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The 8-9-11 Newsletter of the Tennessee Association of REALTORS
Editor: Pug Scoville


CONTENTS
1. Fallout from Credit Rating Downgrade?
2. REALTOR.COM Traffic Confirms Its Popularity
3. Time To Link Up With LinkedIn
4. HOT LINE: Excluding Another REALTOR?
5. HOT LINE: Termite Inspection Required By Law?
6. Upcoming GRI & Other Courses
7. Rates Drop to New Low for 2011
8. Useful Web Links

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

For other questions about this newsletter, please use the “CONTACT” form HERE.


1. Fallout from Credit Rating Downgrade?

Some analysts are concerned that the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating by Standard & Poor’s will result in a downgrade of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which in turn could boost taxpayer losses or inflate mortgage rates. Others do not expect much fallout, given that the balance sheet of the U.S. government continues to support agency debt and has not degraded in response to the downgrade. Even those concerned about mutual funds or foreign investors selling agency debt to comply with capital requirements believe it might not be an issue because there is little else in which to invest their money.

Time will tell… over the past weekend, some (but not all) news reports speculated that mortgage rates would ultimately start rising because of the downgrade.

[SOURCES: Wall Street Journal; Information, Inc.]


2. REALTOR.COM Traffic Confirms Its Popularity

If anybody doubts the amount of consumer traffic at REALTOR.COM, the June 2011 traffic reports should dispel those doubts:

  • 31% more minutes spent on REALTOR.com than the next closest competitor (Zillow).
  • The average visitor spends 18.6 minutes, and viewed 44 pages while searching properties on REALTOR.com.
  • More pages were viewed on REALTOR.com than the next 3 competitors combined (Trulia.com, Zillow, Homes.com).
  • REALTOR.com received 95% more visits than the next closest competitor (Zillow).
  • REALTOR.com has the most average daily visitors, 97% more daily visitors than the next closest competitor (Zillow).
  • 170% more pages were viewed on REALTOR.com than the next closest competitor (Trulia.com). REALTOR.com Mobile Traffic Notes:
  • REALTOR.com real estate search app for iPhone and iPad has been downloaded almost 5.2 million times and growing. An average of 10 listing detail pages are viewed per user per day.
  • Android app for REALTOR.com has had over 770,000 downloads and an average of 9 listing detail pages are viewed per user per day.

[SOURCE: NAR]


3. Time To Link Up With LinkedIn

Your editor attended a recent program on LinkedIn and came away convinced that TAR’s members need to link up! While many REALTORS have dived into Facebook, LinkedIn is used primarily for business contacts and offers some attractive features.

A recent article on RISMedia (“It’s Time to Link Up — with LinkedIn” by Jean Kelly) agrees.

Social media experts say real estate professionals should consider using LinkedIn, as most users are business-minded and the connections they make on the site likely will bolster their business. They should make LinkedIn a part of their personal and business branding efforts, alongside Facebook and Twitter.

A successful LinkedIn strategy involves regular use, with an update or a question/answer posted at least every week in order to boost your “Google Juice” or ranking and your network prominence. You should have a well-written, up-to-date, and accurate profile including your current jobs, talents, and education. Your status updates should feature valuable content, such as a best practice or an event announcement, and should avoid direct “self-promotion.” You also can view the profiles of prospects to learn their interests and use what you find to start conversations, online or when you meet.

To read more, CLICK HERE.

LinkedIn also has a nice online Learning Center you can use, accessed at: http://learn.linkedin.com/

[SOURCE: RISMedia]


4. HOT LINE: Excluding Another REALTOR?

QUESTION: I have a seller who wants to exclude an agent from showing, selling or assisting in the purchase of her property. How can I do this …or can this be done?

ANSWER: An agent has a duty to follow the lawful instructions of the agent’s clients. If the client (not the REALTOR) does not wish to allow another licensee to show, sell, or participate in the purchase of the seller’s property, then this is likely permitted as long as it is NOT based upon a discriminatory reason. However, you will need to get this instruction in writing from your seller!

Please be advised that NAR did come out with a new Standard of Practice earlier this year which may apply to this situation.  Standard of Practice 3-10 which was adopted in January of this year states:

“The duty to cooperate established in Article 3 relates to the obligation to share information on listed property, and to make property available to other brokers for showing to prospective purchasers/tenants when it is in the best interests of sellers/landlords.”

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


5. HOT LINE: Termite Inspection Required By Law?

QUESTION: Is it a law that the seller must provide the buyer with a termite inspection letter?

ANSWER: It is not a state law that the seller must provide a termite letter.  Many lenders, however, require one before they will approve a loan.

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


6. Upcoming GRI & Other Courses

Aug. 9: 2011-2012 Residential Core Course (6 hrs. CE) – GNAR Office, Nashville, TN. For more information or to register, call 615-254-7516.

Aug. 11: 2011-2012 Residential Core Course (6 hrs. CE) – SMTAR Office, Columbia, TN. For more information or to register, call 931-381-5556.

Aug. 22: TransactionDesk Basic (3 hrs. CE) – MAAR Office, Memphis. For more information or to register, call 901-818-2421.

Aug. 19: 2011-2012 Residential Core Course (6 hrs. CE) – RCAR Office, Cleveland. For more information or to register, call 423-476-5912.

Aug. 25 – Sept. 28: GRI 3, Financing the Successful Transaction (16 hrs. CE) – An E-Class distance-learning course. For more information or to register, CLICK HERE.

Aug. 25: 2011-2012 Residential Core Course (6 hrs. CE) – EMTAR Office, Mt. Juliet. For more information or to register, go to: http://www.emtar.com/2011educationSchedule.htm

The complete 2011 schedule of GRI courses (both Classroom and E-Class) is online HERE.

Watch each week’s TAR DIGEST for schedule changes and additions!


7. Rates Drop to New Low for 2011

Plummeting yields on Treasury notes sent long-term mortgage rates skidding to the lowest level in more than eight months, reports Freddie Mac. The firm puts 30-year fixed interest at an average of 4.39 percent for the week ended Aug. 4, a drop from 4.55 percent the prior week. The average rate on 15-year fixed mortgages, meanwhile, settled at a record low of 3.54 percent — down from 3.66 percent the week before.

However, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, the low rates do NOT seem to be attracting significant refinancing activity. Some borrowers will not qualify because they lack equity in their home; others have seen their income or credit scores decline; and many have already refinanced at rates near historic lows. Rates need to fall to about 4 percent to spark major refi activity, according to mortgage analysts.

[SOURCES: Freddie Mac; Wall Street Journal; Information, Inc.]


8. Useful Internet Links

Click on any of the following to access:

Back Issues of the TAR DIGEST
Tennessee Assn. of REALTORS
TAR Education
TAR on LinkedIn
TAR on Facebook
Follow TAR on Twitter
Online Risk Reduction Resources
Online Resources for Association Leaders
Tennessee Real Estate Commission



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