8-1-16 — Vol.: 2016 Iss.: 28 • Randy Durham, 2016 President • Phil Newman, TAR Digest Editor

TAR TAKEAWAYS
✔ Are your social-media posts in sync with TREC’s Advertising Rule?
✔ Life Line Screening saved a TAR member’s life—and could save yours
✔ Why Boomers still matter to the future of U.S. housing
✔ What to say—and NOT to say—to your clients

CONTENTS
Vote. Act. Invest.
1.Get Out and Vote! (Thursday)
In the News
2. Here Comes the Boom, Baby
3. Second-Home Buying Insights
4. MTSU’s Tennessee Housing Snapshots
Member Services
5. Life Line Screening Saves a TAR Member’s Life (!)
6. Free RETI Webinar: Stop Calling Me!

Professional Development

7. Did I Say That Out Loud?
Legal & Ethics Hot Line
Social Media and the Advertising Rule
8. Facebook Pages?
9. YouTube Videos?
10. Instagram Posts?
Key Links & Resources
**Register for Fall Convention!**

 

1. Get Out and Vote!
Election Day is Thursday, Aug. 4, so if you didn’t cast a ballot during early voting, be sure to get to your local polling place. Voting is the cornerstone of a democracy but sadly, far too few people do so. As a REALTOR®, you owe it to your industry to take part and elect candidates you believe will make a difference. With a government elected by its citizens—affecting every aspect of society from schools to health care to a community’s quality of life—voting is an important right and responsibility. By voting, you make your voice heard and express your opinion on how you think the government should operate. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and a lot of candidates and community leaders are counting on REALTORS® getting out to vote. Find your polling location HERE. Download the GoVoteTN app to view your ballot.

2. Here Comes the Boom, Baby

With ample attention focused on Millennials as the next wave of homebuyers, it’s easy to overlook the more seasoned Baby Boom generation. Yet a recent Freddie Mac Insight report noted that Americans born between 1946 and 1964 “refuse to grow older, not retiring but launching instead second and third careers, shunning senior-centered communities in favor of aging in place or moving into center cities.” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti observed, “you have to be a lot older these days to be a senior citizen,” adding that ages 55+ make up one-fourth of the population but control two-thirds of single-family home equity. “Today’s 65-year old can expect to live to 84, and in those remaining years some may buy and sell several more homes.” Read the entire blog HERE.
3. Second-Home Buying Insights
In this Wall Street Journal video, New York brokers Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon offer tips for purchasing a summer or vacation home. While their specific focus is on the Northeast, the principles shared hold universal appeal. Key points include:

— Know what you really want and don’t shop “hungry”— Rent first for a season or two; test out the community
— Look for off-season deals
— Factor in maintenance and other costs
— Consider options just off the beaten path

Watch the brief interview HERE.

4. MTSU’s Tennessee Housing Snapshots
Among the helpful resources available via our friends at the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA)—a state agency focused on fostering “safe, sound, affordable housing opportunities”—is a quarterly report from Middle Tennessee State University’s Business and Economic Research Center. MTSU’s Tennessee Housing Market offers an overview of the state’s economy as it relates to housing, with data on employment, construction, real estate transactions and mortgages, home sales and prices, delinquencies, and foreclosures.

Visit HERE for the menu of MTSU reports and HERE for more about THDA.

5. Life Line Screening Saves a TAR Member’s Life
Last week we received an inspiring letter from a member (who wished to remain anonymous) expressing her gratitude for Life Line Screening, a TAR partner and Member Valued Perk (MVP). “I am deeply grateful to call you all my friends, and I want to credit TAR with saving my life last week,” the letter began. Thanks to the power of prevention, the screeners recognized a serious medical condition that sent her to her doctor and then immediately to the hospital for urgent treatment. Read the entire powerful message HERE. Learn more about Life Line Screening HERE. It might just save your life or the life of a loved one.

6. Free RETI Webinar: Stop Calling Me!
The Real Estate Technology Institute (RETI), a TAR partner, offers a FREE webinar at 3 p.m. EDT/2 p.m. CDT this Wednesday, Aug. 3.

