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As both the House and Senate sharpen their vision for tax reform, REALTORS® want to ensure homeownership is protected throughout the tax reform debate.

“We are watching closely for changes to current law that might leave middle-class homeowners – and homeownership broadly – in a worse place than it is today,” said National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) President Elizabeth Mendenhall. “A near doubling of the standard deduction, combined with the elimination of other deductions, like the state and local tax deduction, can turn the American dream into a nightmare for families, as the rug is pulled out from under them. Simply preserving the mortgage interest deduction in name only isn’t enough to protect homeownership.” Now that both the House and Senate have passed their own versions of The Tax Cut and Jobs Act, a Conference Committee will address the differences between both bills and come up with a final version of a tax reform bill. It could happen anytime next week, as their goal is to vote on the bill by the end of the week.

NAR is asking Congress to support the following provisions for inclusion in the final legislation:
Mortgage Interest Deduction: Retain current law to maintain a total cap of $1 million on primary first and second homes.

Capital Gains Exemption: Retain current law of exempting gains of up to $250,000 for single filers and $500,000 for joint filers for primary residence lived in for two of the past five years of ownership.

State and Local Tax Deductibility: The limitation of deductibility to property taxes should be expanded to include state and local income taxes and the cap should be increased and indexed to inflation These provisions would add needed protection to current and future homeowners and strengthen the ability of qualified American families to purchase a home.

Denise Welsh, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, emphasized it is important to keep homeownership intact for everyone who wishes to purchase a home. “Let’s not let tax reform quash the American dream of homeownership. While the bill reduces taxes on average in every income group, we have grave concerns that with the elimination of the state and local tax deductions and limiting property tax deductions, millions would still see their taxes go up and home values would drop,” said Welsh.

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The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced this week that it will raise the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2018 to $453,100 on one-unit properties and a cap of $679,650 in high-cost areas. The previous loan limits were $424,100 and $636,150, respectively. This is the second straight year and the second time that the FHFA has raised the conforming loan limits since 2006.

The conforming loan limit determines the maximum size of a mortgage that Government Sponsored Enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can buy or guarantee. Non-conforming or jumbo loans typically carry a higher mortgage interest rate than conforming loans, increasing monthly payments and negatively impacting affordability for families to purchase homes.

The FHFA decided to raise the conforming loan limits due to rising home values. In most of the country, the 2018 maximum loan limit for one-unit properties will be $453,100. In high-cost areas like Santa Clara and San Mateo counties and most counties in the Bay Area, the cap will be $679,650. Maximum loan limits for 2018 are up in all but 71 counties or county equivalents in the U.S., according to the FHFA. For a list of the 2018 maximum loan limits for all counties and county-equivalent areas in the U.S. click here.

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2017 Los Gatos/Saratoga District Chair Mary Kay Groth passes the gavel on to 2018 District Chair Ryan Nunnally.a caption

 

Ryan Nunnally, a REALTOR® with Keller Williams Bay Area Estates, was installed on Wednesday night as 2018 chair of SILVAR’s Los Gatos-Saratoga District. More than 90 SILVAR members and guests attended the District’s annual Holiday Reception and Installation held at La Rinconada Golf & Country Club in Los Gatos. The evening also gave members an opportunity to celebrate the year’s achievements and welcome the holiday season.

2017 District Chair Mary Kay Groth welcomed everyone and before relinquishing the position, mentioned she was very grateful for the opportunity to have served the District and glad she had stepped up and got involved in organized real estate. Groth urged SILVAR members to get involved and heed the Calls for Action from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.).

“It’s good we stay involved as REALTORS®. Please answer the Call for Actions because it is important to our business,” said Groth.

Noting getting involved in organized real estate, while it has many rewards, is also a time commitment, Groth thanked the members of this year’s District Council for helping her with the tour meetings and events this year. They include Alan Barbic, Shawn Carroll, Pelin Erdal, Eileen Giorgi, Audrey Hutton, Nunnally, David Tonna and Suzanne Yost.

Then, in keeping with the District’s tradition, past District chairs who were present were asked to come forward and pass the gavel on to the incoming District chair. The gavel was passed from Marlene Rodman to Jeff Barnett, Dennis Byron, David Tonna, Mark Von Kaenel, Karen Trolan, Alan Barbic, Suzanne Yost, and on to Groth, who then handed it to Nunnally.

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For over 100 years Congress has incentivized homeownership through the mortgage interest deduction and by protecting taxpayers from double taxation. The proposals put forward by both Houses of Congress would roll back these two cornerstones of the tax code and would, instead, become a tax increase for middle-class homeowners.

The mortgage interest deduction and the state and local tax deduction are incentives that are critical for a strong housing market that creates jobs and builds stable communities. Keeping the MID, but eliminating or limiting deductions for state and local taxes, including property taxes, nullifies the incentive to purchase a home, would bring down home values and hurt the American dream of homeownership,

Congress needs to protect taxpayers from double taxation by maintaining the deduction for state and local taxes, including property taxes. Not allowing the average homeowner in California to deduct their property, state and local taxes would effectively raise their taxes and allow the federal government to tax families on money already paid to the state and local governments!

If you haven’t contacted your member of Congress, please TAKE ACTION NOW

The 25 top brokers around the country, including Silicon Valley, have done exactly that in their Letter to the House Leadership yesterday.

TAKE ACTION HERE and tell Congress – Do not raise taxes on middle class homeowners in order to cut taxes for corporations!

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The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is asking members for help in urging members of Congress to reform the tax code AND protect middle class homeowners.

The current tax reform proposal from Washington, D.C. will become a tax increase for middle class homeowners because the plan threatens homeownership tax incentives, like the mortgage interest deduction and the state and local property tax deduction. These incentives are critical for a strong housing market that creates jobs and builds stable communities. Home-owning families with incomes from $50,000 to $200,000 could face average tax hikes of $815 in the year after enactment.

Take action now and tell Congress – Do not raise taxes on middle class homeowners in order to cut taxes for corporations!

TAKE ACTION HERE

2017-NAR-Global-Platinum

For the fifth straight year, the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) Global Business Council (GBC) has earned the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Platinum Award for Global Achievement. The platinum award is the highest distinction presented by NAR to an association for having demonstrated through its global business council exceptional commitment to building member awareness of global and multicultural business opportunities in their local markets.

SILVAR is the only association in Northern California to achieve platinum council status since the program’s inception in 2011. NAR stated SILVAR’s global council “has shown the highest level of service to its global members by consistently providing them with the tools they need to handle international real estate in addition to connecting your council to the global community in your area.”

Under the leadership of 2017 Global Business Council chair Tess Crescini, a broker with Heritage Homes & Investments, SILVAR GBC this year presented two programs on immigration and types of visas for foreign buyers and investors, the “Learning from Leaders” program in partnership with Silicon Valley YPN, and the “Learn to be a Leader” workshop. Both leadership programs were made possible in part by a NAR Diversity Initiative grant.

The GBC helped promote NAR’s At Home with Diversity certification course and SILVAR’s sixth Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Institute. The GBC also coordinated a visit to SILVAR by young professionals from Secovi, a Brazilian real estate organization. The trade mission included engineers, real estate attorneys, developers, property managers, economists and real estate agents.

SILVAR partners with other real estate associations throughout the year to promote awareness and education in global real estate. As NAR Ambassador Association to the Philippines, SILVAR partners with the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations Inc., the largest real estate umbrella organization in that country. SILVAR member and past GBC chair Jennifer Tasto is NAR’s President Liaison to the Philippines.

SILVAR GBC is one of a select few Platinum Councils in the country in 2017. Reaching the Platinum award level places SILVAR in the top 11 percent of councils operating nationwide. The prestigious award will be presented at the Nov. 3-6 NAR Conference & Expo in Chicago.

 

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SILVAR President Denise Welsh and President-elect Bill Moody congratulate 2017-2018 CAREA President Jennifer Chen and other members of CAREA’s leadership team.

 

SILVAR and other members of Silicon Valley’s real estate community congratulated the 2017-2018 president, officers and board directors of the Chinese American Real Estate Association (CAREA) at the association’s installation dinner last Friday. The event, which was also a celebration of CAREA’s 30th anniversary, was held at the Dynasty Chinese Seafood Restaurant in Cupertino.

SILVAR President Denise Welsh administered the oath of office to the 2017-2018 CAREA officers and board directors. The officers include Jennifer Chen (JC Investment), president; Yuan Chang (Intero Real Estate), vice president; Wilson Chai (Bank of America), vice president; Shen Li (GD Commercial), secretary); and Kenny Tang (East West Bank), treasurer.

The 2017-2018 board directors are Mattie Wei (Re/Max Accord), David Wang (Century 21 Realty Alliance), Doris Chen (JC Investment), Dexter Lat (Realty World One Alliance), Joyce Sun (GD Commercial, Inc.), John Luk (GD Commercial, Inc.), Leslie Chao (GD Commercial), Michelle M. Song (GD Commercial), Barbara Kuang (Allstate-BnW Associates, LLC), and advisors David Bonaccorsi, Esq. (Law Offices of Bernard, Bagley & Bonaccorsi, LLP), Jimmy Chen (CTBC Bank), John Wong (Wong & Chin CPAs) and Sheena Chong (Vantec USA), advisor.

READ MORE HERE

 

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SILVAR President Denise Welsh administers the oath of office to FAREPA Co-presidents Tess Crescini and Wilma Baltar, Vice President Cheryl (CJ) Javier, treasurer Mark Taylan; and secretary Gelda Lopez.

 

 

The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® congratulated the 2017-2018 co-presidents, officers and board directors of the Filipino American Real Estate Professional Association (FAREPA) Silicon Valley yesterday at a luncheon ceremony at David’s Restaurant in Santa Clara.

Members of the 2017-2018 FAREPA leadership team include SILVAR Global Business Council chair Tess Crescini (Heritage Homes & Investments) and Wilma Baltar (Keller Williams Silicon City), co-presidents; Cheryl (CJ) Javier (CBC Realty), vice president; Mark Taylan (Direct Mortgage Funding), treasurer; Gelda Lopez (Wells Fargo Home Mortgage), secretary. The co-presidents and other officers were installed by SILVAR President Denise Welsh.

2017-2018 FAREPA Board of Directors, installed by Rick Smith, president of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR), included Dexter Lat (Realty World Alliance), Tessie Figueroa (Akimax Realty), Dan Ramas (Keller Williams Silicon City), Robert Balina (Synergize Realty), Anna Truong Lopez (Bank of America Home Mortgage), Divina Parreno (WFG National Title Insurance Co.) and Edelith Obas (WEST).

Co-emcees for the event were Hilda Ramirez, SCCAOR director of PR, Communications & Education, and Fremont City Council Member David Bonaccorsi. SILVAR Public Affairs & Communications Director Rose Meily delivered the invocation and Ben Menor, executive director of the Federation of Philippine American Chamber of Commerce, delivered the Heritage Message.

Keynote speakers were Bureau of Real Estate Commissioner Wayne Bell and California State Senator Jim Beall. Bell thanked REALTORS® for raising the standard of the real estate profession, noting, “It’s a team that makes real estate work in California.”

READ MORE HERE

 

 

REALTORSafety2011

REALTORS® should review safety tips because they face more on-the-job risks than many other business professionals. REALTORS® are at risk when they show homes to strangers or meet them at open houses, and even when they put themselves out on the internet and on social media. Attackers look for unsuspecting, vulnerable targets, so prevention is the best self-defense. If you act like a victim, you could be one.

Below are general safety tips provided by Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® Past President Karen Trolan, who teaches the safety and self-defense course to SILVAR REALTORS® every year:

  1. Be aware that social media is a tool used by criminals to track their prey as agents leave a web trail on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Don’t post where you will be, especially if you will be hosting an open house alone.
  2. Be Aware; notice anything out of place or unusual. Be suspect of everyone. Don’t let your guard down.
  3. Walk erect and proud to deter criminals. Don’t act like a victim; show strength.
  4. Always have your cell phone where it is easily accessible. Pre-program emergency numbers into speed dial, including 911.
  5. When confronted by an assailant, don’t engage! Stay calm and think! Use your sales skills to talk them out of it and let you go.
  6. Use the Military 5-point Contingency Plan. Let people know: – WHERE you are going. – WHO you will be meeting. – WHEN you will be back. – WHAT to do if you don’t return. – The ACTION to take if they cannot contact you.
  7. Always meet a client for the first time in the office or a public place.
  8. Leave your property tour itinerary with the office or colleague/family, with the addresses of the properties you plan to show.
  9. When visiting a property with a client you don’t know, take separate cars. If they make you feel uneasy, bring along a buddy.
  10. When showing a home, do not venture into confined or closed-in areas where you might get trapped, like basements, bathrooms, or walk-in closets. Know where the exits are. Always position yourself between your clients and a safe exit.
  11. At the home, look around the room for items that you could use as a weapon, in case of emergency. Be aware that an assailant will try to take the weapon away from you.
  12. If you are in a bad situation and can’t call for help, press call (preset) and leave the line open so the person on the other line can hear and get help for you. You can also get a “panic alert” or security alarm system for your phone.
  13. Trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, escape the situation immediately.
  14. When confronted by an assailant, the best thing you can do is scream as loud as you can and run!!! Get away from the situation.

When you’re in a confrontation, you only have a few seconds and a few moves to try. Before an attacker has gained control of you, you must do everything you can to inflict injury so you can get away. Be smart by being aware and prepared!

 

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is calling on members to donate funds to the REALTORS® Relief Foundation to support storm victims in Texas. Martin Edwards, president of the NAR foundation board, said, “Harvey may require our REALTOR® family’s largest effort since Hurricane Katrina—or even 9/11. Hopefully, REALTORS® across America will heed the call to donate, as on-the-ground membership in Texas will be stretched beyond belief.”

NAR is asking members to join in this effort with a personal donation to the Foundation. You can do so in less than one minute using your credit card on NAR’s secure online form. Or you can send a check payable to RRF to REALTORS® Relief Foundation, 430 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611. Write “RRF Contribution” in the memo line.

Please send your donation today so your contribution can reach people who need it now Together, as REALTORS®, let’s continue to make a difference.

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