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At round table discussions, REALTORS® shared their thoughts about the future. (Photo courtesy of MLSListings Inc.)

At round table discussions, REALTORS® shared their thoughts about the future. (Photo courtesy of MLSListings Inc.)

Approximately 125 REALTORS® from the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® and neighboring REALTOR® associations gathered at the Tech Mart in Santa Clara last Friday and shared their ideas and insights on the future of real estate at the National Association of REALTORS® REThink Initiative Workshop. MLSListings Inc. hosted the workshop, which included REALTORS® who do business in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

With the changing demographic and socio-economic landscape and changing economic concerns, the real estate industry sees itself facing a transformation. NAR launched the REThink Initiative in August 2012 during its annual Leadership Summit in Chicago, Ill. The REThink Initiative will use the experiences and insights of REALTORS®, academia, consumers and others to plan for and adapt to dynamic changes in the industry.

At Friday’s workshop, REALTORS® discussed different versions of what the future holds for the industry. Workshop participants were asked to consider a focal question: In an ever-changing world, what is the future of the real estate industry in 5-10 years, and how will this affect consumers, real estate professionals, industry organizations and associations?

At the round table discussions, participants examined several scenarios for the industry and elements that are likely to impact the future of U.S. real estate, including the long-term effects of the recent recession, the global economy, technology, demographic forces like the retiring Baby Boomers, emerging Echo Boomers, increasing ethnic diversity, and population growth. Environmental concerns, like growing scarcity of energy and raw materials, and how they could affect housing patterns and design, access to owning a home, and the value of homeownership, were also explored.

Cross-country workshops are being conducted through May 2013. Insights from members will provide critical input into NAR’s future strategy and help formulate a shared vision about the future REALTORS® want to create for themselves, their association, for the industry, and for society as whole.

For more information about NAR’s ReThink Initiative, visit http://rethinkfuture.com.

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A Notice of Credit-Based Denial to Rent (RNDR) is a new form that has been added to the PRDS library and may be accessed online by SILVAR and SAMCAR (San Mateo County Association of REALTORS®) REALTOR® members at http://www.prdsforms.com. The RNDR is a form needed in the event a potential tenant is turned down due to an unfavorable credit rating.

In addition to Form RNDR 5-09 Notice of Credit-Based Denial to Rent, the revised PRDS Supplemental Seller’s Checklist (SSC) is now also available online for SILVAR and SAMCAR REALTOR® members.

PRDS Forms is an extensive line of paper and online forms for residential purchase and sales transactions. These forms are available online free of charge as a member benefit to all SILVAR and SAMCAR REALTOR® members. Created by REALTORS® for REALTORS®, these forms are highly acclaimed, and have been heavily used for over 25 years by listing agents from leading offices in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Peninsula.

To access these and other PRDS forms, visit http://www.prdsforms.com.

California Governor Jerry Brown will speak to REALTORS® at the California Association of REALTORS® Morning Briefing on Legislative Day. SILVAR members are encouraged to participate in this important event, which will be held on Wednesday, May 1. The deadline to sign up is Monday, April 22.

Legislative Day is the day REALTORS® from all over California travel to Sacramento and meet with their elected officials to discuss critical legislation that can affect REALTORS®, homeowners and private property rights. REALTORS® make up the largest group that travel to the nation’s capital to speak with their legislators.

When members arrive in Sacramento, they will receive a special briefing at the Sacramento Convention Center from California Association of REALTORS® lobbyists, REALTOR® leadership, Governor Brown, and other special guests. A joint luncheon with members of SILVAR, the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) and San Mateo County Association of REALTORS® (SAMCAR) will follow the briefing.

After lunch, SILVAR REALTORS® will attend meetings with all of the legislators in Silicon Valley, including Senators Jim Beall and Jerry Hill, and Assembly Members Paul Fong and Rich Gordon. At these meetings, REALTORS® will have the opportunity to discuss important real estate issues, such as private property rights, legal reforms and housing opportunity policies.

Personally meeting our legislators and discussing real estate-related issues that may adversely affect our clients – buyers, sellers, homeowners and private property rights – makes a difference! For more information about Legislative Day, contact SILVAR Government Affairs Director Jessica Epstein at (408) 200-0100.

In an effort to provide California home buyers with up-to-date information about available home buyer assistance programs, the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) has launched California Mortgage Resource Directory (http://mortgage.car.org), an online search tool that identifies current mortgage programs in communities throughout the state.

“Millions of dollars go unused every year because home buyers are unaware of the various buyer assistance programs available to them,” said C.A.R. President Don Faught. “With California Mortgage Resource Directory, REALTORS® and buyers can quickly connect with any number of home buyer resources without having to search within each municipality individually.”

California Mortgage Resource Directory helps bridge the down payment gap for homebuyers and connects them with resources that they may not have otherwise known existed. Buyers can search by city or address for public- and private-funded assistance programs including FHA/VA, HUD, affordable fixed-rate mortgages, rehab loans, and more.

“The California Mortgage Resource Directory is a good resource if you are thinking of buying a home and are assessing your finances. Many buyers are unaware of down payment and other home buyer assistance programs that are out there. This would be a valuable tool for both REALTORS® and their clients,” said Carolyn Miller, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®.

“Low mortgage interest rates help make homes affordable for buyers, but many can’t come up with the down payment needed to qualify for a loan. The more money a buyer can put on a down payment, the lower the amount of the loan, so the California Mortgage Resource Directory can prove valuable to home buyers looking for down payment assistance,” added Miller.

The new directory is powered by Down Payment Resource, the nation’s only web-based aggregator of home buyer programs. The tool was developed by Workforce Resource (www.workforce-resource.com) and is made available through Multiple Listing Services, REALTORS® associations, and nonprofits.

At its February 26 meeting, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors voted to postpone a discussion on eliminating Propositions 90 and 110 in San Mateo County.

For over 20 years Propositions 90 and 110 have created a pathway for senior citizens (those over 55) and the disabled to move into San Mateo County. The current law states that a senior citizen or disabled individual can transfer their base tax rate from another county when they buy a home in San Mateo County, as long as the new home is of an equal or lesser value.

Without notice to SILVAR or neighboring San Mateo County Association of REALTORS® (SAMCAR), the San Mateo County Manager placed the proposal to eliminate propositions 90 and 110 on the supervisors’ agenda for the February 26 meeting. Though only made public on Thursday, February 21, SILVAR was able to mobilize REALTORS® to quickly respond by emailing the San Mateo County supervisors and letting them know their opposition to the proposal to repeal the propositions. SILVAR’s Government Affairs team also reached out to each member of the Board of Supervisors to express its concern.

SILVAR would like to thank all who responded to the Call for Action email. Over 70 REALTORS® who live in San Mateo County sent emails to the supervisors. Additionally, several REALTORS® from SILVAR and SAMCAR attended the Tuesday Board of Supervisors meeting.

Although the supervisors listened and took the item off the agenda at their Tuesday meeting, members need to remain vigilant because the issue has not gone away. It is highly likely that the item will be placed back on their agenda in the near future.

SILVAR is seeking individuals who can testify about the important role Propositions 90 or 110 played for a client in buying a home in San Mateo County. If you have a story, please contact SILVAR Government Affairs Director Jessica Epstein at (408) 200-0108 or email jepstein@silvar.org.

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