By Eric Boyenga, Boyenga Real Estate

The widespread accessibilstarsity of the Internet has brought about an era of increasing transparency in the world of real estate. With more people starting their search for a real estate agent on Google rather than asking their friend or neighbor, an agent or broker’s online reputation has become crucial.  More specifically, consumers are focusing heavily on the reviews and “star count” found on popular websites such as Zillow, Yelp, Facebook, Homelight, Trulia, to name a few. Because of this, many consumers often start and end their REALTOR® search online, bypassing the traditional personal recommendation. Even if a REALTOR® is referred by a friend or family member, a blemished reputation or weak online presence can cause the consumer to search elsewhere for an agent.

This new online era of agent search has made it critical to build and manage your online reputation.  Having powerful reviews as an agent or a team goes a long way in helping buyers and sellers decide who they end up choosing to represent them. But going further than that, the reviews of individual agents will reflect back on their brokerage or team as a whole and vice versa. So while agents should place a heavy focus on the client experience knowing the power of positive reviews, brokers should simultaneously be keeping a close eye on their firm’s online reputation, as well as the reputation of the agents working under them. The interesting and inevitable transition from word of mouth recommendations to online reviews has transformed consumer’s search, and understanding the industry’s transformation will help agents and brokerages succeed in the modern world of real estate.

The Santa Clara County REALTORS® Foundation, the charitable arm of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS®, raised more than $18,500 for those who are homeless at a breakfast event held at the Capital Club on July 28th. The Foundation’s ultimate goal is to raise $1 million for those who are without shelter in Santa Clara County.

“The purpose of the Foundation is to bring REALTORS® together to help our communities with compassion and our $1 Million Homeless Challenge aligns perfectly with our mission and goal,” explained Bonnie Wilson of Alain Pinel REALTORS®, who chairs the organization.

Wilson and all the other REALTORS® who attended the event have pledged to give 1 percent of their commissions to the Challenge.

“It was terrific to see so many REALTORS® happily donating a portion of their commissions to help the homeless through the SCCR Foundation,” said Rick Smith of Windermere Properties, who will serve as President of SCCAOR in 2017. “Housing is our business. Seeing REALTORS® step up to help those that do not have a place to live was gratifying.”

Kevin Cole was the top donor. Others included Dee Ramirez, Bob and Berta Bower, Leslie Zhong, Brad Gill, Nomita and Jagi Shahani, Barbara Lymberis, Doug Goss, Gustavo Gonzalez, Mary Tian and Jackie Walker.

“It was exciting and heartwarming to see so many of our members showing up and giving their time to learn more about eradicating homelessness from our Valley,” Lymberis said. “As a REALTOR® community, we should feel an obligation to jump into the huge, coordinated effort being made by our city, county and other organizations in helping to end homelessness right where we live.”

Guest speaker Doniece Sandoval, who is the founder and CEO of Lava Mae, said she is working with the City of San Jose and Santa Clara County to bring full-service pop-up centers to local homeless communities. Her company brings bathroom buses to those who are homeless in San Francisco. Sandoval said her goal is “to bring dignity and hospitality to the homeless.” The SCCR Foundation hopes to partner with Sandoval and provide volunteers.

Those who would like to contribute to the SCCR Foundation’s $1 Million Homeless Challenge may do so at

Learn more about the Santa Clara County REALTORS® Foundation at

By Nick Pham, Broker/Owner of PN Real Estate and Planning Commissioner for the City of San Jose


You can become more knowledgeable as a REALTOR® by tapping into the City of San Jose’s web site. The site provides a lot of great information about the housing market, development projects and even permit projects.

When you are aware of the city’s future development plans, you become more of an area expert.You can better help your clients with their buying, selling and investment decisions.

Every city planning department has a “General Plan” that outlines the future of the city. San Jose’s General Plan Envision San Jose 2040 outlines all the major community strategies, growth areas and land use policies for the entire city for the next 24 years.

The city’s web site also provides land zoning information as well as building permit information. You can simply enter a property address and find out what zone it is in and potentially how the neighboring zoning may affect your client’s decision.

San Jose has seen major development growth since the stock market crash of 2010.   There are many projects, both residential and commercial, sprouting in every neighborhood.

I have learned that by being a resource of information, my clients often reach out to me about their real estate and non-real estate-related questions. This continues to put me in front of them.


By Julie McCoy

In order to effectively market your business, you need to incorporate video.

Consumers are looking to get the information they need quickly and video allows them to do that. They would much rather watch a one-minute video than read, because it saves them time. Video also is more entertaining than reading.

Another benefit of using video in your marketing is that you can post it on a variety of outlets, including your web site, Facebook and YouTube.

“One piece of content can be used over a broad range of channels,” said Thomas Arballo, SCCAOR’s new videographer.

As a SCCAOR member, you are entitled to a FREE 60-second professional video (a $300 value) shot in our in-house studio. Why not come in and take advantage of this great member benefit and use the video in your marketing efforts? Click here to schedule an appointment.

It’s important to work with a professional to make your videos, Arballo emphasized. “It takes all the guesswork out of it,” he said.

Hiring a professional can cost $1,000 or more per video, but it’s worth the investment, Arballo pointed out. A professional already has the video equipment, so you don’t have to go out and buy anything. Additionally, a professional has more video experience. He or she will know from which angles to get the best shots and will be able to determine the best time of day to shoot the house. A professional also will be able to do a better job editing the final product.

When you work with a professional, you have someone to bounce your ideas off of. A professional also will be able to come up with ideas you might not have ever thought of, Arballo noted.

If you’re looking for a professional, start by asking your family, friends or colleagues for referrals. Should they not know of anyone, go to local businesses and ask them who they use for marketing. Find out who their web designer is and then ask the web designer if they know of a video person, Arballo said.

Arballo noted that it’s important to trust the professional you work with.

“The best relationship I have with clients is when they fully trust me,” he said.

If you’re going to try shoot videos yourself, you need to buy your own equipment, including the camera, microphone that can mount on the camera and lights. It’s also important to figure out who your audience is and do some research, Arballo said.

Mike Bui of Equity One Real Estate has incorporated video into his marketing efforts for the past six years.

“If they are not using video, they’re missing a whole medium of being able to connect to potential clients,” he said. “Video is the No. 1 thing that people like to watch on their phone, their tablets and their computers.”

Bui noted that video has made an impact on his business particularly in the last three years. Currently, about 70 percent of Equity One’s marketing budget goes toward video while the remaining 30 percent goes toward print advertising, according to Bui.

It’s important to make sure your videos are short and sweet, straight and to the point, Bui emphasized. A video should be one minute to two-and-a half minutes long. The first 10 seconds have to be an eye-catcher. Often if a video lasts longer than a minute and a half, people will skip over it and go to another one.

Millennials like to watch videos, so using this medium is a good way to reach out to this large and growing generation, said Bui, who is a Millennial himself.

Equity One is doing more and more videos, Bui said. “We’re trying to do two videos a week now,” he said. “We’re pushing out agents to do more live stream videos, so it seems more real life. Those videos actually get watched a lot more than canned videos. People like to know that they’re watching live video.”

Don Jessup of Silicon Valley Associates began using video three years ago.

“It’s okay to make stumble once in awhile,” he said. “It makes you human, a little more real. Have fun with it. Just do it.”

Jessup incorporates video in his biweekly show, which provides company and industry news. He also does video tours of homes and uses video in emails, for example when he emails people to thank them.

Additionally, he uses video to promote events in which Silicon Valley Associates participates.

“Everyone wants to see what we did at Make-A-Wish,” he said. “You’re not just doing business, you’re doing other stuff.”

It’s important to have a call to action with your video, Jessup emphasized. “If you don’t ask, you don’t get,” he said. “In everything you do, there has to be a call to action.”

In order to be competitive, you need to use video, Jessup emphasized.

“If you are competing with the big boys, so to speak, you need to be doing it,” he said. “It makes every deal easier to close. If you’re going to be in the Top 10 percent, it’s one of the things people do.” Video provides a third-party valuation when people look for you on the web, Jessup noted. “Video is another thing when they search Don Jessup,” he said.

If you aren’t already using video to market your business, now is the time to start. Businesses are increasingly turning to video for their marketing needs and this will only continue to become more popular in the years to come. Video isn’t a trend that’s going away, it’s here to stay.


dave-walshLocal REALTOR® Dave Walsh has announced his candidacy to join the California Association of REALTORS®’ (C.A.R.) leadership team as 2018 Treasurer. As one of the most influential trade organizations in the state of California, C.A.R. promotes professionalism in real estate and advocates for its members’ ability to conduct business as well as real property ownership and the preservation of real property rights.

