The 9-16-14 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville

1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS
2. New Legal Pulse Released – Reduce Your Risks
3. Economy & Global Unrest Keep Mortgage Rates Low
4. Most Firms Lack Data Security Policies
5. Supercharge Your Day!
6. HOT LINE: A Hold-Harmless Agreement?
7. HOT LINE: Receiving a Gift from the Seller?
8. HOT LINE: Seller’s Delayed Response to Our Offer?
9. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

“Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.” — Steve Maraboli

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

1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS

Sept. 17-19: TAR Annual Convention, Chattanooga, TN.

Sept. 24: GRI 401, Doing the Right Thing (6 hrs. CE) – KAAR Office, Knoxville, TN. For more information or to register, go HERE.

Sept. 25: GRI 402, Staying In Business & Out of Court (6 hrs. CE) – KAAR Office, Knoxville, TN. For more information or to register, go HERE.

Sept. 26: GRI 403, Working More Effectively With Buyers (6 hrs. CE) – KAAR Office, Knoxville, TN. For more information or to register, go HERE.

Sept. 24-26: SAVE $55! If you use our GRI EXPRESS option to enroll in all three of the GRI courses above at the same time, you can save $55! To do so, go HERE.

To see our complete 2014 GRI Schedule, go to:

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:

2. New Legal Pulse Released – Reduce Your Risks

The Legal Pulse is a quarterly newsletter produced by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). It analyzes trends in the previous quarter that impact real estate professionals and tracks both cases and statutes.

NAR’s Legal Pulse for the second quarter of 2014 was just released at the end of August, and can be accessed HERE.

This edition looks at three topics where liability is a major concern: agency, property condition disclosures, and RESPA. It also reviews other issues that can cause legal problems, including ethics, the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and Section 1031 Exchanges.

This should be a must-read for any principal broker and could prove especially useful for a sales meeting, in-house training for risk reduction, or a CE course!

3. Economy & Global Unrest Keep Mortgage Rates Low

Mortgage rates were supposed to rise in 2014 but instead remain entrenched at their lows for the year. Average interest on a 30-year, fixed loan this past week was 4.12 percent, barely budging from 4.1 percent the prior week, according to Freddie Mac. Earlier in the year, the firm projected that the average rate would rise to 5.1 percent by the end of 2014. That forecast has now been revised to 4.3 percent. Rates on the benchmark 30-year mortgage have not moved more than one-tenth of a percentage point on a week-to-week basis all year, a first since 1977, says Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac deputy chief economist. There is no reason to believe rates will move much as the year winds down. The recent flat-lining of mortgage rates is tied to the sluggish U.S. economy and worldwide political tensions, according to a recent Washington Post article.

To read more, go HERE.

4. Most Firms Lack Data Security Policies

What is YOUR firm’s policy?

A 2010 National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey found that 53 percent of brokers lacked data security and privacy policies, 58 percent of sales associates were unaware if their broker had such policies, and nearly 85 percent of those polled were clueless of their obligations under state law in the event of a data breach.

With data breaches becoming top news (e.g., Target, Home Depot), real estate firms would do well to get a firm understanding of the data security and privacy protection laws (both state and federal) — especially considering that a stolen laptop resulted in a $15,000 civil penalty against a Massachusetts broker back in 2012.

In addition to knowing the law, real estate firms can use NAR’s Data Security and Privacy Toolkit to establish security and privacy systems, post their privacy policy on their websites, know what data they are collecting and why, delete client bank account numbers after the transaction closes, and take advantage of the resources provided by the Federal Trade Commission on its website.

To read more (with links to the resources mentioned above), go HERE.

5. Supercharge Your Day!

A recent article by Stefan Pylarinos on the Lifehack website (“5 Simple Morning Rituals to Supercharge Your Day“) offers simple but powerful ways to boost your personal productivity! They are all quite doable, by anybody, and could radically transform your energy and outlook.

What are the five?

1. Smile immediately upon waking
2. Drink water
3. Get moving
4. Feed your mind
5. Plan your day

Read the whole article. Making these five things a true DAILY ritual is not as easy as it sounds. To read the whole thing, go HERE.

6. HOT LINE: A Hold-Harmless Agreement?

QUESTION: Does TAR have a standard hold-harmless agreement? If not, where can I find one?

ANSWER: Based on our conversation, you needed a document which would protect you from any liability when your client/customer selected a vendor from several names you provided. There are actually two forms which will provide you with protections in this area. First is the blanket hold harmless which addresses numerous issues. It is form F14, the Disclaimer Notice. The second is a form in which you can list the names and information of vendors you recommend. This is form F36, Vendor List.

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

7. HOT LINE: Receiving a Gift from the Seller?

QUESTION: I just represented a seller in selling their property. Now the seller wants to give me a “gift”. First they offered 1 week at a vacation rental free; now they are offering cash. I’m pretty sure we cannot accepts gifts. Am I correct?

ANSWER: An agent can receive “gifts” under Tennessee law. However, it gets a little complicated.

Anything of value which is paid to you (whether it is cash or not) for your services (including gifts), must be paid through the broker. If your firm takes a portion of your earnings, then this is complicated if the earning is not cash. One option is to pay the firm their percentage in cash and receive all of the gift. However, your firm could have a policy that does not permit a client or customer to give gifts to agents. You will need to check with your principal broker to determine your office’s policy on this matter.

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

8. HOT LINE: Seller’s Delayed Response to Our Offer?

QUESTION: I made an offer on a property, checked the box Time Limit of Offer, and put in a date. The listing agent responded to my offer on the Time Limit of Offer date and stated that the seller rejected my offer. It appears that my offer was held until another offer was received and than rejected. Is this a violation of the Code of Ethics or can the seller respond when he wants to respond?

ANSWER: The Broker’s Act states “Unless the following duties are specifically and individually waived, in writing by a client, a licensee shall assist the client by receiving all offers and counter-offers and forwarding them promptly to the client.” — Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-404(3)(A)(ii). TREC Rule 1260-2-.08 states “A broker or affiliate broker promptly shall tender every written offer to purchase or sell obtained on a property until a contract is signed by all parties.” Therefore, an agent must present all offers to the client unless the client has instructed them not to do so in writing and signed that instruction.

Furthermore, under Standard of Practice 1-6, “Realtors shall submit offers and counter-offers objectively and as quickly as possible.” In addition, Standard of Practice 1-7 states in pertinent part, “When acting as listing brokers, Realtors shall continue to submit to the seller/landlord all offers and counter-offers until closing or execution of a lease unless the seller has waived this obligation in writing.”

That being said, sellers do NOT have to review offers in the order in which they arrive. They can look at all offers and then decide to accept, reject or counter any offer they choose. In fact, if the seller’s agent had an idea that another offer may be coming in, they are obligated to advise their client of this so that the seller can review all offers and make a decision as to which offer is best for him.

[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: