Our Team

JD Esajian


Favorite Areas of San Diego North Park, South Park, Pacific Beach
Favorite Quote “Be a yard stick of quality, people are not use to an environment where excellence is expected.” –Steve Jobs
Passions Family, Health, Music, Real Estate and Cooking
Life Motto Life is a journey and not a destination…so be happy, be present and be grateful!

After growing up in the central valley of California and attending the University of Southern California, I bought my first house in 1999 and developed my love of real estate. Starting and building CT Homes with my brother and close friends has been a life dream and passion. To be able to help sellers and buyers, as well as improve communities is an extremely rewarding experience and a true joy. Building long term relationship with our customers and creating wow experiences is our daily goal.

Than Merrill


Favorite Areas of San Diego Little Italy, Downtown, Pacific Beach, La Jolla

Passions Family, Friends, Football, Learning & Real Estate
Favorite Quote “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” -Harriet Tubman

Than Merrill has over 14 years of professional experience in the real estate investment and lending industry. He is the founder and principal in several real estate investment companies and has been involved in over $750 million of real estate investments during that time frame. Than has experience in many facets of real estate investment including marketing, sourcing, underwriting, appraisal, negotiations, raising capital, investor relations, and business management.

Paul Esajian


Favorite Areas of San Diego Pacific Beach, La Jolla, & Downtown
Favorite Quote “Stay focused, go after your dreams and keep moving towards your goals. ” –LL Cool J
Passions My children, wife Andrea, personal growth, & Wrestling

Paul Esajian has over 14 years of professional experience in the real estate investment and lending industry. He is the founder and principal in several real estate investment companies and has been involved in over $750 million of real estate investments during that time frame. Paul has experience in many facets of real estate investment including underwriting, raising capital, investor relations, construction management, accounting, taxation & business management.

Dan Wright

Director of Acquisitions

Favorite Areas of San Diego Torrey Pines and Mission Bay
Favorite Quote “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is." – Vince Lombardi
Passions Family, Golf, BBQ'ing, Live Music, & Personal Growth
Life Motto “Plan the work, work the plan. Do it, do it right, do it right now.”

I have called San Diego home since 2013 and after growing up in the midwest and east coast, I can say for certain that San Diego is the place to be. It's pretty special to live on the coast and within a 3 hour drive you can be in the desert riding quads or skiing in Big Bear. Lucky for me CT Homes is in San Diego and being a part of this amazing organization has been life changing. We have the opportunity to help homeowners in difficult situations and there's nothing more fun than watching our renovations come to life.

Kevin Oechsel

Sr. Acquisitions Analyst

Favorite Area of San Diego County Mission/Pacific Beach
Favorite Quote ““If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” –Henry Ford
Passions Family & Friends, Wakeboarding & Waterskiing, Sports,Traveling
Life Motto Passion is the fuel to success.

While I now call San Diego home, I was born and raised in the Pasadena area of Los Angeles. I came to San Diego in 2011 to attend San Diego State University where I graduated with a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Real Estate. I studied in Germany for a semester and, after suffering through the “cold” that we don’t usually experience here in Southern California, I realized San Diego was where I belonged. The creative environment and tight-knit company culture that CT Homes offers are only a few of the things that get me excited to come into the office every day!

Michael White

Acquisitions Analyst

Favorite Area of San Diego County Beach Area and Cuyamaca
Favorite Quote "The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way." - Robert Kiyosaki
Passions Real Estate, Camping, Hiking, and getting in nature
Life Motto Doubt kills more dreams than failure so never doubt yourself.

I am originally from the Metro Detroit Area in Michigan and that is where I developed my love for Real Estate. It started with the book “Rich Dad Poor Dad” and after reading the book, I definitely knew what I wanted to do with my life. I started in the Mortgage Industry where I developed my customer service skills and a knowledge for the financing aspect of real estate. After doing mortgages for two years, I decided to get my real estate license and get into the real estate side.

Jim Zaniboni


Favorite Area of San Diego County Carlsbad, Little Italy
Favorite Quote "When you can change your thinking from “What am I going to receive?” to “What am I going to give?” your entire life begins to turn around." – John C. Maxwell
Passions Faith, Family, Health, Sports and Italian Food
Life Motto People most often regret the chances they failed to take, not the chances they took that failed.

