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Mortgage Rates Dropped to an All-Time Low

These are the Lowest Rates We’ve Seen in the Last 50 Years

Not everyone will be able to take advantage of today’s historically low mortgage rates, due to the pandemic-slowed economy, but for those lucky enough to have jobs that are still deemed “essential” and who’ve had the ability to continually earn their regular income, there is an incredible opportunity for you. One that may not be seen again for a while.

Currently, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.23% – down a whopping 0.91% from this time last year.

(That’s almost one whole percent… which means A LOT of savings.)

Since 1971, which is when Freddie Mac started tracking interest rates, we haven’t seen rates this low.

It could be that rates continue to decrease in 2021, as economists at Freddie Mae predict, but it’s difficult to determine long-term outcomes of COVID-19.

What we definitely know right now, however, is that rates are stupendously low at this moment and those who seize the moment (and the market) will thank themselves in the future.

Oh! And… Happy Cinco de Mayo!

To subscribe to Angie M. Blanco’s  newsletter Click The Link Below

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Real Estate Calendar of Events For Feb 10th

Real estate talks this week delve into a range of topics, from retail, office and luxury residential market.

Feb. 10-11: The London-based organization Worldwide Business Research will host the Future Stores Miami 2020 conference at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay at 1633 N. Bayshore Dr. from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both days.

The first day provides panels on the future of retail with talks including “The store of the future” and networking events “Women in retail chats and cocktails.” Discussions on the second day highlight technological advances in commercial real estate. Speakers include Office Depot Chief Development Officer Calvin Chung; Foot Locker, Inc. Head of Global Retail Design Kambiz Hemati and Perry Ellis International Vice President of Stores Joan Cedrone. Tickets range from $1,899 to $3,399. RSVP here.


FEB. 12

The Edgewater-based, luxury lifestyle magazine Haute Living will host the Haute Residence 2020 Luxury Miami Real Estate Summit at Residences by Armani/Casa at 18325 Collins Ave. from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Discussions focus on the future of luxury residential development in South Florida, market conditions and the evolution of the luxury market. Panelists include brokers Lourdes Alatriste and Christian Martinez and developers Gil Dezer of Residences by Armani/Casa, Louis Birdman of One Thousand Museum and Shahab Karmely of 2000 Ocean. Tickets cost $150. RSVP here.

CREW Miami, a commercial real estate network for women, will host the luncheon “Back to work: The return of office development to South Florida” from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Four Seasons Brickell at 1435 Brickell Ave. Miami Herald business editor Jane Wooldridge will moderate the talk. Speakers include CBRE Senior Vice President Maggie Kurtz, Blanca Commercial Real Estate Vice Chairman Danet Linares and Cushman and Wakefield of Florida Vice Chair Brian Gale. The topic: demand for new office space in Miami and development for new-to-market companies and exisiting tenants.

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Andre Agassi Sells Pembroke Pines Charter School for $61M

Purchased back in 2015 for $10.1 million dollars, the Turner-Agassi group is no stranger to yielding big returns on their investments.  In total the group has developed over 96 schools with a proven investment strategy.  The Group acts as a “Bridge Developer” for the schools. Fronting the cost of construction and site selection, the group then leases the school to a charter school operator until the school reaches enrollment quota where then it’s purchased back from Turner-Agassi.

Charter Schools are becoming a very attractive to investors, as supply for locations are starting to dwindle, demand grows and financing becomes more readily available.

Turner-Agassi plans on spending another $500M to develop an additional 65 schools according to their website.

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Cuban Tech Billionaire Auctions Estate with No Reserve (VIDEO)

Manny Medina is not stranger to goodbyes.  He made multi millions by starting and selling several tech companies.

Now Medina Plans on saying goodbye to his Coral Gables Estate.

Medina will auction his 15,000-square-foot mansion in mid-February without reserve through Platinum Luxury Auctions, according to the downtown Miami auction house. The five-bedroom, six-bathroom house facing a canal at 555 Arvida Parkway was previously listed for $17.9 million. A no-reserve auction means the home will be sold regardless of price.

Medina made his first fortune after selling the real-estate-turned-data center Terremark to Verizon for $1.4 billion in 2012. He then invested his time in a data security company, Cyxtera tech group, which is expected to be worth $52 billion this year.

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Miami’s Commercial Real Estate is on Fire

As we entered into this new year the Miami Commercial Real Estate market as continued to see a lot of growth.  Investors from the northeast U.S. and Latin America continue to spend their money in Miami.  One firm in particular can attest to this growth.

Please read this amazing article by Rebecca San Juan.

BGI Capital “closed on $90 million in commercial bridge loans in the last 90 days of 2019, the firm said. Some 90% of the closings — valued at $80 million — occurred in Miami, with the rest in New York City, said co-managing partner Robert Barthelmess. Investors from the northeast, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela helped the firm exceed its’ lending goal of $80 million, he said.”

“It is a market that we feel comfortable about. Because of the situation in Latin America and tax changes, investors are coming to Miami from elsewhere,” Barthelmess said.

Deals in Edgewater and Coral Gables topped the list for the firm’s biggest investments. Among its deals were a $27.5 million construction loan for a Holiday Inn at 414 NE 36th St. and a $12 million refinance and re-purpose loan at 299 Alhambra Circle, a Class C office building.

BGI Capital has yet to determine a lending goal for the first quarter of 2020. But, Barthelmess said, the firm will prioritize investing in high-density areas in Miami-Dade County, Broward and West Palm Beach. Coral Gables, Wynwood, Edgewater and Hialeah are of particular interest, he said.

“We like high density areas because population can cure a lot of ills,” Barthelmess said. “It drives demand.

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Real Estate Battles Zillow and Trulia Policies We Hate.

According to the company website, when a shopper makes an inquiry through Zillow (or the Zillow-owned site Trulia), the company confirms that the prospect is ready to speak with an agent. If so, it hands the would-be client off to the “premier” agent — as opposed to the listing agent, who, ostensibly, anyway, knows more about the property than anyone else, save for its owner.

 If the premier agent can’t arrange a showing for the home, or if the buyer doesn’t like it, the agent can take them to other houses on the market — probably his or her own listings first. Now, the listing agent has lost a potential sale, as well as a potential new client.

On its site, Zillow claims premier agents close twice as many sales. And Matt Hendricks, director of broker relations, says it has been not only “an incredible lead generator” for the “tens of thousands” of agents who participate, but also a top revenue producer for the company.

Hendricks maintains that listing agents always pop up in the top spot, no matter how many premier agents are also listed. But the premier agents tend to have a more robust online resume than listing agents, he admits, which is likely to make them more attractive.

House shoppers are free to contact any agents associated with the listing, but consultant Wilson doesn’t like the concept. And neither do most agents who work hard to secure listings and jealously guard them.

“It can be a crapshoot,” said agent Myrl Jeffcoat of GreatWest Realty in Sacramento, California. “More than once, I have heard from buyers who thought they were contacting the listing agent … but (actually) called someone else.”

 “When buyers click on a listing, they have no idea they are not going to get the listing agent,” agreed Kat Palmiotti of Grand Lux Realty in Monroe, New York. “Sometimes they get contacted by 10 different agents. It can be frustrating to a buyer.”

Wilson called Zillow’s program “very annoying.” Premier agents are “fishing for new clients,” she said. “They’re trying to buy leads, and they’re using someone else’s listings as bait. There’s no way they can represent the best interests of the seller, or the buyer, for that matter.

“They call back quickly, I’ll give them that. But they do not represent the house. Some have never been inside. Some are not even in that market.”

Wilson and some other angry agents have implored Zillow to remove non-listing agents’ names from listings, but she says the Seattle-based company refused. Zillow’s Hendricks says listing agents used to be able to pay to be the only agent whose name is on the “home details” page, but that feature was dropped a few years ago. Even sellers have been unable to stop the practice. Hendricks says that since sellers want the most exposure possible, most don’t want their agents to be the only ones listed.

So three years ago, a coalition of 65 of the largest full-service realty firms and multiple listing services in the country came together to wrest control of their bread-and-butter listings from Zillow and other third-party business disruptors — sometimes known as aggregators — by creating a public portal as an alternative. You may never have heard of Homesnap, but it is now the No. 1-rated agent mobile app and desktop site, with traffic up 40 percent in the last year.

“The industry-controlled portal has become our industry’s greatest ‘overnight’ success story,” says Wilson, who now advises the portal, but whose experience in Buffalo occurred long before she signed on.

Among other things, Homesnap’s technology allows you to take a photo with your mobile device of any house and instantly be shown all its pertinent details: size, number of bedrooms and baths, property taxes, school district, asking price (if it’s for sale) and even its estimated value (if it’s not). The idea is to give buyers and sellers a better online search experience than the one provided by companies such as Zillow, where agents spend beaucoup bucks promoting their listings.

Better yet, participants adhere to a set of Fair Display Guidelines, which call for search results to be sorted and ranked by the consumer’s search parameters, as opposed to any type of “featured” listing or paid placement. Only the names and contact information of the actual listing broker and agent can be displayed on the “property details” page. No inquiries by potential buyers will be diverted elsewhere.

Lew Sichelman has been covering real estate for more than 50 years. He is a regular contributor to numerous shelter magazines and housing and housing-finance industry publications. Readers can contact him at

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Miami Financial Manager purchases Coral Gables waterfront property for $13Million

Managing partner of a Miami-based equity firm ‘I Squared Capital, purchased a 7,589 sq ft home in Coral Gables in a “Off The Market” deal.

Built in 2016 the 16,500 sq ft lot houses five bedrooms, seven bathrooms and sits right on the bay.

Records show that the property last sold in 2004 for $3.1 million

I Squared Capital is a private equity firm focusing on global infrastructure investments, founded by  Morgan Stanley executives. It has over $13 billion in assets under management.

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Co Creator and Chief Designer of BCBGMAXAZRIA lists ‘Fisher Island’ property

Co creator and Chief Designer of fashion brand BCBGMAXAZRIA listed her ‘Fisher Island’ condo located at 5363 Fisher Island Dr.

The 5,790 sq ft, 4 bedrooms, four -and-a-half bath property features two balconies and a movie theatre.  The condo sits on the 6th floor with a view of downtown Miami; listed for $5.9 million.

Priced at $1,019 per square foot the property is listed at a competitive price.  The sellers agent  was quoted saying  “They wanted to price it to sell it.  It’s priced very competitively.” Jill Eber

Recently completed condo construction on ‘Fisher Island’ has tempted buyers to purchase “new”.  However buyers are very much still interested in older buildings and other offers. The older buildings offer amenities the newer competition doesn’t provide: two golf cart spaces, two car parking spaces and storage unit.   “Buyers are always look for opportunities. The newer buildings are selling at a higher price per square foot,” Jill Eber

Azria and her late husband enjoyed this condo as a vacation stay.  Azria however has not been frequenting south Florida and doesn’t plan on re purchasing property in the area.

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$5,500,000 in sales so far this year! My success story!

 My clients come from multiple sources. One day, Edward (the mortgage broker), called me and said: “George, I have a couple, James and Elaine, that has been looking for a house for almost a year. Their agent has been ineffective in locating what they want and they are very upset. In about 5 weeks my mortgage commitment to them will run out and due to changes in requirements, they may have difficulty securing a mortgage. Can you help them?”

That same day I called, “Hi Elaine. This is George Tucker. Edward asked me to call you. Do you have time to answer questions I use to empower my clients?” (I have included these questions at the end of this interview and they are posted on my website.) “These questions prepare me to find you the perfect house.” As Elaine did not have enough time to completely answer my questions – Takes about 1 hour – we set up a time later that evening.

I called them around 8 PM. Both James and Elaine were on the call. I said “ I have a number of important questions to ask to help me be clear on what you want in your new home.” At one point they stopped me and James said “These questions are great! No one has ever asked all of these. They are definitely supporting us in being clear as to what we want!” When I finished asking my questions, I asked if they had anything to add that I did not ask. They said I was very complete and they had nothing to add. I said “thank you for taking the time to give me the information I needed to find you the property you seek. I will now go to work and will have some information for you within the next couple of days.” That evening I combed through the MLS and found that there were quite a few homes that met many of their requirements. When I placed what my client indicated were the most important factors, I was able to reduce the possibilities to 8. Further scrutiny of the 8 enabled me to reduce that number to 3.

