Real Estate Agent Crofton, Gambrills, Odenton, Hanover Maryland

Top 5 Benefits of Hiring a Professional Real Estate Agent

In this fast-paced era of the digital world, the manual job of a real estate agent is fading away gradually. Most often people ask, “why should we hire a real estate agent?” and rightfully so, as buyers and sellers alike turn to the internet first. But after extensive research and hours on the web, the realization that when nothing pays off, the internet cannot really replace the benefits of having a flesh-and-blood real estate agent. So here are the top five reasons why you should consider hiring a real estate agent, even today.

  1. Better Reach to Sources
    A real estate agent has physical and easy access to all the properties listed by other agents as he works full time on being the bridge of communication between the buyers and the sellers.
    An agent knows what arrangements are needed to meet client’s criteria and preferences to get the deal together. They undertake all manual work including making calls, coordinating with both parties, making appointments and a detailed oversight of documentation in a hassle-free way for the client.
  2. Negotiation as an Art
    Most people don’t like the involvement of an agent in the negotiation of a deal. However, it is this direct negotiation that paves the way for the process to be more transparent as both ends are communicating the entire time. This is only possible if all parties are like-minded and everything goes well. In other cases, for example, if you like a house and the doors are something you don’t like, the agent can be the messenger in the equation and convey your opinion across. Since these deals are very fragile, and sellers can decline a deal anytime, the agent can be useful to make the toughest deals in your favor and same goes with the seller’s agent where he can keep the buyer’s requests and demands in check while helping the seller in making a profit.
  3. Agents Have Resourceful Contacts
    An experienced real estate agent is accustomed to deal with the same contacts and conditions regularly, and familiar with the procedures to be followed if things go out of hand. The right agent will always protect the client’s interests whether you are buying or selling. Your agent will make sure you can step out of a deal safely if certain conditions are not met.
  4. Your Real Estate Agent Will Not Cheat
    Always remember to approach a licensed real estate agent. A licensed real estate agent is bound to meet a client’s interest over his own because he or she must follow common laws under the Agency Agreement. Moreover, an agent also relies on his reputation in the market to carry on with his profession.
  5. Saving Can Be Tricky
    A buyer will always depend on their real estate agent to save a little money despite paying them their cut, to make a collective benefit from the deal. It is unlikely that both the buyer and seller will not pay a commission to the agent in the process, which in turn works collectively in everyone’s favor.

If you plan on buying a house on your own, you have to take up all the weight of the procedure on your own shoulders, multiplying your work at least three-fold if not more. There’s a reason why agents came into existence and it is only fair to let them do their job while so that we can enjoy the fruits of their labor!

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Most Important Home Improvements to Make Before Selling a Home

Selling a home is a huge decision, and the road to reaching the end is an emotional and extremely analytical journey. Every minute detail has to be inspected with great detail, figuring out along the way the best possible options to get you the best value on your home. Remodeling and repairs count as a major question, to fix or not to fix?

The location, market scene and kind of broker investing in your home has a lot to do with the price you earn on your space, but home improvements, even the little ones are enough to make a big difference to make the cut. So, which ones you ask?
While there are no specificities as to what will sell your home better and quicker as a lot depends on the way you’ve maintained your space over time, we have a list of few fixer uppers that realtors swear by.

  1. Floor Fixes

    Hardwood floors, carpeting as well as chipped and cracked ceramics – time and wear-and-tear would have left your flooring tired and overused. Older houses that have been furnished decades ago have lost their charm and are a dull comparison to the newer amenities one has on offer. While this may be the most expensive investment of the lot, it is a fair deal that will fetch you a higher price; And if experts are to be believed, a resale return of at least 40%.

  2. Bathroom Fixes

    Old calcified tubs, ceilings that are falling apart and leaky faucets, the little details that bring about a major change without burning a hole in your pocket. Upgrading to fancier lights, fixing broken fixtures, throwing on some fresh paint on the walls and deodorizing an old toilet is always a winner. You’d be rather surprised how these minor bumps could affect the value of your house in its entirety.

  3. Roofs and Walls

    Both the interior and the exterior of your house are of equal importance. While scraping off old wallpaper and paneling, to refresh the look of your house works wonders, fixing a broken or damaged roof is quintessential. A new buyer wouldn’t want to invest in major repairing costs (unless of course he’s a flipper), significantly reducing the resale value of your house.

  4. The Kitchen

    Replacing your beat-up kitchen cabinets is a big commitment, so getting rid of them is a safer option. Leaving high-end appliances won’t fetch you higher rates, as buyers are looking to save just as much as you are. Simple replacements, granite and laminate upgrades some additional plumbing definitely throws in a few extra pennies into your pocket.

  5. The Exterior

    Remodeling your lawn or patio, planting a few plants and painting your fancy picket fence – they all matter. It’s all about creating the first visual impression to your buyer to give them a glimpse of what their next home could really look like. Tiny details – door knobs and handles, otherwise missed easily could be the ultimate game changers in the resale price of your home.

Overall, your aim is to present a home that on the surface appears to have no major maintenance and repair costs, so do your best to put up a pretty face forward to fetch you your desired price!

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Preparing Your House for the Winter

Winter is Coming!

Preparing Your Home for the WinterNot just metaphorically in the universe of Game of Thrones but literally here in our boring Muggle world. With your big investment on the house have come big responsibilities, and it’s the time of the year where you must follow through to make the most of your investment without burning a hole in your pocket. Listed below is a checklist to make life simpler, one step at a time.

Scout the perimeter

First things first, check the exterior of your property for cracks, peeling or damage. It is essential to begin all handiwork while the temperatures are relatively warmer and convenient to work outdoors. This not only eases the burden on you but saves you from the last moment rush to find accomplished professionals available to render their services. Ensure you check the gutters, roof, doors and windows for any visible damage or clogging that might cause disruptions or even worse – injury. Home repair professionals are recommended, but if the intention is to save an extra buck, make sure you are careful on the ladder!

Test out the Appliances

Smoke alarms, heating systems, pipes, chimneys – among the other essentials. It is important to check manufacturing dates on alarm systems, replacing any faulty parts with reliable alternatives if not originals. Associations such as the Chimney Safety Institute of America recommend inspection and thorough cleaning of your systems to safeguard your homes from the dangerous gases, smoke and dirt emitted from your fireplace and heating systems. Checking on these essentials protect and prevent disasters such as house fires, improve air quality while keeping you warm and cozy through the harsh winter months.

Prepare Preserve and Protect

Prune your shrubs, trim the edges, mow out the lawn, clear out the patio and store your pots and plants away before the snowy storms set in. Leaves from surrounding trees are a never-ending menace, but there’s always the mighty leaf blower to the rescue. Stocking up on firewood in unheated, dry garages are the next essential on the list. Machinery always comes with a hint of unreliability; hence, it is of utmost importance to stack your shovels, ensure supplies are accessible and that there always is an emergency kit at hand. Flashlights, rope, first aid kids, warm clothes, food, water, medication and amenities are the few necessities that are usually looked over but most important in a crisis.

Being prepared for a long stormy winter doesn’t begin when the first snow hits the ground, but technically must begin when the daylight savings change. Leaving your winter prep for the last minute is nothing short of catastrophic as appointments are booked, servicemen remain unavailable and you would have to fend for yourself all the while running pillar to post just to get the job done in time. Your home is your investment and safeguarding it for the long healthy future of your own stands as an individual responsibility. It’s all about the small details that matter, you never know when the storm will hit!

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Flipping Properties Real Estate

Flipping Properties: Investing in Real Estate

In the States, a large market is accessible to investors, a market as big as 7.5 million of homeowners slacking on payments or headed towards foreclosure on their real estate investments. So, what do we do with this huge market of unexplored territory? We flip it!

Flipping is the newly coined term for real estate investors buying homes, usually at auctions and selling them off while pocketing a sizeable profit. But is this all as simple as it sounds? Let’s find out –

The Phases of Every Flip - Property / Real EstateTo begin with, investors require a substantial capital of their own, a bank balance to sustain them through the depressed markets and the strategic skills of a well-qualified analyst to forecast and predict the credibility and value of the property in question. It is extremely important to understand that a substantial amount of investment goes out from your own pocket as an investor; buying, renovating, mortgage, insurance, utilities and taxes are all on you. A huge ask for a newbie in the market.