I developed an interest and passion for real estate at a young age. However, after graduating college I took a short 30-year detour into the Corporate world and raised a family along the way. That detour took me from my hometown of Boston to New York and for the past 14 years I am happy to say San Diego! I am in a new and exciting phase of life and happy to be involved in real estate once again and for the opportunity to team up with a fantastic organization like CT Homes. Their commitment to their core values, customers, partners, allies and employees is unwavering. I am excited to be part of a team that is revitalizing neighborhoods, solving real estate challenges for their customers and improving the overall quality of life here in San Diego!

Michelle Barajas

Renovation Department Manager

Favorite Area of San Diego County Hillcrest, Little Italy and all beach cities
Favorite Quote “May the wind always be at your back and the sun upon your face. and may the winds of destiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars” –Fred Jung
Passions My Family, Friends, Shoe Shopping and music
Life Motto “Life is like photography, you use the negatives to develop”

I was born and raised in the beautiful city of San Diego. While attending community college, I obtained a part-time job at a home entertainment store where I met my now supervisor at CT Homes. When the opportunity to work as a project manager for such an amazing company arose, I couldn’t pass it up. Although the entire Real Estate industry was foreign and quite intimidating to me, I put my fears aside and went for it. The rush and thrill I get from rehabbing a property is quite exciting. You never know what’s going to happen next. Watching the transformation of each property is really rewarding. Little by little I’m helping my city look even more gorgeous then it already is.

Angel Leyzaola

Project Manager

Favorite Area of San Diego County La Jolla, Old Town, North Park
Favorite Quote “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.” - Lorenzo Anello
Passions My Family, Friends, Surfing, Volleyball, Camping
Life Motto “Always strive and prosper”

Born and raised in San Diego, where the weather is nice all year long. I enjoy spending my free time at the beach, especially during summer time. I’ve spent the last three years working in construction before given the opportunity to work for CT Homes. I attended the Fortune Builders three day seminar before coming on board and it has encouraged me to become more educated and skilled in the real estate industry. I’m excited to be part of the team and help renovate homes in my own city.

Blake Evans

Sales Manager

Favorite Area of San Diego County My Hometown, North Park
Favorite Quote "When you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life."
Passions My twin daughters, Real Estate, running and yoga
Life Motto Love deeply, forgive often, laugh more, stress less.

Born and raised in San Diego, I absolutely love this city. I am grateful I have found my passion which also happens to be my job. Building trust is #1 in my opinion. From introducing families to neighborhoods that fit their needs, to walking them through the process of customizing their dream home, and helping clients buy and sell properties-the outcome of seeing them smile at the results is the true reward and why I do what I do. Other than that you can find me with my husband and twin girls on the beaches from San Diego to Hawaii. Aloha!

Talia Arakelian

Sales and Marketing Assistant

Favorite Area of San Diego County La Jolla, Little Italy and Pacific Beach
Favorite Quote "Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it". Maya Angelou
Passions Family and Friends, Travel, Expanding my Knowledge, and Experiencing New Things.
Life Motto Set a goal that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning

I was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. I graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Communication and a minor in Social Media Marketing. I completed an internship with FortuneBuilders during the summer of 2017, where I discovered a passion for all things real estate. After 4 years in the desert, I am eager to build a life in beautiful San Diego, and expand my knowledge alongside such an ambitious team.

Allie Secor

Office Manager/Project Coordinator

Favorite Area of San Diego County La Jolla & Hillcrest
Favorite Quote "It’s kind of fun to do the impossible."
Passions Family, Friends, Art, Personal and Spiritual growth.
Life Motto Laugh everyday and love with all your heart.

I was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM. At 26, I decided to take a chance and moved to San Diego to grow both in my personal life and professional life. I have been a manager in numerous fields ranging from luxury sales to running a medical clinic; from the rental car world to the airline catering world. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the CT Homes team and excited to both bring my skills to the team and to learn more about the real estate world.

Mary Siapno

Transaction Manager

Favorite Area of San Diego County La Jolla, Del Mar and Torrey Pines
Favorite Quote “Success happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
Passions Personal Growth, Family, Friends, Real Estate, Helping others
Life Motto #everythingisawesome

I was born in New York and grew up in Southern, CA. In 1996, I moved to Northern, CA and met the love of my life. A few years after getting married and starting a family, I decided to quit my job and work from home in the Real Estate and Mortgage Industry. In the beginning, everything was awesome...then the market crashed. Luckily for me, I was based in the Short Sale Foreclosure Capital of California. Being in that position helped build my niche in the Short Sale arena. It was my dream to move to San Diego and find a company that I can align my long-term goals with. I am honored to be part of the CT Homes LLC team and I am excited to see what the future holds.