I promptly set up appointments for me to visit the three properties by myself the next day. All three homes met the clients’ objectives. One of them clearly stood out. It was priced right for their budget and was located exactly where they wanted to live! I was sure that this house was exactly what they were looking for. I called my client and found out when they were available to see this property. As it turned out, they were available to see it the next day. We went together to see the house. It was love at first
sight! They decided to put in a full price offer and it was accepted. We now had an offer that was accepted and financing in place. Sounds like an easy deal, right? Not even close!

They were qualified for a VA Mortgage so we needed to have the property qualify. The inspection uncovered some problems with the roof, interior ceilings, pool filter system, kitchen appliances and several exterior doors. The seller agreed to fix everything
except the kitchen appliances and my clients agreed. This took about two weeks. When the VA sent someone to appraise the property, the roof did not pass! The seller was reluctant to do any more work on the house but agreed after I took the time to show him it was in his interest to do the required repairs. Within a week the roof was repaired, the house was inspected and passed the VA Requirements. Remember we had a limited amount of time to close this deal. Only a few weeks were left.
Things were looking good, right? Absolutely not!

Two days after the house passed the VA inspection, I was driving by and I noticed that the side gate was open. I entered the yard and saw that the outside central air conditioner unit was missing! The garage door was open and I looked inside and saw that the interior air handler was also missing. I immediately called the seller’s agent. He called his client and everything was replaced in about one week.
Things were looking good, right? Absolutely not!
Four days before the last date we could close, so that the buyer would not have to re-apply for their VA loan, the seller’s title company (seller insisted on using his title company) had uncovered a number of violations on the property with unpaid fines! These were all landscaping violations – unkempt property, blocking the public sidewalk, low hanging branches over the sidewalk, etc. I gathered my tools, went to the property and handled everything. An inspector came the next day and certified that the property was no longer in violation.
Things were looking good, right? Absolutely not!
Two days before closing the title company finds out that the town is still owed $35,000 in fines for this property. I am determined that the closing happens on time. I call the seller’s agent and forcefully tell him that this has to be handled immediately. He tells me that he does not think the seller will pay this. I take the time to go over the reasons that it is to the seller’s advantage to pay the fines and close the deal. The conversation continues until I am clear that the agent is well prepared for this conversation with his
client. The next day the seller goes to the town and pays off all the fines.
Things were looking good, right? Absolutely!
The seller’s check to the town clears and the closing is successful. My client now lives in the home of their dreams and the seller received a fair price for the property he sold them. In fact, asking my client my questions enabled me to hold their hands through a complex deal. Their answers sourced the reasons I gave to the seller to convince him that this sale was to his advantage.

As a well-informed agent, totally familiar with the wants and needs of my client – in this case the buyer – I guided a difficult transaction to a successful completion. Everyone is satisfied with the results.


A friend of mine, Eric, who works at a local hotel, was talking to a guest, Bill. “What brings you to Fort Lauderdale?” Eric asked. “Actually,” the Bill replied, “I am here to buy a house. We are planning to move here in the next few months.”

“That’s great!” Eric answered. “Do you have a real estate agent to help you?”

“No. I don’t think I need one. I found several houses I like on Zillow and I plan on calling those brokers to show them to me.” Bill responded.
“My friend, George Tucker, is a very good real estate agent. Would it be okay if I told him to contact you? He has a lot of information about this area and has been very successful in supporting his clients enabling them to get the perfect house for their needs. George gets the job done!” Bill took my card from Eric and gave him his contact information. “You can give this to George and tell him to call me.” “I will.” Replied Eric.

That afternoon I received a call from Eric. “I met this person today. He is looking to buy a home in this area. His name is Bill and he said it was OK to give you his number. He is a guest at my hotel. I know you will take care of him.”
I thanked Eric and immediately called Bill. “Hi Bill. This is George Tucker. Eric said it was OK to call you. He told me you are thinking about buying a house in this area. How may I be of service to you?”

