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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 first SILVAR Global Business Council program for 2016 was very well received by SILVAR members and guests, who filled SILVAR’s training room to its full capacity on Wednesday. Global Business Council Chair Mark Wong welcomed members and speakers Linda Lenore and Michi Olson to the sold-out event, a two-part program on “Feng Shui in the Year of the Monkey and a China Update.” Here is information on the first part.

Lenore, who is a feng shui master, presented the program on feng shui and the Year of the Fire Monkey. The monkey is associated with much energy, cleanliness, physical fitness, family and risk. So this year, like the monkey, you will be running from one place to another. Things will pop up quickly, so you need to stay focused. It will be a year of risks, so make sure you take good, planned risks, said Lenore.

Be careful of burnout, schedule time off with family, take care of your health and de-clutter your home, especially areas with bad energy which this year would be the northeast and center. Expect a few “hiccups” this year. Lenore noted in previous years of the fire monkey, there have been revolutions, rebellions, even assassinations.

Lenore, who is also an interior designer, shared the following feng shui tips for the home:

  • If you want to be successful in business, place a wind chime outside your front door so it attracts energy. The sound triggers the mind to make decisions and move forward.
  • You do not want your house at the top of a T intersection because too strong energy from the street will directly hit your home.
  • Have water, plants, flowers, statues by the front door. Water flowing toward your front door will increase the flow of clients and money into your life.
  • Place live plants in your home and remove all dried flowers because they drain energy.

Lenore ended her presentation with this Chinese proverb: “If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in character. If there is beauty in character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.”

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“Doing Business in the Philippines,” hosted by the global business council of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® in November, attracted more than 40 association members and guests. The Philippines is Asia’s second fastest growing economy today and the business of real estate there is booming, according to Philippine-based real estate agents.

The program, moderated by National Association of REALTORS® President’s Liaison to the Philippines Jennifer Tasto, had as panelists International REALTOR® Members from the Philippines from the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations Inc. (CREBA). CREBA is the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®’ cooperating real estate association. It is the largest real estate umbrella organization in that country. The delegation included Bernard Umali, Evangeline Yia, Arlene Posadas and Connie Castellano. Their presentations focused on buying and selling property, estate settlement, project selling, ownership of land and registering property in the Philippines.

The Filipino REALTORS® said Philippine real estate is one of the best businesses today. They said the country has an estimated population of 101 million people. Top buyers of Philippine property are early nesters due to the country’s young population, business process outsourcing workers, overseas Filipino workers and investors.

Why buy real estate in the Philippines? They said the Philippine economy rebounded with a growth of 5.6 percent in the second quarter of 2015, defying a regional slowdown which has affected countries like China and Japan.

“Filipinos are among the most globally connected in the world,” said Tasto.

Tasto said over 10 percent of Filipinos (an estimated 10 million people) live outside the Philippines and work in over 150 countries. Overseas Filipino worker remittances are at a record high, posting $26.93 billion in 2014. Of this money, 60 percent is devoted to real estate investment.

The cost of real estate in the Philippines is much more affordable than in other Asian countries, along with the rate of return on investments, added Tasto. The panelists also indicated growth in business process outsourcing and tourism has spurred real estate sales.

The Filipino REALTORS® noted bank real estate loans hit $24.47 billion in 2014, fueled by sustained demand for new homes and office space. The migration rate in Manila also has made the country’s capital a favored location for residential condominiums.

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Members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® packed the training room yesterday to learn more about working with Indian clients. Indians are a close second to Chinese as top foreign buyers of Silicon Valley property. Their cultural nuances, traditions and spiritual beliefs, were discussed by panelists at “Doing Business with Indian Clients,” a program hosted by SILVAR’s Global Business Council.

Sharing the information with members were REALTORS® Sue Bose with Referral Realty – Cupertino, Nomita Shahani with Alain Pinel REALTORS® – Saratoga, Umang Sanchorawala with Alain Pinel REALTORS® – Palo Alto, and supervising loan officer with PNC Mortgage Jimmy Kang. Mark Wong, chair of SILVAR’s Global Business Council, served as moderator.

The REALTORS® presented important information about vastu, the ancient Indian science of architecture. Vastu, which is the counterpart of the Chinese feng shui, can influence Indian buyers in their purchase of a home. According to Bose, the principles of vastu take into account the sun’s rays, earth movement and geomagnetic forces, with fire, water, earth and sky as important elements. Design and construction of buildings are based on vastu so that harmony is created where people who live and work.

Many homes in India are built in the shape of a rectangle or square with a courtyard in the middle, open to the sky, said Bose. Kitchens face southeast with the belief that the gods rule in the east. Winds come from the northeast, so doors and windows should be structured accordingly. Shahani added a pie-shaped lot with the front yard at the tip and the backyard at the larger portion of the lot would be attractive to an Indian buyer because the lot is likened to the shape of a cow, with the tip as its head. The cow is sacred to Indians.

Most Indian buyers “have it all mapped out,” said Bose. They have already done their homework about the home, the neighborhood and the school they want their children to attend. They can also be very aggressive in negotiation, and when their offer is accepted, they think they have overpaid and want to counter or want something more in return.

“It’s just their nature to negotiate,” explained Sanchorawala. “They feel better if they get something more in return.” He said paying for the cleaning or extra work that needs to be done can often appease the buyer.

Be patient with Indian buyers because it is hard to connect with them for the first time. They are not good at returning phone calls. The agent will need to follow up with them multiple times. Sanchorawala said many Indians feel they are important to their job, so they will not interrupt their work day by returning an agent’s phone call.
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On May 14, 30 members and guests of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® attended “Doing Business with Mexico” and celebrated Cinco de Mayo afterwards with Mexican delicacies. With Global Business Council (GBC) Chair Mark Wong and GBC member Sara Spang both moderating, panelists shared valuable information about both inbound and outbound transactions with clients from Mexico.

Panelists included Nancy MacLeod, a real estate broker/owner of Homes2Buy.com, who owns a villa in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where she also represents buyers from the U.S.; Alicia Sandoval, a REALTOR® with Keller Williams Realty in Palo Alto and a native of Mexico; Amber Neil, a REALTOR® with No Borders Realty in San Jose, who has dual U.S. and Mexican citizenship and has been doing business in Mexico and California since 2006. Another panelist, Sal Covarrubias, sales manager for First American Title Company, discussed title vesting concerns, proper identification needs for sellers, and the differences in holding title between the U.S. and Mexico.

The REALTORS® said the best way to tap into the Mexican market is to join AMPI (Asociación Mexicana de Profesionales Inmobiliarios), the largest real estate association in Mexico. Join the organization as an affiliate and attend their conventions and events.

AMPI has ties with the National Association of REALTORS® and is strongly advocating for the licensing of real estate agents in Mexico, because right now, anyone can be a real estate agent there. Travel and networking is key to learning more about the real estate business there and AMPI would be a good source, they said.

Covarrubias said issues regarding Mexicans buying property in the U.S. are similar to that of other foreign buyers. “Timing is important and whether the foreign buyer will be personally present at closing. Also, agents need to verify their client’s legal name. It may not matter much when the client buys the house, but it will matter when it is time for that client to sell the property,” said Covarrubias.

Transactions can take months to conclude in Mexico so Mexicans who buy property here get culture shock when the process is quick, and they can close as soon as three or seven days. Also, there is no disclosure when buying property in Mexico, so REALTORS® need to take time to explain to their Mexican clients the transaction process in the U.S. “Mexicans are very social and want to get to know you personally first before deciding to do business with you. They value social graces, mannerisms and respect,” said Neil. “And they are not keen on email or text. They want one-on-one, eye-to-eye conversations with you, and many meetings.”

Like any country, there are places that are dangerous, but MacLeod said, “Mexico is still very safe, especially the tourist areas and places like San Miguel de Allende.”

Sandoval said while payoffs were prevalent in the past, business there is now done in a more professional way.

Lastly, don’t believe you have to sign a 99-year lease and can’t own property in Mexico. “I’m not sure where that myth came from,” chuckled Neil.
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GBC Chair Mark Wong and YPN Chair Ryan Nunnally with panelists (left to right) Carol MacCorkle, Omar Kinaan, Michael Repka and Kim Connor.

GBC Chair Mark Wong and YPN Chair Ryan Nunnally with panelists (left to right) Carol MacCorkle, Omar Kinaan, Michael Repka and Kim Connor.

The room at the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® was filled to capacity with members attending the Lunar New Year Celebration hosted by the Silicon Valley Young Professionals Network (YPN) and the Global Business Council. The event featured nationally acclaimed feng shui master Y.C. Sun, a catered Chinese lunch, followed by a panel with REALTORS® who have been successful dealing with overseas Chinese buyers.

“Yesterday’s event was a great success!” exclaimed YPN Chair Ryan Nunnally. “No seat went empty. The room was filled with talent, both in the audience and with the established speakers.”

Nunnally and GBC Chair Mark Wong served as moderators for the event. Panelists included Michael Repka, DeLeon Realty, Palo Alto; Omar Kinaan, RE/MAX Distinctive Properties, Menlo Park; Carol MacCorkle, Pacific Union International Real Estate, Menlo Park; and Kim Connor of Intero Real Estate Services, Saratoga. These REALTORS® have had a lot of success capturing the Chinese overseas market, but they said it’s not easy, it takes patience and hard work.

Building relationships and trust is key to working with Chinese buyers. Repka said their company’s interest in China began a few years ago when he and Ken DeLeon traveled to China with their Chinese agent Kim Heng. It was there where they first developed relationships, which blossomed and expanded, leading to numerous transactions. Repka said having Heng, who speaks fluent Chinese and knows the culture, proved very valuable to them.

“You need to speak the language or have someone that does. People are always comfortable in their own language,” said Repka.

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Left to right are moderator Davena Gentry, SILVAR Global Business Council chair, and panelists Amy Sung, Mark Wong, Kenneth Chan and Jessie Wu.

Left to right are moderator Davena Gentry, SILVAR Global Business Council chair, and panelists Amy Sung, Mark Wong, Kenneth Chan and Jessie Wu.

“Doing Business with China,” the first of a quarterly series of programs exploring different aspects of doing business with clients from other countries, was a sell-out. Hosted by the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) Global Business Council at SILVAR yesterday, the program gave members the opportunity to learn the “nuts and bolts” from real estate professionals that have worked with Chinese clients and are familiar with the real estate rules and regulations of that country. They shared their experiences, including challenges they have encountered when closing a deal.

SILVAR Global Business Council Chair Davena Gentry served as moderator. Panelists Amy Sung, a REALTOR® with Pacific Union International Real Estate – Menlo Park, and Mark Wong, a REALTOR® with Alain Pinel REALTORS® – Saratoga, presented the REALTOR® perspective; Kenneth Chan, premier mortgage consultant with HSBC – Palo Alto, presented the lender perspective; and Jessie Wu, escrow officer with First American Title Company – Cupertino, presented the escrow perspective.

The REALTORS® discounted the myth that Chinese buyers prefer Chinese or Chinese-speaking agents. What’s important is to show respect for Chinese buyers who are not well-versed in English. Sung pointed out that just because they don’t speak English well does not mean the Chinese buyer is not educated. Wong said more important than knowing the language is to learn and respect their culture, the principles of Feng Shui, what numbers and colors mean to the Chinese.

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Learn about “Doing Business with China” on Thursday, October 2, 1-2:30 p.m. at SILVAR, where panelists will share their experience with Chinese buyers and sellers. This event will focus primarily on the REALTOR®, the lender and the escrow perspectives.

Amy Sung, a REALTOR® with Pacific Union International Real Estate – Menlo Park, and Mark Wong, a REALTOR® with Alain Pinel REALTORS® – Saratoga, will present the REALTOR® perspective; Kenneth Chan, premier mortgage consultant with HSBC – Palo Alto, will present the lender perspective; and Jessie Wu, escrow officer with First American Title Company – Cupertino, will present the escrow perspective.

“Doing Business with China” is the first of a quarterly series of programs that will explore different aspects of doing business with clients from other countries. This educational event will give members the opportunity to learn the “nuts and bolts” from real estate professionals that have worked with Chinese clients and are familiar with the real estate rules and regulations of the country. They will share their experiences, including challenges they have encountered when closing a deal.

Cost is $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers, if registered by Wednesday, October 1. Cost is $20 at the door. Chinese dessert snacks will be served at this event. Members may register at ims.silvar.org or call SILVAR at (408) 200-0100.

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