The 11-19-13 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS
2. Harding Honored at NAR Convention!
3. NAR To Issue Flood Insurance Call For Action!
4. Multiuse Rooms, Open Floor Plans Among Trends
5. Down Payments Shrinking Again
6. Consumer Poll Finds a Lack of Trust…
7. HOT LINE: Every Withdrawn Listing Is NOT “Fair Game”!
8. HOT LINE: Team Members’ Names on Forms?
9. USEFUL LINKS


1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS

Our last GRI Course of 2013 is coming up:

Dec. 6: GRI 406, Tips, Tools, & Technologies (8 hrs. CE) – KAAR Office, Knoxville. For more information or to register: https://www.123signup.com/event?id=dxycf

To see upcoming offerings of TREC CORE COURSES, ABR COURSES, etc., – at locations around the state – go to the TAR Course calendar at: http://tnrealtors.com/education/realtor-courses/

Our 2014 GRI Classroom Course Schedule will be posted later this week in the “Education” section of the TAR website: http://tnrealtors.com/education/gri/


2. Harding Honored at NAR Convention!

Our TAR Executive Vice President Steve Harding was honored in a truly special way at the NAR Board of Directors Meeting in San Francisco last week! The William R. Magel Award of Excellence is presented annually to ONLY ONE “individual who has truly excelled in his or her role as an association executive of a local or state association of REALTORS”. It’s the highest honor which any association executive can hope to receive! Steve Harding – who marks 40 years of service to TAR this month – is the 2013 recipient of the Magel Award of Excellence and addressed the Directors upon receipt of the award! Steve is also among the select few members of the Almon Smith Leadership Society. We’re very proud of Steve!

In other actions, the National Association elected and installed its 2014 President, Ohio Realtor Steve Brown, and the Directors voiced widespread support for a project to redevelop its Chicago headquarters property, which will necessitate a temporary move of NAR’s Chicago staff for up to five years.


3. NAR To Issue Flood Insurance Call For Action!

NAR Government Affairs, in conjunction with NAR’s Community and Political Affairs Office, will be launching an all-member Congressional Call for Action on Tuesday, November 19, 2013.

The Call for Action will ask Members of Congress and United States Senators to bring the “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act” H.R. 3370 and S. 1610 to the floor for immediate consideration and a vote in each chamber. The Broker Involvement Program will be utilized to enhance participation. NAR has chosen not to involve consumers in this Call for Action. If you would like additional information on the Flood Insurance Issue visit: http://www.realtor.org/topics/national-flood-insurance-program-nfip

PLEASE RESPOND when this Call for Action is issued!


4. Multiuse Rooms, Open Floor Plans Among Trends

In the post-recession period, the latest poll from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) suggests that U.S. homeowners are leaning toward practical design and away from the indulgent.

“During the boom it was about technology-intense media rooms and wine cellars and sort of froufrou areas in the home that you didn’t really need,” explains AIA chief economist Kermit Baker. “Now it’s really much more about lifestyle and more multipurpose spaces. Homes have gotten smaller and you need multifunction rooms.”

He points to mudrooms and home offices as practical choices that homeowners are making, along with heightened interest in great rooms and master bedrooms. Other practical trends in home design include water-conserving features, extra insulation, storm-resistant design, first-floor master bedrooms, and ramps and elevators. Another big design movement, according to the survey, revolves around outdoor living rooms. “It’s a reaction to the McMansions with the big formal dining room that no one ever used,” Baker notes. “People are thinking, ‘How do I really use my space?’ They like to sit outside and enjoy things.”

To read more, CLICK HERE.


5. Down Payments Shrinking Again

Lenders are demanding smaller down payments from U.S. home buyers, based on a new report from LendingTree. According to the study, mortgage borrowers put down an average of 15.74 percent in the third quarter — a drop from an average of 16.1 percent in the previous three months. Down payments have declined 9.4 percent nationwide in just a two-year period, LendingTree notes. “Lenders are putting more focus on purchase mortgages and are adjusting minimum requirements to attract borrowers,” explained the company’s CEO, Doug Lebda, who said the lending community has been reassured by improving residential values and the diminishing threat of borrower defaults.

To read more, CLICK HERE.


6. Consumer Poll Finds a Lack of Trust…

Most would say that it’s ALWAYS time to focus on building greater trust, but a recent poll makes that goal even more critical!

About two-thirds of Americans do not trust real estate agents, based on responses to Choice Home Warranty’s recent online poll of more than 1,100 people. While gender, region, and geographic area appeared to have little impact on opinion, researchers did note a correlation between age and trust. Respondents in the 55-64 bracket trusted realty agents 42 percent of the time, more than any other age group; while those between the ages of 18 and 54 said they trusted property practitioners only 30 percent of the time. Among all poll participants under the age of 44, about 70 percent indicated that they do not trust real estate agents. To read more: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/11/prweb11314847.htm

You can see the full study here: http://www.choicehomewarranty.com/blog/real-estate-agent-study/

Another recent article (“Consumer confidence in homebuying hits all-time low”) notes that “The share of consumers who believe it’s a good time buy a house declined to 65% — an all-time low…” according to an October survey conducted by Fannie Mae. To read the whole article, go to: http://www.housingwire.com/articles/27847-consumer-confidence-in-homebuying-hits-an-all-time-low

All of this points to some fundamental challenges for the industry in the months and years ahead!


7. HOT LINE : Every Withdrawn Listing Is NOT “Fair Game”!

The TAR Office received a call recently, one of many such inquiries/complaints, regarding a seller who had requested that her home be withdrawn from the MLS for the holidays but who was STILL in an active listing agreement with a member’s real estate firm.

Almost immediately after the listing was withdrawn from the MLS, the seller started receiving calls from other Realtors, soliciting her listing! To add insult to injury, the calls to the seller were coming in to her unlisted cell phone number that is on the Do Not Call list!

As we have noted more than once, a listing that has been “withdrawn” from the MLS does NOT mean that the agency agrement with the seller has been terminated!

In the above situation, the listing agent (who still represents that seller) COULD file an ethics compliant with the local association about any of these other callers, regarding the solicitation of her client’s listing while an agency agrement is in place. That comes under the category of interference with another Realtor’s agency relationship. It would be up to the local association to then determine whether or not these solicitation calls were placed “innocently.”

AND …the seller could file a complaint with state or federal authorities about violations of the Do Not Call provisions, which could result in some costly fines for the callers.

How could the above situation be avoided? An exercise of professionalism and professional courtesy could avoid many such problems!

If the other callers had FIRST called the firm that listed that property to ask whether or not a listing (and agency) agreement is still in place with this seller, they could have determined that any call to that seller would be unethical and prohibited.

Furthermore, if “cold calling” expired listings is going to be a routine method of acquiring business, Realtors using this approach need to become MUCH more familiar with provisions of the state and federal Do Not Call laws:
http://www.tn.gov/tra/donotcall/nocall.shtml
http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/do-not-call-list

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


8. HOT LINE: Team Members’ Names on Forms?

QUESTION: I have seen confirmation of agency, lead base paint and other forms that have only the team name and not an agents’ signatures. It was my understanding that each team member has to sign any form that requires an agent’s signature and not just put the team name. Can you please advise as to what the proper procedure and or law should be?

ANSWER: Unfortunately, there is not a lot of guidance pertaining to teams at the moment. TREC is looking at teams and how they should function. Once they have established their recommendations, we will have a better idea as to what “team” means and how TREC will regulate them.

At this point, the Hot Line takes the most conservative stance as possible until we have further guidance as to how “teams” function. Therefore, the most conservative stance is that if a “team” represents a buyer or seller, the entire team represents them as a unit. Therefore, the names of the team members should be included on the confirmation of agency status form at a minimum. We would also recommend that all of the agents sign the confirmation of agency. We would also recommend that all of the agents sign the lead based paint disclosure and VA/FHA disclosure. Otherwise, as long as the team has established in writing that a member of the team can bind the remaining members of the team by their signature, one member could sign the remaining disclosures.

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


9. USEFUL LINKS

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

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/