The 4-14-15 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville

1. What’s Trending in Real Estate
2. Real Estate Cliches That Stunt Growth!
3. New Home Features – What’s In, What’s Out
4. Mortgage Credit Eased Last Month
5. FREE NAR Safety Webinar – April 21!
6. Courses Happening THIS WEEK!
7. HOT LINE: Failure To Disclose a Defect?
8. HOT LINE: Two Clients Want the Same Property?
9. HOT LINE: Buyer’s Agent Not a MLS Member?
10. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” — Albert Einstein

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

1. What’s Trending in Real Estate

A new Fiscal Times article by Beth Braverman profiles “9 Real Estate Trends to Watch in 2015“, and the nine trends she highlights are mostly positive …and good news:

1: Home prices are rising, even hitting record levels in some places.
2: Mortgage rates are still low … for now.
3: It’s still a seller’s market.
4: Buyers want turnkey properties.
5: Foreclosures are no longer a factor.
6: Investors are backing off.
7: In most places it’s much cheaper to buy than to rent.
8: Credit is getting looser.
9: New homes are smaller and greener.

To see her explanation of each item above, go HERE.

2. Real Estate Cliches That Stunt Growth!

We enjoy the occasional articles on NAR’s YPN Blog, and the most recent contribution by Realtor Sam DeBord (“3 Real Estate Cliches That Stunt Growth“) is no exception.

As he notes, “The amount of misinformation new agents get from gurus, speakers, and ‘thought leaders’ is staggering.” He goes on to highlight three cliches that folks really need to ditch, explaining why each one can be bad advice:

“If they won’t sign a buyer agency agreement, they’re not worth my time.”
“If they don’t want to work with me, I don’t want to work with them.”
“I’m just going to be myself.”

Sam makes a number of interesting points. To read more, go HERE.

3. New Home Features – What’s In, What’s Out

MarketWatch recently posted an informative article by Silvia Ascarelli (“Whirlpool bathtubs are losing out in new homes“), based on a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The survey asked builders to rank features from 1 to 5, based upon the likelihood of that feature being included in a typical single-family home this year.

The features MOST likely to be included in a home today are:

Walk-in closet in master bedroom
Laundry room
Low-e windows
Great room (kitchen-family-room-living room)
Energy-star-rated appliances
9-foot ceiling or more on first floor
Energy-star-rated windows
Programmable thermostat
Two-car garage
Granite countertop in kitchen

To read more — as well as see which features are on their way OUT — go HERE.

4. Mortgage Credit Eased Last Month

Good news! A new report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) suggests borrowers generally had an easier time obtaining and refinancing home loans in March.

The Mortgage Credit Availability Index increased 2.3 percent to 121.4 last month. The greatest loosening involved conforming loans, followed by conventional, jumbo, and government loans. Factors such as Freddie Mac’s recent launch of a 3 percent down-payment program, a loosening of jumbo loan parameters, and some expansion of government refinance initiatives has steadily relaxed credit, according to MBA. Credit has now eased for five straight months.

“Although credit remains tight by historical standards, this increase in availability, coupled with low rates and job market strength, should lead to stronger home purchase activity this spring,” noted MBA chief economist Michael Fratantoni.

To read more, go HERE.

5. FREE NAR Safety Webinar – April 21!

NAR 2015 President Chris Polychron invites you to join a webinar on REALTOR safety, April 21, 2015 at 2 pm EST.

The webinar, “REALTOR Safety from a Law Enforcement Perspective,” will be led by Realtor and 2-year law enforcement veteran Adrian Manzanares.

For more information and/or to register for this opportunity, go HERE.

6. Course Happening THIS WEEK!

April 15: Both the TransactionDesk Basic (3 hrs. CE) and the TransactionDesk Advanced (3 hrs. CE) courses are being held at the TAR office in Nashville. For more information or to register, you’ll find links to both courses at:

The first three classroom GRI courses of 2015 are coming THIS WEEK:

April 15 — GRI 401: Doing the Right Thing (6 hrs. CE)
April 16 — GRI 402: Staying in Business and Out of Court (6 hrs. CE)
April 17 — GRI 403: Working More Effectively with Buyers (6 hrs. CE)

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! The complete 2015 Schedule of GRI courses — with links to registration for them — 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: Failure To Disclose a Defect?

QUESTION: Is there a statute of limitation on failure to disclose a defect? In other words, can the overly picky buyer of my client’s house come back 2, 3 or 5 years from now and sue them over a newly-discovered defect that was not disclosed during the transaction?

ANSWER: Please note that the TAR Legal Hotline CANNOT advise buyers and sellers of their legal rights (and NEITHER should you)! The Hot Line often gets questions about a seller’s or a buyer’s legal rights or problems, and we cannot answer those questions. [The TAR Hot Line is here for the benefit of TAR members, not consumers.]

For your information ONLY, there are two statutes of limitations which generally apply to real estate transactions. A breach of contract action has a statute of limitations of six years. Violations of the Broker’s Act and the Property Condition Disclosure Act typically have statutes of limitations of one year. However, there ARE exceptions!

THEREFORE, if a seller has questions concerning his obligations to make disclosures and the statutes of limitations which accompany said obligations, he should speak with his own attorney.

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

8. HOT LINE: Two Clients Want the Same Property?

QUESTION: We have two (2) clients looking at the same property, and now both want to present an offer. Is this allowable? If so, how do we handle this situation?

ANSWER: We haven’t addressed this situation in quite a while.

This is permitted, BUT you should take some precautions.

First, we would strongly recommend that different agents in the firm work with the two different buyers. That will ensure confidentiality of the two different offers. If they both have signed buyer’s rep agreements, then have two different designated agents work with them.

Secondly, you will need to fully disclose to both clients that two different buyers working with your firm are submitting offers on the same property. Explain that a different agent will be working with each buyer to ensure confidentiality.

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

9. HOT LINE: Buyer’s Agent Not a MLS Member?

QUESTION: If a buyer is represented by a non-member of the MLS where the property is listed, can they receive a commission?

ANSWER: You can choose to give that firm a cooperative compensation, but do not have to do so. On the other hand, it could be in your seller-client’s interest to do so. If you elect to do so, it does not have to be the amount which is offered through the MLS. The offers of compensation are only made to those who are members of the MLS.

If you DO choose to offer compensation, we would strongly recommend doing so in writing. You can use form RF/CF 702, Compensation Agreement between Listing & Selling Broker. You will also need to disclose this to your seller.

[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: