The 7-28-15 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville

1. TREC Announces New Rules – Effective 10-18-15
2. New Edition: NAR’s Legal Pulse
3. Governor’s Housing Conf. in October
4. NAR Reports Record-Setting June Sales
5. It’s the “Age of the Review”
6. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS
7. HOT LINE: “Unrepresented Party Signature”?
8. HOT LINE: Proof of Other Offers?
9. HOT LINE: Refusing To Work With a Certain Lender?
10. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

“If computers get too powerful, we can organize them into committees. That’ll do them in.” — Unknown

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

1. TREC Announces New Rules – Effective 10-18-15

The Tennessee Real Estate Commission has announced new rules, to be effective on October 18, 2015!

New rules are added to Chapter 1260-01 Licensing, as well as both new rules and amendments to rules in Chapter 1260-02 Rules of Conduct. Specifically, new rules pertain to:

Duplicate or Confusingly Similar Firm Names,
Appearances Before the Commission for the Purpose of Obtaining a License,
Military Applicants,
Reinstatement of Expired License of a Broker,
Affiliate Broker,
Time-Share Salesperson or Acquisition Agent,
Commissions Earned by Affiliated Licensees,
Electronic Records, and
Licensees Who Hold Themselves Out as a Team, Group, or Similar Entity Within a Firm.

Amendments to rules pertain to: Termination of Affiliation, Managing Escrow or Trustee Accounts, and Advertising.

A copy of the new rules can be downloaded HERE.

Look at the list above. The new rules will obviously impact everyone and should be reviewed by ALL licensees! They should probably be a topic at every upcoming sales meeting!

2. New Edition: NAR’s Legal Pulse

NAR has just released its Legal Pulse for the 1st Quarter of 2015! The Legal Pulse is a risk management tool that surveys court cases around the country to give you up-to-date information that can keep you out of trouble. This edition looks at three topics: agency, property condition disclosures, and RESPA. It also reviews employment issues that can cause problems.

As the report notes, agency is always the top liability issue. In the RESPA cases this year, “courts continue to encounter kickback claims.” There is some interesting reading in this report ….

You can access or download the latest Legal Pulse HERE.

3. Governor’s Housing Conf. in October

The Governor’s Housing Conference is scheduled for October 7-8 at the Music City Center in Downtown Nashville, and the program this year will focus on two recent legal developments affecting housing.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling on disparate impact regarding proof of intent for discrimination and the final rule from HUD named Affirmatively Affirming Fair Housing are getting a lot of attention from housing developers. Mark Shelburne of Novogradac & Company LLP will address both issues on October 7 at the Governor’s Housing Conference.

You can see a preview of his presentation HERE.

Register for the Governor’s Housing Conference at:

4. NAR Reports Record-Setting June Sales

Existing-home sales increased in June to their highest pace in over eight years, while the cumulative effect of rising demand and limited supply helped push the national median sales price to an all-time high, according to the National Association of Realtors. All major regions experienced sales gains in June and have now risen above year-over-year levels for six consecutive months.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says this year’s spring buying season has been the strongest since the downturn, backed by June’s solid gain in closings.

To read more, go HERE.

5. It’s the “Age of the Review”

As sites like Angie’s List and Amazon like to remind us, it’s definitely the “Age of the Review”. Consumers are increasingly looking online at what OTHER consumers are saying about services and service-providers before jumping into a purchase or a new business relationship.

For business professionals — especially Realtors — this presents a challenge: If someone posts something unfavorable about you, how will you respond?

The Nashville Business Journal recently published a helpful article (“How to respond to a negative online review“) by Court Cunningham, CEO of an online marking firm, Yodle. Although his article is not specific to any one profession or business, his four tips WILL show you how to handle a negative online review more effectively:

1. Decide whether to respond
2. Decide what to say
3. Know when to get out
4. Make changes to your business

For a complete explanation of the above, go HERE.

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: “Unrepresented Party Signature”?

QUESTION: With regard to form RF301, why does it say “unrepresented party signature?”

ANSWER: RF 301, Working with a Real Estate Professional, contains the two information sheets which were previously part of F1. The Forms Committee decided to separate these forms since the listing agreements and buyer’s representation agreements contain the language in these two forms. Therefore, the only person who would need this information is someone who is unrepresented …in other words, not an actual client. The signature line is there to demonstrate that this unrepresented individual received these information pages.

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

8. HOT LINE: Proof of Other Offers?

QUESTION: My question is, how do you really know if an agent has actually received another offer? If the agent only presents the Multiple Offer Disclosure and Notification (RF655) and no proof that another offer has ever been received by the Listing Agent, it could cost my client thousands of dollars and lost leverage during this fraudulent negotiation period. Can the Selling Agent request a Confirmation of Agency from the other Listing Agent(s) or some other form of proof to show me that another offer has been submitted to her?

ANSWER: First, the agent is NOT permitted to lie regarding multiple offers. This is against both the Broker’s Act and the Code of Ethics. Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-403(4), an agent has a duty to all parties to “provide services to each party to the transaction with honesty and good faith”. Pursuant to Article 1 of the Code of Ethics:

“When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, Realtors pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client. this obligation to the client is primary, but it does not relieve Realtors of their obligation to treat all parties honestly. When serving a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other party in a non-agency capacity, Realtors remain obligated to treat all parties honestly.

You can ask the seller’s agent if you can have a copy of the Confirmation of Agency Status form from the other prospective buyers. However, that agent does NOT have to provide them unless agreed to by all parties.

There is one additional option. Pursuant to Standard of Practice 1-15:

“Realtors, in response to inquiries from buyers or cooperating brokers shall, with the sellers’ approval, disclose the existence of offers on the property. Where disclosure is authorized, Realtors shall also disclose, if asked, whether offers were obtained by the listing licensee, another licensee, in the listing firm, or by a cooperating broker.”

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

9. HOT LINE: Refusing To Work With a Certain Lender?

QUESTION: Can an individual firm make a policy that it will refuse to work with a particular lender? According to the firm, the policy is the result of the lender’s incompetency and the fact that the lender is always trying to go around the firm.

ANSWER: We would NOT recommend doing this. The buyer has a right to work with any mortgage company he chooses. A better approach may be to indicate that there have been issues with this lender in the past, and that they may prefer to work with another lender. You might suggest some alternatives. The agent just needs to be very careful in what they say concerning the offending lender so as not to incur charges of defamation.

There is also the possibility of anti-trust issues since the entire firm would be refusing to work with a particular lender.

[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: