The 8-5-14 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS
2. Committee Positions Available!
3. Two Tennessee Cities Make News
4. Renting Up, Homeownership Down
5. Why You Lost That Listing
6. Visuals are SO Important…
7. HOT LINE: Insufficient Funds?
8. HOT LINE: Email Acceptance from the Agent?
9. HOT LINE: Representing a Sex Offender?
10. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.” — Groucho Marx

NOTE: If you’re reading this on a mobile device (iPhone, etc.), GO HERE for a mobile-friendly DIGEST.


1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS

Aug. 12-13: Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) 2-Day course, approved for 16 hrs. CE – TAR Office, Nashville. For more information or to register, go HERE.

Aug. 14: Contracts 101 (4 hrs. CE) – TAR Office, Nashville. For more information or to register, go HERE.

Aug. 21: Agency in Tennessee (4 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/

National Joke Day is upon us but these savings are no joke. Have a laugh and save 20% on any CE Shop purchase in August using promo code “joke20“. Get 20% off your entire online CE courses this month! Enroll today: http://tarnet.theceshop.com/ …and enter promo code “joke20” at checkout to receive your discount!


2. Committee Positions Available!

2015 could be YOUR year to serve and make a difference in the future of your state association! It’s time to step up and step forward!

It won’t be long before TAR’s 2015 Leadership will be appointing members to the state association’s 2015 committees. To complete an EASY online application and express YOUR interest in a 2015 committee appointment, log into the Members Only area of tnrealtors.com, and go to: http://tnrealtors.com/members-only/committee-request-application/

The deadline for TAR committee requests is August 30, 2014.


3. Two Tennessee Cities Make News

Two Tennessee cities made the news this past couple of weeks!

Forbes Magazine “crunched the numbers on every metro area to figure who has the best and worst business climates.” Placing TENTH in the country on their list of best climates for business and career growth is Nashville, TN! Forbes notes: “Job growth in the Music City has average 1.2% over the last five years, which ranks fifth among the 200 largest metro areas.” To read the entire Forbes article, go HERE.

And just south of Nashville, the city of Franklin, TN, was named the THIRD-BEST town in the country for families (out of 4,200 towns with a population between 10,000 and 150,000, where a high concentration of households have a median income between $50,000 and $100,000). This study was done by Family Circle Magazine and Onboard Informatics. You can read more HERE.

Kudos to both cities!


4. Renting Up, Homeownership Down

Commerce Department figures show that U.S. homeownership hit a 19-year low in this year’s April-through-June period as tight finances continued to drive Americans toward renting. The seasonally adjusted homeownership rate slipped from 65.0 percent as of March 31 to 64.8 percent, the lowest level since 1995’s second quarter. Economists now predict homeownership could fall even further as banks maintain tight underwriting and wage growth remains sluggish. IHS Global Insight economist Patrick Newport states, “We are becoming more of a rental society. It’s becoming harder to own a home. People who lost their homes to foreclosure are now renting and credit standards have tightened significantly.” The shift toward renting could further buoy the construction of multifamily housing units but hurt the single-family housing market. Multifamily starts have logged double-digit growth in the past few years as developers have scrambled to meet demand for apartments.

To read more, go HERE.


5. Why You Lost That Listing

Writer, speaker and coach Bernice Ross posted a good article last week on Inman News (“So Your Past Client Listed With a Competitor? 5 Reasons You Lost the Listing“). In it she recommends several things you can do to avoid losing the next listing!

Failure to keep in touch with past clients is the main reason agents lose this business. Studies indicate that people list with the agent with whom they were in most recent contact, making it important for practitioners to make personal contact through a text, Facebook message, or email on a monthly basis and face-to-face contact at least quarterly. To reduce their attrition rate by 50 percent, agents should touch base with past clients, friending them on Facebook, connecting with them on LinkedIn, and especially reaching out to those who lost their homes in short sales or foreclosures between 2009 and 2011 and are ready to re-enter the market. Moreover, agents need to talk less and listen more; provide one or two services that their competitors do not offer, such as video or single-property websites and social media pages; and create a robust marketing plan that shows how they will bring value to the transaction, including a checklist of all the places online and offline where the listing will be displayed, dates of the open houses, and dates for other marketing activities.

