The 6-16-15 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


1. Typical Realtor Closed 11 Transactions in 2014
2. REALTOR.COM Offering New Tools For Realtors!
3. 2015 NAR Member Profile Released
4. No Delay, But Some Grace in TRID Enforcement
5. Rock ‘n’ Roll in Memphis!
6. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS
7. HOT LINE: All Offers to Be Presented at a Certain Time?
8. HOT LINE: Signing a Contract for a Client?
9. HOT LINE: Penalties for Defaulting?
10. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” — Steve Jobs

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


1. Typical Realtor Closed 11 Transactions in 2014

The typical REALTOR completed 11 transactions last year, down from 12 transactions the prior year, and the number of REALTORS using social media has doubled since 2008. Those are among the stories in NAR’s latest news video, The Voice for Real Estate.

Other stories: contract signings hit their highest level in almost 10 years and an expert on federal closing rules says lenders will need to get the new closing disclosure in the mail to buyers a week before settlement. That suggests the August 1 changes to closing procedures could pose challenges for practitioners and others at the closing table as they try to meet new timeframes.

To access and watch the latest issue (#24, “Closing Time Crunch“) go HERE.


2. REALTOR.COM Offering New Tools For Realtors!

Recently, representatives of REALTOR.COM met with staff from Realtor associations from across the country to introduce a number of exciting new tools they have created for their Realtor members.

At the center of this effort is the new agent success kit. You can find out more about this package here: http://marketing.realtor.com/agents.php

There is also a very well-produced video you can watch online as an introduction to their Agent Profiles. To watch it online, go HERE.

All in all, it looks like the new offerings will definitely help most Realtors shift their careers into a higher gear!


3. 2015 NAR Member Profile Released

The transaction figures noted in the first news item above are just one of the many tidbits to be found in the new 2015 NAR Member Profile just released from NAR. By the way, for those of you who remember your statistics courses from school days, those transaction numbers are median transactions, not average transactions ….

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says business activity for a typical Realtor was slightly subdued last year because of lower sales and more members. “Existing-home sales didn’t surpass year-over-year levels until October, which is likely the reason the typical member had 11 transactions last year versus 12 in 2013,” he said. “Slightly fewer transactions resulted in the median gross income of a Realtor falling to $45,800 from $47,700 in 2013.”

Adds Yun, “Despite the modest setback, median gross income last year was still the second highest since the downturn and up over 5 percent from 2012 ($43,500). Furthermore, NAR membership at the end of 2014 stood at 1.1 million, up 5.5 percent from 2013.

As expected, median gross income and number of transactions generally increase with experience. Last year, Realtors in business for more than 16 years earned $68,200 and made 13 transactions. On the contrary, those with three-to-five years earned less than half that amount ($37,400) and had 10 transactions. Incomes also varied by license type, as members licensed as brokers in 2014 earned $65,300 ($66,300 in 2013), while the median earnings for sales agents decreased $1,100 from the previous year to $33,900.
*** END QUOTE ***

To access a more complete overview of the 2015 Profile, go HERE.

To obtain a copy of the full 2015 Member Profile, go HERE.


4. No Delay, But Some Grace in TRID Enforcement

The TRID rules refer to the complex Truth in Lending Act and RESPA Integrated Disclosure requirements that go into effect on August 1changes that are predicted to create some potential havoc with real estate closings.

While NAR had, through its lobbying efforts, sought to have implementation of the TRID rules delayed, that will not apparently occur. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has announced, however, that there will be “a good-faith enforcement grace period that both the mortgage industry and a bipartisan coalition in Congress have asked for.”

The TAR Residential Forms Committee is currently reviewing form RF401 – Purchase and Sale Agreement and plans to make any necessary edits in time for the August 1st deadline.

To read more, see “It’s official: CFPB will grant grace period on TRID enforcementHERE.


5. 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: http://tnrealtors.com/meetings-and-events/convention/

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


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.

June 17: TransactionDesk Advanced (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: http://tnrealtors.com/education/ ……and scroll down the page to see all upcoming courses!

There are 10 good reasons to earn YOUR GRI in 2015! 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/


7. HOT LINE: All Offers to Be Presented at a Certain Time?

QUESTION: TREC rule 1260-2-08 states: “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…..” In this market I’m starting to see more properties marketed as “Offers will be presented at X date”. One I just showed over the weekend that, as of the writing of this email, has been on the market 4 days states “Offers will not be presented until after an Open House this coming Sun. 05/31” Is this proper, or should the listing agent be presenting offers as they come?

We realize we’re supposed to follow our client’s lawful instructions, however since TREC rules are essentially law, wouldn’t the instruction of not presenting offers until a certain date be considered an illegal order?

ANSWER: It is true that TREC Rule 1260-2-.08 states that an agent is to promptly tender all written offers to the client.

HOWEVER, Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-404(1) states that an agent owes a duty to his client to “Obey all lawful instructions of the client when such instructions are within the scope of the agency agreement between licensee and licensee’s client”. State law trumps the TREC Rules. Therefore, IF the client has instructed the agent to hold all offers until a certain date, this practice is permissible.

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


8. HOT LINE: Signing a Contract for a Client?

QUESTION: How can I sign a contract for a client who wants to remain anonymous and protect myself from liability?

ANSWER: First, we recommend that an agent NEVER sign a contract for a client! This puts an enormous amount of liability on an agent and can only be done if you have a power of attorney for that client.

Instead, we recommend that you follow one of the following strategies:

Your buyer can submit an offer in which they are undisclosed. You would simply put undisclosed in the buyer’s position. However, please bear in mind that this is qualified by the fact that if the buyer is a real estate agent, then this must be disclosed. Additionally, you are not permitted to mislead the seller. For example, if the seller asks whether the buyer is X or a particular company and it is, you cannot tell the seller that it is not. Also, please bear in mind that if the seller has placed restrictions on who they will sell the property to and the undisclosed buyer is, in fact, a member of the restricted group, you cannot submit the offer. This would be misleading. You are also obligated to honor the requests of your client, the buyer. If he or she wishes to remain anonymous, then you must keep that confidence. Finally, the seller is not required to accept the offer with the undisclosed buyer based on the fact that the buyer is anonymous.

However, once the seller has agreed, the buyer should sign the contract in order to make it binding upon that buyer, and the seller be provided a copy of said fully executed contract.

Another option would be to establish a trust to purchase the property. However, the property would then be in the name of the trust. There may be some benefits to this if the buyer does not wish to be disclosed at all.

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


9. HOT LINE: Penalties for Defaulting?

QUESTION: I have a client who is one week away from closing on a property. They asked me to make an offer on a different property. My client knows the consequences of defaulting on a contract with regard to losing the earnest money. Can the listing agent sue the buyer for their commission as well?

ANSWER: The buyer may have MUCH more to lose than just their earnest money! The seller could sue for specific performance or damages (such as damages they have incurred based on thinking they were closing next week). They could ALSO be responsible for the difference in sales price if they wind up selling for less than this contract. Finally, the buyer could also be responsible for paying both your commission and their agent’s commission. If the TAR Purchase and Sale Agreement was used, it states:

“All parties to this Agreement agree and acknowledge that any real estate firm involved in this transaction shall be deemed a third party beneficiary only for the purposes of enforcing their commission rights, and as such, shall have the right to maintain an action on this Agreement for any and all compensations due and any reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs.” (Lines 348-352).

You notice that they may also have to pay attorney’s fees and court costs. This could drastically increase the amount of the judgment.

If the buyer really wants to do this, strongly encourage them to speak with their own attorney who can advise them of the risks involved with submitting an offer on another property.

[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/