1-11-16 — Volume: 2016 Issue: 2 • Randy Durham, 2016 President • Phil Newman, TAR Digest Editor
Note: Beginning this week, the TAR Digest will come to you in an updated e-news format. Featuring the same timely, relevant information you’ve counted on, the Digest will include sections such as In the News, Member Services, Professional Development, Vote. Act. Invest. (Governmental Affairs), Events, and answers to questions submitted to the TAR Legal & Ethics Hot Line. We look forward to continuing to help you stay up-to-date and informed. — Phil Newman, Editor
In the News
1. Tips for Making Resolutions Stick
2. Top 50 Real Estate Stories of 2015
Member Services
3. Claim Your Realtor.com® Agent Profile
4. TAR Forms Updates for 2016
5. Expense-Tracking Offer From TAXBOT

Professional Development
6. MRP, RCS-D Hone Your Expertise
Vote. Act. Invest.
7. Apply To Be a State Political Coordinator
Legal & Ethics Hot Line
8. Earnest Money Required Before Home Inspection?
9. Ethics of Canceling a Showing In Light of Commissions?
10. Required To Disclose Referral Fee?
Key Links & Resources
1. Tips For Making Resolutions Stick
Studies show that only 8 percent of us achieve the New Year’s resolutions we set. Just for Realtors®, here’s a podcast focused on ways to help you be part of the 8 percent, whether working to save money, lose weight, eat healthier, or boost your sales results. Listen here.

2. Top 50 Real Estate Stories of 2015
In this season of looking ahead to new opportunities and possibilities, it also can be valuable to glance back. Inman News just counted down the biggest real estate stories of 2015. Part II, its Top 25, culminates in these big-impact headlines:
5. Buyers using ZipTours to get lockbox codes, tour listings without agents present
4. Whistleblower alleges Zillow is stealing listing data from agent websites
3. Rupert Murdoch playing hardball with Zillow
2. Should real estate agents drive fancy cars?
1. 5 economists forecast the 2015 housing market

3. Claim Your Realtor.com® Agent Profile
Here’s the current offer in NAR’s MVP+ program: Consumers may be looking at your realtor.com profile. Take action by Friday, January 15, to make sure it’s up-to-date, and you’ll receive $100 worth of Best Texts & Tips To Connect With Buyers. Follow the three steps at this link to review and update your profile.

4. TAR Forms Updates for 2016
As most of you know, TAR forms were updated to 2016 versions and published Jan. 4. Changes were minor in nature, with no major content changes since the previous edits in September 2015 (prompted by TILA-RESPA Disclosure Implementation, or TRID). One NEW form was added for 2016: CF141–Commercial Exclusive Buyer/Tenant Representation Agreement. NO forms were deleted. To download a PDF of the changes, log in to the TAR site and select Forms On the Fly at this link.

5. Expense-Tracking Offer From TAXBOT
At the beginning of January, many of us strive to improve our lives. Why not commit to a financial resolution of keeping more of your 2016 commissions in your pocket? For one week (starting 1-11-16), TAR is offering members a three-month free subscription to TAXBOT, an expense-tracking system designed to save you thousands each year. (New subscribers only, on iOS or Android.) After three months, you can opt to extend the term through a paid subscription or not. Visit here to get started.

6. MRP, RCS-D Hone Your Expertise In Key Areas
Two upcoming courses can equip you to work with Armed Services families (MRP) and couples working through divorce (RSC-D). MRP Certification (Feb. 25 at TAR, 8 hrs CE) will allow you to work more efficiently in the military area and be in a referral pool for service members and veteran transfers. RCS-D focuses on divorce real estate transactions. This designation (Feb. 22 and 23 at TAR, 12 hrs CE), taught by Vanderbilt law instructor Kelly Murray, J.D., guides an agent in how to help a couple settle property in a divorce and navigate attorney interactions. The agent becomes an expert in resolving these difficult transactions for both sides. To register or for more details, visit here.
7. Apply To Be a State Political Coordinator
The Tennessee General Assembly session begins Tuesday, with your lawmakers set to debate issues that will impact your business and the rights of property owners. Elected officials don’t always understand how the decisions they make will affect issues that matter to you. To help, TAR has established its State Political Coordinator Program to inform and mobilize TAR members who share a personal relationship with legislators. Political Coordinators play a key role in reaching out to elected officials, conveying the Realtor® Party message and the importance of our issues. To learn more and to apply, visit this link.
8. Earnest Money Required Before Home Inspection?

QUESTION: We have a contract representing a buyer who mailed the earnest money to the listing agent during the holidays. Since the agent has not yet received the earnest money, they don’t want to allow the home inspection. What should we do?

ANSWER: The home inspection may proceed, even if earnest money has not been received. A provision in the TAR Purchase and Sale Agreement covers earnest money. Lines 148-155 set forth what the seller can do if earnest money is not received in a timely manner. The actions do not include refusing entry to the home for inspections: A. Failure to Receive Trust Money. In the event Trust Money is not timely received by Holder or Trust Money check or other instrument is not honored for any reason by the bank upon which it is drawn, Holder shall promptly notify Buyer and Seller of the Buyer’s failure to deposit the agreed upon Trust Money. Buyer shall then have one (1) day to deliver Trust Money in immediately available funds to Holder. In the event Buyer does not deliver such funds, Buyer is in default and Seller shall have the right to terminate this Agreement by delivering to Buyer or Buyer’s representative written notice via the Notification form or equivalent written notice. In the event Buyer delivers the Trust Money in immediately available funds to Holder before Seller elects to terminate, Seller shall be deemed to have waived his right to terminate, and the Agreement shall remain in full force and effect.

Specific to home inspections, lines 253-254 of the contract state: Buyer and/or his inspectors/representatives shall have the right and responsibility to enter the Property during normal business hours, for the purpose of making inspections and/or tests of the Property.

9. Ethics of Canceling a Showing In Light of Commissions?

QUESTION: If an agent requests to show a property that I have listed and then sends a compensation agreement for an increased commission, which we deny, can they ethically cancel the showing?

ANSWER: Yes—if the buyer says so. Agents are not permitted to hold a deal hostage because they are arguing about commissions. However, if their buyer instructs them to cancel the showing, they can; doing so is only unethical if the agent does so without the buyer’s knowledge. The buyer might instruct them to do so if, say, they are subject to a buyer’s representation agreement, which could require the buyer to pay any difference between the stated commission and the amount that is offered by the listing company. This may prompt a buyer to decide not to look at a particular property.

10: Required To Disclose Referral Fee?

QUESTION: If a Realtor® refers someone to a builder, does the agent need to disclose to the potential purchaser of the new construction that they will receive a referral fee?

ANSWER: Yes, you must disclose the fee. As stated in Tenn. Code Ann. § 62-13-403(7)(B), an agent has a duty not to recommend to any party to the transaction the use of services of another individual, organization or business entity in which the licensee has an interest or from whom the licensee may receive a referral fee or other compensation for the referral, other than referrals to other licensees to provide real estate services under the Tennessee Real Estate Broker License Act of 1973, without timely disclosing to the party who receives the referral, the licensee’s interest in such referral or the fact that a referral fee may be received. TAR form RF 307, Referral for Service Disclosure, will help you with this.

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