The TAR Digest: The Membership Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of Realtors
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Posted by Pug

The 5-1-12 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


THIS WEEK & NEXT AT TAR
May 4: Residential Forms Subcommittee Mtg. on VA Loans
May 10 – June 13: GRI 413, Sticky Situations (16 hrs. CE) – An E-Class Course & GRI Elective
May 11: Residential Forms Committee Mtg.
Coming Next Week – A Redesigned TAR Web Site!
For more courses & events: http://www.tarnet.com/calendar/index.php

HOT LINES IN THIS ISSUE:
1. HOT LINE: Business Versus Calendar Days on Contracts?
2. HOT LINE: Can Records Be Kept in Digital Form Only?
3. HOT LINE: Additional Commission to Buyer’s Agent?

IN OTHER NEWS:
4. Pending Home Sales Hit 2-Year High
5. Homeownership Is at Record Low
6. REMEMBER Your Ethics Education Requirement!
7. New iPhone, iPad, and Android Apps
8. 20% Discount Offered for Online CE Courses!
9. Current Mortgage Rates
10. To Ask a Hot Line Question…

NOTE: If you are reading a hard-copy of this DIGEST, and want to access some of the links cited, simply go to http://www.tardigest.com to access the current issue with “live” links!


1. HOT LINE: Business Versus Calendar Days on Contracts?

QUESTION: Several years ago you had printed a guideline on business versus calendar days on the TAR contracts in relation to which applies on inspections, pre-qual letters, contract acceptance times, etc.  Where can I find an up to date interpretation of those guidelines and how they apply?

ANSWER: We can only provide you with the Forms Committee’s intent concerning an UNexecuted contract.

If you are utilizing a TAR Purchase and Sale Agreement, the forms provide a definition of days. The contract provides definitions for the calculation of time. In Section 14, E, it states that all days will be calendar days. However, if the deadline is on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, it will roll over to the next business day. If the last day is a weekend, it would roll to the next business day (not necessarily Monday if Monday is a legal holiday).  There are several exceptions to the “roll over”. If the deadline is a closing date, date of possession, or offer expiration date, it will NOT roll over to the next business day. Therefore, the closing date is written in stone. If you have it on a legal holiday, that is the closing date.

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


2. HOT LINE: Can Records Be Kept in Digital Form Only?

QUESTION: May brokerage and transaction records be retained exclusively in digital form or must we maintain paper copies for the required number of years?

ANSWER: These records CAN be stored electronically, but you must be able to access them whenever the auditor comes to the office. It would likely fall upon the principal broker to keep these records.

The firm must have a copy of all records for a minimum of three years.  As stated in a prior DIGEST, based upon issues that have arisen in the errors and omissions cases our firm has handled over the years, we strongly recommend that licensees keep each and every document that comes into their hands while representing a client or customer, regardless of whether they are working as sellers’ agents, buyers’ agents, or facilitators. We cannot stress how important it is to keep documents that evidence contact with clients, customers, cooperating agents, and/or inspectors. Such documents include email and facsimile confirmations.

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


3. HOT LINE: Additional Commission to Buyer’s Agent?

QUESTION: I showed a property that was not in our MLS system. I found out afterwards that the listing agent is a flat fee agent. Is it legal to ask a seller to pay an additional commission to a buyer’s agent?

ANSWER: Cooperative commissions should be established PRIOR to an offer being submitted. The NAR Code of Ethics has three (3) different Standards of Practice that address this situation:

Standard of Practice 3-1
Realtors, acting as exclusive agents or brokers of sellers/landlords, establish the terms and conditions of offers to cooperate. Unless expressly indicated in offers to cooperate, cooperating brokers may not assume that the offer of cooperating includes an offer of compensation. Terms of compensation, if any, shall be ascertained by cooperating brokers before beginning efforts to accept the offer of cooperation.

Standard of Practice 3-2
To be effective, any change in compensation offered for cooperative services must be communicated to the other Realtor prior to the time that Realtor submits an offer to purchase/lease the property.

Standard of Practice 3-3
Standard of Practice 3-2 does not preclude the listing broker and cooperating broker from entering into an agreement to change cooperative compensation.

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


4. Pending Home Sales Hit 2-Year High

Pending home sales increased in March and are well above a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors.

NAR’s pending home sales index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 4.1% to 101.4 in March from an upwardly revised 97.4 in February. It is 12.8% above March 2011 when it was 89.9. The data reflects contracts but not closings.

The index is now at the highest level since April 2010 when it reached 111.3.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said 2012 is expected to be a year of recovery for housing. “First-quarter sales closings were the highest first-quarter sales in five years. The latest contract signing activity suggests the second quarter will be equally good,” he said. To read more, CLICK HERE.

[SOURCES: NAR; Housing Wire]


5. Homeownership Is at Record Low

The 62% of Americans who say they own their own home marks a new low since Gallup began tracking self-reported homeownership in 2001.

It’s down from 68% in 2011.

But those surveyed also said they thought it was a good time to buy and that they thought prices would rise this year. To read more, CLICK HERE.

[SOURCES: Gallup; Housing Wire]


6. REMEMBER Your Ethics Education Requirement!

Once every four years, every REALTOR is the United States must complete an ethics education course (3 hours) in order to remain a Realtor!

The current four-year cycle for everyone ends THIS YEAR, on December 31, 2012!

This is a NATIONAL requirement and has nothing to do with CE or with licensing! It has EVERYTHING to do with your eligibility for continued membership in your local, state and national associations of Realtors! [You may choose to satisfy this requirement witha Course that also gives you CE credit; but that's not required.]

There is NO GRANDFATHERING of this requirement. Again, this has nothing to do with state CE laws. Every Realtor in the U.S. – managing broker, broker, or affiliate broker – is subject to this requirement!

Finally, remember that your local association of Realtors is the one to certify whether you have met this requirement …and your local association is the only one that can tell you whether or not they will accept a given ethics course as meeting this requirement.

Don’t let this Dec. 31 deadline sneak up on you!


7. New iPhone, iPad, and Android Apps

If you would like to browse through – and even try out – a few new apps for your smart phone or iPad, a recent blog post does a nice job of covering the new apps released in April!

Check out “New iPhone, iPad and Android Apps for April 2012″ posted by Dan Rowinski on the ReadWriteWeb blog by CLICKING HERE.

The group messaging app alone, called GiddyUp, is well worth a look!

[SOURCE: ReadWriteWeb.com]


8. 20% Discount Offered for Online CE Courses!

A special discount — available ONLY during the month of May — is offered for any CE courses purchased through The CE Shop, an online education partner of the Tennessee Association of Realtors and TREEF.

To use this discount, simply go to http://tarnet.theceshop.com/ and enter the code 20MAY at checkout! This promotion ends 5/31/2012.

A good selection of online CE courses is available with this discount, so take advantage of this offer TODAY!


9. Current Mortgage Rates

To see current mortgage rates, go to: http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/mortgage_rates/


10. To Ask a Hot Line Question…

To ask a TAR Legal and Ethics Hot Line question, CLICK HERE.



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