“I’m not sure.” Bill answered. “Why should I do business with you?”
I responded, “I know you have an idea as to what you want. May I ask you a series of questions so that I can be focused on your requirements? Then I can show you why you should choose me as your agent. Is that OK?”
Bill agreed and I asked him my buyer questions. What I discovered is that privacy was the most important thing to him, followed by a large house with a WOW factor. He wanted his family to enjoy his success!

When I finished asking my questions Bill said, “That was very interesting. I am clearer now on what I want out of the questions you asked. Your questions help me get focused. I know that I want to do business with you. When can you arrange for me to see the houses I picked on Zillow?”

Even though I knew that Bill would not like the houses he chose on Zillow, I set up appointments for him to see them. I was right, he did not want to buy any of them. As Bill loves to do his own research, I set him up as my client with MLS search capability. While he was doing his research, I was also looking for houses that fit his requirements. He located 6 other houses he wanted to see and did not like any of them. I found one house that I knew he would love. It was priced, however, above the budget he set for
me. I asked, “Bill, if you found the perfect house, would you increase the budget you gave me?” His response was, “Only if I fall in love with it. It has to be perfect! Must be move in condition and fully furnished with fine furniture and decorated.” The house I found met all of those requirements – and more! I took Bill to see it and he immediately fell in love with the house. 7 bedrooms and nine baths; 60 foot pool and 2000 sq. ft. pool house; 3 acres of land; Extremely private and quiet; bordered on a nature preserve; Two 2 car oversized garages; more than 10,000 sq. ft. under air; Fully furnished with exquisite furniture including a professional pool table and fine art! I negotiated with the seller and Bill bought the house for $300,000 under the asking price. He knew he got a great deal.

Bill was so pleased with the way I handled EVERYTHING, he asked me to find him a very high-end condo on the beach. I located one of the finest condos on the beach in Fort Lauderdale. I negotiated for Bill a price substantially below what the builder was asking. Bill, once again, realized that he was getting a great deal and bought the condo. The price of the condo was about 1 ½ times the price of the house he just bought. Bill is very happy with his purchases and looking forward to buying more properties in the near future.

A happy and satisfied client is my primary objective. I am the number ONE broker in London Foster with more than $5,500,000 in sales so far this year! I want to acknowledge Bobby and Vasile from  LondonFoster. Their support was material in making these deals work.



Gaining the Clients’ Trust:
As a Realtor, my priorities are to earn the trust, confidence and respect of my clients. From the moment I engage with a prospect, everything I do is for their benefit. This encourages them to become my client. The goal becomes either locating and ultimately purchasing the perfect property for them or securing the best price for a property they are selling.
My background and experience has been filled with a multitude of diverse positions in various financial and service-based industries. I worked on Wall Street for 15 years selling stocks, bonds and commodities. The skills I attained from these experiences enabled me to create and build several of my own companies over a 30-year span. I had two retail establishments in the Sawgrass Mills Mall, an Event Company producing interactive events for corporations and I published and distributed a monthly Magazine. My success as the leading agent in my company is a result of cultivating listening skills and supporting clients to be confident in making their own decisions.

My Initial Client Dialog:
“To powerfully use my experience to support you in getting the results you desire, it is paramount that I clearly understand, from your point of view, what you want. Is it ok with you if I ask you questions that will help both of us focus on your requirements?” After they say yes, I ask, “is this a good time to talk or would you like to schedule an appointment? I do not want to rush this conversation.”
I ask these questions knowing the client has the answers, and it may take some time for them to fully discover this. It is essential that these questions be asked as part of a conversation. Prospects should not feel they are being grilled or pressured.

The following is an example of the questions I may ask. I modify them, as needed. These are questions for a prospective buyer.

1. “Is this the beginning of your search?”
a. If the answer is no, “What have you already looked at and why did you decide not to buy?”
b. If the answer is yes, continue with the next question.

2. “What are the most important things you want to accomplish by buying this property.” Paying the least is rarely the most important reason unless the properties are only for investment purposes. If someone is buying a residence or vacation home, as important as price is, there usually are additional factors that may be just as significant. My uncovering and identifying the other reasons are essential to gaining the buyer’s trust.

3. Who will be living in this property?
a. Get everyone’s name and relationship to the person you’re talking to.
b. If children will be living there, ask their ages.
c. Find out if anyone else is involved in the decision to buy.

4. “Have you set a date when you would like to own your new property?”

5. “Are you willing to repair or renovate if the price is right or must the home be in move in condition?”

6. “Do you want the house furnished or unfurnished?”


7. “What are the must haves and can’t haves for this transaction that are important to you?”

This overlaps previous questions and will help clarify answers,
a. Single-family house, Multiplex, Condo, Co-op, Townhome
i. Bedrooms
ii. Bathrooms
iii. Square footage of living space
iv. Garage size
v. Pool
vi. Size of property
vii. Privacy
viii. When built

b. Location, location, location!
I. Urban, Suburban, Rural
II. Waterfront
III. Ocean access
IV. Fixed bridges or no fixed bridges
V. Lake or Canal
VI. Ocean Front
VII. Intercostal

c. Neighborhood
I. Proximity to Houses of Worship
II. Proximity to where they work

III. Schools
IV. Shopping

8. “When we find the perfect property, are you ready to make a decision?”

9. “What is the price range that works for you? Is there any flexibility?”

10. “How do you plan on paying for the property?”
a. Cash
i. “Are the funds currently available for a deposit?”
ii. “Is there anything you need to do to have the rest of the funds available?”
b. Finance
i. “Have you chosen where to get financing?”
ii. “Are you prequalified? If not, are you willing to get prequalified?”
c. “When do you want to close?”

Completing the above questions is only the beginning of gaining the client’s trust. What I then do with the information is critical.
As soon as my schedule permits, preferably the same day, I block off one hour of my time to research properties that match or closely match my client’s objectives. I save the entire list of matches and choose the top 10 matches. I will set up appointments for me to visit as many of these 10 as I can in the next 48 hours. My client’s will not see or even know about any of these properties until I have determined that they meet their requirements. Analyzing what I have learned from my visits, I will choose the top 4 matches and set up appointments for my client to visit them. After each visit, I debrief my client to discover if they want to buy this property or what did not work for them. The client is always right, and I never tell them they are wrong or give them my opinion unless they ask me for it. My answers are always honest and complete. I continue this process until they choose the property to buy.

Making The Offer:
I create all documentation using Form Simplicity. All my buyers are prequalified and I make certain that the selling broker knows that. I will supply the selling broker with any documentation that assures them that my client is the real deal and if we agree on price and terms, this deal will close. I will do anything I can for my client to feel safe and secure with their offer and with any documents I ask them to supply.

How I negotiate is determined by whether the client is buying to invest or to live in the property. Either way, I will do my homework to determine “fair market value”.

If the buyer is an investor, the numbers determine everything.

1 “Is this property being bought for future resale value or income?”
2 “What return works?”
3 “How long are you planning to own this property?”

If the buyer plans on occupying the property, the emotional pull the property has for them must be
taken into consideration.

1. “How excited are you about the possibility of living here?”
a. If they are very excited and the property is priced right, a full price offer may be appropriate.
b. If they are very excited, the property is priced low and there is a lot of interest or the property just hit the market, an offer above asking may be appropriate. This is especially true in areas when prices are rising rapidly. This is rarely required in the area when prices are falling.

2. If they are not very excited, and still are interested in the property, ask, after I give them my price analysis: “At what price would like to buy the property?”

Completing The Transaction:

1. My presence for all inspections and appraisals is important. I want to know exactly what is
going on. At times my knowledge of a property has enabled a more accurate appraisal. I also
want to understand anything an inspector uncovers.

2. I stay in close touch with my client, the mortgage broker and the title company to avoid any

3. My communication with my client is always open and honest and comes from what’s

4. Everything is set up so completely that my clients do not have to be at the closing.

After The Sale:
It is important to me to maintain a relationship with my clients after the sale. Some have become good
friends. I know that if I do a great job for them and they are happy with the results, they will refer me
every time someone they know could use the services of a caring and effective Realtor.

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