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Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®’ (SILVAR) REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP) will take place May 7 -11 this year. Volunteers are needed for this special community outreach program, which is dedicated to helping seniors in the communities where SILVAR members work and live.

This year, each district has set aside special days in the week of May 7 – 11 to help seniors in their community:
Cupertino/Sunnyvale District: Wednesday, May 9
Los Altos/Mountain View District: Wednesday, May 9
Los Gatos/Saratoga District: Thursday, May 10
Menlo Park/Atherton District: Wednesday, Thursday, May 9-10
Palo Alto District: Wednesday, Thursday, May 9-10
RSVP is a worthwhile project, and SILVAR REALTORS® and affiliates are encouraged to volunteer their time and skills to help the elderly and the homebound in their respective communities. During RSVP week, REALTORS® and affiliates visit the homes of seniors who are physically and financially challenged and provide free assistance with household tasks like replacing light bulbs, changing furnace filters, washing windows, turning over mattresses, changing smoke detector batteries and other similar household tasks.

RSVP has expanded on the Peninsula and in the South Bay, with volunteers from the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® and the Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS® joining SILVAR and the SAMCAR (San Mateo County Association of REALTORS®) members in this outreach project. The program now serves seniors and the homebound living as far north as Daly City and as far south as Santa Cruz.

“We are really proud that every year our members have stepped up to help the seniors in their community. Last year, a total of 247 volunteers from SILVAR helped 146 seniors in the association’s five districts. This year we hope to significantly increase the number of our REALTOR® and affiliate volunteers,” said Eileen Giorgi, SILVAR’s RSVP Committee Chair.

Volunteer now by clicking on the link below, completing the volunteer application and faxing it to SILVAR at (408) 200-0101. You may also call SILVAR at (408) 200-0100 and ask that an application be mailed to you.

The deadline to volunteer is Saturday, March 31.

Deadline for seniors to apply for this free service is Thursday, March 15.

For questions about RSVP, please contact SILVAR at (408) 200-0100.


SILVAR past president and PRDS President Mark Burns, Charitable Foundation trustee Carolyn Miller and WVCS executive director Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto display the big check $2,000 to West Valley Community Services (WVCS).

This week, the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation presented $2,000 to West Valley Community Services, a private non-profit, community-based agency that provides direct assistance and referral services to over 6,000 individuals and families annually in the communities of Cupertino, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, West San Jose and the unincorporated mountain regions.

Receiving the check from Charitable Foundation Trustee Carolyn Miller, Naiomi Nakano-Matsumoto, executive director of West Valley Community Services (WVCS), thanked SILVAR members. She said the 2011 Homeless Point in Time survey has indicated an estimated 7,042 individuals are experiencing homelessness in Santa Clara County each night. While there are some signs the economy is improving, it doesn’t appear that way for some individuals and families, according to Nakano-Matsumoto.

Nakano-Matsumoto said the Charitable Foundation grant will support the WVCS Comprehensive Emergency Assistance Program (CEAP), a program which provides one-time financial assistance to prevent homelessness, hunger and utility disconnection for individuals and families experiencing unexpected financial setbacks.

WVCS also has the Haven to Home program, which provides supportive services and stable housing to homeless individuals and families; 30 homeless persons have been moved to permanent housing. The WVCS Transitional Housing Program houses 12 homeless men and six single mothers with a child. The program provides them with skills so they can secure permanent housing, find and maintain employment, and enhance income opportunity. WVCS likewise owns and operates Vista Village Apartments Complex, a permanent housing for low-income households.

Nakano-Matsumoto said the agency is in great need of volunteers to pick up, carry, as well as distribute food to the homeless. She added that they are short on food items. She said Second Harvest Food Bank, one of the groups with whom WVCS partners, is low on food items, so the agency has had to seek other partnerships to support its food program. 

“It is such a rewarding feeling for all of our District members to be able to share with others in and around our local community. Naomi always fills us in as to where the money will be going. . . .always to great causes. We are so happy we’re able to send consistent contributions to this worthy cause,” Miller, who also serves as SILVAR’s 2012 president-elect.

Last week a listing in Willow Glen was robbed of all staging furniture in the middle of the night. A few weeks ago REALTOR® Magazine reported that the Pacific West Association of REALTORS®, based in Anaheim, Calif., issued a warning to its members to be on alert after a real estate agent and a potential home buyer were robbed at gunpoint by two men during an open house.

REALTORS® are targets of crime because their work exposes them to many unfamiliar people. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, since the foreclosure crisis began in 2008, more real estate professionals have been attacked and even killed while on the job.

The 2011 Realtor Safety Report, a study conducted by AgBeat, Moby and S.A.F.E. (Safety Awareness Firearms Education), indicates the past year saw a rise in crime against REALTORS®, marked by an increase in robberies, sexual assaults and even murders. In most cases, assaults against REALTORS® took place when the victim was alone. The most common guise for getting an agent alone was requesting a tour or meeting the agent in a vacant home.

It is always good for REALTORS® to regularly visit the National Association of REALTORS® REALTOR® Safety website at and review safety tips. Below are some safety tips to keep in mind.

Showing Properties the Safe Way
• Be sure to use the lockbox property-key procedure that has been established to improve real estate agent safety. A reliable, secure lockbox system ensures keys don’t fall into the wrong hands.

• Show properties before dark. If you are going to be working after hours, advise your associate or first-line supervisor of your schedule. If you must show a property after dark, turn on all lights as you go through, and don’t lower any shades or draw curtains or blinds.

• Try and call the office once an hour to let people know where you are.

• If you think it may be some time before a property sells (and you may, therefore, be showing it often), get acquainted with a few of the immediate neighbors. You will feel better knowing they know your vehicle, and they will feel better about the stranger (you) who frequently visits their neighborhood.

• Prepare a scenario so that you can leave, or encourage someone who makes you uncomfortable to leave. Examples: Your cell phone or beeper went off and you have to call your office; you left some important information in your car; or another agent with buyers is on his way.

• When showing a property, always leave the front door unlocked for a quick exit while you and the client are inside. As you enter each room, stand near the door.

• Lock your purse in the car trunk before you arrive. Carry only non-valuable business items (except for your cell phone), and do not wear expensive jewelry or watches, or appear to be carrying large sums of money.

• Park at the curb in front of the property rather than in the driveway. You will attract much more attention running and screaming to the curb area. It is much easier to escape in your vehicle if you don’t have to back out of a driveway. Also, if you are parked in a driveway, another vehicle could purposefully or accidentally trap you.

(Sources: Louisiana REALTORS® Association; Washington Real Estate Safety Council; City of Albuquerque, NM; Nevada County Association of REALTORS®; City of Mesa, AZ)


February 2012


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