The 8-11-15 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


1. Tennessee Housing Starts Hit Milestone
2. It’s Easy To Buy in Memphis!
3. Protect Yourself Against Online Scams
4. Internet, Cellphone Outage Is a Wakeup Call
5. A Healthy Dose of Motivation
6. Don’t Miss These Upcoming Events!
7. HOT LINE: Buyer Quit Their Job?
8. HOT LINE: The Inspection Report, Again…
9. HOT LINE: How Are Builder’s Deposits Treated?
10. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” — Ann Landers

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


1. Tennessee Housing Starts Hit Milestone

Based on data released by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, seasonally-adjusted housing start numbers for Tennessee crossed the 2,000 mark in June, the first time that housing starts have crossed this threshold since October of 2007!

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
The June number is up from 1,871 housing starts in May and represents a new highpoint since the housing crisis began seven years ago.

“Tennessee has a shortage of houses on the market right now, both new and existing, so we see a lot of room to keep growing,” said Susan Ritter, executive director of the Home Builders Association of Tennessee. “In fact, the biggest constraint on housing starts is a shortage of labor, not lack of demand.
*** END QUOTE ***

To read more, go HERE.


2. It’s Easy To Buy in Memphis!

That’s according to a new index just published by REALTOR.COM — “Cities of Opportunity: The Top 10 Easiest Places to Buy a Home“. According to their “EasyToBuy Index“, of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the country, Memphis ranks as the second easiest place to purchase a home! Indianapolis ranked number one.

Their EasyToBuy Index is based on four factors:

“– Average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage
— Number of homes for sale per 1,000 owner-occupied households
— Percentage of median household income it takes to buy a home at the median list price
— Percentage of active inventory below the maximum affordable price (determined by assuming a 28% loan-to-income ratio, median income, and a 20% down payment)”

To read more, go HERE.


3. Protect Yourself Against Online Scams

In a new Window to the Law online video — “Cyberscams and the Real Estate Professional” — NAR Associate Counsel Jessica Edgerton alerts real estate professionals to common online fraud schemes, and provides tips and information to help industry professionals and their clients stay protected! It’s just over seven minutes long and worth watching.

To view it online, go HERE.


4. Internet, Cellphone Outage Is a Wakeup Call

Last Tuesday, an Internet and cellphone outage affected folks in four Southern states (Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama) for some 5-6 hours, apparently due to hardware issues according to an AT&T spokesperson. Four different cellphone carriers were affected — AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile — and people in the Nashville area were most severely affected by the outage.

What do YOU do when you have clients in the car and you no longer have access to the Internet? Or access to your GPS? This type of outage should be a reminder of our dependence on technology AND our need to back up digital plans with printed itineraries, etc. ….JUST IN CASE!


5. A Healthy Dose of Motivation

Perhaps you have so much business that you don’t know how to handle it and life couldn’t be better!

OR you have some much business that, even though you’re making a living, it’s wearing you out physically and emotionally!

OR you don’t have nearly enough business to make a living and you don’t know how to kick-start your career!

If you fall in either of the latter two categories, a new article by Bo Nardin (“7 life lessons I have learnt from Jim Rohn which greatly improved my life“) could provide just the dose of motivation you need this week! In it, he summarizes lessons he learned from motivational speaker Jim Rohn in a way that should speak to everyone.

For your own dose of motivation, read his article HERE.


6. Don’t Miss These Upcoming Events!

On August 14 at the TAR Office, Deanna Fankhauser (TAR’s Hot Line Attorney) will offer a two-hour briefing on the new TREC rules, including time for a Q-and-A session. There is no CE for this, but it would be a great opportunity to get up to speed on the rule additions and rule changes, especially as they relate to teams and advertising. She is offering this briefing twice, so you have a choice of either a morning or afternoon session. Use the links below for registration:

Aug. 14: Briefing on New TREC Rules (9-11AM, No CE) — TAR Office, Nashville. This is a great opportunity to learn about the rules that will go into effect on October 18! For more information or to register, go HERE.

Aug. 14: Briefing on New TREC Rules (1-3PM, No CE) — TAR Office, Nashville. This one is offered in case the above time slot doesn’t work for you! 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: 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: Buyer Quit Their Job?

QUESTION: I represent a seller in a transaction. The buyer quit their job and now cannot obtain a loan. Would this be considered a default on the part of the buyer?

ANSWER: While the TAR Legal Hotline cannot comment on an executed contract, lines 127 – 128 state of the TAR Purchase and Sale Agreement state that:

“Buyer shall not intentionally make any material changes in Buyer’s financial condition which would adversely affect Buyer’s ability to obtain the Primary Loan or any other loan referenced herein.”

A court could find that quitting a job would certainly fall into this category.

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


8. HOT LINE: The Inspection Report, Again…

QUESTION: Recently a buyer walked claiming he had objections to the home inspection results. As the seller’s agent I received the Notification form listing three specific items the buyer used to terminate the contract and receive a refund of the earnest money. But in addition, the buyer’s agent attached the full and entire inspection report on the same email without the seller’s request to receive it. He did not send the summary, but rather attached the FULL report.

How can the seller or the seller’s agent ever prove they did not open the attachment in a situation like this? I have talked to two other brokers who say that they refuse receipt of the full home inspection report in situations when the contract is being terminated based on the inspection. Could you clarify how this should be handled?

ANSWER: Unfortunately, this has become a problem, and it keeps coming up!

First, the buyer’s agent should NOT send the report unless the seller requests it. This places the listing agent in a very uncomfortable position because they now have a copy of the report. We do not know that an agent’s refusal to open the email and/or report would be enough for a court to demonstrate that the agent does not have knowledge of an adverse fact which may be contained in the report. This is why the language is contained in the contract that the report is NOT to be sent unless it is requested.

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


9. HOT LINE: How Are Builder’s Deposits Treated?

QUESTION: Are a builder’s deposits on new construction handled differently from an existing homes’ earnest money? In other words, are the deposits/down payments (typically 5% of sales price) supposed to be in a separate account from the builder’s operating account? And what is the time frame on depositing those funds? Would a spec home, that does not require 5% down but only agreed upon earnest money, be handled differently?

ANSWER: There is not a law which requires builder’s deposits to be handled differently than earnest money on existing homes. The question becomes is who is holding the funds. If one of the parties is holding the funds, there is a possibility that it will not be held properly. This is why many people want a third party (such as a real estate firm or a title company) to hold the funds. If the builder is holding the funds and the funds are not non-refundable, we would recommend that they be held in a separate account which is not touched until closing. However, that is something which the builder should discuss with his/her own legal counsel.

If the builder is also a licensed real estate firm, then the funds must be treated as earnest money unless stated otherwise in the contract.

[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/