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The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® 8th Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Institute was held June 10-14. 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.

After completing five courses and other requirements, REALTORS® earn the prestigious National Association of Realtors CIPS designation. There are about 3,250 CIPS designees in the U.S.

SILVAR has offered the CIPS Institute every year since 2012. Teaching this year’s classes was REALTOR® and broker associate Bobbi Decker, a NAR REBAC instructor.

“We had a very vital and enthusiastic group for this CIPS class at SILVAR this week. NAR is very eager to have its members up their professionalism, particularly in this global economy and changing market dynamics of the real estate industry,” said Decker.

The CIPS designation gives REALTORS® an edge over other agents when dealing with foreign clients. Decker noted that Silicon Valley is an epicenter for innovation. “Certified International Property Specialist is an essential designation for REALTORS® working in this melting pot that draws people from all over the world.”

According to NAR’s “2018 Profile of International Activity in U.S.Residential Real Estate,” foreign buyers purchased $121 billion of residential property from April 201 to March 2018. Five states accounted for 53 percent of total residential property purchases: Florida (19 percent), California (14 percent), Texas (9 percent), New York (five percent), and Arizona (five percent). The major foreign buyers were China ($30.4B), Canada ($10.5B), the United Kingdom ($7.3B), India ($7.2B), and Mexico ($4.2B).

The CIPS Institute had five sponsors this year. Anita Rodal, international liaison with AFEX (Associated Foreign Exchange) and president of SBPI Services, Inc., informed Realtors the exchange rate can fluctuate on a second by second basis, so the exchange rate on the internet is not be the actual exchange rate. She also explained how market volatility affects inter-bank currency exchange rates and how AFEX helps foreign buyers convert their money to dollars quickly and at a competitive rate.

Avery Bibbs, business development manager with First American Exchange Company, delivered a presentation on the 1031 exchange and tax updates for 2019. A 1031 exchange allows an investor to sell a property, reinvest the proceeds from the sale in a “like kind” property that is of equal or greater value and defer all capital gain taxes. Examples of “like-kind” property exchanges are a single-family rental house for a duplex, an apartment building for a retail center, land for an income producing vineyard, etc.

Michael Cobb, CEO of ECI Development, spoke on how local REALTORS® can help clients interested in purchasing property abroad. Cobb said in addition to investors buying property overseas, Americans are looking at retiring abroad. Their move overseas is driven by cost, having a higher quality of life for less money.

Lisa Wendl, a loan officer with General Mortgage Capital Corp., provided information on loan requirements for foreign buyers. Wendl said because it is getting harder for Chinese living abroad to get money out of China, she has clients who have bought high-end properties in the Bay Area who are seeking to do cash-out refinancing in order to remain liquid. If the China government does not ease up on its restrictions on the outflow of money, Wendl anticipates some Chinese will be forced to sell their homes.

Amy Ku, Sandy Lee and Dean Chang represented the team of Winnie Ho, premier mortgage consultant with HSBC. Ku said a portfolio lending bank, HSBC is a one-stop shop designed to accommodate global clients. HSBC a number of programs that offer flexible terms to foreign buyers, like interest-only loans and family assisted programs for buyers who need help in qualifying for loans.

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The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® Global Business Council (SILVAR GBC) was presented the DIAMOND Global Achievement Program Award for 2018 by the National Association of REALTORS® at the Nov. 2-5 REALTORS® Conference & EXPO in Boston. SILVAR President Bill Moody and Executive Officer Paul Cardus accepted the award on behalf of the GBC from NAR Global Business and Alliances Committee Chair Mario Arriaga during the International Night Out dinner on Nov. 3.

The DIAMOND award is the highest level award for global achievement that recognizes those global councils that have consistently performed at the highest level for six years. The award is given to association global councils that have earned PLATINUM status for five consecutive years. SILVAR was honored with the PLATINUM Global Achievement Award for five consecutive years from 2013-2017.

NAR recognized SILVAR GBC as having demonstrated the utmost commitment to helping their members capture their share of the global real estate market in the United States, in addition to connecting their council and members to the global community in their area. The services and resources they have worked hard to provide their members are the benchmarks upon which the standards have been set.

“We are thankful to SILVAR’s Global Business Council for their commitment to enhancing global business opportunities for REALTORS® in their market,” said Jan Hope, NAR Vice President of Commercial & Global Services. “They have done an outstanding job and we are pleased to provide them with the Diamond Global Achievement Program Award.”

The GBC provides SILVAR members information, resources, networking and skills training to enhance their professionalism and success in their local markets with international and multicultural clients and customers. Each year the GBC provides a host of programs related to global real estate, including the Certified International Property Specialist Institute (CIPS).

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. The course is taught by David Wyant, recognized NAR International Instructor of the Year for 2017, 2012 and 2009. There are currently over 4,000 CIPS designees from the U.S. and 35 other countries.

Congratulating the Global Business Council members, SILVAR Executive Officer Paul Cardus said, “The benchmarks for success over the past six years have been the commitment of SILVAR to think globally, the resolute efforts of our Global Business Council.”

Members of this year’s GBC core team are chair Tess Crescini, SILVAR board directors Mark Wong and Joanne Fraser, Mitra Lahidji, Atsuko Yube, past president David Tonna, Alicia Sandoval, Jimmy Kang, Ketan Jashapara, Daisy Wong and Lisa Wendl. Past chairs who led the team in obtaining past PLATINUM awards are Jennifer Tasto, Davena Gentry and Mark Wong.

Other REALTOR® associations earning DIAMOND status are Houston Association of REALTORS®, Arcadia Association of REALTORS® and Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association, REALTOR® Association of the Palm Beaches and Greater Ford Lauderdale (2017) and Miami Association of REALTORS® (2016).

 

 

There’s been a lot of talk about immigration these days. This is a topic that impacts real estate, especially in Silicon Valley, a place that has attracted foreign buyers. So the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) Global Business Council has teamed up with the California Council of Residential Specialists to offer a Lunch & Learn on “What Every REALTOR® Needs to Know About Immigration” on Wednesday, September 27, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at SILVAR.

From featured speakers Sophie Alcorn and Lisa Wendl, you will learn about:

  • U.S. immigration policy
  • Some common immigration statuses
  • Immigration pitfalls and red flags
  • How immigrants can qualify for mortgages

Alcorn is a Stanford-educated, New York Times-featured expert on U.S. immigration law. She founded Alcorn Immigration, where she and her team obtain visas and green cards for highly-motivated individuals.

Wendl obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from Fudan University in Shanghai and MBA in finance from the University of Illinois, Chicago. She worked as a business analyst at a biotech company for three years, then got into the field of real estate lending and investment where she has worked for 25 years.

Cost is $15 for SILVAR and CRS members and $20 for non-members and at the door. Register at ims.silvar.org, or call SILVAR at (408) 200-0100. Seating is limited. These events fill up quickly, so make sure you register early.

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