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Wherever you go, whatever you do, you cannot look like a victim. Be aware of your surroundings. If confronted by someone, the best thing to do is scream and run! Get away from the situation. Use physical force only as a last resort, but be ready. These are the first important tips Karen Trolan, past president of SILVAR and safety and self-defense instructor, shared with participants at last Friday’s REALTOR® Safety and Self-Dense Training.

According to Trolan, prevention is the best self-defense. Attackers look for unsuspecting vulnerable targets. “If you act like a victim, you could be one. Therefore, be prepared and follow general safety tips, like being aware of your surroundings,” said Trolan.

When it is clear that escape isn’t possible, shout, “Back off!” as loud as you can and push the attacker right away. This will surprise the attacker and let them know you are not an easy target.

Trolan explained when you are in a confrontation, you only have a few seconds and a few moves to try, so before the attacker gains full control of you, you must do everything to inflict injury so you can get away.

So Trolan, assisted by Pacific Coast Academy instructor Alex Franckx, Carla Bunch and Trolan’s husband Steve – all of whom have several black belts in jujitsu and other self-defense training, demonstrated and then practiced with the over 20 REALTORS® present how to use their hands to strike the assailant on the upper half of their body and using their fingers, palms, elbows, knees and feet, how to aim at parts of the body where they can easily do the most damage. Trolan later reviewed other REALTOR® safety tips and shared information on several safety apps REALTORS® can download that can help track their movements, vet clients, or remotely activate emergency alerts.

Trolan has been teaching SILVAR members REALTOR® safety and self-defense for the past three years because she is concerned about the rise in crime against real estate agents. There have been assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, and even murders.

“Real estate professionals are targets because they often work alone and can be in potentially dangerous situations when they are showing a home or meeting new clients who are strangers to them. Men, as well as women, have been targets,” said Trolan. “All REALTORS® should learn at least basic safety and self-defense techniques.”

VIEW PHOTOS

 

 

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Here are SILVAR members ready to meet state legislators.

 

Early this month, about 50 SILVAR members traveled to Sacramento for Legislative Day, joining over 2,500 California REALTORS® for their annual meetings with their respective legislators. At the meetings, REALTORS® assumed the role of “lobbyists for the day” and discussed bills that could impact homeowners and private property rights.

In the morning, REALTORS® gathered at the Sacramento Convention Center for a briefing by California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) leadership. C.A.R. President Geoff McIntosh underlined the importance of REALTORS® coming together in support of homeownership.

“We are the largest supporters of private property rights in the state,” said McIntosh. Governor Jerry Brown was back this year to speak to the REALTORS®. He, too, stressed the importance of the profession and the need to work together. “You touch people in the most important time of their life, when they buy a house,” said Brown.

At the joint luncheon with neighboring associations, guest speaker Assemblyman Marc Steinorth (R-Rancho Cucamonga) mentioned when REALTORS® visit Sacramento, their legislators listen to them. He said legislators like him would think, “You matter because you are from home. I will hear your message.”

Steinorth values homeownership. “Renting is not the path to success. The pathway to middle class success starts with homeownership,” he said.

And while he is for affordable housing, Steinorth said “once it transcends the goal of homeownership, I oppose it.”

Steinorth then talked about AB 53, a bill he authored that would allow individuals to save up to $10,000 tax free which would go toward the purchase of their first home. He explained while the solution to the housing affordability crisis is to increase supply, the state also needs to increase better buyers who save and are financially responsible.

The Assemblyman called on REALTORS® to get involved in their communities and in government. “The decision needs to come from the industry to educate us because you are the experts, the job creators. You make dreams a reality,” said Steinorth. “For every transaction you make you have created a better lifestyle for someone. You are all about the transaction, relationships, the community.”

At their meetings with Assembly members Marc Berman and Evan Low and state Senators Jim Beall and Jerry Hill, SILVAR REALTORS® discussed three main issues:

Oppose AB 1059 (Gonzales Fletcher), which prohibits dual agency in commercial real estate transactions. If passed, it would drastically limit consumer choice.

Oppose to SB 649 (Hertzberg), whose intent is to expand the state sales tax to services. While the bill does not impose the tax itself, it lays the framework for a service tax. Real estate is the most service intensive business, with 10-12 services, like home inspections, appraisal, pest control, insurance, etc. A service tax on real estate services would hurt housing affordability and especially adversely impact low and middle class families.

Support legislation that seeks to increase the supply of housing and oppose bills that discourage its creation, like stricter rent control. The only solution to the housing affordability problem is to increase the housing supply. Price controls are not the solution. Policies like rent control don’t work. Telling property owners that they can’t change market rates discourages investment in housing.
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In Los Altos, Kathryn Tomaino and Steve Klesczewski washed windows for a 74-year-old Los Altos homeowner.

 

The Palo Alto senior cheerfully greeted the RSVP (REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program) volunteers when they arrived at her home. She was eager and grateful to receive their help. Looking at her you wouldn’t know that she needed help, but the 81-year-old widow has undergone a liver transplant, a mastectomy, a hip replacement and now has a bad back. The Palo Alto senior homeowner was grateful the RSVP volunteers were able to vacuum her house, wash her windows and change a light bulb. She said her husband died five years ago and she has no family. She is friends with her neighbor, but the neighbor is 92 years old.

“The neighborhood has changed,” she sighed. “I feel so helpless. I guess I should move, but it’s hard because this is home. I’ve lived here for 50 years.”

A 98-year-old Saratoga senior feels the same way. Also a widow with no family, she was very happy that the RSVP volunteers were able to her change her light bulbs, turn over her mattress and replace her smoke detector battery.

“It’s wonderful you can do this for me. I just can’t do some of these tasks anymore,” she remarked.

In Los Altos, a 74-year-old senior homeowner conveyed her gratitude as RSVP volunteers proceeded to wash her outside windows. “I love this! Thank you. It is so wonderful to have this help,” she said.

RSVP volunteers also feel rewarded when they are able to help seniors in their communities. “We volunteer because we respect the needs of our parents. We want to pay it forward and do it for them,” said longtime RSVP volunteers Kevin Barrett and SILVAR President Denise Welsh.

The program has inspired new members to volunteer, as well. First-time RSVP volunteers Anna-Liza Estoesta and Sara Hernandez were eager to help. “We want to help the community,” they said.

Virginia Supnet said, “I would like to promote the event to my office to inspire other agents.”

This was Trevor Loveless’ third year as a Palo Alto District RSVP volunteer. He enjoys helping the seniors. “It’s good for the community. I was born and raised here. It’s good to give back,” said Loveless.

SILVAR’s REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP) is on its 16th year. This year 107 volunteers from SILVAR assisted 50 senior households in the Menlo Park/Atherton, Palo Alto, Los Altos/Mountain View, Cupertino/Sunnyvale and Los Gatos/Saratoga communities. VIEW PHOTOS

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