Experience in the arena of flipping develops with substantial risk taking and management. An investor with an impeccable credit score always stands a higher chance of acquiring properties, especially in cases of high risk properties. Understanding the current market trends and scope in the real estate market is a no brainer. Knowing the pros and cons of your property, locality and more, help identify the areas that need working on.

Finding the right property at a sound location, well surrounded by utilities and necessities is a miracle. Compensating and contracting resources to develop the area works towards rebounding from the recession. Building amenities to substantiate and selecting properties that are deemed to be situated in areas with potential, help sell faster.

Home improvements are essential to improve the value of any home. Finding the right fixes that fit within your budget, but upgrade the property at the same time will help sell faster and better. Hence, bringing us to the understanding that predetermining all your financing options and listing out the important requirements and changes are the first step to flipping.

Research is quintessential in the business. Not only is it important to research the market value, trends and development patterns, it is extremely important to find the right handymen to work on your property. Trustworthy alliances with people of comprehensive experience help build good relations for future endeavors while providing you services that could make or break the deal on your house.

Associating with the finest realtors in the industry is a preferable choice for flippers. Listing homes on the market with these professionals can help you promote your properties quickly with their set of skills and networking connections. Flippers working on multiple projects can delegate their work to professionals who will take care of the basics and for a menial share work toward the same interests as you.

With flipping homes comes great risks and greater rewards and is undoubtedly meant for the brave hearted. Like any other business, understanding the basics is key. Smart choices and wise investments are what make a successful flipper.

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FHFA Logo

HARP – Home Affordable Refinance Program

HARP

The process of selling or buying a home is both emotionally and physically exhausting. When you come across a property or house that you intend to purchase, you are putting down roots for a long period of time. Similarly when a person decides to sell their home and relocate, they are uprooting from a particular place to which they may have a strong emotional attachment.HARP LOGOBoth these processes become significantly easier and hassle free if the real estate agent understands what is ultimately required.

Everyone dreams of living in a nice, spacious house, located within a safe and friendly neighborhood. However, most times, reality does not match the fantasy. This is why it is important for sellers and buyers to opt for brokers who are helpful and ensure a smooth transition. In case of buying, a good broker can do wonders for you.

Once you have decided to purchase a property or home in a location of your choice, you can proceed to look at the prices within that neighborhood. You will need to come up with a moderate offer if you decide upon buying a house that meets your requirements. Budgeting and financing is imperative to making a favorable deal.

The most important aspect of buying a home is financing. It is a huge decision that can shape a person’s future for the time to come. Hence, one has to deliberate upon it extensively and ensure that they are able to obtain the adequate funding. The first step to it is looking into mortgages that are not an obstacle in your journey to the dream house. HARP is one such option for people looking to finance their new housing. It is known as the Home Affordable Refinance Program and enables borrowers into acquiring affordable mortgages.

Basically, HARP is for people who are currently all borrowed out on their mortgages and have very less equity. Once, a person owes more on their property than it is worth, they become a credit risk for lenders. This means that refinancing will not be easy. It was introduced during 2009 and brought a ray of hope to borrowers who were struggling with their mortgage. Through HARP, all such people can opt for refinancing without having to take out additional mortgages.

The only condition it entails is that these borrowers should be current on their mortgage payments. Just a few years after its introduction, significant changes were made to this program. HARP waived a few property appraisal requirements, warranties and even eliminated risk fees for certain borrowers who opted for shorter periods of payment. It does not implement any underwater limits or underwriting on loans.

With this program, borrowers do not require a minimum score of credit and can benefit from low interest rates as well. It even allows people to change their mortgages for adjustable to fixed rate. One of the best stipulations of HARP is its less paperwork requirement. Lenders do not need as much paperwork for the verification of annual income. The borrower can qualify for refinance if they provide documentation stating that payments of at least 12 months can be made.

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Some Proven Tips for Home Staging

When you decide to sell your house, the treasure chest of your most precious memories, the first thing that comes to mind is “home staging”. You need to make your house appealing to potential buyers. They should feel the joy that you have always experienced from the place since you first saw it; and most importantly, they need to fall in love with the first room they see before you even give a tour of the entire house. As a seller, your focus is to sell the home as quickly as possible and at the best price.

Home staging does not mean vacuuming the place while waiting for the buyer. You must go an extra mile and do some repairs and make updates to your home. If your home is in Gambrills Maryland, the odds are on your side because of the serene environment and its proximity to Baltimore and Washington, D.C.. There are also airports that are close to the town and an above average median household income. This means that you should expect to find a plethora of potential buyers to show up at Gina White Home Team’s open houses.

Here are some tips that may be helpful for home staging:

  • Clean and Decorate Your Driveway and Porch

Home Staging Front PorchThe buyer needs to make the front of the house, walkway, driveway and porch completely sparkle. Add some natural looks by planting lots of colorful blooms in attractive pots and trimming back trees and shrubs.

  • Give the Living Room a Cozy Look

Now, if you have a large amount of furniture, you may have to remove a few pieces because the buyer needs to feel that they are buying a spacious home. After doing so, you can now arrange the furniture into conversational groups to ensure the room looks friendly and inviting. You must move or store old furniture no matter the attachment you have with it because, for example, that arm chair that you love could look much better in your bedroom. This will give the impression that the buyer can have some quiet reading time before going to bed.
Living Room Home Staging

Remember to always embrace symmetry while arranging furniture, pillows and table lamps etc.; symmetrical arrangements of furniture and decorations yield a very pleasing and appealing first impression to prospective buyers. Light up those chic lamps for added lighting and make that fireplace glow during an open house (only during the wintertime). Your aim is to help the buyer envision their future life within your home. You can even stage nostalgic props by displaying a board game or a tea service on a coffee table to enchant buyers. Finally, paint the room with a fresh neutral color like white or beige and remove any tacky or outdated wallpaper.

  • Redecorate Your Kitchen

Kitchen Home Staging

Give your kitchen a fresh look by modernizing the cabinets without forgetting to place one or two decorative items upon the counter tops. Organize the pantry and leave some space to make the kitchen look spacious.

  • Give Special Attention to the Bedrooms

Bedroom Home StagingYou need to be gender neutral when it comes to the bedrooms. Hang a few clothes in the closets with wooden hangers and remove items such as televisions or desktop computers to create a serene setting.

  • Spend Some Time and Money on Bathrooms

Bathroom Home Staging

The bathrooms need to be cleaned up and all repairs must be done. Take time to create a luxury spa environment with decorative baskets, fluffy white towels and white shower curtains.

If you have performed all the tasks and have incorporated some of your own brilliant ideas into the staging of your home, then you are ready to present it to the marketplace of potential buyers.

 

 

Call Gina White Home Team today for the best home staging resources to assure you and your family the best of luck while selling your home.

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The Military Relocation Process & Finding the Right Home

In a Military family life, one often has to face the frequent relocation. It has its advantages as well as disadvantages. It is good because it gives an opportunity to travel the country and experience every part by residing there for a while. On the contrary, it is bad because relocating is costly and hectic. However, over the time, the process has become a bit easier than it used to be.

In this article, we will be presenting some of the valuable information regarding the military relocation process and finding the right home. You will find it useful even you have reached the level of pro in this relocation game of military family life.

Permanent Change of Station or PCS

The term Permanent Change of Station is military slang for shifting. A military member is often assigned a new location for residing. The shifting of the things depends on what corner of the nation you are residing, and where you will be heading.

Steps involved in a military move

After gathering thoughts on the relocate order, one has to follow some certain procedure. Here are the steps of relocation:

  • It starts with fixing a meeting with base transportation office immediately.
  • For relocation assistance, one must consult the family center present at the new location.
  • Afterward, one must get an appointment with finance office of the current location regarding the expenditure and moving options.

What a military family has to do?

Military Relocation - The Process of Finding the Right HomeAfter receiving the orders for relocation, a military family should head for the TMO (Transportation Management Office). They will learn the process and other details of their move. They must ensure that their names are present in the list of the service member’s order.

Afterward, they must secure a good sponsor. It refers to those who already have shifted to the destination locality. The person will be answering the queries of the family about their new home and place. This support is helpful, especially in reducing the panic of shifting to an unknown place.

There are few items that you shouldn’t carry while traveling to the new destination. You must check the list and transport things accordingly. For minimizing stress, one can leave behind few things that are already available in the new place such as an RV, camper, etc. You can also try selling out unimportant things.

Finding the right home

It is common for military members to go on the quest of finding the ideal house during events at new duty stations. In fact, you must do the homework of house hunting before moving in it. You should approach a realtor for finding your home and explain him in details about your requirements. Patience is important, so, if the realtor is working in wrong areas, then rather than being bashful, politely give your inputs.

You must bring some important documents with you such as pre-approval letter from a REPUTABLE lender, W-2 forms, pay stubs of minimum two months, and other important documents. You should carry a digital camera for recording the house you visit. It will help you in analyzing the homes precisely, so you can select the best house for yourself.

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Advantages of VA Loans

In the year 1944, the United States government created a military loan guarantee program. This loan was created to help the returning service members to purchase their dream home. This above mentioned loan is called as the Veteran Loans, which is a mortgage loan issued by the approved lenders. The loan is guaranteed by the federal government. The VA loan program has helped many militants to get easy loans for buying new homes. The militant’s duty is to support and protect our country.

We're Moving - Veterans LoansGina White home team has taken the initiative to help you reach home financing goals with VA home loans. With many militants coming home who are in need of housing within the communities we serve, Gina White home team would like to extend not only the advantages of a Veteran home loan but also additional incentives to help to decrease the cost of purchasing a home.

 

 

Features of a VA Home Loan:

  • Down payment is not required if the purchase price does not exceed the appraised value of the home.
  • Monthly mortgage insurance is also not required for a VA home loan.
  • The closing expenses are limited by the VA home loan and may be paid by the seller.
  • If the loans are paid off early, no pre payment penalty is to be paid.

Incentives Available:

  • $200 off settlement fees through a participating settlement service providing company.
  • The militants would receive complimentary appraisals up to $450 value.
  • The veterans would receive a 10% discount off the home inspection fee through the US Inspect for purchases only.
  • There is no Loan origination fee with the help of Gina White Home team.

Major Advantages of a VA Home Loan:

  • Taking the VA home loan requires no down payment. Home buyers usually require at least a 5% down payment for conventional loans or a 3.5% down payment for FHA financing. If the loan amount is $200,000, then for the conventional buyers the down payment would be $10,000 and for the FHA it would be $7000. For many home buyers who are purchasing house for the first time, it might be a little challenging for them. The veterans will be enabled to purchase house in $0 down payment, so they don’t have to spend years saving to give such a big down payment.
  • The Veteran require less stringent qualification. Many Veterans buying home for the first time might not yet have a strong credit history. This would make it more difficult for them to get approval for a mortgage. It also helps to qualify for an affordable interest rate. The VA loan is government-backed, which are easier to qualify for at an affordable and competitive rates.
  • Another benefit of VA loans is that it has a lower monthly payments compared to the FHA and conventional loan. The VA loans does not require the added monthly expense of private mortgage insurance (PMI), they tend to save extra money in your pockets.

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Buying Your First Home: Top 4 Mistakes

Are you planning to buy your first home? Perhaps, you might be wondering about the Terms & Conditions as well as the potential risk factors. The experience of purchasing your first home is very similar to learning how to drive.

While learning, you’re naturally nervous because you know that you have a lot to learn. Also in both cases, you’ve discussed a lot with your friends and family before making the move towards a better future.

However, you are not going to know the particulars unless you’re an insider within the real estate world. Just like newcomers to any field, you are statistically more likely to commit mistakes.

Perhaps, buying a home for many is a once in a lifetime adventure. Nevertheless, there is no room for error. It’s best that you start this adventure after learning more fully preparing yourself.

Gina White Home Team has identified the top 4 mistakes or blunders that people make while buying their first home. Take notes!

