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


1. What Buyers Are Thinking Today
2. Another Warning About Personal Safety!
3. Selling Your First House
4. About Those Selfies…
5. Link Correction: State of the U.S. Housing Market
6. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS!
7. HOT LINE: Improvements Made Without a Permit?
8. HOT LINE: Can We Solicit Sellers To Be Buyer-Clients?
9. HOT LINE: Definition of “Days” Changed in the Contract?
10. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.” — Thomas Edison

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


1. What Buyers Are Thinking Today

A new survey of buyer attitudes is revealing, as summarized in a recent article by Aly J. Yale (“Survey Reveals Buyer Optimism, Concerns, and Motivating Factors“) in The M Report, a mortgage banking newsletter.

Thirty percent of prospective buyers plan to purchase a home in the next 18 months, and nearly a quarter intend to do so as early as this spring or summer, according to a Chase Mortgage Banking poll. Moreover, 62 percent of potential home buyers believe now is a better time to enter the market than a year ago.

The survey, “Insights: From the Mind of the Homebuyer,” also reveals that 32 percent are looking to buy because mortgage rates are favorable; while 20 percent want to avoid higher rents. Also of note, 70 percent of respondents said they thought they may have already lost out on their chance to buy due to escalating property prices; and 56 percent are concerned about finding a house in their price bracket. Despite worries about housing supply and rising prices, Cecelia Barbieri, senior vice president of marketing for Chase Mortgage Banking, says “the research shows that interested buyers are optimistic and ready to act on their goals.

To read more, go HERE.


2. Another Warning About Personal Safety!

Yet another Arkansas incident — within the past couple of weeks — is a vivid reminder of the need to take your personal safety seriously!

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
A 25-year-old woman who police say attempted to kidnap a real estate agent at gunpoint in Fayetteville was released from the Washington County Detention Center on a $100,000 bond on Monday (April 27), according to the Sheriff’s Office website.

Amilya Barcenas, who faces charges of kidnapping, aggravated robbery and criminal mischief, bonded out of jail at 11:20 a.m., the website shows. Her next court date is set for May 27.

The Realtor told police she had an appointment on Friday (April 24) to show a house on Hidden Creek Drive to a woman named Makayla, according to a court document. The victim said she was preparing paperwork when Makayla pulled a gun out of a diaper bag and pointed it at her, demanding she withdrew money from an ATM, the document states.
*** END QUOTE ***

You may share our surprise that someone accused of armed robbery and kidnapping was released on bond.

To read more, go HERE.

AND, if you missed NAR’s recent Realtor Safety webinar, the slides and audio from that webinar are now available for download HERE.


3. Selling Your First House

NAR has produced a new audio series called “Unscripted“, which you can listen to online, or download for later listening.

The latest episode of Unscripted is just over 10 minutes long, so it won’t take long to listen to. In this episode (Number 3), NAR 2015 President Chris Polychron, along with Immediate Past President Steve Brown and Treasurer Mike McGrew, look back on the first houses they ever sold and some interesting lessons they learned from those experiences!

To listen, go HERE.


4. About Those Selfies…

We’re not really talking about selfies here, but a recent RISMedia article (“Agent Headshots: 8 Do’s and Don’ts“) DOES address the how to get the best headshots that so many Realtors use on business cards, signs, etc.

Agent headshots are a must-have, as they are part of the practitioner’s personal branding. However, you must be careful when selecting a headshot to avoid being teased for having a cheesy photo. Agents should ensure that the image is current and taken in a setting that reflects your brand or niche. You should be dressed comfortably to avoid awkwardness, taking care to wear sleeves to avoid looking topless. You also should have a cropped version of the photo to make it easy to eliminate outdated backgrounds or styling choices and include on social media platforms. It is best to avoid using props; going overboard with photo-editing tools; striking a pose; or including spouses, children, or pets.

While there are exceptions to every rule, agents should keep in mind that their headshot is often the first impression they make, so it must be good!

To read more, go HERE.


5. Link Correction: State of the U.S. Housing Market

In last week’s DIGEST, we included news about a recent high-level forum of economists and housing industry experts on the current state of the U.S. housing market, hosted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The link we included to a more detailed report on that conference (“Credit Access, Weak Income Curb Housing Market Demand“) did not work for many readers, so here is the corrected link to that article.


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: 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: Improvements Made Without a Permit?

QUESTION: How do I handle a listing where the seller has made improvements (finished the basement, put in bath) of their property without any permits? Should I just have them disclose same?

ANSWER: This matter is covered on the Residential Property Condition Disclosure (RF 201). (See lines 153-154). If the seller does not disclose it, you may have to disclose it as an adverse fact.

Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-403(2), a real estate agent is required to “[d]isclose to each party to the transaction any adverse facts of which the licensee has actual notice or knowledge.” Tennessee law defines an adverse fact as “conditions or occurrences generally recognized by competent licensees that have a negative impact on the value of the real estate, significantly reduce the structural integrity of improvements to real property or present a significant health risk to occupants of the property.” — Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-102(2).

Therefore, if an agent has actual knowledge of an adverse fact, he must disclose it, particularly if the seller does not. This could indeed be seen as an adverse fact.

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


8. HOT LINE: Can We Solicit Sellers To Be Buyer-Clients?

QUESTION: I am trying to find out if there is anything ethically wrong with our marketing to homeowners, who currently have their homes listed, in order to ask for the opportunity to be their “BUYERS AGENT?” There is no way for us to know if there is a contract already between the current listing agent and the seller, nor would we contact the seller and ask that particular question. We would conduct a mail campaign that would be specifically targeted at giving the home owner an option to choose their own buyer’s agent, whether their current listing agent, or another “qualified agent” and then we would give our reasons why we are contacting them, and why they should choose us, based off our experience we list on the publication.

ANSWER: What you have proposed to do is NOT permitted by the Code of Ethics. Standard of Practice 16-18 speaks to this issue. It states:

“Realtors shall not use information obtained from listing brokers through offers to cooperate made through multiple listing services or through other offers of cooperation to refer listing brokers’ clients to other brokers or to create buyer/tenant relationships with listing broker’s clients, unless such use is authorized by listing brokers.”

Therefore, you can ONLY specifically target these individuals with the permission of the listing brokers.

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


9. HOT LINE: Definition of “Days” Changed in the Contract?

QUESTION: With regard to the Purchase and Sale Agreement, line 270 — is it legal to put “within 15 working days after binding agreement date?

ANSWER: The TAR Forms Committee intended for all days to be calendar days. If you want to change this, we would recommend that you place this in the Special Stipulations section of the purchase and sale agreement so that it is clear that the days will not be calendar days. In addition, we would be specific and classify them as “business days” rather than “working days”. You should also define what you mean by business days (i.e., Monday – Friday).

[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/