The 1-21-14 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS
2. How QM Affects Realtors
3. Will 2014 Be the Year for Relocation?
4. Ads Getting Politically Correct
5. Instructor-Training Workshop Offered!
6. HOT LINE: Filling in All Blanks?
7. HOT LINE: Adjustment of Price to Cover Repairs?
8. HOT LINE: Options for a Referral-Only Licensee?
9. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” — Marilyn Monroe


1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS

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 is posted in the “Education” section of the TAR website: http://tnrealtors.com/education/gri/


2. How QM Affects Realtors

Realtors will be affected by the new qualified mortgage lending and ability-to-repay rules, even though their role historically has not involved handling the loan approval process. Property practitioners need to keep abreast of changes in the lending process to avoid wasting their time or that of their clients, according to Marcus McCue of Plano, Texas-based Guardian Mortgage. McCue adds that Realtors must be able to explain to clients the difference between pre-qualification letters and conditional mortgage approvals — especially since those with only pre-qualifications could end up being disqualified during the full approval process. He recommends that agents encourage clients to go with the strongest approval process from the start, which allows them to shop with confidence and finalize a sale more quickly.

To read more, go HERE.


3. Will 2014 Be the Year for Relocation?

In his blog, ERA’s CEO Charlie Young says, “There are plenty of places where you can find predictions about the real estate market in 2014. I don’t have a crystal ball, so I don’t make predictions. But I will tell you that there are several facts that point to a trend of increasing relocation in 2014. Taken together, these factors may drive people [to] make the decision to leave their current locale for one with a better cost of living, likely making 2014 the ‘Year of the Big Move.’

To read more, go HERE.


4. Ads Getting Politically Correct

When placing real estate ads today, many property professionals are taking pains to avoid language that could offend prospective buyers or violate Fair Housing Act rules.

District of Columbia agents, for example, are replacing “master bedroom” with “owner’s suite” due to the racial connotations of the former phrase. On the other side of the country in California, meanwhile, Marin County agent Beth Brody says her agency closely reviews the wording the agents use in listing ads. “You can say ‘family room’ but not ‘family home,’” she cites as an example. “We avoid anything gender-specific like ‘his-and-hers’ closets or baths.”

The better-safe-than-sorry approach may be a smart move for the industry, considering that a new wave of litigation could spring from the issue. There already is a federal discrimination lawsuit underway over an apartment listing in Ohio marketed as a “bachelor pad.” While there is no government list of phrases that should be avoided, some multiple listing services have shunned terms like “newlyweds,” “country club nearby,” “handyman’s dream,” “safe neighborhood,” and “secure.” The phrase “walking distance to” also has come into question, since it could be perceived as biased against someone in a wheelchair.

“Our culture and society are now more in tune with the sensitivities of more groups of people … so [we are] taking more precautions not to inadvertently or expressly discriminate against a specific class of people,” said Lesley Walker, associate counsel at the National Association of Realtors.

To read more: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2014/01/16/your-listing-offensive


5. Instructor-Training Workshop Offered!

On February 20-21, Chattanooga is hosting TREEF’s Learning-Centered Instructor Workshop. [This was originally scheduled for this past December but was rescheduled for February!]

This popular 2-day program has been held for instructors in Tennessee, Missouri, and Arizona, and consistently receives great reviews. Steve Champion will lead this workshop, designed for both current and potential instructors and trainers who want to improve their skill-set and know-how as instructors or trainers. The workshop is approved for 16 hours of CE! For more details, please visit: http://www.gcar.net/S=0/events/calendar/month/2014/02/ …and click on the 20th of February!


6. HOT LINE: Filling in All Blanks?

QUESTION: On the Purchase and Sale Agreement, do we need to insert “N/A” in any blanks, or should we leave them blank?

ANSWER: You should ALWAYS try to fill in all the blanks on the Purchase and Sale Agreement with something specific, be it a zero, “none”, or a date. Otherwise, the agreement could be deemed “vague” which could make it unenforceable. If a particular item is not applicable, you can put “N/A” on the blank. You specifically mentioned the offer termination date. Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-312(b)(9), an agent can be disciplined for “Using or promoting the use of any real estate listing agreement form, real estate sales contract form, or offer to purchase real estate form which fails to specify a definite termination date.” Therefore, you MUST insert an offer termination date.

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


7. HOT LINE: Adjustment of Price to Cover Repairs?

QUESTION: I have a tenant that wants to purchase the home they are renting. I am the transaction broker for the deal. An inspection was done and there were repairs that need to be completed. The buyer wants the seller to reduce the sales price by $5,000.00 and the buyer will take care of the repairs. How do I write this in the contract?

ANSWER: You indicated that the parties are still negotiating and a contract has not yet been signed. You also indicated that the buyers would want to get a termite inspection and if there was damage or infestation, that it would be repaired and/or fixed. Therefore, we would recommend that the purchase price reflect the adjusted price and then in special stipulations state that the parties agree that no repairs shall be made with the exception of any repairs required by termite damage and treatment in the event that active infestation is found.

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


8. HOT LINE: Options for a Referral-Only Licensee?

QUESTION: Can someone in a referral-only company do rentals, or do they have to refer them out?

ANSWER: Any real estate licensee can legally handle rental property under the Broker’s Act. Therefore, as long as the individual has a valid real estate license, he can legally lease property for others. However, this does NOT mean that the owner and/or principal broker of the firm will allow this.

If a company has been set up so that the licensees only work as referral agents, the broker may not permit the licensee to work as a lease-listing agent or as a tenant’s agent. This would solely be an issue for the broker to determine. However, if the licensee does work on such transactions, this may require an escrow account where one was not required before and it may require additional E & O coverage since it will likely bring a greater likelihood of complaints and/or liability.

PLEASE NOTE: If the licensees in a referral-only office are not also dues-paying members of the Realtor organization and the MLS, they are NOT permitted to use any TAR forms — which are reserved for the exclusive use of TAR’s Realtor members ONLY — nor are they permitted to access or use the MLS.

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


9. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

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/