The 2-10-15 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


1. Why Buyers Need to Act Now
2. NAR’s Latest Legal Pulse
3. Tips from Top Producers!
4. Mortgage Changes, Drone Rules, Etc.
5. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS
6. HOT LINE: Assigning a Contract?
7. HOT LINE: Is a Buyer’s Rep Agreement Required?
8. HOT LINE: Facilitator for Just One of the Parties?
9. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.” — Henry Ford

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


1. Why Buyers Need to Act Now

Recently REALTOR.com published an article by Jonathan Smoke (“2015: Buy Now, Before the Fed’s Patience Ends“) with advice that your prospective buyers need to hear:

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
… what I can’t emphasize enough is why I’m so confident this is a defining year for the housing industry.

It comes down to three simple factors:

1. Home sales will increase.
2. Prices will increase.
3. Mortgage rates will increase.

When combined, those three indicators point to an extremely strong real estate market. And potential home buyers should move fast if they want to spend less.
*** END QUOTE ***

To read the whole article, go HERE.


2. NAR’s Latest Legal Pulse

This past December, NAR published a new Legal Pulse summarizing legal actions and cases involving Realtors during the third quarter of 2014. The Legal Pulse is a great barometer on which issues are giving Realtors the most legal troubles. It’s definitely worth a look:

“Several decisions dealt with whether an agent or broker owed duties to someone other than the represented party, such as a buyer or an interested third party. Others involved possible misrepresentations or concealed defects, raising agency issues as well as property condition disclosure questions.

RESPA cases this year show courts focusing on kickback claims. Plaintiffs commonly claim that mortgage insurance premiums are being used to camouflage referral payments. Other techniques also received a hard look….”

To read more, go HERE.


3. Tips from Top Producers!

Most of our readers probably didn’t travel to New York to attend Inman’s Real Estate Connect conference. Perhaps it was the dire prediction of an apocalyptic snowfall (that didn’t happen)! In any event, REALTOR Magazine’s Graham Wood DID go …and compiled a great summary of the tips and tricks that top producers from around the country shared in New York!

This article, and all of the other articles he has linked to it, should really be on your “Must-Read” list, to give your 2015 business a shot in the arm!

To do so, go HERE.


4. Mortgage Changes, Drone Rules, Etc.

A new “Voice for Real Estate” video program was released this past week by NAR. This episode is just over six minutes long, so it’s a compact and easily viewable way to catch up on a few items in the news. You watch it online HERE.

This new 2/2/15 episode has segments dealing with three topics:

1. New mortgage changes to help borrowers
2. The status of new and proposed rules dealing with the use of drones
3. Year-end sales figures for 2014


5. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS

Feb. 11: TransactionDesk Basic Training (3 hrs. CE) – TAR Office, Nashville.

Feb. 11: TransactionDesk Advanced Training (3 hrs. CE) – TAR Office, Nashville.

Feb. 17-18: Real Property Information (RPI) Training & Real Estate Collaborative Specialist-Divorce (RCS-D) Training (6 hrs. CE each!) – TAR Office, Nashville. You can register only for Day 1, or Days 1 & 2 together. These courses are ALSO approved for GRI Elective Credit.

For information about, or to register for, any of the courses above, go HERE.

March 23-24: The 2015 TAR Spring Conference at the Cool Springs Marriott in Franklin is the BEST and most affordable opportunity you’ll ever have to hear from excellent national speakers and give your business a boost! This is typically the biggest TAR event of the year! Apart from earning CE credit, you’ll have a chance to network with Realtors from across Tennessee! For more info: http://tnrealtors.com/meetings-and-events/spring-conference/

The complete 2015 Schedule of GRI courses is posted on the TAR website at: http://tnrealtors.com/education/gri/

You can ALSO begin work toward your GRI designation in 2015 ONLINE! To find out how, go to: http://tnrealtors.com/education/e-class-gri-information/


6. HOT LINE: Assigning a Contract?

QUESTION: How does my buyer legally assign a contract to someone else?

ANSWER: All contracts for the sale of real property are assignable in Tennessee unless otherwise agreed to in the contract. The TAR contracts are assignable unless something is mentioned in the special stipulations to the contrary. If the assignee does not close, the buyer is still responsible under the contract. If you have a buyer which wishes to do this, he should speak with his own attorney for a document to effect the assignment. The seller does not necessarily have to be told that the contract has been assigned unless there are statements which prohibit the contract from being assigned to a particular person.

The closing attorney should have any applicable assignment documentation so that they can appropriately title the deed. The original contract would not have to be amended.

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


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

QUESTION: If you are a designated agent for a buyer, are you required by law to have a buyer’s rep agreement signed by the buyer?

ANSWER: Yes. In order to create an agency relationship, you must have an agency agreement in place. Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-401 states:

“A real estate licensee may provide real estate services to any party in a prospective transaction, with or without an agency relationship to one (1) or more parties to the transaction. Until such time as a licensee enters into a specific written agreement to establish an agency relationship with one (1) or more parties to a transaction, such licensee shall be considered a facilitator and shall not be considered an agent or advocate or any party to the transaction. An agency or subagency relationship shall not be assumed, implied or created without a written bilateral agreement that establishes the terms and conditions of such agency or subagency relationship. The negotiation and execution of either an exclusive agency listing agreement or an exclusive right to sell listing agreement with a prospective seller shall establish an agency relationship with the seller.”

Therefore, you MUST have a written agreement in place. The confirmation of agency status form is NOT enough without an agency agreement. In this situation, it would be a buyer’s representation agreement. The confirmation of agency status does not create an agency relationship; it merely discloses the existence or absence of one. If your firm uses TAR forms and practices designated agency, then I would recommend using form RF 141, the Exclusive Buyer’s Representation Agreement (Designated Agency).

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


8. HOT LINE: Facilitator for Just One of the Parties?

QUESTION: Can an agent be a facilitator for one party if the other party to the transaction is represented?

ANSWER: If one side of the transaction (for example, the seller) is represented by an agent, then the buyer can certainly work with a different agent as a facilitator. HOWEVER, the same agent cannot work as an agent for one side of the transaction and as a facilitator for the other side.

If the two agents in question are in the same company, then the agent representing the one party must be working as a DESIGNATED agent in order for a different agent to be working with the other as a facilitator.

[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/