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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.”

 

REALTORS® are concerned about the recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will begin insuring mortgages on certain properties with Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans. REALTOR® officials say there ought to be more disclosures regarding the risks associated with PACE loans.

A PACE loan allows a homeowner to borrow money to finance energy upgrades. The loan is repaid as a surcharge on the property tax. The PACE loan takes primary position to the mortgage. If the cost of repaying the PACE loan and any mortgages on the property exceeds the home’s purchase price, the seller will be forced to make up the difference.

California Association of REALTORS® President Pat “Ziggy” Zicarelli said in a statement, “Although C.A.R. supports voluntary consumer-friendly energy improvement programs for homeowners, C.A.R. believes that HUD was ill advised to approve placing PACE loans in a senior position to FHA first mortgages. Doing so places FHA homebuyers and taxpayers at risk and does homeowners a disservice by approving a loan product without consumer protections and which is aggressively sold to homeowners who rely on FHA financing for safe and affordable mortgages.”

REALTORS® say PACE loans are unfairly expensive and carry higher interest rates than the first mortgage or a home equity loan. “This loan product has no minimum disclosures, no underwriting of the borrower, no proof that the borrower has the ability to repay, no three-day right to rescind, no marketing limitations, no interest rate or fee caps, no kickback prohibitions; nothing,” added Zicarelli.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac prohibits PACE loans to be placed in a senior position to the mortgage. Both the FHA and Fannie Mae currently offer mortgage financing that allows borrowers to finance energy efficiency improvements at lower rates than PACE liens. HUD’s announcement, which is contrary to FHFA’s current policy will only confuse homeowners, homebuyers, REALTORS®, lenders, escrow, title and the housing market overall.

The National Association of REALTORS® also expressed its concern, especially with regard to delinquent foreclosed properties. “A foreclosed property with a PACE loan in the primary position will likely remain on the market longer than it should, further increasing uncertainty in mortgage markets and placing unnecessary pressure on homeowners,” NAR President Tom Salomone said in a statement.

Karen Trolan, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, said, “Now, more than ever, the California legislature must pass AB 2693 (Dababneh), a C.A.R.-sponsored bill that would ensure consumers are aware of the consequences of PACE loans and have the opportunity to rescind after a three-day cooling off period. Current disclosures given to home buyers do not explain the potential consequences of using PACE loans. AB 2693 will require Truth in Lending type disclosures to borrowers.”

 

 

 

 

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The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®’ (SILVAR) fifth Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Institute took place this week with 17 students registered. The students, many of whom are SILVAR members, hail from the San Francisco Bay Area. One traveled all the way from Canada. Many are well-traveled and come from different cultural backgrounds. All were eager to learn more about the international real estate market and how to grow their global business.

The courses were once again taught by 2012 and 2009 National Association of REALTORS® International Instructor of the Year David Wyant, assisted by his wife, Patsy. The Wyants travel around the country and the world teaching the CIPS courses. This is their fifth trip to Cupertino. Each time they come, they remark about Silicon Valley’s growth.

Wyant also noted, “Silicon Valley REALTORS® are among the most intelligent in the nation.”

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. The week-long CIPS Institute includes two required core courses and three elective courses. Students must pass a multiple-choice exam at the end of each course.

Upon completing the required five courses and fulfilling other necessary requirements, graduates of this year’s CIPS Institute can receive their CIPS designation and have the opportunity to be recognized at the 2016 NAR REALTORS® Conference and Expo, which will be held in Orlando, Fl. on November 4-7.

Thank you to this year’s CIPS Sponsors of the Day, who provided breakfast and lunch each day. They are Amy Ku, VP Mortgage Sales Manager for Northern California with HSBC Bank; Janet Case, CEO of Proxio; Anita Rodal, international liaison with AFEX (Associated Foreign Exchange) and president of SBPI Services, Inc.; Darrell Monda, owner of TourFactory Bay Area; and Larry Tringali, owner of Property Inspection Service.

VIEW PHOTOS

The California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) has asked all REALTORS® to contact their State Assembly Member and urge them to vote NO on AB 2502, which undermines existing Costa-Hawkins’ protections by allowing local governments to impose mandatory inclusionary zoning (i.e. rent control) on newly constructed rental housing. It is vitally important that you reach out to your elected representative today! Let your Assembly Members know that you say NO to Rent Control!

Please Call YOUR Assembly Member TODAY at (800) 798-6593 between 9-5 p.m.

 

 

 

 

IMG_4744.JPGAbout 50 SILVAR members joined over 2,000 California REALTORS® in Sacramento on Wednesday for the annual California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) Legislative Day, the one day each year that the state’s REALTORS® meet with their legislators and discuss real estate-related policies and issues.

California Governor Jerry Brown spoke to California REALTORS® at the Sacramento Convention Center during the C.A.R. morning briefing. Brown said the economy has its cycles and at present the state’s economy is doing well, thanks to the business sector.

“California is the land of sunshine and smart people. That’s why people want to be here. Silicon Valley has the smartest people in the world,” declared the Governor.

Brown told REALTORS® to stay the course, stating, “REALTORS® are the backbone of what California looks like, of what California is.”

At a joint luncheon with members of the San Mateo County Association of REALTORS® and Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS®, Los Angeles Times Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers analyzed the state’s political landscape. He indicated California has “places of great success and places of great struggle,” a dichotomy between urban versus rural, haves versus have nots, the highly employed places versus low employed.

Myers said it will be interesting to see how the state plans to implement the $15 minimum wage; how the state will expand the family leave law; and what arises from discussions on affordable housing. Other fundamental issues looming over California are education, transportation and water.

According to Myers, this year’s state elections may be the last chance to bring new blood to the state legislature, since new legislators will be serving 12-year terms due to the passage of Proposition 28. Myers also warned REALTORS® to expect a longer and confusing U.S. Senate ballot for the June 7 primary because of how the names of the 34 candidates seeking to replace retiring Senator Barbara Boxer are laid out on the ballot. Choose only one candidate. Selecting two or more candidates would disqualify your vote.

After the luncheon, SILVAR members met with Senators Jim Beall and Jerry Hill, and Assembly members Rich Gordon and Evan Low. Members asked their support on the following bills:

SUPPORT C.A.R.-sponsored bill AB 2693 (Dababneh) – PACE Loan Disclosure, which seeks to change the super-priority status of PACE loans and to require disclosures to consumers before they obtain such a loan. A PACE loan allows a homeowner to borrow money to finance energy upgrades. The loan is then repaid as a surcharge on the property tax. The PACE loan takes primary position to the mortgage. If a homeowner takes out a PACE loan they may have difficulty refinancing or selling their home if the new mortgage holder, like Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), does not allow for PACE loans. If the cost of repaying the PACE loan and any mortgages on the property exceeds the purchase price of the home, the seller will be forced to make up the difference. This will prevent some homeowners from selling when they need or want to. Current disclosures given to homebuyers do not explain the potential consequences of using PACE loans. AB 2693 will require Truth in Lending type disclosures to borrowers.

SUPPORT C.A.R.-sponsored bill AB 2760 (Mathis) – Support Animal Regulations seeks to distinguish between a medically necessary companion or support animal and other animals kept as pets. C.A.R. wants to clarify current law to allow legitimate support animals to share rental housing and to allow landlords to avoid unnecessary litigation. Service animals, as defined under federal law, are animals individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual, like guide dogs and signal dogs. Companion animals simply provide comfort to an individual. They are not afforded the same protections under the ADA or California State Law as service animals, even though they are kept as the result of a mental health professional’s prescription, causing confusion for housing providers. The vagueness in state law allows individuals without a legitimate need to claim a status for pets that is not deserved. AB 2760 will allow tenants to keep a support animal on the property provided that the tenant has a prescription validating the need for the support animal from a California-licensed mental health professional. They must also comply with all federal, state and local requirements, such as vaccination or sterilization mandates.

OPPOSE SB 1053 (Leno) – Sec. 8 Housing Mandate, which seeks to expand protected classes under the Fair Employment and Housing Act to include those who receive government rental subsidies. SB 1053 forces residential rental property owners to participate in the federal and local government’s voluntary Section 8 housing program. Section 8 was always intended to be a voluntary program. By forcing property owners to accept tenants with housing vouchers or other subsidies, SB 1053 forces landlords to participate in Section 8 without regard to the property owner’s specific circumstances. It forces landlords to endure administrative burdens and increased costs due to delays that result from understaffed housing authorities and requires landlords to accept objectionable and burdensome lease terms. Under HUD rules, housing authorities must use a HUD formula to determine an “acceptable” rental rate.

The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) joins the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) in opposing a provision in the highway transportation bill that taxes homebuyers and those looking to refinance by increasing the fees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge on their loans. This bill is now being considered by the U.S. Senate.

Of particular concern to REALTORS® is this tax pays for government needs that are totally unrelated to housing. This extends a 2011 fee increase that NAR opposed. NAR, in coalition with many other groups, urged the Senate not to adopt these fees and treat homeownership as the nation’s piggybank. This tax also will have a disproportionally higher impact on those using FHA loans, first-time home buyers and low and moderate-income buyers.

The National Association of REALTORS® is asking its over one million members to email their representatives in Congress and ask for their help in protecting the real estate industry from patent trolls.

A patent troll is a company that owns a large number of patents, but does not produce any goods or services. The patent troll business model is to sue companies for infringing on the patents it owns, or to license those patents to companies for legal use. These companies are suing REALTORS® and other small businesses for patent infringement based on their use of common business tools like drop-down menus or scan-to-email technologies.

Patent trolls target REALTORS® through letters threatening lawsuits or actually filing lawsuits. These letters demand licensing fees to use common business tools, such as drop down menus or shopping cart features on websites. For many of those targeted, paying for the license is often much less expensive than defending the lawsuit.

Patent trolls hurt the real estate industry. The Innovation Act will close loopholes in our legal system that allow patent trolls to go after businesses like yours.

If you are a REALTOR®, take action now. Just click HERE, or go to your REALTOR® Action Center App on your phone and tell Congress to Vote YES on H.R. 9- The Innovation Act.

Click the link below and tell YOUR member of Congress to STOP Patent Trolls today!

STOP PATENT TROLLS!

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Take advantage of SILVAR’s early bird special price and complete all classroom requirements needed to earn the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) designation. The courses will be offered at SILVAR on September 30, October 1, 2, 5 and 6.

SILVAR is offering an early bird special for members and nonmembers through June 1 – $500 for the paper version, which includes a manual for each of the five courses offered, and $450 for the paperless option. After June 1, regular cost of the entire CIPS Institute is $600 for the paper option and $550 for paperless. Cost for an individual course is $175 for hard copy and $150 for paperless. Members may enroll online at ims.silvar.org. Non-members may register by contacting SILVAR Public Affairs & Communications Director Rose Meily at rmeily@silvar.org, or call (408) 200-0109.

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. The week-long CIPS Institute includes two required core courses and three elective courses. Students must pass a multiple-choice exam at the end of each course.

David Wyant, 2012 and 2009 NAR International Instructor of the Year, will be returning to SILVAR to teach the CIPS Institute. Wyant has taught three previous CIPS Institutes at SILVAR and received excellent reviews.

Upon completing the required five courses and fulfilling other necessary requirements, applicants receive their CIPS designation and will have the opportunity to be recognized at the November 13-16, 2015 NAR REALTORS® Conference and Expo in San Diego.

Limited sponsorships for the CIPS Institute are available. Each sponsor is given the opportunity to speak for 20 minutes about their product or service on an assigned day. For more information, contact SILVAR Public Affairs & Communications Director Rose Meily at rmeily@silvar.org, or call (408) 200-0109.

CIPS REGISTRATION FORM

CIPS SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITY

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A new survey from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) found while 96 percent of REALTORS® have never been a victim of crime, more than two-thirds (40 percent) have found themselves in situations where they have feared for their safety or the safety of their personal information. Some of the most common circumstances that resulted in fearful situations were open houses, showing vacant and model homes, working with properties that were unlocked or unsecured and showing homes in remote areas.

The survey asked members how safe they feel while on the job and nearly 3,000 Realtors from across the country answered questions about their personal experiences, and the safety procedures and materials provided by their brokerage. The survey found one-third of members surveyed carry a self-defense weapon. Female REALTORS® are more likely to carry pepper spray, while male REALTORS® more commonly carry a firearm. Thirty-eight percent have participated in self-defense classes as a proactive safety measure, and 13 percent use a smart phone safety application to track their whereabouts or alert colleagues of an emergency. Also, before showing a property, the typical Realtor meets about half of their prospective buyers whom they haven’t previously met, in a real estate office or other neutral location.

Awareness, prevention and defense tactics are key to staying safe, according to Karen Trolan, president-elect of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®. This is why this month, the local trade association is sponsoring “REALTORS® Training Realtors,” a free safety and self-defense training class that will teach agents risk awareness, safety tips, and how to protect yourself and survive in a hostile situation.

“Safety is so important for agents. Because they interface with the public all the time, both female and male agents should know how to protect themselves,” said Trolan. “REALTORS® Training REALTORS®” will be held on Friday, March 27, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Pacific Coast Academy, 14170 Blossom Hill Road, Los Gatos. Taught by REALTORS® Laura Welch (Century 21 M&M), Carla Bunch (Marbella Properties) and Trolan (Alain Pinel Realtors), the class is FREE, but space is limited to 45 participants. Register online at ims.silvar.org, or call (408) 200-0100.

Trolan added that awareness of potentially dangerous situations is just as important as the self-defense. “The training will focus on three important aspects of safety – awareness, prevention and self-defense,” said Trolan.

The National Association of REALTORS®, the California Association of REALTORS®, and local REALTOR® groups like the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, make safety resources and materials available to their members throughout the year. Additionally, the REALTOR® associations dedicate the entire month of September to bringing more awareness to REALTOR® safety among members.

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Phyllis Carmichael, longtime member and 2015 treasurer of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, was among three California REALTORS® honored over the weekend at the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) Winter Business Meetings, having received the prestigious C.A.R. Director for Life award.

The C.A.R. Director for Life award is bestow on a member for years of outstanding performance and dedicated service to the association, including a minimum of 10 years of active service to C.A.R. and at least five years as a C.A.R. director.

Carmichael has worked in real estate for over 40 years. She is an associate broker with Coldwell Banker in Los Altos.

Carmichael was president of the Los Altos Board of REALTORS® in 1988 and is a recipient the board’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also named 1990 REALTOR® of the Year. Carmichael served as SILVAR President in 1996. She also has served as Region 9 Chair and C.A.R. Director.

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