By Bonnie Wilson

Stopping by to say “hello” to our clients is the most important thing you can do to stay connected. Sometimes it can be a little awkward if you haven’t been in touch for a while. Here are a couple of steps I do to make the situation less stressful and more fun.

Always call or email ahead of time and say something like, “Hey, if you’re not too busy I’d like to stop by for a couple of minutes on Saturday morning. I have something I’d like to share with you.” Most people are home on Saturday morning and busy around the house or yard to its usually a good time.

Once I know that a few people are going to be home, I plan my route. Make sure to allow enough time for travel and to chat and catch up with each client.Then I assemble the “little something.”

Here are some of my suggestions:

  • My favorite is giving daffodils in the Spring. This is a great option because the American Cancer Society sponsors “Daffodil Days.” You order bunches for $10 each and it is a donation to the American Cancer Society which is a great way to start a conversation. Giving daffodils or another Spring time flower is always a hit and small bunches are usually not expensive. I have found great flowers at Safeway and they will help you make them look pretty.
  • Another gift idea is fresh strawberries, tied with a bow and your card. Be sure people are home for this one!
  • Small bags of jelly beans are good anytime. Around Easter, a bag of small chocolate eggs from See’s Candies is always a hit.
  • You can also give a pretty card with a note that says you have recently made a donation to your favorite charity in their name. If you aren’t sure which charity to pick, consider the Santa Clara County REALTORS® Foundation, which continually helps so many of those in need in our communities.
  • For families with little children, I will sometimes buy little Mattel toy cars & trucks for the boys and My Pony or Hello Kitty for the girls. It doesn’t have to be a large toy. If the family has kids, be sure you know their names!
  • Everyone (meaning real estate agents who are never shy except when they have to knock on a door) feels better when they come with a little something. Stopping by is the most important part. Just say “I was thinking about you the other day…”

Remember: Don’t just drop things off! But if you must drop it off, be sure and call and ask if they enjoyed your daffodils, etc. otherwise, in my opinion, it is a wasted effort. Lastly, follow up with a call, saying how much you enjoyed catching up. People remember that you took time from your day to remember them—sometimes for years. Now get out there and just do it!

Date:  Saturday, May 20, 2017
Time:  8:45 am registration  |  9:00 am to 11:00 am in the Garden
Location:  Jeffrey Fontana Park, corner of McAbee and Golden Oak Way

Join your fellow REALTORS® as we honor Officer Fontana’s memory by sprucing up his garden for the summer blooms! We will be spreading mulch, weeding, trimming tree suckers and fertilizing. Bring gloves if you have your own. Wear long sleeves and pants to protect from thorns. All tools and supplies (including gloves) are supplied by Martin-Fontana Parks Association. Refreshments will be supplied by MFPA to sustain your efforts!

CLICK HERE TO RSVP!

 

On April 19, The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® hosted a Member Appreciation Baseball Night at a San Jose Giants Game. Members came out to the ballpark early and enjoyed a free tailgate — tacos and drinks galore! A few hours later everyone entered the ballpark and watched our President, Rick Smith, throw out the first pitch at the game (see below for video). Thank you to all the members that came out and made it a truly memorable night. See you all next year!

 

 

Photos from the game:

The Wood Smoke Reduction Incentive Program was developed by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to improve local air quality and reduce wintertime particulate matter pollution by helping Bay Area homeowners and landlords replace their wood-burning heating devices with cleaner options.

To be eligible, applicants must own a property that (1) is a residential unit located within the Air District’s jurisdiction, and (2) contains an operational wood-burning stove or fireplace, used for heating purposes. Qualifying wood-burning devices do not include those meant for cooking purposes.

Applicants may apply for one project option per property. Project options and base award for each project option are listed below:

In addition to the base funding shown above, applicants may be eligible to receive additional funding if they or their property meet one or more of the following Highly Impacted Resident conditions shown below:

For more information and to learn how to apply, visit the Bay Area Air Quality Management District website.

Heather Wills has joined SCCAOR as our new Events Coordinator. She will handle the planning, promotion, and execution of SCCAOR’s many well-known events.

“I am very excited to be joining SCCAOR,” she said. “I look forward to using my previous experience to excel in this role and add value to all the Association’s events.”

Some of the events that Heather will manage include SCCAOR’s Installation event each January, the Member Appreciation Baseball game, the Golf Tournament, the Member Appreciation BBQ, the Convention & Trade Show, the Holiday Member Appreciation Party, and all the General Membership Meetings throughout the year.

She will work directly with Hilda Ramirez, SCCAOR’s Director of PR, Education, and Events. “Heather is a great addition to the team,” said Ramirez. “Her vast knowledge of the real estate industry coupled with her drive and determination make her the ideal person for this role.”

Wills is joining SCCAOR after working for Coldwell Banker as a Marketing Coordinator for the last ten years. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities like hiking and spending time with her family.


by Tony Ventura and Alexandria Kavalaris

A recent California Supreme Court ruling has potentially far-reaching implications for brokers acting as dual agents in a real estate transaction. On November 21, 2016, the California Supreme Court issued a ruling in Horiike v. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Company, holding that a real estate agent representing a seller owes a fiduciary duty to a buyer in the transaction when the listing and buying agents are licensed under the same broker.

The genesis of the lawsuit was the purchase of a Malibu mansion in which Coldwell Banker acted as a dual agent. The buyer, Hiroshi Horiike, was represented by a Coldwell Banker agent in Beverly Hills. The property was listed by a Coldwell Banker agent from another office. Before completing the purchase, Mr. Horiike signed two agency disclosure forms required by California law (See Civ. Code §§2079.14; 2079.16; 2079.17), as well as the “Consent for Representation of More Than One Buyer or Seller” form.

The dispute arose after Mr. Horiike purchased the property and discovered that the property’s living area was actually 9,434 square feet, as opposed to the “approximately 15,000 square feet of living area” represented in the listing agent’s marketing materials for the property. Mr. Horiike sued the listing agent on the basis that both the agent and the broker Coldwell Banker breached their fiduciary duty by failing to advise him to hire a third party to verify the actual square footage.

The case was tried before a jury and at the close of the case, the listing agent moved for nonsuit as to the breach of fiduciary duty cause of action on the basis that the listing agent exclusively represented the seller in the transaction and therefore did not owe a fiduciary duty to Mr. Horiike. The trial court granted the motion for nonsuit as to the listing agent, and instructed the jury that, in order to find Coldwell Banker liable for breach of fiduciary duty, the jury had to find that a Coldwell Banker agent other than the listing agent (who the trial court found did not owe a fiduciary duty) or the buyer’s own agent (who was never sued) had breached a fiduciary duty to Mr. Horiike. The jury then returned a special verdict in favor of Coldwell Banker on all causes of action.

The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment on the breach of fiduciary claim against the listing agent and Coldwell Banker, concluding that the listing agent, as a salesperson working under Coldwell Banker’s license, owed a duty to Mr. Horiike “equivalent” to the duty owed to him by Coldwell Banker. The court reasoned that because Coldwell banker acted as the dual agent of the buyer and seller in the transaction, it owed a “fiduciary duty of utmost care, integrity, honesty, and loyalty in dealings with either the seller or the buyer.” Observing that the listing agent executed the forms on behalf of Coldwell Banker as its associate licensee, the court held that the listing agent owed the same duty to Mr. Horiike and had breached that duty by failing to communicate all of the material information he knew about the square footage, including the apparent contradiction between the marketing materials and the square footage in the public record documents.

Upon appeal to the California Supreme Court, the sole question before the Court was whether the listing agent, as an associate licensee for Coldwell Banker in the sale of the Malibu residence, owed a duty to Mr. Horiike to take certain measures to inform him about the property’s square footage: specifically, to investigate and disclose all facts materially affecting the property’s value or desirability, regardless of whether those facts could have been discovered by Mr. Horiike and his agent.

The Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court’s ruling, finding that listing agents owe fiduciary duties to the buyer when both buyers and sellers are represented by agents from the same brokerage. The Court reasoned that an agent’s relationship is derived from the agency relationship between the broker and the client. As such, the relationship between the broker and agent cannot be uncoupled.

This ruling further complicates the controversial real estate practice of dual agency, which is allowed by California law, but creates a situation in which one person must act as the agent of two parties whose interests inherently conflict. While this inherent conflict cannot fully be resolved, the take-away from the Supreme Court’s ruling in Horiike is as follows: the primary difference between the disclosure obligations of an exclusive representative of a seller and a dual agent is the dual agent has a duty to learn and disclose facts material to the property’s price or desirability, including those facts that might reasonably be discovered by the buyer.

That said, the Court acknowledged that more difficult questions about the scope of a real estate salesperson’s fiduciary duties when functioning as a dual agent may be raised in future litigation. For example, does the dual agent need to disclose confidential information obtained from the seller or otherwise compromise the agent’s ability to fulfill obligations to the seller? These are questions for another day. At present, the Supreme Court ruling underlines the fact that real estate agents in a dual agency transaction must be careful to observe their fiduciary duties to both the buyer and the seller and must carefully consider the risks of dual agency transactions in general.

If you have further questions regarding copyright issues, please feel free to contact either Tony Ventura or Alexandria Kavalaris at Ventura Rossi Hersey & Muller, LLP.

In the City of San Jose REALTORS® and their clients own many rental properties and play a vital role in providing safe well-maintained housing. On Tuesday, April 18th the San Jose City Council will consider new measures that attempt to make housing more affordable; instead, the proposals make the costs of maintaining and managing rental property more uncertain and expensive for good tenants and landlords alike, while giving bad actors the tools to abuse the new laws. SCCAOR supports efforts to help renters in San Jose, but does not believe costly mandates make housing more affordable for all.

The Ellis Act Ordinance:

  • Under the Ellis Act, if you choose to redevelop your property but continue to operate it as a rental property, all the replaced units and any additional units you might add will be subjected to rent control. Tell the Council to support policies that add more housing not limit it. Ask them to exempt new units from the rent control law.
  • If you choose to redevelop your rent controlled property as for sale housing you will be required to pay out each tenant thousands of dollars. This is on top of other development fees and costs the city already imposes.
  • Read the proposed Ellis Act Ordinance by clicking here.
The Tenant Protection Ordinance:
  • Tenants have the ability to file frivolous claims for repair because the City does NOT require verification that the claims are legitimate. This will grant tenants the ability to file frivolous claims to extend their just cause protection endlessly.
  • Tenants have no responsibility to prove that any claims they make are true, they are essentially given unlimited protection under this new law. The burden of proof is on the landlords to prove the tenants are being truthful.
  • Under this law, a landlord would have to provide evidence of a lease violation or proof that an illegal act was committed to evict a tenant. This harms a landlord’s ability to keep their good tenants safe from their bad ones.
  • Read the proposed Tenant Protection Ordinance by clicking here.

How Can You Help?

Attend the San Jose City Council Meeting on April 18th
Where: 
200 E Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95113
When: Tuesday, April 18th at 1:30 PM

Sign the Petition: Say NO to the proposed Ellis Act and Tenant Protection Ordinance by Clicking Here.

Contact the Mayor and City Council:

Mayor Sam Liccardo (408) 535-4800 mayoremail@sanjoseca.gov
Councilmember D1 Chappie Jones (408) 535-4901 District1@sanjoseca.gov
Councilmember D2 Sergio Jimenez (408) 535-4902 District2@sanjoseca.gov
Councilmember D3 Raul Peralez (408) 535-4903 District3@sanjoseca.gov
Councilmember D4 Lan Diep (408) 535-4904 District4@sanjoseca.gov
Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco (408) 535-4905 District5@sanjoseca.gov
Councilmember D6 Dev Davis (408) 535-4906 District6@sanjoseca.gov
Councilmember D7 Tam Nguyen (408) 535-4907 District7@sanjoseca.gov
Councilmember D8 Syliva Arenas (408) 535-4908 District8@sanjoseca.gov
Councilmember D9 Don Rocha (408) 535-4909 District9@sanjoseca.gov
Councilmember D10 Johnny Khamis (408) 535-4910 District10@sanjoseca.gov