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Have you ever walked in the shoes of a homebuyer facing discrimination? Fairhaven, the National Association of REALTORS® fair housing simulation for REALTORS®, uses the power of storytelling to help members identify and address discriminatory practices in real estate.

Visit the fictional town of Fairhaven and work against the clock to sell homes while confronting realistic scenarios of discrimination in the homebuying process. Throughout the simulation receive actionable feedback that you can apply to your daily business interactions.

The training also includes powerful testimonials demonstrating the impact of housing discrimination in real people’s lives. Hold yourself accountable and make sure you’re adhering to fair housing laws by exploring the town of Fairhaven.

Get started now and complete the training HERE.

To learn more, visit nar.realtor/fairhaven.

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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.

Last month on April 27, after an absence of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® were among over 2,000 California REALTORS® who once again traveled to the State Capitol for Legislative Day. Legislative Day is the California Association of REALTORS®’ pinnacle REALTOR® legislative event. REALTORS® make up the largest business interest group that comes to Sacramento each year to meet with their elected officials and discuss issues affecting homeownership and the real estate industry.

At a morning briefing held at the Sacramento Convention Center, C.A.R. President Otto Catrina welcomed members to the event. He noted the REALTORS®’ presence at the State Capitol showed they value homeownership and private property rights.

“We need to remember to fight for homeownership, private property rights, free enterprise and responsible government. We are here to support not just our business but our clients,” said Catrina.

C.A.R.’s new CEO John Sebree greeted California REALTORS® and reminded them that April is Fair Housing Month. Sebree said, “We all have the opportunity to be part of the transformative solutions to make sure all people have access to homeownership.”

Sebree mentioned C.A.R.’s partnership with nonprofit housing organizations to provide closing cost grants up to $10,000 for eligible first-time homebuyers from underserved communities, and C.A.R.’s fight for and successes in fair housing legislation, including legislation that removes discriminatory language in property records.

Among the speakers at the morning briefing were Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher, who indicated “homeownership is a fundamental principle.” Gallagher urged REALTORS® to continue educating legislators on the need to drive housing costs down for California families and belief that legislators can work across the aisles to ensure the California dream of homeownership remains viable for the future. He estimated 2.5 million homes need to be built by 2030.

“We must move through all the obstacles to make sure that the dream of homeownership can be achieved,” said Gallagher.

Senate Majority Leader Emeritus Robert Hertzberg spoke on the need to build more homes. “It’s all about housing. Homeownership is the backbone of our community. It builds generational wealth. It is something we need to focus on at the core, the opportunity to give people hope, and help the ‘missing middle.’”

The highlight of the morning was California Governor Gavin Newsom’s address to REALTORS®. Newsom fiercely chastised critics and stressed, “facts matter.” He indicated California had 21% growth five years prior to the pandemic. Last year, California’s economy, along with two smaller states, grew the fastest. California grew 7.8% last year.

Newsom noted the state is dominated by venture capitalists, and that the state is number one in factory jobs, in manufacturing, and in household income growth. California had the largest surplus in the U.S., and was able to give $12 billion in tax rebates last year.

Additionally, the state has passed 31 housing bills and 17 bills pertaining to CEQA, but Newsom said, “We got more work to do to address housing at all income levels.”

Newsom thanked REALTORS® for keeping the economy moving, for all they did during the pandemic, and for creating opportunities for families and contributing to the state’s growth.

“I have pride in this state. I think the best days are ahead of us. We are moving in the right direction as we haven’t done in the past,” said Newsom.

In Silicon Valley, where inventory is at an all-time low and interest rates are rising and competition for home is fierce, many homebuyers feel dejected. Many feel they can never own a home in the region. Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® President Brett Caviness is one to say, “Never say never.”

“It may seem bleak because of the tough competition, but I’ve known first-time homebuyers who have succeeded in purchasing their first home. If that’s your goal, I would never give up trying,” says Caviness.

Below are some tips Caviness provides when searching for a home in this competitive market:

1. Find a REALTOR® you can trust. It is critical that the agent you choose is both skilled and a good fit with your personality.

“Not everybody knows there is a difference between a REALTOR® and a real estate agent. REALTORS® are members of the National Association of REALTORS® and must abide by a Code of Ethics. They are held to a higher standard of conduct and required to undergo additional training in current business practices, unlike other real estate licensees,” says Caviness. “A local REALTOR® can provide the vital market pulse, network of connections, and expert insight and skills needed not only to craft a compelling offer, but to get it accepted.”

2. Get your ducks in a row. Examine your budget, get your finances in order with adequate funds that are readily accessible. Make sure you have an excellent credit rating and getting pre-approved by a lender so you know how much you can afford.

Pro Tip: “Pre-approval with underwriting goes a step further than getting prequalified or even a standard preapproval because your lender will commit in writing to fund your loan pending a successful appraisal of the home and a few other conditions. This enables you to move quickly and make an offer that is not contingent upon obtaining financing,” explains Caviness.

3. Identify desired neighborhoods and your wants versus needs. Your REALTOR® can help you identify homes that meet your needs but may be in a location you did not yet consider, or have features you were not initially thinking of.

“Accept that no house is ever perfect. Focus on location and the things that are most important to you and let the minor stuff go. Certain wants, such as stainless appliances or hardwood floors, can be added later, but families with children may want to take into account the school district, number of bedrooms, and a decent sized backyard. These things cannot be addressed later,” says Caviness.

4. Be prepared to act quickly. Homes are not staying in the market long, so when a house that is in your budget and checks off many of your needs, be ready to submit an offer quickly, or you could risk missing out on the home altogether.

5. Bid competitively and limit contingencies. In a seller’s market buyers need to put forward their highest offer from the very beginning, or they are likely to lose out on the home.

“Don’t expect a discount. In San Mateo and Santa Clara counties it’s a ‘play to win’ market where buyers are paying over asking,” says Caviness. “With that said, don’t get caught in a buying frenzy either. Just because there is competition doesn’t mean you should just buy anything. After you’ve seen enough homes, you’ll feel comfortable going for the one that feels right.”

Caviness adds in multiple bidding situations it is advisable to limit contingencies and think what could be compelling to offer the seller like a quick close, or a period where they may stay in the home after the sale. “Be flexible and remove unnecessary contingencies. Inspections are necessary, but you may lose the bid negotiating on minor items you can replace or repair later. Now is not the time to be picky.”

The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) and members of the real estate industry and public officials congratulated the Filipino American Real Estate Professional Association Silicon Valley (FAREPA SV) as the group’s 2021-2022 president, officers and board of directors were formally installed last night at the Sonesta San Jose Hotel in Milpitas.

SILVAR President Joanne Fraser administered the oath of office to 2021-2022 FAREPA SV President Mark Taylan and officers. The executive board includes Taylan (Direct Mortgage Funding), president; Frank Cancilla (eXp Realty of California, Inc.), president-elect; Anne Orozco-Ramirez (Realty World Dominion), vice president; LJ Grossweiler, (Patelco Credit Union), secretary; Dorotea Tuzon (State Farm Insurance), treasurer; and Cheryl (CJ) Javier (CBC Realty), immediate past president.

Doug Goss, president of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS®, installed the 2021-2022 board directors. They include Anna Truong Lopez (Wells Fargo Bank), Dan Ramas (Keller Williams Silicon City), Dexter Lat (Realty World One Alliance), Divina Pareno (WFG National Title Insurance), Tigran Bakchagyan (Keller Williams Silicon City), and Robert Balina (Synergize Realty).

In his message to members and guests, Taylan, who was re-appointed president of FAREPA, said the pandemic was a challenge, but FAREPA SV was able to manage and even thrive due to the commitment of its officers and board directors. They met on Zoom and were still able to serve their membership with virtual meetings and events, like the first-time homebuyer workshop, webinars on reverse mortgage and investing in the Philippines. The association also started a cooking channel on YouTube, where members and guests cook favorite Filipino dishes. Last night’s installation was FAREPA’s first live event since the pandemic.

“This year has helped us evolve in ways that we could not have imagined years ago. Our board thrived through the pandemic, and I attribute that to our strong leaders and the commitment we all share to our organization, the community, and to each other,” said Taylan.

Taylan said he is looking forward to continue making a positive impact in the real estate community. “My hope is for our board to continue to be a unified voice through education, networking, partnership, and to leave a foundation for future boards to thrive.”

Congratulating Taylan and FAREPA SV’s officers and directors, Fraser recalled her experience with members during the association’s 2019 trade mission to the Philippines. “It was a memorable experience. I had a wonderful time and enjoyed being with the group. SILVAR and FAREPA SV have had a longtime friendship and we hope to continue our partnership with you for many years to come,” said Fraser.

Bong Gutierrez, founder and chief strategist at Bahay Sa Pinas, and Orozco-Ramirez served as masters of ceremonies. The program included entertainment with native dances and a special dance performance by Taylan and his wife, Joy.

FAREPA was formed in 2002 with a mission to “promote the interests of Filipino American real estate professionals, to elevate the level of professionalism with the global community through education, networking and partnership and to create a united voice within the real estate industry.”

Representing SILVAR at the event were Fraser and Global Business Council members Mark Wong, Alicia Sandoval and Jimmy Kang.

VIEW PHOTOS HERE

June is National Homeownership Month, a time of year when housing advocates highlight the importance of homeownership and its impact upon the lives of American families, local neighborhoods, and the national economy. The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) and its nearly 5,000 members engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay are staunch advocates for homeownership and homeowners in Silicon Valley.

“Homeownership is an investment in the community,” said SILVAR President Joanne Fraser. “When more people own homes, everyone benefits. For most American families, their home is their largest investment. Homeownership builds wealth and serves as the cornerstone of health and security.”

Homeownership provides tax advantages and the opportunity to build equity. Moreover, homeownership provides social benefits for families and communities. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, homeowners move far less frequently than renters, making it easier to build community networks and support systems. This results in more stability for families, better school performance by children living in owned homes, a higher rate of high school graduation and higher earning, better physical, psychological and emotional health outcomes, a higher membership in voluntary organizations, and greater social interaction in their communities.

Fraser noted during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, having a home became more important to many families than ever before. “The home became a place to live and work as many companies allowed their employees to work from home. This ultimately contributed to the state’s current housing market boom.”

At a recent market data presentation for local associations, California Association of REALTORS® Vice President and Chief Economist Jordan Levine said the state’s housing market boom is a double-edged sword. Levine indicated California is the second worst state for overcrowded housing and fifth lowest homeowner vacancy ratio in the nation.

In April, California’s median price hit over $8 million. Levine said while good for sellers, this has impacted housing affordability. “Buyers are falling farther and farther behind.”

Fraser is hopeful additional help may be on the way. “The state senate’s ‘Building Opportunities for All’ housing package is expected to help expedite building of more housing, create jobs and stimulate economic development projects. President Joe Biden’s First Down Payment Homebuyer Tax Credit proposal could be significant in aiding first-time homebuyers. With home prices rising higher than ever, any down payment assistance helps families looking to buy.”

Since the California Department of Public Health updated its guidance on open houses, the California Association of REALTORS® announced changes to open house protocols and has created new forms and a Quick Guide to help REALTOR® members:

Forms: C.A.R. has simplified and shortened the Rules of Entry (PRE) and Preventive Plan (BPPP) and created the PSI sign-in form as an alternative to PEADS. There also is an addendum to the listing agreement LOHA reflecting the changed protocols. This form is necessary if the parties had previously signed the RLA-CAA, which did not allow for open houses. The RLA-CAA was revised to reflect the new guidance, including open houses. New listings should continue to utilize this addendum to reflect the current issues.

PEADS: The PEADS have been combined and simplified into one shorter PEAD-ALL that is available if members prefer to use them instead of on-site sign-in protocols.

See the new Quick Guide for more details.

The newly revised forms PRE, BPPP, PEAD and RLA-CAA, as well as the new Property Sign-in form PSI and the new Listing Addendum LOHA, are available on zipForm. The PDFs of each of these forms are also available HERE.

C.A.R. anticipates further announcements impacting real estate showings of all kinds and will communicate any relevant changes as quickly as possible. While San Mateo and Santa Clara counties are following the state’s updated guidelines, please remember to adhere to local guidelines that may be stricter in other areas.

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.

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