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.

 

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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

 

 

 

 

All REALTORS® MUST COMPLETE ethics training between the January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018 cycle or be suspended by NAR.

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) requires that every REALTOR®, in order to maintain membership in the Association of REALTORS®, must complete a 2 1/2 hour Code of Ethics course every two years. This means all REALTOR® MUST COMPLETE the ethics training at some point between the cycle of January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018. Failure to comply with this required ethics training is a violation of a membership duty and will result in suspension and possible termination from the member’s primary Association.

It is this mandatory ethics training and membership with NAR that differentiates REALTORS® from real estate agents. Although both are real estate licensees, REALTORS® proudly display the REALTOR “®” logo on the business card or other marketing and sales literature. REALTORS® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate.

REALTORS® can take the ethics training online through NAR. It’s easy and it’s FREE. Visit NAR CODE OF ETHICS ONLINE for more information on online classes and this mandatory NAR requirement. Code of Ethics training is also included in CalBRE license renewal requirements, so if a member has renewed their license between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018, their Code of Ethics requirement is covered.

If you have already taken Code of Ethics training for this period outside of California license renewal, via NAR or the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) or elsewhere, please email a copy of the certificate to your primary Association. If you are a member of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR), you can email a copy of your certificate to membership@silvar.org before the deadline of December 31, 2018. The next compliance cycle will start January 1, 2019 and end on December 31, 2020.

On Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service issued proposed regulations for a new provision allowing many owners of sole proprietorships, partnerships, trusts and S corporations to deduct 20 percent of their qualified business income. The new qualified business income deduction is available for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017. Taxpayers can claim it for the first time on the 2018 federal income tax return they file next year.

According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the deduction will have a significant, beneficial impact on members. NAR believes this deduction, which is included in the IRS and Treasury Department’s release of proposed regulations, will be available to a wide range of real estate professionals, including those who are self-employed, as well as those operating through partnerships, LLCs, and S corporations. NAR will continue thoroughly reviewing the rule and will be releasing more information when the process is completed.

SEE IRS SUMMARY

SEE IRS RULE

NAR TAX REFORM SUMMARY AND RESOURCES

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 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.

 

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