Sept. 12 – Oct. 2: GRI 403, Working More Effectively With Buyers (8 hrs. CE) – an E-Class distance-learning course. For more info or to register: https://www.123signup.com/event?id=bzmcr

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

Sept. 25-27: Sign up for all three GRI courses in Knoxville through our GRI Express option (GRI 402, 404, and 406), and save $55 over what you would pay by registering for each individually! To do so, go to: https://www.123signup.com/event?id=btxjk

Sept. 25: GRI 402, Staying In Business & Out of Court (8 hrs. CE) – KAAR Office, Knoxville. For more information or to register: https://www.123signup.com/event?id=bxkrt

Sept. 26: GRI 404, Working More Effectively With Sellers (8 hrs. CE) – KAAR Office, Knoxville. For more information or to register: https://www.123signup.com/event?id=btgfy

Sept. 27: GRI 406, Tips, Tools, & Technologies for Your Business (8 hrs. CE) – KAAR Office, Knoxville. For more information or to register: https://www.123signup.com/event?id=bxkhf

To see the full year’s GRI schedule, go to: http://tnrealtors.com/education/gri/


2. HOT LINE: Flat Fee in Lieu of Commission?

QUESTION: If I was working with a buyer and they were giving me a flat fee for service to help them and wanted me to waive the commission I receive at closing, what is the best language to put in the purchase agreement so it is clearly understood that the agent’s commission would be 0%, which would reduce the total commission? I want it to show up on the HUD as $0 to the buyer’s agent and then the percentage offered to the buyer’s agent to be waived at closing.

ANSWER: If you are working with the buyer, things get a bit complicated. You will need to contact the listing agent and advise them that you are planning on waiving your commission with the expectation that this amount will be credited to the buyer at closing. IF the listing agent agrees, then get this in writing. The listing agent will then need to speak with his client to reduce the commission he is paying to the listing company. This amount would then be credited to the buyer at closing. Check with the closing attorney to determine the best way to include this on the purchase and sale agreement. It could be simply a credit based upon no commission to the buyer’s agent or it can be used as a credit in which the seller is paying closing costs, etc.

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


3. HOT LINE: Offer Not Presented?

QUESTION: I presented an offer on Friday afternoon. The listing agents confirmed receipt of the offer and said they would present the offer to the seller; however, they did not. The listing agent said the seller was particular and they (the listing agents) didn’t “think” he would accept our offer. Aren’t all offers required to be presented by law to a seller?

ANSWER: The Broker’s Act states: “Unless the following duties are specifically and individually waived, in writing by a client, a licensee shall assist the client by receiving all offers and counter-offers and forwarding them promptly to the client.” – Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-404(3)(A)(ii).

TREC Rule 1260-2-.08 states: “A broker or affiliate broker promptly shall tender every written offer to purchase or sell obtained on a property until a contract is signed by all parties.” Therefore, an agent must present all offers to the client unless they have instructed you not to do so in writing, signed by them.

Furthermore, under Standard of Practice 1-6, “Realtors shall submit offers and counter-offers objectively and as quickly as possible.” In addition, Standard of Practice 1-7 states: “When acting as listing brokers, Realtors shall continue to submit to the seller/landlord all offers and counter-offers until closing or execution of a lease unless the seller has waived this obligation in writing.”

Therefore, unless the seller has instructed his agent in writing to not present certain offers (should be specific – i.e., must be at least $x, no sale of house contingency, etc.), then the agent is required to present ALL offers to the seller. We would not recommend that it be an instruction which requires the listing agent to make a judgment call!

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


4. HOT LINE ADVISORY: Gifts and Prizes

Despite periodic reminders about what types of gifts are and are not allowed, the TAR Hot Line continues to receive numerous inquiries about gifts.

A licensee IS permitted to give someone a gift in order to induce them to do business with the agent. HOWEVER, it must be an incentive for that person to do business with you, not their friend or family member. You will have to follow the Gifts and Prizes rule – TREC Rule 1260-2-.33. It states:

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
(1) A licensee may offer a gift, prize, or other valuable consideration as an inducement to the purchase, listing, or lease of real estate only if the offer is made:

(a) Under the sponsorship and with the approval of the firm with whom the licensee is affiliated; and

(b) In writing, signed by the licensee, with disclosure of all pertinent details, including but not limited to:

1. accurate specifications of the gift, prize, or other valuable consideration offered;

2. fair market value;

3. the time and place of delivery; and

4. any requirements which must be satisfied by the prospective purchaser or lessor.
*** END QUOTE ***

Also please be aware that under state law, these gifts may NOT take the form of cash or converted into cash in any way! The statute 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 also determined that agents are NOT permitted to pay closing costs on behalf of their clients. They can, however, agree to reduce their commission.

In addition, you should be aware of provisions in the new advertising rule that address advertising offers or gifts.

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


5. AUCTION Coming Next Week!

Next week, we will publish the link to an Online Silent Auction to benefit our educational foundation, TREEF!

We have a tremendous assortment of items to be auctioned. It should be a great – and FUN! – way to support the free educational services provided by the Tennessee Real Estate Educational Foundation (TREEF)! TREEF has a long, distinguished history of service to the real estate industry in Tennessee …we want to keep that going!

Bidding will open next Monday, Sept. 9, and close on Thursday, Sept. 19!


6. Housing Price Increases May Slow

The Wall Street Journal reports that home prices rose 12.1 percent for the 12 months ended in June, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index, which tracks prices in 20 major U.S. metro areas. The rate of increase fell slightly from a gain of 12.2 percent for the 12 months ended in May. Home prices appreciated rapidly earlier this year, but economists now expect the pace to moderate because housing is more expensive now than it was then. Rising mortgage rates have helped to cool housing prices.

To read more: http://stream.wsj.com/story/latest-headlines/SS-2-63399/SS-2-309983/


7. “Rethinking The Pitch”

A recent Realty Times article by Adam Tratt (one of the developers of iPad app Haiku Deck) dispenses useful advice for improving your presentations to prospective clients!

Realtors using Haiku Deck or other platforms to build presentations should keep their presentations simple and easy to understand by focusing on one idea per slide, using relevant imagery, and focusing on relevant statistics and data.

With Haiku Deck, Realtors can spend more time crafting their message and less time creating slides, as it features tools that quickly create charts and graphs, integrated Creative Commons keyword image search, and one-touch themes with professionally designed fonts and color palettes. The platform also features bold imagery that creates a sense of place, attention-grabbing headlines, and subheads with useful details. No matter what platform they use, Realtors should infuse their personality into their presentations and not feel like they have to include everything they plan to say on a slide.

Finally, they should opt for a platform that can be embedded in their blog or website, shared via social media, or emailed to the client.

The full article is illustrated and well worth your time: http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/20130828-HaikuDeck.htm


8. Single Women Home Buyers

A new report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reveals that unmarried women who live alone are among the top buyers of single-family homes, accounting for fully 25 percent of all 2012 purchases.

According to Realtor.com, sociologist and author Eric Klinenberg identifies young adults ages 18 to 34 as the fastest-growing population of people living alone; and females make up most one-person households. Meanwhile, Census data shows that single women have outshone their male counterparts in the homeownership department since at least 1982. Middle-aged women are boosting their purchasing power; but ladies under the age of 35 appear to be putting off homeownership until later, according to a July report from Redfin. The brokerage also names the top U.S. cities for single successful women who have the means to buy a home, with Arlington, Va.; Alexandria, Va.; Cambridge, Mass.; Washington, D.C.; and San Francisco heading the list.

To read more: http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2013/08/31/stunning-stats-single-women-comprise-huge-segment-home-buyers


9. 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