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PLEASE CALL TODAY! VOTE COULD BE MONDAY!    

The California Association of REALTORS® is OPPOSING SB 231 (Hertzberg), a bill that allows local governments to circumvent the State Constitution and Proposition 218 to tax property owners directly for costs related to stormwater infrastructure projects without the legally required public vote. C.A.R opposes SB 231 because it uses legal “sleight of hand” to allow local governments to impose new taxes without required voter input. The bill will be considered by the ENTIRE Assembly as soon as Monday, June 19th.

WHAT TO DO: Call your Assembly Member TODAY! Urge them to vote NO Vote on SB 231.

Call 1-800-798-6593. Enter your Assembly Member’s PIN number to be connected to their office.

When staff answers the phone, you can use the following script:   “Hi, this is (insert your name). I’m a constituent. Please ask the Assembly Member to Vote No on SB 231. Don’t allow local governments to impose sewer taxes by side-stepping voters.”

 

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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.
READ MORE HERE

 

Each year in April, REALTORS® join the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and rest of the nation in recognizing April as Fair Housing Month. Forty-nine years ago, on April 11, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark U.S. Fair Housing Act, Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1968, which strives to ensure equal housing opportunity for all and prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and family status. In 2012, HUD published new regulations to ensure that its core housing programs are open to all eligible persons, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Fair Housing Month is an opportunity to recommit to the principle that fair housing is an essential part of everything we do. REALTORS® play a vital role in ensuring fair housing for all and strive to make the American dream of homeownership accessible to all,” says Denise Welsh, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®. “This year’s theme – ‘Fair Housing Equals Opportunity’ – reminds us that everyone have the same opportunity and rights when renting, owning, or buying a home.”

Home sellers and landlords have a responsibility and a requirement under the law not to discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. You cannot instruct the licensed broker or salesperson acting as your agent to convey for you any limitations in the sale or rental because the real estate professional is also bound by law not to discriminate. Under the law, a home seller or landlord cannot establish discriminatory terms or conditions in the purchase or rental; deny that housing is available, or advertise that the property is available only to persons of a certain race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

Home seekers have the right to expect that housing will be available to you without discrimination or other limitations based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. This includes the right to expect:

  • Housing in your price range made available to you without discrimination
  • Equal professional service
  • The opportunity to consider a broad range of housing choices
  • No discriminatory limitations on communities or locations of housing
  • No discrimination in the financing, appraising, or insuring of housing
  • Reasonable accommodations in rules, practices and procedures for persons with disabilities
  • Non-discriminatory terms and conditions for the sale, rental, financing, or insuring of a dwelling
  • To be free from harassment or intimidation for exercising your fair housing rights.

Real estate professionals are prohibited by law from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. A request from the home seller or landlord to act in a discriminatory manner in the sale, lease or rental cannot legally be fulfilled by the real estate professional.

If you suspect discrimination, you may file a complaint with the nearest HUD office, or by contacting them at http://www.hud.gov

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Top left to right: 2016 REALTOR® of the Year David Tonna, Affiliate of the Year Eric Temple, Spirit of SILVAR Nina Yamaguchi. Bottom left to right: 2016 C.A.R. Region 9 Chair David Tonna, President’s Award Paul Cardus, President’s Award Brett Caviness
At the installation of the 2017 leadership of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) on Jan. 19, special recognition awards were given to members for their valuable contributions in 2016. Presenting the following awards were SILVAR 2016 President Karen Trolan and Executive Officer Paul Cardus.

 

2016 REALTOR® of the Year: David Tonna (Alain Pinel Realtors, Los Gatos)
A REALTOR® for almost 30 years, Trolan noted there is not a committee in which David Tonna has not served or chaired, from Lock Box Selection, MLS Advisory, PRDS Forms Advisory, Budget and Finance, the Legislative Committee, Education/Membership, Tour Policy and Sign Ordinance, Global Business Council, the Board of Directors and C.A.R. Region 9. Tonna helped found the Bay Area REALTOR® Leadership Academy (BARLA) and initiated SILVAR’s Ombudsman program. His service to communities includes RSVP, Little League Baseball, AYSO soccer, his local school board, and his church.

