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.

 

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The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is warning its members about a phishing scam they may receive in an email appearing to be under the REALTOR® Party banner. The scam email is asking to help “Jim” with a financial donation. Please be aware that the email is not from the REALTOR® Party or NAR. Please delete this email if you see it.

NAR will never solicit donations for personal or individual charities. All donations go through the REALTORS® Relief Foundation.

Anyone who received the email or sent money to the link in the email should file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov.

NAR urges its members and state and local REALTOR® associations to be on high alert for email and online fraud.

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.

“No one is 100 percent secure when it comes to cyber security. We just have to do our best keeping our private information confidential and secure when doing business,” said Nicholas McGowan at the Cyber Security Lunch and Learn at the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® this week. McGowan is a sergeant at the Petaluma Police Department, a member of the San Francisco Crimes Task Force and the Bay Area chapter of the High Technology Crime Investigators Association. He also has established Brainwave Hack Consulting Services.

Cyber security is a concern for anyone who connects to the internet. “A hacker just has to be right once,” said McGowan, and this is why you have to be diligent about keeping your private information secure. Cyber criminals seek to identify and retrieve passwords, dental and medical records, bank accounts, credit cards and government identification.

McGowan said your password is your first level of defense from hackers, so you need a most secure password for your email and other important accounts. McGowan suggests a password with no less than five and preferably 12 characters and resetting your password every few months.

Use anti-virus software and make sure it is updated. The best protection is to have a multifactor authentication.

In offices or even your home, McGowan said it is not safe to have a shared network because it is vulnerable to being hacked. Business emails can be compromised. Have your own personal or business network and a separate network for guests.

Stay away from open networks in airports, malls and coffee places. “They are a cyber criminal’s dream,” said McGowan.

Phishing with links in emails is rampant. Links can contain viruses which could be a source of ransomware. Ransomware is only bad if you run it, so do not click on a link, even if the email purportedly comes from a credit card company or bank. Go directly to the company’s website and access the information from there.

“If it doesn’t feel right, trust your gut. Never click on a link,” said McGowan.

 

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.

 

 

The National Association of REALTORS® is calling on Congress to act now to reform and extend the National Flood Insurance Program, which is set to expire on July 31. Allowing the deadline to lapse would deny necessary insurance coverage to homeowners and buyers in more than 20,000 communities nationwide.

The NFIP provides up to $350,000 of flood insurance coverage for federally-backed mortgage in 22,000 communities nationwide. It also provides an alternative to taxpayer-funded disaster assistance. While there is a growing market for private flood insurance, for many, the NFIP continues to be the primary source of asset protection against flooding, the most common and costly natural disaster in the U.S.

In November last year, the House of Representatives passed the NAR-supported 21st Century Flood Reform Act, which contains numerous important provisions for consumers. The Act reauthorizes the NFIP for a full five years, avoiding the uncertainty of short-term extensions and potential shutdowns and provides guidelines for creating better flood maps for the program. It limits maximum flood insurance premiums to $10,000 per year for residential properties, and directs FEMA to develop more granular rate tables to ensure fewer properties are overcharged by the NFIP. The bill sets aside $1 billion for flood mitigation assistance grants and increases access to private market flood insurance, which often offers better coverage at lower cost. The bill also addresses issues with repeatedly flooding properties that account for 2 percent of NFIP policies and 25 percent of claim payments over the history of the program.

The bill is now in the Senate. NAR is urging the Senate to act quickly. The last time the NFIP expired, approximately 1,400 home closings were interrupted each day until the program was reinstated. In all, the program has lapsed on a number of separate occasions for two months combined with a total of 23 separate short-term extensions.

Earlier this week, the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) sent out a Red Alert to members about reaching out to their Assembly members and urging them to oppose AB 2364. C.A.R. is pleased to announce that AB 2364 FAILED last night on Assembly Floor. The bill only secured 25 YES votes, with 34 voting NO and the remainder Not Voting. All members of the Assembly were present, so those not voting did so intentionally.

C.A.R OPPOSES AB 2364 (Bloom and Chiu), which deters property owners from returning to the rental housing business for 10 years. The passage of AB 2364 would have significantly weakened the Ellis Act by discouraging new rental housing investment and would have ultimately made the state’s housing crisis even worse.

 

 

BillSILVAR President Bill Moody presented the Charitable Foundation scholarship award to Annacy Sampas, a graduating senior from Leigh High School.

The Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation, the charitable arm of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR), is awarding $1,000 scholarships to each of 18 graduating seniors from public high schools in Silicon Valley for the 2017-2018 school year. SILVAR REALTORS® are presenting the awards to the recipients at their school’s senior awards night.

The scholarship awards are made possible by donations from REALTOR® and affiliate members of SILVAR. Now in its 19th year, the Charitable Foundation has presented $342,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors from high schools located in the communities served by SILVAR members.

The 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: Kelsey Bohannon, Cupertino High School (Northeastern University); Li Qing Loo, Fremont High School (Tufts University); Emma Chiao, Gunn High School (Swarthmore College); Emily Korn, Homestead High School (Willamette University); Annacy Sampas, Leigh High School (Santa Clara University); Jodie Bhattacharya, Los Altos High School (Stanford University); Shomil Jain, Los Gatos High School (UC Berkeley); Anastasiya Poplavska, Lynbrook High School (Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo); Joseph Lohmann, Menlo-Atherton High School (University of Pennsylvania); Sydney Olay, Monta Vista High School (Cal Poly – Pomona); Cathy Xuan Zhang, Mountain View High School (Stanford University); Naima Castaneda Isaac, Palo Alto High School (Spelman College); Aditi Garg, Prospect High School (Scripps College); Kelly Koh, Santa Clara High School (University of Southern California); Dean Stratakos, Saratoga High School (Stanford University); Karissa Yau, Westmont High School (Stanford University); Michelle Mathew, Wilcox High School (UC Berkeley); and Alexander Caceres, Woodside High School (Oberlin College).

READ MORE HERE

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REALTORS® discuss issues with Congresswoman Jackie Speier.

 

The leadership of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) joined more than 9,000 REALTORS® and guests from across the country in the nation’s capital this week for the 2018 National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo to advance policy initiatives that strengthen the ability of Americans to buy, invest, own and sell real estate.

On their agendas this year were visits with members of Congress, regulatory agency officials and top industry leaders; attending some of the nearly 100 available conference sessions on topics ranging from policy to technology; and focusing on the yearlong commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act.

REALTORS® are advocating support for several important legislative initiatives, including strong net neutrality protections to ensure the internet is open and competitive for consumers and businesses; renewing and strengthening the long-term viability of the National Flood Insurance Program; indexing homeownership tax incentives for future inflation and permanently extending the tax exclusion on mortgage debt forgiveness; and adopting sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in the Fair Housing Act.

NAR is also urging Congress to adopt sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in the Fair Housing Act. As members of NAR, REALTORS® subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics, which includes a commitment to provide equal professional services regardless of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, and as of 2009, sexual orientation, and since 2014, gender identity.

SILVAR leadership met with U.S. Representatives Anna Eshoo, who represents California’s 18th Congressional District, Jackie Speier, who represents the state’s 14th Congressional District and Ro Khanna, who represents District 17. Representing SILVAR at the Hill meetings were SILVAR President Bill Moody, President-elect Alan Barbic, NAR Directors Leannah Hunt and Jim Hamilton, Federal Political Coordinator of Congresswoman Eshoo Carole Feldstein, Executive Officer Paul Cardus and Government Affairs Director Ryan Carrigan. Also at the meetings was Board Director Joanne Fraser.
 

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SILVAR members get ready to meet their legislators.

 

In light of California’s ongoing housing availability/affordability and supply crisis, this year on Legislative Day, in addition to the “hot issues,” the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) asked REALTORS® to ask their legislators what they propose to do to increase the housing supply in California

C.A.R. senior vice president and chief lobbyist Alex Creel said home prices are too high because of the limited supply of homes and that’s because government at the state and local level is constraining supply and this has led to laws on rent control and exclusionary zoning. The state’s homeownership is among the lowest in the nation. Average rents in California cost 50 percent higher than the rest of the country.

“The solution to the housing affordability crisis is not price control. It is dealing with supply and the constraints that limit supply,” said Creel.

Creel said the legislature can help by streamlining the permitting process, fixing CEQA, requiring local government to meet their housing requirements, fund affordable housing and defeat bills that discourage construction of rental housing.

Thus, after the joint luncheon, SILVAR members met with Senators Jim Beall and Jerry Hill, and Assembly members Evan Low and Marc Berman and discussed the housing issues and asked them to take C.A.R.’s position on the following bills:

AB 1979 (Bonta/Steinworth) – Homeownership Savings Accounts – SUPPORT
This bill allows homebuyers to establish a Homeownership Savings Account (HSA) to purchase a home without paying tax on the interest earned on funds in that account; permits taxpayers to exclude from gross income earned on money contributed to a HSA up to 20 percent of the median home price as determine by the Department of Housing and Community Development; and permits contributions to HSA from relatives and others, as well. This would help families struggling for a down payment on a home, benefiting 3.5 million families.

SB 1469 (Skinner) – Accessory Dwelling Units – SUPPORT
Despite recent changes to state law making it easier to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs), many local governments are using overly restrictive ordinances and other loopholes to deny their development. This bill would streamline the approval process for building ADUs by prohibiting the imposition of impact fees, connection fees and other fees levied by local entities on construction of ADUs and would only permit local government to deny construction if it adversely impacts fire and life safety. It also states if the local government fails to act on the application within 60 days, the project would be approved.

AB 2618 (Bonta) – Specialty Licensing – OPPOSE
C.A.R. opposes this bill because it requires real estate licensees to complete a mandatory property management certification program to perform property management services that they are already licensed to provide. It also requires private owners to obtain this certification even if they use a licensee to manage their property. The measure is unnecessary, duplicates existing law, and provides no additional consumer protections. There is no data to support the need for additional certification or training.

READ MORE HERE

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