Wire Fraud in Real Estate

Sharing this article on Wire Fraud in the Real Estate Industry because it scares me to death and it is more than just cyber security.  Hackers are making COPY CAT emails – emails that look and feel like legitimate but perhaps one or several characters are different.  Hackers are sending these fake emails to clients with alternate wire instructions.  Meaning the client wires their hard-earned money to the scammer and not the title company.  They wait till the client is in the thick of – it the middle of deadlines to send the email – in hopes the client misses the fact the email is NOT from their actual Realtor or Escrow team.
A few idea on how to stay aware of Copy Cat Emails.
SAVE ALL CONTACTS into your data base with their name, phone and CORRECT EMAIL. When any new emails come in that are not coming from YOUR CONTACT LIST – double-check it.  CALL THEM!  In fact, always double-check your reply emails or start a new email from YOUR Contact List.
Remove or Question any NEW NAMES in the From or CC portion of the email.  KNOW AND SAVE ALL THE NAMES and contact info of all the various parties to YOUR Real Estate transaction.  Your Realtor, lender, title and escrow officers, assistants etc.
ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT WIRE FRAUD.  We as your agents DID NOT send you that email nor are we aware you received it.  I try to over communicate with all parties to know when money is being sent, how wire info is obtained and when it is received.  However these scammers are pretending to be us – and unless our clients are diligent they too can lose their hard-earned money.
Wire Fraud can happen at any time during the real estate process.  So be diligent and double-check any emails with verbal communication.  It if feels off – it is!  Listen to your gut.  Slow down.  Take the time to be present when responding to emails.  Hackers are feeding off our nonstop lives knowing we’ll miss the small details.  As hurried as any Real Estate transaction can feel – nothing is worth rushing through the most important transaction of your financial life.
The more you know – the more we can prevent wire fraud.

I read this article at: Realtor Magazine – WIRE FRAUD Article

Got Real Estate Questions?   The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654

Email |   Info@TheCatonTeam.com

 

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

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The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

Bay Area housing market cools, but it’s still nuts – SF Chronicle

By: Kathleen Pender 

The Bay Area real estate market went into 2018 with a bang and out with a whimper.

In the first half of the year, the median price rose almost 17 percent to an all-time high of $875,000 in June. In the second half, it fell 10.3 percent from that peak, ending at $785,000 in December.

The December price was down 3.7 percent from November but up 4.6 percent from December 2017, according to a report Thursday from research firm CoreLogic. It includes all new and existing homes and condos in the nine Bay Area counties.

An earlier report from the California Association of Realtors — which includes only existing, single-family homes entered into a multiple listing service — said the Bay Area median price fell to $850,000 in December, down 6.1 percent from November and down 3.6 percent from December 2017. That was the first year-over-year drop since March 2012.

Any way you look at it, the market downshifted in the last three months of 2018. As the stock market plunged and mortgage rates rose a half percent to almost 5 percent, buyers backed off, inventory grew, price cuts surged, and price appreciation slowed from the double to single digits on a year-over-year basis.

The number of homes sold in December fell to 5,341 across all nine counties, down 13.2 percent from November and 21.6 percent from December 2017. That was the lowest sales count for a December in 11 years, CoreLogic said.

Many sellers, perhaps unaccustomed to a less-than-ridiculous market, took their homes off the market or let their listings expire. A total of 2,493 listings in the nine Bay Area counties were withdrawn or expired in December, compared with only 1,154 in December 2017 and 1,487 in December 2016, according to analyst Patrick Carlisle of the Compass real estate firm.

“December was rock bottom,” said Chad Eng, a Redfin agent in Silicon Valley. “Buyers are hesitating, on the sidelines. Sellers are still focusing on comps from six months ago.”

Instead of selling in days like they were earlier in the year, homes took weeks or even months to sell. Homes that closed in December had been on the market 29 days before getting into contract. That was up from 23 median days on market in November and 17 in December a year ago, the Realtors association reported.

Eng said things picked up around the middle of January, as the stock market recovered and mortgage rates fell back into the 4.5 percent range. “I wonder if it’s a sign of what we will see in the spring,” or just a normal seasonal rebound, he said.

Santa Clara County was the hottest market in the Bay Area — and most of the country — for the first part of the year as prices rose in the teens and 20s year over year. In February, its median price topped $1 million for the first time, rising to $1,080,000, up 27.8 percent.

That was the month a two-bedroom, one-bathroom, 848-square-foot home on Plymouth Street in Sunnyvale sold for $2 million cash — making headlines as the height of Silicon Valley insanity.

That was and still is a record price-per-square-foot for Sunnyvale, said Doug Larson, a Coldwell Banker agent, who represented the seller. “Now with the softening market, I doubt that anybody will beat it, at least for a while,” he said.

After hitting $1.15 million in June, Santa Clara’s median price has fallen to $1 million in December, exactly where it was a year ago.

January is always a slow month for the real estate market, as sellers recover from the holidays and get their homes spruced up for the busy spring season.

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“Homes that sell in the winter are typically homes that have been sitting on the market awhile and have to take a price cut,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather.

Right now, “buyers are in a holding pattern,” she added. “They don’t know if this is as good as it’s going to get, if prices come down or more homes come on the market.”

She noted that a slower market is good for buyers because “they have more negotiating power” and for sellers who are moving up to a more expensive home because “overall they are going to be saving more money.”

Fairweather predicts that prices will end the year about where they are now. “I would be surprised if they go down,” she said.

Nancie Allen, president of Bay East Association of Realtors, said the government shutdown in January made it hard to tell where the market is headed. The next two weeks will be a better indicator. The market now “is all over the place,” she said. Some homes in Fremont have been sitting on the market for a while, while one had 15 offers.

Aaron Terrazas, a senior economist with Zillow, said his data show that home prices in the last quarter of 2018 rose at their slowest annual pace for any quarter since 2010.

He predicts that prices will appreciate 5 to 6 percent this year in the San Francisco metro area and 7 to 8 percent in the San Jose metro area, assuming interest rates stay low.

Kathleen Pender is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. Email: kpender@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @kathpender

I read this article at: SF Chronicle

Got Real Estate Questions?   The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Call | Text | Sabrina 650.799.4333 | Susan 650.796.0654

Email |   Info@TheCatonTeam.com

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials | The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat | TheCatonTeam.com | Facebook | Instagram | HomeSnap | Pintrest | LinkedIN Sabrina | LinkedIN Susan

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  Mobile Real Estate by The Caton Team

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

DRE # |Sabrina 01413526 | Susan 01238225 | Team 70000218 |Office 01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

Market Update – Janurary 14, 2019

Hello Caton Team friends! 

Each Monday I post a quick video on Facebook and Instagram with a market update.  Today I am happy to report that this past weekend – open house turn out was the best since before the holidays.  Real, qualified, pre-approved buyers came out regardless of the rain.  This is live, from the trenches updates from myself and Susan in Newark and my fellow agents here on the San Francisco Peninsula.  By no means is this the start of Selling Season – but it is a start.

If you are thinking about buying this year, get approved TODAY!  Getting fully pre-approved can take some time due to the large volume of paperwork each bank is going to require.  It is best to be totally approved and underwritten by your lender of choice BEFORE you look at homes.  Once you are pre-approved the Caton Team starts the house hunt and focuses on homes since they themselves require time and consideration.  Buying Real Estate is a journey – not a race.  The more time you prepare – the better you can make solid decisions and once the market heats up – you can act as fast as needed.  In my experience, Buyers who take the time to understand their loan and their budget get the home they want often on the first try because they are prepared to do what it takes and already understand the impact of their actions.  It is nearly impossible to be a competitive and knowledgeable buyer if you haven’t taken the time to prepare. 

If you’re on the market to sell – hold tight!  Right now the market is in the buyers seat with a bit more inventory sitting due to the holidays.  However, interest rates are low now and that in itself is motivation to get in while rates are low.  So stay inline with the current market, adjust strategy as needed and make sure your home shows well. 

If you’re thinking of selling this year, contact your Realtor now to get a true market picture.  Each neighborhood is different.  Homes may be selling quicker in the mid peninsula but sitting across the bay or on the coast.  Be realistic with yourself and your Realtor with your expectations.  What fuels over bidding is high demand and low supply.  Right now we have low demand and normal supply.  California Economists believe the market is going to appreciate this year, even if the market is soft today.  The Caton Team knows come Spring – more buyers will be in the game and we expect a healthy market.

With all the talk that our market is in flux, people can get overwhelmed with the mixed messages and feel uncertain.  We believe that each client is unique and requires a high level of care and consideration.   Contact The Caton Team at anytime for a free, no strings attached consultation.  We love what we do and love helping people achieve their dreams and goals. 

How can The Caton Team help you?

Got Real Estate Questions?   The Caton Team is here to help.

We strive to be more than just Realtors – we are also your home resource. If you have any real estate questions, concerns, need a referral or some guidance – we are here for you. Contact us at your convenience – we are but a call, text or click away!

The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true.

A mother and daughter-in-law team with over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call | Text at: 650-799-4333 

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina
A Family of Realtors
Effective. Efficient. Responsive.
What can we do for you?

The Caton Team Testimonials

The Caton Team Blog – The Real Estate Beat

The Caton Team Website

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How to Buy While Selling Real Estate

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Visit us at:  Our Blog * TheCatonTeam.com * Facebook * Instagram * HomeSnap* Pintrest * LinkedIN Sabrina * LinkedIN Susan

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina DRE# 01413526 / Susan DRE #01238225 / Team DRE# 70000218/ Office DRE #01499008

The Caton Team does not receive compensation for any posts.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Third party information not verified.

Housing Predictions by Redfin

Heading into 2017, Redfin data scientists and thought leaders put their heads together to predict what the housing market has in store for the new year, under a new president.  The Trump administration ushers in three major policies that could significantly affect the long-term trajectory of the U.S. real estate market: infrastructure spending, tax cuts and changes to immigration policy. Next year, as these policies begin to take shape, their effect will mainly play out in new construction and mortgage rates.

Strong buyer interest, better access to credit and a modest increase in the number of homes for sale will allow home sales to grow, but not as much as in 2016.  Home price growth will hold steady. Homes will sell even faster next year, breaking this year’s record as the fastest real estate market. Although growth in new construction may be hindered by new immigration policies, we still expect to see more homes built in second-tier cities and more millennial homebuyers moving from the coasts to smaller and inland markets where they can find affordable starter homes that meet their aesthetic requirements.

  1. The housing market will continue to grow, but at a slower pace due to affordability pressures.

Next year the new administration will lead a shifting U.S. economy. Baby boomers will become less economically relevant as millennials–the largest generation of Americans— continue to come of home-buying age. Superstar cities will create much of the job growth, pushing wages in those cities up.

Yet, the percentage of homes in America’s largest cities that are affordable on the median income has declined the past two years and will continue to fall in 2017. Making things harder for people looking for  affordable homes, a lot of homeowners who have lived in their homes for several years and might be thinking about moving won’t list their homes for sale this year. That’s because they are among the millions of homeowners locked into a mortgage rate below 4 percent. Rising mortgage rates will likely work as an incentive for these people to stay in their homes to hold onto that low mortgage payment, or rent them out instead of selling them to make an increasing profit. We think this will lead to a permanent shortage of starter homes for sale, even as the inventory for expensive homes improves next year.

Even with rising affordability pressures, Redfin expects median home sale prices to increase 5.3 percent year over year, similar to the estimated 5.5 percent this year. Existing homes sales are forecasted to increase 2.8 percent in 2017, compared to the estimated 3.4 percent increase in 2016.

We believe price increases will hold steady despite slowing sales growth, because homebuyer demand is stronger now than it was at the same time last year, and because we foresee a small uptick in homes for sale.

The Redfin Housing Demand Index, based on thousands of Redfin customers requesting home tours and writing offers, increased 7.7 percent in November year-over-year. In addition, homebuyer demand for lower-priced homes is stronger now than a year ago. Note that this measure removes Redfin’s market share growth to reflect general buyer demand, not company growth.

We predict that inventory will recover slightly, up 1.7 percent year over year, after falling an estimated 3.4 percent in 2016. However, because we haven’t seen any increase in supply in the most affordable third of the housing market in more than eight months, we expect most of next year’s increase to be in the most expensive third of the market. Sales would be stronger if there were more starter homes on the market to meet demand from millennial homebuyers. The lack of starter homes will keep sales growth weak next year.

