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In light of the 6.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the Napa Valley region last Sunday, the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) is reminding homeowners to follow earthquake safety measures so they will be prepared when another earthquake strikes again.

“Majority of Californians live within 20 miles of a major earthquake fault, yet most of us tend to be lackadaisical about earthquake safety. Being prepared could save your life,” stressed SILVAR President David Tonna.

According to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, major earthquakes registering magnitudes between 6.3 and 8.3 have occurred in California every 5.4 years, on average, for the past 200 years. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates there is a 90 percent chance that a major earthquake will strike an urban area in California within the next 30 years.

Additionally, a 2010 California Earthquake Preparedness Survey conducted by the UCLA School of Public Health found fewer than 20 percent of households have structurally reinforced their homes or had their homes inspected for earthquake resistance; only 40 percent keep the recommended minimum of three gallons of water stored per person; and only 40 percent of Californians have made family disaster plans.

SILVAR shares the following important earthquake safety measures from FEMA’s Ready Campaign site, California’s Department of Conservation and the U.S. Geological Survey:
Identify Potential Hazards in Your Home and Fix Them
• START NOW by moving furniture away from beds, sofas, or other places where people sit, sleep, or spend a lot of time. Move heavy objects to lower shelves. Move flammable or hazardous materials stored in garages and utility rooms to low, more secure areas.

• Retrofitting before an earthquake is relatively cheap, and could reduce damage and save you money.

Create a Disaster Supply Kit and keep it in an easily accessible location.
• First aid supplies, with medications not requiring refrigeration, including spare eyeglasses and essential hygiene items
• Drinking water (minimum one gallon per person per day)
• Whistle (to alert rescuers to your location)
• Emergency cash in small bills (ATMs may not work)
• Snack foods high in calories, canned and packaged foods and cooking utensils, including a manual can opener. Include food and a leash or carrier for your pet.
• A working flashlight with extra batteries.
• Baby formula, disposable diapers, baby wipes, bottles, pacifiers, powdered milk for infants and comfort items for your children, like stuffed animals and other toys
• A battery-operated radio (and spare batteries).
• Warm clothing, gloves, sturdy shoes, extra socks, blankets/sleeping bags
• Heavy-duty plastic bags for waste and other uses
• A-B-C type fire extinguisher
• Copies of vital documents, such as insurance policies, personal identification, medical consent forms for dependents.
Replace perishable items on a yearly basis.

Create a Disaster Preparedness Plan
Decide how and where your family will reunite if separated during a quake. Select an out-of-state friend or relative to call and alert other relatives and friends that you are all right.

During an Earthquake, Drop! Cover! and Hold On!
You cannot tell from the initial shaking of an earthquake if it will suddenly become intense, so drop to the ground, take cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on to your shelter until the shaking stops.

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The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has announced that the new .REALTOR® top-level domain will be available October 23, 2014 to members of NAR and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

With the Internet undergoing vast changes, the creation of over 1,900 new top-level domains, and with nine out of 10 recent buyers beginning their home search online, it has become even more critical for REALTORS® to create a branded space online. The .REALTOR® domain will help REALTORS® stand apart from other real estate professionals, creating a more positive online experience for consumers who are searching for information on buying or selling property. Having a .REALTOR® domain will inform consumers that they are working with a REALTOR®, a trusted real estate professional who subscribes to NAR’s strict Code of Ethics.

The top-level domain will be made available only to real estate professionals who are REALTORS®, members of NAR or CREA. The domain will also be made available to state and local REALTOR® associations, association multiple listing services, affiliated institutes, societies and councils and NAR strategic business partners.

Starting October 23, members will be able to go to http://www.claim.REALTOR to claim their .REALTOR® domain. NAR will provide the first 500,000 members NAR and 10,000 CREA who register for a .REALTOR® domain with a free one-year license. For more information, visit http://www.about.REALTOR.

Call Your Senator TODAY!

The California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) is OPPOSING AB 2416 (Stone), a bill that creates a new kind of lien for wage claim disputes. C.A.R. opposes AB 2416 because it denies due process to the owner of the property, and unnecessarily clouds title. The bill was just passed by the Senate Appropriation Committee and could make it to the Senate floor by Monday, August 18. Ask your Senator to vote NO on AB 2416.

