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Wherever you go, whatever you do, you cannot look like a victim. Be aware of your surroundings. If confronted by someone, the best thing to do is scream and run! Get away from the situation. Use physical force only as a last resort, but be ready. These are the first important tips Karen Trolan, past president of SILVAR and safety and self-defense instructor, shared with participants at last Friday’s REALTOR® Safety and Self-Dense Training.

According to Trolan, prevention is the best self-defense. Attackers look for unsuspecting vulnerable targets. “If you act like a victim, you could be one. Therefore, be prepared and follow general safety tips, like being aware of your surroundings,” said Trolan.

When it is clear that escape isn’t possible, shout, “Back off!” as loud as you can and push the attacker right away. This will surprise the attacker and let them know you are not an easy target.

Trolan explained when you are in a confrontation, you only have a few seconds and a few moves to try, so before the attacker gains full control of you, you must do everything to inflict injury so you can get away.

So Trolan, assisted by Pacific Coast Academy instructor Alex Franckx, Carla Bunch and Trolan’s husband Steve – all of whom have several black belts in jujitsu and other self-defense training, demonstrated and then practiced with the over 20 REALTORS® present how to use their hands to strike the assailant on the upper half of their body and using their fingers, palms, elbows, knees and feet, how to aim at parts of the body where they can easily do the most damage. Trolan later reviewed other REALTOR® safety tips and shared information on several safety apps REALTORS® can download that can help track their movements, vet clients, or remotely activate emergency alerts.

Trolan has been teaching SILVAR members REALTOR® safety and self-defense for the past three years because she is concerned about the rise in crime against real estate agents. There have been assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, and even murders.

“Real estate professionals are targets because they often work alone and can be in potentially dangerous situations when they are showing a home or meeting new clients who are strangers to them. Men, as well as women, have been targets,” said Trolan. “All REALTORS® should learn at least basic safety and self-defense techniques.”

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Top left to right: 2016 REALTOR® of the Year David Tonna, Affiliate of the Year Eric Temple, Spirit of SILVAR Nina Yamaguchi. Bottom left to right: 2016 C.A.R. Region 9 Chair David Tonna, President’s Award Paul Cardus, President’s Award Brett Caviness
At the installation of the 2017 leadership of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) on Jan. 19, special recognition awards were given to members for their valuable contributions in 2016. Presenting the following awards were SILVAR 2016 President Karen Trolan and Executive Officer Paul Cardus.

 

2016 REALTOR® of the Year: David Tonna (Alain Pinel Realtors, Los Gatos)
A REALTOR® for almost 30 years, Trolan noted there is not a committee in which David Tonna has not served or chaired, from Lock Box Selection, MLS Advisory, PRDS Forms Advisory, Budget and Finance, the Legislative Committee, Education/Membership, Tour Policy and Sign Ordinance, Global Business Council, the Board of Directors and C.A.R. Region 9. Tonna helped found the Bay Area REALTOR® Leadership Academy (BARLA) and initiated SILVAR’s Ombudsman program. His service to communities includes RSVP, Little League Baseball, AYSO soccer, his local school board, and his church.

Tonna was also recognized for his work as the local trade association’s 2016 California Association of REALTORS® Region 9 Chair.

2016 Affiliate of the Year: Eric Temple (Willow Glen Organics, San Jose)
Describing 2016 SILVAR Affiliate Chair Eric Temple, Trolan said, “He has proven to be a dedicated workhorse and a great ambassador for our Association.” In 2016, Temple was successful in bringing SILVAR’s affiliated professionals together so they could learn about their role, benefits and opportunities as members of SILVAR. Temple also spearheaded and worked hard to bring to his District other successful events and fundraisers, like bowling and the annual member ice cream social.

Spirit of SILVAR: Nina Yamaguchi (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Cupertino) As one of the leaders in real estate in Silicon Valley who began her real estate career over 40 years ago, Trolan noted Nina Yamaguchi to this day continually works behind the scenes for the success of the Association. Yamaguchi is a past president of SILVAR and was a longtime California Association of REALTORS® Director. Yamaguchi, who believes in giving back to the community, founded and chairs the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation Scholars Program, a program that has been close to her heart for nearly two decades.

