The 3-24-15 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville

1. TREC Disciplinary Actions: Feb., 2015
2. The 2015 GRI Courses — Coming Up SOON
3. Five Ethical Pitfalls for Realtors!
4. Is a Coach What You Need?
5. TECH TIP: Backing Up Your Computer
7. HOT LINE: Closing Before the Date Set in Contract?
8. HOT LINE: A Non-Exclusive Designated Buyer Agent?
9. HOT LINE: What Unlicensed Assistants May Do?
10. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

“It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the business of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall.” — Stephen R. Covey

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

1. TREC Disciplinary Actions: Feb., 2015

At its February meeting, the Tennessee Real Estate Commission (TREC) imposed significant fines ($250-$5,000) and additional penalties on six (6) individuals for the following offenses:

Failing to exercise adequate supervision over the activities of licensed affiliate(s) (MULTIPLE)
Failure to supervise advertising of affiliate
Failure to diligently exercise reasonable skill and care in providing services to all parties to the transaction
Advertising violation: licensee’s name featured in larger size than part of firm name on sign
Failure to preserve for 3 years following its consummation records relating to any real estate transaction
Failure to maintain records of escrow/trustee account for at least 3 years
Violation of rule regarding deposits and earnest money
Misleading or untruthful advertising
Multiple violations of TCA 62-13-312(b)(14) in the TN License Law

NOTE: The (MULTIPLE) notation indicates that TREC punished more than one licensee for this reason.

In addition, the Commission suspended the licenses of ten (10) individuals!

2. The 2015 GRI Courses — Coming Up SOON

The first three classroom GRI courses of 2015 are coming up in just a few weeks:

April 15 — GRI 401: Doing the Right Thing
April 16 — GRI 402: Staying in Business and Out of Court
April 17 — GRI 403: Working More Effectively with Buyers

The GRI designation is truly a mark of professionalism. It tells consumers and your fellow-Realtors that you’ve gone the “extra mile” to improve your skills and know-how in a fast-changing business. And for even more reasons, see:

Once again, the GRI EXPRESS option can be used to register for ALL THREE GRI courses in a given location …for a savings of $55! To see the full 2015 statewide schedule of GRI courses, go to:

3. Five Ethical Pitfalls for Realtors!

We all get too busy to read everything that crosses our desks or comes in the mail. The March-April issue of Realtor magazine has one article, however, that you shouldn’t overlook: “The Code Is Your Business” by Graham Wood and Bruce Aydt.

The authors discuss five different areas that present Realtors with ethical challenges:

1. Disclosing Multiple Offers
2. Transparency in Advertising
3. Disclosure of Property Defects
4. Client Confidentiality
5. Soliciting Another Agent’s Listing or Buyer Client

Go to pages 22-25 of the March-April issue to read a truly helpful and thorough discussion of each of these! If you can’t lay your hands on a printed version of this issue, you can access a digital version online HERE.

4. Is a Coach What You Need?

Many successful Realtors credit a good coach for part of their success. But retaining a real estate coach is probably not the right answer for everyone. How do you know if it’s the right answer for YOU?

RISMedia just published an article by Keith Loria and Reva Nelson (“Success, From the Outside In: What Makes Coaching a Game-Changer for Real Estate Agents”) that takes a long look at what various coaches do. Their article includes several tips that different coaches prescribe for real estate success, as well as an infographic summarizing findings from RISMedia’s 2015 Outside Coaching Survey.

As the authors point out, “…outside coaches often provide agents with something invaluable: a fresh perspective and more stringent accountability.

To read the full article, go HERE.

5. TECH TIP: Backing Up Your Computer

If a hard drive crash hasn’t YET happened to you, stop for a moment and ask yourself: What you would do if it did?

If you’ve used a computer for any length of time, a crash of some type is almost inevitable. Fortunately, there are a lot of software and Internet solutions to help you backup important data without a great deal of effort, especially the cloud storage options now available.

The Wall Street Journal’s Personal Tech columnist Geoffrey Fowler recently published a VERY helpful review of various backup solutions — “The Best Way to Back Up Your Computer” — that describes and compares several different services. As he says at the beginning, “There are two types of hard drives: those about to fail, and those that will fail eventually. Plan accordingly.

To read his review, go HERE.


March 23-25: The 2015 TAR Spring Conference — Cool Springs Marriott, Franklin, TN

April 10: Power Negotiator’s Playbook (6 hrs. CE) – TAR Office, Nashville. Taught by Adorna Carroll, this new 1-day Course with 2 CRB credits is an interactive experience to help negotiators elevate their game! For more info or to register, go to:


The complete 2015 Schedule of GRI courses is posted on the TAR website at:

There are 10 good reasons to earn YOUR GRI! Just go to:

You can ALSO begin work toward your GRI designation ONLINE! To find out how, go to:

7. HOT LINE: Closing Before the Date Set in Contract?

QUESTION: If we close before the date stated in the contract, do we need a Closing Date Amendment?

ANSWER: Technically, any time that the closing date is changed, whether it is before or after the original closing date, an amendment should be executed. Lines 170-173 states:

“This transaction shall be closed (“Closed”) (evidenced by delivery of warranty deed and payment of Purchase Price, the “Closing”), and this Agreement shall expire, at 11:59 local time on the ____ day of ___________, _______ (“Closing Date”), or on such earlier date as may be agreed to by the parties in writing.”

However, from a practical standpoint, if the transaction closes earlier, it is not necessary. The only time that you would need to get an amendment done is if you wanted to be able to terminate the contract if it did not close on the earlier date. Otherwise as long as it closed by the original closing date, no harm and no foul.

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

8. HOT LINE: A Non-Exclusive Designated Buyer Agent?

QUESTION: Can a consumer have a non-exclusive designated buyer agency with more than one agent and brokerage?

ANSWER: Yes. That is exactly what a non-exclusive buyer’s representation agreement is. It allows the buyer to work with multiple agencies if they choose to do so. However, the real estate firm will ONLY be entitled to a commission in the event that the efforts of that firm supplied the buyer. TAR has a form for this which is form RF 143.

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

9. HOT LINE: What Unlicensed Assistants May Do?

QUESTION: What can an unlicensed assistant say and not say to a potential client when the potential client calls into the office and the assistant answers the phone?

ANSWER: According to TREC, an unlicensed employee, assistant or secretary MAY:

“Answer the phone, forward calls and give information contained only on the listing agreement as limited by the broker;” …and

“Disclose the current sales status of a listed property.”

TREC has also stated that an unlicensed employee, assistant or secretary MAY NOT:

“Make cold calls by telephone or in person to potential listers or purchasers;” …or

“Answer questions concerning properties listed with the firm except only that information contained on the listing agreement as limited by the Principal Broker;” …or

“Discuss or explain listings, offers, contracts, or other similar matters with persons outside the firm; ….”

To see the Tennessee Real Estate Commission’s COMPLETE list of activities that unlicensed assistants MAY and MAY NOT do, go to pages v and vi (close to the beginning) of the Real Estate Manual HERE.

[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:

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: