The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) has been appointed to Vietnam as Ambassador Association by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). This strategic appointment gives SCCAOR members and citizens of Santa Clara County a unique opportunity to meet and conduct business with counterparts in Vietnam.

“The City of San Jose is home to the largest Vietnamese population in the United States and there is a great synergy between the two counties,” said SCCAOR President Kevin Cole. “This will be a great opportunity to help diversify our population and create new business opportunities within San Jose and surrounding cities.”

SCCAOR will partner with the Vietnam National Real Estate Association (VNREA), a real estate trade association based in Ha Noi, Vietnam. With this partnership, both Associations will share economic updates, upcoming projects/developments, and other opportunities between the countries.

The Ambassador Association program, newly revamped in 2018 by NAR, provides an organization-to-organization contact for our associations to share best practices, ideas, and solutions to common problems. Based loosely on the International Sister-City program, this program provides a direct connection between real estate professionals in each country.

Earlier this month, the Vietnamese National Association of Real Estate Professionals (VNARP), a trade association based in the Bay Area, organized their 2nd annual real estate trade mission to Vietnam. The 36 official delegates, which included many SCCAOR Members, hosted real estate conferences in Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi, Da Nang and Nha Trang.

Learn more about the Ambassador Association program on the NAR Website.

By Evan Huynh, 2018 SCCAOR Global Investment Council Chair

From March 26, 2018, to April 6, 2018, The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) will be collaborating with the Vietnamese National Association of Real Estate Professionals (VNARP) on their second annual Trade Mission to Vietnam. Our delegates will host conferences in four major cities in Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi, Da Nang and Nha Trang. We will build on established business relationships with the mission to strike a business referral network and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreements with some of the largest developers in Vietnam.

For the second year in a row, the trade mission will be led by the former Mayor of City of San Jose, Mr. Ron Gonzales. He will be providing updates and insights to hundreds of Vietnamese investors, developers, and government officials on the economic forecast of Silicon Valley and our 2020 plans of growth.  On behalf of SCCAOR and the Global Council Committee, we are seeking the opportunity to promote SCCAOR’s membership expertise on Silicon Valley and to assist VNARP on establishing a referral network to bring the direct benefits back to SCCAOR members, who are looking to sell or buy real estate in Vietnam.


About the SCCAOR Global Investment Council

SCCAOR’s Global Investment Council aims to create a platform that coordinates with other internal committees and external organizations to make sure that SCCAOR is the recognized local resource for global real estate and multi-cultural clients. Visit our Global Council page where you can learn more about upcoming events and sign-up for our Global Council Newsletter.

International activity in the United States residential real estate market is at an all-time high. According to a recent report by the National Association of REALTORS®, foreign buyers and recent immigrants purchased $153 billion of residential property, far surpassing the total amount for 2016 ($102.6 billion) and 2015 ($103.9 billion). Additionally, 35% of REALTORS® reported an increase in the percentage of international client transactions to their business from one year ago.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said that the political and economic uncertainty both here and abroad has not deterred foreigners from exponentially ramping up their purchases of U.S. property over the past year.

“While the strengthening of the U.S. dollar in relation to other currencies and steadfast home-price growth made buying a home more expensive in many areas, foreigners increasingly acted on their beliefs that the U.S. is a safe and secure place to live, work and invest,” said Yun.

The top countries for foreign buyers include China, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and India. According to the NAR Report, the bulk of buyers from China, India, and Mexico were resident buyers, while most buyers from Canada and the United Kingdom were non-resident buyers.

The same increases can also be seen with U.S. clients that are searching for properties abroad. 9% of REALTORS had clients in 2016 that were interested in purchasing property outside the United States. The top countries of interest were Mexico, Costa Rica, Canada, Philippines, China, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Belize, France, and the Bahamas. A possible explanation for this increase is the large number of retiring baby boomers who are looking to move abroad, where they can get more “bang for their buck” when it comes to real estate and cost of living.

Tam Quach, the Chair of the Global Investment Council for the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS®, recently helped lead a real estate trade mission to Vietnam, where 33 official delegates worked to foster mutual investment opportunities between real estate stakeholders in both Vietnam and the United States.

“As our world continues to shift to a global economy, it is important for REALTORS® to position themselves in the most favorable situation for gaining and increasing their international client network,” said Quach. “Whether you are learning a new language or taking classes at SCCAOR, now is the time for your business to have a global perspective.”

Want to grow your sphere of influence in the global real estate market? SCCAOR is hosting a class the week of October 23-27 where you can obtain your Certified International Property Specialist® Designation. The CIPS Designation is the only international designation recognized by the National Association of REALTORS®. Learn more on our website. The SCCAOR Global Investment Council also meets months to discuss and engage in global real estate initiatives. If you are interested in attending the next meeting, please email

On March 1st through 10th, thirty-three official delegates came together to embark on a ten-day real estate trade mission in Vietnam. Members of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) and the Vietnamese National Association of Real Estate Professionals (VNARP) aimed to foster mutual investment opportunities between real estate stakeholders in both Vietnam and the United States. The group visited Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi and Da Nang — cities that rank in the Top 10 of the World’s “Most Dynamic Cities of 2017” according to the JLL City Momentum Index. Notable delegates included Ron Gonzales, former Mayor, City of San Jose, Lieu Nguyen, the President’s Liaison to Vietnam for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and Hilda Ramirez, the Director of Public Relations/Events/Education for SCCAOR.

VNARP’s Day-by-Day recap of the Trade Mission:



Delegates from all over the US landed in Vietnam and met with the entire Trade Mission delegation. Thank you to our sponsor, Com Tam Cali, for their amazing hospitality for our welcome dinner. We reviewed our action packed itinerary to ensure that every person maximizes their time during our trade mission.




The delegates kicked off the trip with a meeting at Saigon Hi-Tech Park, one of only three national hi-tech parks in Ho Chi Minh City. Saigon Hi-Tech Park plays an important role, strongly enhancing the newest innovations and intellectual capital development and investments in the Focal Economic Region of Southern Vietnam. The park has proudly been the investment destination of projects from global hi-tech companies including Intel (U.S), Sanofil (France) Datalogic (Italy), Microchip (U.S.),  and Sonion (Denmark). Read more

By Hai Dang

I am honored to have been part of inaugural VNARP Trade Mission to Vietnam. I had the opportunity to travel and learn from our 30 delegates from Bay Area. I also met so many wonderful people in Vietnam during the trip. Our executive team worked very hard to assemble a top notched agenda that consisted of meeting with local developers of real estate and government officials from each of the cities that we visited. Of course, we did have some down time to learn more about the Vietnamese culture and especially the local foods from each city. Read more

Looking to tap into the growing international real estate market, members of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) will join the Vietnamese National Association of Real Estate Professionals (VNARP) on a ten-day trade mission to Vietnam starting on March 1st. Delegates representing both groups are aiming to foster mutual investment opportunities between real estate stakeholders in both Vietnam and the United States.

“Vietnam is forecasted to be one of the top growing economies in the next few decades,” said Evan Huynh, President of VNARP. “This trade mission will give our delegates the opportunity to exchange trade experience and learn about the best practices for investment opportunities in both countries.”

Delegates from the groups will attend real estate conferences and meet with Vietnamese companies and government agencies in Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi, and Danang ─ three cities currently experiencing a boom in real estate development. Several delegates from the United States will be giving special presentations at these events, including: Lieu Nguyen, the President’s Liaison to Vietnam for the National Association of REALTORS®, Ron Gonzales, the former Mayor of San Jose and President of Presencia, LLC, and Hilda Ramirez, the Director of Public Relations, Events, and Education for SCCAOR.

Guest presenters for the SCCAOR/VNARP Vietnam Trade Mission (clockwise from top left): Ron Gonzales, Hilda Ramirez, Tom Truong, David Tran, Ryan Hubris, and Evan Huynh.

Hilda Ramirez, who led SCCAOR Members on a similar trip to China in 2015, said that REALTORS® are starting to embrace the global market when it comes to real estate investment. “The theme for this Inaugural Trade Mission is to ‘Connect Cultures to Create Commerce’,” she said. “Silicon Valley is home base for technology and innovation, considered one of the most thriving economies in the world, and the economic impact happening in many Vietnamese cities is truly dynamic. We are honored to have the opportunity to join VNARP in this unique opportunity. It is essential for today’s business professional to be well versed on emerging markets.”
Silicon Valley, Ho Chi Minh City, and Ha Noi all rank in the top 10 of the World’s “Most Dynamic Cities of 2017” according to the JLL City Momentum Index. This index was calculated by examining over 40 variables such as innovation capacity, technological prowess, commercial real estate momentum, and a host of other socio-economic factors.

For updates on the trip, visit the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® on Facebook at

Twelve REALTORS® recently finished a week long course to become designated as Certified International Property Specialists (CIPS). The designees, many who are members of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR), were given hands-on experience focusing on the critical aspects of international real estate transactions.

The classes took place at the SCCAOR Offices in San Jose, California, and focused on the knowledge, research, network and tools needed to globalize real estate businesses. The course was taught by Fanny Chu, a CIPS Instructor and REALTOR® based in San Francisco. She has been teaching CIPS classes since 2007.

“I am so proud of the 12 graduates from SCCAOR that completed the course and became CIPS designees,” said Chu. “These realtors will have a clear edge when it comes to navigating the complex challenges that are faced when working in international real estate.”



CIPS Graduates at SCCAOR (Left to Right): Victoria Torres, Cindy Dalla, Michael Bui, Hilda Ramirez, Qi Cammarano, Mimi Quach, Vendy Chan, Gigi Zhang, Brian Flock, Fanny Chu, Wilma Baltar, Vicky Campos


Much of the coursework focused on transnational transactions, which included currency and exchange rate issues, cross-cultural relationships, regional market conditions, investment performance, and tax issues.

The CIPS designation is the exclusive global designation for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the country’s largest trade association. NAR represents over 1.1 million members, but only 3500 real estate practitioners hold a CIPS designation.

Catering to foreign investors is becoming an essential skillset for real estate professionals. According to a recent report on NAR’s website, foreign buyers purchased $102.6 billion of residential property in the U.S. from April 2015 to March 2016, and this number is poised to increase. Foreign buyers accounted for the purchase of 214,885 residential properties, a three percent increase from the previous 12-month period.

And they will typically purchase more expensive homes. According to the same report, foreign buyers purchased properties valued at $277,380, compared to the median price of $223,058 of all U.S. existing home sales.

“With business continuing to becoming a global game, this designation is more valuable than ever,” said Chu. These designees are truly the global real estate professional for today’s global clients.”

For more information on the CIPS Designation, visit
For more information on upcoming courses at SCCAOR, visit


The Global Investment Council for the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) recently hosted the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) delegation from the Philippines. The event, held at the SCCAOR Offices in San Jose, featured presentations and Q&A sessions where the delegates answered questions and discussed the current real estate trends in the Philippines. The event was attended by local REALTORS®, members of the public, and local government officials, including Milpitas City Council Member Garry Barbadillo.

“We are so excited to welcome the NAR Delegates from the Philippines to the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS®,” said SCCAOR CEO Neil Collins during a presentation at the event. “SCCAOR is dedicated to working with the international community to better understand trends in the global real estate landscape, and we are proud to be a local resource for our multicultural members.”

One the delegates in attendance was Evangeline Yia, the VP for International Affairs at the Chamber of Real Estate & Builders’ Associations (CREBA) in the Philippines. As a liaison between the Philippines and NAR, she discussed her positive outlook on the relationship between NAR and REALTORS® in the Philippines.

“NAR will really help REALTORS® in the Philippines level up their professionalism and code of ethics,” Yia said. “With NAR’s help, we are lifting the bar of excellence.”

The attendees at the event enjoyed traditional cuisine from the Philippines, and many guests wore traditional Filipino clothing.

Jennifer Tasto, a California based REALTOR® and currently the NAR President’s Liaison to Philippines, informed the crowd that the National Association of REALTORS® has over 4,000 International members, and almost 700 of those REALTORS® are from the Philippines.

“A lot of this success has come from the support and hard work of Evangeline Yia, CREBA leadership, and the International Real Estate Members of the Philippines,” she said.

CREBA is a non-profit that was established in the Philippines in 1973. It is the recognized umbrella organization of some 4,000 firms, individuals and associations directly or indirectly involved in land and housing, construction, allied industries and various professional fields of discipline.

Sharmin Albacete, CREBA’s Executive Director, said that his organization was chosen in 2011 as the exclusive cooperating association of NAR in the Philippines.

“As the sole partner of NAR in the Philippines, we are committed to help promote the highest degree of ethics in the real estate profession,” said Albacete. “Our partnership with NAR has allowed us to gain insights on how other countries are able to address their own housing issues and explore new ideas.”

Click here for more photos

2016-nar-global-goldThe National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) awarded the GOLD Global Achievement Program Award to the Global Investment Council of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) at its national meetings in Orlando, Florida. The award, which was won by SCCAOR’s Global Investment Council during its first year of existence, is designed to recognize and reward the most active associations in global business.

Brad Gill, the committee chair of the Council, said that it was a great privilege to serve as chair for the global investment council during its inaugural year.

“To receive such recognition from NAR this early for our council reassures me that we have created something great for our general membership,” said Gill.  “All the member volunteers on our committee as well as our staff liaisons have worked diligently this year to ensure that we will have a strong global presence here at SCCAOR now and well into the future.”

The Global Investment Council at SCCAOR coordinates with other internal committees and external organizations to make sure that its association is the recognized local resource for global real estate and multicultural clients.

NAR presents the GOLD Award to Councils that demonstrate “exceptional commitment to building members’ awareness of the global and multicultural business opportunities in their local markets.” Councils were evaluated in five focus areas: Business Plan, Marketing/Communication, Events/Education, Outreach and Benchmarking.

“SCCAOR is pleased to bring its members the resources, connections and training they need to be successful in the Global Real Estate Market,” said Hilda Ramirez, Director of PR, Education, and Events at SCCAOR. “The evolution of the internet has made investing in global real estate one of the fastest growing sectors in the profession.  It is an honor to be recognized as a NAR Gold Global Council in our first year of operation.”


For more information, visit


Members of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® had the opportunity to learn first-hand about differences that exist in real estate between the U.S. and China and how to effectively work with Chinese buyers while on an excursion to China at the end of October that included a professional conference with Beijing agents.

“We have a huge percentage of Chinese buyers in the Bay Area,” explained SCCAOR President Craig Gorman. “In order to work with them effectively, you need to know about Chinese culture. The best thing is to go there and experience it yourself.”

More than 150 top-producing agents attended a one-day conference at Beijing Homelink, the country’s largest real estate agency. Some of the many topics discussed included buyer and seller representation, fiduciary duty, ethics, portals and web sites, and the tremendous influence that Asian culture has had on real estate in the U.S., for example with Feng Shui.

“There is no course that can be taught that can replace what one learns from personal experience,” said Hilda Ramirez, Director of Professional Development at SCCAOR, who led the delegation to China. “The excursion provided an invaluable look into the everyday lives of the Chinese people at a variety of economic levels. An information exchange with Homelink agents in Beijing is an experience REALTORS® dream of.”

Suzana Kubota of Coldwell Banker Previews International said she came back with a better understanding of why schools and education play such an important role in the home buying process for Chinese people and the high standards and expectations the Chinese set.

Anne Hansen, a broker with Realty ONE Group, had the opportunity to meet with young 30-somethings who aspire to be real estate professionals. “They were dying for information,” she said. “How do you get listings. How do you get inventory. They want to be trained in sales. I think they’re very passionate.”