Upon its 18th year this fall, the scholars program will have provided $324,000 to more than 300 students in Silicon Valley who have been recipients of the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation Scholars Program.

President’s Award:
Brett Caviness (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Menlo Park)
Paul Cardus (SILVAR Executive Officer)
The President’s Award is presented at the discretion of the president to an individual who’s service to the Association is worthy of special thanks and recognition. Trolan presented the first President’s award to SILVAR Executive Officer Paul Cardus. She thanked him for the tremendous support and guidance he had given her in her role as president last year.

Trolan presented the second President’s Award to Brett Caviness for his service as chair of the Menlo Park/Atherton District. She said as 2016 chair of the Menlo Park/Atherton District, Caviness, who is a new REALTOR®, worked hard to raise member attendance at the District’s monthly meetings by bringing in many interesting speakers. Caviness has also helped members be more in touch with technology, especially in the area of video marketing, with classes at SILVAR.

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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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The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® joined the Silicon Valley real estate community in congratulating the 2016/2017 leadership team of the Chinese American Real Estate Association (CAREA) at the association’s installation dinner held at the Mayflower Restaurant in Milpitas last Friday. SILVAR President Karen Trolan administered the oath of office to 2016/2017 CAREA president Jennifer Chen, the officers and board of directors.

Chen is owner and president of J C Investment Consulting in San Jose. Serving with Chen as the 2016/2017 officers and directors are Coco Tan (Keller Williams Realty), immediate president; Yuan Chang (Intero Real Estate Services) and Wilson Chai (Bank of America), vice presidents; Kenny Tang (East West Bank), treasurer; David Wang (Century 21 Realty Alliance), secretary; Joyce Sun (GB Commercial, Inc.), membership; John Luk (GD Commercial, Inc.), founder and lifetime honorary chair; David Bonaccorsi, Esq. (Law Offices of Bernard, Bagley & Bonaccorsi, LLP), legal advisor; John Wong (Wong & Chin, CPAs), Wai Man Chan (Finance Eagle Strategies LLC), Sheena Chang (Vantec USA), advisors; and Dexter Lat (Realty World One Alliance), Mattie Wei (Re/Max Accord), Tracy Qui (KC& Association Insurance Agency), Leslie Chao (GD Commercial), Barbara Kuang (Allstate-BnW Associates, LLC), directors.

Chen thanked SILVAR and the 400 real estate professionals at the gathering. She noted their presence “shows why since 1988 CAREA has achieved great success by connecting together real estate agents, developers, escrow agents, loan agents, appraisers and property managers.” Chen’s theme for her term is “Will to Succeed.”

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The Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation this week presented West Valley College President Bradley Davis with a check for $10,000 to provide assistance to U.S. veterans through the SILVAR Veterans Scholarship Fund.

The Foundation is the charitable arm of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR), a professional trade organization representing over 4,500 REALTORS® and Affiliate members 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.

The SILVAR Veterans Scholarship Fund is designed to support eligible U.S. veterans residing in SILVAR’s traditional service area who wish to further their education. Funds for the scholarship fund were raised at SILVAR’s 2015 “REALTORS® Honor Veterans” event from donations made by members and friends of SILVAR, including a generous grant from the Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® President Karen Trolan thanked members for their generosity. She said money veterans receive from the GI Bill is not enough to afford a college education. She noted she was impressed with the help West Valley College extends to veterans.

Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation President Eileen Giorgi also thanked members for their support of last year’s event and their contributions to the Charitable Foundation. “The SILVAR Veterans Scholarship Fund is our way of supporting our veterans, to thank them for their brave and invaluable service to our country, and to help them be successful,” said Giorgi.

Davis expressed his gratitude on behalf of West Valley College. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your donation will help our veterans tremendously,” said David. He said the grant will go a long way to assisting veterans with tuition, books and supplies for their studies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.”

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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