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With coronavirus cases dropping and more Californians vaccinated, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has amended industry guidance for real estate to allow in-person showings and open houses. Showings must be in accordance with state restrictions on public gatherings and follow face coverings and contact tracing protocols. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 must not attend and physical distancing between households must be maintained. Hand sanitizer and other cleaning protocols must also be followed.

All other restrictions in the state real estate guidance are still currently in place, as well as workplace protocols showing employees and customers that a risk reduction plan is in place. The California Association of REALTORS® will be releasing additional guidance in the coming days and working with CDPH to clarify remaining questions.

Currently, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties are following state protocols. If any additional restrictions are announced locally, SILVAR will provide updates.

See the following updates:
California Department of Public Health Industry Guidance

Real Estate Industry Required Checklist

Guidance for Gatherings

C.A.R. UPDATE: CA Public Health Dept. Allows Open Houses

Santa Clara County COVID-19 Updates

San Mateo County COVID-19 Updates

During last week’s Legislative Day, California Association of REALTORS® Senior VP for Governmental Affairs and Chief Lobbyist Sanjay Wagle said REALTORS® cut across party lines and their power lies in member involvement.

“The bottom line is your participation is vital,” Wagle told REALTORS®. “Our power is in your involvement, your response to Red Alerts, your decision-making, your contributions.”

Wagle indicated in the 1960s, the median price was three times the average income; today, it is seven times the average income. The main reason is housing is not being built at the rate needed.

“It is vital that we make homeownership not some sort of a rich person’s privilege or a software engineer’s privilege, but once again a normal part of California middle class life. The solution as we all know is supply,” said Wagle.

Wagle briefed members on two hot issues to take to their legislators: OPPOSE ACA 7, the anti-housing constitutional amendment, which undoes the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act and allows for radical rent control and guts laws that create housing; and SUPPORT SB 6, which makes it easier and quicker to convert unused commercial property to residential housing.

SILVAR members did just that when they met virtually with Assembly members Marc Berman (CA Assembly District 24) and Evan Low (CA Assembly District 28), and Senators Dave Cortese (CA Senate District 15) and Josh Becker (CA Senate District 13). The legislators said they understand the critical need for housing but indicated legislators in other parts of the state do not see it the same way.

READ MORE HERE

The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® is launching the 2021 SILVAR Leadership Academy. The sessions will start in April and is open to all REALTOR® members of the association who are interested in learning more about how they can make a difference in real estate and grow in their professional and personal lives.

The SILVAR Leadership Academy will be an intensive six-month program. Participants will learn about the REALTOR® association structure of SILVAR, the California Association of REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS®, fair housing and implicit bias in real estate, and how local, state and national legislation affects their business and their clients. They will receive “hands-on” training on communicating and conducting meetings effectively, networking with other real estate professionals, resolving conflict situations and building consensus.

The leadership academy is the second part of a Diversity & Inclusion grant which SILVAR has received from NAR. In February the local trade association completed the first part of the grant with a program that focused on “Faces & Voices of Leadership in Real Estate.” The event featured a panel of past and present leaders of multicultural real estate associations and key speakers Santa Clara County Supervisor Otto Lee and Bay East Realtor and community leader Mony Nop. Discussions focused on their leadership roles and experiences.

Joanne Fraser, president of SILVAR, said NAR is working to ensure REALTORS® are active leaders in the fight against bias and discrimination. Last year, NAR began implementing the fair housing “ACT” plan, – which emphasizes Accountability, Culture Change, and Training. As a part of this plan, NAR released a new interactive training platform – Fairhaven – designed to help combat discrimination in the real estate market. In addition, NAR developed an implicit bias training video with strategies to help Realtors override biases in their daily interactions.

“SILVAR is committed to fair housing for all. The Leadership Academy is in step with our goal of inclusion and diversity in housing and within our association,” said Fraser.

The sessions are scheduled for April 15, May 20, June 17, July 15, August 19, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Additionally, participants will be required to attend C.A.R.’s annual Legislative Day.

There is no cost to attend the leadership academy, but attendance in all sessions is required in order to graduate. “If you are interested in learning more about being a volunteer on a committee or district council, this is for you. If you are interested in becoming a better volunteer, this is for you. If you are a member of a SILVAR committee or district council, this is for you,” said Suzanne Yost, who is coordinating the Leadership Academy. Yost is a past SILVAR president and currently chairs SILVAR’s Professional Standards Committee.

SILVAR REALTORS® may access an application to join the program at www.silvar.org. They can also contact Yost at suzanneyost.realtor@gmail.com.

Kung Hei Fat Choy! This year’s new Chinese zodiac animal king – the Metal Ox, will bring a year of recovery, reclaim and discovery, according to feng shui Master Y.C. Sun. At the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® Global Business Council Lunar New Year celebration last Friday, Sun said the Metal Ox is known to have mythical power to stabilize a bad situation created by the Rat in 2020 and start the process of recovery.

Sun predicts by mid-June we should return to some form of “normal” life, and by next February 4, 2022, the year of the Water Tiger, “we will see a healthy community and a strong economy, as well as people are busy traveling and having fun.” This scenario is similar to the year of the Rat in 2008, during the Great Recession which ended in 2009, the year of the Earth Ox.

