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C.A.R. Region 9 Chair Carolyn Miller installs FAREPA's 2015 leadership team.

C.A.R. Region 9 Chair Carolyn Miller installs FAREPA’s 2015 leadership team.

The Filipino American Real Estate Professional Association of Northern California (FAREPA) 2015 leadership team was installed last Wednesday at the Milpitas Community Center. California Association of REALTORS® Region 9 Chair Carolyn Miller administered the oath of office to FAREPA’s new officers and board directors.

The 2015 FAREPA officers are Ric Bareng, Jr. (Century 21 Alpha); Melanie Holthaus (Premier Century Real Estate Services), president-elect; Anna Lopez (Wells Fargo Home Mortgage); Jerry Quintos (Abbott, Stringham & Lynch, CPA), treasurer. The association’s 2015 board of directors are Dinah Casibang (ERS Mortgage), Barbara Kuang (Allstate Insurance); and Mike Santana (ADT Home Alarm Services).

On behalf of SILVAR, National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Director John Tripp and NAR President’s Liaison to the Philippines Jennifer Tasto congratulated Bareng, Jr. and FAREPA’s leadership team and reaffirmed SILVAR’s support for FAREPA and its mission. FAREPA’s mission is “to promote the interests of Filipino American real estate professionals, elevate the level of professionalism within the global community through education, networking and partnership, and create a united voice within the real estate community.”


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In his address to members and guests, Bareng, Jr. noted the pillars that made FAREPA strong since its formation over 11 years ago and enabled the association to meet and overcome past challenges were FAREPA’s commitment to educate its members, increase the level of professionalism, rebuild FAREPA’s brand and support other chapters along the way, and always giving back to the community here and abroad. FAREPA raised money for victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda last year. Proceeds from a drawing of prizes during the evening’s installation dinner will benefit the WoundedWarriorProject.org. Bareng, Jr. is a noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Army Reserve.

A highlight of the evening was FAREPA’s thanking SILVAR for its support through the years. In recognition and gratitude, past president Paul Stewart presented SILVAR Executive Officer Paul Cardus the “Honorary Filipino” award.


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Also representing SILVAR at the event were Global Business Council member Jimmy Kang, Sue Bose, and Public Affairs & Communications Director Rose Meily.

 

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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.

The California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) announced on Wednesday that it received a letter from the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB), obtained by Board of Equalization member George Runner, clarifying that California families who have lost their home in a short sale are not subject to state income tax liability on debt forgiveness “phantom income” they never received in a short sale.

Last month, in a letter to California Senator Barbara Boxer, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognized that the debt written off in a short sale does not constitute recourse debt under California law, and thus does not create so-called “cancellation of debt” income to the underwater home seller for federal income tax purposes. Following the IRS’s clarification, C.A.R. sought a similar ruling by the California FTB. With the FTB’s clarification, underwater home sellers are now assured that they are not subject to state income tax liability, rescuing tens of thousands of distressed home sellers from California tax liability for debt written off by lenders in short sales.

“We are pleased with the recent clarifications issued by the IRS and the California Franchise Tax Board, which protect distressed homeowners from debt relief income tax associated with a short sale in California,” said C.A.R. President Kevin Brown. “We would like to thank Senator Boxer and BOE member Runner for their leadership in obtaining this guidance from the IRS and FTB. Distressed California homeowners can now avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy and can opt for a short sale instead, without incurring federal and state tax liability, even after the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 expires at the end of this year.”

One of the major successes Congress reached in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations at the end of 2012 was the extension of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act for another year. The measure will continue to exempt from taxation mortgage debt that is forgiven when homeowners and their mortgage lenders negotiate a short sale, loan modification (including any principal reduction) or foreclosure.

While debt relief had been extended at the federal level, the state exemption expired at the end of 2012. In order to conform state law to the federal law that recently passed extending mortgage debt forgiveness, C.A.R. sponsored Senate Bill 30 (Calderon, D-Montebello) so California homeowners on the brink of foreclosure could get much-needed debt relief. That measure has stalled at the state level.

“Senator Boxer’s request to the IRS to provide guidance on whether mortgage debt forgiveness in a lender-approved short sale would be taxable and the subsequent rulings by the IRS and California FTB help clarify the state income tax status of distressed home sellers in California. Many have been worried about it and have contacted our association seeking clarification. We are glad the issue has been resolved,” said Carolyn Miller, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR).

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Nearly 100 members and guests participated in Monday’s 14th Annual Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation Golf Tournament. The annual charity event held at the Los Altos Golf and Country Club, included the golf tournament, a cocktail reception and awards ceremony. The event is one of two fundraisers this year for the Foundation.

Special guests included California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) President Don Faught and C.A.R. President-elect Kevin Brown, who golfed in the tournament. A highlight of the event was a hole-in-one on Hole #6 by Alain Pinel REALTORS® Vice President and Regional Manager Jeff Barnett.

This year’s golf tournament top winner is Sereno Group’s team, with Justin DeSantis, Ed Graziani, Timothy Proschold, and Chris Ray. The Sereno Group team won first place for the third year in a row.

Read more here and see golf tournament photos

Members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® and San Mateo County Association of REALTORS® met with U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo.

Members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® and San Mateo County Association of REALTORS® met with U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo.

Six SILVAR members participated in meetings on Capitol Hill as part of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Midyear Legislative Meetings on May 13-18. They included SILVAR President Carolyn Miller, President-elect David Tonna, Past President Suzanne Yost, Federal Political Coordinator Carole Feldstein, PAC Chair Barb Williams, and NAR Director John Tripp. They met with Anna Eshoo, U.S. Representative for California’s 18th congressional district, which includes parts of San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties; Jackie Speier, U.S. Representative for California’s 14th congressional district, which consists of portions of San Mateo County and San Francisco; and Mike Honda, U.S. Representative for California’s 17th congressional district, which includes portions of the East Bay, western San Jose and Silicon Valley.

Members asked their representatives in Congress to:

1. Restructure Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac and Encourage the Return of Private Capital. Members requested that the chairmen of the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee hold hearings that focus on restructuring the secondary mortgage market, and that the emphasis of these hearings be the crafting of comprehensive bipartisan legislation that resolves the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They stressed an efficient and adequately regulated secondary market is essential to providing affordable mortgages to consumers; that the federal government must clearly, and explicitly, offer a guarantee of some mortgage instruments; and that the government’s guarantee should ensure a wide range of safe, reliable mortgage products for creditworthy consumers.

2. Preserve homeownership tax policies. As Congress considers proposals to reform the federal tax code, SILVAR REALTORS® said lawmakers should consider the vital role that real estate tax provisions play in the nation’s housing markets and economy, as well as the financial well-being of Americans and their families. As real estate markets continue to recover, Congress must first do no harm to the following:

• Mortgage Interest Deduction: Oppose efforts to change or eliminate the mortgage interest deduction for primary and second homes.

• Property Tax Deduction: Property taxes paid are properly not considered “income” that should be subject to federal income tax. Congress should not tax “income” that doesn’t exist and oppose elimination of the deduction for property taxes.

• Capital Gains Exclusion for Sale of Principal Residence: Individuals can exclude the first $250,000 (and married couples the first $500,000) of gain from the sale of their principal residence from capital gains tax. This provision allows homeowners to build equity and save for retirement and should be maintained.

3. Preserve the Mission and Purpose of the FHA Program. SILVAR REALTORS® asked their representatives to ensure that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) single-family
program has the tools and policies in place to meet its mission of access to safe, affordable mortgage financing to qualified borrowers nationwide. They said FHA’s single-family mortgage insurance program helps preserve private financing options for homebuyers regardless of local, regional or national economic conditions. They asked that the legislators continue support for H.R. 1145 (Waters (D-CA), Capuano (D-MA)), which provides FHA with the flexibility to make necessary changes to the program, provides taxpayer protections against lenders who make errors of material fact, and improves program oversight. They asked that Congress provide FHA with tools, but also protect FHA from any further restrictive requirements that keep more people out of the program.
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April 2013 marks the 45th anniversary of the 1968 landmark Fair Housing Act, which strives to to ensure equal housing opportunity for all. Each year 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.

REALTORS® play a vital role in ensuring fair housing for all and strive to make homeownership accessible to everyone. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) works to help create an environment where everyone can choose where they want to live and not be discriminated against as they seek to achieve the American dream of homeownership.

Carolyn Miller, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, whose members are also members of NAR, says REALTORS® abide by a Code of Ethics that states REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services and shall not be a party to any plan or agreement to discriminate against any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation.

“REALTORS® want all buyers and sellers to enjoy the benefits of a housing market free from discrimination,” says Miller.

On April 26, SILVAR is promoting Fair Housing Month by offering At Home With Diversity®, a course that teaches REALTORS® and other business professionals how to work effectively within a multicultural market. The full-day course addresses topics like diversity, fair housing and business planning development. For more information about At Home With Diversity®, call SILVAR at (408) 200-0100.

“Knowing how to work effectively with diverse populations can help you build business success in today’s multicultural real estate market,” adds Miller.

Under the law, a home seller or landlord cannot discriminate in the sale, rental and financing of property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. They cannot instruct their real estate agent to convey any limitations in a sale or rental.

Buyers or renters have the right to expect housing will be available to them without discrimination, including:
• housing in their price range made available 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.
• freedom from harassment or intimidation for exercising their fair housing rights.

Buyers or renters who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing within one year of the alleged discrimination.

HUD recently launched a new mobile application for iPhone and iPad that provides the public information about their housing rights and responsibilities. The app also provides information about the fair housing complaint process, and allows the public to access HUD’s toll-free discrimination hotline and link to HUD’s fair housing website: http://www.hud.gov/fairhousing

In an effort to provide California home buyers with up-to-date information about available home buyer assistance programs, the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) has launched California Mortgage Resource Directory (http://mortgage.car.org), an online search tool that identifies current mortgage programs in communities throughout the state.

“Millions of dollars go unused every year because home buyers are unaware of the various buyer assistance programs available to them,” said C.A.R. President Don Faught. “With California Mortgage Resource Directory, REALTORS® and buyers can quickly connect with any number of home buyer resources without having to search within each municipality individually.”

California Mortgage Resource Directory helps bridge the down payment gap for homebuyers and connects them with resources that they may not have otherwise known existed. Buyers can search by city or address for public- and private-funded assistance programs including FHA/VA, HUD, affordable fixed-rate mortgages, rehab loans, and more.

“The California Mortgage Resource Directory is a good resource if you are thinking of buying a home and are assessing your finances. Many buyers are unaware of down payment and other home buyer assistance programs that are out there. This would be a valuable tool for both REALTORS® and their clients,” said Carolyn Miller, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®.

“Low mortgage interest rates help make homes affordable for buyers, but many can’t come up with the down payment needed to qualify for a loan. The more money a buyer can put on a down payment, the lower the amount of the loan, so the California Mortgage Resource Directory can prove valuable to home buyers looking for down payment assistance,” added Miller.

The new directory is powered by Down Payment Resource, the nation’s only web-based aggregator of home buyer programs. The tool was developed by Workforce Resource (www.workforce-resource.com) and is made available through Multiple Listing Services, REALTORS® associations, and nonprofits.

The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) hailed a rebuttal by the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) to an opinion editorial piece advocating the elimination of the mortgage interest deduction (MID).

“We are happy that California Association of REALTORS® President Don Faught was able to put the facts out there about the importance of the mortgage interest deduction to all homeowners, especially low- and middle-class families,” said SILVAR President Carolyn Miller.

Doyle McManus, a columnist with the Los Angeles Times, recently wrote an opinion editorial advocating the elimination of the MID. C.A.R. President Don Faught submitted a letter to the editor refuting the op-ed piece, questioning supporting a tax measure that would put a burden on lower- and middle-class families that can least afford it.

In his letter, Faught explained if the MID is eliminated, it would cost the average California taxpayer $3,940 annually, a substantial amount for those who need it the most. In California, 59 percent of taxpayers who claimed this deduction in 2010 earned less than $100,000 a year. The amount is considered not high income in California because home prices are among the highest in the nation.

“Eliminating the deduction would mean fewer home sales, not to mention a drop in other purchases that typically accompany a home sale such as furniture and other retail purchases. Already struggling local governments would see tax revenues fall, and since housing is widely regarded as a key economic driver, our country could be driven back to recession,” wrote Faught.

The MID allows an individual to deduct mortgage interest paid on mortgage debt of up to $1 million. The ability to deduct the interest paid on a mortgage can translate into significant savings at tax time.

Faught referred to a recent C.A.R. survey that found nearly eight in 10 home buyers said the mortgage interest and property tax deductions were “extremely important” in their decision to purchase a home. A Pew Research Center study last year also found 80 percent of Americans believe buying a home is the best long-term investment they can make.

“After all, renting is not the American Dream; homeownership is. For many, the mortgage interest deduction can mean the difference between attaining that dream or not,” Faught’s letter concluded.

Miller said REALTORS® will continue to defend the MID. “The mortgage interest deduction is not a loophole. It is a fundamental building block of equity for homeowners. For aspiring homeowners who don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings to buy a home outright, tax benefits like the mortgage interest deduction help them begin building their future through homeownership,” said Miller.

See LA Times Op-Ed

SILVAR past president and PRDS President Mark Burns, Charitable Foundation trustee Carolyn Miller and WVCS executive director Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto display the big check $2,000 to West Valley Community Services (WVCS).

This week, the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation presented $2,000 to West Valley Community Services, a private non-profit, community-based agency that provides direct assistance and referral services to over 6,000 individuals and families annually in the communities of Cupertino, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, West San Jose and the unincorporated mountain regions.

Receiving the check from Charitable Foundation Trustee Carolyn Miller, Naiomi Nakano-Matsumoto, executive director of West Valley Community Services (WVCS), thanked SILVAR members. She said the 2011 Homeless Point in Time survey has indicated an estimated 7,042 individuals are experiencing homelessness in Santa Clara County each night. While there are some signs the economy is improving, it doesn’t appear that way for some individuals and families, according to Nakano-Matsumoto.

Nakano-Matsumoto said the Charitable Foundation grant will support the WVCS Comprehensive Emergency Assistance Program (CEAP), a program which provides one-time financial assistance to prevent homelessness, hunger and utility disconnection for individuals and families experiencing unexpected financial setbacks.

WVCS also has the Haven to Home program, which provides supportive services and stable housing to homeless individuals and families; 30 homeless persons have been moved to permanent housing. The WVCS Transitional Housing Program houses 12 homeless men and six single mothers with a child. The program provides them with skills so they can secure permanent housing, find and maintain employment, and enhance income opportunity. WVCS likewise owns and operates Vista Village Apartments Complex, a permanent housing for low-income households.

Nakano-Matsumoto said the agency is in great need of volunteers to pick up, carry, as well as distribute food to the homeless. She added that they are short on food items. She said Second Harvest Food Bank, one of the groups with whom WVCS partners, is low on food items, so the agency has had to seek other partnerships to support its food program. 

“It is such a rewarding feeling for all of our District members to be able to share with others in and around our local community. Naomi always fills us in as to where the money will be going. . . .always to great causes. We are so happy we’re able to send consistent contributions to this worthy cause,” Miller, who also serves as SILVAR’s 2012 president-elect.

The 2012 leadership team of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS (SILVAR) was installed Jan. 12 at Villa Montalvo in Saratoga. California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) treasurer Chris Kutzkey administered the oath of office to the association’s 2012 president Suzanne Yost and the board of directors.

The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® represents over 4,000 REALTORS® and affiliates engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. SILVAR promotes 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.

Yost is a broker associate with Alain Pinel Realtors, Los Gatos. Also on the leadership team are Carolyn Miller (RE/MAX Real Estate Services), president-elect, and Phyllis Carmichael (Coldwell Banker), treasurer.

In addition to the three lead officers, the following members sit on the 2012 board of directors: Gene Lentz (RE/MAX Distinctive Properties), past president; Jeff Bell (Coldwell Banker), Region 9 chair; Chris Isaacson (Coldwell Banker), Menlo Park/Atherton District chair; Cassie Maas (Luxor Real Estate Group), Los Gatos/Saratoga District chair; Niki Miller Maroko (RE/MAX Real Estate Services), Cupertino/Sunnyvale District chair; Jane Volpe (Midtown Realty), Palo Alto District chair; Denise Welsh (Intero Real Estate), Los Altos/Mountain View District chair; John Tripp (Foundation Trust), NAR director; David Barca (Alain Pinel Realtors), Bill Moody (Referral Realty), Bill Rehbock (Coldwell Banker), Bryan Robertson (Sereno Group), David Tonna (Alain Pinel Realtors), directors at-large; and Richard Miller (RateComb.com), affiliate chair.

A graduate of California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo and Santa Clara University School of Law, Yost was named REALTOR® of the Year in 2006 by the Santa Cruz Association of REALTORS®, Salesperson of the Year in 1982 by the San Luis Obispo Board of REALTORS®, and has served as director and chair of a number REALTOR® committees at the national and state level. She was SILVAR’s 2009 Professional Standards Committee chair, a 2010 board director, and 2011 co-chair of the Bay Area REALTOR® Leadership Academy. Yost is a Los Gatos resident.

The 2011 Appreciation Awards were presented to Julia Truesdale Keady (Alain Pinel Realtors), REALTOR® of the Year; Richard Miller (RateComb.com), Affiliate of the Year; Eileen Giorgi (Alain Pinel Realtors), Spirit of SILVAR; and SILVAR board attorney Dave Hamerslough (Rossi, Hamerslough, Reischl and Chuck) and Vickie Naidorf (legal counsel for Coldwell Banker), President’s Award.

As 2009 president, Keady spearheaded the Bay Area REALTOR® Leadership Academy, a leadership program designed to identify, train and develop existing and emerging leaders to serve and advance organized real estate. She was also recognized as 2011 C.A.R. Region 9 chair. Presenting the award, 2011 president Gene Lentz noted Keady “has performed in an exemplary fashion in every single committee or assignment that she has been given. They take huge effort and dedication.”

Affiliate of the Year Miller was recognized for “unequivocally embracing and adopting the principles, goals, and purposes of the association.”

As chair of the REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP), a free REALTOR® service assisting senior homeowners with household tasks, Lentz said Giorgi, who also served as 2011 president of the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation Trust, “personifies the essence of this award, through her hard work in making RSVP the success it is today.”

Lentz thanked Hamerslough and Naidorf for educating REALTORS® on legal issues and for their efforts in updating the association’s PRDS Forms purchase contract and creating the counties’ advisory.

 

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