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2016 BOD

The 2016 Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR)  leadership team was installed Thursday night at La Rinconada Country Club in Los Gatos. California Association of REALTORS® 2013 President Don Faught administered the oath of office to SILVAR’s new president, officers and board of directors. C.A.R. 2005 President Jim Hamilton served as master of ceremonies and welcomed about 180 members and guests to the special event. Alain Pinel REALTORS® Vice President/Regional Manager Jeff Barnett led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance and delivered the inspiration message.

Karen Trolan, a REALTOR®, broker and assistant manager of the Alain Pinel REALTORS® Los Gatos office, was installed as 2016 President; Denise Welsh, a REALTOR® with Alain Pinel REALTORS®, Los Altos, 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 Chris Isaacson (Coldwell Banker), past president; David Tonna (Alain Pinel REALTORS®), Region 9 Chair; Brett Caviness (Coldwell Banker), Menlo Park/Atherton District Chair; Amy Sung (Pacific Union International Real Estate), Palo Alto District Chair; Katherine Frey (Alain Pinel REALTORS®), Los Altos/Mountain View District Chair; David Hunt (W.A. Krauss & Co. Property Management), Cupertino/Sunnyvale District Chair; Suzanne Yost (Alain Pinel REALTORS®), Los Gatos/Saratoga District Chair; and Directors At-large Jeff Bell (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage), Davena Gentry (Sereno Group), Eileen Giorgi (Sereno Group), Gene Lentz (Keller Williams Realty), Cassie Maas (Alain Pinel REALTORS®), Ryan Nunnally (Alain Pinel REALTORS®); and Affiliate Chair, Eric Temple (Willow Glen Organics).

Trolan is a Los Gatos resident and has been a REALTOR® and broker for 30 years. She began her real estate career with Van Vleck REALTORS® and continued on with Cornish & Carey and later Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. From top agent, Trolan moved up the ranks quickly to vice president and manager of the Cornish & Carey’s Palo Alto Midtown office, vice president/managing broker for the Los Altos office, and finally, when Coldwell Banker bought Cornish and Carey, Trolan was named senior vice president and regional manager of Silicon Valley Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

Despite suffering severe injuries from a tragic airplane accident in 2009 that left her paralyzed from waist down, Trolan through sheer perseverance and hard work went back to doing most of the activities she did before the accident. In April 2011, Trolan joined the Alain Pinel REALTORS® Los Gatos office, where she is currently assistant manager, responsible for agent improvement, community involvement and other special projects.

VIEW PHOTOS AND READ MORE HERE

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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

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

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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