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According to NBC Bay Area News, thieves recently targeted a home for sale in east San Jose and stole a refrigerator. It is believed thieves cased the home during an open house held a few days earlier. The home was apparently vacant at the time. The thieves returned three days later to steal more items, but their attempt was thwarted since this time, there was an occupant in the home and the police were contacted.

Below are safety tips from the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® for members to share with their clients that may help avoid being a target of theft. Agents may also want to consult their clients on whether or not to indicate a vacant property is “staged” in the MLS public remarks.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

View the NBC Bay Area news broadcast HERE.

The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® celebrated Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month with leaders of local Asian real estate associations. At the virtual event were Sang Kang, president of the Korean American Association of Realtors & Lenders of Northern California (KARL); PK Patel, president of the Asian Real Estate Association of America Silicon Valley (AREAA SV); Dexter Lat, former president and current board director of the Chinese American Real Estate Association (CAREA); Frank Cancilla, president-elect of the Filipino American Real Estate Association Silicon Valley (FAREPA SV); and Paige Nguyen, president of the Vietnamese National Association of Real Estate Professionals (VNARP).

KARL’s mission is “to synergize the leaders of real estate and lenders within the Korean American communities in the greater Bay Area by facilitating continued professional development of its members and affiliates,” said Kang.

KARL has about 100 members from all real estate-related professions. Kang highlighted upcoming association events and invited SILVAR members to join, saying, “We are open to all races who are interested in the Korean culture.”

From its formation 12 years ago, Patel said AREAA has grown to 42 chapters in the U.S. and two in Canada, with a membership of 56 ethnicities speaking 26 languages. AREAA promotes sustainable homeownership opportunities for Asian American communities.

Humbled to be AREAA SV’s first Indian American president, Patel said getting involved with AREAA “has transformed my life and business.” He indicated AREAA goes beyond business and helps the community through its cleanup program and other projects like Stop Asian Hate Crime, and advocates at the national level to reduce homeownership barriers facing the Asian American community.

Nguyen said San Jose has the largest Vietnamese population outside Vietnam. VNARP is centered on quality education for its members and outreach. Events associated with Vietnamese fashion and culture, its annual golf tournament and food distribution drives are some of many ways VNARP supports and gives back to the Vietnamese community.

Nguyen announced VNARP has officially launched a Southern California chapter. She added, “We’re open to all. Half of our membership is non-Vietnamese.”

Cancilla said FAREPA was formed in 2002 to elevate the level of professionalism of Filipino American real estate professionals through education, networking and partnership, and to create a united voice within the real estate industry. Cancilla said even if he is not Filipino, FAREPA welcomes everyone.

“If you are involved in our organization, you’ll be welcomed in the family,” said Cancilla.

CAREA focuses on the social and economic well-being of associates and in enhancing the image of Chinese Americans in real estate. Like the other groups, CAREA welcomes everyone.

Lat said he was nervous joining CAREA in 2007 because although he is part Chinese, he did not speak the language. Yet right away, CAREA members were welcoming and put him at ease.

Lat imparted the message from all the leaders. “We invite you to join our associations. Don’t just join one, join all, because you not only get to expand your network of friends, you’ll learn about every culture. Their ways of negotiation are different from others. These soft skills to negotiate and communicate, how to get along with other people, make you a whole person, makes you a better person of the world. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Having more friendships shows you are not alone in this business.”

SILVAR Past President Joanne Fraser shared news that Apartment List recently named San Jose the best city for Asian professionals in four categories: Community & Representation, Economic Opportunity, Housing Opportunity, and Business Environment. San Francisco ranked sixth.

San Jose is home to 382,815 Asians and San Francisco, 300,339, according to U.S. Census numbers. “That puts the Asian population at 37 percent and 34 percent of the overall population of the two cities, respectively. They are your clients,” Fraser told SILVAR members.

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