5-16-16 — Vol.: 2016 Iss.: 19 • Randy Durham, 2016 President • Phil Newman, TAR Digest Editor
TAR TAKEAWAYS ✔ TREC’s Fontaine Taylor’s secret lock-ins with Elvis ✔ Tennesseans shine at RPAC Awards in D.C. ✔ Check out these new mobile-keyboard apps ✔ Are you obligated to send inspection report?
CONTENTS In the News 1. *Key Dates for TAR/NAR Nominations* 2. ERMA Picked as a Top Idea 3. RPAC Awards Recognize Tennesseans 4. Tech Tip: Gmail/Email Challenges 5. Two TN Cities in Travel+Leisure Top 10 6. New Mobile-Keyboard Apps 7. TREC Stars: Fontaine Taylor
Legal & Ethics Hot Line 8. Buyer Obligated to Send Inspection Report? 9. Seller Withdrawal Nullify Listing Agreement? 10. One Sign for Multiple Properties? Key Links & Resources **Register for Fall Convention!**
1. *Key Dates for TAR/NAR Nominations* Here are the scheduled dates for upcoming TAR Nominating Committee meetings: August 4, 2016—Nominating Committee Meeting and Candidate Interviews for 2017 TAR Officers February 21, 2017—Nominating Committee Meeting and Candidate Interviews for 2018 NAR Director If you think you might be a candidate for a TAR Office or NAR Director, please make sure these dates are on your calendar so you will be available for an interview. For nomination forms, visit this link.
2. ERMA Picked as a Top Idea Tennessee’s Educational Resource Mobile App (ERMA) found herself in good company in Washington, D.C., chosen as one the top ideas to be shared at the 2016 State Leadership Information Exchange Council. 2016 President Randy Durham presented ERMA to the council before a room filled with leaders from NAR and other states. The app was warmly received and a big hit!
3. RPAC Awards Recognize Tennesseans [Thanks to Hagan Stone for the following update. *We might add that Hagan himself received a 2015 YPN RPAC Pledge Completion Award. Way to go!*] “Tuesday, May 10, was a GREAT day for Tennessee REALTORS®! We were honored by the National Association of REALTORS® for excellence in RPAC fundraising in 2015. We were one of five states to win the esteemed Chairman’s Award; we won second place in the Performance Achievement Award and third place in Highest Percentage of Fundraising Goal in the nation! So proud! Huge thanks to our 2015 TAR President, Pat Beech; our 2015 TAR RPAC Trustee Chair, Mike Gaughan; and our Governmental Affairs Director, Chris Sexton. THANK YOU all Tennessee REALTORS® for believing in and investing in the REALTOR® Party!” *Kudos also to Margaret Dixon on becoming a member of the RPAC Hall of Fame!*
4. TN REALTORS® Visit Leaders in D.C.
More than 100 Tennessee REALTORS® joined thousands of others from throughout the nation to meet last Wednesday with our elected congressional officials, updating them on key issues related to homeownership, property rights, and other topics central to the real estate industry. Tennessee also was represented at a White House briefing with members of the Obama administration representing economic development, housing, finance and energy initiatives.
5.Two TN Cities in Travel+Leisure Top 10 In its just-released list of America’s Favorite Cities, readers of Travel+Leisure magazine voted two Tennessee cities into its Top 10: Knoxville at #8, and Nashville at #5. (The rest of the Top 10: Fort Worth TX (10), Raleigh NC (9), Richmond VA (7), Albuquerque NM (6), Norfolk VA (4), Providence RI (3), San Antonio TX (2), Buffalo NY (1). Read the full list at this link.
6. New Mobile-Keyboard Apps Tech guru Beth Ziesenis—a.k.a. Your Nerdy Best Friend—will be one of the instructors at TAR’s 2017 Spring Conference. She knows her stuff! For example: Her most recent blog introduces two mobile-keyboard apps, Gboard and Word Flow. Gboard (only for iOS currently) features the ability to swipe keys for extra-fast typing. Word Flow includes a twisted keypad that makes one-handed typing easier. Read Beth’s entire review at this link.
7. TREC Stars: Fontaine Taylor Our series of profiles on the Tennessee Real Estate Commission (TREC) continues with Fontaine Taylor of Memphis. She launched a real estate career at age 12, got locked in a bank with Elvis (more than once!), hitched a ride with a trucker for her and her car—and that’s only a small taste of TREC commissioner Fontaine Taylor’s eventful life-so-far.
Taylor’s family has played an influential role in Memphis and its development for several generations. “My grandfather, and my great-grandfather, were all in some form of real estate,” Taylor says.
The city’s Woodruff-Fontaine House(in which her father was born) is co-named for Taylor’s great-grandfather, Noland Fontaine, the French-Victorian mansion’s second owner. After the passing of Mr. Fontaine in 1912 and of his wife in 1928, the home was sold to become an antique shop; it later housed an art school and today is an exhibit center and event venue. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“I went to work for my uncle in the summers when I was probably 12,” Taylor recalls. “He managed a lot of real estate investments. He trained me to be a bookkeeper, would you believe, at that tender age. I had to start collecting rents and keeping the books on rentals. I also worked in the office, answering the phone and such.”
After college, though, Fontaine got on with National Bank of Commerce (NBC) and encountered Mr. Blue Suede Shoes. “I started as a runner, went to the transit department, then became head teller in the drive-in, where I met Elvis,” she says. “Well, I had met him before many times—he would drive up and down the street, wave to us, stand out in front of his house—but he was one of NBC’s clients.”
Bankhouse Rock Presley would drive into the multistory bank’s lower level to the window where Taylor worked, and the gate would close behind him, “so Elvis and I were locked in together,” she recalls. “He sat in the convertible, while his daddy would get out and do the banking. Well of course you know we talked. I would lock up my box and go chat with him a minute, and then close out my accounts. He would be there a few minutes.”
What was it like hanging out with Elvis? “Oh, he was very pleasant, we would just chat about life. Certainly I was in awe, but I was kind of shy in those days.” (Taylor still has a framed autograph from Elvis hanging on her wall.)
Eventually Taylor moved on from banking, wed, began a family, and returned to her uncle’s real estate ventures. “And I’ve been in it for a long time now,” she says.
The projects varied, from commercial and residential to managing an apartment building. “When my uncle died, and then my aunt died, I started running the business full time,” Taylor says. “I did that for a long time until I sold it, then started doing renovations, bought homes and apartment buildings. I thought, As long as I’m doing this, I need to get a real estate license.”
From MAAR to TAR and NAR As her career progressed, Taylor ran her brokerage until she became part of Crye-Leike in 2011. “Once I earned my license, from that year on, I joined the board, got on a committee, and was there consistently until probably four years ago, when I backed out a little bit,” Taylor says. The secret to her tenure of volunteer service sounds simple: “I always tried to sit back and listen and see what needed to be done, and then do it.”
And has she ever! Taylor is not keen on talking about herself, but we don’t mind noting that her accomplishments could fill several pages. They include NAR’s RPAC Hall of Fame (2011), TAR REALTOR® of the Year (2011), MAAR Outstanding Leadership award (2011), TAR Presidential Award (2007), MAAR Presidential Award (twice), MAAR REALTOR® of the Year (2002), and recognition from the Tennessee General Assembly and Memphis magazine, among others.
The numerous offices she has held include NAR Region 4 RPAC Trustee, NAR Director, TAR President (2009), MAAR President (2000), and President of the Tennessee Real Estate Education Foundation (TREEF). Proudest Moments Is one of those achievements her career highlight? Not quite. While she appreciates the accolades, Taylor considers her most meaningful success serving as an ambassador and reconciler of sorts.
For example: “TREC and TAR didn’t get along for many years,” she says, with characteristic candor, “and I’m proud of being part of the reason they do now.”
What was the key? As a TAR leader, “I made an effort to see that happen,” Taylor says. “I drove up to Nashville and had breakfast with the then-head of TREC several times. I said, ‘We need to be on the same page,’ and it worked. TREC and TAR now have a great relationship. There were several others as well. I drove over and met with people, had lunch, and drove straight back home.”
Taylor sees parallels between her mediator role and her business. “The best way to get anything solved is to look at everybody’s point of view and work it out,” she says. “It’s the same if you’re writing an offer or accepting an offer. You should not be adversaries. You both want the same thing: for the house to sell. So we work it out.”
Education Matters Taylor also holds 11 designations and certifications. “When I first got my license, within the first two years, I had earned the GRI, the CRS, the CRB,” she says. “I have always believed in education, and although I’m grandfathered, I still believe in it very strongly.”
Speaking of grandfathering: “I think it should end,” Taylor says, adding: “Some who have been in real estate the longest are the ones who need to refresh their memory.”
Taylor also believes licensing standards should be raised. “You can get a license and have never written a contract or have known the ins and outs of the contract,” she says. “I feel very strongly that even after you get your license, you should have a period of internship or other learning. I have seen so many new agents, and some older ones, you have to help write their offers and walk through it with them.”
Catching a Ride Taylor once ordered a new car that would be shipped from the upper East Coast to Memphis. A snowstorm held up the shipment in Virginia, so Taylor arranged to fly up and drive the car back after taking a detour to visit her son near Washington, D.C. When she picked up the car and stopped for gas, she realized she had no map. Spotting a trucker with a big rig also fueling up, she asked for directions to the highway.
“He said, ‘I’m going that way, you follow me to the interchange and keep on that road.’ I said, ‘Why don’t you just put my car on your transport and we’ll go together?’ We drove six hours and had a delightful visit. He put me off about a block from my son’s house, and I drove the block. It made my life much easier.”
TREC: Smoothing the Road It is that same make-life-easier approach that Taylor says TREC is focused on today. She would like Tennessee licensees to know that the Commission is “trying to make your life more user-friendly in getting information about your education, in getting your license, in keeping your insurance up-to-date.”
She also emphasizes that TREC generally evaluates complaints without knowing who the participants are. “We listen and try to be very fair in making our judgments. The complaints go to staff who review them, and then to us. We never know who they’re from” (except in cases of live hearings in a dispute).
Taylor is the mother of three and has eight grandchildren ranging from preteen to mid-20s. Her son David lives in Alexandria, Va.; her son Kimbrough lives in Memphis; and her daughter Fontaine Brown also lives in Memphis, where she has followed her mother into real estate and is “a very good agent,” Taylor says. “She is the one of whom you would say, ‘She’s among the nicest people I’ve ever met.’ I don’t think you would say that about me. (Taylor laughs.) She’s a soft-spoken, nice, gentle person. I do not have that perception.” (She laughs harder.)
Taylor tries to bring the breadth of her experience to bear as part of TREC, along with a firm-yet-fair approach. “I was a broker for many years, and because my real estate career has been so varied, I try to sit and listen and think through things, but I also feel like people should be accountable for their actions or lack thereof.”
Or, as Elvis might’ve put it: She knows how to love them tough, or love them tender. And she…always…will.
For more about Fontaine, visit here. For more about the Tennessee Real Estate Commission, visit here.
Source: TAR Legal & Ethics Hot Line Counsel
8. Buyer Obligated to Send Inspection Report?
QUESTION: With regard to the inspection report and repair/replacement form, is the buyer obligated to send the inspection report regardless of whether the seller asks for it? Don’t we have a duty to report any adverse defects?
ANSWER: The buyer is in no way obligated to send the inspection report to the seller. Lines 283-284 of the purchase and sale agreement, TAR form RF 401, say, “Buyer shall deliver to Seller or Seller’s representative, upon seller’s request, a copy of all inspection reports.” TAR included this language in the form because it created a huge burden and responsibility on agents. Agents would then have to read and assess an entire report and could honestly not understand that a particular item mentioned (even in passing) in the report constituted an adverse fact. Therefore, it would only be provided in the event that the seller requested it. Listing agents should advise sellers that in the event that they request the inspection report, if anything within the report constitutes an adverse fact, then the agent is now obligated to disclose it. The problem arises when a buyer’s agent automatically includes the entire inspection report when it was not requested. Unfortunately, once that occurs, it places the listing agent in a very awkward position. It is likely that a court would deem that the agent had notice of what is contained in the report, even if the agent never opened it. As such, if anything within the report constituted an adverse fact, the agent must disclose it. Furthermore, it is not your duty to disclose adverse defects on a property you do not have listed. That duty falls to the listing agent. 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.
9. Seller Withdrawal Nullify Listing Agreement?
QUESTION: If a seller withdraws a property, does that nullify the Purchase and Sale Agreement?
ANSWER: No. Withdrawal from the MLS does not terminate the listing or a purchase and sale agreement. The issue becomes what you mean by “withdraw”. If you mean that the parties (the seller and the listing firm) want to terminate the listing agreement, then you would use form RF 151 or CF 151. A listing agreement is a written contract that establishes an agency relationship between a seller and a real estate company. To terminate this contract requires a termination and release in writing and signed by all parties to the listing agreement. It should terminate the contract and release both sides from the obligations under the original listing agreement. Until this is completed, the listing agreement will continue in place until its natural termination. TAR does provide a form that effectively terminates the listing: RF 151 (residential) and CF 151 (commercial) allow you to place limitations on agreeing to release the listing, such as a carry-over period or a termination fee. (See lines 9-17). However, if the seller lists the property with another agent during the carry-over period, the obligation to pay a commission is terminated. Another possibility would be to require a referral fee if the seller sells the property to that particular buyer. This should be done in the release agreement. However, if you merely want to remove the listing from the MLS but not terminate the listing agreement, then you would likely use the MLS withdrawal sheet provided by the local board. To terminate the purchase and sale agreement, one must exercise a contingency that permits termination. Otherwise, it requires a signed agreement by the parties to accomplish this. You can use form RF 481, Earnest Money/Trust Money Disbursement and Mutual Release of the Purchase and Sale Agreement, for this purpose.
10. One Sign for Multiple Properties?
QUESTION: When there are five low-end investment properties in a row, listed under one listing agreement and one MLS number, can one sign be placed for all five?
ANSWER: There is not a rule or statute which addresses this issue specifically. Therefore, one must fall back on the Advertising rules and statutes. Basically, the important thing to remember is that the advertising cannot be misleading to the public. The latest iteration of the Advertising rule went into effect October 18, 2015. Please refer to TREC Rule 1260-2-.12 Advertising.