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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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A REALTOR® workshop hosted by the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) early this month brought together board directors and representatives of neighboring REALTOR® and multicultural real estate associations interested in strengthening their leadership skills. “Learn to Be a Leader 2” is the second leadership workshop the local REALTOR® association has conducted that was partly funded by a National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Diversity Initiative grant.

Key speaker California Assembly Member Evan Low shared his views on leadership and his experiences as a former Campbell City Council member, mayor and state legislator. Low’s talk was followed by the NAR Leadership 300 course facilitated by Steve Francks, CEO of the Washington REALTORS® Association and NAR Leadership Academy instructor.

Low said the concept of leadership is subjective depending on the characteristics one likes, and it can have misconceptions, often bringing leaders in conflict with opposing sides. “We are put on a pedestal that sometimes is unattainable. We are supposed to have all the answers, but we are human also,” said Low.

Whether in a professional or community organization or politics, a leader should be able to communicate. “Make a person feel you are invested in them. It’s a people business that needs a personalized touch,” said Low.

No matter the differences, leaders should have respect. “A leader is someone who gains your respect because you know where his heart is,” added Low.

The California Assembly member indicated engagement is important, particularly in this environment. “We are all Americans, we are all human. We need to create an environment that supports all of us. We must be all together,” said Low.

READ MORE HERE

 

The REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP), the community outreach project through which SILVAR members help seniors with household tasks they can no longer do on their own, took place this week. This year SILVAR partnered with the Avenidas Village (Palo Alto Senior Center) and offered the free service to senior homeowners who are members of the Avenidas Village Program.

On Wednesday and Thursday, more than 28 volunteers from SILVAR helped 18 senior households in Palo Alto. Some tasks RSVP volunteers performed for seniors included replacing light bulbs, changing furnace filters, washing windows, turning over mattresses, changing smoke detector batteries, yard work and some light housekeeping chores.

Seniors welcome the help each year. This year marks the 17th year of SILVAR’s RSVP program, yet not all seniors know about it. Joe, who is 83, and his wife Judy, 75, only learned about RSVP this year through Avenidas Village.

“When I heard about the program, I kind of wondered about it. I asked Judy if we should ask for help and she said, ‘Why not, we could certainly use the help!'” said Joe.

The couple, whose only child lives in Chicago, needed help moving furniture and clearing things in their home. On Thursday, the team of Dave Barca, Jeff Beltramo, Pamela Ghandour and Tom Huff got to work right away. Barca and Ghandour packed books, games and other items on the couple’s bookcase in boxes and helped move furniture, while Beltramo and Huff cleaned the couple’s gutters and yard.

Many seniors are very grateful for the help. One 89-year-old senior exclaimed, “This is like a fairytale where the elves come and help!”

“My windows are cleaner than ever before!” said another happy homeowner.

READ MORE AND SEE PHOTOS HERE

 

November 6 is quickly approaching, voter guides are going out, and lawn signs are up in full force. Local races are expected to be hotly contested, and at the federal level, we are expecting very close races. Several races in California could decide which party will control Congress.

For those who have not registered to vote, it is not too late to do so. California law allows voters to register up to 15 days before the election. That would make the deadline Monday, October 22. Registration cards need to be postmarked by that day to be eligible to vote on November 6.

You can register HERE. Click on the “Register to Vote Now” link.

 

Even though income and sales volume of REALTORS® have dropped slightly in the past year, membership in the National Association of REALTORS® has increased, as more younger agents continue to enter the industry. According to the “2018 National Association of REALTORS® Member Profile,” membership increased 6 percent from 1.22 million in March 2017 to 1.30 million in April 2018.

“Younger Americans are seeking business opportunities that working in real estate provides,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. But Yun also noted the overall trend is still a slightly older age profile.

Members of NAR account for about half of all active real estate licensees in the U.S. REALTORS® go beyond state licensing requirements by subscribing to NAR’s Code of Ethics and standards of practice and committing to continuing education.

“All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® are properly called REALTORS®. They display the REALTOR® logo on their business card or other marketing material,” explained Bill Moody, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®. The REALTOR® association has over 4,500 REALTORS® and affiliate members engaged in the business of real estate on the Peninsula and in the South Bay.

“REALTORS® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are required to complete a two and a half hour Code of Ethics course every two years,” said Moody.

The NAR member survey found the median age of REALTORS® was 54 this year, slightly up from 53, the last two years. Sixty-three percent of realtors are female. The typical REALTOR® is a 54-year-old white female who attended college and is a homeowner.

Sixty-five percent of REALTORS® are licensed sales agents, 21 percent hold broker licenses, and 15 percent hold broker associate licenses. New members tended to be more diverse than more experienced members. Twenty-five percent with two years of experience or less were minorities, up from 22 percent last year.

According to Moody, the national survey reflects the profile of incoming members in the local REALTOR® group, which has over 4,500 members. “Our new members definitely reflect a younger and more diverse group of agents,” said Moody.

Impacted by low inventory, the typical number of transactions decreased slightly from 12 transactions in 2016 to 11 transactions in 2017. REALTORS® said the main factors limiting potential clients in completing transactions are difficulty finding the right property (35 percent), housing affordability (17 percent), and difficulty in obtaining mortgage financing (12 percent).

 

 

Khanna

U.S. Representative Ro Khanna met with members of SILVAR, the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR), and Bay East Association of REALTORS® at the SCCAOR office on Wednesday. Khanna represents the 17th Congressional District, which includes the cities of Cupertino, Fremont, Milpitas, Newark, San Jose, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale.

Khanna said he is proud of Silicon Valley because the region is the economic engine of the country and provides its citizens with many economic opportunities for growth and success. Khanna noted it is the valley’s turn to give back to the country and expand these economic opportunities to the rest of the country. Only then will the country be able to break out of its gridlock and be competitive in relation to the rest of the world.

“We have the best and the brightest. When you think of the valley, you don’t just think of the engineers and people in high tech. You also think of the electricians, the REALTORS®, dentists, doctors. It’s the community that works cooperatively toward economic achievement, which has resulted in economic success,” said Khanna. “We are privileged, our kids are privileged, because of all the opportunities we have living in the valley, but we aren’t going to make it as a nation if those economic opportunities aren’t extended to the rest of the country.”

Khanna’s goal in Congress is to create economic opportunities and a pathway for people regardless of where they live. To that end, Khanna shared his three concrete ideas to make this happen: 1) install high speed internet for all, which will enable anyone across the country to work for high tech and other companies that are based anywhere in the country, including California; 2) create technical institutes across the country, much like land grants, with two-year certifications in different industries to prepare people for real life skills; 3) provide tax incentives for companies to hire people in places that have been left out of economic progress.

READ MORE HERE

 

 

 

Although year-over-year home sales have fallen for the second consecutive month, appraiser Roger Miller with Taketa Miller & Associates recently told members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® that they shouldn’t be too concerned about recent changes in the housing market.

The housing market is “doing just fine overall,” said Miller.

In fact, Miller said this is the longest period of appreciation he has witnessed in his 40 years in business and he believes it will continue for a while.

Homes have appreciated an average of 20 percent in Silicon Valley. Miller indicated the year-over-year median home price is up 23 percent in Los Gatos and up 23 percent in Saratoga. In Mountain View, the median is up a whopping 25 percent, in Cupertino 19 percent, and in Sunnyvale and Los Altos 17 percent.

Miller said inventory has increased, but sales are down in some places and days on the market have lengthened from an average of seven to 10 days to one month in some areas. It’s not a bad thing, said Miller. It just means the market is settling down.

Watch the specific micro market you are in, said Miller. In places closer to Apple and Google, homes are still selling at a quick pace. In Cupertino, a 2,700 square foot home sold for $2.36 million in just nine days. In Sunnyvale, a $1.9 million home sold in nine days. In Mountain View, a 1,400 square foot home priced at $2.3 million sold in eight days.

The Silicon Valley appraiser said the market usually slows down from the second week of May because of graduations and summer vacation. With the school year starting earlier this year, he expects it to heat up again around the second week of August.

“Take a vacation and be ready to come back in mid-August,” Miller told the REALTORS®.

Miller said the local economy is especially good, with Google’s plans of expanding to San Jose. Unless the giant companies like Facebook, Apple, Google, LinkedIn and eBay are transported somewhere else, he believes the housing market will stay hot for some time.

“I don’t see the market coming down in a while. It’s a little down, but even as it settles down, it will settle down at a higher price,” said Miller.

It is important for REALTORS® to learn about Propositions 13, 60 and 90 and two propositions that will be on the November ballot, Propositions 5 and 10, because they are the first person consumers go to for information about housing.

Approved by California voters in 1978, Proposition 13 caps the maximum amount of the assessed value of real property to one percent and limits property tax increases to no more than 2 percent per year as long as the property is not sold.

Propositions 60 and 90 stem from Prop 13. Prop 60 allows anyone over the age of 55 to transfer the base year value of their original residence to any replacement residence of equal or lesser value in the same county. Prop 90 extends these provisions to a replacement residence in a different county that accepts Prop 90 transfers. Homeowners must buy the replacement home within two years of selling the existing one, or vice versa.

Propositions 60/90 are incentives for senior homeowners to downsize and move into smaller, less expensive homes without being penalized with a higher property tax. The counties that accept Prop 90 transfers are Alameda, El Dorado, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Clara, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Mateo, Tuolumne and Ventura. El Dorado is dropping out effective November 7.

Proposition 5 is the California Association of REALTORS®’s Property Tax Fairness Initiative and would allow seniors to transfer their tax assessments from their prior home to their new home anywhere in the state and as many times as they wish. The transferred property tax benefit would apply through a proportionate formula whether or not a senior homebuyer purchases up or down in price. C.A.R. estimates the passage of Prop 5 would provide more liquidity in the market and free up 43,000 transactions.

Those opposed to Prop 5 claim it would mean a $150 million a year in lost revenue to the state budget, but according to REALTORS® this analysis does not take into account the property tax increases that might occur when the original homes are sold and assessed at a higher tax rate; nor does it take into account the economic benefits of having someone move into a new community.

Proposition 10 would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which limits the use of rent control in California and allows landlords to increase rent prices to market rates when a tenant moves out. This proposition would allow local governments to adopt rent control ordinances and rules on how much landlords can charge tenants for renting apartments and houses. Cities will be free to impose rent control on any residential unit, including single-family homes and new construction. This proposition would lock in low rents and dissuade investors from building much needed housing in the state.

C.A.R. is supporting Prop 5 because it would be good for housing, and actively opposing Prop 10 because it would hurt housing.

 

The California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) officially became the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) effective July 1, 2018. The DRE has been re­-established after five years as a bureau under the Department of Consumer Affairs.

All telephone, email and website contacts will remain the same. Licensees can use the department’s eLicensing system to reprint license certificates reflecting the change to a department, but will not receive new pocket cards unless their license is being renewed.

Licensees will not be required to change their business cards or marketing materials to reflect the change, as long as their license numbers remain on those materials.

To learn more, visit http://www.dre.ca.gov.

Bees may be pests to some people, but they are important to agriculture. One third of the world’s food supply is pollinated by bees. Without bees to keep plants and crops alive, the world will not survive. Members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® recently learned of this sobering thought from beekeeper and honey bee location expert, Art Hall. Hall asked the REALTORS® to relay the information to homeowners, stressing the importance of bees to the world’s survival. The honey bee, which is the most endangered bee, is responsible for over $30 billion a year in crops.

Beekeeping originally started in Egypt in 2400 B.C. European beekeeping began in the 1300s. There were no honey bees in America until the Europeans brought bees to Virginia in 1621. Hall said today there has been an increase in backyard beekeeping as more people become aware of their threat of extinction.

Hall removes bees from homes, backyards, and commercial structures for a fee. He warns it is not enough to just kill bees with spray, as their remnants create spores of black mold, which destroys structures and is also a mandatory disclosure. Bees need to be removed, the area of their location, if a structure, then needs to be cleaned, sealed and calked.

Hall donates the bees he removes to the 4-H, the Future Farmers of American, and anyone who will prove that they will keep the bees alive and not kill them.

The beekeeper stressed the world needs to save honey bees because they pollinate hundreds of plants upon which livestock feed. Bees help create billions of dollars of increased yield. He noted one fruit tree grower said bees can mean a difference of 40 to 50 percent increase in yield.

Bees are dying due to a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder, which occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave the queen behind. Other reasons are parasites, imported bacteria, and pesticides.

To protect the bee population, homeowners can reduce pesticide usage, support local beekeepers, plant year-round forage and tell neighbors and friends about the importance of their survival.

 

 

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