Delaying in offering a proposal

First-time home-buyers often commit the mistake of waiting too long to step into the market. Typically, the prices of real estate are gradually increasing annually.  After the collapse of the real estate market nearly a decade ago, the local market is appreciating again. Prices are rising; however, they’re rising as expected. If you already have selected a home and have inquired thoroughly about it, then there is no point a delay in making proposal for that property.

Taking the venture by themselves

Often, first-time home-buyers try to research and find homes on their own. If they are capable enough, then this is a positive effort; however, there are many over confident nerds out there! Many rely too much upon the internet rather than the guidance of an experienced real estate agent.

Sometimes this strategy turns out to be a great deal; but, most of the times (from my experience) the deal slips off– the seller gets offended due to the amateurish negotiation from an inexperienced buyer.

A veteran real estate agent holds the proper expertise when it comes to the negotiation. Gina is a veteran in the field of real estate and she knows how to handle negotiations professionally– She delivers the best deal possible.

Searching for a Dream Home

Often, first-time home-buyers look for their dream home without having considered their respective budget nor the real estate market itself. It doesn’t matter if you want a centrally located townhouse or a mansion in the suburbs– Gina White’s Home Team exists to make it easy for you.

It is also not wise to wait too long to realize your dream of being a first-time homeowner since property rates are beginning to rise again and will increase over the next three decades. You should try choosing from the available options that are now unprecedentedly available before waiting long.

Not Participating in the Deal

Lots of first-time homebuyers leave the deal entirely up to their real estate agent. Even if your real estate agent is reliable, it’s better to have your presence and voice heard throughout the deal.

You might end up in paying an unfair price due to not being active throughout the transaction. Gina White Home Team encourages you to participate. After all, it is your Dream Home!

Here we have top 4 Mistakes that first-time buyers often make. Hopefully, you will avoid them to buy a house of your dreams.

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Investing in Vacation Homes

Vacation homes are getting popular these days. People prefer it for family vacations as well as independent travels. Obviously, it’s not the thing that you will buy often. Perhaps only a few times you will have the opportunity to invest in vacation homes. You have to invest wisely in the property that can turn your getaway daydreams into reality. In other words, there are lots of things you have to keep in mind if you are planning to invest in vacation homes. Gina White Home Team is always there for you. It is a very trustworthy organisation that can help you find your dream vacation home. In this article, you will find some guidelines that will help you analyze your selections.

Match it with your Lifestyle and Climatic Conditions

The first thing you should concern about is the location should match the climatic condition you have always lived in. An adversely climate change will limit your fun. You will require time in adapting yourself. It’s very important if you don’t want a mess in your vacations. For an instance, if your lifestyle has the influence of the Mediterranean climate, then better prefer the vacation home in a similar location.

Determining the Usage of your Vacation Home

Beautiful Woman Sunbathing by a PoolYou have to determine the usage of your vacation home if you want to avail finances and tax benefits. You have to be very realistic here. You might better off in the rental mode of opting the vacation home. If you still want to buy, then most likely you will use your vacation home in three ways.

Primary Residence

With this usage, you can avail maximum tax benefits. Additionally, the down payment is also low.

Secondary Home

The down payment is a little higher. It also has lower tax benefits as compared to the primary residence.

Investment Property

This option has minimum tax benefits, but you can compensate it by renting the home. Depending on various aspects you can even earn more from it.

Recognize the Total Cost of a Vacation Home

There are lots of add-on prices that come with a vacation home. These prices are for gas, electric, cable TV, the internet, housewares, furniture, etc. Keeping these things in mind, you have to plan your budget.

Approach the Seller Via Local Lender or Realtor

The deals of vacation properties are often supervised by local real estate agents and lenders. It’s better to first approach any local real estate agents and lenders before approaching the seller. They will explain to you every minute detail of the property as well as of T & C. They will also alert you if there is a dispute in the property. They know the property rates better than you. Perhaps, you will not be overpriced if they are with you and assisting the deal. You can also take help from Gina White Home Team in such issues.

So here we have measures to take while investing in vacation homes. I will strongly recommend for not being restless while buying a vacation home. Additionally, I will also firmly advise to consult at least once with Gina White Home Team. You should slow down your pace, take the time and do extensive research. A dreadful vacation home will not only eat up your money but also your valuable vacations.

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