The 6-10-14 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS
2. TAR Membership Survey – PLEASE Respond!
3. Succeeding in the New Era of Real Estate
4. Alabama Real Estate Firm Hit With $500,000 RESPA Fine
5. More on the 2014 Broker Summit…
6. Giving Them What They Can’t Google
7. HOT LINE: A Divorce and Dispute Over Property?
8. HOT LINE: A Dishonest Client?
9. HOT LINE: Undisclosed Owner/Agent Sale?
10. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.” — Wilma Rudolph

PLEASE NOTE: The TAR DIGEST will take a two-week break after this issue, but the DIGEST will be back with the July 1, 2014 Edition!


1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS

June 16-17: Instructor-Training Workshop (16 hrs. CE) – WCAR Office, Franklin. This is the popular “Learning-Centered Instructor” Workshop. For more information or to register, go HERE.

June 17: Contracts 101 (4 hrs. CE) – TAR Office, Nashville. For more information or to register, go HERE.

June 17: TransactionDesk Advanced (3 hrs. CE) – TAR Office, Nashville. For more information or to register, go HERE.

To see our 2014 GRI Schedule, go to: http://tnrealtors.com/education/gri/

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: http://tnrealtors.com/meetings-and-events/calendar-of-events/

In honor of Take Your Dog To Work Day on June 20th, the CE Shop is offering a special 15% discount in June on any CE Shop course! Enroll today: http://tarnet.theceshop.com/ …and enter promocode “bestfriend15” at checkout to receive your discount!


2. TAR Membership Survey – PLEASE Respond!

In preparation for our annual strategic planning activities for TAR, we want YOUR opinions! Please take just a few moments and respond to this survey about TAR and the real estate industry:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2014TARSurvey

It only takes a minute or two to respond. Thank you, in advance, for your help and input!


3. Succeeding in the New Era of Real Estate

A new article on RISMedia by Brian Buffini (“How to Succeed in the New Era of Real Estate”) lays out clear steps to success.

According to Buffini, the ability to generate more leads affords the freedom to choose with whom the agents work, allowing them to filter bad clients out of their database. Agents should invest 20 percent of their resources in conventional promotion, such as signs, advertisements, radio spots, and bus benches; 10 percent in digital promotion, such as blogging and social media; and 70 percent in relational promotion, which involves building and maintaining relationships with their best clients in order to generate leads.

To foster relationships, agents must provide value through monthly mailings on relevant topics, follow-up emails to their mail campaigns, video mailings, phone calls, personal notes, and Pop-By gifts. Finally, to better communicate with clients, they should listen to determine what their clients need; practice and prepare for presentations; and be enthusiastic.

To read more, go HERE.


4. Alabama Real Estate Firm Hit With $500,000 RESPA Fine

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which took over enforcement of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) from HUD several years ago, entered into a consent agreement with an Alabama real estate company that says the firm used inadequate disclosure language in an affiliated business disclosure. Among other things, the firm in question was assessed a civil penalty of $500,000! The consent agreement says the firm’s disclosure form didn’t properly reflect a sample form developed by HUD. To read or download the consent order, go HERE.


5. More on the 2014 Broker Summit…

At the 2014 Broker Summit in Atlanta, attendees will:

  • Hear speakers including Jon Coile of Champion Realty, Inc., Terry Hankner of Comey & Shepherd, Kevin Levent of Better Homes & Gardens Metro Brokers, Jack O’Connor of The Denver 100, and Jenny Pruitt of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s;
  • Participate in roundtable discussions;
  • Gain advice on legal issues such as the independent contractor status and data security from NAR Associate General Counsel Ralph W. Holmen, J.D.;
  • Hear top broker panelists during RISMedia’s Power Broker Roundtable session;
  • Enjoy Branding at Breakfast featuring HGTV Co-founder Susan Packard; and
  • Network with colleagues.

This meeting was designed BY brokers FOR brokers — it’s a not-to-miss event! It takes place August 6-7, 2014 in Atlanta, Ga. Travel in one day and leave the next with a wealth of knowledge to better your business.

