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According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2020 Member Profile, the typical REALTOR® has not changed much since the NAR 2019 survey. REALTORS® continue to come from a variety of demographic groups and career backgrounds. They represent the various age, ethnic, and language that define their local communities. They are more tech savvy today, using their smartphone and computer on a daily basis and online tools to communicate with clients.

The typical REALTOR® is a 55-year-old, college-educated White female, and a homeowner. Sixty-four percent of all REALTORS® are women. For 73 percent, real estate is their only occupation. Also largely unchanged from the previous year, 69 percent are married, 16 percent are divorced, and 10 percent are single or never married.

Eighty percent of REALTORS® are White, while 10 percent are Hispanic/Latino, 6 percent Black, and 5 percent Asian/Pacific Islanders. Eighty-two percent are fluent only in English. Respondents under 50 years old were most likely to be fluent in another language, with Spanish being the most common second language. Thirteen percent said they were born outside of the U.S.

Already before the coronavirus pandemic, REALTORS® had begun to adapt technology to advance their business. Among the 12,464 members who responded to the survey, more than nine in 10 members use a smartphone and a computer daily, while just about all members regularly email clients. Text messaging is the preferred means of communication for REALTORS® (94%), followed by email (91%) and telephone calls (89%). Seventy percent of members said they have a website for business use. Majority use social media apps to communicate with clients. REALTORS® were typically most active on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

“The survey was conducted prior to the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent nationwide stay-at-home orders. REALTORS® are very innovative, and if the same survey is conducted today, it would show an even higher percentage of REALTORS® utilizing tech tools, and they have done so successfully from the start of a transaction to completion,” said Mary Kay Groth, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®.

On average, members have nine years of experience in the industry. Seventeen percent have more than 25 years of experience. Sixty-five percent of respondents have sales agent licenses, 22 percent hold broker licenses, and 15 percent have their broker associate license. Seventy-three percent of members indicated they specialize in residential brokerage.

“People tend to use the terms REALTOR® and real estate agent interchangeably, but they are not the same. Although both are licensed to sell real estate, a REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and pledges to follow the Code of Ethics, which contains 17 articles and standards of practice that are higher than regular business practices or those required by law,” said Groth.

Groth added, “REALTORS® must abide by a Code of Ethics, which is diligently enforced by our peers through the Grievance and Professional Standards process. As such, a REALTOR® is held to an even higher standard of conduct than other real estate licensees. Only REALTORS® can use the REALTOR® trademark by their name.”

The National Association of REALTORS® MLS Policy Statement 8, also known as the MLS Clear Cooperation Policy, takes effect for all MLSs beginning today, May 1. NAR’s Board of Directors adopted the policy last November.

The new NAR policy requires listing brokers who are participants in an MLS to submit their listing to the MLS within one business day of marketing the property to the public. Agents may promote a listing only within their brokerage – not with others on the MLS or outside of the brokerage.

The California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reviewed and adopted the policy with more details to its model rules for CA MLS, and on April 15, the MLSListings Board of Directors adopted the C.A.R. model rule changes. The C.A.R. SELM form has been modified to refer to the policy.

Within the MLSListings service area, the Clear Cooperation Policy applies to one to four-unit residential property and vacant residential lots. It does not apply to commercial listings and new construction of five plus units.

Brokers/agents can still take an exclusive listing, but can only promote or advertise the listing within their brokerage. If advertised to the public or to an outside agent, the listing must be added to the MLS within one business day as an Active listing.

Public marketing or advertising includes, but is not limited to conveying or displaying any information about the property or its availability for sale through or on any windows, signs, public facing websites, social media, brokerage or franchise operated websites (including IDX and VOW), digital communications marketing (ex: email, text or phone blasts, social media messaging), multi-brokerage or franchise listing sharing networks, flyers or written material or on any applications available to the public or through conducting an open house.

This rule only applies to “excluded” or “exclusive” or “waivered” listings. Listings entered as Coming Soon on the MLS may only be advertised as Coming Soon off the MLS.

For the next month, MLSListings will be educating brokers and agents about the new rules. MLSListings is urging agents to communicate with their broker about the new policy. Brokers, in turn, need to counsel their agents. Agents need to counsel their sellers about what it means to have an “exclusive” listing.

If caught violating the rule, an agent must enter the listing as Active. Agents in violation will receive courtesy notices for violations with a copy sent to their broker or office manager. The fine for a violation is $500 and escalates until the property is listed or the NAR maximum of $15,000 is reached. Many MLSs are imposing fines upwards of $5,000.

