Testimonials for The Caton Team, Sabrina Caton and Susan Caton

Testimonials From Our Clients

 

Sabrina and team are fantastic.  Responsive, honest, transparent and efficient.  She’s also well-connected in the real estate community on the peninsula – whether buying or selling, you can’t ask for better representation.  I highly recommned her!

– Kenny H.

 

To future clients of The Caton Team,

The Caton Team is made up of Susan Caton and Sabrina Caton, or as I like to refer to them as the Dynamic Duo of Real Estate. They are trustworthy, honest, straight-forward, and experts in the real estate business. I might be a little biased, because of my friendship with them, but nothing will test a friendship more than the process of buying and selling a home. As everyone knows when you sell your home you want the most money for the least amount of effort and you want the process to be quick and smooth. The Caton Team will make sure you have all of the necessary information and knowledge to understand how to stage your home and what the process will be along with a realistic timeline of what you can expect. If you follow their directions and listen to what they say, your home selling experience will be painless and quick. For us this ended up being less than a week with our home selling for more than what we expected. The entire process from filling out the required paperwork to negotiating went smoothly and was overall painless on our end. At the end of the day we got more than what we wanted and were in a great position to start hunting for a new home.

This brings me to how The Caton Team helped us buy a new home for what we wanted, while making sure that we got the home that we wanted. Since we had already bought and sold our first home with The Caton Team, using them again to buy another house did not require much thought, actually required no thought. We went into the process wanting the best of the best in the best location, because who does not want that for themselves? They were kind enough to listen to our wants and desires and showed us what we could afford in the areas we were looking. It took a few homes to realize that our expectations were not in sync with the market, because currently in early 2015 homes are going like hot cakes and for more than what they are listed at by a fair amount.

This is when we sat down again and started looking at other areas that were just as nice, but we had ignored initially. The important part here is while they mentioned this information early on, they allowed us to realize it on our own that we needed to look outside of our ideal areas if we wanted our dream house. Once we realized what they were saying we expanded our search and found the home that we wanted. After our initial open house we contacted The Caton Team and informed them that we found the home that we wanted. This is when The Caton Team sprang into action, they immediately started requesting all of the disclosures from the seller’s agent and contacted the seller’s agent to gain any additional knowledge that might not be in the supplied paperwork. They then shared this information openly with us, as one would expect, and started laying down the groundwork of what we would need to do if we truly wanted this house. They supplied us with the tools necessary to make an informed decision and provided us with comparable sales (COMPS) in that particular area, so that we would have an idea of what houses were selling for and where the market was heading (spoiler alert, market was only going upwards). Their attention to detail and understanding of the market allowed us to make the best offer we could, while not overbidding or underbidding and making sure that we would have our offer accepted. As you have already guessed, our offer was accepted almost immediately and we are now homeowners of a home that we wanted in an area that is ideal.

If you have made it this far, then you realize why The Caton Team is really The Dynamic Duo of Real Estate. They make sure you are provided with the proper tools and information to make the best decision for yourself. They will work tirelessly with you and will not be a 9-5 agent, they will be honest, trustworthy, and straight-forward. You will not feel like you are getting the short-end of the deal and at the end of the day you will feel great about your decision to work with The Caton Team.

-The Liere Family

 

“I worked with Sabrina and Sue a few years back and they were so professional. I was going thru a divorce and had to sell my condo. I was beyond upset. (Not because of the divorce but selling the condo) haha… Thru this difficult time they were so amazing and made me feel at ease. The housing market at that time was not the best but they did their best to make sure I got a good deal.  The condo wasn’t on the market for too long and I was able to sell it for a decent price. Thank you to both for making that transition in my life a little easier. Definitely will be using them again if and ever I can buy again.”

-Elena

 

“We had a great experience buying a house through the Caton team. Sabrina and Susan were patient in answering our many questions, and helped guide us in the offer process to help win a bid on our second offer even in this crazy market! They are easy to get in touch with over email, text, or phone, and detail oriented to make sure nothing fell through the cracks. We’d highly recommend them!”

-Katherine

 

Hi Susan and Sabrina,

I just thought I’d take a moment to write you both to say how much of a pleasure it has been to once again have had another successful property transaction come to fruition with you both at the helm (yay, three now)!

I can’t say enough how Victor and I have been so happy you’ve been our representatives in both our buying and selling transactions, and that your dedication and hard work, creativity and professionalism have always made a world of difference all throughout the process of buying and selling our homes. From the smallest details like your fantastic web page ads and captioning to your weekly and continuous updates and presence at the property for showings and repairs. You’ve left nothing to chance!

It’s clear that experience counts, and your research and broad-based knowledge of the local real estate and larger markets in general, have always provided us with a solid backdrop from which we could make our decisions. You’ve always provided us with good information, solid recommendations, and I’m grateful that we had you both as our representatives.

Additionally, I want to say on a personal note, that you are both so considerate and thoughtful, and I always feel that we are in good hands when you’re on the job.  Thank you again for this recent and very successful sale of our property, and we look forward to our continued relationship with you in future transactions.

I did not have your Broker’s contact information, but if you would please forward him/her this e-mail, I’d appreciate it, because I’d like them to know that you have permanent fans!

