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self-defense training

Trolan guides two members as they practice a self-defense move she taught them.

The business of real estate is risky because unlike other jobs, most REALTORS® work alone and show properties to strangers. As such, they become targets of crime. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 48 percent of all REALTORS® have felt physically threatened and uncomfortable during a showing. This is the reason why SILVAR past president and Region 9 chair Karen Trolan offers self-defense training for members every year.

“Training saves lives,” says Trolan. “Every agent, whether male or female, should know some self-defense. It’s good to learn some techniques that you can use if you ever need to.”

Trolan, who is wheelchair bound as a result of an accident many years ago, hasn’t let that stop her from self-defense training. She has a Kenpo Jujitsu 2nd degree black belt, Taekwondo 2nd degree black belt, and other high level martial art and self-defense skills, include Jujitsu, Escrima and Sword Arts.

Last Friday, assisted by her husband Steve, who has training in advanced nerve strike fighting, she taught 20 SILVAR members how to use their hands to strike a potential assailant on the upper half of their body and how to aim at parts of the body where they can do the most damage easily.

“The best thing you can do is run away screaming, but unfortunately, there have been agents that haven’t been able to get away. Talking your way out of it might work, but be ready with self-defense. Being able to fight back or getting out of a choke hold could mean life or death,” says Trolan.

“Prevention is the best self-defense,” adds Trolan.

Here are some safety tips to remember:

  • Let people know WHERE you are going, WHO you will be meeting, WHEN you will be back. WHAT to do if you don’t return and the ACTION to take if they cannot contact you.
  • 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.
  • Refrain from announcing open houses and where you will be on social media.
  • Tell your clients not to show their home by themselves. Alert them that not all agents, buyers and sellers are who they say they are. Tell your sellers to refer all inquiries to you.
  • Remind your clients that strangers will be walking through their home during showings or open houses. Tell them to hide any valuables in a safe place. For security’s sake, remember to remove keys, credit cards, jewelry, crystal, furs and other valuables from the home or lock them away during showings. Also remove prescription drugs.
  • Pre-program important numbers into your cell phone. These may include your office, your roadside assistance service or garage, and 9-1-1.
  • Inform clients who are selling that while you are taking safety precautions, and that you’ve checked and locked the home before leaving, they should double-check all locks and scout for missing items immediately upon their return.

Represent Investors and Become One Yourself

Real Estate Investing is a new course that will teach REALTORS® how to work with investors as they set their goals, plan, evaluate, and acquire properties, as well as manage them. REALTORS® will also learn how to become real estate investors themselves.

One of the priorities of National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) President Bill Brown is to help REALTORS® prepare for retirement by providing education on becoming a real estate investor, not just helping others invest in real estate. While REALTORS® are busy helping homebuyers achieve their dream of homeownership, they themselves lack retirement assets. “Too many REALTORS® don’t have the assets to retire,” according to Brown said at the 2016 Leadership Summit in Chicago. Brown wants members to make sure they can take care of themselves when they retire.

Real Estate Investing will be offered at SILVAR on Tuesday, September 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with NAR 2012 and 2009 Instructor of the Year David Wyant. SILVAR is co-sponsoring this course with the West San Gabriel Valley Association of REALTORS®. Cost is $110 for members and $125 for non-members. Register at, or call SILVAR at (408) 200-0100.




In Los Altos, Kathryn Tomaino and Steve Klesczewski washed windows for a 74-year-old Los Altos homeowner.


The Palo Alto senior cheerfully greeted the RSVP (REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program) volunteers when they arrived at her home. She was eager and grateful to receive their help. Looking at her you wouldn’t know that she needed help, but the 81-year-old widow has undergone a liver transplant, a mastectomy, a hip replacement and now has a bad back. The Palo Alto senior homeowner was grateful the RSVP volunteers were able to vacuum her house, wash her windows and change a light bulb. She said her husband died five years ago and she has no family. She is friends with her neighbor, but the neighbor is 92 years old.

“The neighborhood has changed,” she sighed. “I feel so helpless. I guess I should move, but it’s hard because this is home. I’ve lived here for 50 years.”

A 98-year-old Saratoga senior feels the same way. Also a widow with no family, she was very happy that the RSVP volunteers were able to her change her light bulbs, turn over her mattress and replace her smoke detector battery.

“It’s wonderful you can do this for me. I just can’t do some of these tasks anymore,” she remarked.

In Los Altos, a 74-year-old senior homeowner conveyed her gratitude as RSVP volunteers proceeded to wash her outside windows. “I love this! Thank you. It is so wonderful to have this help,” she said.

RSVP volunteers also feel rewarded when they are able to help seniors in their communities. “We volunteer because we respect the needs of our parents. We want to pay it forward and do it for them,” said longtime RSVP volunteers Kevin Barrett and SILVAR President Denise Welsh.

The program has inspired new members to volunteer, as well. First-time RSVP volunteers Anna-Liza Estoesta and Sara Hernandez were eager to help. “We want to help the community,” they said.

Virginia Supnet said, “I would like to promote the event to my office to inspire other agents.”

This was Trevor Loveless’ third year as a Palo Alto District RSVP volunteer. He enjoys helping the seniors. “It’s good for the community. I was born and raised here. It’s good to give back,” said Loveless.

SILVAR’s REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP) is on its 16th year. This year 107 volunteers from SILVAR assisted 50 senior households in the Menlo Park/Atherton, Palo Alto, Los Altos/Mountain View, Cupertino/Sunnyvale and Los Gatos/Saratoga communities. VIEW PHOTOS

The 13th Annual Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation Golf Tournament will be held on Monday, Sept. 17 at the Los Altos Golf & Country Club, 1560 Country Club Drive, Los Altos. Early bird reservations at a price of $225 are now available for SILVAR members until April 15.

Regular cost per person is $275, which includes green fees, golf cart, lunch, and award ceremony reception. Registration starts at 11 a.m., with a Shotgun Start at 12 p.m. (Scramble Format). A no-host cocktail reception will be held at 5 p.m.

The Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation Golf Tournament is a wonderful opportunity for members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) to help their communities while enjoying a spectacular day of golf. Proceeds from the annual event go to the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation, which makes grants available to organizations that help youth, disadvantaged individuals and low-income families and seniors in the communities where SILVAR members live and work. The golf tournament proceeds also fund the Charitable Foundation’s annual Scholarship Program, which awards a $1,000 scholarship grant to each of 18 graduating seniors selected from public high schools in Silicon Valley.

Members may now register online at For sponsorship opportunities or more information, contact SILVAR Development Director Kelly Dadsetan at (408) 200-0117, or email

SILVAR’s Cupertino/Sunnyvale District raised $1,100 at its annual Valentine Charity Auction yesterday. Mark Burns served as auctioneer. Burns and auction organizer Carolyn Miller enticed members to bid generously on numerous items, including a twosome round of golf, dinner reservations, plush stuffed animals, chocolates, clothing and accessories, and gift certificates.

This year’s event was well-attended. Scott Fleming, a new SILVAR affiliate, won the big auction item. For his top bid of $350, he received two tickets to a San Jose Sharks game. The tickets were generously donated by Mark Burns, Chris Shupp, Miranda Jung, Kyle Chuang and Richard Miller.

The District thanks everyone who supported the auction. Auction proceeds go to a number of charitable projects the District supports.

“Thank you to all who participated,” said Miller, who has been in charge of the annual auction for the past four years.

Miller also conveyed a special thanks to the affiliates for their strong support and cooperation. “You are again commended on your wonderful cooperation in this event. The participation and support you give to our district is over the top!” added Miller.


Here are some of the REALTORS® who attended the Military Residential Specialist Designation course at SILVAR.

The Military Residential Specialist Designation course offered at SILVAR this month was well-received. SILVAR REALTORS® who attended the all-day course, taught by instructor Buddy West, learned about the unique real estate needs and challenges facing military families, how to help military personnel and their families achieve their housing goals, and how to make military families aware of their options.

SILVAR 2011 Education Committee Chair Carolyn Miller said the Military Residential Specialist Designation course is especially valuable for REALTORS® because as more members of the military return home, they will be taking advantage of Veterans Administration loans. She noted many veterans have been out of the military for a long time and have never used their entitlements. 

“We need to be prepared to help them, and this class prepares us to help military personnel and their families achieve their dream of home ownership,” said Miller.

Miller said she is very happy with the high attendance in different courses SILVAR offered this year. “I am really pleased that REALTORS® are taking advantage of these classes,” said Miller. “By investing in these classes, REALTORS® are investing in themselves.”

SILVAR offers a host of educational programs for members, such as new member orientation classes, license renewal courses, PRDS Forms online, PRDS contract classes, continuing education, and special designation classes. The Association will continue to expand its course selection for its members in 2012.

Every year in May, as part of the REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP), SILVAR REALTORS® and affiliates assist seniors and the homebound with household tasks they can no longer perform on their own. The program, which was started by members in 2001 and launched by SILVAR as an official community outreach project in 2002, has expanded to include volunteers from the San Mateo County Association of REALTORS®, the Fresno Association of REALTORS®, and Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® and Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS®.

RSVP is now on its 10th year, and this week – May 16-20, volunteers helped seniors in SILVAR’s five districts with simple chores like washing windows, installing smoke detector batteries, flipping mattresses, light vacuuming, dusting, replacing light bulbs, changing furnace filters and trimming bushes. Many seniors expressed their gratitude for the work done by the RSVP volunteers.

Gloria from Los Altos, who is 81 years old and lives alone, was especially thrilled. It was the first time she availed of the free service and she was nearly in tears as a couple of RSVP volunteers proceeded to dust her furniture and vacuum and sweep her floors, while the other volunteers washed her windows and trimmed the bushes outside her home.

“Thank you, thank you,” a 91-year-old Sunnyvale senior resident repeatedly told the RSVP volunteers after they had flipped her mattress and washed her windows.

Peggy, 63, is a Mountain View resident who is homebound and confined to wheelchair. She has poliomyelitis (post polio syndrome) and other complications. After surgery, she learned new living skills at Valley Medical Center and was eager to manage on her own. Her closest relative is a sister who lives out of state. The REALTORS® moved furniture and boxes away from all passageways so she could maneuver her wheelchair around her home and function independently.

“I can’t thank them enough for doing this. This has been my family’s home since 1959. I live alone, but I can’t think of any other place where I would rather live. This is my home,” Peggy exclaimed.

In Los Gatos, 73-year-old Barbara, who is bedridden, was grateful that volunteers cleaned her refrigerator and stove, dusted and vacuumed her floors. “I think it’s wonderful that there are people like you that can help people like us who cannot move around anymore,” she exclaimed.

Palo Alto resident Chris, who is 80, just had hip surgery. So she welcomed the help from the REALTORS® who washed windows, fixed a door knob, picked up the clutter and moved items she didn’t need to her garage. Dave, another Palo Alto resident in his 80s, still talks about how much he appreciated the REALTORS® who went out of their way to install a hand rail in his shower stall a couple of years ago. “I am so grateful to them. I used to do a lot of things, but it’s all too much for me now,” he remarked.

An elderly Saratoga couple in their late 80s lamented that all their kids lived out of state. They manage, but welcomed help washing their windows and flipping their mattress. “It’s a wonderful thing that you do for the community. It’s very necessary for us,” they said.

At the end of the week, SILVAR members felt it was all worthwhile. For many volunteers it’s an eye-opening experience and “humbling.” They’re glad they can help out and make a difference in the lives of the seniors and the homebound in their community.


Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the Bay Area’s leading real estate services company, announced today that it has acquired Cashin Company Realtors, one of the Peninsula’s largest and most prestigious local brokerage companies.

According to a press statement released by Coldwell Banker earlier today, the move continues Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s strong trajectory of growth on the Peninsula and in the Bay Area. Founded in 1995 by Emmet J. “Skip” Cashin III, the Cashin Company Realtor’s team of 270 real estate professionals in seven offices throughout San Mateo County accounted for more than $1 billion in annual sales volume in the last 12 months.

The seven-office, 270-agent firm will now operate under the banner of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. With this announcement, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the San Francisco Bay Area now has more than 60 offices and 3,500 sales associates who accounted for more than $11 billion in sales volume last year.

“Cashin Company has been a highly successful real estate brokerage on the Peninsula for many years,” said Rick Turley, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the San Francisco Bay Area.  “They are a perfect fit with Coldwell Banker in terms of our respective cultures, our core values and our strength in the local marketplace, especially in the luxury market.

Cashin said his firm had many suitors in recent years, but decided that Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage was the right choice in terms of the scale and scope of the nation’s leading brokerage company, agent support, technological tools, networking opportunities, and cultural fit.

“Coldwell Banker shares our culture of service excellence that values customized service for each and every client,” he said. “Additionally, they are the premier real estate brand around the world and offer a robust marketing platform and referral network that will help our sales associates achieve even greater results for their clients.”

Turley and Cashin announced the acquisition this morning in an informal meeting with Cashin Company managers and agents. The press release goes on to state that Turley and other Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage executives will visit all of the former Cashin Company offices in the coming days to meet individually with agents and hear their ideas for ways the company can better support agent goals and help them grow their businesses.

Many of SILVAR’s REALTOR® members belong to both companies. An article on the acquisition is in the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal.

March 2023


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