Hilda Ramirez honored at Latino Heritage Leadership Awards Ceremony

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Congratulations to SCCAOR’s Director of Public Relations, Communication, & Education, Hilda Ramirez, for being honored at the 4th Annual Latino Heritage Leadership Awards Ceremony in Santa Clara. Hilda was recognized by Senator Bob Wieckowski and awarded the “Latino Heritage Leadership Award” for her professional accomplishments in several community organizations. She is one of the founders of the National Hispanic Organization of Real Estate Associates (NHORA), which advocates for consumer education and business leadership.

Senator Wieckowski to honor Hilda Ramirez at the 4th Annual Latino Heritage Leadership Awards Ceremony in Santa Clara

Senator Bob Wieckowski will honor several top achievers in the Latino Community on Friday afternoon when he hosts the 4th Annual Latino Heritage Leadership Awards Ceremony at the Council Chambers of Santa Clara.

One of this year’s honorees is Hilda Ramirez, the Director of PR, Communications, and Education for the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR). Ramirez is one of the founders of the National Hispanic Organization of Real Estate Associates (NHORA), which advocates for consumer education and business leadership.

hilda-ramirez“I am so proud of Hilda’s community activism,” said SCCAOR CEO Neil Collins. “She is a very worthy recipient.”

Other honorees this year include Amanda Montez of Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Mario Vargas of All Stars Helping Kids, and members of the Hispanic Community Affairs Council. The event coincides with National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is observed from September 15th through October 15th.

“I look forward to honoring Hilda Ramirez and the other recipients at my Latino Heritage Leadership Awards Ceremony this Friday,” said Senator Wieckowski. “Hilda is a great advocate for housing in Santa Clara County and helps local professionals better serve their clients by improving their marketing skills. Many businesses are better off because of the training and consulting she provides on important communication issues.”

The ceremony will start at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 7th. It will take place in the Santa Clara Council Chambers, located at 1500 Warburton Avenue. The event is free and open to the public; however, a limited number of RSVPs will be accepted. People wishing to attend are asked to call Senator Wieckowski ‘s District Office at 510-794-3900 or RSVP online at bit.ly/2cUlGYH .

Bob Wieckowski represents the 10th Senate District in the California State Legislature, one of the more diverse areas in the state of California. His district stretches from southern Alameda County into Santa Clara County. He was elected into office in 2014. While in office he has focused on job creation, clean technologies, protecting the environment and reducing unnecessary regulations.

Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® to Hold 26th Annual Convention & Expo

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Over 1,500 real estate professionals will come together at the Santa Clara Convention Center on Tuesday, October 4th for the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® 26th Annual Convention & Expo.

The guest speakers at this year’s event include a host of well accomplished and respected industry professionals. They will share valuable insight and tips on how REALTORS® can grow their business and stay relevant in today’s competitive landscape. The convention will also include technology workshops which will provide information about the latest technologies in the real estate industry.

Kristi Kennelly, a national speaker from REALTOR.com, will kick things off when she takes the main stage at 10:00 a.m. She will walk the audience through the day in the life of a mobile savvy agent. Kennelly, formerly an award-winning Broadway and professional theater actress, has been involved in real estate marketing and mortgage technology for almost 20 years.

Top industry CEOs – including Chris Trapani of Sereno Group, Sean O’Toole of Property Radar, and James Dwiggins of Next Home – will share insights on the disruption and evolution of the real estate industry. Their panel, called “If You Build It, Will They Come?”, will be moderated by Michael Soon Lee.

The Convention will also feature more than 70 exhibitors that provide products and services to the real estate industry. This will provide an excellent opportunity for REALTORS® to network and mingle with businesses and individuals that are having a direct impact on the real estate industry.

REALTORS® and those who serve the real estate industry will not want to miss this year’s event! To register and see a list of exhibitors that are attending, visit www.sccaor.com/2016Convention. You can also download the mobile app for this year’s Convention at my.yapp.us/SCCAOR.

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Congratulations Pete Smith – Winner of the 2016 Santa Clara County REALTORS® Foundation Chili Cook-Off

chiliA new King of Cuisine was crowned last night at the 2016 Santa Clara County REALTORS® Foundation Chili Cook Off. Congratulations to Pete Smith of Intero Real Estate Services on his winning recipe, Pete’s Fire Breathing Dragon Chili. It was delicious; ingredients included 17 pounds of beef sirloin and a few jalapenos for extra kick. For the first time in the history of the event, the same entry received top honors from both the “Celebrity Judges and the People’s Choice Award”. Pete’s name will be proudly added to the perpetual trophy. Proceeds from the event support the grants awarded by the charitable arm of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS, the SCCR Foundation.

SCCAOR’s Erika Carrasco Named One of Top Latino Agents in the Country by NAHREP

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Congratulations to SCCAOR member Erika Carrasco of Intero Silver Creek, who was recently recognized as one of the top Latino real estate agents in the country by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals [NAHREP].

“I feel very accomplished and blessed to be able to help out many families,” she said.

Carrasco, who ranked 90th on NAHREP’s list of Top 250 Latino Agents, generated more than $32.4 million in sales volume in 2015 on 89 transaction sides. She earned $886,762 in gross commission. Based on these numbers, she was named the top Latino agent in Northern California. She was the only agent from San Jose to make NAHREP’s list this year.

The 250 top Latino agents chosen this year were selected from 700 candidates, the largest pool of applicants NAHREP has seen to date. Altogether they generated more than $5.18 billion in total volume.

This is the second time Carrasco has been named a top Latino agent by NAHREP, which recognized her last year as well. She is in the Chairman’s Circle at Intero and ranks in the Top 1% of agents.

Carrasco, who is originally from Mexico, said language has been one of the biggest obstacles she has faced as a Latino REALTOR®. She estimates that 90% of her clients are Hispanic.

“My biggest satisfaction is being able to make my clients’ dreams of owning a home come true,” she said.

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Consumers Focus on Reviews, Star Count When Choosing a REALTOR®

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, Realtor.com 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.

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Santa Clara County REALTORS® Foundation Event Raises More Than $18,500 for the Homeless

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 www.realtorshelpinghomeless.com.

Learn more about the Santa Clara County REALTORS® Foundation at www.sccrfoundation.org.

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City of San Jose’s Web Site Can Be a Valuable Tool for REALTORS®

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

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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.

Take Your Marketing to the Next Level by Using Video

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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.

 

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Dave Walsh Announces Candidacy for 2018 Treasurer of the California Association of REALTORS®

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 http://www.davewalsh418.com/.