Tonna was also recognized for his work as the local trade association’s 2016 California Association of REALTORS® Region 9 Chair.

2016 Affiliate of the Year: Eric Temple (Willow Glen Organics, San Jose)
Describing 2016 SILVAR Affiliate Chair Eric Temple, Trolan said, “He has proven to be a dedicated workhorse and a great ambassador for our Association.” In 2016, Temple was successful in bringing SILVAR’s affiliated professionals together so they could learn about their role, benefits and opportunities as members of SILVAR. Temple also spearheaded and worked hard to bring to his District other successful events and fundraisers, like bowling and the annual member ice cream social.

Spirit of SILVAR: Nina Yamaguchi (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Cupertino) As one of the leaders in real estate in Silicon Valley who began her real estate career over 40 years ago, Trolan noted Nina Yamaguchi to this day continually works behind the scenes for the success of the Association. Yamaguchi is a past president of SILVAR and was a longtime California Association of REALTORS® Director. Yamaguchi, who believes in giving back to the community, founded and chairs the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation Scholars Program, a program that has been close to her heart for nearly two decades.

Upon its 18th year this fall, the scholars program will have provided $324,000 to more than 300 students in Silicon Valley who have been recipients of the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation Scholars Program.

President’s Award:
Brett Caviness (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Menlo Park)
Paul Cardus (SILVAR Executive Officer)
The President’s Award is presented at the discretion of the president to an individual who’s service to the Association is worthy of special thanks and recognition. Trolan presented the first President’s award to SILVAR Executive Officer Paul Cardus. She thanked him for the tremendous support and guidance he had given her in her role as president last year.

Trolan presented the second President’s Award to Brett Caviness for his service as chair of the Menlo Park/Atherton District. She said as 2016 chair of the Menlo Park/Atherton District, Caviness, who is a new REALTOR®, worked hard to raise member attendance at the District’s monthly meetings by bringing in many interesting speakers. Caviness has also helped members be more in touch with technology, especially in the area of video marketing, with classes at SILVAR.

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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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Nina Yamaguchi, managing broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Cupertino, shared prospecting tips with members at a recent Silicon Valley Association of  REALTORS® Cupertino/Sunnyvale District tour meeting.

Yamaguchi said with market is changing. Inventory for the entry level market is tight and the luxury market is passed its peak. It is highly likely that the lack of inventory and a dip in sales because of it will continue.

“With that framework, it is more important than ever to get listings,” stressed Yamaguchi.

Here are some of her suggestions:
1. Don’t ignore expired listings. Check with the former listing agent about the status of the expired listing. There also are many internet sites that help find people for a fee, such as beenverified.com, peoplefinders.com. intelius.com and theredx.com.

2. Don’t ignore print. While online is popular, many people still like print, especially seniors. Silicon Valley has many senior residents. Advertise in the newspapers, send out Just Listed and Just Sold cards. Follow these up with a phone call or door knocking.

3. Tap your sphere of influence – friends, family, former co-workers.

4. Tap into your database of referrals and past clients.

5. Door knock in neighborhoods where a home has just sold, or send out “missed opportunity” mailings. It may interest neighbors to know that the house on their street sold at a good price.

6. Get with technology. Text a short video or a pre-listing presentation.

7. Use social media and post on Facebook.

8. Invite the neighbors to your open houses.

9. Farm around your successes.

10. Do the basics.

“All the basics still work,” said Yamaguchi. “You need to be consistent and show up.”

Yamaguchi said her top farmers do everything consistently, from sending out mailers, advertising in the newspapers, maintaining a strong internet presence, door knocking, to holding open houses every weekend.

“I’m a firm believer in open houses because they are a great way to get buyers and sellers,” said Yamaguchi.

In closing, Yamaguchi shared this quote from Nelson Mandela: “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”

“If you are fearful, you are not going to get anywhere. If you follow your hopes you’ll be successful,” said Yamaguchi.

No matter where you are or who you are with, always trust your senses because your subconscious is almost always right. This was the first important safety tip that Santa Clara County Deputy Sheriff Chad Garton shared with SILVAR members at Wednesday’s Los Gatos/Saratoga District tour meeting.

Garton, who is a U.S. veteran who served in Iraq, said trusting your instinct is also what soldiers do in combat. If you feel uneasy about a person you are with or a situation you are in, trust your gut feeling and leave that person or remove yourself from the situation.

“Your subconscious is constantly taking in information; do not ignore that,” said Garton.

Garton said REALTORS® are especially at risk because they meet strangers all the time. He shared what he termed a 5-point Contingency Plan, which those in the military also use: Let people know:
1. WHERE you are going.

2. WHO you will be meeting.

3. WHEN you will be back.

4. What to do if you don’t return.

5. The ACTION to take if they cannot contact you.

Here are other safety tips Garton shared with members:

• It may be part of your job to show your professionalism and success in the way you   dress, but be aware that people are watching you and looking for ways to steal valuables.

  • Don’t leave valuables in plain sight in your car. It only takes 17 seconds for someone to break into a car.
  • Always meet a new person in a public place and get their ID.
  • Show strength in whatever you do. When you’re walking, look around; don’t look down. Always make eye contact. Speak in a loud voice because this gives the appearance of strength.
  • Do not carry a firearm. If you have to carry a weapon, make sure you are fully trained to use it. Pepper spray and Mace are good, but you still need to train yourself to use these self-defense devices.
  • An alarm system can act as a deterrent and video cameras inside and outside the home are even better deterrents because they can identify the robbers.
  • Lock all doors and windows even if you are home. If the weather is warm, spend the extra money and turn on the air conditioner, instead of leaving windows open.
  • Refrain from announcing open houses and where you will be on social media.
  • Do not to hesitate to call 9-1-1 if they see something suspicious, or feel you are in danger.

 

 

 

 

REALTORS® are concerned about the recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will begin insuring mortgages on certain properties with Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans. REALTOR® officials say there ought to be more disclosures regarding the risks associated with PACE loans.

A PACE loan allows a homeowner to borrow money to finance energy upgrades. The loan is repaid as a surcharge on the property tax. The PACE loan takes primary position to the mortgage. If the cost of repaying the PACE loan and any mortgages on the property exceeds the home’s purchase price, the seller will be forced to make up the difference.

California Association of REALTORS® President Pat “Ziggy” Zicarelli said in a statement, “Although C.A.R. supports voluntary consumer-friendly energy improvement programs for homeowners, C.A.R. believes that HUD was ill advised to approve placing PACE loans in a senior position to FHA first mortgages. Doing so places FHA homebuyers and taxpayers at risk and does homeowners a disservice by approving a loan product without consumer protections and which is aggressively sold to homeowners who rely on FHA financing for safe and affordable mortgages.”

REALTORS® say PACE loans are unfairly expensive and carry higher interest rates than the first mortgage or a home equity loan. “This loan product has no minimum disclosures, no underwriting of the borrower, no proof that the borrower has the ability to repay, no three-day right to rescind, no marketing limitations, no interest rate or fee caps, no kickback prohibitions; nothing,” added Zicarelli.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac prohibits PACE loans to be placed in a senior position to the mortgage. Both the FHA and Fannie Mae currently offer mortgage financing that allows borrowers to finance energy efficiency improvements at lower rates than PACE liens. HUD’s announcement, which is contrary to FHFA’s current policy will only confuse homeowners, homebuyers, REALTORS®, lenders, escrow, title and the housing market overall.

The National Association of REALTORS® also expressed its concern, especially with regard to delinquent foreclosed properties. “A foreclosed property with a PACE loan in the primary position will likely remain on the market longer than it should, further increasing uncertainty in mortgage markets and placing unnecessary pressure on homeowners,” NAR President Tom Salomone said in a statement.

