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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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 Proxio CEO Janet Case says knowing the languages spoken by clients helps REALTORS® better serve them.

Proxio CEO Janet Case says knowing the languages spoken by clients helps REALTORS® better serve them.

What language do you speak in your home? New information from the U.S. Census Bureau shows while most of the nation’s population speaks English at home, at least 350 other languages are spoken in U.S. households. In fact, 20 percent of U.S. families do not speak English at home.

“Multilingual is the new normal across the U.S.,” said Janet Case, CEO Proxio, an international networking platform that connects real estate agents and their listings, including real estate developments, around the world.

Speaking at the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) 4th Certified International Property Specialist Institute in October, Case said according to the latest Census Bureau data, 20 percent of U.S. families speak a language other than English at home. In California, the percentage is higher – 43 percent. Other states with the most non-English speaking households are Texas, 34.2 percent; New York, 29.8 percent; Nevada, 28.2 percent; Arizona, 27.1 percent; and Florida, 26.6 percent.

Cities with the most non-speaking households are Miami, 71.9 percent; Los Angeles, 59.7 percent; New York City, 48.7 percent; San Francisco, 45.4 percent; and Chicago, 35.3 percent.

The Census Bureau information, based on American Community Survey data collected from 2009 to 2013, tabulated the number of languages and language groups to 350. The tables provide the most comprehensive data on languages spoken less widely in the nation, such as Pennsylvania Dutch, Ukrainian, Turkish, Romanian, Amharic and many others.

“While most of the U.S. population speaks only English at home or a handful of other languages like Spanish or Vietnamese, the American Community Survey reveals the wide-ranging language diversity of the United States,” said Erik Vickstrom, a Census Bureau statistician. “For example, in the New York metro area alone, more than a third of the population speaks a language other than English at home, and close to 200 different languages are spoken. Knowing the number of languages and how many speak these languages in a particular area provides valuable information to policymakers, planners and researchers.”

In the San Francisco metro area, at least 163 languages are spoken at home, with 40 percent of the metro area population age five and over speaking a language other than English at home. One of the smaller language groups found there is Panjabi, with 19,985 speakers.

In the Los Angeles metro area, at least 185 languages are spoken at home, with 54 percent of the metro area population age five and over speaking a language other than English at home. One of the smaller language groups found there is Indonesian, with 12,750 speakers.

Case said as foreign buyers continue to look at Silicon Valley property, “global marketing matters.” Knowing the languages spoken by clients helps REALTORS® better serve them.

Proxio, which is a free benefit for members of SILVAR, translates agents’ listings in 19 languages, 55 currencies and metric measurements. In addition to activating Proxio, Case said REALTORS® seeking to break into global real estate can market “international” as their specialty by including the U.S. country code with their phone number and languages they speak in their website and business cards and partner with agents who speak other languages.

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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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.

Training classes on Proxio, a new SILVAR membership benefit, begin with the first class on Tuesday, February 25 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at SILVAR. The Proxio Overview class will show agents how to make the most of the offered services step by step. Members will learn how to log in, build a referral network, search for properties and some marketing tools. Another overview class will be offered on March 4, 1:30-2:30 p.m. at SILVAR. More classes will be scheduled in the following months.

Proxio, a leading global marketing and networking platform that connects real estate agents from all over the world and shares their listings, is a new benefit that is free for SILVAR REALTOR® members. The Proxio international network enables real estate agents to share listings in more than 115 countries. Foreign listings are translated into 19 languages, 30 currencies and metric measurements. The network allows U.S.-based agents to connect with other agents internationally, providing them and their listings global visibility.

SILVAR’s Proxio bundle includes a member’s profile in the network of over 500,000 real estate professionals across the U.S. and in over 100 countries, and international MLS exposure for members’ listings presented in 19 languages. The bundle also includes the following two upgrades – the Multicultural IDX (M-IDX) widget for a member’s website, which includes a full MLS search and translations of all properties in MLSListings into Proxio’s 19 languages; and the Proxio SocialSearch™ app for a member’s business page, with full IDX in five languages – English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.

The Proxio training class will be taught by Cameron Garcia. The class is free for SILVAR members. Cost is $50 for nonmembers who would like to learn more about the international marketing and networking platform.

SILVAR, which represents over 4,000 REALTORS® and affiliate members engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay, is the first REALTOR® association in the state of California to provide members with Proxio. Proxio will be providing more training webinars and classes to show agents how to make the most of the offered services.

The Proxio membership benefit is funded by the association for all SILVAR REALTOR® members. The free benefit joins the long list of other member benefits, like the DocBox™ and DocBox2Go™ document management system, the E-SIGN and UETA compliant signature solution Authentisign™ and Authentisign2Go™, PRDS Forms on Instanet and PRDS Forms on tablets.

SILVAR Global Business Council Chair Jennifer Tasto welcomes everyone to the association’s global heritage potluck.

Over 30 SILVAR members attended “Global is Good Business,” a heritage potluck promoting SILVAR’s global business initiative on Monday. The event featured an array of traditional California and ethnic dishes, social networking, and an education segment in which real estate professionals with international experience spoke briefly about the importance of doing business globally.

SILVAR Global Business Council Chair Jennifer Tasto and SILVAR President Suzanne Yost explained SILVAR’s global initiative and the purpose of forming a Global Business Council. They said the number of foreign and immigrant buyers has steadily grown in recent years, and SILVAR would like to provide members with the tools and resources that can help them succeed in this market.

Janet Case, CEO of Proxio, explained how the international MLS can help REALTORS® extend their market reach and gain a competitive advantage. “Silicon Valley home buyers come from many cultures and from many parts of the world,” said Case. “Proxio provides multilingual marketing services to agents and brokerages, so they can serve multicultural and foreign buyers better, and global marketing tools that gain international exposure for sellers.”

Kenneth Chan, premium mortgage consultant with HSBC, and Citi mortgage consultant Evelyn Figueira said foreign buyers experience financing challenges like meeting mortgage requirements, moving funds from their country, and foreign income and asset verification. “It’s not as simple as having the money to buy property,”said Chan.

Michael Repka, managing broker and general counsel for DeLeon Realty, said foreign investors are drawn here due to business opportunities, the stability, and appreciation potential. “Real estate is becoming increasingly global,” stressed Repka.
 
Zach Benjamin, Business Development and Outreach Manager for the National Association of REALTORS® Global Business and Alliances Group, identified some tools and resources from NAR that can help agents, including NAR’s Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation.

SILVAR is offering the five CIPS courses required to fulfill the classroom requirements for the designation on November 26-30 at an early bird registration price of $550 for any AOR member, if they register by Monday, October 15. These courses are open to the public, as well. You don’t have to be a REALTOR® in order to enroll in these courses.

CIPS SCHEDULE AND REGISTRATION FORM

MORE ON SILVAR’S GLOBAL BUSINESS POTLUCK, INCLUDING PHOTOS

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