Thanks again,  Helen and Victor

 

“Susan and Sabrina, The Caton (Dream)Team –

Thirteen years ago, we met Susan Caton who so kindly helped us find our first home in the Bay Area.  She was mindful of our budget and attentive to our wish list.  We landed a great starter home fit to our needs and close to work.  In 2012, when it came time to relocate into a neighborhood with great schools, we once again called upon Susan, who now was partner with her daughter-in-law, Sabrina, to find the right house for our growing family.  First, Susan and Sabrina helped sell our house within 2 weeks time at a price within our expectations.  Then, they delivered BIG by helping us find our next dream home in a competitive market with little time to spare knowing Facebook millionaires would soon bring stiff competition to the housing market.  All along, even when our first two offers fell through, Susan and Sabrina helped us keep our focus and always had our best interest in mind.  Settling for less than our hearts desired was not the answer, and our patience combined with our trust in Susan and Sabrina paid off when we stumbled upon our dream home.  We can honestly say that working with The Caton Dream Team has been a true pleasure as it has enabled us to find a wonderful place to call home, not only once, but twice.  When the time comes, we will gladly call upon their services again, and we highly recommend them to anyone looking to find their first or next dream home.”

– Fredric and Heather R.

 

“I recently worked with The Caton team (Sabrina and Sue) to purchase my first home. I was referred to the team by a co-worker who had just purchased a condo with them. He had a great experience, and recommended them for their honesty, responsiveness and availability (even at night and weekends). I found this assessment to be 100% true.

I first met Sabrina and Sue when I was interviewing realtors. They recommended I come to their office for the interview. They were the only ones to recommend this, which already set them apart in my mind. During the interview they shared their process and approach and how our relationship would work. I decided to work with the Caton team for several reasons. 1) A great referral 2) Their open and honest personalities 3) Their sincere concern that I find exactly what I am looking for 3) Their combined years of experience and specialization in the peninsula.

After our first meeting, they set up their home search for the criteria we discussed. Part way through the search, my criteria changed, and they updated the search for the new criteria. Periodically, they would check in to see if I saw anything that I liked. We narrowed the search by going through what I liked and disliked about each listing that I reviewed online.

Sabrina and Sue answered all of my questions along the process. They came to the home inspection and to sign papers at title company. The title company representative that I signed papers with commented on how lucky I was to have my realtors there, looking out for my best interests, as a lot of first time buyers come alone, signing papers they don’t understand.

After receiving keys to my new home, the Caton team continued to support me. They referred me to painters their colleagues had worked with and found multiple contractors who would do the work I needed.

Sabrina and Sue are really easy to work with. It’s like talking with friends when I reach out to them. They are very approachable, trust worthy and hard working. They always answer questions I have or research to find the answers if they do not have them right away. I highly recommend them and will use them again for future real estate needs.”

– CJ T.

 

“The Caton team is awesome! Susan and Sabrina were an awesome fit for my husband and I as first-time homebuyers, but I highly recommend them for anyone at any stage of buying a home. They went above and beyond to help us locate a wonderful home and took us step by step through the often confusing short sale process. It felt less like we were working with realtors and more like we were working with good friends or family! Thank you, thank you, Sabrina and Susan!”

-Marie B.

 

“If anyone can get it done quickly it would be you two. By far the best Realtors west of the Mississippi.”

– Josh L.

 

“The Caton Team is A-Number-One in our book.  Susan and Sabrina are consummate Pros.  They do exhaustive research, they know how to price a home in today’s competitive market, and they know how to stage a home for maximum buyer appeal.  They’ve sold two homes for us, and we’re completely satisfied with everything they do.  You go, girls!”

-Russ & Elena H.

 

“I met Sabrina and Susan during our recent rental home search.  As we were not prepared for a move (current homeowners informed us that they were selling the house after 1 year of listing the home as a rental) we needed to act quickly and diligently to find our new home.  My initial communications were with Sabrina as she was hosting an open house.  Her emails were prompt and friendly and I got to know her a bit through email.  When I met up with her for the open house, she was just as friendly in person as was her partner, Susan.  They were welcoming throughout the process and provided wonderful thorough follow up on behalf of the homeowner.  Susan made herself available on a Saturday morning for the signing of the lease and has been in contact with us as we prepare for the move-in.  We have very much enjoyed working with the Caton Team and would recommend them for rental guidance and hopefully in the near future, home ownership!”

– Angela J.

 

“The Caton team has helped me find my perfect condo within a month of looking! And then later found me great tenants to rent it out. They work quickly and are very professional. Plus, these are just a pair of wonderful women to be around. They are very trustworthy and have their Clients’ best interest in mind. I will be using them again for all my real estate needs, and I recommend them to everyone else! Thank you so much!”

-Caitlin G.

 

“The Caton Team are the best. They are very easy to work with and know what they are doing. Made a very stressful time much easier! I would recommend them to all. First time buyers and people that have sold many times will enjoy working with these wonderful ladies!”

-Chris & Gary C.

 

“The Caton Team has helped us many times. Susan and Sabrina are wonderful and we will use them again when the time comes. They know everything about the bay area and never pressure you about making decisions. We couldn’t ask for a better team.”

