You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2016.

The 17th annual Silicon Valley REALTORS® Scholars Program for graduating seniors from 18 public high schools in Silicon Valley is under way. The scholars program is sponsored by the Charitable Foundation of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR), a professional trade organization representing over 4,500 REALTORS® and affiliate members engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay.

The REALTORS®’ scholarship program is a partnership with local high schools in Silicon Valley. Principals and faculty at 18 participating high schools nominate three exceptional graduating seniors. The program awards a $1,000 scholarship to one nominee from each school in recognition of their exemplary record, outstanding academic performance and community spirit.

The scholars from the Class of 2016 will be selected from high schools in the communities served by members of SILVAR. Final selections will be made by a committee that includes representatives from the local business community, area high schools, area colleges and SILVAR.

“The annual Silicon Valley Scholars Program is an opportunity for our members to show our support for our communities and schools. We see value in investing in the future of our youth,” said Nina Yamaguchi, chair of the Scholars Program of the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation. “The program is our way of thanking the students, teachers, administrators and school board members in our communities for their hard work and dedication in making the schools in our communities among the best in California and in the nation.”

The participating schools include Leigh High School and Lynbrook High School in San Jose; Westmont High School in Campbell; Fremont High School in Sunnyvale; Los Altos High School in Los Altos; Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos; Gunn High School and Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto; Menlo-Atherton High School in Atherton; Santa Clara High School and Wilcox High School in Santa Clara; Cupertino High School, Homestead High School and Monta Vista High School in Cupertino; Prospect High School and Saratoga High School in Saratoga; Mountain View High School in Mountain View; and Woodside High School in Woodside.

The scholarship is open to graduating seniors from the above-mentioned high schools who plan on attending a four-year college or university. Scholarship applications may be obtained from the respective schools. The completed application must be returned to the high school’s principal or counselor by Monday, March 7, for submission to the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation.

For further information, please contact Nina Yamaguchi at (408) 861-8822 or



Although volatility in the stock market is making buyers nervous, real estate experts claim Silicon Valley’s housing market will stay strong.

Veteran appraiser Roger Miller with Taketa Miller & Associates told members of SILVAR’s Los Gatos/Saratoga District in January that he doesn’t believe fluctuations in the stock market will affect Silicon Valley’s housing market. Miller said the market will continue to be hot, at least for the next six months. The only bad news is traffic will get worse in the region.

According to Miller, Facebook, Google, Intuit and other major companies in the area are expanding production and employment. These companies are not like the start-ups in 2000; they are big companies with infrastructure. These companies have made the valley their home and they want to stay here. Add the current state of China’s economy to the picture and you have the “perfect storm” creating a boom in the market, said Miller.

Miller explained China’s economic slowdown and uncertainty in what the communist government will do is prompting the Chinese to invest more of their money abroad. They are buying high-end residential and commercial real estate here. According to Miller, the hottest market right now is Mountain View, where home prices are “ridiculous,” said Miller. Other hot markets are Cupertino, Sunnyvale and Los Altos. He described land values in Los Altos as “insane,” and in Palo Alto, a 1,400 sq. ft. fixer-upper is selling for $2 million dollars.

“If you are thinking of selling your home, put it on the market now; don’t wait,” said Miller.

At the February Palo Alto District tour meeting, Bay Area real estate analyst Carole Rodoni also said real estate in Silicon Valley will continue to be a hot item. Rodoni, who formerly served as president of Alain Pinel Realtors and now operates Bamboo Consulting, Inc. explained what happens around the world affects the perception of business and real estate. She expects the economy to grow just 2.3 to 2.4 percent and projects only a single-digit appreciation in homes this year

Despite “choppiness” in the economy, Rodoni said, “All will be well in Silicon Valley because this is Silicon Valley. It’s a place everyone aspires to be at, to work and live in, and be.”

Like Miller, Rodoni believes now is a good time to sell, but she noted the real estate market is undergoing a transition. She sees the high-end market slowing, but the lower end will be “on fire.”