Visit MLSListings Clear Cooperation Resource Page

View MLSListings’ video on Clear Cooperation Implementation

California Governor Gavin Newsom has extended the state stay-at-home order through the end of May and has California’s Pandemic Roadmap to safely re-open all businesses and institutions stages. Meanwhile, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, along with the four other Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, have announced they will ease some of their Shelter-in-Place (SIP) restrictions effective Monday, May 4. With regard to the practice of real estate, the Santa Clara County Public Health Order states (SILVAR has confirmed that the same applies to San Mateo County):

“Service providers that enable real estate transactions (including rentals, leases, and home sales), including, but not limited to, real estate agents, escrow agents, notaries, and title companies, provided that appointments and other real estate viewings must only occur virtually or, if a virtual viewing is not feasible, by appointment with no more than two visitors at a time residing within the same household or living unit and one individual showing the unit (except that in-person visits are not allowed when an occupant is present in a residence);

Previously, private showings and walk-throughs were not allowed when an occupant was living in the residence. This mirrors prior direction for limited photography/videography, inspections, and necessary work to close a transaction, while generally limiting it to no more than three people at a property at one time.

The following guidance for showings of properties continue:

  • No open houses.
  • Virtual showings are highly encouraged. If a virtual viewing is not feasible, then an in-person viewing of the property may be done by appointment only.
  • During the in-person showing of the property, all social distancing protocols must be practiced, and protective measures, such as the wearing of gloves, cloth face coverings, and not touching of surfaces and maintaining a distance of six feet between each other must be followed.

For more information on this announcement, visit the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® website at http://www.silvar.org.

Every year in the month of April, REALTORS® observe the anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and use the time to educate consumers about housing discrimination and segregation, and to recommit to expanding equal access to housing. April this year has turned out to be different due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but NAR reminds members Fair Housing Month can be celebrated at home. Education, reflection, and discussion are meaningful efforts members can still undertake while practicing social distancing.

To mark the event, NAR is sharing curated lists of books, videos, podcasts and other resources for members to educate themselves throughout the month. NAR urges members to use this time to read, watch, listen, think, discuss and strengthen their fair housing knowledge and leadership with these tools.

As stewards of the right to own, use and transfer private property, REALTORS® reconfirm their commitment to upholding fair housing law and offering equal professional service to all in their search for real property. “Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, REALTORS® are using virtual tools to help homebuyers search for a home so they can achieve their dream of homeownership,” said Mary Kay Groth, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR).

At the federal level, NAR is advocating for a federal minimum standard for remote online notary. NAR also worked on further tax extensions for 1031 like-kind exchanges and opportunity zones, and wants to make sure the much-needed forbearance measures do not unintentionally lock up the mortgage marketplace.

As a designated U.S. Census Bureau national partner for the 2020 Census, NAR is urging its 1.4 million REALTORS® nationwide to help drive Census participation in their respective communities. The good news is over 70 million households have responded to date, representing over 48 percent of all households in America (52% in California), using the Census Bureau’s new online option.

Roughly $1.5 trillion is allocated to states and localities annually based off census results to fund roads, public transportation, hospitals, schools and other infrastructure. More specifically, this year’s results will influence the allocation of $93.5 billion to Federal Direct Student Loans, $19.3 billion to Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and $12 billion to the National School Lunch Program.

Census data is also used to draw district lines to determine appropriate Congressional representation for the next decade. California is one of 10 states likely to lose a congressional seat since more people left California than moved in over the course of a year. If California loses a seat in Congress, the state’s number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will drop from 53 to 52 and it could cost the state billions of dollars in federal funds.

Groth urges those who have not to please respond to the Census. “If you are unable to respond online, a paper questionnaire can be mailed to you by calling toll free 1-844-330-2020. I assure you the Census Bureau will never ask for bank account or social security numbers, donations, or anything on behalf of a political party. Strict federal law protects the confidentiality of Census responses.”

Dear fellow REALTORS® and SILVAR members,

As I write this from my home office, I realize some of what I say could be old news by the time this is published, but I will press on.

As you know, Real Estate has been deemed an essential business during the COVID-19 crisis.  The reaction to this has been mixed. Initially, REALTORS® felt this was a good thing, but it has caused confusion since we live in an area that is under the stricter rules mandated by the various County Health Departments.

The California Association of REALTORS® has been criticized for putting out conflicting information and guidelines, but it has been very clear, as has SILVAR, that our local rules are different, and we must adhere to them. No Open Houses … residential viewings must only occur virtually or, if a virtual viewing is not feasible, by appointment with no more than two visitors at a time residing within the same household or living unit and one individual showing the unit. In person visits are not allowed when the occupant is still residing in the residence.

Doesn’t that seem extreme, you say. Let’s consider what the ordinance says: The intent of this Order is to ensure that the maximum number of people shelter in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible to slow the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate the impact on delivery of critical healthcare services to those in need.

When assessing if what your are doing for you and/or your clients, the above isn’t just a guideline; it is the law. Yes, transactions are being closed, movers are still moving (based on guidelines that allow this), but it is our responsibility as REALTORS® to be an example of following our Code of Ethics Preamble for “the preservation of a healthful environment.”

Since COVID-19 and its impact on us, I think it’s safe to say we all agree on many things – this is unchartered territory, we miss our colleagues and face-to-face interaction, we have a heightened level of anxiety for the future. We can adapt to new situations quicker than we may have though – we can spend more time with family, we can appreciate the beauty of where we live, and there are many other things we can add to the list. 

Like many, if not all of you, virtual meetings have become the norm. For me, today was another example of seeing friendly faces on my computer screen that I would normally be sitting in a room with and having a discussion that resulted in the same outcome – discussion, review, discussion and eventually a decision. As efficient as that may have been, I missed being together. That has been the reality for many over the past several weeks. And it will continue until our Shelter in Place order is lifted.

When we have come out on the other side of this crisis, there are many thoughts we will have in hindsight. One that I heard recently is the question, “Did I do enough?” If we keep that in perspective, we can’t help but make this crisis and adversity a time to grow. Be safe, stay healthy and keep pressing on.

Mary Kay Groth
2020 Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) President

According to the Chinese zodiac, this year is the Year of the Metal Rat and it may be far from a calm year, renowned fortune teller and feng shui master Y.C. Sun told members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® at their “Lunar New Year Celebration” last week.

Sun said the Metal Rat is intelligent, militant, combative, passionate. The Metal Rat values his family, but can be very aggressive when supporting political and social causes. Expect positive energy this year in the form of fights for justice, economic inequality, standing up to protect one’s own security and interests. Negative energy will come in the form of violent confrontation, riots, more government control, hate crime, domestic violence.

Jobs in demand this year will be artificial intelligence work, software development, data scientist, statistician, health care, nurse, physician, priest, farmer, civil engineer, athlete, lawyer, entertainer, film director.

Beware of health issues caused by the Metal Rat, like lung, flu, sleep disorders, headache, falling, problems in the neck, nose, kidney, large intestine, stroke, respiratory disease, asthma, venereal disease, reproductive system. Bad weather can lead to more floods, landslides, mudslides, avalanches, fires. There will be shipwrecks, air disasters, traffic accidents, gas explosions, chemical fires, earthquakes, tsunamis.

Be careful in June (especially from June 6 through July 6). The feng shui master predicts it will be a disaster-ridden month.

Sun said the economy should finish strong in 2020, with more incoming investment, better trade deals, and solid profits from AI applications, robotics, facial recognition, blockchain technology, and global 5G roll-out activities. Rising wages, low unemployment and interest rates will support demand for homebuying. Millennials will buy their first homes. Except for the East Coast, the real estate market should remain steady with slower price growth. The stock market will fall at the end of the year, but it will also be an opportunity to buy low.
READ MORE HERE

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has been designated by the U.S. Census Bureau as a National Partner for the upcoming 2020 Census. To encourage full participation which will ensure accurate data, NAR is asking its 1.4 million REALTORS® nationwide to help drive Census participation in their respective communities.

In addition to determining appropriate Congressional representation, roughly $1.5 trillion is allocated to states and localities annually based off of Census results – delivering funds for roads, hospitals, schools and countless other public services. More specifically, this year’s results will influence the allocation of $93.5 billion to Federal Direct Student Loans, $19.3 billion to Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and $12 billion to the National School Lunch Program.

NAR has also prepared a toolkit for members to help communicate the Census’ importance to their clients, friends and community. The promotional materials emphasize the importance of responding to the 2020 Census and include ways REALTORS® can be involved in the 2020 Census. Also included are template Facebook posts, template tweets, infographics, along with other informational resources provided by the Census Bureau.

Notices about the 2020 Census will be mailed in mid-March. The Census Bureau will offer a guide in roughly 60 different languages.

This year will mark the first time the questionnaire can be completed online, while options to respond over the phone and through the mail will still be available. In addition, NAR is reminding its members and U.S. residents that the Bureau will never ask for bank account or social security numbers, donations or anything on behalf of a political party, and strict federal law protects the confidentiality of Census responses.

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has partnered with Photofy, the content creation app, to create a custom version of the app pre-loaded with “That’s Who We R” social media graphics and videos for REALTORS® to share with consumers. The app is a FREE member-only benefit.

“That’s Who We R” is a campaign launched by NAR last year as a rallying cry that instills pride in a REALTOR®’s everyday actions. The campaign uses the iconic block R logo, representing membership in NAR and differentiates REALTORS® from non-member agents.

The new app boosts the image of the REALTOR® and allows REALTORS® to quickly and easily personalize a selection of content from NAR’s “That’s Who We R” advertising campaign to share on social media, educating consumers about why you, as a REALTOR®, are different from other agents. REALTORS® can add their photo, logo, or contact information and share assets to their social media accounts, all in just a few taps. New content will be added as it becomes available for REALTORS® to share.

REALTORS® may use their NRDS ID to sign up today at Photofy.com/NAR for free access to Photofy’s exclusive toolset for NAR members and start leveraging the national ad campaign on social media.

At the annual National Association of REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco, NAR’s board of directors voted 729-70 on Monday to approved MLS Statement 8.0, also known as the Clear Cooperation policy. The policy requires listing brokers who are participants in a multiple listing service to submit their listing to the MLS within one business day of marketing the property to the public.

NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board proposed the policy as a way to address the growing use of off-MLS listings, also known as “pocket listings.” The advisory board concluded that leaving listings outside of the broader marketplace excludes consumers, undermining REALTORS®’ commitment to provide equal opportunity to all. The policy does not prohibit brokers from taking office-exclusive listings; nor does it impede brokers’ ability to meet their clients’ privacy needs.

Following is the full text of MLS Statement 8.0:
Within one (1) business day of marketing a property to the public, the listing broker must submit the listing to the MLS for cooperation with other MLS participants.  Public marketing includes, but is not limited to, flyers displayed in windows, yard signs, digital marketing on public facing websites, brokerage website displays (including IDX and VOW), digital communications marketing (email blasts), multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, and applications available to the general public.

MLSs can adopt the policy any time, but they must adopt it no later than May 1, 2020.

Click HERE for more information on the MLS Clear Cooperation Policy

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board of directors approved a change to NAR’s Code of Ethics training requirement and extended the ethics training requirement to every three years instead of every two years. The change was made upon the recommendation of a presidential advisory group in order to give members more time to fit the Code of Ethics training into their continuing education schedule and to give local associations adequate time between cycles to administer the program.

Click HERE for more information on the Code of Ethics training requirement.

Despite information in the media, many households were caught unprepared for PG&E’s recent Public Safety Power Shutoffs in certain areas in the San Francisco Bay Area. According to PG&E, the effects of climate change are making California’s wildfire season longer and more intense, threatening homes and people’s lives. In order to prevent tragedies like the deadly Camp Fire, PG&E says the probability is great that it will proactively shut off electrical power to households during days of strong winds and extreme fire danger.

Below are steps recommended by PG&E, the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® and other sources, to help homeowners prepare before a shutoff occurs:

Alan Barbic, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR), knows the impact a fire can have on a family, since his home was destroyed during the 1985 Lexington fire and the family had to rebuild. “We were utterly devastated when our home burned down. We were fortunate to be safe, but the fear was very real,” said Barbic. “That’s why it is important to prepare as much as you can and have an emergency plan in advance in the event your family is affected by a power shutoff or should any type of emergency arise.”

Below are steps recommended by PG&E, SILVAR and other sources, to help homeowners prepare before a shutoff occurs

  • Visit http://www.pge.com to confirm or update your contact information, so PG&E can send you notifications in advance of a shutoff.
  • Create a safety plan for your family, including pets. This includes emergency contact information and an emergency supply kit with enough water and nonperishable food to last your family for a week. Refresh your kit once a year.
  • When there is no power, Wi-Fi and other devices that rely on electricity to function won’t work, so keep mobile phones and other devices charged. Better yet, have an external battery charger that can charge your phone and other devices. Make sure it is charged all the time.
  • Have a battery-operated radio so you can listen for news updates.
  • Have several flashlights available and store extra batteries for your flashlights and portable radio. Avoid using candles.
  • Keep cash on hand, preferably in small bills, since ATMs and credit card machines may not function during an outage.
  • Keep your gas tank always at least half full. Gas tanks need electricity to pump gas. If you own an electric vehicle, make sure it is fully charged.
  • If your garage door does not have a battery backup, learn how to manually open it.
  • If you live in a unit that has elevators or electronic key card access, talk with your building manager about how they will deal with a possible outage.

During a power shutoff:

  • Unplug or turn off appliances, computers and other electronics to avoid damage caused by surges when the power is restored.
  • Your refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours and a full freezer will keep its temperature for about two days if they are kept closed. Use coolers with ice or freeze water in plastic containers to keep food cold.
  • If you rely on electric or battery-dependent medical technologies such as breathing machines, a power wheelchair or scooter, and home oxygen or dialysis, make sure you have a plan in place for an extended power outage.
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