9-12-16 Vol.: 2016 Iss.: 33 • Randy Durham, 2016 President • Phil Newman, TAR Digest Editor

Hot tips for agents (and brokers) when transferring to a new firm
Take a fresh look at REALTOR® Safety
Keep your data secure with these key insights
Hints to make sure you comply with the Code of Ethics


In the News
1. Charleston: Get the Yapp App!
2. Survey Results: How Safe Are You?
3. Gov.’s Housing Conference: 10/12-13

Member Services
4. *Transferring to a New Firm*
5. Hiring Your Kids = Lower Taxes
6. RETI Webinar: Safe Secrets
Professional Development
7. Smart-Home Safety: Wed. 9/14
Legal & Ethics Hot Line
Focus on: Code of Ethics
8. Mailings to Solicit Listings?

9. Allowed to Contact Seller Directly?
10. Sneaking in Extra Commission?
Key Links & Resources


1. Charleston: Get the Yapp App!
If you’re joining us in Charleston this week—or if you can’t attend but would like to follow along—download the free Yapp app for access to the schedule, speaker bios, meeting layouts, event details, news, photos and more. Search “Yapp” on your device’s app store, download, open, click through the info, choose “Download an Existing Yapp,” and enter code “GREATBLUE”. Or go HERE to send yourself a link to download on your device. If you already have Yapp, simply open it, click the + sign in the upper right, and enter “GREAT BLUE” as the Yapp ID.

2. Survey Results: How Safe Are You?
How safe or unsafe do REALTORS® feel? What are the root causes of unsafe feelings? What steps do REALTORS® follow to ensure safety? What methods of self-defense do we use? NAR’s newly released 2016 Member Safety Report includes insights on these and other questions. It’s well worth a look HERE.
3. THDA Governor’s Housing Conference: Oct. 12-13
TAR is honored to be a sponsor of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency’s (THDA) 2016 Governor’s Housing Conference, Wed. 10/12 and Thurs. 10/13 at Music City Center in downtown Nashville. The conference will provide opportunities for professionals from every facet of the housing industry to connect, share best practices, attend educational panels, meet vendors and exhibitors, and explore how to better meet the housing needs of Tennessee families. A one-day registration is available. *Five hours of TREC-approved CE will be offered.* Go HERE for more details and to register.

4. Transferring to a New Firm
Note: We have received several questions recently about the responsibility of agents and brokers when an agent transfers from one firm to another.

AGENTS: If you transfer from one firm/brokerage to another, there are several essential steps for you to take to ensure a smooth transition. First, keep in mind that the transaction files in your TransactionDesk profile STAY with the original office and do NOT move to the new firm with you. You and the principal broker of the original office will receive an email confirming that all transactions have been transferred from you, the agent, to the original office. Some or all of those transactions may be returned to you after you leave the firm, but only by permission of the original broker. (See item 3 below.) Because transactions belong to the original firm, it’s a good idea to prepare before you transfer to a new firm:

  1. Back up your transactions by archiving them for your personal records.
  2. Wrap up all of your business with the original firm prior to transferring to the new one.
  3. Create a mutual agreement with the original broker if all, or some, of your transactions will transfer with you. Get this in writing, on office letterhead and/or in an email, and submit it to TAR upon your move.
  4. Check in with your local association to make sure your firm name is changed in the National REALTOR® Database System (NRDS) and in TransactionDesk. If not, this will cause delays. 
  5. Inform the Tennessee Real Estate Commission (TREC) by completing TREC Form 1(Transfer, Release and Change of Status) and paying the $25 fee. The form must be signed by the original broker and your new firm’s broker. Tip: Do this at the same time you contact your local association, if possible, so that all of your transition steps are in process simultaneously.

BROKERS: Be aware of the five steps for agents above. In addition, as the managing/principal broker, you will receive transaction-transfer notifications from TransactionDesk when an agent leaves your firm for another. That agent’s transactions will automatically transfer to you as the broker. In the new version of TransactionDesk, you can now transfer any or all transactions back to the former agent. You’ll find this feature in the Broker Tools section. View the brief screencast HERE from Buzz Steele to see how it works.

5. Hiring Your Kids = Lower Taxes
Did you know that music lessons and video games could save you several thousand dollars on your annual tax bill? The secret boils down to hiring your children—and yes, it’s legit. Read all about it in THIS BLOG from Taxbot, a TAR partner, and consider downloading Taxbot’s free booklet,The Ultimate 5-Minute Guide to Hiring Your Kids.

6. Free RETI Webinar: Safe Secrets
Keeping your information safe is vital. To help, the Real Estate Technology Institute (RETI), a TAR partner, is offering a FREE webinar at 3 p.m. EDT/2 p.m. CDT this Wed., Sept. 14: “10 Things YOU Need to Know About Data Security,” hosted by RETI’s Amy Smythe-Harris and featuring NAR tech-policy advocate Melanie Wyne. Register HERE.

7. Smart-Home Safety: 1 p.m. CDT, Wed. 9/14
September is REALTOR® Safety Month. We’re familiar with the usual safety measures homeowners take—deadbolts, window locks, security systems. But in this high-tech world, what about smart-home devices? What do REALTORS® need to know about these devices to incorporate them into your safety protocol and be a helpful resource for clients? Join Tara Christianson, technology and training director at Century 21 Redwood Realty, at 1 p.m. CDT on Wed., Sept. 14, as she tackles these pressing questions and more. Register for the free webinar HERE.

Legal & Ethics Hot Line Source: TAR Legal & Ethics Hot Line Counsel

Focus on: Code of Ethics
The National Association of REALTORS® produces a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice to which all REALTORS® are bound. These standards are outside of state law and Tennessee Real Estate Commission (TREC) rules, which bind all licensees within the state. Find a copy of the Code of Ethics HERE. This week’s Q&As address topics related to this vital area.

8. Are Mailings to Solicit Listings Ethical?

QUESTION: Is it a legal or ethical violation for another agent to send a mailer to a seller for whom I am the listing agent?
ANSWER: It depends on whether the mailed item is a general solicitation (a mass mailing) or a mailing targeted specifically to the current seller. According to Standard of Practice 16-2:
Article 16 does not preclude REALTORS® from making general announcements to prospects describing their services and the terms of their availability even though some recipients may have entered into agency agreements or other exclusive relationships with another REALTOR®. A general telephone canvass, general mailing or distribution addressed to all prospects in a given geographical area or in a given profession, business, club, or organization, or other classification or group is deemed “general” for purposes of this standard. (Amended 1/04)
Article 16 is intended to recognize as unethical two basic types of solicitations:
First, telephone or personal solicitations of property owners who have been identified by a real estate sign, multiple listing compilation, or other information service as having exclusively listed their property with another REALTOR®; and
Second, mail or other forms of written solicitations of prospects whose properties are exclusively listed with another REALTOR® when such solicitations are not part of a general mailing but are directed specifically to property owners identified through compilations of current listings, For Sale or For Rent signs, or other sources of information required by Article 3 and Multiple Listing Service rules to be made available to other REALTORS® under offers of subagency or cooperation. (Amended 1/04) — NAR Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual
As long as this is part of a mass mailing, and the agents are not specifically targeting individuals who they know are under an exclusive agency agreement, then this is not a violation of the law or the Code of Ethics. It is good practice to include a disclaimer on mass mailings/brochures that indicates if the individual is represented by another agent to disregard the solicitation. However, the Code of Ethics does not require this.

9. Allowed to Contact Seller Directly?

QUESTION: Can I legally present an offer on behalf of my buyer to a seller, with notice to the listing agent?

ANSWER: You may not present an offer on behalf of your buyer to a seller with only notice to the listing agent, according to Article 16 of the NAR Code of Ethics. Standard of Practice 16-13 says, “All dealings concerning property exclusively listed 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.”
Notice to the other agent is not enough; you must have their permission to communicate with the seller directly. If you receive their consent, then you are able to do so.

10. Reduction in Lieu of Repairs?

QUESTION: There is a firm in town whose agents are asking for additional compensation prior to submitting an offer. They contact the listing agent, tell them they are preparing an offer, and ask for an increase in buyer’s agent compensation. If the listing agent says “no,” that the co-op compensation is in the MLS, they say they won’t bring the offer, or they disappear. This violates the Code of Ethics, right?
ANSWER: Yes. Agents are required to operate in the best interests of their clients under both the Code of Ethics and the Broker’s Act. Tennessee Code Annotated § 62-13-404(2) states that all agents owe a duty to their clients to be loyal to the interests of the client. A client must place the interests of the client before all others in negotiation of a transaction and in other activities, except where the loyalty duty would violate licensee’s duties to a customer under § 62-13-402 or a licensee’s duties to another client in a dual agency.
The Code of Ethics has a similar provision at Article 1:
When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, Realtors® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client. This obligation to the client is primary, but it does not relieve Realtors® of their obligation to treat all parties honestly. When serving a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other party in a non-agency capacity, Realtors® remain obligated to treat all parties honestly.
Therefore, if an agent has an agency relationship with a buyer, he must place the buyer’s needs and wishes above the amount of commission he will be paid. The only caveat is that the buyer may have advised their agent that they do not wish to submit an offer on a home where the cooperative compensation is not at a certain percentage. This could occur if the buyer is required to make up any deficit in the amount offered by a listing agent.

To check your CE hours: verify.tn.gov/default.aspx
For CE and other courses around TN: tarnet.com/education/
For online CE courses: tarnet.com/education/?target=online-CE-courses/
To ask a TAR Legal and Ethics Hot Line question: tarnet.com/technology-support/legal-ethics-hotline/
TREC: tn.gov/commerce/section/real-estate-commission
TAR website: tarnet.com
TAR on Twitter: twitter.com/tnaor
TAR on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/groups?gid=852077&trk=hb_side_g
TAR on Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Nashville-TN/Tennessee-Association-of-RealtorsR/15041383689

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