Sun said the Metal Ox requires people to be diligent and provides them with a combative spirit, perseverance, mental toughness, and the determination to overcome adversity, such as the pandemic. The Ox is disciplined, easy going, trusting, and introspective, but occasionally suffers from irrational fears, such as fear of impending doom. The Ox also can be stubborn and competitive. When provoked, it becomes enraged.

The Metal Ox’s positive energy is directed to fight for justice, defend and protect safety, security and the interests of family and loved ones. Its negative energy can lead to violent confrontation, disruption, domestic violence, robbery, suicide.

Sun predicts unusual weather will occur in January, May, September, and November, and earthquakes possibly happening in March, June, July, August, and September in Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Peru, Taiwan and Alaska, including a possible large-scale earthquake at Xinjiang, China. He sees July (from July 7-August 7) as a bad month, as karma between the Wood Goat and Metal Ox come in conflict.

For the housing market, Sun said the recovering economy, low mortgage rates, increased buyer demand for investment income, first-time buyers and low inventory will lead to greater competition for desirable homes and further home price appreciation. High-earning millennials turning 28 years old will buy their first-time homes, and the oldest millennials will trade up.

Sun sees real estate being strong for the next 4-5 years, but noted 2021 will be a hard-working year for real estate agents as they face intense competition and reduced transaction fees, and become efficient in technology. Except for the southeast and northwest cities, Sun said the housing market should remain steady with good price growth particularly in San Jose-Sunnyvale, Oakland-Hayward, Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, Napa, Oxnard, Riverside, Las Vegas, Reno, Phoenix, Austin.

Find out more HERE.

In the local real estate association’s first-ever virtual ceremony, the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® 2021 leadership team was installed on Feb. 4 on Zoom. National Association of REALTORS® 2020 President Vince Malta administered the oath of office to 2021 SILVAR President Joanne Fraser, and California Association of REALTORS® 2021 President Dave Walsh installed SILVAR’s 2021 officers and board directors. Compass Executive Vice President and Regional Office Manager Jeff Barnett served as master of ceremonies. SILVAR REALTOR® Robert Reid led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance, Joey Hallatt, a REALTOR® from Phoenix, Ariz., sang “God Bless America,” and 2021 NAR Vice President of Advocacy Leigh Brown delivered the Inspiration Message.

SILVAR’s 2021 officers are Fraser, a REALTOR® with Compass, Los Altos; Brett Caviness, a REALTOR® with Compass, Menlo Park, President-elect; and Jeff Bell, broker manager of Coldwell Banker Realty, Cupertino, Treasurer.

SILVAR’s 2021 board directors are Mary Kay Groth (Sereno), Past President; Alan Barbic (Sereno), Region 9 Chair; Jim Hamilton (Compass), NAR Director; District Chairs Katherine Frey (Independent Broker), Los Altos-Mountain View;  Elizabeth Doyle (Sereno), Los Gatos-Saratoga; Selena Young (Coldwell Banker), Menlo Park-Atherton; Pat Kapowich (Independent Broker), Cupertino-Sunnyvale; Lori Buecheler (Compass), Palo Alto; and Directors At-large Ketan Jashapara (Compass), Karen Trolan (Sereno), Suzanne Yost (Compass), and Eileen Giorgi (Sereno).

A former nurse for 14 years, a REALTOR® for 43 years and a world traveler, Fraser has a lifetime of experiences. She told friends, colleagues, and family who watched the ceremony on Zoom and FacebookLive that she wants to give back to SILVAR and the real estate community.

Fraser moved to Mountain View from Maryland in 1970, and worked as an RN in the emergency room, critical care, medical and surgical at Stanford and El Camino hospitals until she decided to change careers. She took real estate courses at night and received her license in 1977.

A Certified Residential Specialist and member of the Residential Real Estate Council (formerly CRS), Fraser served as 2007 president of the CRS NorCal chapter, was regional vice president, and served on the national RRC board and various committees. She was the 2006 and 2016 CRS of the Year and received the 2012 CRS Medallion award for her volunteer service.

Fraser has achieved NAR Emeritus status, served on NAR’s Global Business & Alliances Committee and Certified International Property Specialist Advisory Board. At SILVAR, Fraser has served as president of the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation, chair of the Global Busines Council, a board director and member of many committees.

Sharing her excitement for the upcoming year, Fraser said she wants to move on from a pandemic year. “It’s the time to turn the page; it’s not going to be the same old thing,” she said.

Fraser urged members to get more involved in association activities and share her passion for leadership. “Leadership is having a vision and looking for the future … I’m truly looking forward to building a team, people who want to work together for a common goal, so that we can make SILVAR the best association in the Bay Area.”

Sponsors of the installation ceremony include Presenting Sponsor Compass, TourFactory, JCP-LGS Hazard Disclosures, and Water Tower Creative.

The 22nd annual Silicon Valley REALTORS® Scholars Program for graduating seniors from 18 public high schools in Silicon Valley is underway. The scholars program is sponsored by the Charitable Foundation of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, a professional trade organization representing 5,000 REALTORS® and affiliate members engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay.

The REALTOR® scholars program is a partnership with local public high schools in Silicon Valley. The scholars from the Class of 2021 will be selected from high schools in thecommunities served by members of the local REALTOR® association. Principals and faculty at 18 participating high schools nominate three exceptional graduating seniors. Final selections will be made by a committee that includes representatives from the local business community and the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®.

The Charitable Foundation will award $1,500 to one nominee from each school in recognition of their exemplary record, outstanding academic performance and community spirit. Since its inception, the program has awarded over $380,000 to graduating high school seniors in Silicon Valley.

 “The annual Silicon Valley Scholars Program is our members’ way of showing our support for our students, schools and communities. We see value in supporting our youth and investing in their future, especially at a time when their academic life has been much altered by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Nina Yamaguchi, chair of the scholars program of the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation. “Our excellent educational institutions are a major reason why Silicon Valley is a top housing market. For this we thank the students, teachers, administrators and school board members in our communities for their hard work and dedication in making the schools in our communities among the best in in the nation.”

The participating schools include Leigh High School and Lynbrook High School in San Jose; Westmont High School in Campbell; Fremont High School in Sunnyvale; Los Altos High School in Los Altos; Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos; Gunn High School and Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto; Menlo-Atherton High School in Atherton; Santa Clara High School and Wilcox High School in Santa Clara; Cupertino High School, Homestead High School and Monta Vista High School in Cupertino; Prospect High School and Saratoga High School in Saratoga; Mountain View High School in Mountain View; and Woodside High School in Woodside.

The scholarship is open to graduating seniors from the above-mentioned high schools who plan to attend a four-year U.S. college or university in the fall. Scholarship applications and a list of other requirements may be obtained from the student’s school guidance or career counselor.

The completed application must be returned to the high school’s principal or counselor by Friday, March 5 for submission to the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation. For further information, please contact Nina Yamaguchi at (408) 861-8822 or nyamaguchi@cbnorcal.com.

The National Association of  REALTORS® (NAR) Board of Directors today strengthened REALTORS®’ commitment to upholding fair housing ideals by approving a series of recommendations from NAR’s Professional Standards Committee that extend the application of Article 10 of the Code of Ethics to discriminatory speech and conduct outside of members’ real estate practices.

Article 10 prohibits REALTORS® from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity in the provision of professional services and in employment practices. The Board approved a new Standard of Practice under the Article, 10-5, that states, “REALTORS® must not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets, or slurs” against members of those protected classes.

The Board also approved a change to professional standards policy, expanding the Code of Ethics’ applicability to all of a REALTOR®’s activities, and added guidance to the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual to help professional standards hearing panels apply the new standard.

Finally, Directors approved a revision to the NAR Bylaws, expanding the definition of “public trust” to include all discrimination against the protected classes under Article 10 along with all fraud. All REALTOR® Associations are required to share with the state real estate licensing authority final ethics decisions holding REALTORS® in violation of the Code of Ethics in instances involving real estate-related activities and transactions where there is reason to believe the public trust may have been violated.

These changes are effective immediately, though the changes cannot be applied to speech or conduct that occurred before today. NAR has produced training and resource materials to assist leaders with understanding and implementing the changes and will be rolling those out in the coming weeks.

READ MORE HERE, INCLUDING FAQs

Three real estate brokers from China, Japan and the Philippines shared the impact of COVID-19 on their real estate markets and prospects for the future at a Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® virtual global event. They included Gene Shi, president of International Operations for Homelink (Linajia Real Estate Agency Co., Ltd.); Manabu Suzuki, vice president and co-founder of International Property Agent (IPA) Co. Ltd. in Tokyo, Japan; and Andy Mañalac, chair and co-founder of Havitas Developments Corporation in the Philippines. Michi Olson, Dean of Resources and Global Connections LeadingRE, served as moderator.

Shi said the coronavirus is largely under control in China. The country’s economy is turning around. The economy expanded 3.2 percent from April through June compared to the same period last year.

The pandemic caused year-over-year real estate sales to fall 15 percent from January to April. Since then, the market is gradually returning to normal. Sales in May were just 10 percent below May sales last year.

Shi said the focus of real estate is on new homes, whose sales have increased 8 percent. Home prices are rising, especially in the major cities of Shenzhen, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Beijing.

Chinese interest in U.S. properties has shifted from high-end to mid-level properties due to China’s growing middle class. Places of interest are in Houston, Orlando and Boston. For now, due to the travel ban, the Chinese can only surf the internet for these properties.

Suzuki said coronavirus cases started rising in Japan in mid-March. From April 7 to May 25, the government issued a lockdown. Unlike China, Japan had “a more gentle request-based lockdown.” All public transport continued to operate, no penalties/fines were imposed, and citizens wore masks.

Japan’s real estate sales transactions dropped 82.2 percent in May from the previous year, but prices were up 6.4 percent. Suzuki said buyers are maintaining a “wait and see attitude” and sellers do not appear in a hurry to sell. There is more buyer interest in resort getaways that have less coronavirus risk, but are still in close proximity to the city.

READ MORE HERE

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

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