12-5-16 Vol.: 2016 Iss.: 45 • Brian Copeland, 2017 President • Phil Newman, TAR Digest Editor

TAKEAWAYS:
– How to help in Smoky Mountains relief efforts
Three tips for boosting your brand on social media
Are you ready for the big TransactionDesk switch?
Avoiding discrimination: timely legal & ethics guidance
 
CONTENTS
In the News
1. Disaster Relief Resources
2. Selling Walkability
3. Time for Your A.I. Assistant?
4. Boost Your Brand on Social Media
5. Realtor® Magazine Wants YOU
Member Services
6. Are You Transaction-Ready?
7. RETI Webinar: Reach Your Consumers
Legal & Ethics Hot Line
Avoiding Discrimination
8. Who Can & Can’t See a Listing?
9. Different Price for Religious Use?
10. ‘Perfect for Roommates’?

Key Links & Resources

1. Disaster Relief Resources
As our hearts remain with all affected by last week’s wildfires in the Great Smoky Mountains, we’ve added a Disaster Relief Resources page to our website with information on how to assist. Click HERE

2. Selling Walkability
The demand for walkable communities is rising in urban and suburban settings, while housing costs and rents in walk-friendly neighborhoods keep climbing with market demand, according to the Winter 2017 edition of NAR’s REALTORS® & Smart Growth On Common Ground. The issue covers: what makes a community walkable, how zoning is evolving, suburban trends, the rise of linear urban parks, the link between walking and health, and how city planners and REALTORS® are teaming up to foster walkability in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Read it HERE. (Note: Tennessee was featured in a walkability article in the Winter 2016 edition at THIS LINK.)

3. Time for Your A.I. Assistant?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is exploding—but is it ready to be your go-to assistant? Here’s a review of one service, x.ai, from Beth Z, (who will speak at our Spring Conference, March 27-28). x.ai features a virtual assistant named “Amy Ingram” who can help you schedule appointments, send follow-ups, etc. Beth’s upshot: The service has pluses, but “would I subscribe? Nope. I think the personal touch is critical. But if I was scheduling lots of meetings…I think the service could save time, money and effort in the long run.” Read Beth’s blog  HERE. Learn about x.ai HERE.

4. Boost Your Brand on Social Media
The social media session “I Don’t Give a Twit” at the 2016 NAR Conference in Orlando included three best practices from Trista Curzydlo, principal member of C4 Consulting:

  • EYES EVERYWHERE: Don’t assume making a post viewable to only a certain set of people means others won’t also see it.
  • GOOGLE YOURSELF: Establish a Google Alert for your name, listings and business to be aware of online comments made about you, + or -, that could affect your brand.
  • NO EVIL FOR EVIL: When you see a negative online review or social media post, always try to counter with a positive response and avoid bringing more negative attention to the issue. 

Get more tips by reading the article HERE.

5. Realtor® Magazine Wants YOU
…to help, or refer a friend, on an upcoming article.The magazine would like to interview “agents and small brokers who were tempted to leave the real estate business during the last housing crash but somehow weathered the storm (without turning to side gigs). We’re hoping to share inspiring stories with our readers about how these professionals made it through some of their darkest days.” If this is you, or someone you know, email Graham Wood, Senior Editor, at .
 

6. Are You Transaction-Ready?
The switch to the NEW TransactionDesk is fast approaching!

NOV. 23, 2016 – FEB. 27, 2017:  Phase 2 Users will see a splash screen with information on the new system, links to webinars, etc. Users will be automatically logged into the new system but can switch back to the old system.**Use these three monthsto learn the NEW TransactionDesk.**

FEBRUARY 28, 2017Phase 3 — Only the new system will be available; the old system will be turned off!

NOTE: All data has been replicated in the new system, so there are no lost data, documents or forms. There’s nothing you need to do—except start using the new system.

7. Free RETI Webinar: Reach Your Consumers
Today’s consumer is different than the customer of the past. To explore how they’ve changed, why they’ve changed, and what you can do to engage them most effectively, tune into a FREE webinar from the Real Estate Technology Institute (RETI), a TAR partner, at 3 p.m. EDT/2 p.m. CDT Wed., Dec. 7: “Working with the New Connected Consumer”, led by Craig Grant. Register HERE.

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

Avoiding Discrimination
Fair-housing laws prevent discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, and national origin. This means that sellers, landlords, agents, etc., cannot discriminate based on these classes. The REALTOR® Code of Ethics takes it one step farther. Article 10 states:
 
Realtors® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation. Realtors® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. … Realtors®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
 
This week’s Q&As provide guidance for avoiding discriminatory practices.

8. Preventing Persons from Viewing a Listing?
 
QUESTION: I have a seller who has requested that a certain person not be allowed to view their house, and I want to make sure we are not breaking any legal or ethical issues.
 
ANSWER: You are required to follow all legal instructions of your client pursuant to the Broker’s Act. Under certain circumstances, a seller can restrict access to the home. Sellers can limit those who can view their home, as long as it is not for discriminatory purposes.
 
If the seller has a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for not allowing certain persons to see their home, they can state as such in their listing agreement. For example, if there is bad blood between the seller and another individual (as long as it is not based on any of the protected classes noted above), the seller can restrict that person from viewing their property. For your protection, you would be wise to have the seller list the restricted parties by name as well as the reason why they cannot view the home.

9. Different Price for Religious Purposes?
 
QUESTION: I have a property listing from a church. They want to charge a certain dollar amount if the property is used as a church, and a different and higher amount if it is used as general commercial. Is this legal?
 
ANSWER: This may be a violation of the Tennessee Human Rights Act. Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-21-601:
 
(a) It is a discriminatory practice for any person because of race, color, creed, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin, to:
(2) Discrimination against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of real property or a housing accommodation, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith;
(5) Make, print, publish, circulate, post or mail or cause to be made, printed, published, circulated, posted or mailed a notice, statement, advertisement or sign, or use a form of application for the purchase, rental or lease of real property or a housing accommodation, or make a record of inquiry in connection with the prospective purchase, rental or lease of real property or a housing accommodation, that indicates, directly or indirectly, a limitation, specification or nondiscrimination as to race, color, creed, religion, sex disability, familial status or national origin or an intent to make such a limitation, specification or discrimination.
 
However, there is an exception concerning churches, depending on the use of the property. Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-21-602(a) states:
 
Nothing in § 4-21-601 shall apply to:
 
3.         A religious organization, association, or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association, or society, that limits the sale, rental or occupancy of dwellings that it owns or operates for other than a commercial purpose to persons of the same religion, or that gives preference to such persons, unless membership in such religion is restricted on account of race, color, or national origin.
 

This is a high threshold. The church would be advised to speak with their own legal counsel concerning whether this is permitted or not.

10. Advertising Home as Perfect for Roommates?
 
QUESTION: I have a listing whose seller would like to advertise that it has three (3) wonderful master suites, and that it would be perfect for roommates since there are a lot of colleges in this area. Would it be unethical or illegal to mention this in my advertising?
 
ANSWER: It is not advisable to include language indicating that the listing would be perfect for roommates. This could be seen as discriminatory based upon familial status, since it could imply a preference for single people. Rather, the advertising could describe the number and sizes of room/suite areas that the property includes.

KEY LINKS & RESOURCES
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 LinkedInlinkedin.com/groups?gid=852077&trk=hb_side_g
TAR on Facebookfacebook.com/pages/Nashville-TN/Tennessee-Association-of-RealtorsR/15041383689

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