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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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There’s been a lot of talk about immigration these days. This is a topic that impacts real estate, especially in Silicon Valley, a place that has attracted foreign buyers. So the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) Global Business Council has teamed up with the California Council of Residential Specialists to offer a Lunch & Learn on “What Every REALTOR® Needs to Know About Immigration” on Wednesday, September 27, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at SILVAR.

From featured speakers Sophie Alcorn and Lisa Wendl, you will learn about:

  • U.S. immigration policy
  • Some common immigration statuses
  • Immigration pitfalls and red flags
  • How immigrants can qualify for mortgages

Alcorn is a Stanford-educated, New York Times-featured expert on U.S. immigration law. She founded Alcorn Immigration, where she and her team obtain visas and green cards for highly-motivated individuals.

Wendl obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from Fudan University in Shanghai and MBA in finance from the University of Illinois, Chicago. She worked as a business analyst at a biotech company for three years, then got into the field of real estate lending and investment where she has worked for 25 years.

Cost is $15 for SILVAR and CRS members and $20 for non-members and at the door. Register at ims.silvar.org, or call SILVAR at (408) 200-0100. Seating is limited. These events fill up quickly, so make sure you register early.

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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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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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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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