Due to fluctuations in the stock market, buyers will be skittish this year. REALTORS® will have to “re-educate” their clients. “Buyers are watching, hesitating, and standing by. They are still interested, but they know the market is changing. They already get it; sellers don’t,” said Rodoni.

For sellers, the key is pricing. “Do not overprice. Sellers need to get real. Sellers cannot play games. The market rules are different now,” she warned.

Despite the high-end market slowing, Rodoni believes Silicon Valley, with its location and booming technology, will continue to grow. While not all start-ups will succeed, like Miller, Rodoni believes companies like Google, Hewlett Packard, Facebook will continue to do well.

“Real estate is still an asset people aspire to buy. It will be a choppy year, but we’re still the engine driving the world and everything will be okay,” Rodoni told SILVAR REALTORS®.


The first SILVAR Global Business Council program for 2016 was very well received by SILVAR members and guests, who filled SILVAR’s training room to its full capacity on Wednesday. Global Business Council Chair Mark Wong welcomed members and speakers Linda Lenore and Michi Olson to the sold-out event, a two-part program on “Feng Shui in the Year of the Monkey and a China Update.” Here is information on the first part.

Lenore, who is a feng shui master, presented the program on feng shui and the Year of the Fire Monkey. The monkey is associated with much energy, cleanliness, physical fitness, family and risk. So this year, like the monkey, you will be running from one place to another. Things will pop up quickly, so you need to stay focused. It will be a year of risks, so make sure you take good, planned risks, said Lenore.

Be careful of burnout, schedule time off with family, take care of your health and de-clutter your home, especially areas with bad energy which this year would be the northeast and center. Expect a few “hiccups” this year. Lenore noted in previous years of the fire monkey, there have been revolutions, rebellions, even assassinations.

Lenore, who is also an interior designer, shared the following feng shui tips for the home:

  • If you want to be successful in business, place a wind chime outside your front door so it attracts energy. The sound triggers the mind to make decisions and move forward.
  • You do not want your house at the top of a T intersection because too strong energy from the street will directly hit your home.
  • Have water, plants, flowers, statues by the front door. Water flowing toward your front door will increase the flow of clients and money into your life.
  • Place live plants in your home and remove all dried flowers because they drain energy.

Lenore ended her presentation with this Chinese proverb: “If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in character. If there is beauty in character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.”



Seniors and the homebound residing on the Peninsula and in the South Bay may request free assistance with household tasks through the REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP) during the week of May 2-6. RSVP is offered each year in the month of May by REALTOR® and affiliate members from the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) and neighboring REALTOR® associations to qualified seniors who cannot perform certain household tasks due to physical or financial constraints. The deadline for seniors to apply for this free assistance is April 8.

“RSVP is our way of thanking our seniors for all they have done for our communities,” said Eileen Giorgi, SILVAR’s RSVP Committee chair. “Through the RSVP program, REALTORS® and affiliates can make the difference between a senior remaining independent as a homeowner or renter, or having to give up that independence to some form of caregiving and dependence on strangers,”

During RSVP Week teams of REALTORS® and affiliates (professionals who provide industry-related services) will visit senior households and perform various cleaning and maintenance tasks free of charge. Seniors can request to have light bulbs replaced, furnace filters changed, windows cleaned, mattresses turned, new smoke detector batteries installed, and other light housekeeping tasks.

The annual community service program was started by members of SILVAR in 2001, and adopted as an official association community outreach project the following year. The program has since expanded to neighboring REALTOR® associations. Last year 130 volunteers from SILVAR assisted 97 senior households in the Menlo Park/Atherton, Palo Alto, Los Altos/Mountain View, Cupertino/Sunnyvale and Los Gatos/Saratoga communities.

Seniors residing in the communities of Atherton, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Palo Alto, Woodside, Portola Valley, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Campbell, Saratoga, Monte Sereno and Los Gatos may apply for this free service by contacting the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® at (408) 200-0100 for information and an application. Seniors may also visit to download an application and submit to SILVAR before the April 8 deadline.



February 2016


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 69 other subscribers