The first-ever virtual California Association of REALTORS® Legislative Day kicked off on April 27 with welcome remarks from 2021 President Dave Walsh, 2021 President-elect Otto Catrina and other C.A.R. officials who underlined the urgency of increasing the state’s housing supply and addressing barriers to homeownership.

“Closing the homeownership gap is essential to closing the generational wealth gap in our country,” said Walsh.

California Governor Gavin Newsom addressed REALTORS® and lamented that the twin crises of housing affordability and homelessness have dominated state’s political conversations for decades, even before the pandemic. While the state has made great strides with Projects Roomkey and Homekey, Newsom said there is still a lot more to do.

“At the end of the day, the fundamental truth is we need to simply build more housing at all income levels,” said Newsom.

Newsom indicated this can only be done by a combination of subsidies, political will, and a dose of accountability across the spectrum. “I consider the REALTORS® key partners in this work.”

The Governor thanked REALTORS® for their partnership and said he looked forward to pushing the pandemic behind so the state could reset its key priorities to solve the housing and homeless crises.

There were also greetings from California’s Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (CA Senate District 39), Assemblywoman Blanca E. Rubio (CA Assembly District 48) and California State Senate minority leader Scott Wilk (CA Senate District 21), who pledged their commitment to housing for all.

“The pandemic has now intensified the need for housing affordability, access and opportunity,” said Atkins.

Rubio related her personal story as an immigrant and said it has given her a genuine understanding of the daily struggles and barriers immigrants and working families face. She pledged support for immigrant families, small businesses and their workers.

Wilk underlined the need to make California a safe and affordable place to call home for generations to come. He said he worries his own children cannot afford to live in California. “This is a very real problem that affects every single California family… REALTORS® can make a difference in meeting the housing challenge.”

Legislative Day gave members an opportunity to meet virtually with their legislators and discussed C.A.R. hot issues (see article in Government Affairs). Later C.A.R. CEO Joel Singer interviewed political columnist Dan Walters. Walters analyzed Governor Newsom’s handling of the pandemic and shared his own views on state politics and the future of California’s housing situation and economy.

READ MORE HERE

The 2021 SILVAR Leadership Academy opened strong last week, with U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo addressing 40 participants and guests. SILVAR President Joanne Fraser delivered the opening remarks and SILVAR Board Director Suzanne Yost, chair of the Leadership Academy steering committee, led the program.

In her talk to members, Eshoo said in the past year the Bay Area housing market has remained strong, but the shortage of supply and rising prices have deeply impacted housing affordability, changing the composition and identity of our local communities and forcing many people to leave the area in search of more affordable places to live. She fears if nothing is done, the state will be viewed as a place where only the wealthiest can live.

Eshoo said solutions to the severe housing affordability problem can only come from a partnership of federal, state, and local governments working in cooperation with non-profits and the private sector. Congress plays an important role in this partnership by providing federal funding to build new housing and protect the existing supply of affordable housing, and through incentives in the tax code and programs that strengthen affordable housing.

As an advocate of housing, Eshoo said she has been able to pass 50 bills under four presidents due to her leadership philosophy of building coalitions and generating consensus to support legislation. She stressed the importance of REALTOR® advocacy, which she said has always supported her and shaped her legislative work. She values input from REALTORS® and noted of all groups that come to D.C., REALTORS® are the best prepared.

“The meetings are rich for me. Your advocacy informs my work,” said Eshoo.

The Congresswoman thanked SILVAR members and noted she is deeply grateful for REALTORS®’ support. “Thank you for all your magnificent support all these years. Our relationship has always been a great source of pride for me. You really mean a great deal to me.”

An impressive lineup of speakers followed Eshoo. They included Sydney Barron, NAR Director of Governmental Advocacy; Sanjay Wagle, C.A.R. Senior VP for Governmental Affairs and Chief Lobbyist; John Scribner, C.A.R. Manager of Public Policy; Matthew Gelfand, attorney for Californians for Homeownership; 2008 SILVAR President Leannah Hunt; and SILVAR Government Affairs Director Ryan Carrigan.

The NAR and C.A.R. senior staff presented an overview of the structure of REALTOR® advocacy and explained each of their roles in lobbying at the federal and state level. TBarron said REALTORS® are a powerful force and NAR is seen as a valuable resource in shaping government policy.

“Our power and our strength is our members,” said Wagle. He said Red Alerts are especially powerful and get the attention of legislators.

READ MORE HERE

The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® is launching the 2021 SILVAR Leadership Academy. The sessions will start in April and is open to all REALTOR® members of the association who are interested in learning more about how they can make a difference in real estate and grow in their professional and personal lives.

The SILVAR Leadership Academy will be an intensive six-month program. Participants will learn about the REALTOR® association structure of SILVAR, the California Association of REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS®, fair housing and implicit bias in real estate, and how local, state and national legislation affects their business and their clients. They will receive “hands-on” training on communicating and conducting meetings effectively, networking with other real estate professionals, resolving conflict situations and building consensus.

The leadership academy is the second part of a Diversity & Inclusion grant which SILVAR has received from NAR. In February the local trade association completed the first part of the grant with a program that focused on “Faces & Voices of Leadership in Real Estate.” The event featured a panel of past and present leaders of multicultural real estate associations and key speakers Santa Clara County Supervisor Otto Lee and Bay East Realtor and community leader Mony Nop. Discussions focused on their leadership roles and experiences.

Joanne Fraser, president of SILVAR, said NAR is working to ensure REALTORS® are active leaders in the fight against bias and discrimination. Last year, NAR began implementing the fair housing “ACT” plan, – which emphasizes Accountability, Culture Change, and Training. As a part of this plan, NAR released a new interactive training platform – Fairhaven – designed to help combat discrimination in the real estate market. In addition, NAR developed an implicit bias training video with strategies to help Realtors override biases in their daily interactions.

“SILVAR is committed to fair housing for all. The Leadership Academy is in step with our goal of inclusion and diversity in housing and within our association,” said Fraser.

The sessions are scheduled for April 15, May 20, June 17, July 15, August 19, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Additionally, participants will be required to attend C.A.R.’s annual Legislative Day.

There is no cost to attend the leadership academy, but attendance in all sessions is required in order to graduate. “If you are interested in learning more about being a volunteer on a committee or district council, this is for you. If you are interested in becoming a better volunteer, this is for you. If you are a member of a SILVAR committee or district council, this is for you,” said Suzanne Yost, who is coordinating the Leadership Academy. Yost is a past SILVAR president and currently chairs SILVAR’s Professional Standards Committee.

SILVAR REALTORS® may access an application to join the program at www.silvar.org. They can also contact Yost at suzanneyost.realtor@gmail.com.

“Faces & Voices of Leadership in Real Estate” held February 25 by the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® featured Santa Clara County Supervisor Otto Lee and East Bay REALTOR® Mony Nop, as key speakers, and a panel of leaders from Silicon Valley multicultural real estate associations. They included Chika Mori, 2021 president of the Asian Real Estate Association of America; Mark Taylan, 2021 president of the Filipino American Real Estate Professional Association; Dexter Lat, past president of the Chinese American Real Estate Association; Hilda Ramirez, co-founder of the National Hispanic Organization of Real Estate Associates; Paige Nguyen, 2021 president of the Vietnamese National Association of Real Estate Professionals; and Ketan Jashapara, 2021 president of the Residential Real Estate Council.

The panelists, featured first, discussed their respective leadership roles and views and experiences with diversity and inclusion in real estate. Nguyen said as a leader she has learned “when everyone comes together for the same purpose, we can do great things.”

Taylan said the biggest challenge for all leaders is devoting time to volunteer, but indicated it is worth it. Mori said she is able to meet many amazing real estate professionals, which has helped her be a better REALTOR® and leader.

Lat said leadership has opened many opportunities for his business. Ramirez added it is not enough to get involved with one organization, that being involved with many opens more doors. She said leadership is time consuming, but emphasized, “You get double what you put into it.”

“Real estate professionals from diverse backgrounds have more in common with each other than they realize. Leadership roles develop professional skills, professional networks, enable us to represent our communities, have a voice and, above all, make a difference,” said Jashapara.

The panelists said while leaders from different ethnicities may have to overcome cultural difficulties at the start, they learn to grow. When program participants were polled on whether they felt excluded in association events because of their race or ethnicity, 3 percent said yes and 97 percent said no.

Nop and Lee, both immigrants who came from troubled countries, were able to adapt and succeed in America. A survivor of Cambodia’s Killing Fields, Nop related how he would root through dumpsters at the age of six eating rats and other animals to keep from starving.

“You name it, I’ve eaten it,” said Nop.

Arriving in California from a refugee camp in the Philippines, Nop soon thrived. He served 17 years as a Livermore police officer, then became a REALTOR® and community leader. He is a recipient of the National Association of REALTORS® Good Neighbor award.

READ MORE HERE

Kung Hei Fat Choy! This year’s new Chinese zodiac animal king – the Metal Ox, will bring a year of recovery, reclaim and discovery, according to feng shui Master Y.C. Sun. At the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® Global Business Council Lunar New Year celebration last Friday, Sun said the Metal Ox is known to have mythical power to stabilize a bad situation created by the Rat in 2020 and start the process of recovery.

Sun predicts by mid-June we should return to some form of “normal” life, and by next February 4, 2022, the year of the Water Tiger, “we will see a healthy community and a strong economy, as well as people are busy traveling and having fun.” This scenario is similar to the year of the Rat in 2008, during the Great Recession which ended in 2009, the year of the Earth Ox.

Sun said the Metal Ox requires people to be diligent and provides them with a combative spirit, perseverance, mental toughness, and the determination to overcome adversity, such as the pandemic. The Ox is disciplined, easy going, trusting, and introspective, but occasionally suffers from irrational fears, such as fear of impending doom. The Ox also can be stubborn and competitive. When provoked, it becomes enraged.

The Metal Ox’s positive energy is directed to fight for justice, defend and protect safety, security and the interests of family and loved ones. Its negative energy can lead to violent confrontation, disruption, domestic violence, robbery, suicide.

Sun predicts unusual weather will occur in January, May, September, and November, and earthquakes possibly happening in March, June, July, August, and September in Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Peru, Taiwan and Alaska, including a possible large-scale earthquake at Xinjiang, China. He sees July (from July 7-August 7) as a bad month, as karma between the Wood Goat and Metal Ox come in conflict.

For the housing market, Sun said the recovering economy, low mortgage rates, increased buyer demand for investment income, first-time buyers and low inventory will lead to greater competition for desirable homes and further home price appreciation. High-earning millennials turning 28 years old will buy their first-time homes, and the oldest millennials will trade up.

Sun sees real estate being strong for the next 4-5 years, but noted 2021 will be a hard-working year for real estate agents as they face intense competition and reduced transaction fees, and become efficient in technology. Except for the southeast and northwest cities, Sun said the housing market should remain steady with good price growth particularly in San Jose-Sunnyvale, Oakland-Hayward, Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, Napa, Oxnard, Riverside, Las Vegas, Reno, Phoenix, Austin.

Find out more HERE.

At the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® virtual installation ceremony on Feb. 4, the association recognized members for their valuable contribution to the association and community in the past year. The 2020 SILVAR Appreciation Awards were presented by 2020 SILVAR President Mary Kay Groth and CEO Paul Cardus.

Mary Kay Groth, a REALTOR® with Sereno Los Gatos and resident of the town, was named 2020 REALTOR® of the Year. The prestigious award is bestowed on a member who continually demonstrates skills, competency, knowledge and selfless service to the public, clients and to SILVAR.

Presenting the award to Groth, Cardus noted 2020, the 25th anniversary of SILVAR, was a year unlike any other. “The worldwide global pandemic and a national reckoning with injustice and inequality reached deep into the Realtor family. It tested bonds, but ultimately underscored the tenacity, spirit and commitment of Realtors who embraced the challenges at hand.”

Cardus praised Groth for her “gracious servant leadership, her authenticity, empathy and compassion.” He said as 2020 president of SILVAR, Groth “showed resilience in the face of adversity and trailblazing leadership by listening and responding to the needs of our members, communities and association. She found strength and inspiration in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., ‘everybody can be great…because anybody can serve… You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.'”

Recognized by Groth were Kyle Chuang, Affiliate of the Year; Brian Chancellor, Spirit of SILVAR. Eileen Giorgi received the President’s award.

Groth said Chuang, a Farmers Insurance agent, is a regular sponsor and participant in association events, where he shares his knowledge and updates on the changing world of insurance. She described Chuang as a “hardworking, hands-on leader and a great proponent of our association.”

“His willingness to help where needed enhances the image of our association and our Realtor and affiliated professional members. ‘Treat people how you want to be treated’ is his personal motto,” said Groth.

The Spirit of SILVAR award is bestowed to a REALTOR® who reflects the association’s commitment to supporting and contributing to the communities it serves. Groth described Chancellor, who is vice president of Experience at Sereno Palo Alto, as “a man of great integrity.” She said Chancellor’s continued community service activities have proven his dedication to making the community a better place.

Chancellor served nine years on the board of Child Advocates of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties and six years on the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation board. He has served as a mentor (initially through the Big Brother and Big Sister Program) for young African American males in East Palo Alto without fathers and continues to stay in touch with and support them today. He is serving his fifth year on the Palo Alto Community Fund board and in the Leadership Circle of donors to Partners in Education.

“Through his service, actions and support, he provides a voice to those in our communities who we too often don’t hear, engage or respect,” said Groth.

The President’s award is presented to an individual whose service to the association is worthy of special thanks and recognition. Groth said Giorgi, a REALTOR® with Sereno Los Gatos, has been an integral part of volunteer work at SILVAR for many years, serving in various capacities, as a board director, president of the association’s charitable foundation, chair of the REALTOR® Volunteer Service Program, and on the Los Gatos-Saratoga district council.

“As I became involved with SILVAR, she was a discreet cheerleader and encourager, a good sounding board and one who always served without expectation of recognition. Her heart is one that gives willingly and selflessly,” said Groth.

In the local real estate association’s first-ever virtual ceremony, the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® 2021 leadership team was installed on Feb. 4 on Zoom. National Association of REALTORS® 2020 President Vince Malta administered the oath of office to 2021 SILVAR President Joanne Fraser, and California Association of REALTORS® 2021 President Dave Walsh installed SILVAR’s 2021 officers and board directors. Compass Executive Vice President and Regional Office Manager Jeff Barnett served as master of ceremonies. SILVAR REALTOR® Robert Reid led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance, Joey Hallatt, a REALTOR® from Phoenix, Ariz., sang “God Bless America,” and 2021 NAR Vice President of Advocacy Leigh Brown delivered the Inspiration Message.

SILVAR’s 2021 officers are Fraser, a REALTOR® with Compass, Los Altos; Brett Caviness, a REALTOR® with Compass, Menlo Park, President-elect; and Jeff Bell, broker manager of Coldwell Banker Realty, Cupertino, Treasurer.

SILVAR’s 2021 board directors are Mary Kay Groth (Sereno), Past President; Alan Barbic (Sereno), Region 9 Chair; Jim Hamilton (Compass), NAR Director; District Chairs Katherine Frey (Independent Broker), Los Altos-Mountain View;  Elizabeth Doyle (Sereno), Los Gatos-Saratoga; Selena Young (Coldwell Banker), Menlo Park-Atherton; Pat Kapowich (Independent Broker), Cupertino-Sunnyvale; Lori Buecheler (Compass), Palo Alto; and Directors At-large Ketan Jashapara (Compass), Karen Trolan (Sereno), Suzanne Yost (Compass), and Eileen Giorgi (Sereno).

A former nurse for 14 years, a REALTOR® for 43 years and a world traveler, Fraser has a lifetime of experiences. She told friends, colleagues, and family who watched the ceremony on Zoom and FacebookLive that she wants to give back to SILVAR and the real estate community.

Fraser moved to Mountain View from Maryland in 1970, and worked as an RN in the emergency room, critical care, medical and surgical at Stanford and El Camino hospitals until she decided to change careers. She took real estate courses at night and received her license in 1977.

A Certified Residential Specialist and member of the Residential Real Estate Council (formerly CRS), Fraser served as 2007 president of the CRS NorCal chapter, was regional vice president, and served on the national RRC board and various committees. She was the 2006 and 2016 CRS of the Year and received the 2012 CRS Medallion award for her volunteer service.

Fraser has achieved NAR Emeritus status, served on NAR’s Global Business & Alliances Committee and Certified International Property Specialist Advisory Board. At SILVAR, Fraser has served as president of the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation, chair of the Global Busines Council, a board director and member of many committees.

Sharing her excitement for the upcoming year, Fraser said she wants to move on from a pandemic year. “It’s the time to turn the page; it’s not going to be the same old thing,” she said.

Fraser urged members to get more involved in association activities and share her passion for leadership. “Leadership is having a vision and looking for the future … I’m truly looking forward to building a team, people who want to work together for a common goal, so that we can make SILVAR the best association in the Bay Area.”

Sponsors of the installation ceremony include Presenting Sponsor Compass, TourFactory, JCP-LGS Hazard Disclosures, and Water Tower Creative.

The 22nd annual Silicon Valley REALTORS® Scholars Program for graduating seniors from 18 public high schools in Silicon Valley is underway. The scholars program is sponsored by the Charitable Foundation of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, a professional trade organization representing 5,000 REALTORS® and affiliate members engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay.

The REALTOR® scholars program is a partnership with local public high schools in Silicon Valley. The scholars from the Class of 2021 will be selected from high schools in thecommunities served by members of the local REALTOR® association. Principals and faculty at 18 participating high schools nominate three exceptional graduating seniors. Final selections will be made by a committee that includes representatives from the local business community and the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®.

The Charitable Foundation will award $1,500 to one nominee from each school in recognition of their exemplary record, outstanding academic performance and community spirit. Since its inception, the program has awarded over $380,000 to graduating high school seniors in Silicon Valley.

 “The annual Silicon Valley Scholars Program is our members’ way of showing our support for our students, schools and communities. We see value in supporting our youth and investing in their future, especially at a time when their academic life has been much altered by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Nina Yamaguchi, chair of the scholars program of the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation. “Our excellent educational institutions are a major reason why Silicon Valley is a top housing market. For this we 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 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 to attend a four-year U.S. college or university in the fall. Scholarship applications and a list of other requirements may be obtained from the student’s school guidance or career counselor.

The completed application must be returned to the high school’s principal or counselor by Friday, March 5 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 is excited to announce a new benefit for all members! You recently received emails from the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) about REALTOR® Secure Transaction, a new one-stop transaction dashboard available on Wednesday that will give you access to your Transactions, zipForm Edition account and more, including the addition of Glide on January 14, 2021. Glide is a platform for eSignatures, collaboration resource, and compliance tools needed for your real estate transactions.

We are happy to inform you that SILVAR has also partnered with Glide to provide you with a faster, simpler, and safer transaction platform designed to provide a modern experience for you and your clients.

As a member of C.A.R., you will receive a basic set of Glide features, which you can see HERE. SILVAR is providing you with additional features to maximize the value of your membership. These additional benefits include:

  • The addition of the PRDS form library available starting mid-January
  • The ability to fill all forms in Glide, eliminating the need to switch platforms
  • Complete PEAD-Vs and create transactions via MLS

Again, the Glide platform will give you access to eSignatures, collaboration resources, and compliance tools needed for your real estate transactions. Over the past three years, Glide has been used by over 40,000 agents in California to complete disclosures, AVIDs, and PEAD-Vs. We hope you also enjoy these new additional member benefits, and we are here to support you during your transition to using this new tool.

Silicon Valley REALTORS® can access their Glide benefit and learn more about Glide HERE.

* PRDS forms will remain available on the Instanet platform (in addition to Glide and Transactions, zipForm edition), but please note the Authentisign/DocBox benefit is ending January 1, 2021.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, REALTORS® across the country have increased their philanthropic and volunteer efforts. According to the National Association of REALTORS® Community Aid and Real Estate (CARE) Report, the median annual value of REALTOR® association donations to communities doubled from $5,000 in 2018 to $10,000 in 2020. REALTORS® have responded to the pandemic by donating money or nonperishables to food banks, volunteering at such organizations, donating masks and protective gear, donating school meals to children, and providing stable and secure housing to those in need.

In Silicon Valley, members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) have stepped up holiday giving online on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. “It is even more important to give this year because the pandemic has impacted thousands of families in Silicon Valley,” said Mary Kay Groth, president of the local REALTOR® association. “Since SILVAR’s five districts could not hold their traditional fundraising events live this year, our districts have partnered with non-profits in their service areas to brighten the holidays for families in need.”

SILVAR’s Menlo Park-Atherton and Palo Alto districts are asking members to donate to LifeMoves, a non-profit that provides family, individual, veteran, community outreach services for those in need and finds shelter for the homeless in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. “So far, our districts have raised over $5,000 for LifeMoves during our meeting last week. After a tumultuous year like this, I think everyone is feeling extra gratitude for what we do have and want to help make a difference and impact in our community,” said Francesca Lampert, Menlo Park-Atherton District chair.

To donate, visit https://www.lifemoves.org/. Your donation will help give a gift to each of the 1,200 people the agency serves every day.

SILVAR’s Los Altos-Mountain View District is donating to Community Services Agency, which provides vital social services for residents of Mountain View, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills and serves as a safety net so families’ independence and self-reliance can be restored and maintained. Visit the CSA holiday donation site at https://www.csacares.org/donate/.

Cupertino-Sunnyvale District is promoting giving to Sunnyvale Community Services and West Valley Community Services. Both non-profits provide critical food and emergency and support services to low income and homeless individuals and families in their service areas. Ninety-eight percent of SCS clients have incomes under 200 percent of the poverty level. Children represent 35 percent and seniors make up 13 percent of the agency’s clients. You can donate to SCS at https://svcommunityservices.org/donate-online/.

WVCS serves 22,000 in the west valley communities of Cupertino, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, and West San Jose. You can make an online donation or adopt a family through their Gift of Hope program at https://www.wvcommunityservices.org/gift-of-hope.

Every year funds raised from the Los Gatos-Saratoga District’s annual pumpkin auction are donated to the Family Giving Tree. This year, the district has its own link on the FGT website, where SILVAR members can log on and select gifts by category – toy, price range, age, etc. To donate, visit the FGT site at https://familygivingtree.org/.

“REALTORS® in the trenches see the systemic inequities with our very own eyes and it inspires us to be part of a sustainable solution, pandemic or not. Together we support and contribute to organizations that seek to grant some sense of normalcy to those that could use a helping hand,” said Elizabeth Doyle, Los Gatos-Saratoga District chair. “We encourage everyone who can, to give when you can. We are better together when we help raise one another up.”

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