The 10-27-15 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville

1. Existing-Home Sales Rebound in September
2. Becoming an Effective Entrepreneur!
3. RESPA Makes the News Again…
4. Helping Buyers Avoid Post-Purchase Remorse
5. TECH TIP: Innovative Ways To Use Tablets
6. Upcoming Courses & Events!
7. HOT LINE: Where To Find the Lead-Based Pamphlets?
8. HOT LINE: Terminating a Buyer Agency Agreement?
9. HOT LINE: Do I Still Have To Disclose a Defect?

“It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.” — WInston Churchill

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

1. Existing-Home Sales Rebound in September

Existing-home sales rebounded strongly in September following August’s decline and have now increased year-over-year for 12 consecutive months, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). All four major regions experienced sales gains in September.

Nationally, total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 4.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.55 million in September from a slightly downwardly revised 5.30 million in August, and are now 8.8 percent above a year ago (5.10 million).

Existing-home sales in the South rose 3.8 percent to an annual rate of 2.21 million in September, and are 5.7 percent above September 2014. The median price in the South was $191,500, up 6.2 percent from a year ago.

To read NAR’s complete news release on September sales figures, go HERE.

2. Becoming an Effective Entrepreneur!

If you don’t consider yourself an entrepreneur, it may be time to start! After all, almost every Realtor is an independent contractor and a business unto himself or herself.

To help you along, a new article by the Young Entrepreneur Council in The Business Journal (“11 small goals entrepreneurs should accomplish every day“) offers a great daily to-do list for entrepreneurs in ANY line of work — including real estate:

1. Identify the victories
2. Update my contacts
3. Share my company
4. Tell people I appreciate them
5. Show gratitude
6. Meditate
7. Move something forward
8. Mentally prepare for tomorrow
9. Acknowledge failure
10. Give meaningful feedback
11. Hit the gym

A variety of real-life entrepreneurs contributed to the list, and each contribution is accompanied by a short testimonial about its use. The entire article is really worth reading. To do so, go HERE.

3. RESPA Makes the News Again…

A whopping $109 million fine commands a lot of attention!

If you have a marketing service agreement with a lender, be aware that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has levied a $109 million fine on a mortgage lender for violating anti-kickback rules under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. The fine is being appealed, and NAR Legal Affairs says it’s too soon to tell if the ruling means other marketing service agreements will invite similar scrutiny, but it’s important to be aware that the CFPB is taking a stricter approach to RESPA enforcement than HUD. Among other things, the marketing service agreement of the lender had met the criteria HUD had said is allowable under RESPA, but the CFPB said meeting HUD’s criteria wasn’t enough.

This case is explained in the latest The Voice for Real Estate news video from NAR that you can view HERE.

The video also looks at faster, more flexible underwriting for government-backed small business loans that you can let your clients know about if they’re in the market for a small commercial property.

4. Helping Buyers Avoid Post-Purchase Remorse

A happy and satisfied buyer may well be a repeat client, so reducing the likelihood of post-purchase remorse should be a top priority!

To assist you toward that goal, REALTOR.COM recently published a helpful article by Angela Colley (“Skip the Pain: 7 Things That Will Fill You With Buyer’s Remorse“). Although it’s directed toward consumers, the article offers seven tips that would make good advice to pass along to your own buyer-clients:

1. Don’t go big, just go home
2. Don’t get boxed in
3. Don’t let your stairs become an uphill battle
4. Get off the island…maybe
5. Pay attention to what’s missing
6. Pools may not be so cool
7. Don’t fall for fads

To see what she means by the above, go HERE.

5. TECH TIP: Innovative Ways To Use Tablets

If you ever had any doubts about the usefulness of tablets in real estate…

REAL Trends blogger Tracey Velt’s recent article — “3 Innovative Ways For Realtors To Use Tablets” — does a very nice job of showing how to take advantage of the tablet’s capabilities to enhance your real estate work, especially for your millennial clients!

