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PLEASE CALL TODAY! VOTE COULD BE MONDAY!    

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

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

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

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

 

The Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation, the charitable arm of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR), presented scholarship awards to 18 graduating seniors from public high schools in Silicon Valley at the end of the 2016-2017 school year. Each recipient received a $1,000 scholarship.

Now on its 18th year, Charitable Foundation’s scholars program recognizes students who have exemplified outstanding achievements in academics, extracurricular/employment activities and community involvement. The selection committee includes representatives from the local business community, area high schools, area colleges and SILVAR.

Students who received scholarships, the schools from which they graduated, and the colleges and universities they plan to attend are: Manasa Gogineni, Cupertino High School (UC Davis); Meryem Esa, Fremont High School (Santa Clara University); Archer Olson, Gunn High School (UC Berkeley); Yu-Ying Chua, Homestead High School (UCLA); Madeleine Gibbons-Shapiro, Leigh High School (Georgetown University); Simge Yildiz, Los Altos High School (UC Davis); Ginger Wang Brown, Los Gatos High School (Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo); Carolyn Zhong, Lynbrook High School (Carnegie Mellon University); Megan McDonnell, Menlo-Atherton High School (Northwestern University); Lucas Chang, Monta Vista High School (Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo); Shayla Joy Tonge, Mountain View High School (Chapman University); Zoe Dellaert, Palo Alto High School (University of Chicago); Aryan D’Rozario, Prospect High School (UC Santa Cruz); Megan Bettencourt, Santa Clara High School (UC Davis); Julie Cai, Saratoga High School (New York University); Ariana Sadar Ghahary, Westmont High School (UC San Diego); Poojita Dasika, Wilcox High School (UCLA); and Rogelio U. Sanchez, Woodside High School (UC Riverside).

“The seniors selected this year are very deserving of recognition not only because of their academic accomplishments, but also for their contributions to their communities,” said Charitable Foundation Scholarship Chair Nina Yamaguchi. “We are happy we are able to assist the deserving winners in the beginning of their college careers.”

The Charitable Foundation thanks the following members who presented the scholarships to the recipients at their respective senior award ceremonies: Chris Alston (Keller Williams), Mark Burns (Referral Realty), Nina Daruwalla (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage), Mary Kay Groth (Sereno Group), Penelope Huang (Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty), Young Jacob (Intero Real Estate Services), Theresa Loya (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage), Bill Moody (Referral Realty), Russell Morris (Coldwell Banker), Moise Nahouraii (Referral Realty), Jose Padilla (Alain Pinel Realtors), Robert Reid (Keller Williams), Mary Tan (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage), David Tonna (Alain Pinel Realtors) and Denise Welsh (Alain Pinel Realtors). 

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SEE 2017 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS HERE

 

 

 

 

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Here are SILVAR members ready to meet state legislators.

 

Early this month, about 50 SILVAR members traveled to Sacramento for Legislative Day, joining over 2,500 California REALTORS® for their annual meetings with their respective legislators. At the meetings, REALTORS® assumed the role of “lobbyists for the day” and discussed bills that could impact homeowners and private property rights.

In the morning, REALTORS® gathered at the Sacramento Convention Center for a briefing by California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) leadership. C.A.R. President Geoff McIntosh underlined the importance of REALTORS® coming together in support of homeownership.

“We are the largest supporters of private property rights in the state,” said McIntosh. Governor Jerry Brown was back this year to speak to the REALTORS®. He, too, stressed the importance of the profession and the need to work together. “You touch people in the most important time of their life, when they buy a house,” said Brown.

At the joint luncheon with neighboring associations, guest speaker Assemblyman Marc Steinorth (R-Rancho Cucamonga) mentioned when REALTORS® visit Sacramento, their legislators listen to them. He said legislators like him would think, “You matter because you are from home. I will hear your message.”

Steinorth values homeownership. “Renting is not the path to success. The pathway to middle class success starts with homeownership,” he said.

And while he is for affordable housing, Steinorth said “once it transcends the goal of homeownership, I oppose it.”

Steinorth then talked about AB 53, a bill he authored that would allow individuals to save up to $10,000 tax free which would go toward the purchase of their first home. He explained while the solution to the housing affordability crisis is to increase supply, the state also needs to increase better buyers who save and are financially responsible.

The Assemblyman called on REALTORS® to get involved in their communities and in government. “The decision needs to come from the industry to educate us because you are the experts, the job creators. You make dreams a reality,” said Steinorth. “For every transaction you make you have created a better lifestyle for someone. You are all about the transaction, relationships, the community.”

At their meetings with Assembly members Marc Berman and Evan Low and state Senators Jim Beall and Jerry Hill, SILVAR REALTORS® discussed three main issues:

Oppose AB 1059 (Gonzales Fletcher), which prohibits dual agency in commercial real estate transactions. If passed, it would drastically limit consumer choice.

Oppose to SB 649 (Hertzberg), whose intent is to expand the state sales tax to services. While the bill does not impose the tax itself, it lays the framework for a service tax. Real estate is the most service intensive business, with 10-12 services, like home inspections, appraisal, pest control, insurance, etc. A service tax on real estate services would hurt housing affordability and especially adversely impact low and middle class families.

Support legislation that seeks to increase the supply of housing and oppose bills that discourage its creation, like stricter rent control. The only solution to the housing affordability problem is to increase the housing supply. Price controls are not the solution. Policies like rent control don’t work. Telling property owners that they can’t change market rates discourages investment in housing.
READ MORE HERE

 

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In Los Altos, Kathryn Tomaino and Steve Klesczewski washed windows for a 74-year-old Los Altos homeowner.

 

The Palo Alto senior cheerfully greeted the RSVP (REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program) volunteers when they arrived at her home. She was eager and grateful to receive their help. Looking at her you wouldn’t know that she needed help, but the 81-year-old widow has undergone a liver transplant, a mastectomy, a hip replacement and now has a bad back. The Palo Alto senior homeowner was grateful the RSVP volunteers were able to vacuum her house, wash her windows and change a light bulb. She said her husband died five years ago and she has no family. She is friends with her neighbor, but the neighbor is 92 years old.

“The neighborhood has changed,” she sighed. “I feel so helpless. I guess I should move, but it’s hard because this is home. I’ve lived here for 50 years.”

A 98-year-old Saratoga senior feels the same way. Also a widow with no family, she was very happy that the RSVP volunteers were able to her change her light bulbs, turn over her mattress and replace her smoke detector battery.

“It’s wonderful you can do this for me. I just can’t do some of these tasks anymore,” she remarked.

In Los Altos, a 74-year-old senior homeowner conveyed her gratitude as RSVP volunteers proceeded to wash her outside windows. “I love this! Thank you. It is so wonderful to have this help,” she said.

RSVP volunteers also feel rewarded when they are able to help seniors in their communities. “We volunteer because we respect the needs of our parents. We want to pay it forward and do it for them,” said longtime RSVP volunteers Kevin Barrett and SILVAR President Denise Welsh.

The program has inspired new members to volunteer, as well. First-time RSVP volunteers Anna-Liza Estoesta and Sara Hernandez were eager to help. “We want to help the community,” they said.

Virginia Supnet said, “I would like to promote the event to my office to inspire other agents.”

This was Trevor Loveless’ third year as a Palo Alto District RSVP volunteer. He enjoys helping the seniors. “It’s good for the community. I was born and raised here. It’s good to give back,” said Loveless.

SILVAR’s REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP) is on its 16th year. This year 107 volunteers from SILVAR assisted 50 senior households in the Menlo Park/Atherton, Palo Alto, Los Altos/Mountain View, Cupertino/Sunnyvale and Los Gatos/Saratoga communities. VIEW PHOTOS

 

RSVP_logo_2004(SILVAR) CORRECT ONESeniors and the homebound residing on the Peninsula and in the South Bay may request free assistance with household tasks during the week of May 8-12 through the REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP). RSVP is offered each year in the month of May by members from the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) to qualified seniors who cannot perform certain household tasks due to physical or financial constraints. The deadline for seniors to apply for this free assistance is March 22.

During RSVP Week, teams of REALTORS® and affiliates (professionals who provide industry-related services) will visit senior households and perform various cleaning and maintenance tasks free of charge. Seniors can request to have light bulbs replaced, furnace filters changed, windows cleaned, mattresses turned, new smoke detector batteries installed, and other light housekeeping tasks.

The annual community service program was started by members of SILVAR in 2001 and later adopted as an official association community outreach project. Last year 170 REALTORS® assisted 79 senior households in Silicon Valley senior households in the Menlo Park/Atherton, Palo Alto, Los Altos/Mountain View, Cupertino/Sunnyvale and Los Gatos/Saratoga communities.

“Through the RSVP program REALTORS® and affiliates can make the difference between a senior remaining independent as a homeowner or renter, or having to give up that independence to some form of caregiving and dependence on strangers,” said Eileen Giorgi, SILVAR’s RSVP Committee chair. “RSVP is our way of thanking our seniors for all they have done for our communities.”

This year, each of the five districts of SILVAR will be setting aside a special day(s) to help seniors in their communities. RSVP volunteers will help seniors residing in Menlo Park, Portola Valley, Atherton, Woodside on Monday, May 8; Palo Alto and East Palo Alto on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 9-10; Los Altos and Mountain View on Tuesday, May 9; Cupertino and Sunnyvale on Wednesday, May 10; and Los Gatos, Saratoga, Campbell and Monte Sereno on Thursday, May 11.

Seniors residing in the above-mentioned communities may request an application for the free service by contacting SILVAR at (408) 200-0100. Seniors may also visit http://www.silvar.org to download an application and mail to Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, 19400 Stevens Creek Blvd., Suite 100, Cupertino, CA 95014 before the March 22 deadline.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) 2017 leadership team was installed on Jan. 19 at the Los Altos Golf & Country Club. California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) 2006 President Vince Malta administered the oath of office to SILVAR’s new president, officers and board of directors. SILVAR represents over 5,000 REALTORS® and affiliates engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. The local trade association seeks to promote the highest ethical standards of real estate practice, serves as an advocate for homeownership and homeowners, and represents the interests of property owners in Silicon Valley.

Denise Welsh, a broker associate with the Alain Pinel Realtors Los Altos was installed as 2017 president; Bill Moody, a REALTOR® with Referral Realty, Cupertino, president-elect; and Phyllis Carmichael, a REALTOR® with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Los Altos, treasurer.

Joining SILVAR’s lead officers as this year’s board directors are Karen Trolan (Alain Pinel Realtors), past president; Chris Isaacson (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage), Region 9 chair; Leannah Hunt (Sereno Group), National Association of Realtors director; Young Jacob (Intero Real Estate Services), Menlo Park/Atherton District; Penelope Huang (Dreyfus Sotheby’s International Realty), Palo Alto District; Kathryn Tomaino (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage), Los Altos/Mountain View District; David Hunt (W.A. Krauss & Co. Property Management), Cupertino/Sunnyvale District; Mary Kay Groth (Sereno Group), Los Gatos/Saratoga District; Directors At-large Jeff Bell (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage), Katherine Frey (Alain Pinel Realtors), Davena Gentry (Sereno Group), Ryan Nunnally (Alain Pinel Realtors), Bryan Robertson (Catarra Real Estate), Mark Wong (Alain Pinel Realtors); and Art Clark (Obeo Ewalk), Affiliate chair.

A REALTOR® for 30 years, Welsh has been active in organized real estate, having served in multiple leadership positions, including SILVAR board director and California Association of REALTORS® Region 9 director. She is also an active volunteer in the Los Altos community, where she lives and works.

In her address to members, Welsh spoke about the value of and her pride in being a REALTOR®. “This is such an open industry that anyone can be an agent, but not everyone can be a professional REALTOR®. We are engaged in helping our clients with the most important decision of their life,” said Welsh. “We are set apart by the quality and service we deliver to our clients and the professional standards that we set.”

This year’s installation sponsors were MLSListings Inc., Alain Pinel Realtors, DeLeon Realty, Sereno Group, the SILVAR Districts of Los Altos/Mountain View, Los Gatos/Saratoga and Palo Alto, Supra, Alain Pinel Realtors Los Gatos – Jeff Barnett, EverBank – John Woodfin, Tour Factory – Darrell Monda and SmartZip – Stephanie Matsuoka.

 

 

 

 

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) successfully beat a patent troll threatening real estate offices. Data Distribution Technologies (DDT) sued and threatened several real estate businesses over the use of a technology related patent.

DDT claimed their patent, titled “Web-Updated Database With Record Distribution by Email,” covered systems that provide agents and consumers with online searchable real estate databases that can update users via email about new information that comes available on those databases. NAR challenged the patent’s validity before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit on behalf of its members.

Under a settlement agreement, DDT must refrain from enforcing its patent in the real estate industry. The settlement also specifically protects NAR members, associations, MLSes, affiliates, and other related entities from potentially costly litigation.

Patent trolls are companies that own a large quantity of patents. Often, they do not produce any goods. The business model is to just own patents and sue or threaten to sue anyone for patent infringement. As small business owners, REALTORS® are exposed to these threats of litigation, often for using basic business technology like drop-down website menus, mapping features and online checkout carts or scan-to-email technologies.

NAR supports significant patent law reform in order to prevent overbroad patents and unfair litigation.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Use social media and post on Facebook.

8. Invite the neighbors to your open houses.

9. Farm around your successes.

10. Do the basics.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® joined the Silicon Valley real estate community in congratulating the 2016/2017 leadership team of the Chinese American Real Estate Association (CAREA) at the association’s installation dinner held at the Mayflower Restaurant in Milpitas last Friday. SILVAR President Karen Trolan administered the oath of office to 2016/2017 CAREA president Jennifer Chen, the officers and board of directors.

Chen is owner and president of J C Investment Consulting in San Jose. Serving with Chen as the 2016/2017 officers and directors are Coco Tan (Keller Williams Realty), immediate president; Yuan Chang (Intero Real Estate Services) and Wilson Chai (Bank of America), vice presidents; Kenny Tang (East West Bank), treasurer; David Wang (Century 21 Realty Alliance), secretary; Joyce Sun (GB Commercial, Inc.), membership; John Luk (GD Commercial, Inc.), founder and lifetime honorary chair; David Bonaccorsi, Esq. (Law Offices of Bernard, Bagley & Bonaccorsi, LLP), legal advisor; John Wong (Wong & Chin, CPAs), Wai Man Chan (Finance Eagle Strategies LLC), Sheena Chang (Vantec USA), advisors; and Dexter Lat (Realty World One Alliance), Mattie Wei (Re/Max Accord), Tracy Qui (KC& Association Insurance Agency), Leslie Chao (GD Commercial), Barbara Kuang (Allstate-BnW Associates, LLC), directors.

Chen thanked SILVAR and the 400 real estate professionals at the gathering. She noted their presence “shows why since 1988 CAREA has achieved great success by connecting together real estate agents, developers, escrow agents, loan agents, appraisers and property managers.” Chen’s theme for her term is “Will to Succeed.”

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