Shut Out of the Housing Market? First-Timers Dwindle…

The 1st time buyer is the cornerstone to the housing market.  Enjoy this article – I would love to hear your thoughts!  I added my 2 cents at the bottom.

Shut Out of the Housing Market? First-Timers Dwindle

First-time home buyers are particularly being hit hard by rising prices and tougher credit standards — and their decreasing market share proves it.

The National Association of REALTORS® reports that first-time home buyers accounted for 26 percent of purchases in January, down from 30 percent a year earlier. It’s also the lowest market share for first-time buyers that NAR has recorded since it began measuring it in 2008.

The falling number of first-time home buyers has the potential to slow the pace of the recovery, Bloomberg reports. The decline of first-time home buyers is hampering home sales, which dropped 5.1 percent in January compared to a year earlier, NAR reports.

“It’s a huge problem,” says Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the California Association of REALTORS®. “We have a ladder of home ownership and need first-time home buyers beginning the process of owning, building equity, and trading up to have a healthy housing sector.”

Some housing advocates are blaming investors for pushing out home buyers, particularly where first-time home buyers are being outbid by investors offering all-cash offers. Nearly 80 organizations are calling on federal regulators to address investors pushing potential home buyers out of the market, reports the California Reinvestment Coalition. They argue that federal housing agencies conducting bulk sales of foreclosed homes and distressed mortgages have heightened the problem.

“We’re ringing the alarm bell now and asking regulators to act,” says Kevin Stein, associate director of the California Reinvestment Coalition. “Wall Street and other cash investors are making it harder for families to buy their first house, for renters to stay in their communities, and for neighborhoods to recover.”

The housing advocates are asking for greater oversight from federal regulatory bodies, such as with more oversight of new investor landlords and ensure that banks aren’t favoring investors over home buyers with FHA loans in REO purchases. The group is also asking for greater research on the disparate impact of REO properties on various communities, particularly the impact to minority communities. Read more about the housing advocates’ stance at the California Reinvestment Coalition website.

Source: “Americans Shut Out of Home Market Threaten Recovery: Mortgages,” Bloomberg Businessweek (March 5, 2014) and “80 Organizations Ask Federal Government to Address Investor Cash Flooding Into Neighborhoods,” California Reinvestment Coalition (March 4, 2014)

Read More

Study: Student Debt Holds Buyers Back, But Doesn’t Need ToNew Low for First-Time Home Buyers

My 2 cents.  When prices were as low as they were going to go – I remember contacting all the buyers I met 10 years ago to let them know there were homes in their price ranges.  Sadly, offer after offer, the 1st time buyers, with loans, were being outbid by investors – or underbid, but out timed by cash investors.  I watched homes sell so darn low to investors, foreign and domestic, my heart hurt.  Here was the opportunity for 1st time buyers, who planned on staying put for 10 years and working on their home – and they couldn’t buy because of the competition.  Now there are plenty of rental properties, but here in the Bay Area the rents are just as high as the mortgages.  I’m sad to see 1st time buyers forced to move away just to buy a home.  And that is no good for growth or our area or our housing market.  Without a first time buyer – there is no second time buyer and so forth.  It will be interesting to see how this effects us.

I read this article at:  http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2014/03/06/shut-out-housing-market-first-timers-dwindle?om_rid=AACmlZ&om_mid=_BTGMphB84q$cpc&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  Office:  650-365-9200

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

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

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

4 Money Musts Before Listing Your Home

Selling season is coming upon us – if you are thinking about selling your home – contact us sooner than later.  Much to do!  650-568-5522 or info@TheCatonTeam.com

4 Money Musts Before Listing Your Home

If you’re planning to sell your home, chances are good that you’re seeking a lifestyle level-up: you want to bring your home’s size, shape, features, location, maintenance and financial obligations into better alignment with your life – or your future. Making sure that you execute a home sale that actually does align your home with your life requires a lot of prep work.

For most home sellers, it’s the property preparation work that is top of mind. You’ve gotta pick an agent, let them come and tell you all the junk that has to go, pack up that stuff and then let the painters and housekeepers do their job. Then, and only then, the stagers can begin, telling you to pack up all the rest of your stuff so they can create a really clutter-free, updated, neutrally-chic vignette of an irresistible life in your home for the next folks. (Be forewarned – sellers have been known to love their post-staging house so much they question their decision to move!)

But there are a number of financial prep steps that also need to happen to ensure your home’s sale actually does improve your life the way you hope it will, without creating any surprise dramas or burdens. Here are four of those money-do’s to add into your list of home sale prep steps:

1. Get clear on your current credit status. I know, I know – checking credit is an ever-present item on a home buyer’s prep checklist. But if you’re selling a home, chances are good that you’ll want to buy a replacement one. The best time to spot credit glitches and hitches – bills you need to pay down, rogue errors and the like – is not when your current home is on the escrow countdown. If you’re thinking you want to sell your home this year, now is the time to check your credit, spot issues and begin fixing them.

Some credit rehabilitation projects take months, even a year, to complete – so the earlier you get started, the more time you’ll have on your side. And this advice is for everyone – even if you think you have stellar credit, check your reports far enough in advance that you can spot and dispute any erroneous information that might have found its way there. Get started by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com – and revisit this post for an even deeper dive into what you’re looking for, and what you need to do.

2. Scope out your minimum desired decrease – or maximum tolerance for increase – in housing costs. Often times, we eyeball these things: rates are still good, you just got a raise, you can well afford your current payment, looks like your home is worth more now and those houses up the hill don’t cost that much more – time to move up, right?

Maybe so. But maybe no. There’s a lot more to account for in this equation. You need to factor in what the actual increase in your mortgage payment will be, but also how much you’ll net on your home, how much cash you’ll need to close on your next one, and how much your utilities, property taxes, insurance and other home-related expenses might increase if you move up.

Same with downsizing: if you downsize from a home you’ve live in for decades to a brand new, but smaller, condo – you could actually see an increase in property taxes in some areas and get an HOA bill you never had before, to boot. By no means does that mean it’s not the right move to make: the increased bills might be offset by decreased heating, cooling and maintenance, and the fact is that the smaller, new place might just be the right size and style for the next stage of your life.

But you can’t know that’s the fact until you have clarity about how much you can truly, sustainably, wisely afford to spend on your next move. To get this clarity before you list, you’ll need to enlist

▪   your agent – who can help you understand what sort of downsize or move-up property you can get at various price points

▪   your mortgage broker – they can help you understand various financial scenarios for purchase prices, down payments and monthly payments – including property taxes

▪   your tax advisor – who can help you understand the differential impact of various next-home scenarios on your income tax situation, and

▪   your financial planner – if you don’t have one, it might be worth engaging one to help you make a wise financial move as you carry out your next home move.  A fee-based financial planner can help you get clarity around your current income and expenses, your debt, as well as your savings and investments – this insight allows you to wisely time your move vis-a-vis your other life and financial goals.

3. Get inspections and key reports in advance (then read them). The potential for big, bad financial surprises is the scariest element of any real estate transaction. And when you’re selling your home, that potential comes in the form of surprise property problems that complicate your sale, surprise liens and taxes that must be paid to close the deal and even surprise HOA problems that don’t manifest fully until the buyer gets HOA disclosures.

One way to limit your financial exposure to these sorts of surprises is to simply decide not to wait to gather this information until a buyer is on the hook. In many markets, it’s now standard operating procedure for sellers to actually have home, pest and/or roof inspections – and any governmentally-mandated inspections – conducted before the house even goes on the market. This empowers you, the seller, to either begin conducting repairs or to fully disclose what needs doing and list your home in as-is condition. You might not get the same price for it as you would have without the reports, but you will minimize the likelihood of tense negotiations and falling out of escrow – things that are common when a buyer gets a mid-transaction surprise of negative property condition reports. Ask your agent for advice about whether obtaining any or all of these inspection reports in advance makes sense in your situation.

Additionally, work with your agent to get early copies of your home’s preliminary escrow report and HOA disclosures. If you have outstanding liens or there are HOA issues that will make it difficult to carry out a sale, better to know – and solve for – them sooner than later.

4.  Create a financial plan for your home’s sale. “It takes money to make money,” they say. What they didn’t say is that it also takes money to turn your home into the cash your equity represents. So I’ll say it:

  • When you bought your home, the seller paid both agents’ commissions. Now that you’re selling, it’s your turn – make sure you calculate the average 5-6% of the purchase price that you’ll need to cover your listing agent’s work, and the buyer’s agent’s, too.
  • Depending on the condition of your home, you may need to spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than a few thousand getting it market-ready, whether you decide to do a DIY-fix-it sweep or to hire the best stager in town to showcase your showplace.
  • Depending on how much financial margin you have – or need – and on what your advance inspections revealed (if you did them – see #3, above), you might want to build in a line item for a repair credit to offset the cost of any repairs that come up during escrow.
  • Your agent can help you project other costs of selling your home, like property transfer taxes and paying for the buyer’s home warranty – costs customarily covered by the seller vary widely state-by-state, and even across counties within the same state.  Your escrow holder and agent can also get you up-to-speed on precisely how much of your home’s sale price will go to pay off your mortgage(s), property taxes and any other liens.