Karen Trolan, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, said, “Now, more than ever, the California legislature must pass AB 2693 (Dababneh), a C.A.R.-sponsored bill that would ensure consumers are aware of the consequences of PACE loans and have the opportunity to rescind after a three-day cooling off period. Current disclosures given to home buyers do not explain the potential consequences of using PACE loans. AB 2693 will require Truth in Lending type disclosures to borrowers.”

 

 

 

 

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Recent news reports about burglaries of vacant homes for sale in the Bay Area are troubling and a good reminder for REALTORS® and their clients to take precautions to prevent this crime from happening to them. Majority of recent burglaries have occurred in homes with “For Sale” signs in the front yard, or homes that are easily identifiable as being vacant. These burglars are taking large appliances, like refrigerators and stoves.

The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® shares the following safety tips with homeowners who plan to sell their home or leave their home vacant for an extended time:

  • Make your home look occupied. Use automatic timers on lights, a TV and/or radio, 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 or shed.
  • Keep curtains/blinds closed and lock all doors and windows. Use wooden stakes inside patio door/window frames to prevent them from being opened from the outside.
  • Keep your property maintained, grass mowed, and leaves raked. Trim trees and bushes so they can’t conceal burglars.
  • Inform the police and trusted neighbors that your house will be vacant for an extended time. Police may be able to patrol your neighborhood periodically and keep an eye on your property. Ask neighbors to keep an eye on the property and call 9-1-1 immediately if they see or hear any suspicious activity.
  • Ask a trusted neighbor to pick up flyers or newspapers that may be left on the front porch or driveway. Consider having a neighbor park their vehicle in your driveway while you are gone.
  • Install an alarm system and/or security cameras.
  • Consider renting your home or hiring a house sitter so the house won’t be vacant.
  • Know the risks of putting “For Rent” or “For Sale” signs in front of your property.
  • Never leave a spare house key under doormats, flowerpots, or other hiding places.
  • Don’t place posts on social media informing others that your house is for sale or that you will be away on vacation.

 

 

 

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is asking all REALTORS® across the country to TAKE ACTION NOW and urge your Senators to pass H.R. 3700, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016.” This bill makes needed reforms to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) condominium loan program, federal-assisted housing programs and Rural Housing Service loan programs. The reforms would make buying a condominium easier by expanding opportunities for first-time homebuyers and streamlining rural housing programs for low-income rental residents.

Early in February the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously to advance legislation that will expand opportunities for homeownership, especially for first-time home buyers. H.R.3700 takes aim at the difficulties in getting mortgages for condominiums. NAR has supported the inclusion of reforms to current FHA restrictions on condominium financing.

Condominiums are among the most affordable homeownership options for first-time home buyers, as well as lower income borrowers, but barriers to safe, affordable mortgage credit for condos still exist. H.R. 3700 takes a number of steps to address those concerns. These include efforts to make FHA’s recertification process “substantially less burdensome,” improving a process that is often costly and which condo developments must repeat every 24 months.

H.R. 3700 also lowers FHA’s current owner-occupancy requirement (the number of units in the development owned by the people living in them) from 50 percent to 35 percent and requires FHA to replace existing policy on transfer fees with the less restrictive model already in place at the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Additionally, the bill streamlines the process for exemptions to FHA’s rule requiring that condominium projects have no more than 25 percent of the space dedicated to commercial use. This effort is in line with the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s initiative to promote neighborhoods with a mix of residential housing, businesses and access to public transportation, which has become a trend in housing development today.

Finally, H.R. 3700 includes further support for rural housing loans and multifamily housing initiatives.

H.R. 3700 removes a burdensome and expensive FHA condo approval process, reduces the FHA restrictions on the number of condos available to homebuyers, and permanently streamlines the Rural Housing Service loan program.

NAR is encouraging all members to take action even if they do not do business with condominiums or in rural areas. SILVAR members can take action by going to https://realtorparty.realtoractioncenter.com/site/Advocacy

 

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