The 7-14-15 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville

1. Live Webcast on Closing Process Changes
2. NOTICE: Sinkhole Disclosures
3. REMINDER: Upcoming Registration Deadline!
4. Who Doesn’t Need a Hug?
5. REALTOR.COM Debuts “Learn With Liz” Videos
6. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS
7. HOT LINE: File Security in a Designated Agency Firm?
8. HOT LINE: Requiring Which Title Company Is Used?
9. HOT LINE: Out-of-State Referral Agreements?
10. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

“We shall not grow wiser before we learn that much that we have done was very foolish.” — Friedrich Hayek

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

1. Live Webcast on Closing Process Changes

If you missed TAR’s LIVE webcast July 8th, don’t fret, there’s another opportunity to learn more about this topic. REALTOR Magazine is hosting a live webcast on what you need to know about the closing process changes coming later this year (in October) and how to help keep transactions on track as the new process and forms take effect.

The NAR webcast will be THURSDAY, JULY 16, at 2 PM Eastern Time (1 PM Central), and will feature attorney Phil Schulman of K&L Gates, an expert on federal closing rules, and NAR Senior Counsel Finley Maxson.

Starting October 3, the HUD-1 settlement form, the Good Faith Estimate, and the Truth in Lending Act disclosure are going away! They’ll be replaced by a new Loan Estimate and a new Closing Disclosure. And that’s not all. The Loan Estimate will have to be given to the buyer three days after the loan application is submitted. The Closing Disclosure will have to be in the hands of the buyer three days before closing. And, if certain changes are made to the Closing Disclosure after the buyer receives it, the paperwork will have to go back to the lender for approval, starting the three-day clock all over again!

The speakers on this webcast will discuss and answer questions on the 1) the new Loan Estimate, 2) fees, 3) referrals, 4) the new Closing Disclosure, and 5) timing issues.

The webcast will last approximately one hour. You can sign up HERE.

2. NOTICE: Sinkhole Disclosures

We referenced this new TN law in an earlier DIGEST…

A new disclosure will be required for any and all residential contracts occurring on or after July 1, 2015. Sellers will now be required to disclose the existence of any known sinkhole on the property. For those of you curious, the statute defines a “sinkhole” as “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 “is indicated through the contour lines on the property’s recorded plat map”. — Tenn. Code Ann. 66-5-212(c).

The goal of this new legislation is to take the liability for sinkholes away from the agent and place it on the owners of the property. The owners are in a much better position than the Realtors to know whether their property has a sinkhole.

If you have a residential property listed which did not gone under contract by July 1, 2015, you have two options:
Option 1 – you can have your seller complete a new disclosure, disclaimer, or exemption. The TAR forms were updated and available on July 1st.
Option 2 – remember that you have to counter any offer received if the seller has knowledge of a sinkhole as of July 1st.

TAR has made changes and published the following forms on July 1st for your use:

RF201 – Tennessee Residential Property Condition Disclosure
RF203 – Tennessee Residential Property Condition Exemption Notification
RF204 – Tennessee Residential Property Condition Disclaimer Statement


3. REMINDER: Upcoming Registration Deadline!

The Early-Bird Registration Deadline for the 2015 TAR Convention in Memphis is JULY 27, just two weeks away! Register before that date and save $55!!!

This coming September 16-18 at the Peabody Hotel, TAR will hold its Annual Convention, “Rock ‘n’ Roll in Memphis!”.. It will 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!

4. Who Doesn’t Need a Hug?

In a great lesson that we all need, Anand Patel recently posted a short article (“The One Minute Huggy“) on NAR’s YPN blog about his young daughter’s nightly demand for a hug at bedtime before she agreed to go to sleep. It prompted him to think about the business that he and other Realtors count on from repeat and referral customers and clients:

As he writes: “Once you leave the closing table, how do you keep in touch with (‘hug’) your customer? Do you give them a call, periodically send a note or gift, send a video e-mail message, or drop by to say hello? …You’ll be surprised how many of your current and past customers would really appreciate a quick ‘one minute huggy’.”

To read more, go HERE.

5. REALTOR.COM Debuts “Learn With Liz” Videos

In new campaign efforts to bring millennials into the homebuying pool, REALTOR.COM is launching a five-part online video series that gives first-time buyers a humorous look at the stages of the purchase cycle. The “webisodes” feature Emmy-nominated actress Elizabeth Banks and are dubbed “The Home-Buying Process in Plain English with Elizabeth Banks.

The videos will be promoted across a range of digital platforms, including Facebook, Yahoo, Hulu, HGTV, Google, and others.

All of the episodes are professionally produced, with a definite touch of humor. A link to them on your website might be a good idea, as another resource for consumers.

To see them for yourself, go to:

6. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS!

Aug. 3: Real Property Information (RPI) Training (6 hrs. CE) — TAR Office, Nashville. For more information or to register, go HERE.

Aug. 4: Real Estate Collaborative Specialist-Divorce (RCS-D) Training (6 hrs. CE) — TAR Office, Nashville. For more information or to register, go HERE.

Aug. 12: TransactionDesk Basic (3 hrs. CE) — TAR Office, Nashville. For more information or to register, go HERE.

Aug. 12: TransactionDesk Advanced (3 hrs. CE) — TAR Office, Nashville. For more information or to register, go HERE.

Sept. 16-18: TAR Annual Convention — Peabody Hotel, Memphis, TN (CE and More!) — An event you don’t want to miss! For more information, 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: File Security in a Designated Agency Firm?

QUESTION: We are a designated agency company. It is my understanding that all office active & pending file cabinets are to be locked so they cannot be accessed without permission. Does that also apply to CLOSED real estate transaction file cabinets.

ANSWER: Yes. The files are still deemed confidential, and information about various agents’ clients should not be accessible to other agents. The confidentiality does not end just because the transaction is closed. They should be kept secure as well.

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

8. HOT LINE: Requiring Which Title Company Is Used?

QUESTION: I had a counter offer from the listing agent requiring that we use a certain title company. We were told that, no matter what, we had to use this title company or they would throw out our offer. Can the listing agent require us to use a certain title company?

ANSWER: A seller can require that a certain title company be used under VERY limited circumstances.

Under RESPA, if the buyer is paying for the title insurance or it is being paid for with the assistance of a federally related mortgage loan, then the BUYER has the right to select its provider. However, if the seller is paying for the title insurance (for both policies) without the assistance of a federally related mortgage loan, then it can be negotiated (the seller can require that the title insurance be issued by the title company of their choice). See 12 USC 2608 which states:

“(a) No seller of property that will be purchased with the assistance of a federally related mortgage loan shall require directly or indirectly, as a condition to selling the property, that title insurance covering the property be purchased by the buyer from any particular title company.

(b) Any seller who violates the provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall be liable to the buyer in an amount equal to three times all charges made for such title insurance.”

Another thing to keep in mind is who is issuing the policy. Often, the lender will dictate who is to issue the lender’s policy.

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

9. HOT LINE: Out-of-State Referral Agreements?

QUESTION: Does an out-of-state referral require a cooperating broker agreement?

ANSWER: It would probably be a very good idea to get the agreement in writing. You would not necessarily want to use a cooperating broker agreement for a referral. HOWEVER, TAR does have a referral agreement you can use for this purpose. It is CF/RF 701 and is a traditional referral agreement.

[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: