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At the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® virtual installation ceremony on Feb. 4, the association recognized members for their valuable contribution to the association and community in the past year. The 2020 SILVAR Appreciation Awards were presented by 2020 SILVAR President Mary Kay Groth and CEO Paul Cardus.

Mary Kay Groth, a REALTOR® with Sereno Los Gatos and resident of the town, was named 2020 REALTOR® of the Year. The prestigious award is bestowed on a member who continually demonstrates skills, competency, knowledge and selfless service to the public, clients and to SILVAR.

Presenting the award to Groth, Cardus noted 2020, the 25th anniversary of SILVAR, was a year unlike any other. “The worldwide global pandemic and a national reckoning with injustice and inequality reached deep into the Realtor family. It tested bonds, but ultimately underscored the tenacity, spirit and commitment of Realtors who embraced the challenges at hand.”

Cardus praised Groth for her “gracious servant leadership, her authenticity, empathy and compassion.” He said as 2020 president of SILVAR, Groth “showed resilience in the face of adversity and trailblazing leadership by listening and responding to the needs of our members, communities and association. She found strength and inspiration in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., ‘everybody can be great…because anybody can serve… You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.'”

Recognized by Groth were Kyle Chuang, Affiliate of the Year; Brian Chancellor, Spirit of SILVAR. Eileen Giorgi received the President’s award.

Groth said Chuang, a Farmers Insurance agent, is a regular sponsor and participant in association events, where he shares his knowledge and updates on the changing world of insurance. She described Chuang as a “hardworking, hands-on leader and a great proponent of our association.”

“His willingness to help where needed enhances the image of our association and our Realtor and affiliated professional members. ‘Treat people how you want to be treated’ is his personal motto,” said Groth.

The Spirit of SILVAR award is bestowed to a REALTOR® who reflects the association’s commitment to supporting and contributing to the communities it serves. Groth described Chancellor, who is vice president of Experience at Sereno Palo Alto, as “a man of great integrity.” She said Chancellor’s continued community service activities have proven his dedication to making the community a better place.

Chancellor served nine years on the board of Child Advocates of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties and six years on the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation board. He has served as a mentor (initially through the Big Brother and Big Sister Program) for young African American males in East Palo Alto without fathers and continues to stay in touch with and support them today. He is serving his fifth year on the Palo Alto Community Fund board and in the Leadership Circle of donors to Partners in Education.

“Through his service, actions and support, he provides a voice to those in our communities who we too often don’t hear, engage or respect,” said Groth.

The President’s award is presented to an individual whose service to the association is worthy of special thanks and recognition. Groth said Giorgi, a REALTOR® with Sereno Los Gatos, has been an integral part of volunteer work at SILVAR for many years, serving in various capacities, as a board director, president of the association’s charitable foundation, chair of the REALTOR® Volunteer Service Program, and on the Los Gatos-Saratoga district council.

“As I became involved with SILVAR, she was a discreet cheerleader and encourager, a good sounding board and one who always served without expectation of recognition. Her heart is one that gives willingly and selflessly,” said Groth.

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The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) 7th Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Institute took place last week with 15 students registered, including SILVAR CIPS designees who took some courses for audit. REALTORS® enrolled came from around the San Francisco Bay Area and as far as Sacramento.

Interestingly enough, among the full-time REALTORS® registered, only one student was born in the U.S. The other students were born in China, Taiwan, India, and the Philippines. The composition of this year’s class says everything about the cultural diversity in Silicon Valley, according to CIPS instructor David Wyant.

This was the seventh time Wyant and his wife and assistant Patsy, returned to Silicon Valley to teach the CIPS Institute at SILVAR. The Wyants travel all over the world teaching the global real estate courses and are able to share valuable insights with their students. Wyant was named International Instructor of the Year at the National Association of REALTORS® Conference and Expo in Chicago last November. He has received the same award twice before, in 2012 and 2009.

The CIPS Institute provides training in international business issues, including currency conversion, cultural awareness, legal and tax requirements, transaction principles of international real estate, and specifics about the real estate markets in Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

Wyant said global real estate opportunities are everywhere. People move to Silicon Valley from other countries and foreign-born individuals residing here move to new markets. People here may look to invest in property overseas.

“No matter which audience you cater to, the CIPS designation will provide you with the knowledge and tools to expand your business globally,” said Wyant.

Thank you to this year’s CIPS Sponsors of the Day: Darrell Monda with TourFactory; Kyle Chuang with Farmers’ Insurance; Anita Rodal, international liaison with AFEX (Associated Foreign Exchange) and president of SBPI Services, Inc.; and Kim Kim P Nguyen and Suzette Reboton, premier mortgage consultant and vice president and senior branch manager of HSBC Bank USA, Cupertino.

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Congratulations SILVAR 2015 CIPS graduates!

Congratulations SILVAR 2015 CIPS graduates!

The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) 4th CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) Institute ended on Tuesday. This year’s Institute had a total enrollment of 31 students. SILVAR welcomed back instructor David Wyant and his wife and assistant Patsy Wyant.

This year’s students were a very diverse and well-traveled group from all over the Bay Area, Southern California and Arizona. Once the students complete and submit their CIPS applications to the National Association of REALTORS®, they can receive their CIPS designation and get pinned at the NAR Conference and EXPO, which will be held in San Diego November 13-16.

A highlight of the last day was a visit by Joe Schneider, NAR manager of Global Business Development and Outreach. Schneider spoke to the students about the value of the CIPS designation, especially in Silicon Valley, which continues to attract many international buyers.

At the end of the last course, SILVAR’s Global Business Council hosted a CIPS Reception, which was also attended by SILVAR CIPS designees, who shared their global real estate experiences with the students. Jennifer Tasto, NAR Liaison to the Philippines, also reported on the International REALTOR® Conference held in the Philippines and NAR’s project to build a REALTOR® village for Super Typhoon Hainan victims there.

The success of this year’s CIPS Institute would not be possible without our generous CIPS Sponsors of the Day. Each sponsor had very informative presentations.

Darrell Monda, owner of TourFactory Bay Area, took students on a virtual tour of homes, a platform that works as a very good marketing tool, especially for foreign buyers who cannot physically be at a property they are interested in purchasing. TourFactory has certified aerial photographers and is the only company in Northern California that has a waiver from the FAA to use drone photography in its business.

The students enjoyed Kyle Chuang’s presentation, which included tips on how to take a multiple choice exam, a requirement at the end of each class day. Chuang, who is with Farmers Insurance, also tested students on home insurance information helpful for their clients.

Janet Case, CEO of Proxio, introduced the REALTORS® to the international networking platform that links REALTORS® and their listings with other agents around the world, including real estate developments. Proxio translates listings in 19 languages, 55 currencies and metric measurements. Case said studies show 20 percent of U.S. families do not speak English at home. In California, the percentage is higher – 43 percent. Proxio is a free benefit for SILVAR REALTORS® who are members of MLSListings Inc.

Kenneth Chan, premier mortgage consultant with HSBC, focused on how foreign buyers who don’t fall under the 2-2-2 rule (provide a two-year U.S. residency, two-year work history and two-year credit history) can qualify for a mortgage loan, other obstacles foreign buyers face, and success stories.

Anita Rodal, international liaison with AFEX (Associated Foreign Exchange) and president of SBPI Services, Inc., educated the students on foreign currency exchange and SBPI Services’ captive insurance program, which enables Chinese investors to take millions of dollars out of China and invest the money from the policy in real estate.

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