✔ Take 10 minutes to grow your success with our president’s podcast
✔ More timely tips on RESPA issues from our Legal & Ethics pros
✔ D.C.-bound in May? Sign up for Hill visits with Tennessee legislators
✔ Register for our upcoming TransactionDesk and RCS-D courses
Brian will provide this before Monday.
‘Retiring the Idea of Retirement’
New Website — tnrealtors.com
As part of our recent renaming and rebranding, today Tennessee REALTORS® has launched a new website at a new URL: www.tnrealtors.com
The same member services, features and resources you’ve always enjoyed remain available to you through this new site.
If you have feedback to share after exploring the site, please click “Contact Us” on the bottom of any page. Thank you.
Learn more about many of Apple’s best tools and tricks that you might not realize can boost your real estate business. Join Craig Grant of the Real Estate Technology Institute (RETI), a Tennessee REALTORS® partner, for a FREE webinar 3 p.m. EDT/2 p.m. CDT this Wed., April 19: “Top 10 Reasons Apple is Great for Real Estate”. Register HERE.
Invoice Pricing through Nissan / Infiniti Partnership
Tennessee REALTORS® has entered an agreement with Nissan Corp. to provide invoice or even below-invoice pricing on most new Nissan and Infiniti vehicles for members throughout Tennessee. To qualify, simply:
1. Visit www.InsideNissan.com (or your local Nissan dealer or Infiniti retailer*).
2. Click the “Business Associates” tile.
3. Enter your name and then VPP022208 in the VPP company code box.
4. Follow the instructions to get your claim certificate and savings on qualifying new vehicles.
*You must bring your NAR NRDS ID card as proof of eligibility. If you need to download and print your card, visit THIS LINK and follow the prompts.**
Get Schooled on TransactionDesk — Wed., May 10
Tennessee REALTORS® will host TransactionDesk courses May 10 led by Brent Maybank, 3 hours of CE per course. Click the titles below to register (login required).
Wed., May 10 — TransactionDesk BASIC, 9 a.m.- Noon
With TransactionDesk ‘in the cloud’ you can access and manage all your real estate forms, contracts, documents and contracts from any computer with internet access—and always have your “virtual” real estate office with you. Bring your laptop and/or smart device!
Wed., May 10 — TransactionDesk ADVANCED, 1-4 p.m.
You’ve worked with TransactionDesk…now it’s time to take it to a higher level and learn about the integrated cloud service (DocBox), E-signatures (AuthentiSign), and E-faxing (InstaFax). Combine these features with filling out forms and transactions, and you’ve got a complete transaction-management solution. Designed for moderate to advanced users. Bring your laptop and/or tablet!
For more upcoming classes, log in to the portal HERE and look around.
Help Clients through Divorce, Elder-Care Issues
Tennessee REALTORS® is hosting the stellar RCS-D designation course (Real Estate Collaboration Specialist–Divorce), Mon., May 15 and Tues., May 16. Making the investment in this 12-hour CE course—taught by Kelly Murray, J.D., a Vanderbilt law professor, REALTOR® and instructor—will equip you to work with divorce and elder-care clients, and their attorneys, throughout the property buying/selling process. It’s a perfect opportunity to help clients navigate these challenging seasons of life. Register HERE. (login required)
Sign Up for D.C. Hill Visits!
If you are heading to Washington, D.C., in mid-May for the NAR’s 2017 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo, be sure to sign up for our visits with members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation. You can choose to meet with your local U.S. representative, our U.S. senators, or a combination. Fill out the form HERE to register.
GIVE IT A RESPA
[In the last issue, we addressed several RESPA exceptions. This week’s Q&As cover three more RESPA-related topics…]
Under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), No person shall give and no person shall accept any fee, kickback, or thing of value pursuant to any agreement or understanding, oral or otherwise, that business incident to or a part of a real estate settlement service involving a federally related mortgage loan shall be referred to any person. 12 USC 2607(a)
A real estate settlement service is defined as: any service provided in connection with a real estate settlement including, but not limited to, the following: title searches, title examinations, the provision of title certificates, title insurance, services rendered by an attorney, the preparation of documents, property surveys, the rendering of credit reports or appraisals, pest and fungus inspections, services rendered by a real estate agent or broker, the origination of a federally related mortgage loan (including, but not limited to, the taking of loan applications, loan processing, and the underwriting and funding of loans), and the handling of the processing, and closing or settlement. 12 U.S.C. 2602(3)
Advertising on Company’s Website?
Q: We have a website where preferred vendors advertise their services. We want to be sure that we are not violating any RESPA laws. Is there a way we need to go about charging these vendors for their advertising?
A: This could be viewed as a RESPA violation unless the other company contributed a pro rata share of the advertising cost. It is strongly recommended that you run any such advertising by your own attorney to ensure that you are not in violation of RESPA, as the fines can be very high.
As to whether you could sell advertising on an exclusive basis per industry specialist: It is wise to be hesitant to do this. It could appear that you are endorsing and potentially guaranteeing the work of that particular vendor. This is why the hotline encourages agents to recommend at least three vendors for any particular job, and then have the client or customer determine which one they will use. If you choose to go forward with this advertising, the hotline strongly encourages you to have an attorney draft a very clear disclaimer to include on your website.
Finally, if you are to receive a referral fee from these companies, this will have to be fully disclosed in writing to any prospective client/customer.
Title Company Preference / Incentive?
Q: I am purchasing a home from a builder who is requiring me to close with his closing company and have them issue title, since he is taking $2,500 off the price of the house. I am paying title and getting a conventional loan. I told them I want to close with a different company and have them issue title. They said if I do, they will take away the $2,500 incentive. Is that allowed?
A: Under RESPA, builders (or sellers) can offer incentives to use their title company. If the buyer elects not to use the title company, then the buyer would not receive the incentive. What the builder cannot do is refuse to sell the property to a buyer who purchases their own title and does not use the seller’s title company.
Pre-Qualification by a Certain Lender?
Q: I have an agent who has asked me about Cross Qualification of buyers. For example: an agent/seller receives an offer and pre-approval letter from an unfamiliar lender, contingency is placed that the buyer must be pre-approved by listing agent / seller approved lender, buyer can choose who handles the loan as long as seller’s approved lender approves them. Is there any problem with this situation?
A: A seller may require that a buyer obtain a pre-approval letter from a particular lender PRIOR to entering into a contract with them, even if they have been pre-approved by someone else. However, they may not require that buyer to use that particular lender for the mortgage under RESPA.
This must be a request/requirement of the seller, not the agent. The issue becomes in proving who is requiring this. An agent is supposed to advise their clients. There is nothing wrong with an agent advising a client that pre-approval from a local company and/or a large financial entity is safer than a lesser-known lender. However, the decision is ultimately the seller’s. That said, if the agent is working on behalf of the lenders, this could present issues. It would have to be disclosed, and even then, it could be a RESPA violation.