The 3-11-14 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS
2. Top Residential Trends for 2014
3. That Never-Ending Quest: Finding Balance!
4. How NOT To Write a Listing Description
5. KY Story Highlights Value of Radon Testing
6. HOT LINE: Using the Repair/Replacement Amendment?
7. HOT LINE: Is a Buyer Rep Agreement Required?
8. HOT LINE: Rules on Billboard Advertising?
9. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

“Winners compare their achievements with their goals, while losers compare their achievements with those of other people.” — Nido Qubein


1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS

March 11-12: The Learning-Centered Instructor Workshop (16 hrs. CE) — hosted by the Williamson County Association. For more details, go HERE.

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/

During the month of March you can feel the Luck O’ The Irish because The CE Shop is offering our members 15% off every one of their courses and online packages! This is a Limited Time Offer! Enroll today: http://tarnet.theceshop.com/ …and enter “lucky15” at checkout to receive your discount!


2. Top Residential Trends for 2014

Although many believe 2014 will be a seller’s market, moving homes off the market will still take a lot of work because buyers have high expectations as they look to maximize their investment.

Homes are selling at close to or above list price, however, if they boast the features that are on buyers’ “must have” or “would love to have” lists. These include features to make homes more energy efficient and lower heating and cooling bills, such as skylights, solar-powered water heaters, and remote-controlled solar-powered blinds. Buyers also are paying attention to functionality, as some find that bigger does not always mean better in terms of space. Some are even looking for features that will allow them to age in place, including ground-floor bedrooms, open floor plans, larger bathrooms, touch faucets, and small yards that require little maintenance.

To read more, go HERE.


3. That Never-Ending Quest: Finding Balance!

How balanced is YOUR life?

Tracey Velt, writing for Real Trends, posted an article a few days ago (“Finding Balance”) that will likely resonate with a lot of our readers. In it, she compliments a recent book — “7F Words for Living a Balanced Life” — and two of the three authors are real estate professionals.

As Tracey writes, “The book focuses on the 7F words: Focus, Faith, Freedom, Family, Finance, Fitness and Fun and gives you strategies for incorporating them all in your life in order to find balance. It’s a quick, must-read for any business person who is struggling to find a life-work balance.”

To read more, go to: http://realtrends.com/blog/finding-balance


4. How NOT To Write a Listing Description

A survey of 1,291 people by Redfin and Grammarly reveals that misspellings or improper grammar in online listings would make 43 percent of respondents less inclined to tour a home. They also are turned off by ads that are written in all caps, use an excessive number of exclamation points or abbreviations, or are missing commas.

Although photos were deemed most important, 87 percent of those polled consider the description extremely or very important as well. “Photos grab your attention, but the listing description fills in the gaps by helping a buyer understand what photos can’t,” says Seattle-based Redfin agent Chad Dierickx. Most respondents said a description of about 50 words was sufficient, and Redfin found that listings limited to this length are more likely to sell within 90 days and at top dollar.

To read more, go HERE.


5. KY Story Highlights Value of Radon Testing

The death last year of a Kentucky woman (Lois Turner Dees), who finally succumbed to lung cancer, prompted one real estate agent to begin offering free radon education seminars.

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
Dr. Susan Arnold, who treated Dees at the Lucille Parker Markey Cancer Center, said because Dees had never smoked, radon exposure was a likely cause of her cancer. A subsequent test of her home revealed that the level was nearly eight times the acceptable safe levels.
*** END QUOTE ***

As a side note: The husband of Lois Turner Dees was among the 47 who perished in the Comair Flight 5191 crash in Kentucky in 2006.

To read more, go HERE.


6. HOT LINE: Using the Repair/Replacement Amendment?

QUESTION: We had a home inspection done. We submitted the repair/replacement proposal. The repairs were finished, then we submitted the repair/replacement amendment. Is this the correct way to use these forms?

ANSWER: The Repair/Replacement Proposal (F4) is not part of the purchase and sale agreement. It is merely a worksheet on which the parties can propose repairs and replacements. It is used as a negotiating tool. Once the parties have agreed to repairs and/or replacements, the information is transferred to the Repair/Replacement Amendment (F5) which IS a part of the purchase and sale agreement. The F5 should be completed BEFORE the end of the Resolution Period.

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


7. HOT LINE: Is a Buyer Rep Agreement Required?

QUESTION: When writing an offer for a buyer, is it required that you get a buyer’s rep agreement signed or will the confirmation of agency suffice?

ANSWER: Buyer’s representation agreements are used to create agency between a firm and a buyer. It is not “required” per se by state law. However, it IS required in order to create an agency relationship with a buyer. Therefore, if you represent yourself as the agent or designated agent for the buyer, you MUST have a buyer’s rep agreement.

Another important feature of a buyer’s representation agreement is to ensure that the buyer cannot “agent hop”. An exclusive buyer’s representation agreement establishes that the buyer cannot change agents. In addition, these agreements often establish that the buyer will owe a commission to the firm. It can even require that, if the cooperating compensation is not equal to the amount negotiated with the buyer in the agreement, then the buyer will pay the difference. This can help to protect the firm from doing a great deal of work and then at the last minute, they do not get paid …if the firm is willing to enforce the agreement.

Some firms DO require as a matter of firm policy that buyer’s representation agreements be completed with any buyers with whom its agents are working. This is permitted.

A Confirmation of Agency Status DOES NOT create an agency relationship. You must have a separate agreement with the client to establish that relationship. The Confirmation is merely confirming your relationship with the buyer as well as providing a document which can be given to the seller or seller’s agent disclosing your agency status with the buyer.

If you do not have a buyer’s representation agreement and are working with the buyer, then you would be a facilitator for the buyer. If you represent the seller and the buyer does not have an agent, then you would mark that the buyer is unrepresented.

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


8. HOT LINE: Rules on Billboard Advertising?

QUESTION: I am working on a design for a billboard and believe there was some information sent out recently related to the proper format for this form of advertising. Can you please send me the latest guidelines?

ANSWER: There is only one rule/statute governing the size of font in advertising. Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-310(b) states: “Licensees may not post signs on any property advertising themselves as real estate agents unless the firm’s name appears thereon in letters the same size or larger than those spelling out the name of the licensee.” TREC has recently held that this would apply to both yard signs and billboards.

In addition, TREC has indicated that it interprets this to mean that the “agent’s name cannot be any larger than the smallest font of the firm name” on any sign which is located on property.

TREC has really been focusing on this issue as well as others concerning advertising. We recommend watching the TAR Digest for breaking “news” on this issue in the upcoming months.

All advertising must have, at a minimum, the firm name and telephone number.

[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 go to the TAR website: http://tnrealtors.com

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/