To learn more, or to register, go to: http://www.realtor.org/events/realtor-broker-summit


6. Giving Them What They Can’t Google

A new article on NAR’s YPN Lounge (“Give Them What They Can’t Google”) by Melissa Krchnak discusses Realtor value — and how to enhance it — at a time when consumers can Google just about anything!

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
Once upon a time, consumers needed a REALTOR to tell them everything about a home. Now, they have it all at their fingertips… literally. Their cell phone’s in their hands right now. So much of what used to be private, close-to-the-chest information is now super public. So, real estate professionals have to step up and step in.

We often can’t even begin to see where our value lies because we take our knowledge for granted. Like how this subdivision has roof problems, or that floor plan’s garages always leak when we have heavy rains, or how this sliver of a city actually is in a better school district.

So, give your people what they can’t Google….
*** END QUOTE ***

To read more, go HERE.


7. HOT LINE: A Divorce and Dispute Over Property?

QUESTION: I have an agent representing a wife in the middle of a divorce. The husband signed a quitclaim deed to the wife. Now that the closing has taken place, however, the husband is mad because some of the personal property was negotiated in the contract. The wife had every right legally to sell it since the husband signed a document stating same. Was the husband entitled to a copy of the Bill of Sale on this transaction?

ANSWER: According to the Broker’s Act, a licensee can be disciplined for “Failing to furnish a copy of any listing, sale, lease, or other contract relevant to a real estate transaction to all signatories thereof at the time of execution”. Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-312(b)(8).

The Code of Ethics contains similar language. Article 9 states:

“Realtors, for the protection of all parties, shall assure whenever possible that all agreements related to real estate transactions including, but not limited to, listing and representation agreements, purchase contracts, and leases are in writing in clear and understandable language expressing the specific terms, conditions, obligations and commitments of the parties. A copy of each agreement shall be furnished to each party to such agreements upon their signing or initialing.”

HOWEVER, if the husband was not a party to the transaction, it is unlikely that you are required to provide him with a copy. You may do so, but only with the permission of your client, the wife.

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


8. HOT LINE: A Dishonest Client?

QUESTION: I have a client that has been less than honest in trying to sell their home. How do I go about releasing myself from this listing?

ANSWER: All listings belong to the firm and not to the individual agent who is working it, and neither the broker nor the client has to agree to release any listing.

A listing agreement is a written contract which establishes an agency relationship between a seller 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 listing agreement. It should terminate the contract and release both sides from the obligations under the original listing agreement. Until this is completed, the listing agreement will continue in place until its natural termination. TAR does provide a form which will effectively terminate the listing. This is form F82.

If the seller refuses to release you from the listing, you may have legal grounds to terminate it. However, you would need to speak with your own attorney regarding whether you have sufficient grounds and the steps you can take.

In any event, if asked to convey any false information to another party on behalf of your client (or conceal important facts about a property), neither Tennessee law nor the Code of Ethics permits you to do so!

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


9. HOT LINE: Undisclosed Owner/Agent Sale?

QUESTION: What is the effect of not making the personal interest disclosures if an agent is selling or purchasing a home? Can the other party terminate the contract?

ANSWER: We checked and could not find any case law interpreting Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-403(7) or Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-312(b)(18) as far as the consequences for non-disclosure of a personal interest on the transaction itself. Therefore, since the statute does not spell this out clearly, we doubt that there would be a way in which the opposing party could terminate the transaction based upon the failure to disclose.

However, there are penalties for the agent with the Tennessee Real Estate Commission (TREC). If TREC finds an agent guilty of violating Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-403(7), they could fine the agent between $50 and $1000. (See TREC Rule 1260-2-.32(1). If TREC finds an agent guilty of violating Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-312(b)(18), TREC could fine the agent between $250 and $1000.

If the agent is also a Realtor, there could be penalties through the local board for violation of Article 4.This could include anything from a letter of warning, requirements to attend education, fines, suspension, etc.

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


10. 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/