To read the entire article, go HERE.


6. Visuals are SO Important…

In recent years, we’ve profiled various social media tools, some of which are undoubtedly useful while others are questionable uses of your time. One web-based service, however, seems to be an IDEAL fit for real estate; we’ve mentioned it before: Pinterest!

Pinterest, according to Realtor Charlie Allred, “drives more referral traffic than Twitter, and Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined. If you are looking for more traffic to your website, Pinterest is the place to be.”

Charlie Allred has authored a series of three articles on NAR’s YPN Lounge to take you through Pinterest — why you should use it, and how to do so to build your business!

Follow these links to read what she says:

How To Capitalize on Pinterest
The Real Estate Pro’s Guide to Pinterest (Part 1)
Pinterest Board Tips for Real Estate Pros (Part 2)

This entire series IS worth your time.

AND …for even more tips and tools to add visual appeal to your business, see this article (“Multitude of websites and apps exist to take visual real estate marketing to a new level“) by Bernice Ross on Inman News HERE.


7. HOT LINE: Insufficient Funds?

QUESTION: I have a listing on a property. A buyer made an offer and put $15,000 earnest money. A couple of weeks later, we received a letter from the buyer’s bank stating the check was being returned NSF. Now the buyer has backed out of the contract. What are our options with regard to collecting the earnest money since it should go to the seller?

ANSWER: Unfortunately, there is not a lot you can do regarding the earnest money other than ask the buyer or buyer’s agent for it. If they refuse to forward the funds, the sellers may need to speak with their own attorney in order to determine their legal rights under the contract.

You can file a report with the police and file criminal charges against the buyer for a bad check if you choose to do so.

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


8. HOT LINE: Email Acceptance from the Agent?

QUESTION: If an email is received from an agent stating their seller-client accepted an offer, but the seller has not yet signed the document, is that contract enforceable?

ANSWER: Probably not. Pursuant to the statute of frauds, a contract for the sale of real estate must be in writing and signed by the party against whom it is enforced. There have been some rare instances in which numerous documents have been introduced which have been held to create a binding agreement when they are viewed together. This is a rare occurrence though. In addition, the 2014 Purchase and Sale Agreement states on lines 343-346:

“It is hereby agreed by both Buyer and Seller that any real estate agent working with or representing either party shall not have the authority to bind the Buyer, Seller or any assignee to any contractual agreement unless specifically authorized in writing within this Agreement.”

This means that an agent cannot bind their client to a contract unless the parties have agreed that the agent has the power to do so. If you have a situation such as this, we would advise your clients to speak with their own attorney.

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


9. HOT LINE: Representing a Sex Offender?

QUESTION: I represent a buyer who is a registered sex offender. Do I have to disclose this information to the neighbors? The buyer’s probation officer has to approve the location of the residence. What would be the ramifications if the buyer puts an offer on a property and then the probation officer does not approve it? The buyer has done his homework with regard to the location and distance from schools.

ANSWER: Please note that there are NO cases in Tennessee involving this issue that we have been able to locate.

Your question concerns when the BUYER is the sex offender. Based upon the definition of adverse facts, the law does not require that you make this disclosure. The law does not contemplate the rights of the neighbors when requiring disclosure of adverse facts.

You also inquired about the probation officer having to approve the property. Therefore, in order to protect the buyer in the event that the probation officer does not approve the property, form F33 contains common special stipulations which can be used in a contract. Although this contingency was not drafted for this particular situation, it can be used to solve your problem. Use the stipulation contained at paragraph 7.B. which states:

“This Agreement is contingent upon __________________ viewing and approving the above-described Property and, if acceptable, Buyer notifying the Seller or Broker on or before _________________________. Should the Property be unacceptable to _________________, Buyer shall provide written notice to Seller that Buyer is exercising his right to terminate this Agreement and all Earnest Money will be refunded to Buyer in full, in which event all parties agree to execute all applicable documentation. In the event this contingency is not removed by the date set above, this contingency shall be deemed waived and the Agreement shall remain in full force and effect.”

[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/