Members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® joined 2,500 California REALTORS® in Sacramento on May 1 for the California Association of REALTORS® annual Legislative Day. This year’s theme, “Homeownership Matters,” was evident in the speeches of REALTOR® officials and politicians, and in discussions the REALTORS® had with their respective legislators.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the special guest speaker at the morning briefing, said California is experiencing a “crisis moment, a crisis of confidence and a crisis of affordability.”

Newsom is deeply committed to address the housing issue and he wants to build 300,000 to 400,000 units on an annual basis. “Let us not forget that we are better off when we’re all better off,” said Newsom.

State Senator Scott Wiener, author of SB 50, the Housing Development Incentives bill, told REALTORS® at a luncheon that today’s zoning laws, crafted over 50 years ago, are outdated. Wiener said his legislation is about people and people’s lives.

In their meetings with state Senators Jim Beall and Jerry Hill, and Assemblymembers Marc Berman and Evan Low, Silicon Valley REALTORS® asked them to support the REALTOR® position on the following bills:

Vote YES on AB 1590 (Rubio) – First-Time Low- and Moderate-Income Homebuyer Tax Credit for Disadvantaged Communities. C.A.R. is sponsoring this bill which creates a first-time homebuyer tax credit for low- and moderate-income individuals and families purchasing a home in a disadvantaged community. AB 1590 allocates $50 million for first-time homebuyers who have never owned a principal residence; who earn 120 percent or less of the area median income; and who are purchasing a home in a disadvantaged community. The tax credit would be equal to 3 percent of the purchase price of the home or $5,000, whichever is less.

Vote YES on SB 50 (Wiener) – Housing Development Incentives. C.A.R. is co-sponsoring this bill which seeks to authorize the implementation of transit-rich housing project bonuses for new urban developments, so families can afford to live within the communities in which they work. SB 50 encourages the development of mid-rise, multi-family unit, housing construction with close, walkable access to bus and rail transit. Residential developments may only obtain a “height” bonus if they meet local planning, zoning and design requirements. Local governments may approve higher-density housing, with reduced or eliminated parking requirements, provided the site is adjacent to transit or near jobs.

Vote No on SB 329 (Mitchell) – Mandatory Section 8. C.A.R. is opposing this bill which forces all residential rental property owners to participate in all government assistance and housing subsidy programs, such as the Section 8 housing program, by entering into a legally binding contract with a government agency. This bill forces all landlords into contracts whose provisions they may not be able to fulfill. C.A.R. says the bill does not fix the underlying problems with Section 8. Since housing authorities are understaffed, it can take as long as 60 days before all applications are submitted, inspections made, and contracts signed. During that time, the unit sits vacant at a substantial loss to the landlord.

All staunch proponents of housing, the legislators thanked the REALTORS® for their support and advocacy. They called on REALTORS® and others to stand up and speak louder about the need for housing “because the other side is so loud.”

Low said he has received sharp, mean-spirited backlash from those who oppose his pro-housing stance, some even demanding his recall, but he is not wavering. “Oftentimes we need to speak truth to the powerful. I feel very strongly about this. It’s important to make courageous decisions,” said Low.

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The California Association of REALTORS® has announced its sponsorship of legislation intended to help first-time, low- and moderate-income home buyers in disadvantaged communities. AB 1590, authored by Assembly Member Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), would create a targeted tax credit to help working families achieve their goal of homeownership. This legislation is especially timely, given the tight housing market.

“REALTORS® are sponsoring AB 1590 to help make the dream of homeownership a reality for low- and moderate-income Californians in disadvantaged communities,” said C.A.R. president Jared Martin in a statement. “Asm. Rubio’s bill specifically targets regions of the state that will benefit most from increasing the homeownership rate and is an important part of California’s overall fight to beat the housing affordability crisis.”

AB 1590 allocates $50 million to provide a tax credit to first-time homebuyers who meet specific criteria, which include that the homebuyer must have never owned a home previously; must earn 120 percent or less of area median income; and must purchase a home in a state-designated disadvantaged community. Current law identifies disadvantaged communities as areas with, among other things, concentrations of low-income individuals and families facing high housing costs.

Qualified first-time homebuyers who purchase a home between January 1, 2020 and January 1, 2023, will receive a tax credit of up to $5,000. The tax credit will help these first-time homebuyers cover unanticipated costs associated with homeownership. AB 1590 will first be heard in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee on April 29.

“AB 1590’s targeted tax credit helps Californians who need it most,” said Martin. “It creates a pathway to homeownership for people who are currently priced out of the market. It gives working families an opportunity to build wealth and can lift entire communities across the state.”

Alan Barbic, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, indicated, “During his State of the State speech earlier this year, Gov. Gavin Newsom said, ‘If we want a California for all, we have to build housing for all.’ REALTORS® pledge to work with the governor and legislature to make sure all Californians can achieve the American dream of homeownership.”

Barbic said state legislators have advanced a number of bills to help solve the housing crisis. AB 1590 is one of several bills that the California Association of REALTORS® is sponsoring.

“We need to address the affordability problem in order to keep our middle class families here. AB 1590 will help our skilled and service workers, our teachers, the bedrock of our state, achieve their dream of homeownership and remain in the state,” said Barbic.

On May 1, over 2,000 California REALTORS® from across the state will travel to Sacramento to the meet with their state senators and assembly members to discuss this and other housing-related bills. Members of the local trade association are scheduled to meet with State Senators Jim Beall and Jerry Hill, and Assembly Members Evan Low and Marc Berman.

According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2019 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends, one in six Gen Xers purchased a multi-generational home, with 52 percent of those Gen X buyers indicating they did because their adult children have either moved back or never left home.

“The high cost of rent and lack of affordable housing inventory is sending adult children back to their parents’ homes either out of necessity or an attempt to save money,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

The study, which evaluates the generational differences of recent homebuyers and sellers, found older millennials have more similarities with Gen Xers and younger boomers, as this group also appears to be leaning toward the purchase of a multi-generational home. Older millennials who bought a multi-generational home (9 percent) were most likely to do so in order to take care of aging parents (33 percent), or to spend more time with those parents (30 percent).

Gen X typically refers to the group born between the mid-60s and early 1980s. Gen Y, also known as millennials, refers to the group born between the mid-1980s and 2000. Millennials as whole account for the largest share of buyers, at 37 percent. Gen Xers account to 26 percent of buyers.

Alan Barbic, president of the Silicon Valley Association ofREALTORS®, is seeing these trends in the Bay Area. “With rents rising and housing affordability challenging, we are seeing families moving in together and seeing it as an advantage,” says Barbic. “Parents want to help their children save so they can someday afford their own home. Older millennials want to take care of their parents. Some bookended boomers are helping their children on one end and their parents on the other.”

Barbic adds, “Many municipalities are now easing restrictions allowing secondary units to be built on single-family residential properties, which helps families and alleviates the growing lack of housing at the same time. These reasons also point to the family unit being important to many Americans.”

Interestingly, downsizing to a smaller home is not currently common among any of the generations. The study speculates Gen Xers and boomers who may have been interested in downsizing could have been hindered by a lack of smaller inventory; or may have been impeded by the increase in multi-generational living to accommodate the needs of adult children and aging parents.

The survey also reveals buyers and sellers across all age groups (87 percent) continue to seek the assistance of a real estate agent when buying and selling a home. “Help understanding the buying process” was cited as the top benefit younger millennials said their agent provided.

April is National Fair Housing Month and reminds every American that all persons have equal access to housing and that fair housing is not an option; it is the law. The Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, protects people from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and family status.

The National Association of REALTORS® and civil rights groups are currently pressing Congress to pass the Equality Act, which adds sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics under the Fair Housing Act and all other federal laws. NAR amended its Code of Ethics to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in 2011 and gender identity in 2013.

Under the NAR REALTOR® Code of Ethics, REALTORS® cannot deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

A home seller or landlord cannot discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. They cannot instruct their real estate agent to convey any limitations in the sale or rental of their property.

Buyers or renters have the right to expect:

  • housing in their price range made available without discrimination
  • equal professional service
  • the opportunity to consider a broad range of housing choices
  • no discriminatory limitations on communities or locations of housing
  • no discrimination in the financing, appraising, or insuring of housing
  • reasonable accommodations in rules, practices and procedures for persons with disabilities
  • non-discriminatory terms and conditions for the sale, rental, financing, or insuring of a dwelling
  • freedom from harassment or intimidation for exercising their fair housing rights.

If you or your clients suspect discrimination, visit https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/ to file a complaint.

 

 

A Bankrate survey conducted Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2019 found nearly two-thirds, or 63 percent of millennial homeowners have regrets about buying their home. Overall, 44 percent of American homeowners have regrets about their home purchase, according to the survey.

The most common regret cited was not factoring in unexpected maintenance or hidden costs (18 percent). Other areas of regret included feeling the house was too small (12 percent), house was too big (5 percent); house was in a bad location (8 percent); house was a poor investment (7 percent); monthly mortgage payments were too high (7 percent); and mortgage rate was not the best available (6 percent).

A lot of regret stems from high expectations and being unprepared for the home buying process, said Alan Barbic, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors. “Purchasing a home is the most important decision a person can make. After spending a lot of money on the down payment, closing costs and other fees, it is likely to have an impact on a new homeowner,” said Barbic. “You can minimize buyer’s remorse by taking time to prepare for homeownership. It is not something you should rush into.”

Below are suggestions Barbic makes to take the trauma out of the home buying process:

  1. Find a professional and experienced Realtor with whom you are comfortable and trust. “Real estate is changing now that we have so much information at our finger tips. How we use that information is important. We have heard of many buyers who have made offers sight-unseen,” said Barbic. “You need a good agent whom you can trust, who knows the market and has experience handling the particular needs of homebuyers, whether it is identifying homes and neighborhoods, or negotiating for the best deal. Remember you are not just buying a home; you’re investing in your future.”

    2. Get pre-approved for a home loan right away.
    A preapproval letter sends a powerful message to the seller that you’re a serious qualified buyer and ready to go.

    3. Factor maintenance and repair costs into your budget.
    Even if you buy a new home, there will be some expenses that you did not expect.

    4. Accept that no house is ever perfect.
    Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house that you overlook issues like amenities, noise level, schools, or traffic that could have a big impact once you live in the home.

    5. Don’t get caught in a buying frenzy. Just because there is competition does not mean you should just buy anything. Even though you want to make your offer attractive, don’t neglect inspections that help ensure that your house is sound.

“Choose a home first because you love it, not solely for its future appreciation. A home’s most important function is to be a comfortable, safe place to live for you and your family,” said Barbic.

While many people know that a REALTOR® helps consumers buy and sell homes, not many know that a REALTOR® and a real estate agent are not the same. Last week, the National Association of REALTOR® (NAR) launched the “That’s Who We R” campaign that seeks to educate consumers on the difference and the value of a REALTOR®.

The term “REALTOR®” is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and abides by the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. More than just agents who help clients buy and sell homes, REALTORS® are advocates for property owners, engaged community members and trusted advisors with in-depth knowledge of the industry. The new NAR campaign features compelling stories about REALTORS® helping individuals and families find homes and property, build communities and turn their dreams into realities.

“Our story is a century in the making as we began to set NAR members apart from the rest by establishing a Code of Ethics in 1913. This code is as relevant now as it was one hundred years ago; it’s our pledge of honesty, integrity, professionalism and community service as a true partner for buying or selling a home, or property,” says John Smaby, NAR 2019 president. “’That’s Who We R®’ reinforces that partnering with a REALTOR®, delivers the peace of mind that can only come from working with a real person who is committed to their clients’ futures and neighborhoods just as much as they are.”

Founded in 1908, NAR has grown to be America’s largest trade association representing more than 1.3 million REALTORS® involved in residential and commercial real estate as brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors, and others who are engaged in all aspects of the real estate industry. Members belong to one or more of 1,700 local associations/boards and 54 state and territory associations of REALTORS®. Additionally, NAR provides a facility for professional development, research, and exchange of information among its members.

Alan Barbic, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, which has over 5,000 REALTOR® and affiliate members practicing real estate on the Peninsula and in the South Bay, says the REALTOR® pledge to a strict Code of Ethics and Standard of Practice raises the bar among real estate professionals.

“Today’s homebuyers and sellers deserve a real estate professional whom they can trust and who has their best interests at heart. The Code of Ethics goes beyond state licensing requirements and protects all parties to the real estate transaction, not just a REALTOR®’s client. If a local association of REALTORS® finds a REALTOR® member in violation of the Code of Ethics, disciplinary action can be imposed,” explains Barbic.

Barbic adds in order to maintain membership with NAR, SILVAR or any other local association of REALTORS®, NAR requires every REALTOR® to complete two and a half hours of Code of Ethics training every two years.

 

The California Association of REALTORS® is alerting members about a fraudulent email that has been sent to several REALTOR® members from around the state asking them to wire their delinquent REALTOR® 2019 dues. In these reported cases, the email with the subject line “2019 Dues Deadline – LAST CALL” came from a yahoo.com email address.

If you have received such a message, please DO NOT respond to it. It is likely that the sender is phishing for your financial information, or seeking information for other phishing attempts later.

Valid emails regarding your dues should come from your REALTOR® Association’s email address. If you have paid your 2019 dues, please completely disregard the spam email. If you have not paid your 2019 dues, or are not sure if you have, please contact your REALTOR® Association.

According to the Chinese calendar, 2019 is the Year of the Earth Pig, and unlike last year’s Year of the Earth or Mountain Dog, which was a year of highs and lows, market volatility, political and economic chaos and protectionism, the Year of the Earth Pig will bring a progressive business climate, more compromise and concessions. Unlike the Mountain Dog that doesn’t back off, the Earth Pig is gentle, cherishes friendships, takes responsibility seriously and is willing to compromise, according to prominent astrologer, fortune teller and Feng Shui Master Y.C. Sun.

Sun told members of the Silicon Valley Association REALTORS® that this year will bring an energy change that will impact people’s behavior and thinking. People will tend to make a change, such as relocation, job change, commute or go abroad for job or travel.

Investments will increase as will company mergers, buyouts, joint ventures or expansions. This year will be good for real estate as inventory will increase. Parents will encourage and help their high-tech, healthcare and MBA children buy their first home or upgrade to more ideal homes. The market should experience a temporary rejuvenation and home sales activity should pick up by June.

Sun said this year will be a productive year for real estate, but also a critical year which could define the next three years for agents. This year agents need to show their value. Also, because the pig likes to compromise, expect subprime mortgages to surface, but they will be better structured than in the past.

Sun predicts an end to the U.S.-China trade war, with a final deal struck in June. He predicts President Trump will do well, especially in the first two weeks of March, though clashes between him and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will continue. Sun explained Pelosi, born in 1940, is a Dragon, and Trump, born in 1946, is a Dog. Dogs and Dragons clash in the Chinese Zodiac and can’t tolerate each other.

Jobs and businesses in demand this year are information technology, software and high tech hardware engineers, data scientists, drug production, particularly in cannabis and health care. There will be intense competition in the restaurant business, in electronics, computers, solar energy, entertainment.

Sun predicts the economy will start to stabilize in late August. The stock market will still be volatile, but there will be signs of rejuvenation in mid-August.

The pig can also be naïve and believe in easy money schemes. “Remember that there is no free money,” warned Sun.

The Feng Shui master and astrologer added this year people should avoid overindulging on high fat, high cholesterol foods and junk food. Health problems could revolve around the spleen, kidney, intestines, eczema, gastroenterology, urinary tract, reproductive organs, cold, flu, and swine fever virus.

 

The 20th annual Silicon Valley REALTORS® Scholars Program for graduating seniors from 18 public high schools in Silicon Valley is under way. The scholars program is sponsored by the Charitable Foundation Trust of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR), a professional trade organization representing over 5,000 Realtors and affiliate members engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay.

The Silicon Valley REALTORS® Scholars Program is a partnership with local high schools in the region. Principals and faculty at 18 participating public high schools nominate three exceptional graduating seniors. The program awards a $1,000 scholarship to one nominee from each school in recognition of their exemplary record, outstanding academic performance and community spirit. Since it started, the program has awarded $342,000 to graduating students in Silicon Valley.

The scholars from the class of 2019 will be selected from high schools in the communities served by members of SILVAR. Final selections will be made by a committee that includes representatives from the local business community, area high schools, area colleges and the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®.

“Silicon Valley REALTORS® are very proud of our excellent schools. They are a major reason why Silicon Valley is a top housing market,” said Nina Yamaguchi, chair of the scholars program of the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation. “The annual Silicon Valley REALTORS® Scholars Program is an opportunity for our members to show our support for our schools and thank the students, teachers, administrators and school board members in our communities for their hard work and dedication in making the schools in our communities among the best in California and in the nation.”

The participating schools are Leigh High School and Lynbrook High School in San Jose; Westmont High School in Campbell; Fremont High School in Sunnyvale; Los Altos High School in Los Altos; Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos; Gunn High School and Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto; Menlo-Atherton High School in Atherton; Santa Clara High School and Wilcox High School in Santa Clara; Cupertino High School, Homestead High School and Monta Vista High School in Cupertino; Prospect High School and Saratoga High School in Saratoga; Mountain View High School in Mountain View; and Woodside High School in Woodside.

The scholarship is open to graduating seniors from the above-mentioned high schools who plan on attending a four-year college or university. Information about the scholarships, including requirements and applications, may be obtained from the respective schools’ guidance or career counselors.

The completed application must be returned to the high school’s counselor by Monday, March 4, for submission to the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation. For further information, please contact Nina Yamaguchi at (408) 861-8822 or nyamaguchi@cbnorcal.com.

SILVAR members recognized.

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A REALTOR® for over four decades, Phyllis Carmichael has achieved so much for the Association in many different roles. She is pictured here with 2018 SILVAR president Bill Moody and Executive Officer Paul Cardus.

A highlight of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® Installation Gala last night was the presentation of the 2018 Recognition Awards by SILVAR 2018 President Bill Moody and Executive Officer Paul Cardus. The awards recognize certain members for their valuable contributions to the Association last year.

Moody first thanked his fellow board members and committee chairs for their support last year. He said it has been a privilege to serve SILVAR’s membership as president.

Recognized for their outstanding contributions were:
2018 REALTOR® of the Year: Phyllis Carmichael (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage)
The announcement of REALTOR® of the Year was met with loud applause and cheers. Moody described Phyllis Carmichael as a REALTOR® “who brings forward the best in any board or committee on which they serve.” Moody said Carmichael’s ability to build consensus while pursuing the bold path forward is a hallmark of her decades of service.

A REALTOR® for over four decades, Carmichael has achieved so much for the Association in many different roles. As director, president and treasurer, at the California Association of REALTORS®, on issues ranging from political to governance to financial, she has shared her tremendous expertise with SILVAR and its members.

“Through strong and calm leadership, always with a twinkle and a smile, even in tense moments, she created and grew our Association,” said Moody. “She is sharp, skilled and effective. She is our happy warrior.”

2018 Affiliate of the Year: Audrey Hutton (Hutton Mortgage Team)
The Affiliate of the Year is someone through his or her actions has unequivocally embraced and adopted the principles, goals, and purposes of the Association. Moody said Audrey Hutton “has proven to be a dedicated workhorse and a great proponent of our Association.” He noted Hutton’s firm provides mortgage services in a timely manner with great attention to detail for SILVAR’s REALTOR® members and their clients. He praised her professional support for all SILVAR programs across the Association, with a particular dedication to her home district, Los Gatos-Saratoga.

“Her willingness to help where needed enhances the image of our Association and our REALTOR® and affiliated professional members,” said Moody.

READ MORE HERE

May 2019
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