-Elisa D.

 

“I’m pretty sure without The Caton Team we wouldn’t have been able to buy our house. We started looking right before the housing market crashed and was going back and forth on qualifying for a loan.   They made it happen-it’s a long story and I can make short and sweet. Please use The Caton Team for you house buying needs!  Really!”

– Nisi C.

 

“I can’t say enough about what an incredibly professional job Sabrina did; she went above and beyond the call of duty! We would not be in our house today were it not for her tireless efforts. She’s so knowledgeable and works tenaciously for her clients. 
Thank you Sabrina!

-
Rip R.

 

“Great working with you guys!”

-Aaron B.

 

“I have worked with many realtors during my 15 years as a mortgage broker and Sabrina Caton is by far one of the best real estate agents I have ever had the pleasure of working with on a number of purchase transactions over the years. She is upbeat and personable with a great sense of humor. She consistently works with her clients best interests in mind and is not afraid to tackle the tough deals. I have personally seen her negotiate to lower the purchase price by $25,000 after the contract was already signed when the buyers’ appraisal came in below the purchase price. You can count on Sabrina for high energy, professional real estate services!”

-Melanie Flynn – Windsor Capital

 

“Susan & Sabrina did an excellent job, I am very happy.  I highly recommend them.”

– Heidi & Robert M.

 

“Susan & Sabrina were great, very helpful, and understanding.  They were never pushy and made sure we were making the right choices at all times.  We would use them again for our next property purchase.”

– Anthony D. & Elisa L.

 

“Susan & Sabrina did a wonderful job, they are easy to communicate with, they were willing to put in extra time and work in getting our house ready to sell.”

– Kathy & Rodney H.

 

“I knew I wanted to work with Susan   immediately because she actually         listened to our needs, and gave sound, practical advice and information without a sales pitch. I would recommend her to anyone. She was absolutely helpful and made the whole thing easy and painless. I didn’t worry about anything as long as she was working on it.”

– Alicia S. and John G.

 

“Sabrina did an excellent job, she went above and beyond from the beginning to the end of the transaction making sure we understood every detail. She made things very easy on us – we appreciate all her hard work. We used them for both our real estate deals.”

– Kathy & Rodney H.

 

“When we need to sale our home – we definitely will call them again!”

– Loyda C. & Carol J.

 

“We loved working with Susan. I feel I have gained a new friendship. She was totally honest and trustworthy. She made selling our home a pleasant                   experience.”

– Ken & Elain S.

 

“Susan went above and beyond what she had to do. She was the only help I had getting my parents home cleaned and emptied so I could sell. I live in           Sacramento and didn’t have the time to get down to San Carlos. She truly was a “God Send”. She is FABULOUS! I can’t say enough about her! Please know you have one hell of a woman working for Prudential. Please make sure she receives kudos for a job well done!”

– Andrew R.

 

“Susan was always available to us, providing information and assurance during the selling process of our home. Thank You!

– Leo & Carlotta O.

 

“We felt very relaxed and trusted their personality.”

– William & Helen G.

 

“They did an excellent job and we would recommend them!

– Steve & Stacy G.

 

“Thank you – Flawless Service!”

– Danielle C. & Thomas G.

 

“Very honest.”

– Fredric & Heather R.

 

“I will recommend them to all my friends and family.”

– Diane S.

 

“We wanted to work with Sabrina. She was wonderful. She put up with lots of emotions / family dynamic around the sale of this home, as it was our families house. I appreciated her sensitivity and solid knowledge. We would be happy to work with her again and pass along any new clients as well.

– Nancy R.

 

“I highly recommend them!”

– Derek H.

 

“Susan helped us so much. She       advised us and “rode” with us though the entire ordeal. She is a very “real” person and shares concerns. She        advises and makes one feel extremely comfortable. I would recommend her to another person unconditionally. She is an excellent agent who goes above and beyond the call of duty.”

– Russ & Elena H.

 

“They were great. They made the     entire process as fun and easy as it could be. Thank you!”

– Matthew S.

 

“Susan was extremely helpful in   making our first move in 44 years painless. It was a major undertaking. Thank you!”

– Betty C.

 

“Very thorough. Informed me of the newest listings. Made intelligent     recommendations and opinions on listings without being pushy. The attention given to me made me feel as if I were the only client. I am extremely satisfied with the service.”

– Toshinari K.

 

“They were very professional and helpful. We could not complete the   transaction without them.”

– Takeshi & Nana M.

 

“We selected Susan over two other agents because we liked her better.”

– Daniel S.

 

“EXCELLENT JOB! Lots of support throughout the process! Great             personalities and professionalism! Very responsive to our concerns during the sale – thank you!”

– Mike & Lynn A.

 

“Sabrina is a highly effective real-estate agent. She has in-depth of knowledge of the market, strong negotiation skills and provides highly personalized service…she really listens to the needs of her client and delivers based on those needs.”

– Elif S.

 

“I was impressed with the attention to detail throughout the sale process. True Professionals!

– John K.

 

“We were very happy with Susan as she helped us through a difficult situation. Thanks is just not enough to say for what she did!”

– Donald & Roseanna M.

 

“Definitely an asset to your company!”

– Rosemary P.

 

“They are such real / genuine people. I felt I could lean and trust them               particularly with some very important but difficult to understand questions. They are WONDERFUL!”

– Patricia P.

 

“Susan has impeccable integrity, what a great individual. Thank you for a         wonderful transaction.”

– Pamela G.

 

“What a great experience. I live 4 hours away and shopping for rentals is not easy. The Caton Team made my shopping experience less stressful. Always ready to answer any questions I had, anytime I had them. I highly recommend this Team.”

– Julienne E.

Real Estate Photography 101 – Tips for the Fall Market

With the Fall Real Estate Market upon us – I thought  I would share this great article to help sellers prepare their homes for sale.  Enjoy!

4 Listing Photo Turn-Offs for Buyers

by: Jovan Hackley

Pictures move the masses and if you’re not careful, they can move prospective buyers away from your listings online.

Check out these 4 buyer photo turn-offs to avoid and tips for making sure your listings are getting the right attention on the Web:

Turn-off #1: The Lonely Listing Photo.

 The number one way to turn off web-surfing and mobile buyers is featuring only one or no listing photo.

Serious buyers need photos to develop a bond with a property and evaluate whether or not they could see themselves living there. The more photos you have online the more time a prospect will spend viewing and connecting with your listing.

Tip: Remember, you can add more than 100 photos to any of your listings on Trulia by visiting My Listings.

Turn-off #2: Amateur lighting mistakes.

Your online listing photos are your shot at making your seller’s property look like a dream home. When photos are gray, grainy, or make your home look like a dreary prison cell, you’re ruining your only chance at a first impression.

Here are a few quick tips for using light to make buyers click “Contact an Agent”:

  • When shooting outside, make sure the sun is behind you. The light will act as your own natural “studio light” brightening up the property.
  • Make your photos look cheerful; show off natural light inside by shooting on a sunny day.
  • If your listing doesn’t have windows or natural light, bring your own “sunlight.” Investing in household lamps (or toting a few in from your office) can go a long way toward producing better photos by brightening things up.

Turn off #3:  Missing photos.

If your listing is being overlooked online, it might be because you’re not showing the right areas.
Be sure to show these areas consumers we surveyed said make a home most attractive:

  • Bathrooms
  • Closets
  • Kitchens
  • Outdoor living spaces

Unique add-ons like hot tubs, special appliances, or wiring for an entertainment system

While you want to show off as much of the home as possible, focusing on these top priority living spaces are what really matters when it comes to generating inquiries and offers.

Turn off #4: The clutter monster.

When it comes to listing photos, clutter can be a seller’s worst enemy. When consumers view listings online, they want to see the property not years of your seller’s decorating and collectibles.

If you and your sellers really want to pique the interest of buyers with staging, focus on simplifying the space.

Here are a few easy staging adjustments you can make right before you shoot pictures to make for better photos:

  • Remove cars from the driveway or garage
  • Completely clear off any table and counter spaces
  • Clear out the corners before you shoot a room

You’ve heard it plenty of times “pictures are worth a thousand words.” Here are a few of our photo tips to help you make a better impression on buyers. What tips would you add to the list?

Need help preparing your home for sale?  The Caton Team is here to help!  Email us at Info@TheCatonTeam.com

I read this article at:  http://pro.truliablog.com/grow-business/4-listing-photo-turn-offs-for-buyers/?ecampaign=tnews&eurl=pro.truliablog.com%2Fgrow-business%2F4-listing-photo-turn-offs-for-buyers

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

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Instagram: http://instagram.com/sunshinesabby

Pintrest: https://pinterest.com/SabrinaCaton/

LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

6 Wills, Won’ts and Worries of 2013 Home Buyers…. great article – had to share…

When I read this – I just had to share….

 

6 Wills, Won’ts and Worries of 2013 Home Buyers

 

Trulia Article By Tara-Nicholle Nelson

If you’ve ever taken up running, you might know what it’s like to strap on your new shoes, head over to the track and take those first few strides, then feel a pain in your chest, heaviness in your feet and possibly, actually see stars. Maybe your last steps off the track were accompanied by the thought process: “Either I’m crazy, or runners are.”

Until you have talked to a legitimate, dyed in the wool runner and told them your story, explaining why you detest running with every iota of your being you won’t know the runner’s secret: everyone feels that way at first. It’s the normal physiological adjustment to the increased load you’re putting on your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems, this pain you felt when you took those first few steps.  It goes away in just a moment, if and only if you keep on running.

Sometimes, knowing that others react to a tough situation by feeling the same emotions, thinking the same thoughts, or doing the same things you do flat out helps you feel less crazy, panicked and out of control of your situation. It’s the concept behind support groups but, last I checked, there really isn’t such a thing as group therapy for home buyers. (Well, some would say that’s what Trulia Voices is for, but I digress.)

Today’s rapidly rising prices and generally volatile market does make things tough for buyers, so we thought we’d systematically explore – and then share – what’s going on inside the minds of the buyers on today’s market.  Hopefully, sellers will find some insights for marketing their properties, too.

