✔ Support wildfire relief through Ethics course—or donate directly
Save 40% from the CE Shop TODAY only (12/12)
Refresh your knowledge of gift-giving and donation rules
 Brokers: get this must-have legal resource
In the News
1. Give to Wildfire Relief via Ethics Course
2. Field Guide for New REALTORS®
3. Meet Your 2017 Executive Committee
Professional Development
4. Save 40% on CE—TODAY only 12/12
Member Services
5. NEW TransactionDesk On the Way
6. Legal Must-Have for Brokers
7. RETI Webinar: Save Time, Do More
Legal & Ethics Hot Line
In the Spirit of Giving
8. Charitable Donations?
9. Free Home Warranty?
10. Reduce Your Commission?

Key Links & Resources

1. Give to Wildfire Relief via Ethics Course
The Great Smoky Mountains Women’s Council of REALTORS® has scheduled an NAR Ethics Course on Thursday, Dec. 15, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 4 hours CE, $40, with all proceeds benefiting REALTORS® affected by the recent wildfires. Instructor Robert Morris is donating his fee and expenses. If you need NAR Ethics before Dec. 31, this course is for you! Donations are also welcome. Go HERE, click the “TICKETS” box, and see the options to register for the class or donate online.

2. Field Guide for New REALTORS®
If you are one of the many new licencees who have entered the real estate industry recently—or if you know a newbie—you might benefit from this Field Guide from NAR, which features a menu of “tips, ideas, and advice. Learn what other rookies have done to jump-start their careers, find first clients, overcome objections, and develop negotiation strategies.” For a related resource, check out “The Rookie Took Kit” from Realtor® mag.

Meet Your 2017
Executive Committee

Our 10-member Executive Committee gathered last week to plan for the coming year. The group consists of our President, President-Elect, Secretary-Treasurer, Immediate Past President, and six Division Vice Presidents: two each from the state’s Western (1), Middle (2) and Eastern (3) grand divisions.

We are thankful for these outstanding leaders and excited about all that is in store for 2017!

4. Save 40% on CE—TODAY only 12/12
Our friends at the CE Shop are offering another big sale: 40% off of real estate education Monday, Dec. 12 only. TODAY! Visit HERE and enter GM40 at checkout.

5. NEW TransactionDesk On the Way
Now through FEB. 27, 2017 — Users see a splash screen with information on the new system, links to webinars, etc. Users are automatically logged into the new system but can switch back to the old. **Use this time to 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!

6. Legal Must-Have for Brokers
Brokers, get the updated Real Estate Brokerage Essentials®Navigating Legal Risks and Managing a Successful Brokerage from the REALTOR® Store. Created by NAR’s Legal team, this is the most comprehensive business tool for brokers to run your office efficiently and minimize risks for legal liability. Go HERE for the scoop and to order.

7. Free RETI Webinar: Save Time, Do More
There are SO many apps, so how do you know which ones are the best for time management, productivity, and more? 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. 14: “Best Time Mgmt. & Productivity Apps”, led by Amy Smythe-Harris. Register HERE.

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

In the Spirit of Giving
REALTORS® are often interested in providing gifts to clients. When doing so, licensees must follow the gifts and prizes rule. This falls under TREC Rule 1260-2-.33:
(1) A licensee may offer a gift, prize, or other valuable consideration as an inducement to the purchase, listing, or lease of real estate only if the offer is made:
(a) Under the sponsorship and with the approval of the firm with whom the licensee is affiliated; and
(b) In writing, signed by the licensee, with disclosure of all pertinent details, including but not limited to:
1. accurate specifications of the gift, prize, or other valuable consideration offered;
2. fair market value;
3. the time and place of delivery; and
4. any requirements which must be satisfied by the prospective purchaser or lessor.
This week’s Q&As provide guidelines for appropriate gift giving.

8. Charitable Donations?
QUESTION: I want to offer a donation to a charity of the seller’s choice for any new listings. Is this allowed, since the donation will be going directly from the company to the charity?
ANSWER: A licensee is permitted to give someone a gift in order to induce them to do business with the agent. However, it must be an incentive for that person to do business with you, not their friend or family member.
Also, please be aware that under state law, these gifts may not take the form of cash or be converted into cash in any way. The statute states: “A real estate licensee shall not give or pay cash rebates, cash gifts or cash prizes in conjunction with any real estate transaction. As part of the Tennessee Real Estate Commission’s general rulemaking authority the commission may regulate the practices of real estate licensees in regard to gifts, prizes or rebates that are not otherwise prohibited by law.” Tenn. Code Ann. § 62-13-302(b).
There are some concerns about donations to charity. If the donation is cash, TREC could interpret this as violating the statute. However, you could provide a gift card to the charity in that amount or purchase items from the charity’s wish list in that amount.
In addition, you should be aware of the section of the Advertising rule that includes advertising offers or gifts; see TREC rule 1260-1-.12(5).

9. Free Home Warranty?
QUESTION: Can I offer a free home warranty to all new listing clients?
ANSWER: We are not aware of any rules prohibiting this. However, you will need to follow the Gifts and Prizes rule and the Advertising rule regarding gifts and offers. In this situation, it is advisable NOT to disclose a particular home warranty company. Also, it is wise to allow the client/customer to select from a list of home warranty companies. Finally, you should not receive any sort of compensation from the home warranty company for purchasing the home warranty in conjunction with this offer. That could lead to RESPA problems as well as issues with the Broker’s Act due to possible undisclosed kickbacks.

10. Reduce Your Commission?

QUESTION: I am working with a client who wants me to reduce my commission by a percentage and have that percentage applied to their closing costs. Is this legal?
ANSWER: You could offer to discount the commission. This is relatively easy if the gift is to the seller. However, it gets more complicated if the gift is to the buyer. This would require that the discount be approved by both the seller and the seller’s agent, since the commission is paid by the listing agent to the buyer’s agent. Also, this would require a change in the listing agreement, the compensation agreement and the purchase and sale agreement. The sales price would be reduced by the amount of the gift. The compensation under the listing agreement would also be reduced by that amount. The listing agent would receive their full commission and you would receive the reduced commission.

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
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