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The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® FutureTech 2018, held April 19 in Los Altos, led 200 REALTORS® and brokers in discussions about smart home technology, big data and virtual reality. Products and services showcased at the event were intended to put agents on the forefront of technology so they can better serve their clients in the 21st century, according to Palo Alto broker Michael Dreyfus, with Golden Gate Sotheby’s Realty.

Dreyfus, who chairs the local trade association’s Palo Alto district, opened the program by noting the business of real estate has come a long way from big listing books, which agents and their clients valued, to paperless documents and virtual tours.

A session on the future of smart homes moderated by CBS News technology journalist Larry Magid, featured Sean Paterson, head of marketing and sales for Noon Home, a smart lighting system that wirelessly generates light in different levels to transform the look and feel of a home, and Sophie Le Guen, director of product management of Nest, which produces programmable, sensor-driven, WiFi-enabled thermostats, smoke detectors, security cameras, and other security systems.

Another on how big data is going to affect the future of real estate featured Dave Wetzel, CTO & COO of multiple listing service provider MLSListings Inc., Avi Gupta, president and CEO of SmartZip, which offers predictive marketing services so agents can land more listings by identifying homeowners most likely to sell in any neighborhood; and Stas Alexandrov, founder & CEO of, an application that allows brokers and developers to view lots, find a place for a building, and see all the specific restrictions in one place.







Cupertino-Sunnyvale District Chair Jeff Bell being interviewed by Maureen Naylor, reporter for KTVU Channel 2 News, at a home for sale in Mountain View


Jeff Bell, board director and 2010 president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, was featured in KTVU news on Tuesday, in a story about how the low inventory and rising home prices are impacting even high paid tech workers in the region.

As of January 2018, Bell indicated the median sales price of a single-family home in Santa Clara County was $1,170,000, up 26 percent from a year ago. In Mountain View, where he has a listing, the median is $2,400,000, up 51 percent from last year.

According to MLSListings Inc., homes in Santa Clara County are being scooped up at a rapid pace, staying on the market between six to eight days. One home located in the Mountain View Whisman School District was only on the market a mere two days. Currently there are only six listings in Mountain View.

Bell said in order to qualify for a home priced at $2.4 million, a buyer would have to have an annual income of $340,000, with no other consumer debt (credit cards, car loans, etc.). With a 20 percent down payment, a buyer’s monthly payment, including principal, interest, insurance and property taxes, would amount to a whopping $12,185.25.

Bell observed while challenging, the cost does not appear to have deterred tech workers. He noted in one day he had 80 groups of potential buyers walk through the Mountain View listing, majority of whom were high-tech workers, many who worked at nearby Google. He said most who were keenly interested in purchasing the home were dual income couples.

“They are the type of buyers who are in the best position to afford such a home in this current hot market,” said Bell.





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.





Dave Walsh, vice chair of MLSListings Inc. and vice president and managing broker of Alain Pinel Realtors’ Almaden office in San Jose, gave a group of 25 Canadian home builders an overview of the Santa Clara County  housing market during their visit to the San Jose area this month.

Dave Walsh, vice chair of MLSListings Inc. and vice president and managing broker of Alain Pinel Realtors’ Almaden office in San Jose, gave a group of 25 Canadian home builders an overview of the Santa Clara County housing market during their visit to the San Jose area this month.

Twenty-five members of the Canadian Homebuilders Association – Alberta were on a two-day housing tour of homes in Santa Clara County March 12 and 13, and learned about the Silicon Valley housing market and challenges to urban development from local speakers.

At a breakfast presentation arranged by the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, Dave Walsh, vice chair of MLSListings Inc., shared local housing data with the builders. Walsh described Santa Clara County, which is at the heart of Silicon Valley, as “the single, most crazy market.”

Walsh said the region once filled with orchards, has become the leading hub of high-tech innovation and development in country. Recent growth has led to record-setting home prices. Home prices today have now exceeded the 2007 high, but there are far fewer homes on the market. Santa Clara County’s February median home price of $950,000 is “the best February ever,” said Walsh. The median is 20 percent above the median peak of $790,000 in February 2007. The problem is the county just had 1.4 months of inventory, with only 1,761 single-family homes for sale in February.

Walsh showed how home prices increase the closer one gets to Palo Alto, the central economic focal point of Silicon Valley, home to Stanford University and other prominent tech firms, and close to Facebook in neighboring Menlo Park and Google in Mountain View. Homes in Palo Alto are selling 110 percent of asking price, at an average of $1,491 per square foot. In Gilroy, which is about 50 miles from Palo Alto, homes are selling 99 percent of asking price at an average price of $284 per square feet. In Saratoga, which is about 18 miles from Palo Alto and has an excellent school district, homes are selling 102 percent of list price at an average of $812 per square foot.

Read more here.


Members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® will soon have access to real estate developments worldwide in addition to their ability to connect and share listings with other agents domestically and around the world through a global networking site, which is a membership benefit of the local trade association.

SILVAR REALTORS® currently have access to Proxio, a global networking platform, as a member benefit. The global network is much like LinkedIn for real estate agents, providing them with networking opportunities and an agent and property search.

Agents can connect with over 600,000 real estate professionals in the U.S. and in 140 countries. Their listings and marketing materials are automatically translated into 19 languages, 55 currencies and metric measurements. Members also get the entire MLS in different languages with a widget for their website that includes a full MLS search and translations of all properties in MLSListings Inc. and the Proxio SocialSearch™ Facebook app for their business page with full IDX in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.

In mid-July, SILVAR REALTORS® will have access to Proxio Developer Showcase, a new product that goes a step further by helping property developers and real estate agents connect and work together to generate more sales and commissions. Agents can get to choose the developments they want to promote and the listings will be customized with their name and contact information. The website stands alone or can be linked to an agent’s website.

“As a REALTOR® association, we constantly strive to give our members the best tools so they can serve their clients fully and more efficiently. We live in a global community. Providing members access to a global network allows our members grow their business and provide international, as well as domestic clients the highest quality service,” said Paul Cardus, executive officer of SILVAR.

Janet Case, CEO of Proxio, said Proxio helps agents promote themselves as a professional agent who has a network of domestic and international agents. She noted consumers highly benefit from the new product.

“Proxio Developer Showcase can generate web pages, brochures and postcards for each project with the agent’s contact information, so every agent can increase their inventory by promoting new developments and providing interested clients with information on the latest real estate developments here and abroad,” said Case.


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.

At round table discussions, REALTORS® shared their thoughts about the future. (Photo courtesy of MLSListings Inc.)

At round table discussions, REALTORS® shared their thoughts about the future. (Photo courtesy of MLSListings Inc.)

Approximately 125 REALTORS® from the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® and neighboring REALTOR® associations gathered at the Tech Mart in Santa Clara last Friday and shared their ideas and insights on the future of real estate at the National Association of REALTORS® REThink Initiative Workshop. MLSListings Inc. hosted the workshop, which included REALTORS® who do business in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

With the changing demographic and socio-economic landscape and changing economic concerns, the real estate industry sees itself facing a transformation. NAR launched the REThink Initiative in August 2012 during its annual Leadership Summit in Chicago, Ill. The REThink Initiative will use the experiences and insights of REALTORS®, academia, consumers and others to plan for and adapt to dynamic changes in the industry.

At Friday’s workshop, REALTORS® discussed different versions of what the future holds for the industry. Workshop participants were asked to consider a focal question: In an ever-changing world, what is the future of the real estate industry in 5-10 years, and how will this affect consumers, real estate professionals, industry organizations and associations?

At the round table discussions, participants examined several scenarios for the industry and elements that are likely to impact the future of U.S. real estate, including the long-term effects of the recent recession, the global economy, technology, demographic forces like the retiring Baby Boomers, emerging Echo Boomers, increasing ethnic diversity, and population growth. Environmental concerns, like growing scarcity of energy and raw materials, and how they could affect housing patterns and design, access to owning a home, and the value of homeownership, were also explored.

Cross-country workshops are being conducted through May 2013. Insights from members will provide critical input into NAR’s future strategy and help formulate a shared vision about the future REALTORS® want to create for themselves, their association, for the industry, and for society as whole.

For more information about NAR’s ReThink Initiative, visit

Properties have been marketed off the MLS before, but these days, it’s happening more often and creating controversy because inventory is at an all-time low, said Bailey. In fact, today, inventory is at its lowest levels since 2005 and new listings continue to decline. The average days on market (DOM) is now 35 in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, down 60 percent from 2011.

Robert Bailey, MLSListings Inc. chair, told SILVAR members this week that May 2012 had the highest exclusions of property on the MLS since 2007. Between January and November 2012, off-MLS transactions accounted for 20 percent of total home sales or nearly $1 billion in sales volume. He indicated in Menlo Park alone, during this period 20.32 percent of all home sales were off-market. In Atherton, 31 percent of total sales were off-market.

Bailey said MLSListings does not support private MLSs or MLS clubs because their purpose runs counter to the company’s goal of fostering an environment of cooperation and collaboration. He said while it is not MLSListings’ purpose to define a REALTOR®’s business model, the MLS is a cooperative effort.

MLSListings provides for the exclusion process, has rules regarding it and imposes fines if rules are broken, but it can’t stop it. It is up to REALTORS® to address the dilemma. Bailey asked members to visit the MLSListings website and take a survey on the topic and engage in the discussion. Weekly survey questions are on the Pro homepage at For a forum for community discussion, visit

MLSListings received 1,035 responses in the first week of the survey. Findings showed 24 percent of respondents use off-market listings (OML); 34 percent never use OML; and 34 percent said they don’t know about OML. Meanwhile, 64 percent of respondents believe the use of OML is exclusionary or discriminatory, either legally or ethically. Discussions generated interesting comments for and against the OML practice.

Bailey invited members to take part in the survey and discussion. “Let your thoughts be known,” he said.

The MLSListings chair reminded SILVAR members that they own the MLS. “You are the stakeholders. That’s what makes us unique,” said Bailey.

View Bailey’s presentation here.

MLSListings Inc. reports market activity “slowed to a crawl for nearly all indicators” in the month of June for Santa Clara County and four other neighboring counties. The severe shortage of homes is impacting home sales, sparking multiple offers and slightly higher home prices in a number of communities.

The Silicon Valley Association of Realtors’ multiple listing service provider reports Santa Clara County had 1,093 closed sales of single-family homes, virtually unchanged from 1,097 in June 2011. Santa Clara County’s June’s inventory took a dive of 38 percent from last year. The county’s inventory of 2,589 homes was down 42.2 percent from inventory in June 2003 and down 57.4 percent from 6,071 homes on inventory in June 2008.

According to the MLSListings report, Santa Clara County saw its June 2012 median price of $695,000 jump 9.4 percent over the previous year. The June median for a single-family home in Santa Clara County is 26.2 percent higher than the median of $550,500 in June 2009, when home prices resumed their upward trend.

Unless inventory opens up, home buyers will continue to be squeezed in this tight market, says Suzanne Yost, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®. “Many families are already having a difficult time finding a place to live. We will continue to see first-time home buyers facing strong competition from investors with cash. For motivated sellers, pricing is a key factor,” said Yost.


January 2020
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