“An attribute that seems to define the Denver housing market going into 2017 is the high price of a typical starter home here,” said Stephanie Collins, a Redfin real estate agent in Denver. “Our entry-level homes are now significantly more expensive than they were a handful of years ago. There are far fewer of them available and a lot more buyers in the market searching for them. That, of course, is great news for people thinking of selling and moving up this year. We’re working closely with our first-time buyer clients to make sure they’re educated on the strategies they can use to win bidding wars and protect themselves in this uber-competitive market.”

  1. 2017 will be the fastest real estate market on record.

We expect 2017 to break the 2016 record as the fastest market on record, measured by the average number of days homes spend on the market before going under contract. This year, the typical home stayed on the market just 52 days, the shortest time recorded since Redfin began keeping track in 2009. Though buying a home generally takes longer than selling one, the trend is getting faster. Redfin buyers spent an average of 83 days searching for a home, seven days fewer than the same time last year.

Demand for short-notice tours has only increased. Five years ago, one in three requests were for same-day tours; today it is two in three. Same-day tours grew 27 percent so far in 2016 compared to the same period last year, while the number of home tours completed by Redfin agents grew 19 percent, accounting for market share growth.

Technology and customer behavior will continue to play a role in speeding up the homebuying and selling processes. The next generation of real estate technology will see innovation shift from online listings to hardware and real-world services that increase the efficiency of real estate transactions.

“Instead of merely being informed about homes for sale, homebuyers and sellers are looking for a competitive edge in the market. They want technology that will let them be the first to tour it and first to make an offer.

“More and more there are buyers who are comfortable with an online offer process that makes it easier and faster to close a deal,” said Karen Krupsaw, senior vice president of real estate operations at Redfin. “There’s a new mindset that the home purchase isn’t the once or twice in a lifetime move it once was and the wide acceptance of technology makes online offer writing a reasonable and often preferred approach for buyers. People see it as more of a transaction. They want to get it done efficiently and move on.”

  1. New-construction growth will slow.

Single-family new construction increased by 9 percent in 2016, but it’s still much lower than historical averages due largely to labor shortages. Given that nearly one in four construction workers are foreign-born, stricter immigration policies from the Trump administration are likely to make the problem worse. We think growth will slow to 6 percent in 2017 if these policy changes go into effect next year. Unfortunately, this affects the availability of affordable starter homes the most, which means higher prices for first-time buyers.

At present, the number of construction workers employed in residential housing is 40 percent lower than its 2006 peak.

  1. Mortgage rates will increase, but not too much.

We expect mortgage interest rates to increase, but to no higher than 4.3 percent on the 30-year fixed rate. Already, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate has increased from 3.5 percent at the end of October to just above 4 percent following the election. The recent rise in rates is largely attributed to Wall Street optimism regarding Trump’s proposals for increased infrastructure spending and tax cuts. In short, Wall Street is now anticipating higher economic growth and inflation in 2017, and reshuffling to stocks from bonds. In general, when investors buy fewer bonds, bond prices fall (yield rises) which pushes up mortgage rates.

Rates are still very low relative to historical averages and expected to remain lower than in 2015 when the 30-year fixed rate was 4.5 percent.

  1. More people will have access to home loans.

Starting in 2017, the government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie and Freddie will back bigger mortgages for the first time since 2006. The loan limits insured by these companies will increase to $424,100 from $417,000 in most regions of the U.S. In expensive housing markets, the allowable loan size increases from $636,150 from $625,500. This change makes it easier for more homebuyers to qualify for a mortgage in high-priced markets.

The Trump Administration recently suggested that they plan to privatize Fannie and Freddie.  We expect that proposed changes to the companies would not affect the mortgage market until 2018, due to the lengthy political process of repealing their charter.

Additionally, as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has achieved sounder financial footing, there is an increased likelihood that the White House will further lower FHA fees. These fees make it more costly for first-time buyers to purchase homes. In addition to a mortgage rate, FHA borrowers pay a one-time upfront fee of 1.75 percent of the mortgage balance and annual premiums of 0.85 percent. In 2015, the Obama administration lowered annual premiums from 1.35 percent, but these fees are still higher than the 0.60 percent rate in 2011. The upfront FHA fee hasn’t budged in five years, and is much higher than the 1 percent rate it was in 2011.

Finally, in 2016 large financial institutions such as Bank of America, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Quicken all introduced mortgages requiring as little as 1 percent to 3 percent down. We expect increases in the availability of low downpayment mortgages to draw more millennial buyers into the housing market.

  1. Millennials will move to second-tier cities.

In the final stretch of the 2016 housing market there have been more first-time buyers entering the market, particularly millennials aged 28-31. However, they’re not into fixer-uppers. Forty-one percent of first-time buyers surveyed by Redfin chose design quality, floor plan and finishing touches as the top features they look for in a home, surpassing other factors like green space (34 percent), length of commute (32 percent) and property taxes (15 percent). In order to get the high-end finishes and design styles they want, they’ll have to buy in more affordable cities like Raleigh, North Carolina, Austin, Texas, and North Port, Florida, which lead the country in the number of new residential building permits per 1,000 people.

“First-timers are looking for high-end features and amenities in their starter homes,” said Scott Nagel, president of real estate operations at Redfin. “Millennials especially are looking for high-quality appliances and other finishes in exchange for giving up the flexibility that comes with renting.”

  1. Real estate commissions will continue to fall.

As alternative real estate brokerages become more common, people will pay less in commissions. A 2016 Redfin survey of 2,000 people who bought or sold a home in the last year showed that most sellers got a discount on the commission they paid to their broker, and so did almost half of buyers. This was a big increase from 2015 when just 37 percent of buyers got a refund of at least $500.

As a growing number of disruptive companies offer new, money-saving ways to buy and sell homes, we expect more consumers to adopt these approaches. Additionally, we expect that among people who use traditional brokerage services to buy or sell their homes, more will negotiate the commission paid to their agents. Either way, the result is more people saving more money on real estate fees.

Politics will play a larger role in next year’s housing market than in years past. The Trump administration proposals on new infrastructure spending, mortgage market reforms and changes to immigration will shape the 2017 housing market amidst strong buyer demand and mounting affordability pressures from higher prices and mortgage rates.

On a side note – The Caton Team uses modern technology for our Real Estate business.  We are a paperless office, we sign digitally, yet we keep old traditions like listening and putting our clients first – How Can The Caton Team Help You?

I read this article at: https://www.redfin.com/blog/2016/12/redfins-seven-housing-predictions-for-2017.html?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1001830_Blog+Digest+12.18.16-Split_1&utm_source=strongmail

Remember to follow our Blog for the local real estate beat, a pulse on the San Francisco Peninsula at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200

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5 Popular Trends in New-Home Construction

5 Popular Trends in New-Home Construction

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS

What building materials are trending in new-home construction? The latest Annual Builder Practices Survey, conducted by Home Innovation, reveals what buyers can expect to see in the new-home market.

  1. Garages: The garage door is getting more enhancements, including windows, insulated doors, and doors made of composite or plastic materials. In 2014, 32 percent of all new single-family homes had bays for three or more cars—the most ever recorded in this study’s history.
  1. Flooring: Carpeting continues to be the most popular flooring option for new construction, with about 83 percent of all new-home bedroom installations having carpeting. However, only about 40 percent of living rooms now have carpet. Hardwood flooring – both solid and engineered types – is the second most popular type of flooring, and is included in 27 percent of all new-home installations. Ceramic tile (which appears in 72 percent of all bathroom floor installation) follows in third place, making up 20 percent of all new-home floor installations, according to the survey.
  1. Countertops: For kitchen countertops, granite continues to reign at 64 percent of new-home installations. Quartz/engineered stone is gaining popularity while laminate, solid surfacing, and ceramic tile are losing appeal.
  1. Appliances: Cooktops and wall oven combinations are gaining in popularity and make up about 24 percent of the market, compared to freestanding ovens (at 45 percent). Freezer-on-bottom refrigerators are gaining in popularity at 19 percent, while side-by-side has fallen to 28 percent of the share. 
  1. Kitchen sinks: More buyers are paying attention to their kitchen sink, with the single basin kitchen sink making a comeback, growing from 5 percent to 20 percent of all new single-family homes in the past decade. Also growing in popularity are granite/stone kitchen sinks (at 8 percent). One-piece cultured marble lavatories are continuing to decline in demand, according to the survey.

Source: “Material World: The Hottest Trends From the 2015 Builder Practices Survey,” BUILDER Online (July 29, 2015)

I read this article at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/08/04/5-popular-trends-in-new-home-construction?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BVwQu3B9EOtOGt&om_ntype=RMODaily

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008