Cupertino-Sunnyvale District Chair Jeff Bell being interviewed by Maureen Naylor, reporter for KTVU Channel 2 News, at a home for sale in Mountain View


Jeff Bell, board director and 2010 president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, was featured in KTVU news on Tuesday, in a story about how the low inventory and rising home prices are impacting even high paid tech workers in the region.

As of January 2018, Bell indicated the median sales price of a single-family home in Santa Clara County was $1,170,000, up 26 percent from a year ago. In Mountain View, where he has a listing, the median is $2,400,000, up 51 percent from last year.

According to MLSListings Inc., homes in Santa Clara County are being scooped up at a rapid pace, staying on the market between six to eight days. One home located in the Mountain View Whisman School District was only on the market a mere two days. Currently there are only six listings in Mountain View.

Bell said in order to qualify for a home priced at $2.4 million, a buyer would have to have an annual income of $340,000, with no other consumer debt (credit cards, car loans, etc.). With a 20 percent down payment, a buyer’s monthly payment, including principal, interest, insurance and property taxes, would amount to a whopping $12,185.25.

Bell observed while challenging, the cost does not appear to have deterred tech workers. He noted in one day he had 80 groups of potential buyers walk through the Mountain View listing, majority of whom were high-tech workers, many who worked at nearby Google. He said most who were keenly interested in purchasing the home were dual income couples.

“They are the type of buyers who are in the best position to afford such a home in this current hot market,” said Bell.





FAREPA logo-newLooking to foster investment opportunities between real estate stakeholders in the Philippines and the U.S., the Filipino American Real Estate Professional Association Silicon Valley (FAREPA SV) chapter is organizing a trade mission to the Philippines on June 16-29. The trade mission will take participants to Manila, the country’s capital, to the island of Palawan, which has the best beaches in the world, and to Vigan, a city known for its preserved Spanish colonial and Asian architecture.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime to learn about real estate opportunities in the Philippines, whose economy is thriving, develop partnerships with builders and developers, and see our beautiful country, especially Palawan, which is a hidden piece of paradise twice named ‘The Best Island In The World’ in Travel + Leisure magazine’s World’s Best Awards, and Vigan, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the few towns left in the Philippines whose old structures have mostly remained intact,” said FAREPA SV co-president Tess Crescini, who also serves as chair of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) Global Business Council.

In each destination the trade mission will provide real estate professionals the opportunity to partner with real estate builders and developers that are building the hottest developments around the country. The itinerary also will include the opportunity to attend the Philippine Economic Zone Authority’s First Global Ecozone Convergence & EXPO on June 18-19, of which the Chamber of Real Estate & Builders’ Associations, Inc. (CREBA) is an organizer. SILVAR is the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Ambassador to the Philippines and CREBA is its partner association there. SILVAR, CREBA and NAR President Liaison to the Philippines Jennifer Tasto are helping coordinate FAREPA’s trade mission.

FAREPA is expanding globally. The real estate association’s vision for the trade mission is to form marketing partnerships with top developers and local brokers and get to know the newest thriving areas and latest development amenities. Filipino-American baby boomers and Gen Xers are finding retirement in the Philippines desirable now due to low costs, improving health care, infrastructure, and a booming economy, said FAREPA trade mission committee chair Robert Balina.

“Becoming the go-to experts with marketing partnerships with top Philippine developers and brokers, U.S. clients can list their properties with us and we can help them purchase their retirement home, second home, or cash flow investment properties there,” said Balina.

Cost of the trade mission based on double occupancy is $3,075 all inclusive. The price includes round trip airfare via Philippine Airlines from San Francisco to Manila and back, two domestic flights, 11-night hotel stay, daily breakfast, lunch tour packages, airport transportation, and an option for an open-ended return flight. A non-refundable deposit is due by March 16, 2018. Full payment is due by May 1, 2018.

For more details, visit, or the SILVAR website at, or contact Crescini at or (408) 781-0949; Balina at or (408) 750-6425; or Wilma Baltar at or (408) 781-5300.

creba-logo                  SILVAR_logo - HIGH RESOLUTION


Feng Shui Master Y.C. Sun

Gong hei fat choy! Prominent astrologer and feng shui master Y.C. Sun recently shared his forecast for 2018, the Year of the Earth Dog, with members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®. This is going to be a year of highs and lows, said Sun.

Protectionism will be on the rise this year, a “classic pullback and comeback story,” said Sun. There will be violent ground movement – earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, mudslides, rebuilding of aging infrastructure like roads, levees, bridges rails, and in line with dry earth, there will be drought, flooding, fire, traffic and accidents.

The year will also be characterized by market volatility, economic and political chaos, but expect a comeback by Labor Day, said Sun. The country’s GDP will rise to 4 percent by year-end, but there will be lots of chaos before that.

Be careful in April, particularly April 5 through May 4. It is going to be a bad and disaster-ridden month because the karma between the month of the Fire Dragon and Year of the Earth Dog will be in big conflict.

The President was born in the Year of the Fire Dog. The fire dog does not get along with the earth dog, so expect him to face a lot of trouble and challenges in health and in politics this year. He will encounter chaotic issues in March, in the second half of April, two weeks in June, and in October.

As for real estate, Sun said business will be good, but will slow down. It will be tough to be a real estate agent because of so much competition due to the housing shortage and low affordability. Dallas, San Antonio, Stockton, Las Vegas, Orlando, Colorado Springs, Salt Lake City, Charlotte, Tulsa, Nashville, Houston, Tampa will be the top U.S. markets this year. In the Bay Area, top markets are San Jose, South San Francisco, Daly City, San Bruno, Hayward, Concord, Vallejo, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa.

As for feng shui and the home, Sun said good locations are the center (happiness, celebration, always keep the middle of your home clean, free from clutter), southeast (money/fame), south (best energy for writing, studying, research), northwest (tender loving care, family values, promotes romance), southwest (change, travel, relocation). “Bad” locations are the north (disaster, misfortune), northeast (arguments), east (decline of energy, loss of money, robbery), west (sickness).

If your house faces any of these “bad” locations, Sun suggests placing six copper coins under a mat or placing a copper bell by the entrance. You can also add a peace lily. For homes that face east, add a large glass of water or blue decoration. For homes that face northeast, add a red decoration.

The feng shui master’s advice for the Year of the Earth Dog: “Time for meeting real people to get connected, getting in shape, eating healthier food, spending less time on social media/games, learning a new skill, be kind, be proactive, or becoming the barking dogs (that) seldom bite!”


installation awards

Top left to right: 2017 REALTOR® of the Year Chris Isaacson; Affiliate of the Year Darrell Monda; Spirit of SILVAR Leannah Hunt. Bottom left to right: 2017 C.A.R. Region 9 Chair Chris Isaacson; 2017 President Denise Welsh was presented with her own gavel, a thank you for her service; President’s Award Susan Tilling.

The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® Installation Dinner on Jan. 25, SILVAR 2017 President Denise Welsh and Executive Officer Paul Cardus presented the 2017 Appreciation Awards to recognize certain members for their valuable contributions to the Association last year.

Welsh first thanked her fellow board members and committee chairs for their support last year, and said it was a privilege to serve the membership of SILVAR as president. Recognized for their outstanding contributions were:

2017 REALTOR® of the Year: Chris Isaacson (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage)
Welsh said Chris Isaacson has been a REALTOR® for slightly over a decade and in that time he has achieved so much for the Association in many different roles, from serving on the district council, as 2015 president of SILVAR, a California Association of REALTORS®® (C.A.R.) Region 9 director, 2017 SILVAR Region 9 chair, and National Association of REALTORS®® (NAR) director.

Welsh described Isaacson as a quiet and effective leader. Working on issues ranging from political to financial, Isaacson has shared his vision and expertise with the Association and its members. “Through his strong, calm leadership, and with an unflappable demeanor, he has strengthened and grown our Association,” said Welsh. Isaacson was also recognized for his leadership and excellent work on behalf of SILVAR and members as 2017 SILVAR Region 9 Chair.

2017 Affiliate of the Year: Darrell Monda (TourFactory)
Welsh said Monda, a longtime affiliate of SILVAR, “has proven to be a dedicated workhorse and a great proponent of our Association.” His firm provides essential state-of-the-art services to SILVAR’s REALTOR® members. Welsh recognized Monda’s professional support for all programs across the Association, from tour meetings, to the CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) Institute, to the bocce ball tournament in Los Gatos.

“His generosity of spirit and willingness to roll up his sleeves and help where needed enhances the image of our Association and our REALTOR® and affiliated professional members,” said Welsh.

Spirit of SILVAR: Leannah Hunt (Sereno Group)
Leannah Hunt is a REALTOR® who reflects the Association’s commitment to supporting and contributing to the communities it serves and is one of the leaders in real estate in Silicon Valley. Welsh said Hunt “has worked on the frontlines and behind the scenes for the success of the Association.”

Welsh praised Hunt’s efforts to give back to the community by being active in an array of political and civic causes, serving on numerous boards.

“She is generous with her financial support as she is with her time. She is the REALTOR® face in her community,” said Welsh.

President’s Award: Susan Tilling (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage)
The President’s Award is presented at the discretion of the president to an individual whose service to the Association is worthy of special thanks and recognition. Susan Tilling has devoted many years of her time acting as a representative at C.A.R. and is a C.A.R. Director for Life.

Upon presenting this award to Tilling, Welsh said, “We are often asked why we get involved and volunteer. We are trying to find our ‘why.’ There are people who are involved out of a deep conviction that the time spent, the purpose of the organization, provides enough motivation for them to donate their time to the cause.

Welsh said Tilling “embodies the values and principles that drive so many of us to dig in and get involved with organized real estate, to fight for property rights and the ability of every man to achieve the American Dream. It is our ‘Why.'”




SILVAR’s 2018 leadership team.


The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® 2018 leadership was installed Jan. 25 at Palo Alto Hills Golf & Country Club. California Association of Realtors 2013 president Don Faught administered the oath of office to SILVAR’s 2018 president, Bill Moody, and the 2018 officers and board directors. C.A.R. 2005 president Jim Hamilton served as master of ceremonies.

SILVAR’s 2018 officers include Moody, a REALTOR® with the Referral Realty, Cupertino; Alan Barbic, a REALTOR® with Sereno Group, Los Gatos, president-elect; and Phyllis Carmichael, a REALTOR® with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Los Altos, treasurer.

Joining SILVAR’s lead officers are Denise Welsh (Alain Pinel Realtors), past president; Karen Trolan (Alain Pinel Realtors), Region 9 chair; Leannah Hunt (Sereno Group), National Association of Realtors director; district chairs Jasmine Lee (Intero Real Estate Services), Menlo Park-Atherton District; Penelope Huang (Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty), Palo Alto District; David Casas (Intero Real Estate Services), Los Altos-Mountain View District; Jeff Bell (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage), Cupertino-Sunnyvale District; Ryan Nunnally (Keller Williams Bay Area Estates), Los Gatos-Saratoga District; and Mark Burns (Referral Realty), Joanne Fraser (Alain Pinel Realtors), Katherine Frey (Katherine Frey Real Estate), Mary Kay Groth (Sereno Group), Lynn Wilson Roberts (Alain Pinel Realtors), and Mark Wong (Alain Pinel Realtors), directors At-large.

Moody is a native of Silicon Valley and a U.S. veteran, having served in Vietnam from 1966 to 1968. He is a graduate of the former Ellwood P. Cubberley High School in Palo Alto and San Jose State. Moody has served as chair of SILVAR’s Cupertino-Sunnyvale District and as a California Association of Realtors Region 9 director.

In his address to members and guests, Moody said he spent 25 years in high tech sales before getting his license 15 years ago. Quoting the late Steve Jobs, Moody said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”



The Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation donated $49,203 in 2017 to non-profit organizations that help homeless and low-income individuals and families in Silicon Valley. Funds this year also went to scholarships for graduating seniors from public high schools in the region. This was also the first year funds were disbursed from The John Tripp Silicon Valley REALTORS® Veterans Scholarship Endowment to a student at Foothill College and at DeAnza College, with each student receiving $500.

The Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation is a trust that makes grants available to organizations from donations by REALTORS® and affiliate members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR). The foundation grants are also funded by proceeds from SILVAR’s District fundraisers, like the annual Los Gatos-Saratoga District’s bocce ball tournament, which raised $3,362, and the Los Altos-Mountain View District’s annual pumpkin auction, which raised over $5,000 this year.

“We are thankful that with our members’ continued support we are able to continue our commitment to the welfare of the communities where our members work and live,” said Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation President Eileen Giorgi. “We thank our members for supporting the Foundation year after year.”

The 2017 Charitable Foundation grant recipients include Community Services Agency, which provides social services for residents of Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills; East Palo Alto Kids Foundation, which promotes educational opportunities for students in East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park; Family Connections, which offers a tuition free cooperative preschool program for low-income children in San Mateo County; My New Red Shoes, which provides homeless and low-income children new clothing and shoes at the start of the school year; and Housing Trust Silicon Valley, which makes loans and grants for first-time homebuyers.

Also in 2017, the Charitable Foundation presented a $1,000 scholarship grant to each of 18 graduating seniors from public high schools in Silicon Valley. Since its creation 18 years ago, the program has presented a total of $324,000 in scholarships to Silicon Valley youth. SILVAR’s districts, through the Charitable Foundation, also donate to their local community nonprofit groups. 2017 District donations included $5,257 raised at the annual Los Gatos-Saratoga District pumpkin auction for Operation Reindeer (Family Giving Tree); $2,000 to the Cupertino Education Endowment Foundation and $750 respectively to West Valley Community Services and Sunnyvale Community Services from the Cupertino-Sunnyvale District; and $946 from the Los Altos-Mountain View District’s Legal Update sessions to Community Services Agency.

SILVAR represents over 5,000 REALTORS® and affiliate members engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. Serving on the foundation’s board of trustees are Giorgi, Phyllis Carmichael, Chris Isaacson, Karen Trolan, Denise Welsh and Paul Cardus.



The holiday season is a time for celebration and giving gifts to family and friends, but it is also a time when safety can sometimes take a back seat due to the rush and excitement of the season. People become careless and vulnerable to theft and holiday scams.

The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® shares the following information to keep you, your family and your home safe and secure during the holiday season:

  • Keep the outside of your home well-lit. When you leave your home, place your inside lights on timers to make it appear occupied.
  • Make sure you always lock the front door. Also, be aware that criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts.
  • When putting up decorations make sure you use a sturdy ladder or step stool. Do not stand on a chair or other furniture.
  • Outdoor holiday lights add to the season’s festivities. Use lights that are certified for outdoor use and in good condition.
  • Do not overload wall outlets and extension cords when using outdoor or indoor lights.
  • If you have a live Christmas tree, cut two inches off the trunk and mount the tree on a sturdy stand. Keep the tree well-supplied with water and away from candles or a fireplace. If you use an artificial tree, choose one that is labeled as fire resistant.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended or sleep in a room with a lit candle. Make sure candles are on stable surfaces.
  • If you plan on using the fireplace, make sure it is clean. The chimney and fireplace should be checked at least once a year.
  • Don’t place gifts under the Christmas tree where burglars can see them. Place a blanket over the presents, so they are not in full view of a window.
  • Poinsettias, holly berries and mistletoe spruce up your home during the holiday season, but remember these plants are toxic. Keep them away from children and pets.
  • After the holidays, do not advertise your gifts by leaving the boxes at the curb for garbage collection. Take the big boxes to the recycling center.
  • Many people are in a giving mood during the holidays and will donate money to charities. Do not become a victim of holiday charity scams. Do not give your personal information to strangers.
  • When shopping at malls, park in a well-lit area. Be aware of your surroundings. Do not leave packages visible in your car.
  • If you plan on traveling during the holidays, do not post your travel plans online. Stop your mail delivery, or have a friend or trusted neighbor pick up your mail daily and check on your house, as well.

Items that can keep your friends and family safe year-round make great gifts. Some holiday gift suggestions include smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, escape ladders, first aid kits, earthquake kit, automobile safety kit, flashlights and portable radios.


The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will no longer insure mortgages on homes that carry Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans.

The PACE program allows homeowners to borrow money to finance energy upgrades for their home. The loan is then repaid as a surcharge on the property tax. The loan travels with the house and is transferred to the buyer upon purchase.

Though PACE loans are a way to finance important energy upgrades, such as double-pane windows, insulation, solar panels, etc., they have some very real risks. The PACE loan takes primary position to the mortgage. If a homeowner takes out a PACE loan without finding out whether their mortgage holder allows them to do so, they could be in automatic default of their mortgage. They may also have difficulty refinancing or selling their home if the new mortgage holder does not allow for PACE loans. Under these situations, they would need to pay off the loan in full before proceeding.

Last year, HUD announced that the FHA would begin insuring mortgages that carry liens created by the PACE program. The decision was reversed last week because the FHA has become concerned about the impact of the PACE liens and potential losses to the FHA’s flagship fund, the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, due to the priority lien status given to these assessments in case of default and the lack of consumer protections associated with the origination of the PACE assessment.


As both the House and Senate sharpen their vision for tax reform, REALTORS® want to ensure homeownership is protected throughout the tax reform debate.

“We are watching closely for changes to current law that might leave middle-class homeowners – and homeownership broadly – in a worse place than it is today,” said National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) President Elizabeth Mendenhall. “A near doubling of the standard deduction, combined with the elimination of other deductions, like the state and local tax deduction, can turn the American dream into a nightmare for families, as the rug is pulled out from under them. Simply preserving the mortgage interest deduction in name only isn’t enough to protect homeownership.” Now that both the House and Senate have passed their own versions of The Tax Cut and Jobs Act, a Conference Committee will address the differences between both bills and come up with a final version of a tax reform bill. It could happen anytime next week, as their goal is to vote on the bill by the end of the week.

NAR is asking Congress to support the following provisions for inclusion in the final legislation:
Mortgage Interest Deduction: Retain current law to maintain a total cap of $1 million on primary first and second homes.

Capital Gains Exemption: Retain current law of exempting gains of up to $250,000 for single filers and $500,000 for joint filers for primary residence lived in for two of the past five years of ownership.

State and Local Tax Deductibility: The limitation of deductibility to property taxes should be expanded to include state and local income taxes and the cap should be increased and indexed to inflation These provisions would add needed protection to current and future homeowners and strengthen the ability of qualified American families to purchase a home.

Denise Welsh, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, emphasized it is important to keep homeownership intact for everyone who wishes to purchase a home. “Let’s not let tax reform quash the American dream of homeownership. While the bill reduces taxes on average in every income group, we have grave concerns that with the elimination of the state and local tax deductions and limiting property tax deductions, millions would still see their taxes go up and home values would drop,” said Welsh.


The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced this week that it will raise the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2018 to $453,100 on one-unit properties and a cap of $679,650 in high-cost areas. The previous loan limits were $424,100 and $636,150, respectively. This is the second straight year and the second time that the FHFA has raised the conforming loan limits since 2006.

The conforming loan limit determines the maximum size of a mortgage that Government Sponsored Enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can buy or guarantee. Non-conforming or jumbo loans typically carry a higher mortgage interest rate than conforming loans, increasing monthly payments and negatively impacting affordability for families to purchase homes.

The FHFA decided to raise the conforming loan limits due to rising home values. In most of the country, the 2018 maximum loan limit for one-unit properties will be $453,100. In high-cost areas like Santa Clara and San Mateo counties and most counties in the Bay Area, the cap will be $679,650. Maximum loan limits for 2018 are up in all but 71 counties or county equivalents in the U.S., according to the FHFA. For a list of the 2018 maximum loan limits for all counties and county-equivalent areas in the U.S. click here.

March 2018
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