The 4-8-14 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville

1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS
2. Real Estate Website Visits Jump 15% in March
3. Getting Timely TREC News
4. Five Biggest Turn-Offs for Homebuyers!
5. When Your Phone’s Camera Is All You Have…
6. February 2014 TREC Disciplinary Actions
7. HOT LINE: Sending Entire Inspection Report to Listing Agent?
8. HOT LINE: Buyer Previously Signed With Another Agent?
9. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” — Mark Twain

1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS

April 8: GRI 402, Staying in Business & Out of Court (6 hrs. CE) – GNAR Office, Nashville, TN. For more information or to register, go HERE.

April 9: GRI 403, Working More Effectively with Buyers (6 hrs. CE) – GNAR Office, Nashville, TN. For more information or to register, go HERE.

April 11: GRI 402, Staying in Business & Out of Court (6 hrs. CE) – GCAR Office, Chattanooga, TN. For more information or to register, contact GCAR at 423-698-8001.

Why Should YOU Earn Your GRI? 10 Reasons!

To see upcoming offerings of TREC CORE COURSES, ABR COURSES, etc., – at locations around the state – go to the TAR Calendar at:

During the month of April you can STILL get a 15% discount on any of our CE Shop courses and online packages! Enroll today: …and enter “spring15” at checkout to receive your discount!

2. Real Estate Website Visits Jump 15% in March

According to Inman News, the 15 percent surge in desktop visits to real estate sites in March is a sign that the spring home-buying season is starting off strong. Real estate sites recorded about 362 million visits from consumers on desktop computers, up from 316 million visitors in February, according to Experian Marketing Services. Zillow continues to hold a notable lead with 16.46 percent of visits, but Trulia and cut into the lead by 0.32 percentage points and 0.3 percentage points, respectively, over the course of the month. Trulia has a 8.91 percent share of the market, and claims 7.49 percent. Yahoo! Homes and round out the top five with a 5.87 percent and a 2.65 percent share of desktop visits, respectively.

To read more, go HERE.

3. Getting Timely TREC News

The Tennessee Real Estate Commission (TREC) has asked us to tell everyone that you can now get timely notifications from them regarding:

  • New or Amended Statutes and New or Updated Rules
  • Changes to Fees, and Rule-making Hearings related to Fees
  • Significant Changes Impacting Your License and Changes to Policies

When you sign up, you can receive either emails or text messages (your choice)!

Sign up HERE.

4. Five Biggest Turn-Offs for Homebuyers!

A recent article by Blanche Evans on Realty Times (“The Five Biggest Turn-Offs For Homebuyers”) should give you some ammunition when you’re dealing with a seller who simply doesn’t recognize the need to market their property more effectively.

The article is written as advice to prospective sellers:

A lot of sellers don’t listen to their real estate agents, so we’ll tell you what your agent wants to say, but can’t say to you and this is it – your agent can’t get you the price you want unless your home is in pristine move-in condition.

That means no sticking drawers in the kitchen. No leaning fences. No rust-stained plumbing fixtures. We could go on, but maybe we need to make it clear. If you have even one of following “turn-offs,” your home won’t sell.

Buyers can get instantly turned off. Here are their five biggest turn-offs:
1. Overpricing for the market
2. Smells
3. Clutter
4. Deferred maintenance
5. Dark, dated décor
*** END QUOTE ***

In the article, Blanche elaborates on each of the five factors above. To read the entire piece, or to print out a copy for your seller-clients, go HERE.

5. When Your Phone’s Camera Is All You Have…

While professionals will almost always advise using an actual, good-quality camera to take property photos — especially if the photos are going to be used in marketing your listing online(!) — sometimes a smartphone camera is all you have with you when you need to take a shot.

A new article by Whitson Gordon on (“How to Take Better Pictures with Your Smartphone’s Camera”) should help you take MUCH better photos on the spot with the phone in your pocket.

They say the best camera is the one you have with you, but that doesn’t mean it’ll always give you the best-looking pictures. If you have a great shot in sight, but don’t have the time to grab your DSLR or point-and-shoot, you’ll have to make do with your phone’s camera. Depending on your cameraphone and the lighting conditions, the results are often dull, ugly photos that are barely worth looking at later on. You can do better, though; you can take most cameraphone shots from forgetful to interesting with just a few tweaks.
*** END QUOTE ***

There are some good tips here! To read the entire article, go HERE.

6. More TREC Disciplinary Actions

At its February 2014 meeting, the Tennessee Real Estate Commission (TREC) imposed significant fines ($250-$1000), and/or termination of license, and additional penalties (classes, etc.) on thirteen (13) individuals for the following offenses:

Failure to timely complete administrative measures (MULTIPLE)
Failure to maintain Errors and Omissions insurance
Violation of advertising rules
Violation of gift and prizes rule
Failure to timely complete required education (MULTIPLE)
Broker’s failure to adequately supervise licensed affiliate brokers
Taking property listings to a new firm without permission to do so
Practicing real estate without an active license (MULTIPLE)
Failing, within a reasonable time, to account for or remit monies belonging to others
Failure to report firm address change to the Commission
Failure to answer complaint

NOTE: The (MULTIPLE) notation indicates that more than one licensee was punished for this reason.

IN ADDITION TO the above, thirty-four (34) licensees had their licenses suspended by the Commission!

7. HOT LINE: Sending Entire Inspection Report to Listing Agent?

QUESTION: I represent the buyer and we did a home inspection. We received the home inspection and I sent a copy of the agent’s report to the listing agent. The listing agent replied that it is their policy not to open these emails so that they are not put on notice of issues which may have to be disclosed. Is this appropriate?

ANSWER: The 2014 forms provide that the inspection report is only sent to the seller or seller’s agent upon request of the seller. This is true both in cases where the buyer is terminating the contract and when the buyer is requesting repairs. This is a change from previous years. Lines 267-272 state that the buyer will:

“…furnish Seller with a list of written specified objections and immediately terminate this Agreement, provided Buyer has conducted a Home Inspection or other inspection(s) as allowed herein, and in good faith discovers matters objectionable to Buyer within the scope of such inspection(s). As additional consideration for Buyer’s right to terminate, Buyer shall deliver to Seller or Seller’s representative, upon Seller’s request, a copy of all inspection reports. All Earnest Money shall be returned to Buyer upon termination.”

OR that the buyer will:

“…furnish Seller a written list of items which Buyer requires to be repaired and/or replaced with like quality or value in a professional and workmanlike manner. Seller shall have the right to request any supporting documentation that substantiates any item listed. — Lines 277-279.

It is also possible for the seller to only request to see a particular portion of the inspection report.

The committee decided to make this change for a number of reasons. In the event that the listing agent receives the entire inspection report, he may then be deemed to have actual notice or knowledge of issues within the report which are considered to be adverse facts under state law. Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-403(2), a real estate agent is required to “[d]isclose to each party to the transaction any adverse facts of which the licensee has actual notice or knowledge.”

Tennessee law defines an adverse fact as “conditions or occurrences generally recognized by competent licensees that have a negative impact on the value of the real estate, significantly reduce the structural integrity of improvements to real property or present a significant health risk to occupants of the property.”– Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-102(2).

Therefore, if a listing agent has actual knowledge of an adverse fact, he must then disclose it to all subsequent prospective buyers.

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

8. HOT LINE: Buyer Previously Signed With Another Agent?

QUESTION: I have a buyer that is in a buyer’s rep agreement with another agent but not satisfied. How should I handle this situation?

ANSWER: A buyer’s rep agreement is a written contract which establishes an agency relationship between a buyer and a real estate company. In order to terminate this contract, it requires a termination and release in writing and signed by all parties to the buying agreement (unless the agreement allows for one side to terminate without the approval of the other. TAR’s forms do not so provide). Until this is completed, the buyer’s representation agreement will continue in place until its natural termination.

If this is a result of a buyer approaching you for advice on terminating an agreement with another company, the only thing that you can advise is that you would be happy to help them, but they must FIRST resolve their issues with the previous company. They should speak with either the broker of the firm or with their own attorney. If you advise them of anything further, you could be facing a claim of interference with a contract!

[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:

To go to the TAR website:

To access current and past TAR DIGESTS:

Follow TAR on Twitter at:

TAR’s LinkedIn page:

TAR’s page on Facebook:

To ask a TAR Legal and Ethics Hot Line question:

For CE classroom courses around the state, go to:

For online CE courses, go to:

Tennessee Real Estate Commission: