The 6-2-15 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville

1. Email Scam Alert in New NAR Video
2. TN Realtors Confident About the Market!
3. Home-Purchase Index Hits Nine-Year High
4. Rock ‘n’ Roll in Memphis!
5. Instructor-Training Opportunity
6. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS
7. HOT LINE: Sinkhole on the Property?
8. HOT LINE: Payment for the Title Insurance?
9. HOT LINE: Contacting Another Agent’s Seller?
10. No DIGEST Next Week
11. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

“The best way to cheer yourself is to cheer somebody else up.” — Mark Twain

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

1. Email Scam Alert in New NAR Video

Learn about a new and VERY troublesome email scam in which a hacker breaks into the email account of real estate practitioners or closing professionals and learns key transaction information like account numbers and then bilks the transaction of money! That’s just one of the featured segments in a new edition of The Voice for Real Estate for the week of May 25, 2015.

Other segments include: NAR seeks an enforcement grace period for upcoming changes to the closing process, and April 2015 home sales ease for the month but stay strong for the year.

This online video program is just over 6 minutes long, so it’s a nice concise way to catch up on important news! To do so, go HERE.

For more detailed information about the wire scam, go HERE.

2. TN Realtors Confident About the Market!

NAR recently released a report, based on a survey of Realtors across the country, asking about their confidence in the real estate market over the next six months. It’s the “REALTORS CONFIDENCE INDEX Report on the April 2015 Survey“.

You can download a copy of the actual report, in PDF format, HERE.

The report shows Realtors’ confidence levels on a variety of factors, on a state-by-state basis, and Tennessee holds up very well. Our members are generally quite positive about market conditions and their outlook for the immediate future.

It’s an interesting report to study if you have a few moments to spend with it

3. Home-Purchase Index Hits Nine-Year High

More U.S. home buyers signed contracts to buy resale properties in April, the National Association of Realtors reports in a new Wall Street Journal article. Its index of pending home sales climbed 3.4 percent from March, far exceeding economists’ projections for an increase of just 1 percent, and was 14 percent higher than a year earlier. The index is now at its highest point in nine years! With sales usually closing a month or two after the purchase agreement is signed, new contracts are considered an indicator of future activity. “Realtors are saying foot traffic remains elevated this spring despite limited — and in some cases severe — inventory shortages in many metro areas,” remarked NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

To read more, go HERE.

4. Rock ‘n’ Roll in Memphis!

This coming September 16-18 in Memphis at the Peabody Hotel, TAR will hold its Annual Convention. It should be a GREAT one!

It’s been FIVE years since the State Association’s Annual Convention has been held in Memphis, and it’s been TEN years since it’s been held at the world-famous Peabody Hotel.

Our Keynote Speaker, Jeanne Robertson, will set the tone for what should be a fun and exciting three days! The TAR Annual Convention is a great opportunity for affordable education featuring national speakers and 10 hrs. of education sessions, networking, and learning more about the services provided on a local, state and national basis to Realtor members.

For more information, or to register online at Early Bird rates, go to:

Don’t put this off! The 2015 Annual Convention promises to be a spectacular event!

5. Instructor-Training Opportunity

Once again, the Williamson County Association of Realtors is hosting TAR’s popular two-day instructor-training workshop, The Learning-Centered Instructor Workshop, taught by Steve Champion!

This workshop — scheduled for June 15-16 at the WCAR Office in Cool Springs — has been held for instructors in Tennessee, Missouri, Florida, and Arizona, and consistently receives great reviews. It’s designed for both current and potential instructors and trainers who want to improve their skill-set and know-how as instructors or trainers, AND it’s approved for 16 hours of CE!

For more information, or to register, go HERE.

6. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS!

June 15-16: The Learning-Centered Instructor Workshop (16 Hrs. CE) – WCAR Office, Brentwood. For more information or to register, go HERE.

June 17: TransactionDesk Basic (3 Hrs. CE) – TAR Office, Nashville. For more information or to register, go HERE.

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!

There are 10 good reasons to earn YOUR GRI in 2015! Just go to:

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

7. HOT LINE: Sinkhole on the Property?

QUESTION: If a sinkhole is discovered during land development and mitigated thereafter, does this have to be disclosed to potential buyers of a home on said land? If so, what form should we use to disclose same?

ANSWER: There is a new law which goes into effect on July 1, 2015, regarding sinkholes. It requires that a seller disclose if a sinkhole is present on the property.

The new statute states:

(c)(1) In addition to any other disclosure required by this part, the seller shall, prior to entering into a contract with a buyer, disclose in the contract or in writing, including acknowledgment of receipt, the presence of a known sinkhole on the property.

(2) For purposes of this section, “sinkhole”:
(i) means a subterranean void created by the dissolution of limestone or dolostone strata resulting from groundwater erosion, causing a surface subsidence of soil, sediment, or rock; and
(ii) is indicated through the contour lines on the property’s recorded plat map.
(Tenn. Code Ann. 66-5-212(c))
*** END QUOTE ***

When it is disclosed, we would recommend supplying documentation showing how it was corrected.

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

8. HOT LINE: Payment for the Title Insurance?

QUESTION: With regard to the TAR contract, line 86 (payment of title insurance) – if this line is left blank, does that mean the seller is obligated to pay for the title?

ANSWER: The parties will have to agree on a title company, so this issue needs to be resolved. Otherwise, the contract could fail. The important thing to remember is that if the buyer pays for the title insurance, the buyer gets to select the title company. The parties can agree to have the buyer pay for it, the seller pay for it, or to split the cost in some way. Whoever pays for it is a negotiable item, but this blank SHOULD be filled in.

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

9. HOT LINE: Contacting Another Agent’s Seller?

QUESTION: Under what circumstances, if any, is a buyer’s agent allowed to contact another agent’s seller?

ANSWER: TREC rules and statutes do not specifically discuss contacting another agent’s client. However, an agent can be penalized for: “Inducing any party to a contract, sale or lease to break such contract for the purpose of substitution in lieu thereof a new contract, where such substitution is malicious or is motivated by the personal gain of the licensee.”

If the agent is a Realtor, the rules are MUCH more specific. Article 16 of the NAR Code of Ethics states: “Realtors shall not engage in any practice or take any action inconsistent with exclusive representation agreements that other Realtors have with clients.”

Furthermore, Standard of Practice 16-13 states in pertinent part, “All dealings concerning property exclusively listed, or with buyers/tenants who are subject to an exclusive agreement shall be carried on with the client’s representative or broker, and not with the client, except with the consent of the client’s representative or broker or except where such dealings are initiated by the client.”

This question seems to come up most often when a buyer’s agent feels that their client’s offer was not presented or was not presented in a timely manner to a seller. If this is the case, you can request confirmation from the seller (through the agent) that the offer was presented. However, you may not get it. There is a TREC Rule concerning documentation. Pursuant to TREC Rule 1260-2-.08:

“A broker or affiliate broker promptly shall tender every written offer to purchase or sell obtained on a property until a contract is signed by all parties. Upon obtaining a proper acceptance of an offer to purchase, or any counteroffer, a broker or affiliate broker promptly shall deliver true executed copies of same, signed by the seller, to both the purchaser and the seller. Brokers and affiliate brokers shall make certain that all of the terms and conditions of the real estate transaction are included in the contract to purchase. In the event an offer is rejected, the broker or affiliate broker shall request the seller to note the rejection on the offer and return the same to the offeror or the offeror’s agent.”

Obviously, an agent cannot force their client/customer to note a rejection, but they need to ask that this be done.

You can also request that the agent provide documentation of demonstrating that it was presented to the seller. However, you may not receive it if there is no “paper trail”.

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

10. No DIGEST Next Week

The June 9 Edition of the TAR DIGEST will NOT be published, but the DIGEST will return the following week with the June 16 Edition! We hope everyone’s summer is getting off to a great start!

11. 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: