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All REALTORS® MUST COMPLETE ethics training between the January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018 cycle or be suspended by NAR.

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) requires that every REALTOR®, in order to maintain membership in the Association of REALTORS®, must complete a 2 1/2 hour Code of Ethics course every two years. This means all REALTOR® MUST COMPLETE the ethics training at some point between the cycle of January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018. Failure to comply with this required ethics training is a violation of a membership duty and will result in suspension and possible termination from the member’s primary Association.

It is this mandatory ethics training and membership with NAR that differentiates REALTORS® from real estate agents. Although both are real estate licensees, REALTORS® proudly display the REALTOR “®” logo on the business card or other marketing and sales literature. REALTORS® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate.

REALTORS® can take the ethics training online through NAR. It’s easy and it’s FREE. Visit NAR CODE OF ETHICS ONLINE for more information on online classes and this mandatory NAR requirement. Code of Ethics training is also included in CalBRE license renewal requirements, so if a member has renewed their license between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018, their Code of Ethics requirement is covered.

If you have already taken Code of Ethics training for this period outside of California license renewal, via NAR or the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) or elsewhere, please email a copy of the certificate to your primary Association. If you are a member of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR), you can email a copy of your certificate to membership@silvar.org before the deadline of December 31, 2018. The next compliance cycle will start January 1, 2019 and end on December 31, 2020.

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FAREPA logo-newLooking to foster investment opportunities between real estate stakeholders in the Philippines and the U.S., the Filipino American Real Estate Professional Association Silicon Valley (FAREPA SV) chapter is organizing a trade mission to the Philippines on June 16-29. The trade mission will take participants to Manila, the country’s capital, to the island of Palawan, which has the best beaches in the world, and to Vigan, a city known for its preserved Spanish colonial and Asian architecture.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime to learn about real estate opportunities in the Philippines, whose economy is thriving, develop partnerships with builders and developers, and see our beautiful country, especially Palawan, which is a hidden piece of paradise twice named ‘The Best Island In The World’ in Travel + Leisure magazine’s World’s Best Awards, and Vigan, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the few towns left in the Philippines whose old structures have mostly remained intact,” said FAREPA SV co-president Tess Crescini, who also serves as chair of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) Global Business Council.

In each destination the trade mission will provide real estate professionals the opportunity to partner with real estate builders and developers that are building the hottest developments around the country. The itinerary also will include the opportunity to attend the Philippine Economic Zone Authority’s First Global Ecozone Convergence & EXPO on June 18-19, of which the Chamber of Real Estate & Builders’ Associations, Inc. (CREBA) is an organizer. SILVAR is the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Ambassador to the Philippines and CREBA is its partner association there. SILVAR, CREBA and NAR President Liaison to the Philippines Jennifer Tasto are helping coordinate FAREPA’s trade mission.

FAREPA is expanding globally. The real estate association’s vision for the trade mission is to form marketing partnerships with top developers and local brokers and get to know the newest thriving areas and latest development amenities. Filipino-American baby boomers and Gen Xers are finding retirement in the Philippines desirable now due to low costs, improving health care, infrastructure, and a booming economy, said FAREPA trade mission committee chair Robert Balina.

“Becoming the go-to experts with marketing partnerships with top Philippine developers and brokers, U.S. clients can list their properties with us and we can help them purchase their retirement home, second home, or cash flow investment properties there,” said Balina.

Cost of the trade mission based on double occupancy is $3,075 all inclusive. The price includes round trip airfare via Philippine Airlines from San Francisco to Manila and back, two domestic flights, 11-night hotel stay, daily breakfast, lunch tour packages, airport transportation, and an option for an open-ended return flight. A non-refundable deposit is due by March 16, 2018. Full payment is due by May 1, 2018.

For more details, visit http://farepa.org/manila-trade-mission, or the SILVAR website at http://www.silvar.org, or contact Crescini at tess@heritagehi.com or (408) 781-0949; Balina at robert@synergizerealty.com or (408) 750-6425; or Wilma Baltar at wilmabaltar@kw.com or (408) 781-5300.

creba-logo                  SILVAR_logo - HIGH RESOLUTION

As both the House and Senate sharpen their vision for tax reform, REALTORS® want to ensure homeownership is protected throughout the tax reform debate.

“We are watching closely for changes to current law that might leave middle-class homeowners – and homeownership broadly – in a worse place than it is today,” said National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) President Elizabeth Mendenhall. “A near doubling of the standard deduction, combined with the elimination of other deductions, like the state and local tax deduction, can turn the American dream into a nightmare for families, as the rug is pulled out from under them. Simply preserving the mortgage interest deduction in name only isn’t enough to protect homeownership.” Now that both the House and Senate have passed their own versions of The Tax Cut and Jobs Act, a Conference Committee will address the differences between both bills and come up with a final version of a tax reform bill. It could happen anytime next week, as their goal is to vote on the bill by the end of the week.

NAR is asking Congress to support the following provisions for inclusion in the final legislation:
Mortgage Interest Deduction: Retain current law to maintain a total cap of $1 million on primary first and second homes.

Capital Gains Exemption: Retain current law of exempting gains of up to $250,000 for single filers and $500,000 for joint filers for primary residence lived in for two of the past five years of ownership.

State and Local Tax Deductibility: The limitation of deductibility to property taxes should be expanded to include state and local income taxes and the cap should be increased and indexed to inflation These provisions would add needed protection to current and future homeowners and strengthen the ability of qualified American families to purchase a home.

Denise Welsh, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, emphasized it is important to keep homeownership intact for everyone who wishes to purchase a home. “Let’s not let tax reform quash the American dream of homeownership. While the bill reduces taxes on average in every income group, we have grave concerns that with the elimination of the state and local tax deductions and limiting property tax deductions, millions would still see their taxes go up and home values would drop,” said Welsh.

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For the fifth straight year, the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) Global Business Council (GBC) has earned the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Platinum Award for Global Achievement. The platinum award is the highest distinction presented by NAR to an association for having demonstrated through its global business council exceptional commitment to building member awareness of global and multicultural business opportunities in their local markets.

SILVAR is the only association in Northern California to achieve platinum council status since the program’s inception in 2011. NAR stated SILVAR’s global council “has shown the highest level of service to its global members by consistently providing them with the tools they need to handle international real estate in addition to connecting your council to the global community in your area.”

Under the leadership of 2017 Global Business Council chair Tess Crescini, a broker with Heritage Homes & Investments, SILVAR GBC this year presented two programs on immigration and types of visas for foreign buyers and investors, the “Learning from Leaders” program in partnership with Silicon Valley YPN, and the “Learn to be a Leader” workshop. Both leadership programs were made possible in part by a NAR Diversity Initiative grant.

The GBC helped promote NAR’s At Home with Diversity certification course and SILVAR’s sixth Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Institute. The GBC also coordinated a visit to SILVAR by young professionals from Secovi, a Brazilian real estate organization. The trade mission included engineers, real estate attorneys, developers, property managers, economists and real estate agents.

SILVAR partners with other real estate associations throughout the year to promote awareness and education in global real estate. As NAR Ambassador Association to the Philippines, SILVAR partners with the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations Inc., the largest real estate umbrella organization in that country. SILVAR member and past GBC chair Jennifer Tasto is NAR’s President Liaison to the Philippines.

SILVAR GBC is one of a select few Platinum Councils in the country in 2017. Reaching the Platinum award level places SILVAR in the top 11 percent of councils operating nationwide. The prestigious award will be presented at the Nov. 3-6 NAR Conference & Expo in Chicago.

 

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The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) is offering its 6th Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Institute on September 11-15. National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2012 and 2009 International Instructor of the Year David Wyant will be returning to Cupertino to teach the CIPS courses.

Learn how to expand your global real estate business and earn the NAR CIPS designation. The CIPS Institute provides training in international business issues, including currency conversion, cultural awareness, legal and tax requirements, ownership and transaction principles of international real estate, and specifics about the real estate markets in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. See flyer with the class schedule below.

Cost for the entire CIPS Institute, which includes five courses, is $450 for the paperless option and $500 for the paper version, which includes a manual for each of the five courses. Regular price is $600. The CIPS Institute is open to both members and nonmembers. Members may enroll online at ims.silvar.org. Non-members may register by calling SILVAR at (408) 200-0100. Breakfast and lunch are provided and included in the cost.

If you are a CIPS designee, you can audit a course for $20 for paperless and $30 for the paper option. Cost also includes breakfast and lunch. There are always new developments taking place in real estate markets around the world. Every two to three years CIPS courses are revised with updated statistics and relevant information. The most recent courses updated are the Americas and International Real Estate (2017), Global Real Estate: Local Markets (May 2016) and Global Real Estate: Transactions Tools (May 2016).

Sponsorship opportunities are available again this year. If you would like to be a “CIPS Institute Sponsor of the Day” or for more information on the CIPS Institute, please contact SILVAR Public Affairs and Communications Director Rose Meily at (408) 200-0109 or email rmeily@silvar.org.

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2016-nar-global-platinum

The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® Global Business Council (SILVAR GBC) has been awarded the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) PLATINUM Global Achievement Program Award for 2016. This is the fourth year in a row that SILVAR has been honored with this recognition.

The platinum award is presented by NAR to an association for having demonstrated through its Global Business Council exceptional commitment to building members’ awareness of the global and multicultural business opportunities in their local markets. SILVAR’s global business council is one of a select few Platinum Councils in the country.

NAR commended the hard work of the SILVAR GBC this past year and the dedication SILVAR has contributed to raising members’ awareness of global business in our local market, noting, “Your council has shown the highest level of service to its global members by consistently providing them with the tools they need to handle international real estate. The services and resources your council works hard to provide are the benchmarks upon which the standards have been set. It has been a pleasure watching your council perform so highly in 2016 and I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for you and your members!”

SILVAR GBC is chaired by Mark Wong, a REALTOR® with Alain Pinel REALTORS® Saratoga. This year the GBC presented programs on feng-sui, China, the EB-5 visa and an International REALTOR® Panel with REALTORS® from Japan, Iran, the United Kingdom and France. These programs were well-attended and oversubscribed.

In June, SILVAR conducted its fifth Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Institute with 2012 and 2009 NAR International Instructor David Wyant. The CIPS Institute had 17 students from the San Francisco Bay Area and Canada. Most of the students were SILVAR members. Nine students from the Institute earned their CIPS designation. At present, 52 SILVAR members are CIPS designees.

Additionally, as NAR’s Ambassador Association to the Philippines, SILVAR supports and maintains ties with the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Associations, Inc. (CREBA), SILVAR’s cooperating association in the Philippines. SILVAR member and past GBC chair Jennifer Tasto is the NAR President’s Liaison to the country.

SILVAR will be presented the platinum award at the November 4-7 NAR REALTORS®’ Conference & EXPO in Orlando.

No matter where you are or who you are with, always trust your senses because your subconscious is almost always right. This was the first important safety tip that Santa Clara County Deputy Sheriff Chad Garton shared with SILVAR members at Wednesday’s Los Gatos/Saratoga District tour meeting.

Garton, who is a U.S. veteran who served in Iraq, said trusting your instinct is also what soldiers do in combat. If you feel uneasy about a person you are with or a situation you are in, trust your gut feeling and leave that person or remove yourself from the situation.

“Your subconscious is constantly taking in information; do not ignore that,” said Garton.

Garton said REALTORS® are especially at risk because they meet strangers all the time. He shared what he termed a 5-point Contingency Plan, which those in the military also use: Let people know:
1. WHERE you are going.

2. WHO you will be meeting.

3. WHEN you will be back.

4. What to do if you don’t return.

5. The ACTION to take if they cannot contact you.

Here are other safety tips Garton shared with members:

• It may be part of your job to show your professionalism and success in the way you   dress, but be aware that people are watching you and looking for ways to steal valuables.

  • Don’t leave valuables in plain sight in your car. It only takes 17 seconds for someone to break into a car.
  • Always meet a new person in a public place and get their ID.
  • Show strength in whatever you do. When you’re walking, look around; don’t look down. Always make eye contact. Speak in a loud voice because this gives the appearance of strength.
  • Do not carry a firearm. If you have to carry a weapon, make sure you are fully trained to use it. Pepper spray and Mace are good, but you still need to train yourself to use these self-defense devices.
  • An alarm system can act as a deterrent and video cameras inside and outside the home are even better deterrents because they can identify the robbers.
  • Lock all doors and windows even if you are home. If the weather is warm, spend the extra money and turn on the air conditioner, instead of leaving windows open.
  • Refrain from announcing open houses and where you will be on social media.
  • Do not to hesitate to call 9-1-1 if they see something suspicious, or feel you are in danger.

 

 

 

 

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.”

 

 

 

 

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The Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®’ (SILVAR) fifth Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Institute took place this week with 17 students registered. The students, many of whom are SILVAR members, hail from the San Francisco Bay Area. One traveled all the way from Canada. Many are well-traveled and come from different cultural backgrounds. All were eager to learn more about the international real estate market and how to grow their global business.

The courses were once again taught by 2012 and 2009 National Association of REALTORS® International Instructor of the Year David Wyant, assisted by his wife, Patsy. The Wyants travel around the country and the world teaching the CIPS courses. This is their fifth trip to Cupertino. Each time they come, they remark about Silicon Valley’s growth.

Wyant also noted, “Silicon Valley REALTORS® are among the most intelligent in the nation.”

The CIPS Institute provides training in international business issues, including currency conversion, cultural awareness, legal and tax requirements, ownership and transaction principles of international real estate, and specifics about the real estate markets in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. The week-long CIPS Institute includes two required core courses and three elective courses. Students must pass a multiple-choice exam at the end of each course.

Upon completing the required five courses and fulfilling other necessary requirements, graduates of this year’s CIPS Institute can receive their CIPS designation and have the opportunity to be recognized at the 2016 NAR REALTORS® Conference and Expo, which will be held in Orlando, Fl. on November 4-7.

Thank you to this year’s CIPS Sponsors of the Day, who provided breakfast and lunch each day. They are Amy Ku, VP Mortgage Sales Manager for Northern California with HSBC Bank; Janet Case, CEO of Proxio; Anita Rodal, international liaison with AFEX (Associated Foreign Exchange) and president of SBPI Services, Inc.; Darrell Monda, owner of TourFactory Bay Area; and Larry Tringali, owner of Property Inspection Service.

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The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is asking all REALTORS® across the country to TAKE ACTION NOW and urge your Senators to pass H.R. 3700, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016.” This bill makes needed reforms to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) condominium loan program, federal-assisted housing programs and Rural Housing Service loan programs. The reforms would make buying a condominium easier by expanding opportunities for first-time homebuyers and streamlining rural housing programs for low-income rental residents.

Early in February the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously to advance legislation that will expand opportunities for homeownership, especially for first-time home buyers. H.R.3700 takes aim at the difficulties in getting mortgages for condominiums. NAR has supported the inclusion of reforms to current FHA restrictions on condominium financing.

Condominiums are among the most affordable homeownership options for first-time home buyers, as well as lower income borrowers, but barriers to safe, affordable mortgage credit for condos still exist. H.R. 3700 takes a number of steps to address those concerns. These include efforts to make FHA’s recertification process “substantially less burdensome,” improving a process that is often costly and which condo developments must repeat every 24 months.

H.R. 3700 also lowers FHA’s current owner-occupancy requirement (the number of units in the development owned by the people living in them) from 50 percent to 35 percent and requires FHA to replace existing policy on transfer fees with the less restrictive model already in place at the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Additionally, the bill streamlines the process for exemptions to FHA’s rule requiring that condominium projects have no more than 25 percent of the space dedicated to commercial use. This effort is in line with the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s initiative to promote neighborhoods with a mix of residential housing, businesses and access to public transportation, which has become a trend in housing development today.

Finally, H.R. 3700 includes further support for rural housing loans and multifamily housing initiatives.

H.R. 3700 removes a burdensome and expensive FHA condo approval process, reduces the FHA restrictions on the number of condos available to homebuyers, and permanently streamlines the Rural Housing Service loan program.

NAR is encouraging all members to take action even if they do not do business with condominiums or in rural areas. SILVAR members can take action by going to https://realtorparty.realtoractioncenter.com/site/Advocacy

 

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