Fresh off the presses, here are some of the insights and takeaways from our latest American Dream Survey, pinpointing the things today’s buyers worry about, will and won’t do in their quest to get their own corner of the American Dream: a home.

Worry:  Mortgage rates and prices will rise before I buy.  Trulia’s Economist Jed Kolko reports that “the top worry among all survey respondents who might buy a home someday is that mortgage rates will rise further before they buy (41%), followed by rising prices (37%).”  The worry is valid, given the fact that the market was depressed for so long and has a long recovery road ahead of it.  It’s compounded by the fact that buying a home has gone from something that used to take a month or two and now routinely takes 6 months, 9 months, a year or even longer!

Here’s the deal: you can’t stop prices from rising. And fixating on this particular fear poses the potential pitfall of  rushing to buy or making compromises that will turn out badly in the end.  Don’t dilly dally, if you’re ready and in the market, and don’t mess around making lowball offers with no chance of success.  But otherwise, don’t let this fear drive your buying and timing decisions.

Will:  Be aggressive. B. E. Aggressive. Economist Kolko explained, “among survey respondents who plan to buy a home someday, 2 in 3 (66%)  would use aggressive tactics such as bidding above asking, writing personal letters to the seller, or removing contingencies, to name a few.”  What buyers do and don’t do in the name of aggressively pursuing their dream homes (and, consequently, what sellers expect) is slightly different in every town.

Knowing that other buyers are facing down the same challenges you are and coming up with similar, aggressive solutions can help you feel a little less crazy about your thought processes and emotions and the desperate measures that come to mind when you hear how many others think “your” home is their dream home. And that puts you back in control of what can sometimes feel like an out-of-control situation. Reality check: you are 100% in the driver’s seat when it comes to how aggressive you want to be in your pursuit of any given home, and which specific tactics you leverage in the course of that pursuit.

Worry:  I won’t find a home I like.  Forty-three percent of people who plan to buy a home in the next 12 months expressed the concern that they might not be able to even find a property they like. Perhaps these people were just seriously persnickety, but I suspect there’s a bigger issue at play here.  All of us can find a home we like, but whether there’s anything we like enough to buy in our price range is a completely separate issue.

This worry, then, seems to be closely related to the fear of rising prices – buyers are rightfully fearful that home value increases will put their personal dream homes out of their price range. This is why it’s super important to:

  • be aggressive about seeing suitable properties as soon as they come onto the market
  • work with an agent whose offer pricing advice you trust
  • adjust your house hunt downward in price range if the market dynamics include lots of over-asking sales prices, and
  • not to let months and months go by while you make lowball offers or otherwise be slow to  come to the reality of what homes are actually selling for in your area.

The sooner you put yourself seriously in the game and make reality-based offers, the more likely you’ll be able to score a home you like in your price range.

Worry:  I will have to compete with other buyers for the home I like. Twenty-seven percent of those who plan to buy at some point in the future and 32% of those who plan to buy in the next year said they feared the prospect of facing a bidding war. This worry is well-grounded. In California, the average property receives four offers – but stories of dozens of offers abound. And it’s not just a West Coast phenomenon: buyers from coast to coast trade tales of getting outbid and having to throw in their firstborn child, lastborn puppy and most precious earthly possessions just to get into contract.

Truth is, market dynamics vary from town to town, and even neighborhood to neighborhood, but if you’re buying on today’s market or planning to buy anytime soon, bidding wars, multiple offers and over-asking sales prices are a reality you will probably have to factor into your house hunt.

Won’t:  Bid way more than asking.  Only 9 percent of wanna-be buyers said they would bid between 6 and 10 percent over the asking price for a property. This finding surfaces the uber-importance of checking in with an experienced local agent to get a briefing on precisely how much over asking homes are selling for in your area.  This empowers you to tweak your online house hunting price range low enough that you can make an over-asking offer and be successful without breaking the bank.  And once you’ve gotten a reality-based estimate of the over-asking norm, it will loom less ominously in your mind’s eye as a potential American Dream-killer.

Worry:  I won’t qualify for a mortgage.  Thirty percent of all people who identified themselves as planning to buy a home in the future said they were worried they might not be able to qualify for a home loan. (Interestingly, only 25 percent of buyers in hot markets like Oakland and Las Vegas expressed this concern – rapidly rising prices and knowing lots of other buyers are closing transactions in your town seems to ease this fear.)

Of all the worries on the list, this is the one over which a smart buyer has the most power. So exercise it! Work with a mortgage broker who was referred by friends, family members or an agent you trust.  And ideally, work with them months – even a year or more – before you plan to buy.  They can help you put an action plan in place around boosting your savings and credit score, and minimize your debt and credit dings, that you can work to minimize mortgage qualifying dramas when the time is right. They can also help give you a stronger sense of what you can afford vis-a-vis your income, to help you anticipate any challenges related to what sort of home your dollar will buy in your market.

ALL: What worries do you have about today’s market? Which steps are you willing to take in your quest to achieve the American Dream?

