The 5-12-15 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville

1. Nashville Area in the Spotlight
2. Changes Coming to the Closing Process!
3. Bathrooms & Kitchens the Top Two Remodeling Projects
4. Nine Features of a Great Real Estate Website
5. Keep More of Your Commissions with Tax Breaks!
6. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS!
7. HOT LINE: Listing a FSBO in the MLS?
8. HOT LINE: Paid Through a LLC?
9. HOT LINE: Form for First Right of Refusal?
10. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

“If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings.'” — Dave Barry

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

1. Nashville Area in the Spotlight

Realtors in the Nashville area received very good news from a report by Adam Sichko in the Nashville Business Journal this past week:

Nashville’s housing market has rebounded stronger than anywhere else in the nation in the aftermath of the recession, according to a new study.

Nashville’s median home price today is 11 percent higher than the peak values before the recession strucka net growth that’s the best of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas. Rounding out the top-5: San Francisco, Honolulu, San Jose and Columbus, Ohio.

That analysis comes from the financial website, which crunched federal data and numbers from the National Association of Realtors.
*** END QUOTE ***

To read the full article, go HERE.

The Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn. market also placed seventh on REALTOR.COM’s list of the 15 hottest selling markets in the country right now.

To read more about the REALTOR.COM study, go HERE.

2. Changes Coming to the Closing Process!

In a prior TAR DIGEST (3-10-15), we referenced upcoming RESPA-related changes to the closing process that will occur as of this coming August 1, 2015.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has a good, explanatory article about these upcoming changes (“New Disclosure Forms Alter Transactions“) on the REALTOR.ORG website. An excerpt:

Major changes are coming to real estate transactions starting August 1st, 2015. Any transaction involving a mortgage will use the new disclosure forms created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”). NAR has compiled information on this topic on, and so this article will briefly summarize the changes and then focus on how the changes will affect association form contracts [such as TAR’s].

The Truth-in-Lending Act/RESPA Integrated Disclosures (“TRID”) creates timing requirements for disclosures that lenders need to make to consumers. Not only will the new forms be used in transactions, the relationship between the lender and other parties like the closing agent and the mortgage broker is now altered because the lender can be liable if certain costs exceed the tolerance limitations set forth in the TRID. In addition, the changes may also delay a transaction if certain changes occur near closing, as TRID requires a three-day waiting period prior to closing and certain changes may cause lender delays.
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The article also includes a link to an online video you can watch for an explanation of what’s coming! It would be a VERY good idea to read the full article HERE.

3. Bathrooms & Kitchens the Top Two Remodeling Projects

The National Association of Home Builders recently released its Remodeling Market Index (RMI) survey on the most common type of jobs performed by NAHB Remodelers in 2014.

The top two projects:

#1 – Bathroom Remodeling
#2 – Kitchen Remodeling

These two were the clear favorites, with Windows/Door replacements a lower-ranked third choice, and other projects even further down in the rankings.

To read more and see a summary of the entire report, go HERE.

4. Nine Features of a Great Real Estate Website

Recently Realtor Charlie Allred posted an article (“9 Features of a Great Real Estate Website“) to NAR’s YPN Blog. In it, she addresses and explains nine features or needs that a good real estate website should embody:

1. Address Your Niche
2. Easy to Navigate
3. Keyword-Driven
4. Content Categories
5. Home Search Feature
6. Home Page Has a Goal
7. Lead Capture Tools
8. Responsive Design
9. Above the Fold

Apart from a clear explanation of each item above, the article also features a colorful and easy-to-read infographic that covers all nine points in her article.

To read more, go HERE.

5. Keep More of Your Commissions with Tax Breaks!

Tax Season has just passed and now it’s time to leverage as many 2015 tax deductions as possible. This sounds like a lot of work but there’s a method to this madness, and TAR has some great news for you!