“Stop Calling Me! Generational Marketing for Real Estate,” led by Warren Dow, will show you how to communicate and market differently to a range of ages and generations who don’t speak, listen, learn or respond the same way. Register HERE.

7. Did I Say That Out Loud?
The July/August 2016 issue of REALTOR® magazine includes a section titled “Set Your Career in Motion,” which is crammed with practical tips for succeeding in your business. One eye-catching item, “Say This, Not That,” gives a few street-level examples for handling difficult encounters with clients. Such as: 

To a know-it-all client, say: “I can relate to your frustration regarding the deadlines in the purchase contract, but truly, they are there to protect both parties.” Don’t say: “You don’t know what you are talking about.”
 
Read the article and many other insights in the magazine HERE.

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

Advertising in the Modern World
Advertising for REALTORS® has taken on a whole new meaning in recent years with the growth of social media. The hotline receives many questions on how to properly advertise on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIN, etc. The most important thing to remember is that Tennessee Real Estate Commission (TREC) rules governing advertising apply fully to social media. The latest iteration of the Advertising Rule, 1260-2-.12, went into effect October 18, and includes [paraphrased, emphasis added]:

— “Advertising” means “sources of communication available to the public such as signs, flyers, letterheads, e-mail signatures, websites, social media communications, and video or audio recordings transmitted through internet or broadcast streaming,” but does not include “promotional materials such as hats, pens, notepads, T-shirts, name tags, business cards, and the sponsorship of charitable and community events.” (1)

— “Firm name” means the entire name as licensed with TREC, or the d/b/a name as licensed with the Cole Commission. (2)

— DON’T “advertise to sell, purchase, exchange, rent, or lease property in a manner indicating that the licensee is not engaged in the real estate business.” (3a)

— DO have all advertising directly supervised by the principle broker. (3b)

— DO include the firm name and telephone number on file with TREC. (3b)

— DO make the firm name the most prominent name in the advertising, and the firm’s phone number the same size or larger than the phone number of any individual licensee or group of licensees. (3c1-2)

— DON’T post any sign advertising property for sale, purchase, exchange, rent or lease, without written authorization from the property owner or the owner’s agent. (3d)

— DON’T advertise property listed by another licensee without written authorization from the property owner, evidenced by a statement on the listing agreement or any other written statement signed by the owner. (3e)

— DON’T advertise in a false, misleading, or deceptive manner. (i.e. listing only franchise name, not firm name; a “team, group, or similar entity within a firm” advertising themselves using terms such as “Real Estate, ” “Real Estate Brokerage,” “Realty,” “Company,” “Corporation,” “LLC,” “Corp.,” “Inc.,” “Associates,” or similar terms; linking from a web page to an unlicensed entity’s website engaged in activities requiring TREC licensure). (3f1-3)

— [Franchise or Cooperative Advertising Groups] DO clearly indicate in the advertisement your name, firm name and firm phone number (as registered with TREC) for specific properties advertised for sale or lease; when advertising other than specific properties for sale or lease, DO state: “Each [Franchise Trade Name or Cooperative Group] Office is Independently Owned and Operated”. If using a franchise trade name on business cards, contracts, or other documents relating to the transaction, DO clearly indicate name and firm phone number and the fact that the office is independently owned and operated. (4a,b,c1-2)

— DO apply this rule to Internet advertising, including social media. List firm name and phone number on each web page; state that some or all listings on a website may not belong to the firm whose website is being visited; keep listing information current and accurate, for “First Generation” content placed by the licensee. (5a-c)

8. Facebook Pages?

QUESTION: When advertising on Facebook, is it sufficient to have the required information only on our Facebook page, or should we also include it in each post?

ANSWER: There is not a statute or rule that addresses Facebook pages specifically. However, you will need to observe all rules and regulations in place by Facebook. You will also need to abide by TREC’s Advertising Rule, which clearly states that at a minimum, all advertising by an agent must contain the firm name and telephone number. The Commission has indicated that ALL advertising must comply with the rule, even on Facebook. Therefore, each post should contain all of the required information.

9. YouTube Videos?

QUESTION: What are the guidelines for having a YouTube channel? Does each video need to list the firm name and phone number?

ANSWER: There are not specific requirements for YouTube channels. However, TREC’s Advertising Rule applies, and it is recommended that each video/posting contain all of the information required by the rule, including the firm name and phone number.

10. Instagram Posts?

Question: Can I advertise listings on Instagram, and what are the requirements?

Answer: Yes. Instagram has more than 400 million users and is a great way to reach potential buyers. Just remember to follow the Advertising Rule. Include the firm name and telephone number on each listing post, with the firm name the most prominent and the firm’s phone number the same size or larger than the licensee’s phone number. Your name must be listed exactly as it is on file with TREC. (Be careful with this on Instagram if using a username.) Make sure to get written authorization from the property owner before posting. And always follow other general rules of advertising, such as doing so under your broker’s supervision and not engaging in false, misleading, or deceptive advertising.

KEY LINKS & RESOURCES
To check your CE hours:verify.tn.gov/default.aspx
For CE and other courses around TN: tarnet.com/education/
For online CE courses: tarnet.com/education/?target=online-CE-courses/
To ask a TAR Legal and Ethics Hot Line question: tarnet.com/technology-support/legal-ethics-hotline/
TRECtn.gov/commerce/section/real-estate-commission
TAR websitetarnet.com
TAR on Twitter: twitter.com/tnaor
TAR on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/groups?gid=852077&trk=hb_side_g
TAR on Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Nashville-TN/Tennessee-Association-of-RealtorsR/15041383689

2016 TAR Fall Convention 
Sept. 14, 15 and 16

 Watch the PREVIEW VIDEO

REGISTER HERE

#GreatBlue

Follow TAR on Twitter or Like our page on Facebook.

 

01-23-2017

1-23-17 Vol.: 2017 Iss.: 3 • Brian Copeland, 2017 President • Phil Newman, TAR Digest Editor

TAKEAWAYS:
  Tips for helping clients (and yourself) de-clutter closets
  Try these 20 top apps for real estate
  Are your commission rates in line with antitrust laws?
 Earn 9 hours of CE in Cool Springs (March 27 & 28)
CONTENTS
In the News
1. Not-so-Tiny House Costs
2. What’s in Your Closet?
Member Services
3. ICYMI: 2017 Forms Updates
4. Countdown: 1 Month!
5. 20 Top Apps: Free Webinar 

Professional Development
6. Get Schooled on Land Consulting
7. ‘Press Play’ for 9 Hours of CE
Legal & Ethics Hot Line
Setting Commission Rates
8. Minimum Rate Within Firm?
9. Advertise a Commission Rate?
10. Publish Commission Splits?

Key Links & Resources

1. Not-so-Tiny House Costs
Tiny Houses continue to attract attention ranging from mild curiosity among TV viewers to serious downsizers who compress their lives into miniaturized, often mobile dwellings. Part of the appeal is saving $, but the price can add up, asTHIS realtor.com blog points out: “Typically, the cost to build a tiny home ranges from $20,000 for simple models to $140,000-plus for more complex luxury models. And that’s just the beginning.” Additional costs include appliances, décor, land, foundation, sanitation, transport, and more. Get the whole story HERE.

2. What’s in Your Closet?
January is a popular month for de-cluttering after the holidays. In THIS helpful article, Julie Ryan Evans offers ideas for clearing out closets by parting with extra or outdated goods, such as: store bags; towels, sheets, pillowcases; clothes you haven’t worn in a year; threadbare shoes; duds you’re waiting to fit and/or come back in style; wire coat hangers (no more!); promotional T-shirts; lonely socks; anything with a stain (ew!); and special-occasion items, and more. Read it HERE.

3. ICYMI: 2017 Forms Update
As a reminder, the many updates to our 2017 forms are explained in THIS VIDEO starring Bobbie Noreen, Residential Forms Committee Chair, and in THIS PDF that accompanies the video. The video includes a timeline reference to skip ahead or back to certain forms. Also, the comprehensive changes file for ALL forms is available on our “Forms on the Fly” page, and the NEW TransactionDesk includes many topic-based “How To” videos; go HERE for a brief screencast on how to use them.
 
4. Countdown: 1 Month!
Between now and the end of February, TransactionDesk is showing 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.** As of FEBRUARY 28, only the new system will be available; the old will be turned off! NOTE: All data has been replicated, so there are no lost data, documents or forms. You don’t have to do anything—except start using the new system!

5. Top 20 Apps: Free Webinar
With MILLIONS of apps, how to cut through the clutter and find the most helpful tools for your business? The Real Estate Technology Institute (RETI), a TAR partner, will offer a FREE webinar at 3 p.m. EDT/2 p.m. CDT Wed., Jan. 25: “The Top 20 Apps for Real Estate”, led by Craig Grant. Register HERE.

6. Get Schooled on Land Consulting
If becoming an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) is on your list, here’s an opportunity to hear from top ALCs in a FREE webinar covering the most efficient path to fulfilling the ALC requirements and instruction on how to create your portfolio, presented by Brandon Rogillio, 2017 RLI President; Flo Sayre, 2017 ALC Designation Committee Chair; and George Clift, RLI Past President. All three will be available to answer questions. Register HERE.
 

7. Press Play’ for 9 Hours of CE
We continue to feature aspects of our Spring Conference, March 27 & 28. This week: an update on CE: We will offer 20 total hours of continuing education (pending TREC approval) in three concurrent tracks. This means you can earn up to 9 hours of CE as you select sessions from among the tracks. Go HERE to register at the Early Bird rate and to book your lodging.

Legal & Ethics Hot Line
Source: TAR Legal & Ethics Hot Line Counsel
Setting Commission Rates
The most important thing to remember when entering into agreements with clients is that commission rates are negotiable between the firm and the client. This week’s Q&As provide tips on how to avoid violating antitrust laws when setting commission rates.

8. Minimum Commission Rate Within Firm?

Q: With regard to antitrust laws, I want to put in the independent contractor agreements with my agents that our agents charge a minimum of 6% of the sales price. Is this considered price setting?
 
A:
It is strongly recommended that a REALTOR® have an attorney assist in drafting independent contractor agreements. That way, this and other issues are addressed properly to ensure compliance with the law and that the agents are in fact independent contractors, not employees. Remember that commissions are negotiable between the firm and the client. A principal broker would be within the law to set a minimum amount for the commission charged to clients within their firm. However, a lower commission could be set with the approval of the broker; this would alleviate any question of legality.

9. Advertise a Commission Rate?
 
Q: Can a licensee advertise what they will charge for commission compared to other licensees in the area?
 
A:
Agents are permitted to advertise what theywill charge for commissions, without violating antitrust laws. It gets more complicated and risky if they compare themselves with others. For that reason, an agent should not compare their rate to others nor include any reference to “most brokers” in advertisements, agreements, or discussions. Also, NAR recommends that REALTORS® not keep preprinted forms with commission rates on them, as this could be seen as a violation of antitrust laws. For additional information on RESPA, refer to NAR’s Anti-Trust Compliance Guide for Realtors® and Realtor-Associate®s, which contains a lot of great information, at www.realtor.org.

10. Publish Commission Splits?

Q: Can a broker/office publish their commission levels/splits that they pay agents, either on a website or via emails directed to REALTORS®?
 
A:
The NAR antitrust handbook does not prohibit the advertisement of a REALTOR®’s commission rate. It is recommended the REALTOR® follow these guidelines:

  1. The commission rate be based upon the cost of the services the agent provides, the value of these services to its clients, and competitive market conditions.
  2. The commission rate cannot be determined by agreement with, or recommendation or suggestion from, any person not a party to a listing agreement with the firm.
  3. The agent shall not participate in any discussion with any person affiliated with, or employed by, any other real estate firm concerning the commission rates charged by the agent’s firm, or any other real estate firm in the community.
  4. When soliciting a listing, no agent shall make any reference to a “prevailing” commission in the community, the “going rate,” or any other words or phrases which may suggest that commission rates are uniform or standard in the marketing area.

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