I read this article at:  http://www.trulia.com/blog/taranelson/2013/07/6_wills_won_ts_and_worries_of_2013_home_buyers?ecampaign=cnews20+and1308A&eurl=www.trulia.com%2Fblog%2Ftaranelson%2F2013%2F07%2F6_wills_won_ts_and_worries_of_2013_home_buyers

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

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call The Caton Team at 650-568-5522

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Instagram: http://instagram.com/sunshinesabby/

Pintrest: https://pinterest.com/SabrinaCaton/

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

A Cinderella Story – Fredric and Heather

When it came time to sell their first home Fredric and Heather called the Realtor who helped them their first go around – Susan Caton. By then, Susan and I (Sabrina) had partnered up and became The Caton Team.  It was an exciting meeting, sitting around the dinning room table planing for the sale of their home and discussing the hopes, dreams and reality of their next home.
In the competitive Bay Area real estate market a buyer needs to be ready to make a fantastic offer the moment a home pops on the market.  If a buyer has to sell their current home – writing an offer contingent on the sale of a home is not as attractive to the seller as a non-contingent offer.  Therefore, we agreed that the best course of action was to sell their current home to be prepared to pounce when their next home came on the market.
This can be a scary moment – where will the family live if we don’t find the next home.  Nonetheless, the hunt for their next home began way before the for sale sign showed up in their front yard.
So Heather and Fredric did a fantastic job getting their home ready for sale.  Before our first open house The Caton Team had wind of interested parties.  Within a week their home was in contract.  Oh my!
So the serious house hunting hits.  We’re out day and night checking out everything on the market, new and old…and we start writing offers.  Good offers, solid offers.  But we keep getting out bid, sometimes by all cash, sometimes just larger down payments or out of the the ballpark offers.  Regardless, the sweat starts beading.  Now we’re talking short term rentals as the close of escrow on their current home slowly approaches….and we are very thankful for the 30-days of rent back we negotiated to give us a little more time.  That was extremely helpful, but not enough.  So, a short term rental was located.  More offers.  Out bid.
Suddenly there is buzz around a certain Silicon Valley IPO.  The weeks leading up caused a mini boom on the peninsula.  Offer dates, multiple offers, no contingencies, all cash – you name it – things were a bit nuts.  Then the dust settled, and as a boom of new listings flooded the market a week old listing was suddenly overlooked.  We wrote an offer.  Out of the blue, another offer comes in.  This house was awesome.  We couldn’t let it get away.  Proud to say our reputation preceded us and the Selling Agents knew we’d get the job done – when it came down the the nitty gritty, we helped our friends and clients prepare a terrific offer package and in the end their offer was accepted.
The phone call to your clients when you get to share the good news that they got the home of their dreams – well, it’s one of the best phone calls around.
Thank you Fredric and Heather for trusting The Caton Team with all your real estate needs.  Here’s to many happy years in your new home.
Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.
Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com
Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/
Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:
Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Susan Caton – of The Caton Team Realtors – Interviewed by the Daily Journal – Article by Sally Schilling

Please enjoy this article below, my partner and mother-in-law, Susan Caton was interviewed by Sally Schilling of the Daily Journal regarding the local San Francisco Peninsula Real Estate market.

First-Time Home Buyers Beat Out By Cash

By Sally Schilling – Daily Journal Correspondent 9.17.12 5am

Low interest rates and low housing prices have first-time buyers feeling optimistic about purchasing a good home. But people who have saved up enough money for a sizable down payment are finding they are still not in the most favorable position in the housing market.

Cash buyers are often beating out first-time home buyers who are taking out loans.

“They’re being beat out, but not necessarily priced out,” said Anne Oliva, president of the San Mateo County Association of Realtors. Sometimes, cash buyers get preference over buyers with home loans, even if their cash bid is lower, she said.

Traditional home buyers with a 20 percent down payment are struggling, said Oliva, who is currently working with a couple for whom she has put in nine different offers. Her clients have enough for a 20 percent down payment, but sellers are thinking it is better to go with the cash buyer for the sure deal.

The challenge may be even greater for first-time buyers of units in complexes, such as condominiums or apartments. Investors are buying up units with cash and turning them into rentals, said Oliva.

First-time buyers with a 3.5 percent down payment on a condo, for example, may get pre-approved for the loans and have their offer accepted. But they could lose final approval of the loan once the lender sees that the complex has a high number of rentals.

“Every lender looks at the renter-to-owner ratio,” said Oliva, who ran a program for first-time home buyers in San Bruno. “If the renter-to-owner ratio is high, they will not lend.”

While she understands that buying and renting condos is a good move for investors, Oliva worries about how this trend will affect the number of homeowners.

“We could have a huge problem with increasing homeownership if this keeps happening,” she said.

Abundance of cash

“There’s a lot of cash out there,” said Susan Caton, a Realtor based in Redwood City. “It’s amazing, even over $1 million there’s a lot of cash.”

Caton worked with a client who was outbid several times on homes priced at more than $900,000. “They kept getting beat out, and beat out,” she said.

One home priced at more than $1 million in San Francisco had 25 offers on it. A client offered with 60 percent to 70 percent down and had excellent credit. They were beat out by an all-cash offer that was less than asking price.

The all-cash offer closed in nine days, whereas the client’s offer which would have closed in 30 days.

“In San Mateo County, it’s the same thing,” she said. “With 40 or 50 percent down or better, you are still beat out by cash offers.”

