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The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) 2017 leadership team was installed on Jan. 19 at the Los Altos Golf & Country Club. California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) 2006 President Vince Malta administered the oath of office to SILVAR’s new president, officers and board of directors. SILVAR represents over 5,000 REALTORS® and affiliates engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. The local trade association seeks to promote the highest ethical standards of real estate practice, serves as an advocate for homeownership and homeowners, and represents the interests of property owners in Silicon Valley.

Denise Welsh, a broker associate with the Alain Pinel Realtors Los Altos was installed as 2017 president; Bill Moody, a REALTOR® with Referral Realty, Cupertino, president-elect; and Phyllis Carmichael, a REALTOR® with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Los Altos, treasurer.

Joining SILVAR’s lead officers as this year’s board directors are Karen Trolan (Alain Pinel Realtors), past president; Chris Isaacson (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage), Region 9 chair; Leannah Hunt (Sereno Group), National Association of Realtors director; Young Jacob (Intero Real Estate Services), Menlo Park/Atherton District; Penelope Huang (Dreyfus Sotheby’s International Realty), Palo Alto District; Kathryn Tomaino (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage), Los Altos/Mountain View District; David Hunt (W.A. Krauss & Co. Property Management), Cupertino/Sunnyvale District; Mary Kay Groth (Sereno Group), Los Gatos/Saratoga District; Directors At-large Jeff Bell (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage), Katherine Frey (Alain Pinel Realtors), Davena Gentry (Sereno Group), Ryan Nunnally (Alain Pinel Realtors), Bryan Robertson (Catarra Real Estate), Mark Wong (Alain Pinel Realtors); and Art Clark (Obeo Ewalk), Affiliate chair.

A REALTOR® for 30 years, Welsh has been active in organized real estate, having served in multiple leadership positions, including SILVAR board director and California Association of REALTORS® Region 9 director. She is also an active volunteer in the Los Altos community, where she lives and works.

In her address to members, Welsh spoke about the value of and her pride in being a REALTOR®. “This is such an open industry that anyone can be an agent, but not everyone can be a professional REALTOR®. We are engaged in helping our clients with the most important decision of their life,” said Welsh. “We are set apart by the quality and service we deliver to our clients and the professional standards that we set.”

This year’s installation sponsors were MLSListings Inc., Alain Pinel Realtors, DeLeon Realty, Sereno Group, the SILVAR Districts of Los Altos/Mountain View, Los Gatos/Saratoga and Palo Alto, Supra, Alain Pinel Realtors Los Gatos – Jeff Barnett, EverBank – John Woodfin, Tour Factory – Darrell Monda and SmartZip – Stephanie Matsuoka.

 

 

 

 

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The Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation donated $93,000 in 2016 to non-profit organizations that help the homeless and low-income individuals and families in Silicon Valley. Funds this year also went to scholarships for graduating seniors from public high schools in the region.

The Charitable Foundation is a trust which makes grants available to organizations from donations by REALTORS® and affiliate members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR). In addition to voluntary contributions from members, grants are funded by proceeds from the local trade association’s district fundraisers, like the Los Gatos/Saratoga District Annual Bocce Ball Tournament and the Los Altos/Mountain View District Annual Pumpkin Auction. SILVAR represents over 5,000 REALTORS® and affiliate members engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay.

The 2016 Charitable Foundation grant recipients include Adolescent Counseling Services, which provides a network of skilled family therapists and support groups for teens and young adults in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties; Child Advocates of Silicon Valley, which seeks to provide stability to children who have experienced abuse and neglect; East Palo Alto Kids Foundation, which promotes educational opportunities for students in East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park; Friends of Deer Hollow Farm, an educational farm located in the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve; JustRead, a cross-generational program composed of retired professionals who teach reading and writing basics to students who did not learn these skills in earlier grades; LifeMoves, which provides services to enable the homeless to return to stable housing and self-sufficiency; Westwind 4-H Riding for the Handicapped, which provides children with disabilities the opportunity to have fun while improving their coordination and strengthening their muscles; and Youth Community Services, which provides service learning and leadership activities to underserved students in East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Palo Alto.

From money raised to support further education for U.S. veterans, the Charitable Foundation presented $10,000 each to Palo Alto University and West Valley Community College, and $25,000 to Foothill-De Anza Foundation, an auxiliary organization of the Foothill-De Anza Community Colleges District for the creation of “The John Tripp – Silicon Valley REALTORS® Veterans Scholarship Endowment.” The late John Tripp was a veteran of the Korean War and past president of SILVAR and the Charitable Foundation.

As part of its annual scholarship program, the Charitable Foundation presented a $1,000 grant to each of 18 graduating seniors from public high schools in Silicon Valley. The foundation has been assisting students with the scholarship grants for the past 17 years. SILVAR’s districts, through the Foundation, also donated $6,195 raised at the annual Los Gatos/Saratoga District Pumpkin Auction to the Family Giving Tree for Operation Reindeer; $1,350 each to the West Valley Community Services and Sunnyvale Community Services backpack programs for needy students and $1,000 to the Cupertino Educational Endowment Foundation raised by the Cupertino/Sunnyvale District; and $1,797 raised by the Los Altos/Mountain View District at its spring and fall Legal Updates to Community Services Agency.

“It has become more costly to live in Silicon Valley, so we thank our members for being so generous in supporting the foundation year after year,” said Eileen Giorgi, president of the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation. “With our members’ continued support for and contributions to the communities where they work and live, we are able to continue our commitment to the welfare and prosperity of these communities.”

 

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Burglars continue to target vacant homes for sale in the Bay Area. Recently, there have been reports of a surge in burglaries in Livermore, where burglars hit nine homes in December. The burglars appear to have used a cutting tool to cut the lock box and get the keys to the residences. Electronics, televisions, appliances and even picture frames have been stolen from the homes, many of which have been staged.

The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) reminds all REALTORS® and their clients to take precautions to prevent this crime from happening to them. For your safety and that of your client, please consider taking the following precautions and share them with clients who plan to sell their home or leave their home vacant for a period of time:

  • Make the home look occupied. Use automatic timers on lights, a TV, and/or radios and set them to go on and off at different times to make your house appear occupied. Install motion detectors on the exterior of your home and garage/shed.
  • Keep curtains/blinds closed and lock all doors and windows. Use wooden stakes inside door/window frames to prevent them from being opened from the outside.
  • Keep the property maintained, grass mowed, and leaves raked. Trim trees and shrubs so they can’t conceal burglars.
  • Inform the police and trusted neighbors that the house will be vacant for an extended time.
  • Ask neighbors to keep an eye on the property and call 9-1-1 immediately if they see or hear any suspicious activity. Ask them to park their vehicle in the driveway and/or pick up fliers or circulars that may be left on the front porch, driveway, or in the newspaper box.
  • Consider installing an alarm system and/or security cameras. Keep alarms activated even if the residents have moved out.
  • Consider hiring a house sitter to prevent the home from being vacant during the selling period.
  • Refrain from putting “For Rent” or “For Sale” signs in front of your property.
  • Schedule viewings by appointment only.
  • Never leave a spare house key under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes, or other hiding places.
  • Place the lockbox out of plain sight, so it is not easily visible to passersby.
  • Don’t place posts on social networking sites that inform others that the house is for sale.

 

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