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Category: EMTAR

THDA: Valuable Housing Services for Tennesseans

**NOTE: The THDA’s 2024 Tennessee Housing Conference is coming up February 29–March 1 at the Music City Center in Nashville. To learn more and register, visit HERE.

The Tennessee Housing Development Agency just completed its 50th year of service to the Volunteer State. The agency was created by the General Assembly in 1973 as the state’s housing finance agency.

Its purpose is to promote the addition of affordable housing, the preservation and rehab of existing affordable housing, and the stability of the residential construction industry (and related industries) to assure a steady flow of new housing units.

As you might be aware, THDA offers loan products through private-sector lending partners that help Tennesseans achieve the goal of homeownership. All THDA loans have 30-year, fixed-rate terms and offer down payment assistance as an optional second loan. The agency also provides servicing for these loans through Volunteer Mortgage Loan Servicing. (Proceeds directly support the operations of THDA and are reinvested in our state through THDA’s programs and grant initiatives.)

As the state’s housing finance agency, THDA also serves Tennesseans in many other ways. They include:

  • providing grants to preserve and create homes
  • offering rental assistance on several different levels
  • assisting in the creation and maintenance of rental housing
  • providing educational opportunities
  • and helping other state agencies with housing missions to solve problems and save taxpayers’ money.

Here is a menu of the programs THDA offers in a broad range of categories. Please keep these in mind as any buyers, sellers, or other folks in your network and area of service are looking for such valuable opportunities. Click on any of the titles below to learn more.

For Homebuyers:

For Homeowners:

For Renters/Section 8:

For Rental Housing Partners:

For Homeownership Partners:

For Local Government & Nonprofit Partners:

THDA also has a Research and Planning department that compiles a report of impacts and investments across the state from year to year. In addition, the agency provides interactive maps, housing indicators at a glance, housing market trends, issue briefs, and other helpful resources. Learn more about all of those HERE.

You can find answers to Frequently Asked Questions about THDA HERE, and read inspiring stories from those who have benefited from THDA services HERE.

EMTAR appreciates the half-century (and beyond) of important services provided by our friends at the Tennessee Housing Development Agency!

About EMTAR: Chartered in 1969, our Association’s 1,300+ REALTORS® are a proud part of the 36,000+ members of Tennessee REALTORS® and of the 1.5 million+ members of NAR, all working to serve the public and protect the rights of America’s property owners. EMTAR members are known not only for their unmatched real estate excellence and high ethical standards, but also for being generous, hospitable, others-focused, loyal, hardworking, and eager to help wherever and whenever help is needed.

Nashville’s Transit Referendum: A Turning Point for Housing and Mobility

Note: To shine light on a topic of interest “next door” to us in the city, we are sharing the following blog by permission of our friends at Greater Nashville REALTORS®. The post, from 2024 Greater Nashville president Kevin Wilson, was published on the Association’s website and in the Real Estate section of The Tennessean. We hope you enjoy this important perspective.

Also, a virtual event is planned to discuss the subject in more depth: Greater Nashville REALTORS®: Nashonomics Now: Thursday, February 29—The Next Steps and Future of Mass Transit in Middle Tennessee. Learn more here.

As Nashville residents look to the future, the possibility of a transit referendum is generating excitement and hope. While the prospect of improved transit systems brings promises of better mobility and economic growth, it also holds the potential to shape the city’s housing landscape significantly.

Nashville has struggled with transit-related challenges for years. To address these issues and secure funding for essential transit projects, Nashville must bring forth a well-defined transit plan and take it to voters through a referendum.

The transit referendum is more than just a vote on transportation; it’s a pivotal moment that can redefine the city’s housing availability, affordability, and accessibility. Here’s how:

Economic Growth and Opportunity: Transit investments have the power to stimulate economic growth by creating jobs in construction, maintenance, and operation. This fosters economic mobility without the burden of owning a personal vehicle, making homeownership more attainable.

Health and Wellness: A robust public transit system can improve public health by reducing air pollution. Accessible public transit encourages physical activity, leading to healthier lifestyles.

Equity and Social Inclusion: Transit services bridge the gap for marginalized communities by offering affordable transportation options and connecting everyone to essential services, education, and job opportunities.

Environmental Sustainability: Transit-oriented development can play a crucial role in reducing carbon emissions, mitigating the impact of climate change.

Community Resilience and Connectivity: Reliable and efficient transit systems create stronger, more connected communities. It strengthens community ties, providing better access to cultural and recreational activities, ultimately promoting a sense of belonging.

Quality of Life Improvements: A well-planned transit system can reduce traffic congestion, leading to less time spent commuting and increased productivity for residents.

Long-Term Cost Savings: Investments in transit infrastructure can lead to long-term cost savings by reducing road maintenance expenses, traffic congestion-related costs, and healthcare expenditures due to improved air quality and fewer accidents.

Strategic Regional Development:  Transit-oriented development attracts businesses and investment, promoting smart growth strategies that foster vibrant, economically resilient communities.

Mayor [Freddie] O’Connell’s administration’s decision regarding the transit referendum will have far-reaching implications for Nashville’s housing market and overall quality of life. It presents an opportunity to create a more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous city where homeownership is within reach for all.

Kevin Wilson is President of Greater Nashville REALTORS®. A REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) who subscribes to its strict code of ethics.

About EMTAR: Chartered in 1969, our Association’s 1,300+ REALTORS® are a proud part of the 36,000+ members of Tennessee REALTORS® and of the 1.5 million+ members of NAR, all working to serve the public and protect the rights of America’s property owners. EMTAR members are known not only for their unmatched real estate excellence and high ethical standards, but also for being generous, hospitable, others-focused, loyal, hardworking, and eager to help wherever and whenever help is needed.

Advocacy Group Calls for Cap on Tennessee Property Taxes

A recent editorial column caught our eye in the Sunday, January 21, 2024, edition of The Tennessean, addressing a topic that is relevant to the real estate industry, our EMTAR members, and property owners throughout the Volunteer State.

Titled “Recent property tax increases show why Tennessee needs a cap,” the article was written by Dr. Arthur Laffer, an economic researcher and former economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan; Joe Scarlett, retired Chairman of Tractor Supply Co. and vice chairman of the Beacon Center; and Justin Owens, president and CEO of the Beacon Center.

The Beacon Center is a Middle Tennessee-based nonprofit whose stated purpose is to “empower Tennesseans to reclaim and protect their freedoms, so that they can freely pursue their version of the American dream.”

Among other issues the center champions is fair taxation. Here is the message shared on its Housing and Property Rights section:

The cost to own or rent a home has skyrocketed in recent years. While Nashville gets frequent headlines about its growth, this is a growing trend across most of the state . . .  In fact, Tennessee has the fourth-highest growth in home prices in the nation. Beacon will work to reduce the cost of both homeownership and renting through a “Cost of Housing Reduction Package.” Among our proposals, we are:

  • Calling for a statewide limit on large property tax increases like that in 46 other states, which will benefit both homeowners and renters alike.
  • Launching an interactive zoning map allowing Tennesseans to see how zoning regulations impact the cost of their home.
  • Reducing government red tape that stifles housing supply, including a Permit Freedom Act to expedite local permitting.
  • Reforming the state’s home improvement contractor license to make it easier for homeowners to make more affordable improvements to their homes.
  • Prohibiting so-called “pending ordinance doctrines” by local governments that allow local laws to take effect before they pass and often drive up housing prices before they are even passed by the local legislative body.

As for the Tennessean article, the three authors asserted, “Limiting the growth in property taxes will benefit every single Tennessee family. And with prices of many goods and services at an all-time high, this relief couldn’t come a moment too soon.”

The case they made also included:

  • “Property tax bills, tax rates, and assessed property values have been on a tear here in Tennessee. People who have lived in their homes throughout their careers are seeing eye-popping property tax hikes that are putting a strain on their pocketbooks.
  • “Rental properties have been forced to increase rents because of higher property taxes.  And the costs of owning and buying a home have risen a lot in part due to property tax hikes. 
  • “In recent years, cities and counties across Tennessee have raised property taxes by double-digit percentage points. 
  • “When property taxes go up, everyone, without exception, suffers.  This is especially true for low- and middle-income families. 
  • “Without any homeowner protection, local governments in our state can raise taxes with reckless abandon and little accountability to taxpayers. Tennessee is one of only five states that does not place a cap on property tax hikes, according to the Tax Foundation.  
  • “In 45 other states, local governments have learned to live within their means and pay for essential services without going back to taxpayers for more money year after year.  
  • “It may come as no surprise that placing a cap on property tax hikes is extremely popular among voters.  A recent Beacon Poll found that 74% of voters support some type of state intervention on property taxes.  
  • “On Jan. 9, state legislators returned to Nashville to conduct the people’s business and voters expect them to make property tax relief a top priority.” 

This is a topic that bears much watching, advocacy, and thoughtful conversation, especially as the Tennessee General Assembly is in session and we have opportunities to let our legislators know that we, as REALTORS®, champion fairness when it comes to housing-related taxation, including property taxes.

About EMTAR: Chartered in 1969, our Association’s 1,300+ REALTORS® are a proud part of the 36,000+ members of Tennessee REALTORS® and of the 1.5 million+ members of NAR, all working to serve the public and protect the rights of America’s property owners. EMTAR members are known not only for their unmatched real estate excellence and high ethical standards, but also for being generous, hospitable, others-focused, loyal, hardworking, and eager to help wherever and whenever help is needed.

A Roundup of 2024 Housing Market Forecasts

Happy New Year, EMTAR members! Ready or not, 2024 is here, and real estate experts, economists, gurus, news outlets, websites, and other prognosticators** have released their views on how the year will play out in home sales, demand, prices, mortgage rates, and more. Here are summaries of some of those forecasts with links to learn more if you and/or your clients are interested. Have a great 2024!

 “Tennessee housing market 2024 forecast: Where prices will fall and what homebuyers should know”
The Tennessean/USA Today Network

“Predictions for the real estate market in 2024 show a general decrease in prices and sales across the nation . . .” Read more >>>

“NAR Forecasts 4.71 Million Existing-Home Sales, Improved Outlook for Home Buyers in 2024”
National Association of REALTORS®

“NAR predicts 4.71 million existing-home sales in 2024, up 13.5% from 4.1 million anticipated in 2023. Annual median home prices are expected to remain largely unchanged at the national level in 2024, for the second straight year, modestly improving affordability from rising income. Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Nashville, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. join five other metropolitan areas among NAR’s top 10 housing markets with the most pent-up housing demand in 2024 . . .” Read more >>>

“2024 Housing Market Forecast and Predictions: Housing Affordability Finally Begins to Turn around”
Realtor.com

“As we look ahead to 2024, we see a mix of continuity and change in both the housing market and economy. Against a backdrop of modest economic growth, slightly higher unemployment, and easing inflation longer term interest rates including mortgage rates begin a slow retreat. The shift from climbing to falling mortgage rates improves housing affordability, but saps some of the urgency home shoppers had previously sensed. Less frenzied housing demand and plenty of rental home options keep home sales relatively stable at low levels in 2024, helping home prices to adjust slightly lower even as the number of for-sale homes continues to dwindle . . .” Read more >>>

“Housing market predictions: Six experts weigh in on the real estate outlook for 2024”
USA Today

“No other phrase has defined the 2023 housing market as much as the ‘mortgage rate lock-in effect’— a phenomenon that brought the industry to a standstill, putting downward pressure on everything from inventory levels to home sales. The pandemic-era sub-5% mortgage interest rates that 85% of mortgage holders are locked in to kept homeowners from selling their home and buying another at elevated interest rates, which peaked at 7.79% the week ending Oct. 26, according to Freddie Mac. But will things change this year? . . .” Read more >>>

“Is 2024 a good year to buy a home?”
CNN

The year 2023 was “the least affordable housing market in a generation. Sales of existing homes dipped below 4 million units, reaching levels last seen in 2010. But still, even with fewer buyers, home prices kept climbing because there weren’t enough homes on the market and competition pushed prices higher. Will this picture improve in 2024? What should homebuyers expect next year? . . .” Read more >>>

“Logan Mohgashami’s 2024 housing market and rate forecast”
HousingWire

“The 2023 housing market faced one of the same roadblocks we saw in 2022: mortgage rates were too high for home sales growth. Now that we’re in 2024, the Federal Reserve‘s rate hike cycle is over, so let’s look at what that means for housing demand and home prices. However, a yearly forecast has limitations and in this crazy housing and economic cycle, if people give you a yearly forecast without guidance as variables change, you’ll be dealing with stale data. Every Saturday I publish a weekly housing market tracker with forward-looking data and insights so you can adjust quickly to market conditions. . . .” Read more >>>

“Housing Market Predictions for 2024: When Will Home Prices Be Affordable Again?”
Forbes

“. . . despite this easing [of mortgage rates], a perfect storm of still-high mortgage rates and home prices amid historically low housing stock continues to put homeownership out of reach for many—most notably first-time buyers—who remain more pessimistic than ever about being able to afford a home as we close in on 2024 . . .” Read more >>>

“Housing market predictions for 2024”
Bankrate

“Low levels of inventory mean that sellers continue to have the upper hand in the housing market. . . . Mortgage rates have come down from their peak but are still high, and steep home prixes are dissuading would-be buyers. . . . If rates were to drop further in 2024, that would spur the market for both buyers and sellers. . .” Read more >>>

**For links to more 2024 predictions, visit this search page on Google.

About EMTAR: Chartered in 1969, our Association’s 1,300+ REALTORS® are a proud part of the 36,000+ members of Tennessee REALTORS® and of the 1.5 million+ members of NAR, all working to serve the public and protect the rights of America’s property owners. EMTAR members are known not only for their unmatched real estate excellence and high ethical standards, but also for being generous, hospitable, others-focused, loyal, hardworking, and eager to help wherever and whenever help is needed.

2023 REALTOR® Advocacy “Wins” & Milestones

Note: As the year comes to a close, it seems fitting to celebrate the progress made in real estate legislative and regulatory advocacy in 2023, both in Tennessee and at the national level. To our EMTAR members who invest in advocacy, we say THANK YOU! Your involvement makes a huge positive difference! If you’d like to learn more about getting involved, visit here on our website. Here are a few of the many examples of advocacy “wins” over the past year . . .

Successful legislation of interest to Tennessee REALTORS® included:

Prohibiting State Property Tax: HJR81 passed the House 81-11 and will be considered by the Senate next session. Proposed constitutional amendments must pass one general assembly with a majority vote, then the proposed amendment must pass the next general assembly with a 2/3 vote. Following that process, the proposed amendment will appear on ball during a statewide election.

Eviction of Senior Tenants: SB717/HB988 (as amended) only applies to housing for seniors 55 and older that receive federal funding and are being sold for new property development. Those facilities will now be required to provide 60 days’ notice for termination of tenancy if the tenant is not in arrears on rent payments. This legislation took effect on July 1, 2023.

Real Property Records Integrity Act: SB368/HB1182 contracts for services to sell residential real estate consisting of 1-4 dwelling units shall not be recorded and will be found void and unenforceable if the agreement runs with the land or is binding on future owners of interests in the real property OR allows for assignment of the right to provide services without notice to and the consent of the owner OR purports to create a lien, encumbrance, or other real property security interest. Any person who records such an agreement is liable to an affected party for $10,000.00 in statutory damages.

Bills that were not successful that Tennessee REALTORS® opposed included:

Fuel Gas Detector Act: SB1188/HB171 required the installation and maintenance of fuel gas detectors in rooms containing appliance fueled by propane, natural gas, or any liquefied petroleum gas for multi-family occupancy buildings and single-family residential properties that are under a lease agreement.

Notice Requirements for Surveyors: SB1296/HB52 would have expanded the notice requirement for land surveyors conducting boundary surveys by requiring them to notify all adjoining landowners of the survey rather than just when the surveyor discovers or reasonably should have discovered discrepancies between the deed descriptions of the adjoining owners.

National Advocacy Highlights included:

(See more details in each of these national areas on this page.)

Fighting Regulation That Drives Housing Providers From the Market

Educating on Consumer Protections: NAR provided feedback to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission on tenant screening practices, emphasizing their role in supporting safe and healthy housing communities and NAR’s commitment to ensuring that members carry these out in a way that complies with all CFPB regulations and the Fair Housing Act.

Amplifying Housing Accessibility & Affordability

Lowering the Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP): As a result of NAR’s advocacy, the FHA reduced mortgage insurance premiums (MIPs) by 30 basis points, significantly helping new and low- to moderate-income buyers.

Incentives to Increase Housing Supply

Raise the Capital Gains Exclusion: NAR successfully advocated for the introduction of the “More Homes on the Market Act” (H.R. 1321), a bipartisan bill that would incentivize more owners to sell their homes by doubling the maximum amount of capital gains a homeowner can exclude on the sale of a principal residence and annually adjusting it for inflation. This would unlock a significant segment of inventory previously unavailable to prospective buyers.

Fair Housing and Homeownership Opportunity

Increasing Borrower Eligibility: After decades of NAR advocacy, the Federal Finance Housing Agency (FHFA) committed to evaluating and adding additional credit scoring models for borrower eligibility. The new models will incorporate positive rental and utility history, opening opportunities for otherwise-qualified borrowers with “thin” credit files, and giving borrowers credit for making reliable payments on other credit commitments.

Preserving Homeownership, Property Rights, & Wealth Accumulation

Protecting Land Development: NAR is part of a large coalition that has been challenging the overreach of federal environmental regulation on the rights of owners to use and develop private land. The pending Waters of the U.S. (“WOTUS”) litigation is currently stayed in light of the recent Supreme Court decision (Sackett v. EPA), which provided needed clarity under the Clean Water Act and the ability to build on land subject to this law.

Shaping Congressional & Administrative Action

Reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP): NAR successfully pressed Congressional leaders to successfully extend NFIP through November 17, following our launch of an all-member call for action activating thousands of members to make tens of thousands of contacts with members of Congress. NAR’s estimates that 1,300 real estate transactions are affected each day of an extended NFIP lapse.

You’ll find more information at the following links:

NAR Advocacy main page

NAR “2023 Policy Advocacy Wins” page

Tennessee REALTORS® Advocacy page (member login required)

EMTAR Advocacy page

About EMTAR: Chartered in 1969, our Association’s 1,300+ REALTORS® are a proud part of the 36,000+ members of Tennessee REALTORS® and of the 1.5 million+ members of NAR, all working to serve the public and protect the rights of America’s property owners. EMTAR members are known not only for their unmatched real estate excellence and high ethical standards, but also for being generous, hospitable, others-focused, loyal, hardworking, and eager to help wherever and whenever help is needed.

Commissions, Compensation, and Next Steps in the Burnett Case

Note: The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has provided updates on Missouri litigation known as “the Burnett case,” along with other related legal developments. To help our EMTAR members stay up-to-date and aware, we are sharing some of the latest news in this blog.

What was the Burnett case about, and what does the verdict mean?

“This Missouri case was brought by a local plaintiffs’ lawyer who claims that NAR and others set out to harm consumers by fixing commissions. This argument is utterly false and not supported by the evidence. Not only does NAR not require the payment of any type of compensation by a home seller to the agent of a home buyer, NAR does not set commissions or compensation of any kind. Fortunately, America’s judicial process allows NAR to challenge this outcome and the shaky ground on which it rests. This is just the first chapter in a longer legal process.”

What are the next steps in the Burnett case?

“NAR plans to file an appeal asking the court to set aside the jury’s verdict as being wrong on the law and the facts. In the meantime, NAR will not remain silent in the face of misinformation about how real estate agents and brokers are compensated, particularly from plaintiffs’ lawyers, who are the ones who actually stand to profit from the cases against the industry.”

What do NAR rules actually say about compensation?

“NAR does not require, suggest, or even track broker compensation or commissions—compensation can be a percentage, fixed rate, hourly rate, or any other arrangement. Compensation is negotiable between agents and their clients.

“NAR’s policy, despite how it was misrepresented in a Missouri courtroom, does not require sellers to do anything, and it requires only that listing brokers communicate the amount they are offering to pay a buyer’s broker for their work—this helps ensure transparency and efficiency for all parties in a transaction, it benefits sellers by bringing more potential buyers to a home, and it benefits buyers by ensuring they have representation, if they want it.

“There is no rule that tells listing brokers and their clients how much to offer a buyer broker. They can offer $0.

“Also, NAR’S policies expressly prohibit MLSs, associations, and brokers from setting or suggesting real estate commissions or fees. NAR has numerous anti-price-fixing rules and guidance, including our MLS rules, which expressly state that ‘the broker’s compensation for services rendered in respect to any listing is solely a matter of negotiation between the broker and his or her client, and is not fixed, controlled, recommended, or maintained by any persons not a party to the listing agreement.’”

Will NAR continue to support cooperative compensation in the face of the verdict?

“Cooperative compensation benefits consumers and creates efficiency in the real estate market, it was a part of real estate before NAR had rules, it is a part of real estate in cities that do not follow NAR’s rules, and it is authorized by state real estate laws (including Missouri) and federal housing policies. Regardless of this verdict, cooperative compensation will be a part of real estate.

“NAR thinks the practice is a good thing that benefits buyers and sellers. Sellers can have their home seen by more buyers, ensure they receive the best offer, and ultimately sell it for more. Buyers benefit from professional representation in what for many will be the most significant, complex purchase of their lives.

“Critically, this compensation model promotes access to homeownership. For lower- and middle-income buyers in particular, saving for a down payment can be difficult enough. Adding broker compensation on top of closing costs would push the dream of homeownership even further out of reach. The same would be true for veteran home buyers because VA loans prohibit them from paying buyer broker fees.”

What does the Burnett verdict mean for NAR members and their businesses?

“The verdict doesn’t change how agents who are REALTORS® conduct business. Compensation is negotiable between agents and their clients. . . . Consumers have choices, and NAR encourages members to continue communicating with their clients about their choices, explaining that compensation is negotiable and using listing and buyer agreements to help clients understand what services and value will be provided and for how much.”

You’ll find more information about this and related issues at the following links:

Fostering Consumer-Friendly Real Estate Marketplaces

Burnett trial updates

Frequently Asked Questions on the Burnett case

NAR 2024 President Tracy Kasper USA Today editorial (12/17/23)

President Kasper on CNBC’s The Exchange (12/14/23)

About EMTAR: Chartered in 1969, our Association’s 1,300+ REALTORS® are a proud part of the 36,000+ members of Tennessee REALTORS® and of the 1.5 million+ members of NAR, all working to serve the public and protect the rights of America’s property owners. EMTAR members are known not only for their unmatched real estate excellence and high ethical standards, but also for being generous, hospitable, others-focused, loyal, hardworking, and eager to help wherever and whenever help is needed.

The Importance of Buyer Representation Agreements in Real Estate

Note: The following blog on a vitally important topic comes to us by permission of our friends at Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® (GCAR). It recently appeared as a post from GCAR’s 2023 president, Steven Sharpe, ABR, AHWD, C2EX, ePRO, GRI.

In the fast-paced world of real estate, many factors can pose an issue when purchasing property, which is why the role of a buyer’s agent has become more crucial than ever before.

Buyer representation agreements are a win-win proposition for both real estate professionals and consumers. Not only do these agreements help build trust by promoting transparency through up-front and honest conversations, but they also provide clarity regarding services clients can expect to receive, as well as how their real estate professional will be compensated for their time. This transparency is crucial for all parties so that REALTORS® can help educate consumers during one of the biggest and most complex transactions many make in their lifetime.

