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Silicon Valley’s economy is booming, but pockets of poverty exist. Non-profit agencies that provide housing and support services to the low income and homeless say despite the region’s economic prosperity, they are seeing more families and youth in need.

“Life can change suddenly for anyone. When crisis hits, things happen and a family can become homeless,” said Kohinoor Chakravarty, director of Development and Communications for West Valley Community Services (WVCS).

At a meeting held in the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) office in Cupertino, Chakravarty said the agency, which serves underprivileged families and the homeless in Cupertino, Saratoga, West San Jose, Monte Sereno and Los Gatos, provides 672,380 pounds of food to low-income and homeless families and $167,829 in emergency assistance for rent, utilities and deposits. Its food pantry provides 1,223 individuals with groceries, household items, diapers and personal care items. The agency also has special programs that help families during the holidays and school year with holiday food baskets and shopping spree, its backpack program and back-to-school event, which helps over 100 children shop for clothes for school.

WVCS has also opened food pantries in De Anza and Foothill colleges for about 200 students who are homeless, with no food or place to live. “High rents forced their families to move out of the area, but these students chose to stay because they know finishing their education is the only way to get out of the cycle of poverty,” said Chakravarty.

Marie Bernard, executive director with Sunnyvale Community Services, told REALTORS® that homelessness and hunger in Santa Clara County are exacerbated by skyrocketing rents. One-bedroom apartments are renting for $2,542 on average, and two-bedroom apartment rents average $3,228.

“For many families, it’s a choice of rent over food,” said Bernard.

Like WVCS, SCS is the first stop for families seeking help. Last year, the agency helped 7,991 low-income residents, a 16 percent increase from 2015. The agency has also extended its help to the Alviso area, where there are many people who are underserved and families whose homes are red-tagged because their utility bills are backed up for six to eight months.

“Keeping people fed and housed is the best economic investment our county can make,” said Bernard. She said while it costs to feed and help the poor, it would cost more if the county did not provide the help.

Chakravarty and Bernard said the non-profits cannot provide their services without help from residents who volunteer to help sort the food and distribute them to needy families. Local grocery stores donate food to their food pantries.

“Without volunteers uniting behind us, we cannot do this work. You can make it happen because you are our community,” Chakravarty told the REALTORS®.

SILVAR’s Cupertino/Sunnyvale District, through the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation, has donated $750 to West Valley Community Services. The donation will be used to purchase backpacks for WVCS’s Back-To-School Backpacks program. Pictured above with the big check are Cupertino/Sunnyvale District tour director Mark Burns with Chakravarty.

 

 

 

 

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Take advantage of discount offer for five courses!

Registration is now open for the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®’ 6th Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Institute on September 11-15. The CIPS Institute will provide the training and tools to position yourself as a global expert. Upon completion of the five courses, you will have the opportunity to earn the prestigious CIPS designation, the only international designation offered by the National Association of REALTORS®.

What will it cost?
SILVAR is providing a deep discount for the entire CIPS Institute, which includes five courses.

  • $450 – Paperless Option. Bring an electronic device to class each day and you will be provided with a link to the PDF of the manual for each course which you can download.
  • $500 – Paper Option. This includes a hard copy manual for each of the five courses.

Continental breakfast and lunch each day, courtesy of our Sponsors of the Day:

Darrell Monda, with TourFactory
Janet Case, with Proxio
Kyle Chuang, with Farmers’ Insurance
Anita Rodal with AFEX and SBPI Services
Suzette Reboton with HSBC

* This offer is being extended to both members and nonmembers for a limited time. Regular price for the CIPS Institute is $600.

What will I learn?

  • International business transactions, roles and expectations
  • Currency conversion
  • Cultural awareness
  • Legal and tax requirements
  • Ownership and transaction principles of international real estate
  • Specifics about the real estate markets in Europe, the Americas, and Asia

Who is the instructor?
2012 and 2009 National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) International Instructor of the Year David Wyant, CIPS, CRS, GRI, ABR, RSPS, TRC, AHWD, SFR, SRES, MRP, GREEN, e-Pro, who is assisted by his wife, Patsy, will be returning to Cupertino to teach the CIPS Institute. The Wyants travel abroad each year teaching CIPS in other countries and are able to share the latest developments taking place in real estate markets around the world.

How do I register?

  • Complete the registration form below and email or fax to SILVAR.
  • Members may register online for the paper option at ims.silvar.org.
  • Non-members and those who want the paperless option may register by contacting SILVAR Public Affairs and Communications Director Rose Meily at (408) 200-0109 or email rmeily@silvar.org.

CIPS CLASS SCHEDULE AND REGISTRATION FORM

 

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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). 

READ MORE

SEE 2017 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS HERE

 

 

 

 

 

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Wherever you go, whatever you do, you cannot look like a victim. Be aware of your surroundings. If confronted by someone, the best thing to do is scream and run! Get away from the situation. Use physical force only as a last resort, but be ready. These are the first important tips Karen Trolan, past president of SILVAR and safety and self-defense instructor, shared with participants at last Friday’s REALTOR® Safety and Self-Dense Training.

According to Trolan, prevention is the best self-defense. Attackers look for unsuspecting vulnerable targets. “If you act like a victim, you could be one. Therefore, be prepared and follow general safety tips, like being aware of your surroundings,” said Trolan.

When it is clear that escape isn’t possible, shout, “Back off!” as loud as you can and push the attacker right away. This will surprise the attacker and let them know you are not an easy target.

Trolan explained when you are in a confrontation, you only have a few seconds and a few moves to try, so before the attacker gains full control of you, you must do everything to inflict injury so you can get away.

So Trolan, assisted by Pacific Coast Academy instructor Alex Franckx, Carla Bunch and Trolan’s husband Steve – all of whom have several black belts in jujitsu and other self-defense training, demonstrated and then practiced with the over 20 REALTORS® present how to use their hands to strike the assailant on the upper half of their body and using their fingers, palms, elbows, knees and feet, how to aim at parts of the body where they can easily do the most damage. Trolan later reviewed other REALTOR® safety tips and shared information on several safety apps REALTORS® can download that can help track their movements, vet clients, or remotely activate emergency alerts.

Trolan has been teaching SILVAR members REALTOR® safety and self-defense for the past three years because she is concerned about the rise in crime against real estate agents. There have been assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, and even murders.

“Real estate professionals are targets because they often work alone and can be in potentially dangerous situations when they are showing a home or meeting new clients who are strangers to them. Men, as well as women, have been targets,” said Trolan. “All REALTORS® should learn at least basic safety and self-defense techniques.”

VIEW PHOTOS

 

 

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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

Each year in April, REALTORS® join the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and rest of the nation in recognizing April as Fair Housing Month. Forty-nine years ago, on April 11, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark U.S. Fair Housing Act, Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1968, which strives to ensure equal housing opportunity for all and prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and family status. In 2012, HUD published new regulations to ensure that its core housing programs are open to all eligible persons, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Fair Housing Month is an opportunity to recommit to the principle that fair housing is an essential part of everything we do. REALTORS® play a vital role in ensuring fair housing for all and strive to make the American dream of homeownership accessible to all,” says Denise Welsh, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®. “This year’s theme – ‘Fair Housing Equals Opportunity’ – reminds us that everyone have the same opportunity and rights when renting, owning, or buying a home.”

Home sellers and landlords have a responsibility and a requirement under the law not to discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. You cannot instruct the licensed broker or salesperson acting as your agent to convey for you any limitations in the sale or rental because the real estate professional is also bound by law not to discriminate. Under the law, a home seller or landlord cannot establish discriminatory terms or conditions in the purchase or rental; deny that housing is available, or advertise that the property is available only to persons of a certain race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

Home seekers have the right to expect that housing will be available to you without discrimination or other limitations based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. This includes the right to expect:

  • Housing in your price range made available to you 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
  • To be free from harassment or intimidation for exercising your fair housing rights.

Real estate professionals are prohibited by law from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. A request from the home seller or landlord to act in a discriminatory manner in the sale, lease or rental cannot legally be fulfilled by the real estate professional.

If you suspect discrimination, you may file a complaint with the nearest HUD office, or by contacting them at http://www.hud.gov

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The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) is offering its 6th Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Institute on September 11-15. National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2012 and 2009 International Instructor of the Year David Wyant will be returning to Cupertino to teach the CIPS courses.

Learn how to expand your global real estate business and earn the NAR CIPS designation. The CIPS Institute provides training in international business issues, including currency conversion, cultural awareness, legal and tax requirements, ownership and transaction principles of international real estate, and specifics about the real estate markets in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. See flyer with the class schedule below.

Cost for the entire CIPS Institute, which includes five courses, is $450 for the paperless option and $500 for the paper version, which includes a manual for each of the five courses. Regular price is $600. The CIPS Institute is open to both members and nonmembers. Members may enroll online at ims.silvar.org. Non-members may register by calling SILVAR at (408) 200-0100. Breakfast and lunch are provided and included in the cost.

If you are a CIPS designee, you can audit a course for $20 for paperless and $30 for the paper option. Cost also includes breakfast and lunch. There are always new developments taking place in real estate markets around the world. Every two to three years CIPS courses are revised with updated statistics and relevant information. The most recent courses updated are the Americas and International Real Estate (2017), Global Real Estate: Local Markets (May 2016) and Global Real Estate: Transactions Tools (May 2016).

Sponsorship opportunities are available again this year. If you would like to be a “CIPS Institute Sponsor of the Day” or for more information on the CIPS Institute, please contact SILVAR Public Affairs and Communications Director Rose Meily at (408) 200-0109 or email rmeily@silvar.org.

VIEW FLYER

The 18th 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 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 REALTORS®’ scholarship program is a partnership with local high schools in Silicon Valley. Principals and faculty at 18 participating 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. The scholars from the Class of 2017 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 SILVAR.

“The annual Silicon Valley Scholars Program is an opportunity for our members to show our support for our schools. We see value in investing in the future of our youth,” said Nina Yamaguchi, chair of the Scholars Program of the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation. “The program is our way of thanking the students, teachers, administrators and school board members in our communities for their hard work and dedication in making our schools among the best in California and in the nation.”

The participating schools include 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. Scholarship applications may be obtained from the respective schools. The completed application must be returned to the high school’s principal or counselor by Monday, March 6, for submission to the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation.

For further information, please contact Nina Yamaguchi at (408) 861-8822, or email nyamaguchi@cbnorcal.com.

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