The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) will be hosting a virtual trade mission to Silicon Valley on Thursday, August 12, from 5:30-7 p.m. Since international travel has not opened in all countries, many REALTOR® associations have found a virtual trade mission helpful for learning about other countries. Joining SILVAR’s virtual trade mission will be members of the Philippine Chamber of Real Estate & Builders Associations (CREBA), International REALTOR® Members (IRMs) and guests from other parts of the world.

Few people from the Philippines and other countries have been able to travel abroad and their country has been closed to foreigners due to the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic there. This virtual trade mission will give real estate agents a chance to learn about Silicon Valley’s housing market without having to physically travel here. It will also be an opportunity for SILVAR REALTORS® to network, get to know other agents from the Philippines and other countries, and build relationships.

SILVAR is the National Association of REALTORS®’ Ambassador Association to the Philippines and CREBA is SILVAR’s partner association there. The program also will be a good opportunity for SILVAR members to meet agents from the Philippines and other countries and expand their real estate business globally.

The program agenda will include:

  • Welcome address by SILVAR Global Business Council Chair Atsuko Yube
     
  • Aculist Senior Product Marketing Manager Michelle Ronco will provide the latest update on the local housing market and places that are especially hot.
     
  • MLSListings Director of Outreach Mark Messimer will educated IRMs on functions of a multiple listings service since the Philippines and many other countries do not have the service.
     
  • SILVAR President Joanne Fraser will educate guests on how real estate transactions are conducted in Silicon Valley.
     
  • NAR Global Ambassador to the Philippines Vicky Silvano will speak on how IRMs can collaborate with SILVAR REALTORS® in the global marketplace, including the benefits of a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation.
  • Small breakout sessions will give attendees the opportunity to network, get to know each other, and build relationships.

For more information about the virtual trade mission, contact rmeily@silvar.org.

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The California Association of REALTORS® is providing members with FAQs and other documents that contain information members need to properly conduct business after the statewide reopening on Tuesday, June 15. While business will be easier to conduct after June 15, there are still some protocols that will apply, including those concerning groups where there are non-vaccinated individuals present.

C.A.R. has created an extensive and detailed new Q&A and Quick Guide to ensure that members are in compliance and well-informed with the new rules likely going into effect, including changes for open houses and showings. The Q&A addresses the following issues:

  • Physical distancing and cleaning requirements
  • Posting rules of entry
  • PEADs and other sign-in requirements
  • Wearing of masks 
  • Requiring proof of vaccination and/or negative COVID test results
  • Addressing claims of medical and religious exemptions to wearing masks
  • Conducting door knocking activities
  • Distributing flyers 
  • Reopening offices

C.A.R. encourages all California REALTOR® members to read the new Q&A and Quick Guide. Additionally, C.A.R. recently held a webinar addressing the reopening. A recording is available here.

This is still a dynamic situation, and more guidance may be issued from the state prior to June 15. In the meantime, staff at the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® will continue being available to serve members by phone, email and appointment for keys and lockboxes and store purchases. Information on reopening will be forthcoming.

SILVAR will continue to communicate new information from C.A.R. about the state’s reopening that may impact your business and update the FAQ as necessary. In the meantime, please check C.A.R.’s COVID website for FAQs and other important information.

June is National Homeownership Month, a time of year when housing advocates highlight the importance of homeownership and its impact upon the lives of American families, local neighborhoods, and the national economy. The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) and its nearly 5,000 members engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay are staunch advocates for homeownership and homeowners in Silicon Valley.

“Homeownership is an investment in the community,” said SILVAR President Joanne Fraser. “When more people own homes, everyone benefits. For most American families, their home is their largest investment. Homeownership builds wealth and serves as the cornerstone of health and security.”

Homeownership provides tax advantages and the opportunity to build equity. Moreover, homeownership provides social benefits for families and communities. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, homeowners move far less frequently than renters, making it easier to build community networks and support systems. This results in more stability for families, better school performance by children living in owned homes, a higher rate of high school graduation and higher earning, better physical, psychological and emotional health outcomes, a higher membership in voluntary organizations, and greater social interaction in their communities.

Fraser noted during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, having a home became more important to many families than ever before. “The home became a place to live and work as many companies allowed their employees to work from home. This ultimately contributed to the state’s current housing market boom.”

At a recent market data presentation for local associations, California Association of REALTORS® Vice President and Chief Economist Jordan Levine said the state’s housing market boom is a double-edged sword. Levine indicated California is the second worst state for overcrowded housing and fifth lowest homeowner vacancy ratio in the nation.

In April, California’s median price hit over $8 million. Levine said while good for sellers, this has impacted housing affordability. “Buyers are falling farther and farther behind.”

Fraser is hopeful additional help may be on the way. “The state senate’s ‘Building Opportunities for All’ housing package is expected to help expedite building of more housing, create jobs and stimulate economic development projects. President Joe Biden’s First Down Payment Homebuyer Tax Credit proposal could be significant in aiding first-time homebuyers. With home prices rising higher than ever, any down payment assistance helps families looking to buy.”

Since the California Department of Public Health updated its guidance on open houses, the California Association of REALTORS® announced changes to open house protocols and has created new forms and a Quick Guide to help REALTOR® members:

Forms: C.A.R. has simplified and shortened the Rules of Entry (PRE) and Preventive Plan (BPPP) and created the PSI sign-in form as an alternative to PEADS. There also is an addendum to the listing agreement LOHA reflecting the changed protocols. This form is necessary if the parties had previously signed the RLA-CAA, which did not allow for open houses. The RLA-CAA was revised to reflect the new guidance, including open houses. New listings should continue to utilize this addendum to reflect the current issues.

PEADS: The PEADS have been combined and simplified into one shorter PEAD-ALL that is available if members prefer to use them instead of on-site sign-in protocols.

See the new Quick Guide for more details.

The newly revised forms PRE, BPPP, PEAD and RLA-CAA, as well as the new Property Sign-in form PSI and the new Listing Addendum LOHA, are available on zipForm. The PDFs of each of these forms are also available HERE.

C.A.R. anticipates further announcements impacting real estate showings of all kinds and will communicate any relevant changes as quickly as possible. While San Mateo and Santa Clara counties are following the state’s updated guidelines, please remember to adhere to local guidelines that may be stricter in other areas.

With coronavirus cases dropping and more Californians vaccinated, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has amended industry guidance for real estate to allow in-person showings and open houses. Showings must be in accordance with state restrictions on public gatherings and follow face coverings and contact tracing protocols. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 must not attend and physical distancing between households must be maintained. Hand sanitizer and other cleaning protocols must also be followed.

All other restrictions in the state real estate guidance are still currently in place, as well as workplace protocols showing employees and customers that a risk reduction plan is in place. The California Association of REALTORS® will be releasing additional guidance in the coming days and working with CDPH to clarify remaining questions.

Currently, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties are following state protocols. If any additional restrictions are announced locally, SILVAR will provide updates.

See the following updates:
California Department of Public Health Industry Guidance

Real Estate Industry Required Checklist

Guidance for Gatherings

C.A.R. UPDATE: CA Public Health Dept. Allows Open Houses

Santa Clara County COVID-19 Updates

San Mateo County COVID-19 Updates

During last week’s Legislative Day, California Association of REALTORS® Senior VP for Governmental Affairs and Chief Lobbyist Sanjay Wagle said REALTORS® cut across party lines and their power lies in member involvement.

“The bottom line is your participation is vital,” Wagle told REALTORS®. “Our power is in your involvement, your response to Red Alerts, your decision-making, your contributions.”

Wagle indicated in the 1960s, the median price was three times the average income; today, it is seven times the average income. The main reason is housing is not being built at the rate needed.

“It is vital that we make homeownership not some sort of a rich person’s privilege or a software engineer’s privilege, but once again a normal part of California middle class life. The solution as we all know is supply,” said Wagle.

Wagle briefed members on two hot issues to take to their legislators: OPPOSE ACA 7, the anti-housing constitutional amendment, which undoes the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act and allows for radical rent control and guts laws that create housing; and SUPPORT SB 6, which makes it easier and quicker to convert unused commercial property to residential housing.

SILVAR members did just that when they met virtually with Assembly members Marc Berman (CA Assembly District 24) and Evan Low (CA Assembly District 28), and Senators Dave Cortese (CA Senate District 15) and Josh Becker (CA Senate District 13). The legislators said they understand the critical need for housing but indicated legislators in other parts of the state do not see it the same way.

READ MORE HERE

The first-ever virtual California Association of REALTORS® Legislative Day kicked off on April 27 with welcome remarks from 2021 President Dave Walsh, 2021 President-elect Otto Catrina and other C.A.R. officials who underlined the urgency of increasing the state’s housing supply and addressing barriers to homeownership.

“Closing the homeownership gap is essential to closing the generational wealth gap in our country,” said Walsh.

California Governor Gavin Newsom addressed REALTORS® and lamented that the twin crises of housing affordability and homelessness have dominated state’s political conversations for decades, even before the pandemic. While the state has made great strides with Projects Roomkey and Homekey, Newsom said there is still a lot more to do.

“At the end of the day, the fundamental truth is we need to simply build more housing at all income levels,” said Newsom.

Newsom indicated this can only be done by a combination of subsidies, political will, and a dose of accountability across the spectrum. “I consider the REALTORS® key partners in this work.”

The Governor thanked REALTORS® for their partnership and said he looked forward to pushing the pandemic behind so the state could reset its key priorities to solve the housing and homeless crises.

There were also greetings from California’s Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (CA Senate District 39), Assemblywoman Blanca E. Rubio (CA Assembly District 48) and California State Senate minority leader Scott Wilk (CA Senate District 21), who pledged their commitment to housing for all.

“The pandemic has now intensified the need for housing affordability, access and opportunity,” said Atkins.

Rubio related her personal story as an immigrant and said it has given her a genuine understanding of the daily struggles and barriers immigrants and working families face. She pledged support for immigrant families, small businesses and their workers.

Wilk underlined the need to make California a safe and affordable place to call home for generations to come. He said he worries his own children cannot afford to live in California. “This is a very real problem that affects every single California family… REALTORS® can make a difference in meeting the housing challenge.”

Legislative Day gave members an opportunity to meet virtually with their legislators and discussed C.A.R. hot issues (see article in Government Affairs). Later C.A.R. CEO Joel Singer interviewed political columnist Dan Walters. Walters analyzed Governor Newsom’s handling of the pandemic and shared his own views on state politics and the future of California’s housing situation and economy.

READ MORE HERE

The 2021 SILVAR Leadership Academy opened strong last week, with U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo addressing 40 participants and guests. SILVAR President Joanne Fraser delivered the opening remarks and SILVAR Board Director Suzanne Yost, chair of the Leadership Academy steering committee, led the program.

In her talk to members, Eshoo said in the past year the Bay Area housing market has remained strong, but the shortage of supply and rising prices have deeply impacted housing affordability, changing the composition and identity of our local communities and forcing many people to leave the area in search of more affordable places to live. She fears if nothing is done, the state will be viewed as a place where only the wealthiest can live.

Eshoo said solutions to the severe housing affordability problem can only come from a partnership of federal, state, and local governments working in cooperation with non-profits and the private sector. Congress plays an important role in this partnership by providing federal funding to build new housing and protect the existing supply of affordable housing, and through incentives in the tax code and programs that strengthen affordable housing.

As an advocate of housing, Eshoo said she has been able to pass 50 bills under four presidents due to her leadership philosophy of building coalitions and generating consensus to support legislation. She stressed the importance of REALTOR® advocacy, which she said has always supported her and shaped her legislative work. She values input from REALTORS® and noted of all groups that come to D.C., REALTORS® are the best prepared.

“The meetings are rich for me. Your advocacy informs my work,” said Eshoo.

The Congresswoman thanked SILVAR members and noted she is deeply grateful for REALTORS®’ support. “Thank you for all your magnificent support all these years. Our relationship has always been a great source of pride for me. You really mean a great deal to me.”

An impressive lineup of speakers followed Eshoo. They included Sydney Barron, NAR Director of Governmental Advocacy; Sanjay Wagle, C.A.R. Senior VP for Governmental Affairs and Chief Lobbyist; John Scribner, C.A.R. Manager of Public Policy; Matthew Gelfand, attorney for Californians for Homeownership; 2008 SILVAR President Leannah Hunt; and SILVAR Government Affairs Director Ryan Carrigan.

The NAR and C.A.R. senior staff presented an overview of the structure of REALTOR® advocacy and explained each of their roles in lobbying at the federal and state level. TBarron said REALTORS® are a powerful force and NAR is seen as a valuable resource in shaping government policy.

“Our power and our strength is our members,” said Wagle. He said Red Alerts are especially powerful and get the attention of legislators.

READ MORE HERE

The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® is launching the 2021 SILVAR Leadership Academy. The sessions will start in April and is open to all REALTOR® members of the association who are interested in learning more about how they can make a difference in real estate and grow in their professional and personal lives.

The SILVAR Leadership Academy will be an intensive six-month program. Participants will learn about the REALTOR® association structure of SILVAR, the California Association of REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS®, fair housing and implicit bias in real estate, and how local, state and national legislation affects their business and their clients. They will receive “hands-on” training on communicating and conducting meetings effectively, networking with other real estate professionals, resolving conflict situations and building consensus.

The leadership academy is the second part of a Diversity & Inclusion grant which SILVAR has received from NAR. In February the local trade association completed the first part of the grant with a program that focused on “Faces & Voices of Leadership in Real Estate.” The event featured a panel of past and present leaders of multicultural real estate associations and key speakers Santa Clara County Supervisor Otto Lee and Bay East Realtor and community leader Mony Nop. Discussions focused on their leadership roles and experiences.

Joanne Fraser, president of SILVAR, said NAR is working to ensure REALTORS® are active leaders in the fight against bias and discrimination. Last year, NAR began implementing the fair housing “ACT” plan, – which emphasizes Accountability, Culture Change, and Training. As a part of this plan, NAR released a new interactive training platform – Fairhaven – designed to help combat discrimination in the real estate market. In addition, NAR developed an implicit bias training video with strategies to help Realtors override biases in their daily interactions.

“SILVAR is committed to fair housing for all. The Leadership Academy is in step with our goal of inclusion and diversity in housing and within our association,” said Fraser.

The sessions are scheduled for April 15, May 20, June 17, July 15, August 19, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Additionally, participants will be required to attend C.A.R.’s annual Legislative Day.

There is no cost to attend the leadership academy, but attendance in all sessions is required in order to graduate. “If you are interested in learning more about being a volunteer on a committee or district council, this is for you. If you are interested in becoming a better volunteer, this is for you. If you are a member of a SILVAR committee or district council, this is for you,” said Suzanne Yost, who is coordinating the Leadership Academy. Yost is a past SILVAR president and currently chairs SILVAR’s Professional Standards Committee.

SILVAR REALTORS® may access an application to join the program at www.silvar.org. They can also contact Yost at suzanneyost.realtor@gmail.com.

“Faces & Voices of Leadership in Real Estate” held February 25 by the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® featured Santa Clara County Supervisor Otto Lee and East Bay REALTOR® Mony Nop, as key speakers, and a panel of leaders from Silicon Valley multicultural real estate associations. They included Chika Mori, 2021 president of the Asian Real Estate Association of America; Mark Taylan, 2021 president of the Filipino American Real Estate Professional Association; Dexter Lat, past president of the Chinese American Real Estate Association; Hilda Ramirez, co-founder of the National Hispanic Organization of Real Estate Associates; Paige Nguyen, 2021 president of the Vietnamese National Association of Real Estate Professionals; and Ketan Jashapara, 2021 president of the Residential Real Estate Council.

The panelists, featured first, discussed their respective leadership roles and views and experiences with diversity and inclusion in real estate. Nguyen said as a leader she has learned “when everyone comes together for the same purpose, we can do great things.”

Taylan said the biggest challenge for all leaders is devoting time to volunteer, but indicated it is worth it. Mori said she is able to meet many amazing real estate professionals, which has helped her be a better REALTOR® and leader.

Lat said leadership has opened many opportunities for his business. Ramirez added it is not enough to get involved with one organization, that being involved with many opens more doors. She said leadership is time consuming, but emphasized, “You get double what you put into it.”

“Real estate professionals from diverse backgrounds have more in common with each other than they realize. Leadership roles develop professional skills, professional networks, enable us to represent our communities, have a voice and, above all, make a difference,” said Jashapara.

The panelists said while leaders from different ethnicities may have to overcome cultural difficulties at the start, they learn to grow. When program participants were polled on whether they felt excluded in association events because of their race or ethnicity, 3 percent said yes and 97 percent said no.

Nop and Lee, both immigrants who came from troubled countries, were able to adapt and succeed in America. A survivor of Cambodia’s Killing Fields, Nop related how he would root through dumpsters at the age of six eating rats and other animals to keep from starving.

“You name it, I’ve eaten it,” said Nop.

Arriving in California from a refugee camp in the Philippines, Nop soon thrived. He served 17 years as a Livermore police officer, then became a REALTOR® and community leader. He is a recipient of the National Association of REALTORS® Good Neighbor award.

READ MORE HERE

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