So what does a Buyer Representation Agreement consist of? Simply put, it’s a legally binding agreement that details many crucial elements of the relationship, such as services, agency relationship and compensation. And, signing one at the beginning of the relationship protects both the broker and the buyer by avoiding misunderstandings.

Discussing the Buyer Representation Agreement helps ensure the homebuyer has a loyal advocate representing them in the transaction, including whether the agent may be serving as a dual agent (someone who acts as both the buyer’s and seller’s agent in a transaction).

While jurisdictions vary in what is required in terms of written agreements when it comes to compensation, most states require that any exclusive brokerage or agency relationship be in writing, and about half of states require written disclosure of an agency relationship in order for the real estate professional to be paid for their services.

To my fellow REALTORS® this is a reminder to make sure to check where you fall in terms of requirements, and check with your REALTOR® association for a buyer representation agreement form, and be sure to explain all provisions of the agreement to a buyer client.

For REALTORS® and individuals who are looking to learn more about the homebuying process, I encourage all to visit www.competition.realtor for infographics, informative articles, and other resources to help facilitate these important conversations during a buyer representation meeting.

Purchasing property can be stressful, but the process is much smoother when everyone is clear on all the details at the beginning of the process. Providing clarity to a complex process is a REALTORS® area of expertise. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell property, utilizing the knowledge of a REALTOR® will help ensure that the process will go as smoothly as possible, and that as a consumer, you are getting the most value from your most important investment. That’s Who We R®.

About EMTAR: Chartered in 1969, our Association’s 1,300+ REALTORS® are a proud part of the 36,000+ members of Tennessee REALTORS® and of the 1.5 million+ members of NAR, all working to serve the public and protect the rights of America’s property owners. EMTAR members are known not only for their unmatched real estate excellence and high ethical standards, but also for being generous, hospitable, others-focused, loyal, hardworking, and eager to help wherever and whenever help is needed.

Buyers and Sellers: 184 Things Your REALTOR® Does For You

Note: In 2006, Pat V. Combs of Michigan, who would serve as president of the National Association of REALTORS® in 2007, testified before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee on Housing to counter government complaints about industry pricing. As part of her testimony, she submitted a list of 184 things that listing agents do in every real estate transaction.

“By all accounts,” she said, “the general public is not aware of all the services that agents provide to sellers and buyers during the course of the transaction, probably because most of the important services are performed behind the scenes.”

While some of the details have changed in the years since 2006, the list remains a powerful illustration of just how involved and engaged REALTORS® are in helping clients navigate what for many of them will be the largest transaction of their lives.

EMTAR is happy to share the list below to provide a snapshot of the value of our REALTOR® members as they work closely with buyers and sellers throughout Wilson, Dekalb, and Smith counties and the surrounding areas.

Pre-Listing Activities
1. Make appointment with seller for listing presentation.
2. Send a written or e-mail confirmation of appointment and call to confirm.
3. Review appointment questions.
4. Research all comparable currently listed properties.
5. Research sales activity for past 18 months from MLS and public databases.
6. Research “average days on market” for properties similar in type, price and location.
7. Download and review property tax roll information.
8. Prepare “comparable market analysis” (CMA) to establish market value.
9. Obtain copy of subdivision plat/complex layout.
10. Research property’s ownership and deed type.
11. Research property’s public record information for lot size and dimensions.
12. Verify legal description.
13. Research property’s land use coding and deed restrictions.
14. Research property’s current use and zoning.
15. Verify legal names of owner(s) in county’s public property records.
16. Prepare listing presentation package with above materials.
17. Perform exterior “curb appeal assessment” of subject property.
18. Compile and assemble formal file on property.
19. Confirm current public schools and explain their impact on market value.
20. Review listing appointment checklist to ensure completion of all tasks.

Listing Appointment Presentation
21. Give seller an overview of current market conditions and projections.
22. Review agent and company credentials and accomplishments.
23. Present company’s profile and position or “niche” in the marketplace.
24. Present CMA results, including comparables, solds, current listings and expireds.
25. Offer professional pricing strategy based and interpretation of current market conditions.
26. Discuss goals to market effectively.
27. Explain market power and benefits of multiple listing service.
28. Explain market power of Web marketing, IDX and REALTOR.com.
29. Explain the work the broker and agent do “behind the scenes” and agent’s availability on weekends.
30. Explain agent’s role in screening qualified buyers to protect against curiosity seekers.
31. Present and discuss strategic master marketing plan.
32. Explain different agency relationships and determine seller’s preference.
33. Review all clauses in listing contract and obtain seller’s signature.

After Listing Agreement is Signed
34. Review current title information.
35. Measure overall and heated square footage.
36. Measure interior room sizes.
37. Confirm lot size via owner’s copy of certified survey, if available.
38. Note any and all unrecorded property lines, agreements, easements.
39. Obtain house plans, if applicable and available.
40. Review house plans, make copy.
41. Order plat map for retention in property’s listing file.
42. Prepare showing instructions for buyers’ agents and agree on showing time with seller.
43. Obtain current mortgage loan(s) information: companies and account numbers.
44. Verify current loan information with lender(s).
45. Check assumability of loan(s) and any special requirements.
46. Discuss possible buyer financing alternatives and options with seller.
47. Review current appraisal if available.
48. Identify Home Owner Association manager is applicable.
49. Verify Home Owner Association fees with manager–mandatory or optional and current annual fee.
50. Order copy of Home Owner Association bylaws, if applicable.
51. Research electricity availability and supplier’s name and phone number.
52. Calculate average utility usage from last 12 months of bills.
53. Research and verify city sewer/septic tank system.
54. Calculate average water system fees or rates from last 12 months of bills.
55. Or confirm well status, depth and output from Well Report.
56. Research/verify natural gas availability, supplier’s name and phone number.
57. Verify security system, term of service and whether owned or leased.
58. Verify if seller has transferable Termite Bond.
59. Ascertain need for lead-based paint disclosure.
60. Prepare detailed list of property amenities and assess market impact.
61. Prepare detailed list of property’s “Inclusions & Conveyances with Sale.”
62. Complete list of completed repairs and maintenance items.
63. Send “Vacancy Checklist” to seller if property is vacant.
64. Explain benefits of Home Owner Warranty to seller.
65. Assist sellers with completion and submission of Home Owner Warranty application.
66. When received, place Home Owner Warranty in property file for conveyance at time of sale.
67. Have extra key made for lockbox.
68. Verify if property has rental units involved. And if so:
69. Make copies of all leases for retention in listing file.
70. Verify all rents and deposits.
71. Inform tenants of listing and discuss how showings will be handled.
72. Arrange for yard sign installation.
73. Assist seller with completion of Seller’s Disclosure form.
74. Complete “new listing checklist.”
75. Review results of Curb Appeal Assessment with seller and suggest improvements for salability.
76. Review results of Interior Decor Assessment and suggest changes to shorten time on market.
77. Load listing time into transaction management software.

Entering Property in MLS Database
78. Prepare MLS Profile Sheet–agent is responsible for “quality control” and accuracy of listing data.
79. Enter property data from Profile Sheet into MLS listing database.
80. Proofread MLS database listing for accuracy, including property placement in mapping function.
81. Add property to company’s Active Listings.
82. Provide seller with signed copies of Listing Agreement and MLS Profile Data Form within 48 hours.
83. Take more photos for upload into MLS and use in flyers. Discuss efficacy of panoramic photography.

Marketing the Listing
84. Create print and Internet ads with seller’s input.
85. Coordinate showings with owners, tenants and other agents. Return all calls–weekends included.
86. Install electronic lockbox. Program with agreed-upon showing time windows.
87. Prepare mailing and contact list.
88. Generate mail-merge letters to contact list.
89. Order “Just Listed” labels and reports.
90. Prepare flyers and feedback forms.
91. Review comparable MLS listings regularly to ensure property remains competitive in price, terms, conditions and availability.
92. Prepare property marketing brochure for seller’s review.
93. Arrange for printing or copying of supply of marketing brochures or flyers.
94. Place marketing brochures in all company agent mailboxes.
95. Upload listing to company and agent Internet sites, if applicable.
96. Mail “Just Listed” notice to all neighborhood residents.
97. Advise Network Referral Program of listing.
98. Provide marketing data to buyers from international relocation networks.
99. Provide marketing data to buyers coming from referral network.
100. Provide “Special Feature” cards form marketing, if applicable/
101. Submit ads to company’s participating Internet real estate sites.
102. Convey price changes promptly to all Internet groups.
103. Reprint/supply brochures promptly as needed.
104. Review and update loan information in MLS as required.
105. Send feedback e-mails/faxes to buyers’ agents after showings.
106. Review weekly Market Study.
107. Discuss feedback from showing agents with seller to determine if changes will accelerate the sale.
108. Place regular weekly update calls to seller to discuss marketing and pricing.
109. Promptly enter price changes in MLS listings database.

The Offer and the Contract
110. Receive and review all Offer to Purchase contracts submitted by buyers or buyers’ agents.
111. Evaluate offer(s) and prepare “net sheet” on each for owner to compare.
112. Counsel seller on offers. Explain merits and weakness of each component of each offer.
113. Contact buyers’ agents to review buyer’s qualifications and discuss offer.
114. Fax/deliver Seller’s Disclosure to buyer’s agent or buyer upon request and prior to offer if possible.
115. Confirm buyer is pre-qualified by calling loan officer.
116. Obtain pre-qualification letter on buyer from loan officer.
117. Negotiate all offers on seller’s behalf, setting time limit for loan approval and closing date.
118. Prepare and convey any counteroffers, acceptance or amendments to buyer’s agent.
119. Fax copies of contract and all addendums to closing attorney or title company.
120. When Offer-to-Purchase contract is accepted and signed by seller, deliver to buyer’s agent.
121. Record and promptly deposit buyer’s money into escrow account.
122. Disseminate “Under-Contract Showing Restrictions” as seller requests.
123. Deliver copies of fully signed Offer to Purchase contract to sellers.
124. Fax/deliver copies of Offer to Purchase contract to selling agent.
125. Fax copies of Offer to Purchase contract to lender.
126. Provide copies of signed Offer to Purchase contract for office file.
127. Advise seller in handling additional offers to purchase submitted between contract and closing.
128. Change MLS status to “Sale Pending.”
129. Update transaction management program to show “Sale Pending.”
130. Review buyer’s credit report results–Advise seller of worst- and best-case scenarios.
131. Provide credit report information to seller if property is to be seller-financed.
132. Assist buyer with obtaining financing and follow up as necessary.
133. Coordinate with lender on discount points being locked in with dates.
134. Deliver unrecorded property information to buyer.
135. Order septic inspection, if applicable.
136. Receive and review septic system report and assess any impact on sale.
137. Deliver copy of septic system inspection report to lender and buyer.
138. Deliver well flow test report copies to lender, buyer and listing file.
139. Verify termite inspection ordered.
140. Verify mold inspection ordered, if required.

Tracking the Loan Process
141. Confirm return of verifications of deposit and buyer’s employment.
142. Follow loan processing through to the underwriter.
143. Add lender and other vendors to transaction management program so agents, buyer and seller can track progress of sale.
144. Contact lender weekly to ensure processing is on track.
145. Relay final approval of buyer’s loan application to seller.

Home Inspection
146. Coordinate buyer’s professional home inspection with seller.
147. Review home inspector’s report.
148. Enter completion into transaction management tracking software program.
149. Explain seller’s responsibilities of loan limits and interpret any clauses in the contract.
150. Ensure seller’s compliance with home inspection clause requirements.
151. Assist seller with identifying and negotiating with trustworthy contractors for required repairs.
152. Negotiate payment and oversee completion of all required repairs on seller’s behalf, if needed.

The Appraisal
153. Schedule appraisal.
154. Provide comparable sales used in market pricing to appraiser.
155. Follow up on appraisal.
156. Enter completion into transaction management program.
157. Assist seller in questioning appraisal report if it seems too low.

Closing Preparations and Duties
158. Make sure contract is signed by all parties.
159. Coordinate closing process with buyer’s agent and lender.
160. Update closing forms and files.
161. Ensure all parties have all forms and information needed to close the sale.
162. Select location for closing.
163. Confirm closing date and time and notify all parties.
164. Solve any title problems (boundary disputes, easements, etc.) or in obtaining death certificates.
165. Work with buyer’s agent in scheduling and conducting buyer’s final walkthrough prior to closing.
166. Research all tax, HOA, utility and other applicable prorations.
167. Request final closing figures from closing agent (attorney or title company).
168. Receive and carefully review closing figures to ensure accuracy.
169. Forward verified closing figures to buyer’s agent.
170. Request copy of closing documents from closing agent.
171. Confirm the buyer and buyer’s agent received title insurance commitment.
172. Provide “Home Owners Warranty” for availability at closing.
173. Review all closing documents carefully for errors.
174. Forward closing documents to absentee seller as requested.
175. Review documents with closing agent (attorney).
176. Provide earnest money deposit from escrow account to closing agent.
177. Coordinate closing with seller’s next purchase, resolving timing issues.
178. Have a “no surprises” closing so that seller receives a net proceeds check at closing.
179. Refer sellers to one of the best agents at their destination, if applicable.
180. Change MLS status to Sold. Enter sale date, price, selling broker and agent’s ID numbers, etc.
181. Close out listing in transaction management program.

Follow Up After Closing
182. Answer questions about filing claims with Home Owner Warranty company, if requested.
183. Attempt to clarify and resolve any repair conflicts if buyer is dissatisfied.
184. Respond to any follow-up calls and provide any additional information required from office files.

About EMTAR: Chartered in 1969, our Association’s 1,300+ REALTORS® are a proud part of the 36,000+ members of Tennessee REALTORS® and of the 1.5 million+ members of NAR, all working to serve the public and protect the rights of America’s property owners. EMTAR members are known not only for their unmatched real estate excellence and high ethical standards, but also for being generous, hospitable, others-focused, loyal, hardworking, and eager to help wherever and whenever help is needed.

How to Move with Your Pets

Note: This post is adapted from The Guidebook for Sellers, a collection of how-tos, checklists, and worksheets to help sellers understand what to expect during the real estate sale experience. This helpful resource is available to view and/or download from our EMTAR website here.

Clearly, Americans—and Tennesseans—are in love with our pets. Partly driven by COVID-19 and the proliferation of remote workers, more of us than ever are adding four-legged (or otherwise) friends to our family Christmas photos and spending lots of dough on their upkeep.

According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), “Americans spent $136.8 billion on their pets in 2022, up from $123.6 billion in 2021. The APPA expects pet spending to keep its year-over-year increase, projected to hit $143.6 billion in 2023.”

While all generations are spending more on their pets, Generation Z appears to be the most smitten, During the holiday season, for example, “Gen Z pet owners plan to spend an average of $146 on their pets, which is 35% of their overall holiday gift budget,” according to this MarketWatch article

Other findings of note in the same article include:

  • Over a recent eight-year period, average pet spending in the U.S. increased 67%, from $460 per year in 2013 to $770 per year in 2021.
  • Baby boomers spent nearly 20% more on their pets annually than they do personal care products and services ($842 vs. $703), while millennials spent more on themselves, shelling out an average of $777 on personal care and $679 on pets each year.
  • Women spend significantly more on pets compared to men ($575 vs. $367 annually).
  • People in the Western U.S. spend more than 1.5 times more on their pets on average than residents in EMTAR’s region of the nation, the South ($1,046 vs. $636 annually).
  • Data and expert commentary suggest that inflation hurts the younger generation’s pet spending habits the most.

In light of that, here are some tips for home sellers when preparing to move out of their home and relocate.

1. Update your pet’s tag with your new address. Make sure your pet’s collar is sturdy and correctly sized. The tag should also include your mobile number and e-mail address so that you can be reached during the move.

2. Request veterinary records. Ask your current vet to send your pet’s medical history directly to the new vet. Have their contact information handy in case of emergency or if the new vet has questions.

3. Keep a week’s worth of food and medication with you. You may want to ask for an extra prescription refill before you move. Take the same precaution with special therapeutic foods.

4. Seclude them from chaos. Keep your pet in a safe, quiet room on moving day with a clear sign posted on the door. There are many light, collapsible travel crates available, but ensure it is well ventilated and sturdy enough for stress-chewers. Also, introduce your pet to the crate before the trip. 

5. Prepare a pet first aid kit. Include your vet’s phone number, gauze to wrap wounds or to muzzle your pet, adhesive tape for use on bandages, nonstick bandages, towels, cotton swabs, antibiotic ointment (without pain relief medication), and 3% hydrogen peroxide. 

6. Play it safe in the car. Use a crate or carrier in the car, securing it with a seat belt. Never leave your pet in the bed of a truck, the storage area of a moving van, or alone in a parked vehicle. If you’re staying overnight, find pet-friendly lodging beforehand and have kitty litter or plastic bags on hand. 

7. Get ready for takeoff. When traveling by air, check with the airline about pet requirements or restrictions and whether you must purchase a special airline crate that fits under the seat in front of you. 

8. Prep your new home. Set up one room with everything your pet will need: food, water, medications, bed, litter box, scratch post, and toys. Keep windows and doors closed when your pet is unsupervised, and beware of small spaces where nervous pets may hide. If your old home is nearby, give the new home owners or neighbors your phone number and a photo of your pet, in case your pet tries to return.

9. Learn about local health concerns and laws in your new area. If you’re moving to a new country, contact the Agriculture Department or embassy of the country to obtain specific information on special documents, quarantine, or costs related to bringing your pet into the country.

10. Spend extra time with them in the new locale. Some pets may become extra stressed while adapting to a new environment, so be patient and make sure they know they’re in a safe spot to play and relax. Longer walks and extra treats wouldn’t hurt during the transition.

We hope you find these ten tips helpful to you and to your clients—and their pets—as you help them navigate the largest transaction many of them will ever make.

About EMTAR: Chartered in 1969, our Association’s 1,300+ REALTORS® are a proud part of the 36,000+ members of Tennessee REALTORS® and of the 1.5 million+ members of NAR, all working to serve the public and protect the rights of America’s property owners. EMTAR members are known not only for their unmatched real estate excellence and high ethical standards, but also for being generous, hospitable, others-focused, loyal, hardworking, and eager to help wherever and whenever help is needed.

15 Reasons Why EMTAR Is Thankful for Our REALTOR® Members

During this Thanksgiving week, we wanted to take a moment to express how grateful we are for the 1,300-plus members who are part of our EMTAR family. All across Wilson, Smith, and Dekalb Counties and the surrounding areas, the agents and brokers who call Eastern Middle Tennessee home are making a tremendous positive difference for your clients and for our communities.

In light of that, here are some of the many reasons why we are thankful for our members:

1.  It starts with the heart. You aren’t in real estate just to check off another deal. You truly care about the buyers and sellers you work with and are dedicated to helping them navigate the largest transaction many of them will ever make. It’s a love for what you do and for the people you serve in the process that motivates you deep down.

2. You provide fair and ethical treatment. Because you are a REALTOR® and a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, you are committed to adhering to our REALTOR® Code of Ethics, which is based on professionalism, serving the interests of clients, and protecting the public. This makes a big difference in how you conduct business and how you serve your clients.

3. You’re there for your fellow REALTORS®. We love to see our EMTAR members helping each other. Whether it’s mentoring newer agents, stepping up to lead a class, offering insights during a networking event, or checking in on a fellow member to see how they’re doing, you care not only about your own interests but also about those of others.

4. Your expertise shines through. Buying a home is simple, right? Hardly! It typically requires a variety of forms, reports, disclosures, and other legal and financial documents. As a knowledgeable real estate agent, you know what’s necessary in Tennessee, which helps your clients avoid delays and costly mistakes.

5. You’re willing to give back. EMTAR members know how much they have been helped along the way, and they appreciate the value of being involved in a local REALTOR® Association. For that reason, you are eager to step in and serve, volunteer, celebrate the achievements of others, take part in enriching events and opportunities, and find other ways to “pay it forward.”

6. You speak the language. There’s a lot of jargon involved in real estate, from the search process to final transaction details; you understand it all and are skilled at keeping your clients aware of what the terms mean throughout the process of buying or selling a property.

7. You provide objective information and opinions. On the buyer side, a great real estate agent guides clients through the home search with an unbiased eye, helping them meet their objectives while staying within budget. You also are a great source when your clients have questions about our local amenities, utilities, zoning rules, contractors, and more.

8. You “get” the power of advocacy. You’re aware of the effort it takes to ensure that issues important to private-property owners, buyers and sellers, and our real estate industry remain front and center when important legislative and regulatory decisions are made at the local, state, and national levels. And you’re eager to do your part to make your voice and the voice of your fellow REALTORS® and clients heard when it matters most.

9. You are connected. As we know, especially in Eastern Middle Tennessee’s vibrant, fast-moving market, property rarely sells because of advertising alone. A large share of real estate sales come as the result of agents’ contacts with other industry professionals, previous clients, and others in your sphere. Many times, it’s who you know!

10. You give expanded search power. Clients want access to the full range of opportunities. Using a cooperative MLS, you help them evaluate all active listings that meet their criteria, alert them to listings soon to come on the market, and provide data on recent sales. You save them time by winnowing away properties that are still appearing on public sites but are no longer on the market.

11. You stand in your clients’ corner during negotiations. There are many factors up for discussion in any real estate transaction—from price to repairs to possession date. Real estate pros like you look at the transaction from the buyer or seller’s perspective, helping negotiate a purchase agreement that meets their needs.

12. You ensure an up-to-date experience. Most people buy or sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between. Laws and regulations change. You may handle hundreds or thousands of transactions over the course of a career, so you know what’s new and what’s different.

13. You provide a sense of security. Risk is a fact of life. To minimize it, real estate agents follow protocols to ensure your own safety, as well as the safety and security of your clients and their properties. As a REALTOR®, you prescreen prospects and accompany qualified prospects through the property. You also help educate parties about how to prevent fraudulent dealings, such as wire fraud, that can put sales at risk.

14.  You are their rock during emotional moments. A home is so much more than four walls and a roof. And for most buyers, it’s the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. Serving as a concerned but objective third party means you help your clients stay steady and focused on the issues most important when emotions threaten to sink an otherwise sound transaction.

15. You make us smile. When we think about you, when we get to see you at our events and classes and celebrations, when we hear about the many ways you encourage and uplift your fellow REALTORS®, when we get notes from buyers and sellers expressing their gratitude for the high quality of service you’ve provided to them—in these and so many other times, you bring joy to all of us.

We could go on! These 15 reasons only scratch the surface of why we appreciate our EMTAR members.

For now, may you and yours enjoy a blessed and meaningful Thanksgiving celebration, and a joyous holiday season as we move toward the end of 2023 and prepare for what promises to be another eventful and memorable year ahead.

About EMTAR: Chartered in 1969, our Association’s 1,300+ REALTORS® are a proud part of the 36,000+ members of Tennessee REALTORS® and of the 1.5 million+ members of NAR, all working to serve the public and protect the rights of America’s property owners. EMTAR members are known not only for their unmatched real estate excellence and high ethical standards, but also for being generous, hospitable, others-focused, loyal, hardworking, and eager to help wherever and whenever help is needed.