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Buying property in Silicon Valley makes perfect sense, according to Referral Realty broker Moise Nahouraii. Nahouraii recently showed SILVAR members why.

Nahouraii said in addition to the advantages of historic low mortgage interest rates, low home prices and high rents, property appreciates in Silicon Valley three times more than anywhere else in the state. The top three industries leading the country out of the recession are high tech, energy and medical industries, which all exist in Silicon Valley.

“Land here is gold!” exclaimed Nahouraii.

Additionally, in a survey of Silicon Valley CEOs, 84 percent considered housing as a top problem in the region; 67 percent said the cost of housing was one the most pressing challenges. Majority of respondents want government to approve more affordable housing.

This is the best time to invest in real estate in Silicon Valley because rents are rising because of high demand due to foreclosures, short sales, unemployment, damaged credit, loss of stocks, increased debt, stringent loan qualifications by lenders, lack of down payment for a home, etc. Nahouraii showed bargain properties on the MLS and illustrated how purchasing a single-family home (self-managed) and multi-unit property (self-managed) could generate a positive cash flow for an investor.

“Investment should carry itself because you could lose your job tomorrow. You have the most stability in Silicon Valley than anywhere else,” said Nahouraii.

Silicon Valley REALTORS® continue to learn as much as they can about today’s market and what to expect in the coming months. Dr. Robert Kleinhenz, California Association of REALTORS® Deputy Chief Economist, will give Silicon Valley REALTORS® information on “What’s Ahead for Our Real Estate Market” at SILVAR’s annual Economic Seminar and General Membership Meeting on Thursday, November 3, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Computer History Museum, 1401 North Shoreline Blvd. in Mountain View.

Dr. Kleinhenz manages C.A.R.’s research and economics department, which gathers and publishes information on the California housing market, and conducts survey research of consumers and C.A.R. members. He has a Doctorate in Economics from the University of Southern California and regularly speaks to local, state and national audiences.

It will be interesting to have Dr. Kleinhenz highlight a number of national, statewide and local real estate issues that are shaping our market environment today.

What do some of the region’s brokers have to say about 2011 and what to expect for 2012?

On a panel at Tuesday’s SILVAR Menlo Park/Atherton District meeting were brokers of the larger real estate companies – Mike James (Coldwell Banker), Maureen Barker (Keller Williams), Larry Klapow (Intero Real Estate Services) and Don Faught (Alain Pinel Realtors). They told SILVAR REALTORS® that compared to other markets, the Bay Area is doing quite well.

“You are definitely very, very fortunate,” Faught told Silicon Valley’s REALTORS®. “California is on sale … Interest rates are great, money is free.”

Yet, consumers hesitate. The brokers said the biggest challenges facing consumers are uncertainty about the future, the lack of jobs or fear they may not have a job in the future, and difficulty meeting strict loan requirements. Klapow said there is a “crisis of confidence.” People are nervous about the future and those who want to purchase homes are having a difficult time getting a loan. Barker said people are feeling so much uncertainty about the future that even with lower home prices and interest rates, they won’t act.

Asked about the role of the Internet and technology in real estate, James said consumers today have access to so much information, and it is the REALTOR®s job “to make sense of the information and educate them.” 

“Technology helps facilitate what we need, but we need to get in touch with consumers and each other,” said Faught.

The brokers spoke about the importance of social media. “Social media is here to stay,” declared Barker. “Real estate is going to be transacted differently, especially by the next generation. … It’s a vehicle to help build who we are, but you need to get smart about how you do it. It’s about creating relationships and being in touch.”

The brokers also discussed the benefits of participating in organized real estate. James noted, “The more involved you are, the better you will be. There are benefits to staying connected and networking with your peers.”

“It is important to have a voice in our industry in Washington,” stressed Klapow.

“We need to be involved,” said Faught, who is California Association of REALTORS®’ treasurer and 2012 president-elect. “If we are not involved in politics, there won’t be an industry.”

How should agents prepare for 2012?

James believes 2012 will be a lot like 2011. “If you don’t like 2011, then you need to change what you are doing, put more effort and reach out to all areas,” said James. “Retool, revamp or you will slip.”

“Mindset is number one. You need to have the right mindset,” said Barker. “Now is a great opportunity to focus on what you love to do, find the right niche, use your gifts, sharpen your area of expertise, take classes, learn more about social media, and video blogging, challenge yourselves to stay up with it.”

“Remain relevant. Filter through information and apply to each client’s unique situation. Find new and fresh things, show your true value,” said Klapow.

Faught said, “We are affected by what we know. During the slow time, work on yourselves. Our value is educating consumers. We need to work ourselves so we can work the data and help consumers understand it.”

Borrowers who are current on their home loans may be able to refinance for lower interest rates, even if they are seriously upside down. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced on Monday that it will broaden the scope of the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) by removing the current 125 percent loan-to-value cap for fixed-rate mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Other program enhancements include, among other things, reducing certain fees, eliminating the need for a new property appraisal if the FHFA has a reliable automated valuation model (AVM) estimate, and extending HARP until the end of 2013. New federal guidelines for the HARP changes should be released to mortgage lenders and servicers by November 15.

The basic eligibility requirements for an enhanced HARP loan are as follows:

• Existing mortgage loan must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Check here here to see whether a borrower has a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan.

• Existing mortgage loan must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac before June 1, 2009.

• Existing mortgage loan cannot have been refinanced under HARP previously (except for Fannie Mae loans refinanced between March and May 2009).

• Current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be more than 80 percent.

• Existing mortgage loan must be current, with no late payments in the past six months, and no more than one late payment in the past 12 months.

 

Late Thursday evening, the Senate voted 60-38 to pass an amendment introduced by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA). The amendment would restore the FHA and GSE Loan Limits to the levels prior to September 30.

The amendment is included in the Treasury, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill that also passed the Senate. While this is a victory for REALTORS®, this amendment has a long way to go to be approved in the House or during a conference between the House and Senate.

REALTOR® and affiliate members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® will hold their annual Economic Seminar and General Membership Meeting on Thursday, Nov. 3, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Computer History Museum, 1401 North Shoreline Blvd. in Mountain View. Dr. Robert Kleinhenz, California Association of REALTORS® Deputy Chief Economist, will be the guest speaker and give members information on “What’s Ahead for Our Real Estate Market.”

Dr. Kleinhenz manages C.A.R.’s research and economics department, which gathers and publishes information on the California housing market, and conducts survey research of consumers and C.A.R. members. He has a Doctorate in Economics from the University of Southern California and regularly speaks to local, state and national audiences.

Silicon Valley REALTORS® are looking forward to having Dr. Kleinhenz highlight national, statewide and local real estate issues that are shaping our market environment today. This is a member only event.

 

District Chair Doug Evans is pictured here with Debbie Burkholder, assistant director of the Lucile Packard Foundation Children’s Fund.

SILVAR’s Los Gatos/Saratoga District presented $2,000 to the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health at the district’s tour meeting on Wednesday. District Chair Doug Evans presented the donation to Debbie Burkholder, assistant director of the Lucile Packard Foundation Children’s Fund.

The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health works in alignment with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and the child health programs of Stanford University. The donation from the district is earmarked to support research in Ewing sarcoma, a malignant bone tumor that affects children.

Ewing sarcoma as a devastating cancer that can occur any time during childhood and young adulthood, but usually develops during puberty, when bones are growing rapidly. This type of cancer usually strikes between the ages of 10 and 20, and occurs more frequently among male teen-agers.

The donation is part of the proceeds from the Los Gatos/Saratoga District Charity Golf Tournament, held in July at the Cinnabar Hills Golf Club in San Jose. The event raised $7,000 for charity. The remainder of the proceeds will be presented by the district to the following local non-profit groups at its upcoming tour meetings: Los Gatos Education Foundation, $2,000; Los Gatos Community Foundation, $1,500; Los Gatos Public Library, $1,000; and Operation Reindeer, $500.

Team 408 included REALTORS® from the Cupertino/Sunnyvale and Los Gatos/Saratoga districts. They are pictured here with their Affiliates, who cheered them on.

A co-ed softball game pitting Team 650 (REALTOR® members of SILVAR’s Menlo Park/Atherton, Palo Alto and Los Altos/Mountain View districts) against Team 408 (REALTOR® members of SILVAR’s Cupertino/Sunnyvale and Los Gatos/Saratoga districts) turned out to be competitive, but fun, and successfully raised over $3,200 for the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation.

More than 100 players and spectators gathered at the softball field in the New Portola Valley Town Center on Thursday afternoon for the event, which also featured music and a bar-b-que dinner. The event was hosted this year by the Menlo Park/Atherton District.

The event began with the national anthem sang by Lisa Nunes of First American Title and her daughter Taylor Nunes. SILVAR President Gene Lentz threw the first pitch. Then, the two REALTOR® teams played ball as Affiliates of the respective teams, wearing color coordinated t-shirts (blue for Team 408 and red for Team 650), and the crowd, cheered them on. With a final score of 5 to 1 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Team 408 won the game and the trophy!

SILVAR would like to convey a very special thank you to the following generous sponsors:
BBQ Sponsor: Opes Advisors
Home Base Sponsor: Coldwell Banker
Base Sponsors: Alain Pinel Realtors (Los Altos); Alain Pinel Realtors (Menlo Park); and Princeton Capital
Supporters: A & R Termite Control, Inc.; Cupertino/Sunnyvale District; and Moise Nahouraii-Referral Realty (Cupertino)

Team 650 included REALTORS® from the Menlo Park/Atherton, Palo Alto and Los Altos/Mountain View districts.

“I’m very happy that the Menlo-Atherton District could host an event that could bring the entire SILVAR association together,” said Day On the Diamond Committee Chair Lehua Greenman. “I thank all those who participated, and also the continued support of our generous sponsors and affiliates. We look forward to another great Day On the Diamond between Teams 650 and 408 in 2012!”

The real winner of the event was the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation. “I want to thank everyone for supporting our Charitable Foundation by participating in this event, by sponsoring, playing, coaching, umpiring, hosting, cheering and being part of a great crowd,” added Greenman.

VIEW FULL STORY AND PHOTO HERE

California REALTORS® have a new way to differentiate themselves and show consumers they maintain a high level of knowledge of the home buying and selling process and are bound by a strict code of ethics by using the REALTOR® Badge, a new, free California Association of REALTORS® member benefit introduced by C.A.R.’s subsidiary, Real Estate Business Services® Inc. (REBS®).

The REALTOR® Badge is a personalized widget that verifies a REALTOR®’s license status and displays your REALTOR® information, including office, specialization, and designation information.  REALTORS® can display the REALTOR® Badge on their website, blog, and property listing pages.

The REALTOR® Badge is an easy way to add value to your reputation and online presence. Placing the badge on your website gives your current and prospective clients the assurance that you are more than a real estate agent; you are a REALTOR® who subscribes to a strict code of ethics.

“Consumers who are making one of the most important financial decisions in their lives want to know they are working with someone who is knowledgeable about the real estate industry and who follows a strict code of ethics,” said REBS Chairman Robert Bailey. “The REALTOR® Badge instantly identifies a REALTOR® as belonging to an elite group of real estate professionals that consumers can trust. I’ve even included the REALTOR® Badge on my website because I want my clients and prospective clients to be assured they are working with a REALTOR® and to understand what that means,” said Bailey.

The REALTOR® Badge also includes a REALTOR®’s area of expertise, market specialties, and any additional languages the REALTOR® may speak or read. With a link directly to the California Department of Real Estate (DRE), a consumer can verify a REALTOR®’s license status.

Get your REALTOR® Badge at www.realtorbadge.com

Karen Izzo, Nancy Cole, and Diana Crawford shared with members their experiences selling property in the Los Gatos Mountains at a September Los Gatos/Saratoga District tour meeting.

It takes certain types of buyers and agents to take an interest in mountain property. Nancy Cole (Coldwell Banker), Karen Izzo (Sereno Group) and Diana Crawford (Intero Real Estate) are agents who specialize in Los Gatos Mountains property. They wouldn’t have it any other way, they told SILVAR members at a September Los Gatos/Saratoga District tour meeting this month.

The agents discussed the benefits of living in the Los Gatos Mountains, as well as the intricacies of purchasing property there. As mountain residents themselves, Cole, Izzo and Crawford were quick to list the many benefits of mountain living – fresh clean air, open spaces, larger properties, with proximity to the city and excellent schools.

A longtime Los Gatos Mountains resident, Cole said she continues to be intrigued by the incredible beauty of her surroundings, but she and the other agents noted it takes a certain type of person to gravitate to the surroundings and lifestyle. Cole described the typical mountain property buyer as being more independent, more self-reliant, more entrepreneurial, highly educated and high functioning.

Mountain property buyers want a different lifestyle from that offered in the city. They want to escape the high density of the city and like the solitude, mellower lifestyle in the mountains, said Izzo.

Crawford described mountain residents as more environmentally sensitive than most. They appreciate the supportive, positive subculture that mountain living offers, she said.

There is a demand for mountain property, and these days the market is offering better values and good buys, said Cole. Buyers come from the valley, the San Francisco Bay area; some are transfers from the East Coast, which has many similar properties.

Mountain living does not come without its unique issues. The agents noted real estate transactions involving mountain property are more complicated than typical residential transactions for homes in the city or suburbs. Buyers have to contend with more complicated title reports, plat maps and easements. Then there is the issue of water – private wells, springs, septic tanks, and of course, road maintenance agreements and/or private roads, and homeowner associations (HOAs) in some communities.

It’s worth it, said Crawford, a Los Gatos Mountains resident for more than 25 years. She said she has the best of both worlds and likened it to “going on a retreat every day.”

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