10-17-16 Vol.: 2016 Iss.: 38 • Randy Durham, 2016 President • Phil Newman, TAR Digest Editor

✔  Ready for the 12/31 Code of Ethics deadline?
✔  Is your phone hack-proof or hacker-friendly?
✔  Legal focus: what’s required/permitted on business cards?

✔  Could a new front door boost your listing’s curb appeal?


In the News
1. NAR Election Coverage, Hashtags
2. CyberSavvy: Hack-Proof Phones
3. CFPB Court Ruling Favors Real Estate
4. Time to Replace Front Door?
Member Services
5. RETI Webinar: Facebook Advertising
Professional Development
6. Code of Ethics: 12/31 Deadline (!)
7. RLI Webinar: Conservation Reserves
Legal & Ethics Hot Line
Business Cards: What is Required?
8. Firm’s Phone Number on Card?
9. Equal Housing, MLS Logos?
10. List Your Degrees on Card?
Key Links & Resources

1. NAR Election Coverage, Hashtags
With Election Day three weeks away (Nov. 8), NAR’s REALTOR® Party Campaign Coverage 2016 will highlight REALTOR® Champions and issues important to us, while informing members about the results of the significant work and resources of NAR. Highlights will include:

  • On Election Day, NAR staff will track the results of national, state and local elections (candidates and issues) and, using various NAR social media outlets, update REALTORS® on election activity.
  • On Wednesday, Nov. 9, NAR will host a REALTOR® Party Post-Election webcast at 3 p.m. EST, featuring Chief Lobbyist Jerry Giovaniello discussing the new federal government environment and political consultant Doug Sosnik discussing the results and how the national, state and local political environment will change based on a new President, Congress and state/local office holders. Viewers may submit questions live to Jerry and Doug. The webinar will be recorded and made available.

If you plan to post election-related items, be sure to tag the REALTOR® Party in your Facebook (REALTOR Action Center) and Twitter (@REALTORAction) posts so NAR can share/retweet your content. Join the conversation by using the hashtags #RPVotes and #REALTORParty.

2. CyberSavvy: Hack-Proof Phones
During a CE session at last week’s THDA Governor’s Housing Conference in Nashville, title attorney Laura Perry and mortgage banker Gregg Murphy offered tips to help REALTORS® and lenders outsmart hackers and maintain secure information in cyberspace. “Stay aware, keep up, be interconnected, get off the grid and pick up the phone,” Perry said. Murphy added, “Awareness and education are the only ways to win in cyber security.” We’ll share some of their insights in upcoming Digests. This week:

Protect Your Mobile Device

  1. Do NOT jailbreak the phone (or let your teens jailbreak it)
  2. Do NOT allow children to download free games
  3. Disable Wi-Fi detection
  4. Keep apps updated with the latest versions
  5. Use a passcode/PIN on your home screen
    1. 4-digit PIN can be hacked in 17 hours
    2. 6-digit PIN is 10 times more difficult to hack!
    3. Biologic Passcodes are a good option (i.e. fingerprint)
3. CFPB Court Ruling Favors Real Estate
THIS Realtor® magazine article is of interest to those who enter marketing-service agreements (MSAs) with settlement-service providers: “The real estate industry won a major referral-law victory in court [last week] when a federal appeals court shot down a controversial Sec. 8 anti-kickback enforcement action taken by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last year. In a decision that aligns with arguments by NAR and other industry groups, the court said the CFPB incorrectly levied a $109 million fine on a mortgage company, PHH Corp., for entering into an arrangement with mortgage insurers to refer customers to them if they bought reinsurance from PHH-affiliated reinsurers.” Read the full story and NAR President Tom Salomone’s statement HERE.
4. Time to Replace Front Door?
Of interest to Tennessee sellers: “Upgrade your home’s curb appeal, save energy and score a tax rebate with a new front door,” advises THIS real estate post in U.S. News & World Report.

The article explains why a new door is a wise idea to consider and shares tips on the best door materials and where/how to buy one.

5. Free RETI Webinar: Facebook Advertising
Facebook has created a powerful social-media platform that’s also an amazing advertising system. For help leveraging Facebook ads for your business, Juanita McDowell and Craig Grant of the Real Estate Technology Institute (RETI), a TAR partner, will offer a FREE webinar at 3 p.m. EDT/2 p.m. CDT this Wednesday, Oct. 19: “Facebook Advertising for Real Estate”. Register HERE.

6. Code of Ethics: 12/31 Deadline (!)
REALTORS® are required to complete at least 2 hours, 30 minutes of NAR-approved Code of Ethics instructional time within four-year cycles. The current four-year cycle will end Dec. 31, 2016. That’s only 74 days away. If you still need to fulfill your requirement, explore course options via TAR at THIS LINK. Just like your Christmas and holiday shopping…don’t put it off to the last minute!

7. RLI Webinar: Conservation Reserves
The REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI), which administers the Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) designation, offers a number of educational webinars for members and non-members. Its next webinar, Conservation Reserve Programs: What You Need to Know, is set for Wed., Oct. 26 at Noon Central. To learn more, visit HERE.

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

Business Cards: What’s Required?
TREC Rule 1260-2-.12, the Advertising Rule, states that advertising “does not include promotional materials that advertise a licensee such as hats, pens, notepads, t-shirts, nametags, business cards, and the sponsorship of charitable and community events.” The hotline receives multiple questions on what is and what isn’t required on business cards. Below are some examples to help guide you in the process of designing your business card.

8. Firm’s Phone Number on Card?

QUESTION: What are the latest rules regarding business cards and the firm phone number being on them?
ANSWER: The Advertising Rule, which governs the size of lettering in advertising, does not apply to business cards, so firm phone numbers are not required. Business cards are considered promotional materials, not advertisement. However, pursuant to TREC rule 1260-02.12(4)(c), any licensee using a franchise trade name on business cards shall clearly and unmistakably indicate thereon:  the agent’s name, firm name, and firm telephone number as well as the fact that his office is independently owned and operated. Further, the principal broker is free to make his or her own rules concerning the content on business cards for the office.

9. Equal Housing, MLS Logos?

QUESTION: Is it required to have the Equal Housing logo and the MLS logo on my business cards?
ANSWER: The Equal Housing logo is not required for advertising or business cards unless the real estate professional is doing business with HUD. For the general NAR member, there is no such requirement. It is always a good idea and a good way to address possible perceptions of violations of the law, but there is no requirement under the federal law or regulations.

Similarly, the MLS logo is not required in advertising, but may be good information that a REALTOR® is with a firm whose broker is a participant in the MLS. There are links to the official REALTOR® MLS logo on Realtor.org and the page for the HUD logo.

10. List Your Degrees on Card?

QUESTION: Can I list my real estate degrees on my business cards?
ANSWER: There is no prohibition against including the degrees that you have achieved on your business card. This would be similar to placing your designations and certifications on the card as well.

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

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