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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.

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.”

Team 408 included REALTORS® from the Cupertino/Sunnyvale and Los Gatos/Saratoga districts. They are pictured here with their Affiliates, who cheered them on.

A co-ed softball game pitting Team 650 (REALTOR® members of SILVAR’s Menlo Park/Atherton, Palo Alto and Los Altos/Mountain View districts) against Team 408 (REALTOR® members of SILVAR’s Cupertino/Sunnyvale and Los Gatos/Saratoga districts) turned out to be competitive, but fun, and successfully raised over $3,200 for the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation.

More than 100 players and spectators gathered at the softball field in the New Portola Valley Town Center on Thursday afternoon for the event, which also featured music and a bar-b-que dinner. The event was hosted this year by the Menlo Park/Atherton District.

The event began with the national anthem sang by Lisa Nunes of First American Title and her daughter Taylor Nunes. SILVAR President Gene Lentz threw the first pitch. Then, the two REALTOR® teams played ball as Affiliates of the respective teams, wearing color coordinated t-shirts (blue for Team 408 and red for Team 650), and the crowd, cheered them on. With a final score of 5 to 1 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Team 408 won the game and the trophy!

SILVAR would like to convey a very special thank you to the following generous sponsors:
BBQ Sponsor: Opes Advisors
Home Base Sponsor: Coldwell Banker
Base Sponsors: Alain Pinel Realtors (Los Altos); Alain Pinel Realtors (Menlo Park); and Princeton Capital
Supporters: A & R Termite Control, Inc.; Cupertino/Sunnyvale District; and Moise Nahouraii-Referral Realty (Cupertino)

Team 650 included REALTORS® from the Menlo Park/Atherton, Palo Alto and Los Altos/Mountain View districts.

“I’m very happy that the Menlo-Atherton District could host an event that could bring the entire SILVAR association together,” said Day On the Diamond Committee Chair Lehua Greenman. “I thank all those who participated, and also the continued support of our generous sponsors and affiliates. We look forward to another great Day On the Diamond between Teams 650 and 408 in 2012!”

The real winner of the event was the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation. “I want to thank everyone for supporting our Charitable Foundation by participating in this event, by sponsoring, playing, coaching, umpiring, hosting, cheering and being part of a great crowd,” added Greenman.

VIEW FULL STORY AND PHOTO HERE

The Cupertino First-time Home Buyer Seminar held last Saturday was well-attended.

The City of Cupertino and SILVAR’s Equal Opportunity Committee partnered to present a First-Time Home Buyer Seminar at the Cupertino Community Hall last Saturday. SILVAR members served as panelists in discussions focusing on credit information and tips for first-time home buyers. A third segment of the seminar was presented by The Housing Trust of Santa Clara County.

Presenting advice on credit, Richard Miller (Proficio Mortgage Ventures), Kenneth Chan (HSBC), and Jimmy Kang (Bank of America) stressed now, more than ever, your FICO score is very important. Miller recommended that potential buyers check their FICO score at least once a year to make sure their credit report is accurate; six credit cards are ideal; and make sure debt on each credit card is no more than 30 percent of the allowed credit. Chan informed international buyers of requirements for buying property here in the U.S. Kang talked about the different loans available for buyers.

A panel of REALTORS® with Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty), Nina Daruwalla (Coldwell Banker), Grace Keng (Re/Max Real Estate Services), and Moise Nahouraii (Referral Realty) informed prospective home buyers that these days, in addition to having a good credit rating and history, they need to get pre-approved by a lender before they start looking at homes or contacting a real estate professional. They differentiated between a REALTOR® and a real estate agent, stressing REALTORS® pledge to abide by a Code of Ethics. They reminded buyers there is no “perfect home,” but with the help of a REALTOR® who is knowledgeable and employing good negotiating strategies, one can find the best property for the best value and clinch the deal.

Dan Lachman, program manager of The Housing Trust of Santa Clara County, then shared information on programs that provide financial assistance to first-time homebuyers, including the Closing Cost Assistance Program (CCAP), the Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP) and Equity Share Co-Investment (ESCO).

“Almost 80 percent of all home searches today begin on the Internet. With just a few clicks of the mouse, home buyers can search through hundreds of online listings, view virtual tours of neighborhoods and homes,” said Tess, Crescini, chair of SILVAR’s Equal Opportunity Committee. “Many prospective home buyers don’t realize a lot of preparation is needed before their search. We hope we were able to educate them about these important steps, so their home buying experience can be successful.”

Crescini moderated the SILVAR panels, along with Sue Bose, who is also a member of the committee. The weekend seminar was held in observance of Affordable Housing Week. Also represented at the event were credit counselors from SurePath, West Valley Community Services, Neighborhood Housing Services Silicon Valley, Project Sentinel and Habitat for Humanity.

See article and more photos on here.

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the Bay Area’s leading real estate services company, announced today that it has acquired Cashin Company Realtors, one of the Peninsula’s largest and most prestigious local brokerage companies.

According to a press statement released by Coldwell Banker earlier today, the move continues Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s strong trajectory of growth on the Peninsula and in the Bay Area. Founded in 1995 by Emmet J. “Skip” Cashin III, the Cashin Company Realtor’s team of 270 real estate professionals in seven offices throughout San Mateo County accounted for more than $1 billion in annual sales volume in the last 12 months.

The seven-office, 270-agent firm will now operate under the banner of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. With this announcement, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the San Francisco Bay Area now has more than 60 offices and 3,500 sales associates who accounted for more than $11 billion in sales volume last year.

“Cashin Company has been a highly successful real estate brokerage on the Peninsula for many years,” said Rick Turley, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the San Francisco Bay Area.  “They are a perfect fit with Coldwell Banker in terms of our respective cultures, our core values and our strength in the local marketplace, especially in the luxury market.

Cashin said his firm had many suitors in recent years, but decided that Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage was the right choice in terms of the scale and scope of the nation’s leading brokerage company, agent support, technological tools, networking opportunities, and cultural fit.

“Coldwell Banker shares our culture of service excellence that values customized service for each and every client,” he said. “Additionally, they are the premier real estate brand around the world and offer a robust marketing platform and referral network that will help our sales associates achieve even greater results for their clients.”

Turley and Cashin announced the acquisition this morning in an informal meeting with Cashin Company managers and agents. The press release goes on to state that Turley and other Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage executives will visit all of the former Cashin Company offices in the coming days to meet individually with agents and hear their ideas for ways the company can better support agent goals and help them grow their businesses.

Many of SILVAR’s REALTOR® members belong to both companies. An article on the acquisition is in the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal.

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