Your final money-do is to actually document your financial plan and budget for selling your home. Many agents will sit right down with you and help you do this; if yours will, take them up on the offer. It also creates a perfect time and space to get educated about the flow of the home selling process and standard bargaining practices in your area. The goal is to get a clear, concrete understanding of the dollars that will flow in and out during this major life change, so you can make clear, calm decisions throughout the process that set you up for success long after closing.

SELLERS: What money-dos did you fail to do before you sold your home?  Any advice for sellers-to-be?

I read this article at:  http://www.trulia.com/tips/2014/01/4-money-dos-before-listing-your-home/?ecampaign=cnews201401C&eurl=tips.truliablog.com%2F2014%2F01%2F4-money-dos-before-listing-your-home%2F

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  Office:  650-365-9200

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

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

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

Sound Off: What are the biggest mistakes the buyers make? – Great Article from SF Gate

I enjoy reposting articles I find so I don’t sound like I’m shouting from my soap box all day long.  This artcile, in the Sunday Real Estate section was a great read – please enjoy and if you have any questions – ask me – Info@TheCatonTeam.com or call at 650-568-5522

Q: What are the biggest mistakes buyers make?

A: In this fast-paced market, it is still important for buyers to remember the fundamentals of purchasing a home. The items listed below will always be relevant, and they are important issues for buyers to be aware of, and try to avoid:

1. Failing to read documents they receive from their lender and their agent. Buyers receive a lot of information after escrow is opened, which can be overwhelming. But it is imperative that these reports, ranging from disclosures from the seller, to preliminary title reports from the escrow company, to all the various inspection reports completed, be carefully reviewed by the buyer, and they should be encouraged to ask questions. Call on your escrow officer, inspectors, real estate agent and lender until you are completely comfortable and understand all the paperwork you have received.

2. Time is of the essence in all things real estate. There are so many people involved in a transaction, and it is important that all items requested of the buyer from their lender, or their agent, be responded to as quickly as possible. If not, a delay could cost them dearly, from an increase in their loan rate, to even losing the property by not being able to remove a loan contingency in a timely manner.

Another area where the buyer needs to move quickly is when they have identified their dream home. Hesitating a day could mean losing out to another buyer. A slow response to a counteroffer could lose the home to a more aggressive buyer.

3. A buyer’s financials must be in order, and it is most important they don’t make any large purchases during the escrow period, pay bills late, incur derogatory marks on their credit report or change jobs. Make sure to stay in close contact with a lender before making any major money moves.

I read this article at:  http://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Sound-Off-What-are-the-biggest-mistakes-the-4283038.php#ixzz2LOGh3yKt

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

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

5 Reasons Why now Is The Time To Sell Your Home

5 Reason Why Now Is The Time To List Your Home For Sale

If you are considering the sale of your home – waiting may not be necessary.  Contact The Caton Team with any questions.  We’d be happy to meet with you and let you know what your home is currently worth and what The Caton Team can do to sell your home.  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Many homeowners are waiting until the Spring ‘buying season’ to list their homes for sale. Here are five reasons why that might not make sense this year:

1.) Demand Is High

Homes are selling at a pace not seen since 2007. The most recent Existing Home Sales Report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed that annual sales in 2012 increased 9.2% over 2011. There are buyers out there right now and they are serious about purchasing.

2.) Supply Is Low

The monthly supply of houses for sale is at its lowest point (4.4 months) since May of 2005. The current month’s supply is down 21.6% from the same time last year. Historically, inventory increases dramatically in the spring. Selling now when demand is high and supply is low may garner you your best price.

3.) New Construction Is Coming Back

Over the last several years, most homeowners selling their home did not have to compete with a new construction project around the block. As the market is recovering, more and more builders are jumping back in. These ‘shiny’ new homes will again become competition as they are an attractive alternative to many purchasers.

4.) Interest Rates Are Projected to Inch Up

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association has projected mortgage interest rates will inch up approximately one full point in 2013. Whether you are moving up or moving down, your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

5.) Timelines Will Be Shorter

The dramatic increase in transactions caused many challenges to the process of buying or selling a home in 2012. We waited for inspections, dealt with last minute appraisals and prayed that the bank didn’t ask for ‘just one more piece of paper’ before issuing a commitment on the mortgage. There are fewer transactions this time of year. That means that timetables on each component of the home buying process will be friendlier for those involved in transactions over the next 90 days.

These are five good reasons why you should consider listing your house today instead of waiting.

The Caton Team is here to help.  With over 25 years of combined Real Estate experience – what can The Caton Team do for you?  Info@TheCatonTeam.com Voicemail at 650-568-5522 

To view the original article, click here: http://www.kcmblog.com/2013/01/28/5-reasons-you-should-list-your-house-today/

I read this article at: http://newsgeni.us/?em=sabrina_caton@yahoo.com&p=106816

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

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

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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