The Tennessee Association of Realtors has partnered with Taxbot. Taxbot is an expense tracking system (Mobile App) designed to save THOUSANDS every year. Sandy Botkin, a CPA, Tax Attorney, and former trainer for the IRS developed Taxbot with Realtors in mind! Tennessee Realtors get a huge discount on the service! Sandy Botkin has been featured on FOX, CNN, CBS and CNBC. You can try it now.

This is guaranteed to save at least 20 times your investment in your first 30 days or your money back!

Sign up for the FREE webinar scheduled to showcase this system on May 19th. Go HERE.

6. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS!

Another three classroom GRI courses of 2015 are coming up soon in Memphis:

May 20 — GRI 401: Doing the Right Thing (6 hrs. CE)
May 21 — GRI 402: Staying in Business and Out of Court (6 hrs. CE)
May 22 — 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 Schedule of ALL UPCOMING 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:

For an overview of all UPCOMING COURSES, as well as links for more information or registration, go to: ……and scroll down the page to see all upcoming courses!

7. HOT LINE: Listing a FSBO in the MLS?

QUESTION: If an agent lists a FSBO in the MLS, do they have to use their yard sign or can they use the FSBO sign?

ANSWER: Technically speaking, if the property is listed in the MLS, it is NOT a FSBO. Almost all MLSes and local boards require that an agent have either an exclusive right to sell or an exclusive agency listing agreement in place in order for the agent to place it on the MLS. Under Tennessee law, either of these agreements AUTOMATICALLY creates an agency relationship. Tennessee Code Annotated 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, if your board and/or MLS requires an exclusive agency listing agreement or an exclusive right to sell listing agreement, as is almost always the case under NAR’s MLS Policy Handbook, then agency has been created. It could be a very limited agency relationship as many or all of the minimum services may be waived, but agency has nonetheless been created.

However, if the seller wants to place a sign of any kind in his yard, it is the seller’s perogative. If your seller places a FSBO sign in his yard, then we would recommend that you have him put in writing that it was his decision to place such a sign in his yard. This could go a long way toward fighting any claim of misrepresentation and/or advertising if you can demonstrate that it was the decision of the seller and not yours.

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

8. HOT LINE: Paid Through a LLC?

QUESTION: One of our affiliated brokers is asking that her commissions be paid to a LLC instead of to her personally. Does this fall within the regulations?

ANSWER: This question seems to come up regularly. An agent can ONLY be paid by their broker. Therefore, an individual licensee that has “incorporated” or “LLC’ed” himself CANNOT be paid a commission through the LLC. The individual holds the license, not the company (LLC). The only time that a company can hold a license is if it is a firm license. A LLC company cannot be issued an individual license. Furthermore, pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-302(a):

“It is unlawful for any licensed broker to employ or compensate any person who is not a licensed broker or a licensed affiliate broker for any of the acts regulated by this chapter. A licensed nonresident broker may pay a commission to a licensed broker or another state if such nonresident broker does not conduct in this state any of the negotiations for which a commission is paid.”

In addition, Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-312(b)(11) states that an agent can be disciplined for “Accepting a commission or any valuable consideration by an affiliate broker for the performance of any acts specified in this chapter, from any person, except the licensed real estate broker with whom the licensee is affiliated”.

An agent can ONLY be paid in the name of their license – whether it is a firm license or their individual license.

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

9. HOT LINE: Form for First Right of Refusal?

QUESTION: Can you help me find the terminology to write a first right of refusal in a contract?

ANSWER: TAR has a form which may be of assistance. Form RF 623, Seller’s Right to Continue to Market Property, provides a way for the seller to give notice to a buyer once he receives another acceptable offer (Use form RF 624 to provide such notice). At that point, the first buyer must release previously agreed upon contingencies (such as sale of existing property, etc.) within a specific period of time or the seller can terminate the contract in favor of the other offer.

Use the very handy inForm tool (online at the TAR website in the Member Services area) for more information as to how these forms work!

[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: