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At “What REALTORS® Should Know About Vastu,” members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® learned about vastu shastra from Gautam Rana, a longtime practitioner and vastu consultant with Yogic Dwelling in San Ramon. Vastu is the counterpart of the Chinese art and science of feng shui.

Like feng shui, the science says if you are not connected with nature, you will not achieve balance in your life. Vastu also seeks harmony with the five elements of nature – water, air, fire, earth and space, but vastu is a more complex science than feng shui.

Rana studied the science in India and adheres to the guidelines of vishwakarma prakash, an ancient scripture of vastu, which pays attention to the entrance, the shape of the structure, and the elements placed inside the property. Rana said vastu places importance on 16 zones, 32 entrances and the placements of elements in a property.

“The facing of the property has no relevance in vastu,” stressed Rana. “The only way a house can be accurately analyzed is by finding its center.”

Rana sketched a house on white board and illustrated to members how the science is applied. By dividing 360 degrees around the center of a house, building or any other type of structure you get 32 possible locations or entrances.

Once you have calculated the entrance locations. The directions (north, south, east, west) are further divided into 16 zones, which determine the adverse or beneficial effects to those living there (ex. wealth, career, success, illness, accidents, etc.) The use of different techniques in accordance with the five elements in the form of colors and/or metals can mitigate the negative effects.

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The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® 8th Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Institute was held June 10-14. The CIPS Institute provides training in international business issues, including currency conversion, cultural awareness, legal and tax requirements, transaction principles of international real estate, and specifics about the real estate markets in Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

After completing five courses and other requirements, REALTORS® earn the prestigious National Association of Realtors CIPS designation. There are about 3,250 CIPS designees in the U.S.

SILVAR has offered the CIPS Institute every year since 2012. Teaching this year’s classes was REALTOR® and broker associate Bobbi Decker, a NAR REBAC instructor.

“We had a very vital and enthusiastic group for this CIPS class at SILVAR this week. NAR is very eager to have its members up their professionalism, particularly in this global economy and changing market dynamics of the real estate industry,” said Decker.

The CIPS designation gives REALTORS® an edge over other agents when dealing with foreign clients. Decker noted that Silicon Valley is an epicenter for innovation. “Certified International Property Specialist is an essential designation for REALTORS® working in this melting pot that draws people from all over the world.”

According to NAR’s “2018 Profile of International Activity in U.S.Residential Real Estate,” foreign buyers purchased $121 billion of residential property from April 201 to March 2018. Five states accounted for 53 percent of total residential property purchases: Florida (19 percent), California (14 percent), Texas (9 percent), New York (five percent), and Arizona (five percent). The major foreign buyers were China ($30.4B), Canada ($10.5B), the United Kingdom ($7.3B), India ($7.2B), and Mexico ($4.2B).

The CIPS Institute had five sponsors this year. Anita Rodal, international liaison with AFEX (Associated Foreign Exchange) and president of SBPI Services, Inc., informed Realtors the exchange rate can fluctuate on a second by second basis, so the exchange rate on the internet is not be the actual exchange rate. She also explained how market volatility affects inter-bank currency exchange rates and how AFEX helps foreign buyers convert their money to dollars quickly and at a competitive rate.

Avery Bibbs, business development manager with First American Exchange Company, delivered a presentation on the 1031 exchange and tax updates for 2019. A 1031 exchange allows an investor to sell a property, reinvest the proceeds from the sale in a “like kind” property that is of equal or greater value and defer all capital gain taxes. Examples of “like-kind” property exchanges are a single-family rental house for a duplex, an apartment building for a retail center, land for an income producing vineyard, etc.

Michael Cobb, CEO of ECI Development, spoke on how local REALTORS® can help clients interested in purchasing property abroad. Cobb said in addition to investors buying property overseas, Americans are looking at retiring abroad. Their move overseas is driven by cost, having a higher quality of life for less money.

Lisa Wendl, a loan officer with General Mortgage Capital Corp., provided information on loan requirements for foreign buyers. Wendl said because it is getting harder for Chinese living abroad to get money out of China, she has clients who have bought high-end properties in the Bay Area who are seeking to do cash-out refinancing in order to remain liquid. If the China government does not ease up on its restrictions on the outflow of money, Wendl anticipates some Chinese will be forced to sell their homes.

Amy Ku, Sandy Lee and Dean Chang represented the team of Winnie Ho, premier mortgage consultant with HSBC. Ku said a portfolio lending bank, HSBC is a one-stop shop designed to accommodate global clients. HSBC a number of programs that offer flexible terms to foreign buyers, like interest-only loans and family assisted programs for buyers who need help in qualifying for loans.

In the past two weeks the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) issued several Red Alerts, mobilizing its members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® and other REALTOR® Associations urging them to contact their state legislators to support C.A.R.’s stand on a number of housing-related bills. Here is an update on those bills:

Assembly Bill 1482 – Tenancy: Rent Caps – PASSED
This statewide rent cap proposal that would apply to most properties not covered by local rent control ordinances, including rented single-family homes and condos in cities with rent control, passed 43-28 on Wednesday night. C.A.R. was able to successfully negotiate a deal with the bill’s author on amendments that allowed C.A.R. to remove its opposition and take a neutral position.

The proposal would prohibit landlords from raising the rent each year by more than 7 percent plus the annual increase in the cost of living. The bill’s author, Assemblyman David Chiu agreed to exempt property owners with 10 or fewer single-family detached homes and set the law to expire in 2023. C.A.R. withdrew its opposition to the bill once these concessions were made. This compromise strikes a balance between preserving the rights of rental property owners while allowing the protection of at-risk tenants.

Assembly Bill 1481 – Tenancy Termination: Just Cause – FAILED
AB 1481 died on the Assembly floor last night. Both C.A.R. and the California Apartment Association opposed this bill because it would have imposed just cause eviction policies statewide and would have required a property owner to provide relocation assistance to tenants for “no-fault” evictions. AB 1481 failed to get the 41 votes it needed to pass out of the Assembly.

SB 329 — Mandatory Section 8 – PASSED
Despite all of our best efforts, SB 329, which C.A.R. is OPPOSING because it creates an effective mandate that landlords participate in Section 8, passed the Senate floor last Thursday by three votes. It now moves to the Assembly where C.A.R. will continue to OPPOSE it.

AB 1590 — C.A.R.’s Sponsored First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit – PASSED
Good news! AB 1590, C.A.R.’s sponsored first-time homebuyer tax credit bill passed the Assembly. The vote was 61-3. This bill now moves to the Senate.

Members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® joined 2,500 California REALTORS® in Sacramento on May 1 for the California Association of REALTORS® annual Legislative Day. This year’s theme, “Homeownership Matters,” was evident in the speeches of REALTOR® officials and politicians, and in discussions the REALTORS® had with their respective legislators.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the special guest speaker at the morning briefing, said California is experiencing a “crisis moment, a crisis of confidence and a crisis of affordability.”

Newsom is deeply committed to address the housing issue and he wants to build 300,000 to 400,000 units on an annual basis. “Let us not forget that we are better off when we’re all better off,” said Newsom.

State Senator Scott Wiener, author of SB 50, the Housing Development Incentives bill, told REALTORS® at a luncheon that today’s zoning laws, crafted over 50 years ago, are outdated. Wiener said his legislation is about people and people’s lives.

In their meetings with state Senators Jim Beall and Jerry Hill, and Assemblymembers Marc Berman and Evan Low, Silicon Valley REALTORS® asked them to support the REALTOR® position on the following bills:

Vote YES on AB 1590 (Rubio) – First-Time Low- and Moderate-Income Homebuyer Tax Credit for Disadvantaged Communities. C.A.R. is sponsoring this bill which creates a first-time homebuyer tax credit for low- and moderate-income individuals and families purchasing a home in a disadvantaged community. AB 1590 allocates $50 million for first-time homebuyers who have never owned a principal residence; who earn 120 percent or less of the area median income; and who are purchasing a home in a disadvantaged community. The tax credit would be equal to 3 percent of the purchase price of the home or $5,000, whichever is less.

Vote YES on SB 50 (Wiener) – Housing Development Incentives. C.A.R. is co-sponsoring this bill which seeks to authorize the implementation of transit-rich housing project bonuses for new urban developments, so families can afford to live within the communities in which they work. SB 50 encourages the development of mid-rise, multi-family unit, housing construction with close, walkable access to bus and rail transit. Residential developments may only obtain a “height” bonus if they meet local planning, zoning and design requirements. Local governments may approve higher-density housing, with reduced or eliminated parking requirements, provided the site is adjacent to transit or near jobs.

Vote No on SB 329 (Mitchell) – Mandatory Section 8. C.A.R. is opposing this bill which forces all residential rental property owners to participate in all government assistance and housing subsidy programs, such as the Section 8 housing program, by entering into a legally binding contract with a government agency. This bill forces all landlords into contracts whose provisions they may not be able to fulfill. C.A.R. says the bill does not fix the underlying problems with Section 8. Since housing authorities are understaffed, it can take as long as 60 days before all applications are submitted, inspections made, and contracts signed. During that time, the unit sits vacant at a substantial loss to the landlord.

All staunch proponents of housing, the legislators thanked the REALTORS® for their support and advocacy. They called on REALTORS® and others to stand up and speak louder about the need for housing “because the other side is so loud.”

Low said he has received sharp, mean-spirited backlash from those who oppose his pro-housing stance, some even demanding his recall, but he is not wavering. “Oftentimes we need to speak truth to the powerful. I feel very strongly about this. It’s important to make courageous decisions,” said Low.

According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2019 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends, one in six Gen Xers purchased a multi-generational home, with 52 percent of those Gen X buyers indicating they did because their adult children have either moved back or never left home.

“The high cost of rent and lack of affordable housing inventory is sending adult children back to their parents’ homes either out of necessity or an attempt to save money,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

The study, which evaluates the generational differences of recent homebuyers and sellers, found older millennials have more similarities with Gen Xers and younger boomers, as this group also appears to be leaning toward the purchase of a multi-generational home. Older millennials who bought a multi-generational home (9 percent) were most likely to do so in order to take care of aging parents (33 percent), or to spend more time with those parents (30 percent).

Gen X typically refers to the group born between the mid-60s and early 1980s. Gen Y, also known as millennials, refers to the group born between the mid-1980s and 2000. Millennials as whole account for the largest share of buyers, at 37 percent. Gen Xers account to 26 percent of buyers.

Alan Barbic, president of the Silicon Valley Association ofREALTORS®, is seeing these trends in the Bay Area. “With rents rising and housing affordability challenging, we are seeing families moving in together and seeing it as an advantage,” says Barbic. “Parents want to help their children save so they can someday afford their own home. Older millennials want to take care of their parents. Some bookended boomers are helping their children on one end and their parents on the other.”

Barbic adds, “Many municipalities are now easing restrictions allowing secondary units to be built on single-family residential properties, which helps families and alleviates the growing lack of housing at the same time. These reasons also point to the family unit being important to many Americans.”

Interestingly, downsizing to a smaller home is not currently common among any of the generations. The study speculates Gen Xers and boomers who may have been interested in downsizing could have been hindered by a lack of smaller inventory; or may have been impeded by the increase in multi-generational living to accommodate the needs of adult children and aging parents.

The survey also reveals buyers and sellers across all age groups (87 percent) continue to seek the assistance of a real estate agent when buying and selling a home. “Help understanding the buying process” was cited as the top benefit younger millennials said their agent provided.

April is National Fair Housing Month and reminds every American that all persons have equal access to housing and that fair housing is not an option; it is the law. The Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, protects people from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and family status.

The National Association of REALTORS® and civil rights groups are currently pressing Congress to pass the Equality Act, which adds sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics under the Fair Housing Act and all other federal laws. NAR amended its Code of Ethics to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in 2011 and gender identity in 2013.

Under the NAR REALTOR® Code of Ethics, REALTORS® cannot deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

A home seller or landlord cannot discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. They cannot instruct their real estate agent to convey any limitations in the sale or rental of their property.

Buyers or renters have the right to expect:

  • housing in their price range made available without discrimination
  • equal professional service
  • the opportunity to consider a broad range of housing choices
  • no discriminatory limitations on communities or locations of housing
  • no discrimination in the financing, appraising, or insuring of housing
  • reasonable accommodations in rules, practices and procedures for persons with disabilities
  • non-discriminatory terms and conditions for the sale, rental, financing, or insuring of a dwelling
  • freedom from harassment or intimidation for exercising their fair housing rights.

If you or your clients suspect discrimination, visit https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/ to file a complaint.

 

 

The 20th annual Silicon Valley REALTORS® Scholars Program for graduating seniors from 18 public high schools in Silicon Valley is under way. The scholars program is sponsored by the Charitable Foundation Trust of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR), a professional trade organization representing over 5,000 Realtors and affiliate members engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay.

The Silicon Valley REALTORS® Scholars Program is a partnership with local high schools in the region. Principals and faculty at 18 participating public high schools nominate three exceptional graduating seniors. The program awards a $1,000 scholarship to one nominee from each school in recognition of their exemplary record, outstanding academic performance and community spirit. Since it started, the program has awarded $342,000 to graduating students in Silicon Valley.

The scholars from the class of 2019 will be selected from high schools in the communities served by members of SILVAR. Final selections will be made by a committee that includes representatives from the local business community, area high schools, area colleges and the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®.

“Silicon Valley REALTORS® are very proud of our excellent schools. They are a major reason why Silicon Valley is a top housing market,” said Nina Yamaguchi, chair of the scholars program of the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation. “The annual Silicon Valley REALTORS® Scholars Program is an opportunity for our members to show our support for our schools and 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 California and in the nation.”

The participating schools are 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 on attending a four-year college or university. Information about the scholarships, including requirements and applications, may be obtained from the respective schools’ guidance or career counselors.

The completed application must be returned to the high school’s counselor by Monday, March 4, for submission to the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation. For further information, please contact Nina Yamaguchi at (408) 861-8822 or nyamaguchi@cbnorcal.com.

SILVAR members recognized.

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A REALTOR® for over four decades, Phyllis Carmichael has achieved so much for the Association in many different roles. She is pictured here with 2018 SILVAR president Bill Moody and Executive Officer Paul Cardus.

A highlight of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® Installation Gala last night was the presentation of the 2018 Recognition Awards by SILVAR 2018 President Bill Moody and Executive Officer Paul Cardus. The awards recognize certain members for their valuable contributions to the Association last year.

Moody first thanked his fellow board members and committee chairs for their support last year. He said it has been a privilege to serve SILVAR’s membership as president.

Recognized for their outstanding contributions were:
2018 REALTOR® of the Year: Phyllis Carmichael (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage)
The announcement of REALTOR® of the Year was met with loud applause and cheers. Moody described Phyllis Carmichael as a REALTOR® “who brings forward the best in any board or committee on which they serve.” Moody said Carmichael’s ability to build consensus while pursuing the bold path forward is a hallmark of her decades of service.

A REALTOR® for over four decades, Carmichael has achieved so much for the Association in many different roles. As director, president and treasurer, at the California Association of REALTORS®, on issues ranging from political to governance to financial, she has shared her tremendous expertise with SILVAR and its members.

“Through strong and calm leadership, always with a twinkle and a smile, even in tense moments, she created and grew our Association,” said Moody. “She is sharp, skilled and effective. She is our happy warrior.”

2018 Affiliate of the Year: Audrey Hutton (Hutton Mortgage Team)
The Affiliate of the Year is someone through his or her actions has unequivocally embraced and adopted the principles, goals, and purposes of the Association. Moody said Audrey Hutton “has proven to be a dedicated workhorse and a great proponent of our Association.” He noted Hutton’s firm provides mortgage services in a timely manner with great attention to detail for SILVAR’s REALTOR® members and their clients. He praised her professional support for all SILVAR programs across the Association, with a particular dedication to her home district, Los Gatos-Saratoga.

“Her willingness to help where needed enhances the image of our Association and our REALTOR® and affiliated professional members,” said Moody.

READ MORE HERE

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The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® Global Business Council (SILVAR GBC) was presented the DIAMOND Global Achievement Program Award for 2018 by the National Association of REALTORS® at the Nov. 2-5 REALTORS® Conference & EXPO in Boston. SILVAR President Bill Moody and Executive Officer Paul Cardus accepted the award on behalf of the GBC from NAR Global Business and Alliances Committee Chair Mario Arriaga during the International Night Out dinner on Nov. 3.

The DIAMOND award is the highest level award for global achievement that recognizes those global councils that have consistently performed at the highest level for six years. The award is given to association global councils that have earned PLATINUM status for five consecutive years. SILVAR was honored with the PLATINUM Global Achievement Award for five consecutive years from 2013-2017.

NAR recognized SILVAR GBC as having demonstrated the utmost commitment to helping their members capture their share of the global real estate market in the United States, in addition to connecting their council and members to the global community in their area. The services and resources they have worked hard to provide their members are the benchmarks upon which the standards have been set.

“We are thankful to SILVAR’s Global Business Council for their commitment to enhancing global business opportunities for REALTORS® in their market,” said Jan Hope, NAR Vice President of Commercial & Global Services. “They have done an outstanding job and we are pleased to provide them with the Diamond Global Achievement Program Award.”

The GBC provides SILVAR members information, resources, networking and skills training to enhance their professionalism and success in their local markets with international and multicultural clients and customers. Each year the GBC provides a host of programs related to global real estate, including the Certified International Property Specialist Institute (CIPS).

The CIPS Institute provides training in international business issues, including currency conversion, cultural awareness, legal and tax requirements, transaction principles of international real estate, and specifics about the real estate markets in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. The course is taught by David Wyant, recognized NAR International Instructor of the Year for 2017, 2012 and 2009. There are currently over 4,000 CIPS designees from the U.S. and 35 other countries.

Congratulating the Global Business Council members, SILVAR Executive Officer Paul Cardus said, “The benchmarks for success over the past six years have been the commitment of SILVAR to think globally, the resolute efforts of our Global Business Council.”

Members of this year’s GBC core team are chair Tess Crescini, SILVAR board directors Mark Wong and Joanne Fraser, Mitra Lahidji, Atsuko Yube, past president David Tonna, Alicia Sandoval, Jimmy Kang, Ketan Jashapara, Daisy Wong and Lisa Wendl. Past chairs who led the team in obtaining past PLATINUM awards are Jennifer Tasto, Davena Gentry and Mark Wong.

Other REALTOR® associations earning DIAMOND status are Houston Association of REALTORS®, Arcadia Association of REALTORS® and Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association, REALTOR® Association of the Palm Beaches and Greater Ford Lauderdale (2017) and Miami Association of REALTORS® (2016).

 

 

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In Los Gatos, Jim Hamilton, who served as auctioneer, reminded members the money raised will go to needy children for presents during the holidays.

The month of October ushers in holiday festivities, beginning with Halloween. It is also the time when members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) help make sure the holidays are brighter for families in the communities where they work and live.

This week SILVAR’s Los Gatos-Saratoga District topped last year’s proceeds at its annual Pumpkin Auction, raising $7,000 for the Family Giving Tree for Operation Reindeer. California Association of REALTORS® 2005 President and District Chair-elect Jim Hamilton was able to encourage members to be generous this year and think of the children.

“Open your wallets, open your hearts. It’s for the kids,” said Hamilton.

Operation Reindeer, now coordinated by the Family Giving Tree, is a program that distributes gifts, including food certificates, to needy families and seniors in the community during the holiday season. REALTORS® and affiliates of the Los Gatos-Saratoga District have supported the program for more than 20 years.

Toward the end of the auction, Jim Myrick shared his own experience of being grateful as a child for receiving presents through the program. After sharing his story, Myrick invited members to stand up and pledge $10 each and followed with a “Heads or Tails” fundraising game. The generous contributions from members and the pledge of brokers Brian Crane with Intero Real Estate Services, Doug Evans with Coldwell Banker and Mark von Kaenel with Keller Williams Bay Area Estates to double members’ pledges brought the auction to the $7,000 amount.
READ MORE AND SEE PHOTOS HERE

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Here Greg Boudreau, who served as auctioneer in Los Altos, enticed members to bid by mentioning the prize the next auction item offered.

In Los Altos last Friday, SILVAR’s Los Altos-Mountain View District’s 6th Annual Pumpkin Auction did not disappoint members either. The event was festive with some members dressed in costumes and many auction items donated by local companies and individuals. The crowd was engaged and did not hesitate to raise their paddles when egged on by auctioneer and District Chair-elect Greg Boudreau. The District raised $5,500 for the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation, thanks to the generous donors and bidders, including members who donated to the Charitable Foundation without expecting an auction item in return.

The auction items included a wine and dine basket, children’s fun basket, teal hand-blown pumpkin, Dom Pérignon champagne, La Rochere champagne flutes, gourmet food items, Star Wars Steins Collectibles Set of Three and gourmet items, sets of Windsor Village platinum status wine with free wine tasting, an electric LED water vapor effect smoking pumpkin, and more. The top prize was a Tahoe Getaway – two-night stay at Tavern Inn condos in Squaw Valley, plus a $100 gift card for a meal at the Tahoe River Grill and lots of other goodies donated by Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty.
READ MORE AND SEE PHOTOS HERE

On top of these donations, at SILVAR’s Oktoberfest Happy Hour to Benefit the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation, members raised $4,000, bringing to total amount of donations to $16,000 just this month! The Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation thanks everyone who contributed at these events and all the event organizers.

The Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation is a trust that makes grants available to organizations from donations by realtors and affiliate members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®. The Charitable Foundation also awards $1,000 scholarships each year to 18 graduating seniors from public high schools in Silicon Valley.

 

 

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