Silicon Valley Talk, Interviews Tom Tognoli, Co-Founder of Intero Real Estate

Tom's-work-Photo SVT: How high will mortgage rates rise in 2014? Will the local market stall if rates go too high in Silicon Valley?

TT: At the NAR conference in San Francisco recently Chief Economist Lawrence Yun forecasted we’ll see a flat pace of sales in 2014 and a 6% increase in prices. He is also expecting interest rates to climb from their current average of 4.16% to 5.4% by the end of 2014. With rising rates, we anticipate more buyers rushing to get in their homes early in the year.

For the rest of 2014 we expect the housing demand to continue to be strong due to Silicon Valley’s strengthening job market. The increase in rates and prices will keep our market at a steady level.
The market for new homes, on the other hand, is expected to jump quite a bit. Yun predicts sales of newly built homes will climb 18.5% in 2014. Along with an increase in sales, locally we’re expecting a large increase in new-home construction starts, which will boost our market.

At Intero we expect Silicon Valley’s pace of sales to increase next year, along with prices. There’s just too much momentum going right now for a significant stalling or flat-lining to occur even with the anticipated increase in mortgage rates.
Overall we see a strong 2014 to look forward to.

SVT: How do you encourage others in your organization to communicate the core values?

TT: At Intero the core values of our company are the foundation we’re built on. Without them Intero would not exist today. Before we even came up with a name for our company when we founded it back in 2002 the first thing we did was to spend several days identifying those core values we wanted our company to be built on. From that was born the name Intero which means whole and complete in Italian. So, every time anyone who works at Intero introduces themself or gives someone a business card they are declaring our core values when they say the word Intero.

There are many ways we encourage others in our organization to communicate our core values. For example, I write a weekly inspirational blog that goes out every Monday morning at about 4:30 called Monday Morning MOJO ( We encourage everyone to share and repost it. It’s distributed via email not only to everyone at Intero, but thousands of people all around the world. After it is forwarded via email and shared on platforms like Facebook and Twitter it is reaching tens of thousands of people a week…people from every walk of life. In addition to my blog, my partners Gino Blefari and John Thompson blog each week as well on everything from technology, to leadership, to health and fitness, to market information. Our agents are getting touched and reminded of our culture/values by us virtually every day of the week first thing in the morning while they are drinking their first cup of coffee or tea. It is like we are feeding them intravenously with the Intero culture and values daily. They in turn cannot help but share the Intero “word”/culture.

Now, as much as I know our blogs and use of social media help drive our culture and values, I believe the most important thing we do as owners and leaders is we live it. Actions speak so much louder than words. So, if you log on and checkout and read our posts remember we are not only writing them but we are living what we write about daily ourselves. Whether it be things like our own health, fitness and wellness programs, or participation in the foundation we created when we started Intero….we do not talk our write about it unless we are doing it ourselves. The Intero Foundation is committed to supporting children in need within the communities we serve. The Intero Foundation has collected over $2.8 million through agent/employee contributions and fundraising events. Intero’s Value #4 is Commitment…we are committed to giving back to the community.
Yes we are a real estate company but when you peel it all back we are really a personal & professional growth and development company focused making a positive impact on the lives of everyone we touch and in the communities we serve.

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