The TAR Digest: The Membership Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of Realtors
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The 12-16-14 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS
2. The Latest Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers
3. The Journal’s Housing Forecast for 2015
4. 3% Down Payments …A Game-Changer?
5. TECH NEWS: Instagram Overtakes Twitter!
6. HOT LINE: My Seller Contacted by the Buyer’s Agent!
7. HOT LINE: A Rebate to the Buyer?
8. HOT LINE: A Maximum Listing Period?
9. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.
10. No DIGEST for Two Weeks

“Don’t let the past steal your present. This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone.” — Taylor Caldwell

NOTE: If you’re reading this on a mobile device (iPhone, etc.), GO HERE for a mobile-friendly DIGEST.


1. Upcoming COURSES & EVENTS

To see upcoming offerings of TREC CORE COURSES, ABR COURSES, etc., – at locations around the state – go to the TAR Calendar at: http://www.tarnet.com/meetings-and-events/calendar-of-events/

The 2015 Schedule of GRI courses will be posted soon on the TAR website. Watch for it!


2. The Latest Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers

NAR released its 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers last month. As we noted in a DIGEST at that time, the 2014 Profile revealed that first-time home buyers this year claimed their smallest slice of the ownership market since 1987!

Other findings from the 2014 Profile:

43% of buyers said that they first learned about the home they purchased from the Internet (up from 36% five years ago);
– the biggest factors influencing neighborhood choice were quality of the neighborhood (69 percent), convenience to jobs (52 percent), overall affordability of homes (47 percent), and convenience to family and friends (43 percent);
– the typical seller this year was 54 years old (eight years older than the typical seller five years ago); and
60 percent of responding sellers found a real estate agent through a referral by a friend, neighbor or relative, or used their agent from a previous transaction.

To read more, go HERE.

AND …to see and use an interactive infographic highlighting some statistics from the 2014 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, go to: http://bit.ly/1ziAZlC


3. The Journal’s Housing Forecast for 2015

This past week, the Wall Street Journal posted their forecast for housing in the new year, and it’s mostly positive!

According to the Journal, many economists express cautious optimism about the 2015 housing market. Realtor.com’s chief economist Jonathan Smoke is among those who see the sector gaining significant upward momentum next year due to two factors: an uptick in home construction and a gradual increase in market participation by first-time buyers. More specifically, he predicts new-home sales will rise 25 percent in 2015, shy of the 28 percent gain forecast by the National Association of Home Builders and the ambitious 41 percent gain projected by the National Association of Realtors.

Smoke also sees more builders beginning to erect a greater number of more affordable residences after spending the last three or so years catering primarily to wealthier buyers. Nevertheless, he remains conservative in his projections because he believes builders are not currently in a position to handle significant demand in the near future.

To read a much more complete picture of the forecasts, including some not-so-optimistic predictions, go HERE.


4. 3% Down Payments …A Game-Changer?

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have both announced programs that let first-time home buyers qualify for loans with down payments as low as 3 percent. Homebuyers who have stayed out of the market in recent years because of higher down-payment requirements may now find it easier to jump in.

Fannie Mae executive Andrew Bon Salle remarked: “Our goal is to help additional qualified borrowers gain access to mortgages. This option alone will not solve all the challenges around access to credit. Our new 97 percent LTV offering is simply one way we are working to remove barriers for creditworthy borrowers to get a mortgage.”

NAR applauded this news!

To read more, go HERE.


5. TECH NEWS: Instagram Overtakes Twitter!

The New York Times reports a major shift in social media use that could be important for Realtors who want to reach more digital-savvy consumers!

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***
Instagram announced Wednesday that it now has 300 million monthly active users, up 50 percent in just nine months.

That makes the service, a photo- and video-sharing app owned by Facebook, more popular than Twitter, which had 284 million monthly active users as of the third quarter.

…Instagram’s rapid growth, while impressive, is hardly surprising. Visual posts, and especially video, have become the hottest growth area in social networking.
*** END QUOTE ***

The same article also notes that Instagram users interact with posts “at 18 times the rate they do with Facebook posts” according to one research study. That’s impressive!

To read more, go HERE.: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/12/10/its-official-instagram-is-bigger-than-twitter/


6. HOT LINE: My Seller Contacted by the Buyer’s Agent!

QUESTION: A buyer’s agent has sent me an offer. She upped the price the house to cover a buyer’s agency fee. My sellers made a counteroffer. The buyer’s agent contacted my sellers directly and tried to convince them to sign the offer. I spoke with this agent and they told me it was perfectly legal to contact my sellers because they had a buyer’s agency. Is this correct?

ANSWER: NO. If the agent is a Realtor, then that agent likely violated the Code of Ethics. Article 16 of the NAR Code of Ethics states “Realtors shall not engage in any practice or take any action inconsistent with exclusive representation agreements that other Realtors have with clients.” Furthermore, Standard of Practice 16-13 states, in a pertinent part, “All dealings concerning property exclusively listed, or with buyers/tenants who are subject to an exclusive agreement 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.”

[SOURCE: TAR's Legal & Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]


7. HOT LINE: A Rebate to the Buyer?

QUESTION: An out-of-state company wants to partner with our agents for referrals. The commission would be split 70/30, with 15% of the 30% going to the company being given to the buyer. Is this legal?

ANSWER: NO, this is not permitted under Tennessee law. 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).

Therefore, the 15% could NOT be remitted back to the buyer.

[SOURCE: TAR's Legal & Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]


8. HOT LINE: A Maximum Listing Period?

QUESTION: Is there a maximum listing period on a new home? Can I list from now until 12/31/15?

ANSWER: There is no “maximum limit” on a listing agreement. HOWEVER, the time frame cannot be unreasonable. Therefore, you should pattern your time frames with what is common in your area. We have seen listings for 3 months, six months, and a year. We would NOT recommend a listing for much more than a year as it would likely be deemed “unconscionable” and thus unenforceable by a court.

[SOURCE: TAR's Legal & Ethics Hot Line Attorneys]


9. Check Your Own CE Hours, Etc.

To check your CE credits on file with TREC, go to: http://verify.tn.gov

To go to the TAR website: http://www.tarnet.com

To access current and past TAR DIGESTS: http://www.tardigest.com

Follow TAR on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/tnaor

TAR’s LinkedIn page: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=852077&trk=hb_side_g

TAR’s page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nashville-TN/Tennessee-Association-of-RealtorsR/15041383689

To ask a TAR Legal and Ethics Hot Line question: http://www.tarnet.com/services-support/legal-ethics-hotline/

For CE classroom courses around the state, go to: http://www.tarnet.com/education/realtor-courses/

For online CE courses, go to: http://www.tarnet.com/education/online-courses/

Tennessee Real Estate Commission: http://tn.gov/regboards/trec/


10. No DIGEST for Two Weeks

The TAR DIGEST is taking its annual break for some very special holidays after this issue. The next DIGEST will be the January 6 Edition. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year’s from the TAR Leadership and Staff!!!


 

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