SCCAOR Members Attend Annual NAR Legislative meetings in Washington D.C.

On behalf of current and future home and property owners throughout the country, SCCAOR members attended the National Association of REALTORS® Annual Legislative meetings in Washington D.C. They were joined by more than 9,600 REALTORS® from across the country with the aim to advance key real estate issues during the 2017 REALTOR® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.

Led by 2017 President Rick Smith and 2017 President-Elect Kevin Cole, the SCCAOR Leadership team joined fellow REALTORS® from California and across the nation to attend meetings and informational sessions. They also met with regulatory agency staff and lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss and advocate for real estate issues affecting their businesses, communities, and clients.

At the legislative-focused meetings, REALTORS® focused on several significant issues affecting the industry, such as flood insurance, tax reform, and sustainable homeownership.

Rick Smith (2017 SCCAOR President) and Kevin Cole (2017 SCCAOR President-Elect) with Rep. Ro Khanna

“REALTORS® are critical advocates for the real estate industry and for their clients, and this trip allowed us to educate our lawmakers that the wrong type of tax reform could cost homeowners hundreds or thousands of dollars more in taxes annually,” said Rick Smith.

SCCAOR members met with three members of Congress that represent parts of Santa Clara County: Rep. Ro Khanna, Rep. Zoe Lofgren and Rep. Anna Eshoo.

“We discussed important regulatory issues like proper oversight of PACE loans that impact home buyers and sellers in California,” said Kevin Cole.

Additionally, REALTORS® urged for the protection of sustainable homeownership by advocating for responsible reform of the secondary mortgage market, prohibiting the use of guarantee fees for any purposes other than credit-risk management, improving consumer protections for energy-efficiency improvement loans, and tax reform. CAR Treasurer-Elect and SCCAOR member Dave Walsh is the Key Contact for Rep. Zoe Lofgren and he led the meeting where she agreed that we should have tax policies that encourage homeownership and not punish it.

SCCAOR Members meeting with Rep. Anna G. Eshoo

One of the main issues discussed with Congressman Ro Khanna was the urgent need to pass a multiyear reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program before it expires on September 30. Khanna agreed that we needed to renew the flood insurance program without lapsing.

We appreciate the time and thoughtful feedback on our positions from all our members of Congress, which made this another successful trip to Washington D.C. representing all our REALTOR® members. For a full list of the issues that we discussed with our legislators, please visit the NAR Website

SCCAOR Members Attend 2017 Legislative Day in Sacramento

The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® once again made a strong showing in Sacramento this year during C.A.R.’s Legislative Day on May 3rd. With over 60 local members in attendance joining over 2,500 REALTOR® members from across the state.
Those in attendance heard from Governor Jerry Brown on how REALTORS® are critical to not only advocating at the state level, but on the ground in communities across California to ensure that home ownership housing opportunity is at the top of the local agendas.
SCCAOR, SILVAR and SAMCAR members then held a joint luncheon with a special guest speaker Assemblymember Marc Steinorth who talked about his efforts to create homeowner savings accounts with this bill AB 1736, which allows first-time homebuyers to annually deduct the amount deposited in the account from their state taxes, up to $10,000 per year for individuals, and up to $20,000 for couples.
After the luncheon SCCAOR members met with Assemblymember Ash Kalra, Assemblymember Evan Low, Assemblymember Kansen Chu, and State Senator Jim Beall to discuss the biggest issues facing the real estate industry in California.

The legislation we discussed was C.A.R’s opposition to AB 1059, which would ban dual agency in commercial transactions. We also opposed SB 640 which would lay the foundation of creating a service tax in California which would not only harm REALTORS®, but also the homebuyers that would pay the tax. Finally, we addressed a myriad of bills that would increase housing supply to address affordability and availability of housing in California. AB 1059 and SB 640 are now effectively two-year bills and will not be moving forward during 2017.

Later in the week, the Board of Directors for C.A.R. sponsored additional legislation that addresses ways of creating more housing opportunity. A summary of action items from the board meetings can be found on the C.A.R. website.
You can view more photos from Legislative Day on our Facebook album.

SCCAOR Members Volunteer to Help Clean, Fix, and Paint Local San Jose Home


Volunteers from the Santa Clara County REALTORS® Foundation and the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® joined together on April 22nd to take part in Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley’s Rebuilding Day.  They spent the day cleaning out, fixing, and painting a home in the Japantown district of Downtown San Jose. Check out the video (above) and the photos (below) from the event.

Visit the Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley website to learn more about how you can get involved in future projects. You can also visit the SCCR Foundation website to learn about how they are working hard to make Santa Clara County a better place to live.


Photos by Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley

Broker Tip: Three Tips for Disclosures that Protect You and Your Sellers

By Simon Offord, Esq.

One of the issues we continue to see on a regular basis are failure to disclose cases. Failure to disclose cases oftentimes result in the disgruntled buyer placing some level of blame on the real estate agents involved, so to the extent the agents can assist the sellers in this process, not only are the agents protecting the sellers, but they are also protecting themselves. This article is intended to help in this process.

Obviously, the cardinal rule is to be thorough, as the smallest omission could be considered concealment. Use these tips to avoid having to call us after mediation has been demanded or a suit has been filed. This certainly is not an exhaustive list, but is a good way to tighten up your disclosure process.


1. Require that your sellers take the time to fill out the Transfer Disclosure Statement and Supplemental Property Questionnaire themselves.

Make sure your sellers understand the importance of the TDS/SPQ by requiring they fill them out themselves, in their own handwriting. Sellers oftentimes do not take the disclosures seriously. This is oftentimes especially true when the sale is an “As-is” sale. Many sellers are under the impression that if their sale is “As-is” they do not need to disclose everything. NOT TRUE!
If there is not enough room on the standard forms, do not be afraid to provide an attachment. Consider also giving them a template or exemplar to use for the attachment. Include receipts of recent repairs as well.

Unless the agent takes the time to sit down with the sellers and stress the importance of the disclosures, you may be putting both the sellers and yourself at risk. Simply emailing the blank forms and asking they fill them out does not stress the significance of thinking through each question and providing all relevant information about the property.


2. Do not delegate!

It is not sufficient to merely direct the buyer’s attention to other documents. “See the Inspection Report” will not protect you or the client. You cannot rely on the buyers to actually read third-party reports, or understand what in those reports you are referring to. If there is something specific that you or your client are trying to convey and have personal knowledge of, actually put it in the disclosure!


3. Should I disclose ….?

One rule I thumb I like to use is if your client asks if they should disclose something, the answer should be yes! If, while preparing the disclosures, your client thinks something is important enough to ask you about, it is important enough to be included in the TDP/SPQ. This is not the time to sell the property, it is to protect the seller and agent.

In our experience observing the three tips above will go a long way in protecting you and your seller. Please visit the Law Offices of Peter N. Brewer blog and website to learn about other methods to protect yourself and for a host of other informative articles and information.

New Code of Ethics Training Requirements

As of January 1, 2017, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is requiring that all members take it’s Code of Ethics Course every two years. This means that you must complete the training at some point between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018.

Fortunately, Code of Ethics training is also included in your CalBRE license renewal requirements. So if you plan to renew your license between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018, your Code of Ethics requirement is covered.

If you are unsure whether you have complied with NAR Code of Ethics requirements, please contact the SCCAOR Membership Team at 408-445-8500 or through our online chat. Failure to meet NAR Code of Ethics requirement will result in a suspension of member services.

Note: The next compliance cycle will start January 1, 2019 and end on December 31st 2020.

Broker Tip: How to Stay Connected with Clients

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!

Upcoming Event: Jeffrey Fontana Park Annual Spring Spruce Up Event

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!



Recap: Member Appreciation Baseball Night

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: