Realty Executives of Sudbury Ltd.

The Caswell Team

The Caswell Team

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Jump In or Shy Away?

(Published on - 4/28/2019 8:23:16 PM)

Sometimes buyers and sellers are presented with a multiple offer situation.  This blog article will look at this real estate transaction scenario from a buyer’s perspective.

“Multiple offers”, also known as “competing offers” or even referred to as “bidding wars”, may occur for a variety of reasons - low inventory of listings, a listing strategy to withhold offers till a certain date or when a property is priced below current market value.  Recognizing a well priced property often results in two or more potential buyers who are quick to respond by submitting a written offer at the same time.

So, as a buyer when faced with this scenario, do you compete or shy away?  Does this mean you will be overpaying for a property?  How do you make sure your still protected?

Here is where the value of working with an experienced Realtor® comes into the process.  In my opinion, if you have found a property that you would like to purchase, there is no reason not to compete in a multiple offer situation. With your Realtor®, you have looked at properties while acquiring solid market knowledge along the way and have now found the one you want.  Because of this familiarity with the market conditions, you have a very good understanding of value based on your previous viewings and, once you have reviewed sold comparable properties, you’re in a position to feel confident you are making an informed decision on how much you would like to offer on this property.  I recommend that buyers put ‘their best foot forward” in a multiple offer situation so that, if you do not have the offer that the seller has chosen, you don’t have any regrets.  Just to clarify, “best foot forward” means an offer that you have a clear understanding of the price and conditions that aligns with your comfort level based on the research, experience and guidance from your Realtor®.

A word of caution when ‘jumping in’ on a multiple offer situation.  Although each situation is different, it is not mandatory to improve your offer by sacrificing clauses and conditions that will protect you as the buyer.  A couple examples of these would be buyers removing their financing and/or home inspection conditions and, although it was somewhat commonplace over a decade ago, there are some real serious risks in today’s marketplace.

When it comes to the financing condition, a Buyer may be under the impression that their financing has been pre-approved and gives the instructions to their Realtor® to proceed without a condition that would allow a Buyer to verify that the financing portion of the agreement was indeed secure.  In today’s financing world, there are huge risks with this due to much stricter lending practices than the past.  Pre-approval means you’re conditionally approved, but the house hasn’t been yet and the info you provided to the lender must still be confirmed.

The other example may be the foregoing of a home inspection as an attempt to have your offer look better than the next. Now maybe you are a home builder, an electrician or an overall self-proclaimed home specialist and, now that you’ve given the property your best “once over”, you’re comfortable without further inspection. But a “once over” is not a thorough, unbiased inspection and major issues can be missed.  Worse, if you’re not a seasoned building expert, are you willing to put yourself at risk of the potential deficiencies that may be exposed after you get the keys?

These are the discussions that take place between a buyer and their Realtor® prior to creating a competing offer that aligns with a buyer’s comfort level and specific needs. A Realtor® has the experience to guide you through the multiple offer situation and allow you to “jump in and put your best foot forward” and not “shy away” from missing “the one” without at least saying “we tried our best”.

Our team has an extensive track record in competing offer scenarios and, more often than not, achieve successful outcomes for our buyers.  Although not all situations are “bidding wars” when buying, it’s a good idea to start with a team of experienced agents that are working with you right from the moment you start looking for your future home so you’re properly prepared to make confident and knowledgeable decisions together when the time is right to “jump in”.  Never hesitate to contact us at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com or call us at 705.586.3334 for any questions you may have and get prepared for the moment you find "the one".

Contributed by:

Gary Doyle

Cell - 705.691.6166

gdoyle@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.


Prepping to List on a Budget

(Published on - 3/30/2019 5:13:37 PM)

Do you ever watch those shows on tv where you see a before and after of the exact same house and are absolutely in awe that it is the same place?

The major “wow” factors are typically when a house has been gutted to the studs, walls have been removed and full renovations to kitchen and bathrooms have taken place.  This type of over haul can cost thousands and thousands of dollars and a considerable amount of time to complete.  Both of which, many sellers, simply do not have.

Unless you’re in the business of flipping houses, renovations like this are typically done by a home owner/buyer for their own personal enjoyment and not to turn around and sell it for someone else to enjoy.

When preparing to list your house, although those types of major changes above can often lead to a nice return on your investment, I strongly believe that you do not have to spend that kind of money to make a “wowing” first impression on buyers.  There are ways to spruce up a home on a much smaller budget and it will still have a great impact!

As mentioned in my last blog, decluttering is a very inexpensive way and great start to getting your house ready for market.  But, if you do have some extra money to spare, I firmly believe you can have an even larger impact on buyers by going one step further.  This should lead to less days on market and most importantly, a higher sale price.

Some of the following can easily be accomplished on your own but I would recommend, and in some cases it could be mandatory, to hire a capable handy man or a licenced professional to tackle a few of the items I address here.  Here are a few general ideas that could really help the sale of your home:

  • Fresh Paint. Cannot express this one enough.  Whether it be changing out a bold colour into something more neutral or touching up a wall that has been beat up over the years, neutral paint colours are the only way to go when selling.  It is amazing how many buyers are unable to see past paint colours and devalue a home based on such a small cost upgrade!  There are some inexpensive brands out there and if you have never tried, please don’t be intimidated, it is very easy to do.  I’ve got plenty of experience painting and would be happy to show you how to get started!
  • Changing out hardware on bathroom or kitchen cupboards. Some hardware might have worked in the 70s/80s/90s, but times have changed.  Sometimes all your cupboards need is some new “bling”.  This is a simple change as long as you buy the right hardware where no additional drilling is required!
  • Refacing or painting your cupboards. Sometimes hardware might not be enough. Refacing your cupboards by replacing the doors and leaving the existing casings could have a huge impact. 
  • Replacing a kitchen or bathroom counter top. There are some inexpensive and neutral tops out there and, even with installation tied in, still very affordable…. while you’re at it, adding a backsplash will make it look even better!
  • A decorative mirror in the bathroom. Instead of the boring, frameless mirror that seems to be standard in most homes, why not replace it with something more attractive or create a frame around an existing mirror.
  • Argh – Old Sliding Shower Doors. Getting rid of the old, brassy, glass sliding door to your bathtub/shower (ya…you know the one!) and replacing it with just a rod and a shower curtain.  So simple and what a difference!
  • Switching out a light fixture or chandelier. Some tend to be quite dated and honestly, a pain in the butt to clean.  Try changing it out for something more in line with today’s style.  Remember, dealing with electrical should be done by a professional. 
  • Window treatments. Many older homes don’t seem to have a lot of natural light that buyers seek and a lot of it has to do with what is covering their windows.  Get rid of all of it and just simply replace it with a basic curtain rod and paneled drapes. 
  • Accessorize (my favourite!!!!).  Make a few purchases to go along with your new drapes!  Whether a living/family room, dining room, or bedroom, I cannot say enough about accessorizing.  Area rugs, throw blankets, decorative pillows, table/floor lamps, center pieces, art on the walls, etc.  Staging a room with these items can have a massive impact, even YOU will want to spend more time in this space.  Keep in mind though, don’t go overboard.  Remember, less is more!
  • Chair or couch coverings. You might not want to spend the money quite yet on new furniture but recovering chair seats or purchasing a neutral coloured slip cover for your older couch is an easy way to have that furniture tie in with your newly purchased accessories.
  • Front Door. Paint the exterior of your front door if it is looking tired or, in extreme cases, replace it.  You can change the handle or even your address numbers to something a little more appealing.  Finish it off with a decorative front mat and add some plants/hanging flower baskets.  After all, the front door is the second thing people will see when entering the property.
  • A little landscaping. This would be the first thing people will see, so give your home a little curb appeal!  Dig up some of those wild beds that have now been taken over by weeds and dead shrubs.  Replace them with some dirt, the odd rock or small plant/shrub and cover with a layer of dark mulch.  (Please go easy on the garden gnomes though.)  Trust me, this is a little bit of hard labour, but the cost is minimal and the difference will be worth it - I promise!

Spring is in the air and the marketing is hot.  If you are thinking about selling, we would love to meet with you to discuss and to provide advice on what you can do to add that extra wow factor before going to market so you stand out against all the competition!

Our service always includes helping you from start to finish.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to come over and discuss these items or even to see how you’re making out with all the recommendations above.  That’s what we’re here for!  Pop us an email at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com and let’s set up an appt to get your home ready to go for this hot spring market!

Contributed by:

Michelle Caswell

Cell - 705.507.1229

mcaswell@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.


Let's Grow Some Weed!

(Published on - 3/16/2019 6:20:10 PM)

Unless you’ve been living under a Canadian Shield rock in Northern Ontario and are unaware of the huge news, on October 17th, 2018, Canada made the monumental transformation to become only the second country worldwide to legalize marijuana (aka. weed, cannabis, ganja, greens……).  From coast to coast to coast, there was a diverse mix of celebration, angst, wonder and confusion.  There are plenty of arguments as to cannabis’ benefits, lots of those out there who believe the prohibition was necessary and a massive amount of the population in the middle ground who realize the benefits of this legalization while still holding concerns over the usage and a plethora of confusion over what this all means to each of us individually and society as a whole.

This piece is not written to provide you with guidance on the best way to germinate your seeds or how to properly harvest, it will not get into the politics of who’s right and who’s wrong, this will not discuss health benefits or negative effects of smoking weed, and I will do my best to refrain from providing my own opinions in here as to whether or not the Cannabis Act is good or bad as a whole.  Although those that know me well know where I stand!

Because we are real estate agents and this is a real estate blog, what this article will discuss is the implications of the Cannabis Act in relation to your present and future home ownership.  It will not get into the rights and hazards of smoking indoors, but rather it focuses more on the cultivation side of things.  It also discusses the major issues surrounding the implementation of the Act that, in my opinion, weren’t properly thought out and where mechanisms were missed to protect buyers and sellers with the largest investment they will probably make in their lifetime.  And, on even a more micro scale, related to your home, camp and investment ownership in Greater Sudbury and surrounding areas.

As some background, the Act’s implementation, in a basic sense, was to legalize the use of marijuana nationwide.  But, other than a few very basic elements, much of the structure and execution of the Act was downloaded to each province to create their own individual framework.  So, for the purpose of this article and to assist our clients further, this article will be narrowed down to focus in on issues pertaining to the specific laws that Ontario has designed which you can CLICK HERE to access the basics of the legislation.  

In Ontario, you have been granted the right to have up to four plants growing at anytime on your property, although you will notice some exceptions.  This means, in general, you can install some lights, grab some pots and convert a closet, dedicate an entire room, put them on display for your neighbours in your living room window or plant them next to your tomatoes in the garden without any criminal repercussions.  For the most part, this applies to tenants of rental units and condominium owners as well, although there may be exceptions based on individual tenancy agreements and condominium by-laws.  If you fit in these parameters, check with your landlord, condominium corp. or even seek legal advice if necessary.

So, now that it’s legal, let’s grow some weed!  It’s not illegal and no one can stop you!  But, before you head off to the local gardening store for materials, here’s some items of major importance to consider regarding your home, apartment, camp, investment property or even vacant land you own.

Is it illegal to kick holes in your walls and rip your kitchen cabinet doors off?  Absolutely not, but that doesn’t mean an appraiser will think of these remodels as value added to the property.  Is it a criminal offence to not have a working bathroom fan that causes moisture build-up and potential mould issues?  You certainly won’t end up in front of a judge for it, but a home inspector is going to report their concerns to the buyer about it.  Is it against the Criminal Code of Canada to not have insurance on your property?  No, but your mortgage company is going to demand their money back when they find out you don’t have it.

This new law has created MASSIVE gray areas and blind spots in our industry and we’re already seeing enormous problems arising due to the expedited way this law was passed.  If you’re growing weed in your house, banks and insurance companies may still consider your home a “grow-op”.  Appraisers, when coming in on behalf of a bank, have a fiduciary duty to report back to the bank if they see cannabis growing in the property.  Home inspectors have a duty of care to the buyer to outline their concerns if they witness weed growing or evidence that it has been , including the horror stories we’ve all heard about potential for mould and “non-licenced” electrical modifications creating unsafe living conditions.

Personally, this is just my opinion, and not necessarily an opinion shared by my Caswell Team teammates, these 3rd parties to the purchase and sale of a home – namely insurance and mortgage lenders – are going to use these angles as huge money makers for themselves.  If you’re buying a home where the seller states they have been growing weed legally indoors, it’s more than likely the banks and the insurance companies will increase your rates due to the “risks” involved or, even worse, flat out decline you for either or both.  An increase of a ¼ point on a mortgage or 20% higher premiums on insurance, when pushed out over the term of the mortgage or over a decade of insurance, becomes an exponential amount of money out of your pocket and profits to line theirs.

As a seller, you’re thinking, “well, that’s the buyer’s problem, not mine,” but you couldn’t be more wrong.  Once an appraisal of your home is in the system that mentions marijuana being grown in the property, it is registered for all lenders to see.  Once a lender declines financing on a property due to this, other lenders will take note.  Once an insurance company declines coverage, you, as the current owner, could be declined coverage.  Once a home inspector reports that there might be mould growth or electrical issues due to the cultivation, they’re obligated to tell the next buyer they do an inspection for. 

There are so many damaging possibilities to you as a seller that will quickly and adversely impact the value and saleability of your biggest investment.  The problem – there are no mechanisms in the Cannabis Act, federally or provincially, to protect you from these 3rd parties taking these liberties at your expense.  Ironically, none of this would surface if you disclosed you had four tomato plants growing in your kitchen.  So why are they given free reign to take you to task on this?  Because they’re using the gray areas and archaic mindsets to take advantage for profit and reduce the risks to shareholders.

Thanks Caz – so I just won’t tell anyone!” is what you’re thinking.  Sure, but that could land you in an even more expensive lawsuit.  It is a seller’s responsibility to disclose any Latent Defects on a property.  A Latent Defect is something that couldn’t be discovered reasonably through a standard inspection.  If you had a closet in the basement quarantined for your plants with no ventilation then removed it before listing your home, you could still be held liable for not disclosing a potential, or actual, health hazard hidden behind the walls if the new occupants discover a problem.  “But how would they know?” you’re thinking.  Ever show your plants to a buddy or a neighbour?  Ever post a pic on Instagram to show everyone how beautiful they are?  You never know who is going to buy your house and who they are, or will become, friends with.  What happens when the buyer goes to renovate that closet and finds the issues that have been causing their child’s asthma to act up?

So, moral of the story, unless you plan on never selling your house (laughable - Michelle and I said that 100 times in a seven-year span that saw us move five times!), buy a self contained moveable “grow box” or, even better, grow your weed outside.  But, before you start tilling the garden, there’s one other issue to think about if you want to keep your plants!

In most real estate transactions, there are Chattels and Fixtures.  Chattels are moveable items that aren’t attached to the property that the buyer and seller have agreed will remain with the property (ie. fridge, Rubbermaid™ shed, garage door remotes).  Fixtures are anything that is attached to the property that the seller is going to remove and take with them (ie. dining room chandelier, the basketball net attached to the garage, tv mount for the flat screen).  Plants are rooted into the property and, therefore, are part of the property and treated as “fixtures”.  In order to take that tree you planted in Grandma’s honour or, in this case, your weed plants, it must be agreed upon IN WRITING on the offer.  Guess who gets the offer when the buyer applies for financing…..  you’ve just disclosed to the bank that marijuana is being cultivated on the property and you’ve circled back into the war chest of problems discussed above.

In full disclosure, we were as ignorant as everyone else when this law was passed.  But we’re starting to deal with the full buffet of implications that are occurring.  It’s like the governments put all parties involved in our industry into a Maserati™ that only goes full speed and pointed us into a snowstorm with white-out conditions.  We’re all doing our best to navigate blindly through the system while doing everything we can to keep it on the road.  The storm is slowly dissipating for us, but it’ll take some time to finally get onto a clear path moving forward.

Things will continue to evolve under this new world order in Northern Ontario and Canada as a whole.  As your Realtors®, we’re deep in the trenches for all things related to your real estate needs, including this ever-changing legalization, and we’re here to help guide you through these fascinating new times with our expertise.  But, for now, grab some 5-gallon pails to grow your plants outside and take them over to your mother-in-law’s before our photographer shows up and we list your property for sale!

Hope you enjoyed the read and never hesitate to contact us with any questions, comments and suggestions, including any other topics you’d like to see us discuss on here.  You can reach us anytime through our team email account – caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com – and keep coming back to see what’s new and exciting in Greater Sudbury and definitely more updates as our experiences amplify around when the Cannabis Act comes into play in our industry!

Contributed by:

Steve Caswell

Cell - 705.561.8767

caz@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.


A Day In The Life of a Realtor® Mom

(Published on - 3/16/2019 6:19:10 PM)

Well I thought for my first ever blog the best thing for me to chat about would be a little bit about me and how for the last 4 years I have been working what feels like 10 jobs. The juggling act that comes with running my own successful Real Estate business, raising my two small children (3 and 1) and helping my husband build his business in new home construction and contracting (Carniello Contracting) is very trying at times.  But I couldn’t imagine doing anything else as, being all those things, including a full-time Realtor® here in Greater Sudbury for the last 11 years, has been amazing!

I’m going to take you through an example of one day in our household and I’m sure there are other working moms out there that can relate to the insanity and get a good chuckle…….

Our mornings consist of me waking the kids or one creeping into my room to tell me it’s time to get up because the sun is up! I may get 2 minutes alone in the bathroom if I’m lucky or I have a toddler standing there waiting and watching my every move. Then onto getting breakfast and lunches ready as I’m often too tired to do them the night before. Don’t forget your own breakfast, mom! Then it’s off to get the kids dressed and packed up into the car to head to daycare. First drop is the little one and then it’s onto daycare number two because one didn’t have room for the second. Ahhhhhh (the super relaxing “ahhh”, not the stressed out “AHHHH!”), the five-minute drive to work with just me and the radio – bliss.

