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Suzanne Barnett (left), host of "The Better Part" gets ready to interview RSVP co-founder David Barca and RSVP Chair Eileen Giorgi. Watch the feature on RSVP on cablecast and on the Internet next week.

Suzanne Barnett (left), host of “The Better Part” gets ready to interview RSVP co-founder David Barca and RSVP Chair Eileen Giorgi. Watch the feature on RSVP on cablecast and on the Internet next week.

SILVAR’s REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP) will be featured on public television and on the Internet next week, with interviews with RSVP co-founder David Barca, RSVP chair Eileen Giorgi, RSVP District Chairs, volunteers and senior homeowners from local communities.

The program about Silicon Valley REALTORS® helping seniors and the homebound with household tasks will telecast September 1 – 7 throughout Silicon Valley on “The Better Part,” a public access television program produced by seniors from the Cupertino Senior Center. In the show, both Barca and Giorgi are interviewed by host Suzanne Barnett.

Each year during a designated week in May, teams of REALTOR® and affiliate volunteers provide senior citizens who are physically or financially challenged free assistance with household tasks they can no longer perform on their own. Such tasks include replacing light bulbs, changing furnace filters, cleaning windows, flipping mattresses, or installing new smoke detector batteries.

“For homeowners or renters who are advanced in years and are physically and financially challenged, some household tasks can pose a major challenge,” said Barca.

Barca, together with members of SILVAR’s Palo Alto and Menlo Park/Atherton districts, started the program in 2001. RSVP was adopted as an official association community outreach project the following year, with REALTORS® and affiliates helping seniors living in SILVAR’s five districts. RSVP has since spread throughout the Peninsula and South Bay, involving members of SILVAR, the San Mateo County Association of REALTORS®, Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS®, and Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS®. Since its inception, RSVP has served over 4,000 seniors. This year 447 RSVP volunteers from these associations helped 297 senior households in their communities; 241 volunteers from SILVAR assisted 118 seniors.

“As REALTORS®, we sell the benefits and aspirations of our communities,” said Giorgi. “We are also neighbors and know about local needs. We share the desire for our communities to be great places to live and are committed to give back to those who have built our communities. This program enables us to help seniors and the homebound enjoy their homes in the community for a longer time.”

Producing the show was an eye-opening experience for Diane Sparks, executive producer of “The Better Part.” “When I learned of the program, I thought it was worthwhile to show our communities that REALTORS® don’t just sell houses; they also do a lot of good work for our communities,” said Sparks. “Filming the volunteers helping the seniors and witnessing the appreciation among the seniors, showed me what a difference the program has made in their lives.”

See the schedule for days, times, cities and channels where the REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program will be televised. The program can also be accessed on YouTube under the topic “Cupertino City Productions” or go to REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program.

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The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) has been appointed the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Ambassador Association to the Philippines. NAR’s Ambassador Association program gives members of the Ambassador Association the opportunity to expand their global business networks and get involved in international real estate activities at the local or state level.

“We are pleased to learn that the National Association of REALTORS® has approved SILVAR’s request to be the Ambassador Association to the Philippines. The program will give our members the opportunity to learn more about real estate in that country and develop ties and business opportunities with real estate professionals in this part of the world,” said SILVAR Executive Officer Paul Cardus.

The Ambassador Association program is part of NAR’s International Ambassador Program, which was developed to accommodate international visitors and to expose them to the range of opportunities available to them throughout NAR. Each year NAR hosts more than 2,000 real estate professionals from around the world. Majority of these international real estate professionals attend the REALTORS® Annual Conference and Expo. There are also a number of delegations and individuals that request meetings with REALTORS® throughout the year for guidance on the industry, to network, and to exchange information about the U.S. and global real estate markets. The Ambassador Association program also presents opportunities for REALTORS® interested in developing international business ties, as a result of the growing CIPS Network and globalization within local real estate markets.

As the Ambassador Association to the Philippines, SILVAR will help facilitate contact between the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association in the Philippines and any state or local REALTOR® association in the United States that requests assistance. The Ambassador Association works closely with the President’s Liaison assigned to that country and NAR’s Regional Coordinator for that part of the world.

A formal introduction with the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association will take place at the NAR REALTORS® Conference & Expo, which will be held November 8-11 in San Francisco.

In line with its goal to enhance members’ professional development, the Education & Technology Committee of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) will present an Online Transaction Management Training Series FREE for members beginning in September. The courses will focus on how to create and manage transactions online, including how to use, e-sign, and store forms. Members are invited to sign up for these classes online at ims.silvar.org.

The courses are:
OTM 101: Beginner’s Guide to Creating Stress Free Digital Transactions
September 5 and October 3, 1:30-3:00 PM both days
Instructor: Bryan Robertson

An overview of the online transaction process from beginning to end, including the software and online forms you’ll need, preparing digital forms, getting digital signatures, and sharing and storing your documents. You’ll learn about PRDS/C.A.R. forms, ZipForms, Docusign, Authentisign, CutePDF, PDFEscape, CamScanner, DropBox, and GoogleDrive.

OTM 102: PRDS Forms Online: Using Instanet and Authentisign
September 10, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM; October 8, 2013, 1:30-3:30 PM
Instructor: Robert Johnson, SILVAR IT Administrator

Learn about the new PRDS Forms on the Instanet Solutions platform and be able to access your forms anywhere and anytime, from virtually any Internet-connected computer. The class will demonstrate the procedures to log in, create transactions, fill out the forms online, and then either print or email those forms to a client. Students will get a better understanding of the Instanet Solutions platform, including how to use Authentisign.

OTM 104: A Workshop on Creating an Online Transaction on DocuSign
September 23 and October 22, 1:30-3:00 PM both days
Instructor: Chris Alston

In this hands-on workshop, you will create an online transaction from beginning to end on your laptop. You will prepare one PRDS form (e.g. purchase contract) and one C.A.R. form (e.g. AVID) for e-signature by buyer (fellow student) and yourself. Then you’ll email the signed documents in PDF form to listing agent (fellow student) and store the PDF in the cloud. The class will touch on the basics for doing this on an iPad, but the class is geared toward laptops.

California Association of REALTORS®’ Member Legal Services has received several reports of REALTORS®’s identities being misused without their knowledge. Unscrupulous people are generally impersonating real estate agents to defraud members of the public into paying money for fake real estate transactions, such as buying or leasing homes or timeshares, either within or outside of California. The fraud is generally uncovered when the consumer eventually pays out money, the fraudster severs any further contact, and the consumer, while attempting to locate the fraudster, finds the true agent.

Combating identity theft can be a challenge for REALTORS®, given that your license number and contact information are readily available to the public from the California Bureau of Real Estate (BRE) website. Fraudsters can also easily impersonate you online by creating email addresses and websites containing your name, and setting up phone numbers with your area code.

Here are a few suggestions to help prevent identity theft from C.A.R. that SILVAR would like to pass on to REALTORS® and other members of the public:
• Be Vigilant: Frequently monitor your online presence. Regularly search the Internet to see how your own name and other information are coming up. Search whether anyone has posted advertisements or created websites using your information or engaged in other suspicious activity. Use Google Alerts and other tools that can provide you updates when the Internet has new content about you, your company, your license number, or any other keywords you’ve requested.

• Keep a Strong Online Presence: Establish and maintain a strong online presence both as an individual agent and brokerage. Provide prominent and up-to-date contact information, photographs, videos of yourself, and recent news items on your websites and blogs, so you are easy to identify and contact. Also carefully consider providing some personal information online to send a message to fraudsters that “it’ll be too difficult for you to try to impersonate me.” Suggestions include providing some information about your personal background, affiliations, memberships, achievements, hobbies, or other unique attributes that may deter someone from trying to impersonate you.

• Strengthen Your Reputation: Establish and maintain a strong presence in your community. Not only is name recognition good for your business, but if everyone knows who you are, a fraudster is unlikely to impersonate you or succeed at impersonating you. Keep in mind, however, that a fraudster impersonating you could be targeting people in another community altogether.

• Stay Connected: Communicate with your clientele on a regular basis to help ensure they always have easy access to up-to-date contact information for you.

• Report Suspicious Activity: Immediately report any suspicious activity to the proper authorities. Depending on the circumstances, you can report fraudulent activities to the police, district attorney’s office, FBI, BRE, and other entities.

You can maximize your earning potential with more tools for emerging markets by enrolling in the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) At Home with Diversity® certification course which SILVAR is offering on Thursday, September 12, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Menlo Circus Club, 190 Park Lane, Atherton.

This six-hour course taught by NAR certified instructor Jennifer Tasto will teach agents how to access and analyze demographic data to assess cultural attributes in your local market; how to attract and serve multicultural and international clients in your local market; and how to develop a business plan to address specific needs of those clients.

Earn six hours DRE continuing education credits in fair housing. Earn the confidence of your potential buyers and obtain this certification. You will also obtain a pin and logo to add to their website and business card.

Cost of the course is $49 for all AOR members. A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Registration is for a limited time only and on a first-come first-served basis. There is a limit of 15 students. Registration deadline is September 4, so register now at ims.silvar.org (for members) or call (408) 200-0100 to register.

Home with Diversity®
Thursday, September 12
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Menlo Circus Club
190 Park Lane, Atherton
Cost: $49 for all AOR members
Continental breakfast and lunch provided

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