The 5-19-15 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


1. News from NAR’s Midyear Meetings
2. Existing Home Sales Looking Good
3. Several Tennesseans Are Honored!
4. Home Prices Are Accelerating
5. Combatting Complacency
6. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS!
7. HOT LINE: Recommending Other Services on My Website?
8. HOT LINE: Warning Others About the Surveillance System?
9. HOT LINE: Buyer Backing Out of Contract?
10. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

“There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t.” — Jose Harris

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


1. News from NAR’s Midyear Meetings

The NAR Board of Directors at its 2015 meeting May 16 in Washington, D.C., approved a partnership between NAR and its wholly owned subsidiary Realtors Property Resource (RPR) and another company, UpStream RE, LLC, to create a data entry and collection system for the brokerage community using the RPR advanced Multi-list platform (AMP). The system will give brokerages a single place to input their listing data for distribution on multiple platforms online, including Realtor.com, local MLSs, and broker websites. The initiative will be funded using NAR operating reserves over 36 months, at a net amount not to exceed $12 million.

IMPORTANT: With the upcoming August 1 changes to the closing process — integrating the disclosures and regulations required by RESPA and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) — NAR has updated its Field Guide to RESPA. This site provides the information you need to stay out of trouble …just go HERE.

Last week’s news also included the rollout of a new look for REALTOR.COM, with a revamped website and mobile platforms, as well as a new advertising campaign to position its brand as the best – “and truest” – provider of real estate information. To read more about this new direction for REALTOR.COM, go HERE.

An emotional event occurred last week as the family of slain Arkansas Realtor Beverly Carter appeared before the Realtors in DC. Pleading for the real estate community to learn from last year’s murder of his mother, her son implored practitioners during the 2015 REALTORS Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C. to make safety a higher priority in their businesses!

To catch up on other news from the NAR Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, DC, go to NAR’s Legislative Live Blog at: http://live.blogs.realtor.org


2. Existing Home Sales Looking Good

Existing-home sales are expected to finish the year at their highest pace since 2006, but accelerating price growth and rising mortgage rates have the potential to slow sales, according to an economic forecast forum presentation at last week’s 2015 Realtors Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said existing-home sales are measurably higher than a year ago, and strengthened in March as more buyers entered the market as the spring buying season got underway.

“Sustained job growth and interest rates below 4 percent have been the catalyst behind the improvement in sales,” said Yun.

To read more, see “Existing-Home Sales on the Rebound Despite Some Affordability Concerns“.

To see NAR’s Housing Forecast for BOTH 2015 and 2016, go to: http://www.realtor.org/research-and-statistics


3. Several Tennesseans Are Honored!

At the NAR Midyear meetings, several Tennesseans were recognized for outstanding contributions and accomplishments!

Realtors John Brittle, Brian Copeland, and Hagan Stone — all from Nashville — were honored as new members of NAR’s RPAC Hall of Fame. When you have the opportunity, congratulate and thank each of them!

Congratulations as well to Whitney Harvey, a Memphis Realtor with Oak Grove Realty in Germantown, for her selection as one of NAR’s 2015 “30 Under 30”!

To read more about Whitney and the other young Realtors across the country who were honored this year — and how they’ve achieved their success — see the May-June 2015 issue of REALTOR Magazine. You can also access the issue online HERE.


4. Home Prices Are Accelerating

The number of metro areas in the U.S. seeing double-digit price appreciation doubled in the first quarter of this year compared to last quarter, according to the National Association of REALTORS’ latest quarterly housing report. Strong demand mixed with tight inventories of homes for-sale continues to push up home prices nationwide.

In the South, existing-home sales dropped slightly by 0.5 percent in the first quarter of this year BUT are 7.8 percent above the first quarter of 2014. Median home price: $182,300, up 8.2 percent compared to a year earlier.

To read more, go HERE.


5. Combatting Complacency

It happens to the best of us …we settle into a routine and begin settling for what’s just OK, instead of striving to improve.

That’s the subject of a recent post on a real estate blog from “Down Under” (that’s right, Australia). It seems that complacency is a global problem! In any event, the advice given is sound.

If you become complacent in your professional life, it is important to take quick action to prevent this mindset from putting a dent in your productivity and incomes. Revisit your goals, create new ones if you have achieved your previous aims, and reassess the top five tasks you need to complete every day to meet their objectives.

If you have gotten out of the habit of keeping a daily to-do list and have accumulated a backlog of work, start fresh with a new notebook, list current tasks and projects, set a deadline to complete each item, and determine which tasks can be delegated. Finally, go back to the basics and work each day on THREE key activities you can use to measure your success.

To read more, go HERE.


6. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS!

Another three classroom GRI courses of 2015 are coming up THIS WEEK 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: http://tnrealtors.com/education/gri/

There are 10 good reasons to earn YOUR GRI! Just go to: https://vimeo.com/90565297

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

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


7. HOT LINE: Recommending Other Services on My Website?

QUESTION: With regard to website design, I would like to recommend a particular lender and insurance professional. Is this legal? If so, what are the guidelines?

ANSWER: This could have some RESPA implications. Under RESPA, “No person shall give and no person shall accept any fee, kickback, or thing of value pursuant to any agreement or understanding, oral or otherwise, that business incident to or a part of a real estate settlement service involving a federally related mortgage loan shall be referred to any person.” — 12 USC 2607(a).

Therefore, it could be viewed as a RESPA violation unless the lender and insurance company contributed a pro rata share of the cost of the website. Note that they are NOT allowed to pay the total cost of your website under RESPA guidelines, only a pro rata share of the cost.

Finally, if the lender or insurance company is an affiliated business of your firm, this must be disclosed to visitors to your website.

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


8. HOT LINE: Warning Others About the Surveillance System?

QUESTION: My sellers have installed cameras that record both audio and video when others visit their home. Would mentioning this surveillance system in the Realtor remarks section be adequate warning to other agents and buyers?

ANSWER: We would recommend including it in the remarks as well as placing it on a table close to the entry of the home. This way the argument can be made that you and the seller took reasonable steps to notify potential buyers, lest they disclose confidential information in their conversations while in the home.

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


9. HOT LINE: Buyer Backing Out of Contract?

QUESTION: What form do we use for a buyer to back out of a contract for no specific reason and give the earnest money to the seller?

ANSWER: If the parties are in agreement to end the contract and that no one is going to file suit, then you can use the Earnest Money Disbursement and Release Agreement (RF/CF 481). If either party wants to file suit, then they should have their own attorney draft a document which will preserve their right to sue.

[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: 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/