Caton agreed that the low housing inventory is a big part of the problem, along with the conditions that come with first-time home buyers with loans.

“Fifty percent down is a darn good offer and a good loan,” she said. “But the sellers or agents are saying ‘take the cash, it’s a sure thing,’ especially with no financing or property conditions.”

Many home buyers do get discouraged.

“It’s a hard battle,” said Caton. “It takes a lot of patience, but they can’t give up.”

But she sees a silver lining in the dark cloud.

“In each instance when a buyer is beat out a number of times, when they finally get a house they are so happy they got the one they got,” she said.

Strings attached

There are many reasons for sellers to prefer all-cash offers from prospectors over a down payment from a home buyer with a loan. Many strings are attached to a deal with a first-time home buyer; the sale may take longer to close, an appraisal is needed and sometimes sellers are required to do repairs. And on the other hand, a cash offer may have no conditions.

“If you’re up against cash offers, it’s very difficult,” said Diane Viviani, a longtime real estate agent in San Mateo County.

The cash-buyer trend is especially apparent in the $500,000 to $700,000 range, where inventory is low, said Viviani.

Recently, a home on Oneill Drive in San Mateo had 30 offers on it, she said. The listing price was $525,000 and it sold for $675,000, after being on the market for just eight days.

“I’ll tell a buyer to make the best offer you can,” she said.

For those taking out Federal Housing Administration loans, the down payment only needs to be 3 percent, said Viviani. But with such a low down payment, the lender’s liability is higher and the buyer seems less attractive.

“It’s doable,” said Viviani of FHA loans. “But when something comes at or below market [price], they’re seeing them go [to cash buyers].”

Fading trend

Joe Rodden, a longtime real estate broker based in Redwood City, has seen this trend. A home on 18th Avenue was recently sold to a cash buyer, despite the offer being 5 percent less than the other offers from people taking out loans, said Rodden.

“[The seller] felt more comfortable taking cash because it was a sure thing,” he said.

When asked what happens to the houses after they are bought with cash, Rodden said this is up to the buyer. Cash buyers could potentially close a deal with cash and then take out a loan, but the contract would still say all cash.

The cash trend has become less common in the past couple of months because prices have bumped up, said Rodden.

“Now cash buyers don’t see the same bargain,” he said.

I read this article at:

http://smdailyjournal.com/article_preview.php?id=1754902&title=First-time

Sabrina’s 2 cents…

Reading this article, it is clear – the local San Francisco Bay Area Real Estate market is highly competitive – so really nothing has changed.  We live in one of the greatest places on earth!

Though the focus of this article made it clear how tough it can be – The Caton Team has seen the light at the end of the tunnel.  After our clients experience writing multiple offers and being out bid – we reevaluate the situation and get back into the market.  I’m happy to say in the end, we find the right home for the right client.  Each experience is different though… thus our ‘Cinderella Story’ blog entires.  ENJOY!

A Cinderella Story… Lisa and All Those Offers…. at:

https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/a-cinderella-story-lisa-and-all-those-offers/

A Cinderella Story… Jake  and Sophia…. at:

https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/a-cinderella-story-part-2-jake-sophia/

A Cinderella Story…Nisi and Rip… at:

https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/a-cinderella-story-part-1/

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

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-cityå

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

10 Tax Tips for Home Sellers – great article – had to share…

10 tax tips for home sellers

Real Estate Tax Talk By Stephen Fishman

The IRS has recently issued a helpful list of 10 tax tips all homeowners should keep in mind when selling a home:

1. You are usually eligible to exclude the gain from income if you have owned and used your home as your main home for two years out of the five years prior to the date of its sale.

2. If you have a gain from the sale of your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from your income ($500,000 on a joint return in most cases).

3. You are not eligible for the exclusion if you excluded the gain from the sale of another home during the two-year period prior to the sale of your home.

4. If you can exclude all of the gain, you do not need to report the sale on your tax return.

5. If you have a gain that cannot be excluded, it is taxable. You must report it on Form 1040, Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses.

6. You cannot deduct a loss from the sale of your main home.

7. Worksheets are included in Publication 523, Selling Your Home, to help you figure the adjusted basis of the home you sold, the gain (or loss) on the sale, and the gain that you can exclude.

8. If you have more than one home, you can exclude a gain only from the sale of your main home. You must pay tax on the gain from selling any other home. If you have two homes and live in both of them, your main home is ordinarily the one you live in most of the time.

9. If you received the first-time homebuyer credit and within 36 months of the date of purchase the property is no longer used as your principal residence, you are required to repay the credit. Repayment of the full credit is due with the income tax return for the year the home ceased to be your principal residence, using Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit. The full amount of the credit is reflected as additional tax on that year’s tax return.

10. When you move, be sure to update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service to ensure you receive refunds or correspondence from the IRS. Use Form 8822, Change of Address, to notify the IRS of your address change.

For more information about selling your home, see IRS Publication 523, Selling Your Home.

Stephen Fishman is a tax expert, attorney and author who has published 18 books.