“I’m excited about continuing to give back to a profession that has meant so much to me and my family,” Walsh said. “There is a real sense of community that organized real estate brings to the table as we work to make our communities stronger by advocating for home ownership and private property rights.”

Walsh brings more than 36 years of real estate experience to his candidacy. Having served as President of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® in 2008, during the last economic downturn, he has experienced leading through difficult times.

“I am truly optimistic about the future, but there will be challenges along the way,” Walsh said. “Technology is disrupting the real estate industry and  more change is coming to our profession in the form of tax reform. Our leaders must be prepared and ready to guide our membership through the turbulence ahead.”

Walsh serves as broker of an Alain Pinel Real Estate office and founder of the largest Open Tour and Marketing Meeting in the Santa Clara Valley. His real passion comes out though in community service and advocacy. Walsh has raised tens of thousands of dollars annually for local schools and the Santa Clara County REALTORS® Foundation. He is also a C.A.R. and National Association of REALTORS® Director, weighing in on policy that impacts real estate at the state and national level.

The California Association of REALTORS® includes more than 100 local member Associations and more than 170,000 REALTORS®, REALTOR® Associates and affiliate members who abide by a rigid code of professional ethics.

More information about Dave Walsh can be found at

By Julie McCoy


About 7.2 million people lost their homes due to a foreclosure or a short sale in the last recession, according to Irvine-based RealtyTrac. The good news is that this year and in the years to come, many of these people are getting back into the housing market again.

More than half a million  “boomerang buyers” re-entered the housing market last year and this year that number is expected to jump to a little more than 1 million, RealtyTrac predicts. “This is kind of a year where they really start coming out of the woodwork,” said RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist.

In the next couple of years, by 2018, the number of boomerang buyers getting back into the housing market is expected to go up to more than 1.3 million.boomerang

Using foreclosure, affordability, and demographic data,  RealtyTrac predicts nearly 3.5 million Americans will become eligible to buy a home over the next three years.

“Realize you’re going to be getting a lot more interest from these folks,” Blomquist said. “Don’t discount these boomerang buyers and say, ‘I don’t want to deal with these buyers.’ This is going to be a growing part of the market for the next several years.”
The term boomerang buyers is a good name for them because they’re rebounding and coming back, just like a boomerang does when you throw it.

In some ways, boomerang buyers are similar to first-time buyers in that they don’t have a lot of money for down payment. But they also are different from first-time buyers in that they have been home owners before, Blomquist pointed out.

“They are not going into this totally blind,” he said. “They have actually learned about home ownership [unfortunately] the hard way. You’re not having to educate these folks completely on what home ownership is all about.”

Before you go too far down the path of looking for homes with boomerang buyers, make sure their history has been repaired, Blomquist advises. “That may take some time,” he said. “Coordinate with your mortgage broker to educate yourself as to what are the guidelines for FHA loans and Fannie/Freddie loans. Talk to the mortgage broker you use and get a template from them as to the time frame for boomerang buyers.”

Homeowners who hb2ap3_thumbnail_unnamed_20160715-001420_1ave gone through a foreclosure have to wait seven years to get it off their credit history and it typically takes three years (sometimes more, sometimes less) before they can get an FHA loan. Now that it’s been nine years since the recession started, many homeowners who experienced a foreclosure when it first began have passed the mandatory waiting periods. They have used the time to repair their credit and are now in a position to be able to buy again.

You as a REALTOR® need to become an advocate for boomerang buyers, Blomquist stressed. “The process of re-qualifying can be painful,” he said. “They are having to drudge up the bad stuff that happened seven years ago. That’s painful to relive that. You should be their advocate in helping them tell the story of why they were the victims, assuming they were. I think a lot of people were. You are the advocate and the buffer between them and the lender as they go through this somewhat painful process of re-qualifying,”

Don Jessup of Silicon Valley Associates worked with several boomerang buyers last year.

“I am sure we could have worked with a lot more of these people,” he said. “They have the ability to pay again. A lot of people are still trying hard to re-enter the market.”

While Jessup isn’t currently working with any boomerang buyers, he said he would be happy to start working with them again.

“I am not personally actively searching them,” he said. “It’s a good market. The problem is how do you find them. I think you could run ads saying, ‘Lost your home in 2007 or 2008? Now is the time to get back in the market.’ Offer credit seminars to people who have lost their homes.”

It’s really important to be sensitive when you’re working with boomerang buyers and to not be condescending or judgmental, Jessup emphasized. “Empathy is a good thing,” he said. “It has got to be running
through their mind, ‘What if I made a bad decision this time?'”

The reward of working with boomerang buyers is you’re helping people get their life back, Jessup noted. “There is a sense of accomplishment in getting a piece of their life back that they lost,” he explained. “It adds a sense of security in their lives when they get back to being a home owner.”

The challenge of working with boomerang buyers is that you have to be more aware of credit issues and pair them with a good lender who understands boomerang buyers and get them through the pre-approval process, Jessup explained.
Younger Baby Boomers and older Millennials are more interested in re-entering the market than older Boomers because they have more time to pay off a new home, he pointed out.

By Jim Myrick, Keller Williams

interview-1018333__180Have you ever heard the saying, “If you want to know the person’s character, look at his friends?”

The same holds true for Managing Brokers.  The agents in their office say a lot about the values and success of their business.

Are you being deliberate about who you are trying to recruit and retain? When it comes to agents,  talent attracts talent and non-talent does the same.  What also holds true is that non-talent repels talent.

Is your brokerage business set up to attract the best in the business or are you creating a group for the Island of Misfit Toys?

I think one of the big mistakes that Managing Brokers make is the same thing that many agents make. They try to be all things to all people.

What are the values and business model of your brokerage?  Don’t be afraid to put it out there and tell your story.  It will attract some and repel others and that is okay.  Who you will not hire also says a lot about your business.

Our business is becoming more and more transparent.  With the help of systems like Homesnap, everyone can see the production and type of business that your office and agents do.

After leaving management and becoming a partner in a larger office, I would get comments from associates saying, “Did you get tired of babysitting?”  I found it interesting how agents viewed their associates and themselves. Agents seeing their brokers tolerate and even cater to unprofessional and disrespectful behavior is extremely damaging.  Setting the bar and being uncompromising on it will reflect your character.

Terminating someone who violates your company values can actually be a good thing if done with class.  It shows that you have the courage to adhere to a set of principals and draws a line in the sand for you current associates.

When you put together a group of independent contractors, you can’t manage activities but you can have a common list of guiding principles.

Great sources for this are not only your competition but other successful businesses outside the real estate Industry. I call it being a “Business Scientist”.  Do the research to see what works and then implement it in your own business.


What would summer be without an outdoor BBQ? The two seem to go hand-in-hand. It’s certainly a tradition here at SCCAOR, where every year we show how much we appreciate you, our valued members, by providing a BBQ in our beautiful courtyard free of charge.

This year’s sold-out event, held last week, drew more than 400 people who were treated to great food and drinks and got to do some networking as well. Everyone got to enjoy their drinks with the commemorative glasses we gave away in honor of SCCAOR’s 120th anniversary.

To kick off the event in style, we held a reception inside our newly remodeled office with President Trisha Motter, where people could enjoy some appetizers and see the many exciting changes that we’ve made, especially to our membership department.

Don Jessup of Silicon Valley Associates, who attended the BBQ with his wife, Jennifer Chaing and their 5-year-old son, said he enjoyed the reception and the event overall.

“The reception for the new office was wonderful,” he said. “The remodel is beautiful. The BBQ was one of the best we have ever had. It was a good time for networking and seeing old friends. Thank you for giving back to the members of SCCAOR.”

We recognized several of our many outstanding members. Larry Fargher, CEO of Realcom Associates, received the Distinguished Member of the Year Award for his commitment and service to the real estate industry.

Joe Garcia of Camino Real Realty and Richard Matusich of Richard Matsuich & Associates were recognized for their 47 years of service.

A  dozen politicians cleared their busy schedules in  order to attend the BBQ. We’d like to thank them for coming as well:

  • Campbell Councilmember Jeff Cristina
  • Campbell Councilmember Paul Resnikoff
  • Campbell City Council Candidate Rich Waterman
  • Gilroy Councilmember Peter Leroe-Munoz
  • Milpitas Councilmember Debbie Giordano
  • Morgan Hill Councilmember Marilyn Librers
  • San Jose Councilmember Johnny Khamis
  • San Jose Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio
  • San Jose Council Candidate Dev Davis
  • Assemblymember Evan Low
  • Assembly Candidate Madison Nguyen
  • State Senator Bob Wieckowski

It was a great event and we look forward to seeing you at next year’s BBQ!

Get connected with us on social media!


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.”