Finally, I get to the office, open my computer and start confirming my showings that are booked for the afternoon while also doing a Market Analysis for a past client that is looking to sell their house. In my spare time (if there is such a thing), normally while I’m snacking lunch, it’s bookkeeping duties for my husband’s business.

After a full day of office work and 4:30pm approaches, it’s off to pick the kids up by 5:00pm.  I must get them home and begin dinner so that I can leave in time for my showings that start at 6:00pm. My husband walks in the door to take over, we get two minutes in passing to go over the current status of dinner, kids, bath time, etc., and off I go again!

Round 2 at work today as I meet my client to take them through 4-5 homes and they decide they would like to write an offer. Back to the office we go to discuss the offer details and sign. Time is of the essence in real estate deals, so waiting for a more convenient time for us isn’t an option in our profession. Then, it’s off to the offer presentation with the other agent and the sellers. Finally, the offer gets accepted after a couple counters back and forth.  Always fun in a snow storm when the house and sellers are in Hanmer and the buyers are in Moonglo!  Exhausted, I head home to have some reheated dinner before cleaning up and flopping into to bed for the night.  Wait, did anyone feed the dog?

Tomorrow – repeat.

All kidding aside, my favourite part about the real estate business is no two days, clients or properties are the same while being a mom is all about routine.  Having a career where everyday is different and a family routine to wake up with and come home to is the best of both worlds.  And being self-employed and having supporting teammates on my side gives me the flexibility to know when I need to take in some more family time!

Our team is incredibly diverse, and we can relate to any type of lifestyle you’re living.  Whether you’re a busy family, newlyweds looking for your first home, enjoying the single life or anywhere in between, never hesitate to contact us with any questions, to see how we can help you by sharing our knowledge, expertise and daily life experiences.  You can reach us anytime through our team email account – caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com – and keep coming back here to see what’s new and exciting in Greater Sudbury real estate!

Contributed by:

Amanda Gervais

Cell - 705.929.1930

agervais@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.


Multi Family Residential Investments

(Published on - 2/26/2019 12:24:02 AM)

Well, it has been an interesting start to the 2019 real estate market in Sudbury!  

Since the first week in January my phone has not stopped ringing with buyers and investors calling about the Multi-Family market in Sudbury. What is Multi Family you ask?  Rental income properties of the residential nature.

Why Sudbury?  What makes the Sudbury area attractive to Buyers is the fact that rental income is very good, with an average two-bedroom apartment renting for over $1000 per month, plus utilities in most cases. Further, Greater Sudbury is also experiencing a low vacancy rate as the “stress test” the Canadian government has forced onto lenders over the last two years has stalled a lot of renters from moving into home ownership. But, the impact of the “stress test” on the market conditions as a whole is a topic for another day.

In regards to Multi-Family investment, this factor above, along with still historic low interest rates is providing investors an opportunity to invest in real estate and generate a positive cash flow even after borrowing costs. I’m even seeing a lot of Southern Ontario buyers targeting Sudbury as a place they are looking to invest in because of the high return on investment in the North that is not available in the Southern Ontario market due to much higher purchase prices. 

The basis of purchasing investment properties is that, over the course of time, a real estate investment will appreciate while the tenants are paying down the debt. If you are considering venturing into this area of investment, I would highly recommend working with an experienced Realtor® who will help you navigate through all of the factors that will help you maximize your return on investment.

But, before you CLICK HERE to rush to our website to check out all the income property listings, here is just a quick snapshot of a few of the key items that are necessary for a successful transaction:

  • Choosing the right location,
  • Ensuring proper use zoning,
  • Verification of income and expenses,
  • Proper building inspections,
  • And plenty more is required to steer through these purchases!

With all that above, these types of purchases usually come down to one basic item - the financials of the property.  In order to professionally assess, verify and manage the due diligences required on these properties, I can’t emphasis enough the importance of partnering with an expert Realtor® to assist so that you are able to meet or exceed the financial benchmarks of the current Sudbury market.

The Multi Family investment model is a project, small business and or investment that you can add to your present portfolio or current career path which is a nice option to have so maybe down the road it will provide you a good secondary source of income and equity.  I, along with my colleagues on the Caswell Team, are ready to sit down and help you with this assessment to ensure a successful outcome for your future!  Never hesitate to contact us at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com or call us at 705.586.3334 for any questions you may have regarding Multi-Family investment properties or any other real estate needs.

Contributed by:

Gary Doyle

Cell - 705.691.6166

gdoyle@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.

  


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