Under existing law, trades people and others who have conducted work to improve a property have the right to record a mechanics lien against the property for payment for that work. This bill is not like a mechanics’ lien. If an employee has a wage dispute with their employer there are multiple legal remedies available to them to seek fair compensation. This is a new and different remedy.

AB 2416 seeks to create a new wage lien, without the procedural protections of the mechanics lien so that an employee may record a lien against any property owned by the employer, even property that has NO connection to the dispute. The new rule purports to exempt principal residences, but the bill invites “shotgun” recordings that will hit all properties.

There are already existing legal remedies for wage disputes. Between arbitration, grievance processes, and lawsuits, employees already have sufficient legal options at their disposal to address wage disputes without chilling the availability of mortgage finance and unnecessarily clouding title.

cips-logo
SILVAR is offering a paperless option for individuals who would like to enroll in the November 17-21 Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Institute. The paperless option will cost $550 for the entire Institute instead of $600, the regular cost with hard copy of the course manuals.

Students who select the paperless option will need to come to class with their electronic device (laptop or tablet). They will be asked to download the required materials prior to their arrival. A link to the materials will be provided to each student.

The CIPS Institute provides training in international business issues, including currency conversion, cultural awareness, legal and tax requirements, ownership and transaction principles of international real estate, and specifics about the real estate markets in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Members using Proxio, which is a SILVAR benefit, may find the CIPS courses very useful in advancing their global real estate business.

The week-long CIPS Institute includes the two required core courses and three elective courses, which fulfill the classroom requirements for the CIPS designation. Students must pass a multiple-choice exam at the end of each course.

Spend the week learning how you can profit being an international real estate specialist from 2012 NAR International Instructor of the Year David Wyant. Wyant has taught two previous CIPS Institutes at SILVAR and received excellent reviews.

Regular cost of the five-day program is $600, which includes hard copy of the course material. Members may enroll online at ims.silvar.org. Non-members may register by calling SILVAR at (408) 200-0100.

Those interested in registering for the paperless version, may contact SILVAR at (408) 200-0100 or SILVAR Public Affairs & Communications Director Rose Meily at rmeily@silvar.org or call (408) 200-0109. Cost for an individual course for either option is $150.

Sponsorships for the CIPS Institute are available for each class day. Thank you in advance to Wednesday and Friday sponsors Kenneth Chan of HSBC and Richard Miller of ExecutiveLoanOfficer.com.

The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® has learned that Assembly Bill 2136, signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown in July and effective January 1, 2015, helps clarify a REALTOR®’s record retention obligations when it comes to electronic communications.

The California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) sponsored legislation to provide guidance in this new and rapidly changing area of interpersonal communications. AB 2136 amends both Business and Professions Code Section 10148 (broker record retention requirements) and Civil Code Section 1624 (the Statute of Frauds – controlling which contracts must be in writing to be enforceable). Added to Section 1624 is a provision that “an electronic message of an ephemeral nature that is not designed to be retained or create a permanent record, including, but not limited to a text or instant message . . . is insufficient to constitute a contract to convey real property. . .” If the principals do send texts or tweets that they intend to be part of a real estate contract, there are additional steps that need to be taken under Section 1624. See C.A.R. Q&A at http://www.car.org/legal/broker-practice-folder/calbRRRR/

Added to Section 10148 is a provision that “[t]his subdivision shall not be construed to require a licensed real estate broker to retain electronic messages of an ephemeral nature, as described in subdivision (d) of Section 1624 of the Civil Code.”

AB 2136 will give some welcome relief from the possibility of having to save all “ephemeral” electronic communications, such as tweets and texts. Emails, however, are not mentioned in Section 1624. C.A.R. advises REALTORS® who are not already saving emails with clients that are material to a transaction and relate to licensed activity to create a system to store them.

CalBRE Commissioner Wayne Bell has informed C.A.R. that in light of the new law, CalBRE will not be requiring retention of “ephemeral” records referred to in the bill, effective now, even though the law does not technically come into effect until January 1, 2015.

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