The 2-3-15 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


1. GREAT News for TAR Members!
2. Raising the Value of Your Listing
3. What Millennials Are Looking For…
4. The 2015 TAR Spring Conference!
5. Upcoming COURSES
6. HOT LINE: Property Condition Disclosure on Old Form?
7. HOT LINE: Confidential Info Passed Along to Me?
8. HOT LINE: Firms Soliciting at Classes?
9. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

“Men forget everything; women remember everything. That’s why men need instant replay in sports. They’ve already forgotten what’s happened.” — Rita Rudner

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


1. GREAT News for TAR Members!

TAR members have enjoyed Instanet’s online InstanetForms service since 2005. Effective immediately, EVERY MEMBER will now have Instanet’s complete paperless product suite as a benefit of their membership in TAR! This includes TransactionDesk as well as unlimited electronic signatures using Authentisign.

As an additional benefit, TAR has authorized direct integration between all participating MLS’s in the state and Instanet. That means a REALTOR who is making an offer on a listing can simply click a single button inside the MLS which will automatically open and complete the purchase and other necessary offer forms inside Instanet.

Brokerages with their own internal back office applications will also be allowed by TAR to integrate their forms for direct and secure access through Instanet. The new arrangement with TAR also includes Instanet’s Brokerage software modules at no extra cost to the firms seeking to take their company paperless. The Broker File Manager automates the entire lifecycle of listing and sales and virtually eliminates the need to read and approve paper files.

“TAR helped lead the real estate industry nationwide when they introduced electronic InstanetForms as a core business practice more than 10 years ago,” says Martin Scrocchi, CEO & President of Instanet Solutions. “By adding our full suite of services, REALTORS in Tennessee will now have the complete TransactionDesk service including Authentisign, our, online collaboration and electronic signing system. Instanet remains dedicated to innovation and delivering easy-to-use supercharged products and this expanded service relationship in Tennessee is a great fit.”

Buzz Steele, TAR’s Director of Marketing & Member Services added, “Ultimately, TAR wants to provide the most efficient, relevant and useful services for its membership. With the help of Instanet Solutions, TAR is well on its way in meeting this goal. We look forward to working alongside Instanet Solutions and maintaining our outstanding relationship!


2. Raising the Value of Your Listing

Last week, REALTORMag Online recapped a Consumer Reports article (“Top 5 Ways to Boost the Value of Your Home“), with several tips for sellers on improving a property for better marketability:

1. Declutter
2. Makeover the kitchen
3. Freshen up the bathroom
4. Paint
5. Exterior touch ups

The article discusses the cost of each of the above, along with the potential return. REALTORMag also includes the top five projects (in terms of cost recouped) according to the annual Cost vs. Value Report.

The article links to the Consumer Reports piece, as well as the most recent Cost vs. Value Report. For more information, go HERE.


3. What Millennials Are Looking For…

A new article in National Mortgage Professional Magazine highlights results of both a recent panel discussion and two surveys examining the homebuying preferences of millennials.

Panelists during a recent International Builders’ Show press conference on home trends and Millennials’ home preferences forecast that this younger generation of buyers, as a group, will prefer smaller homes with such essentials as laundry rooms and home technology. NAHB Assistant Vice President of Research Rose Quint said that the sheer number of first-time home buyers entering the market in 2015 will drive down home size. Not only is the housing sector expected to benefit from the approximately 3 million new jobs created in 2014, it will also reap the rewards of lower down-payment requirements for first-time buyers.

Rose Quint also announced the results of two surveys: the first asking home builders what features they are most likely to include in a typical new home this year, and the second asking Millennials what features are most likely to affect their home-buying decisions. Four of the top 10 features listed by builders had to do with energy efficiency: Low-E windows, Energy Star-rated appliances and windows, and programmable thermostats. The top features were a master bedroom walk-in closet and a separate laundry room. Millennials, meanwhile, said a separate laundry room was their clear No. 1 “must have,” with 55 percent stating that they would not purchase a new home without one. The research further determined that 75 percent of Millennials want to live in single-family homes, and 66 percent prefer to live in the suburbs. Compared to older generations, Millennials are more likely to want to live downtown; however, it is still a minority share.

The whole article is well worth reading. To do so, go HERE.


4. The 2015 TAR Spring Conference!

On March 23-24, the 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! It is typically the biggest TAR event of the year!

You can register, or simply get more information about this event, at: http://tnrealtors.com/meetings-and-events/spring-conference/

Speakers in March include: best-selling author Jon Acuff, Pam Ermen, Nobu Hata, and Trista Curzydlo! Apart from earning CE credit, you’ll have a chance to network with Realtors from across Tennessee!


5. Upcoming COURSES

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.

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/

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/


6. HOT LINE: Property Condition Disclosure on Old Form?

QUESTION: I represent a buyer in a transaction. The listing agent gave us the property condition disclosure, but it was on the 2011 form, and the agent or seller refuses to update same. How should I handle this situation?

ANSWER: This is a delicate situation. First, you must NOT interfere with the transaction. However, TAR recommends that you only use the most current version of the forms.

From a legal standpoint, the statutes concerning the items required to be on the disclosure form have not been updated since 2009. Therefore, all of the information required to be on the disclosure form by law is contained on the 2011 form. However, the Forms Committee has made some small adjustments to the disclosure form based upon issues which are often the subject of lawsuits. Therefore, from a legal standpoint, it would be safest to use the 2015 form ONLY.

The only negative consequence from a legal standpoint is if the boilerplate language of the form was challenged in court. TAR has a policy that it will ONLY defend the boilerplate language on the form if the agent uses the most current version of the form. You may point this out to the listing agent as a way to convince him/her to use the 2015 form.

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


7. HOT LINE: Confidential Info Passed Along to Me?

QUESTION: I represent a buyer on a transaction. The seller is unrepresented. A prior agent for the seller happens to be a friend of mine. He accidentally disclosed something to me in a casual conversation. Am I obligated to disclose this information to my buyer?

ANSWER: If you have an agency relationship with the buyer, then you are OBLIGATED to share this information with the buyer. You have a duty to look out for your buyer’s best interests.

See Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-404, which lists the duties owed to a licensee’s client (if an agency relationship has been established).

Your friend may have violated his/her duty of confidentiality to the seller — and this duty extends beyond the expiration of a listing agreement — but that wouldn’t affect your obligation to look out for your buyer’s interests.

Of course, if the information that was passed along concerned an adverse fact about the seller’s property, then your friend had an obligation to disclose it, and you would have a similar obligation to pass it along to your buyer as well. [Disclosure of adverse facts about a property override any duty of confidentiality.]

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


8. HOT LINE: Firms Soliciting at Classes?

QUESTION: I took my real estate classes from one pre-licensing school. We were told that real estate agencies are not allowed to recruit us during our classes or even in the parking lot. A friend of mine is taking her classes with another school. Their class was visited by one firm and they were told more would be visiting. Is this legal?

ANSWER: Firms are NOT permitted to solicit agents in conjunction with education and/or schools pursuant to TREC Rule 1260-5-.06, which states:

(1) No course in real estate which is designated to satisfy educational requirements established in T.C.A. 62-13-303 may be:

(a) conducted in a facility which is also utilized for conducting business of a broker or brokerage firm; or

(b) advertised in conjunction with any advertisement for the business of a broker or brokerage firm.

(2) No broker or brokerage firm shall use or cause to be used any facility in which a course in real estate designated to satisfy educational requirements established in T.C.A. 62-13-303 is conducted for the purpose of discussing, inducing, or promoting affiliation with such broker or brokerage firm.

[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/