The 8-4-15 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


1. NAR’s Call For Action Continues!!!
2. Properties Are Selling More Quickly
3. Sales Dip in June
4. REMINDER: Aug. 28 Deadline for Committee Requests
5. Enhance Your Skills!
6. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS
7. HOT LINE: Listing Agent Sends “Friend Request”?
8. HOT LINE: Must All Terms be Restated?
9. HOT LINE: Earnest Money Not Yet Received?
10. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

“It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn’t.” — Martin Van Buren

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


1. NAR’s Call For Action Continues!!!

And we still need YOU! Tens of thousands of Realtors have sent messages to their U.S. Representatives urging support for the Innovation Act, a bill (H. R. 9) to stop patent trolls and protect businesses from frivolous patent lawsuits. And the Call for Action is still VERY MUCH in effect!

Realtors across the country receive threatening demand letters and lawsuits alleging patent infringement based on the use of common business tools such as drop down menus or search alert functions on websites and the scanner function on a copier. These patent trolls buy vague patents and use them to turn everyday business practices into potential lawsuits.

PLEASE respond now, if you haven’t already done so, by going HERE.


2. Properties Are Selling More Quickly

Despite a hopefully temporary slowdown in June [see news item #3], the national trend has been toward shorter and shorter days on market:

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
In some cities across the country, homes are selling faster than ever.

Nationally, properties typically stayed on the market for 34 days in June, the shortest number of days since the National Association of REALTORS began tracking in May 2011. Short sales spent the most time on the market with a median of 129 days, foreclosures sold in 39 days, and non-distressed homes were on the market for 33 days. NAR reports that 47 percent of homes sold in less than a month in June.

The real estate brokerage Redfin’s barometer is showing the median time on the market dropped to just 26 days in June, the shortest time on record. In some hot housing markets, homes were falling under contract in 11 days or less.
*** END QUOTE ***

To read more, go HERE.


3. Sales Dip in June

After five consecutive months of increases, pending home sales reversed course and dropped in June, a slight ease to what has been a red-hot housing market, according to the National Association of REALTORS’ Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings.

June’s pending home sales, however, remained near May’s level, which was the highest in more than nine years. Pending home sales showed slight gains in the Northeast and West, but were offset by larger declines in the Midwest and South, NAR reports.

To read more, go HERE.

Reuters reports a similar drop in new home sales:

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
New U.S. single-family home sales fell in June to a seven-month low and May’s sales were revised sharply down, but the data on Friday did little to change the belief that the housing market recovery was shifting into higher gear.

Sales of new homes account for only 8.1 percent of the housing market and tend to be volatile on a month-to-month basis. June’s surprise decline and the May revisions also are at odds with other housing data that have shown strong momentum.
*** END QUOTE ***

To read more, go HERE.


4. REMINDER: Aug. 28 Deadline for Committee Requests

August 28 is the deadline for all requests to serve on a TAR Committee in 2016!

If service on a state association (TAR) committee has ever been a goal of yours, then 2016 could be the year you turn that goal into a reality! Serving at the state level is a wonderful way to make friends and contacts with others across the state, not to mention the positive difference you can make on the future of our industry!

All it takes is to complete an online application. Applications for appointment to TAR committees must be received at the TAR office no later than AUGUST 28, 2015!

To submit an application for any of these positions, go to: http://tnrealtors.com/committee-request-application/


5. Enhance Your Skills!

Next week, on August 12, TAR is offering both Basic and Advanced TransactionDesk courses! It’s a great time to enhance your skill set if you’ve not yet mastered the tools that TAR has made available to you! As of 2015 ALL TransactionDesk FEATURES are now INCLUDED for all TAR members. That’s FREE AuthentiSign, FREE DocBox, and FREE InstanetFax. See the links below — in item number 6 — for more information or to register for either TransactionDesk course, or both of them!

Two days later, 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. See item number 6 below for registration links.

Of course, the PREMIER learning opportunity this year is still the 2015 TAR Annual Convention, scheduled for Sept. 16-18 at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, if you haven’t already registered. There is still time to do so!


6. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS!

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.

Aug. 14: Briefing on New TREC Rules (9-11AM, No CE) — TAR Office, Nashville. For more information or to register, go HERE.

Aug. 14: Briefing on New TREC Rules (1-3PM, No 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: 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: Listing Agent Sends “Friend Request”?

QUESTION: An agent submits an offer on behalf of their buyer to the listing agent. Within hours of receiving the offer, the listing agent sends a “friend request” on Facebook to the buyer. Is there any ethical violation in doing so?

ANSWER: We would NOT recommend that an agent ever do this. This is not specifically addressed in the Code of Ethics. HOWEVER, 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 a 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.”

It would ultimately be up to the local board as to how they would interpret this provision of the Code.

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


8. HOT LINE: Must All Terms be Restated?

QUESTION: We represent the buyer in a transaction. There have been five (5) counteroffers. On the initial offer, the buyer asked for closing costs to be paid. The first counter, the seller said no closing costs. After that, it was not talked about again. On the final counteroffer, it states all terms of the original offer are accepted, unless stated otherwise in this final counteroffer. Are the only terms not accepted those stated on the final counteroffer?

ANSWER: This question seems to come up frequently, and the TAR Legal Hotline cannot provide an interpretation of ANY executed agreement. If the parties have a dispute concerning their legal rights and obligations, they should really speak with their own legal counsel.

However, we can provide you with an explanation of the Forms Committee’s intent concerning how the Forms Committee intended the forms to function.

Unless it is specifically mentioned in the counter offer, all terms of the original purchase and sale agreement will remain the same. HOWEVER, if there are multiple counter offers, the terms from an original counter offer will have to be restated in each counter offer if they are to be part of the final agreement.

See the explanation in the inForm Tool on the TAR website for this form for more information:

“Unless specifically addressed in the counter offer, all other terms and conditions of the Original Purchase and Sale Agreement will remain the same. However, the terms and conditions of all other previous counter offers are NOT included in this counter offer unless they are RESTATED in this counter offer.”

As stated in the counter offer form:

“ALL OTHER TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE ORIGINAL ATTACHED PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT ARE ACCEPTABLE TO THE UNDERSIGNED. ALL TERMS AND CONDITIONS PROPOSED IN PREVIOUS COUNTER OFFERS, IF ANY, ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THIS COUNTER OFFER UNLESS RESTATED HEREIN.” (Lines 22-25).

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


9. HOT LINE: Earnest Money Not Yet Received?

QUESTION: We have a contract that is binding. We have requested the earnest money from the buyer, but they say they need more time to consider whether they want to purchase the property. How do we handle this situation?

ANSWER: Lines 141-144 of the TAR Purchase and Sale Agreement address the receipt of the earnest money in a transaction. They state:

“Buyer has paid or will pay within ____ days after the Binding Agreement Date to ________________ (name of Holder) (“Holder”) located at ________________ (address of Holder), an Earnest Money deposit of $_______ by check (OR _____________) (“Earnest Money”).”

If both the buyer and seller have signed the contract, the buyer does NOT have a chance to “decide whether they want to purchase” before paying the earnest money. TAR’s contracts state that the funds should be paid IMMEDIATELY or x days after the Binding Agreement Date.

[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/