I read this article at:  http://lowes.inman.com/newsletter/2012/09/10/news/200760

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-cityå

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Top 5 Homebuyer Regrets – Had to share this article…

Please enjoy this article I found…

Top 5 Homebuyer Regrets

By Tara-Nicholle Nelson

In life, and in real estate, there are decisions that, if we had them to do over again, we might do x, y or z differently. But all in all, we are not too upset about how things turned out. “C’est la vie,” as they say.

Then there are the decisions and actions we actively regret, worrying over their long-term consequences, wishing we could have a cosmic do-over, stewing and ruminating over what we did wrong. (In truth, it’s a sign of emotional maturity to see every experience as an education, and to be free from ruminating over even the worst of our regrets. But I digress).

Contrary to popular belief, my experience shows that the vast majority of homebuyers commit what they see as the first type of mistakes, but not those deep, dark regrets. However, those that do have serious regrets can lose many hours of sleep and many thousands of dollars trying to remedy them. Their only gain? Experience and gray hairs.

Here are the top 5 true, deep regrets of homebuyers and some insights for how to prevent them from taking over your own life:

1. Premature buying. This is not at all about timing the market or making sure you get in at the “just-right” moment. There’s not much you can or should do about that. But buying before your life or your finances are ready for homeownership is a transgression that ends up causing serious, long-term regrets for those who end up doing it. Premature buying takes several forms, the most common of which includes jumping the gun and buying before you’ve saved as much as you really need, or before you’ve paid your debt down to the level you really needed to.

Another pervasive form of premature buying is to buy before you’ve truly, deeply, seriously run all your own personal financial numbers, which puts you in the position of forced reliance on what the bank, lender or someone else thinks is affordable, which is often wrong.

Similarly, buying because you feel pressure to get in while the market is keeping prices and interest rates low, rather than because you want and can afford a home, is a surefire path to real estate regret.

2. Buying too small of a house. People who buy too large of a home often realize, several years in, that they simply aren’t using all of their rooms and many either sell and downsize or find ways to put the extra space they have to better use. People who buy too small of a home, on the other hand, are acutely aware of it from the moment their children start fighting, they find themselves and their energy levels deactivated by clutter or they end up realizing that there is no room at the inn for the family members or friends they’d like to house, short or long term.

Buying too large of a home is potentially wasteful of the money spent maintaining, heating and cooling the place; buying too small a home is uncomfortable and frustrating, sometimes intensely so, on a constant basis — hence, the regret it can create.

Avoid this regret by starting your house hunt with a visioning exercise: What do you want your home life to look like in 10 years? Who will live with you? Do you entertain or have overnight guests? What activities do you want or need to be able to do there? Do you want to practice yoga, crafts, have kid-sized homework spaces, work at home, collect classic cars or move your parents in? If so, seek to buy a home that can comfortably fit all these people and their activities, even though they might not all exist — yet.

3. Buying a home you can’t truly afford. You might think that one of the top 5 regrets of homebuyers would be buying at the top of the market. But that’s not the case — I know plenty of buyers who bought at the top, paid top dollar and are still upside down on their homes, yet are still happy with their homes because they can well afford the payment and bought homes that will serve their families very well for the very long term (which will allow their home’s value to recover).

It is much more problematic to simply overextend yourself on a home — no matter what the market dynamics are at the time you buy. People who both bought at the top of the market AND overextended themselves made up the large majority of folks who lost homes, as the mortgage gyrations they went through (i.e., taking short-term, interest-only, adjustable-rate mortgages) in order to qualify for the home in the first place also caused them to be utterly unable to sustain the mortgage once the market declined and their mortgages weren’t able to be refinanced.

If you can’t foresee being able to make the mortgage payment on your home 10 years in the future without refinancing it, that’s a sign you might be approaching the unaffordability danger zone.

4. Incompletely resolving co-buyer conflicts. Many co-buyers are couples, but I’ve also seen parents buy homes with their children, siblings buy homes together and even good friends team up to co-buy a home. Any time there is more than one buyer, there is a chance that the co-buyers will have one or more disconnects in their wants, needs and priorities. Often these are resolved almost effortlessly by the realities of the homes that are on the market (e.g., neither party’s dream home turns out to actually exist, or pricing realities require everyone to compromise); other times, people simply work things out like mature individuals, seeking first to understand their co-buyer’s position, then working out a compromise that works for everyone involved.

But in still other cases, the conflict is never truly, deeply resolved; even on closing day, one side feels completely misunderstood, or caves in for the sake of avoiding conflict, or someone simply throws a tantrum, insisting that they get their way. In these cases, it’s common for the party who feels undermined and trampled on to ruminate on it as they live in the property every single day, ending up with great resentment and anger over the years.

5. Taking on fixing beyond their skill, patience and resource level. It can be heartbreaking to tour one of the many homes on the market that was clearly the subject of a previous owner’s fixer-upper dream but was abandoned in the middle of a remodel. Often, these abandonments happen because the owner simply underestimated what the project would take and ran out of time, energy or, most commonly, money to get the remodeling completed. But it’s even sadder to tour the home of a frustrated fixer whose owner and family still lives in a half-done, very dysfunctional property, and who are getting more and more disgruntled with their situation every time they make a mortgage payment.

I read this article at:  http://lowes.inman.com/newsletter/2012/08/29/news/199628

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-cityå

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina