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The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) 2017 leadership team was installed on Jan. 19 at the Los Altos Golf & Country Club. California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) 2006 President Vince Malta administered the oath of office to SILVAR’s new president, officers and board of directors. SILVAR represents over 5,000 REALTORS® and affiliates engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. The local trade association seeks to promote the highest ethical standards of real estate practice, serves as an advocate for homeownership and homeowners, and represents the interests of property owners in Silicon Valley.

Denise Welsh, a broker associate with the Alain Pinel Realtors Los Altos was installed as 2017 president; Bill Moody, a REALTOR® with Referral Realty, Cupertino, president-elect; and Phyllis Carmichael, a REALTOR® with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Los Altos, treasurer.

Joining SILVAR’s lead officers as this year’s board directors are Karen Trolan (Alain Pinel Realtors), past president; Chris Isaacson (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage), Region 9 chair; Leannah Hunt (Sereno Group), National Association of Realtors director; Young Jacob (Intero Real Estate Services), Menlo Park/Atherton District; Penelope Huang (Dreyfus Sotheby’s International Realty), Palo Alto District; Kathryn Tomaino (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage), Los Altos/Mountain View District; David Hunt (W.A. Krauss & Co. Property Management), Cupertino/Sunnyvale District; Mary Kay Groth (Sereno Group), Los Gatos/Saratoga District; Directors At-large Jeff Bell (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage), Katherine Frey (Alain Pinel Realtors), Davena Gentry (Sereno Group), Ryan Nunnally (Alain Pinel Realtors), Bryan Robertson (Catarra Real Estate), Mark Wong (Alain Pinel Realtors); and Art Clark (Obeo Ewalk), Affiliate chair.

A REALTOR® for 30 years, Welsh has been active in organized real estate, having served in multiple leadership positions, including SILVAR board director and California Association of REALTORS® Region 9 director. She is also an active volunteer in the Los Altos community, where she lives and works.

In her address to members, Welsh spoke about the value of and her pride in being a REALTOR®. “This is such an open industry that anyone can be an agent, but not everyone can be a professional REALTOR®. We are engaged in helping our clients with the most important decision of their life,” said Welsh. “We are set apart by the quality and service we deliver to our clients and the professional standards that we set.”

This year’s installation sponsors were MLSListings Inc., Alain Pinel Realtors, DeLeon Realty, Sereno Group, the SILVAR Districts of Los Altos/Mountain View, Los Gatos/Saratoga and Palo Alto, Supra, Alain Pinel Realtors Los Gatos – Jeff Barnett, EverBank – John Woodfin, Tour Factory – Darrell Monda and SmartZip – Stephanie Matsuoka.

 

 

 

 

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Learn about “Doing Business with China” on Thursday, October 2, 1-2:30 p.m. at SILVAR, where panelists will share their experience with Chinese buyers and sellers. This event will focus primarily on the REALTOR®, the lender and the escrow perspectives.

Amy Sung, a REALTOR® with Pacific Union International Real Estate – Menlo Park, and Mark Wong, a REALTOR® with Alain Pinel REALTORS® – Saratoga, will present the REALTOR® perspective; Kenneth Chan, premier mortgage consultant with HSBC – Palo Alto, will present the lender perspective; and Jessie Wu, escrow officer with First American Title Company – Cupertino, will present the escrow perspective.

“Doing Business with China” is the first of a quarterly series of programs that will explore different aspects of doing business with clients from other countries. This educational event will give members the opportunity to learn the “nuts and bolts” from real estate professionals that have worked with Chinese clients and are familiar with the real estate rules and regulations of the country. They will share their experiences, including challenges they have encountered when closing a deal.

Cost is $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers, if registered by Wednesday, October 1. Cost is $20 at the door. Chinese dessert snacks will be served at this event. Members may register at ims.silvar.org or call SILVAR at (408) 200-0100.

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SILVAR’s 2014 Installation Dinner is next week on Thursday, January 9, 6 p.m. at Villa Ragusa, 35 South 2nd Street in Campbell. At this special event, 2014 President David Tonna and the 2014 officers and Board of Directors will be officially installed.

Taking the oath of office with Tonna will be Chris Isaacson, President-elect; Phyllis Carmichael, Treasurer; Carolyn Miller, Past President; Suzanne Yost, Region 9 Chair; Lehua Greenman, Menlo Park/Atherton District Chair; Jeff Beltramo, Palo Alto District Chair; Bonnie Kehl and Joe Brown, Los Altos/Mountain View District Co-chairs; Sue Bose, Cupertino/Sunnyvale District Chair; Mark Von Kaenel, Los Gatos/Saratoga District Chair; Jeff Bell, Mark Burns, Eileen Giorgi, Bill Moody, Karen Trolan, At-large Directors; John Tripp, NAR Director; and Simon Offord, Affiliate Chair. The special awards for REALTOR® of the Year, Affiliate of the Year and Spirit of SILVAR will also be presented during the evening.

Thank you in advance to this year’s Installation Sponsors: Los Gatos/Saratoga District; Alain Pinel REALTORS® – Los Gatos, Saratoga and Almaden Valley; MLSListings Inc.; Kenneth Chan – HSBC; Sereno Group; Troy Harrison Property Inspections; Pacific Union Real Estate; and Daddario Roofing Company.

Brokers share a light moment during their discussion. Left to right are Tom Tognoli, Intero Real Estate Services; Ryan Iwanaga, Sereno Group; Carol Burnett, Alain Pinel Realtors; and Don Tornincasa, Coldwell Banker.

Brokers share a light moment during their discussion. Left to right are Tom Tognoli, Intero Real Estate Services; Ryan Iwanaga, Sereno Group; Carol Burnett, Alain Pinel Realtors; and Don Tornincasa, Coldwell Banker.


Brokers/managers from SILVAR’s Los Gatos/Saratoga District educated members on the do’s and don’ts of the business at Wednesday’s tour meeting. The panel included Don Tornincasa, Coldwell Banker; Carol Burnett, Alain Pinel Realtors; Tom Tognoli, Intero Real Estate Services; and Ryan Iwanaga, Sereno Group. District Chair Karen Trolan served as moderator.

The brokers said all top agents are educated about the marketplace, they go on tour, keep in constant touch with their database, work long hours, and make it a point to meet potential clients every day, even during the holidays. They encouraged agents to pick up the phone, touch base with clients, send holiday cards.

“We’re in a relationship business. Take advantage of the holidays. It’s an opportunity to connect with people and thank your clients,” said Burnett.

The panel said
Iwanaga observed that the most successful agents are those who work hard in the first quarter of the year, which can define the whole year. He encouraged agents to start contacting potential clients and cultivate relationships now.

“Don’t wait for January 1 to do it,” said Iwanaga.

More than in the past, the real estate business is changing, and changing fast. There are now micro-markets that are also changing. Agents need to be open-minded, flexible, and embrace new things. Read, dedicate yourselves to improving your skills and look forward, said Tornincasa.

“Keep your eyes out in front of you,” added Tognoli.

Passing the exam is not enough. Agents need to invest in themselves, take seminars and learn.

“Preparation means opportunity,” said Tornincasa.

On technology, the brokers recommended embracing social media, but while engaging in social media is good, most important is building a good website because that is where people eventually come to find out more about the agent.

“You need to make sure your website says something to the world,” said Burnett.

The brokers set standards in their offices, discuss the Code of Ethics at office meetings, and some provide training, but in the end, it is up to the agent.

“You can’t teach ethics and honesty,” said Tognoli. Agents needs to care about their image, their behavior and their reputation.

At this month’s Palo Alto District tour meeting, Palo Alto brokers said the market environment has greatly improved from a year ago. While inventory is still low, it has been slowly rising.

Keller Williams managing broker Bob Stelzer indicated demand is coming back strong, and there has been a significant rise in listings since April. His data showed Menlo Park with 52 current active listings compared with 26 in April; Palo Alto 51, compared with 29 in April; and Los Altos 45 compared with 24 in April. High-end property sales increased substantially in the first half of this year in comparison to the same time last year.

Sellers are becoming realistic, according to the brokers. Many sellers caught up in the hype of Facebook’s IPO and thinking they would strike gold by waiting for prices to skyrocket, now realize the phenomenon did not create the “super market” they thought it would. These sellers are now ready to sell.

Broker Tim Foy of Midtown Realty, however, believes inventory is low because people are still looking for stability. Despite the uptick, he expects low inventory for a while. “It won’t change overnight. It’s a market reality,” commented Foy.

According to Alain Pinel Realtors broker Bob Gerlach, it’s not the Facebook IPO phenomenon that is driving the market, but rather, it’s interest from Chinese and other foreign buyers. He said majority of transactions through his office are with Chinese cash buyers. Foreign interest in property in the area has created a “dramatic effect” in the market, said Gerlach.

Gerlach indicated an obstacle to the market rebound is a pocket of sellers who can’t sell because they don’t have better places to go. Buyers these days are more selective. “It is a discretionary market,” he noted.

The brokers said listing agents need to make their sellers aware that despite the high demand, not all houses are “entitled” to top market prices because today’s buyers are more informative. There is more discretion now regarding “housing with a blemish,” added Foy.

What do some of the region’s brokers have to say about 2011 and what to expect for 2012?

On a panel at Tuesday’s SILVAR Menlo Park/Atherton District meeting were brokers of the larger real estate companies – Mike James (Coldwell Banker), Maureen Barker (Keller Williams), Larry Klapow (Intero Real Estate Services) and Don Faught (Alain Pinel Realtors). They told SILVAR REALTORS® that compared to other markets, the Bay Area is doing quite well.

“You are definitely very, very fortunate,” Faught told Silicon Valley’s REALTORS®. “California is on sale … Interest rates are great, money is free.”

Yet, consumers hesitate. The brokers said the biggest challenges facing consumers are uncertainty about the future, the lack of jobs or fear they may not have a job in the future, and difficulty meeting strict loan requirements. Klapow said there is a “crisis of confidence.” People are nervous about the future and those who want to purchase homes are having a difficult time getting a loan. Barker said people are feeling so much uncertainty about the future that even with lower home prices and interest rates, they won’t act.

Asked about the role of the Internet and technology in real estate, James said consumers today have access to so much information, and it is the REALTOR®s job “to make sense of the information and educate them.” 

“Technology helps facilitate what we need, but we need to get in touch with consumers and each other,” said Faught.

The brokers spoke about the importance of social media. “Social media is here to stay,” declared Barker. “Real estate is going to be transacted differently, especially by the next generation. … It’s a vehicle to help build who we are, but you need to get smart about how you do it. It’s about creating relationships and being in touch.”

The brokers also discussed the benefits of participating in organized real estate. James noted, “The more involved you are, the better you will be. There are benefits to staying connected and networking with your peers.”

“It is important to have a voice in our industry in Washington,” stressed Klapow.

“We need to be involved,” said Faught, who is California Association of REALTORS®’ treasurer and 2012 president-elect. “If we are not involved in politics, there won’t be an industry.”

How should agents prepare for 2012?

James believes 2012 will be a lot like 2011. “If you don’t like 2011, then you need to change what you are doing, put more effort and reach out to all areas,” said James. “Retool, revamp or you will slip.”

“Mindset is number one. You need to have the right mindset,” said Barker. “Now is a great opportunity to focus on what you love to do, find the right niche, use your gifts, sharpen your area of expertise, take classes, learn more about social media, and video blogging, challenge yourselves to stay up with it.”

“Remain relevant. Filter through information and apply to each client’s unique situation. Find new and fresh things, show your true value,” said Klapow.

Faught said, “We are affected by what we know. During the slow time, work on yourselves. Our value is educating consumers. We need to work ourselves so we can work the data and help consumers understand it.”

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