As she notes, “The tablet has fast become the modern Realtor’s Swiss Army Knife, with multi-purpose apps and functions to better serve all clients quickly and efficiently.” She proceeds to focus on three areas: Communicating, Property Scoping, and Increasing Productivity.

If you already own a tablet but haven’t yet made full use of it, read her article.

If you haven’t yet purchased a tablet and want to know why you might want one, read her article.

To read it, go HERE.

6. Upcoming Courses & Events!

Nov. 18: TransactionDesk Basic (3 hrs. CE) — TAR Office, Nashville. For more information or to register, go HERE.

Nov. 18: 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: ……and scroll down the page to see all upcoming courses!

7. HOT LINE: Where To Find the Lead-Based Pamphlets?

QUESTION: I am in need of the lead-based paint pamphlets. Where can I obtain these from?

ANSWER: The lead-based paint pamphlets which are required to be provided to purchasers of homes built prior to 1978 are published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. You can print the pamphlets from their website or you can order them through their online bookstore. Visit: for more information. You can also contact the Government printing office at: (202) 512-1800.

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

8. HOT LINE: Terminating a Buyer Agency Agreement?

QUESTION: Can a buyer’s agency agreement be terminated after there is a binding contract?

ANSWER: Yes. A buyer representation agreement can be terminated at any time with the approval of both parties and in writing.

A buyer’s rep agreement is a written contract which establishes an agency relationship between a buyer and a real estate company. In order to terminate this contract, it requires a termination and release in writing and signed by all parties to the buying agreement (unless the agreement allows for one side to terminate without the approval of the other. TAR’s forms do not so provide). It should terminate the contract and release both sides from the obligations under the original buyer’s rep agreement. Until this is completed, the buyer’s representation agreement will continue in place until its natural termination.

If you have a buyer who wishes to terminate their buyer’s representation agreement with you, your principal broker must decide whether you wish to hold them to that contract or not. This is completely up to the broker as to whether they want to release them from the representation agreement. TAR provides a form for you to use if you wish to agree to terminate the buyer’s representation agreement — form RF151.

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

9. HOT LINE: Do I Still Have To Disclose a Defect?

QUESTION: If someone signs a property-condition exemption form, BUT the agent and/or seller knows there is a defect with the property, does that agent and/or seller still have to disclose same?

ANSWER: Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-403(2), a real estate agent is required to “[d]isclose to each party to the transaction any adverse facts of which the licensee has actual notice or knowledge.” Tennessee law defines an adverse fact as “conditions or occurrences generally recognized by competent licensees that have a negative impact on the value of the real estate, significantly reduce the structural integrity of improvements to real property or present a significant health risk to occupants of the property.” — Tenn. Code Ann. 62-13-102(2).

Therefore, if an agent has actual knowledge of an adverse fact, he must disclose it, particularly if the seller does not. This could be seen as an adverse fact.

If you feel that it is an adverse fact, you are required by law to disclose it, and you will have to notify future prospective buyers of any such facts. If you so decide, we would recommend advising your client that you will be making the disclosure and have any disclosures made in writing and signed by the potential buyer(s). If you determine that the information must be disclosed, we would advise you to notify your clients in writing as to why you are doing so. If disclosures are made, we would also encourage you to disclose all of the information that you have concerning this issue including repairs, reports, tests, etc. We would recommend that you notify your seller of this and have him sign off indicating that he understands that you must disclose it and that he will not hold you responsible for the disclosure. If he refuses, we would recommend that you release the listing and allow him to list the property with someone else. In the event that you do disclose something, we would recommend following it up with documentation of the repairs done to remediate the problem. We also recommend disclosing previous issues and also disclosing what has been done to repair the issue.

Furthermore, you have an obligation pursuant to Article 2 of the Code of Ethics. It states:

“Realtors shall avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment of pertinent facts relating to the property or the transaction. Realtors shall not, however, be obligated to discover latent defects in the property, to advise on matters outside the scope of their real license, or to disclose facts which are confidential under the scope of agency of non-agency relationships as defined by state law.”

An agent’s obligation to disclose adverse facts is in addition to any obligation of an owner to disclose issues under the property condition disclosure law.

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


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