Where to Stay While You Sell Your Home

The time between selling a home and moving into a new one can be a challenging period for homeowners that leaves them with a basic question: Where should I live? In the interim, there are various housing options to choose from but picking the right one depends on your personal situation and the amount of time it will take until you move into your new home.

Once you know it’s time to sell your home, there are various factors that will have an influence on what housing is available to you. Your budget will help determine your options. For example, if you are already in contract with your new home, you might be looking to save some money in preparation for move-in costs. Seasonality plays a role as well. Talk to your agent about real estate trends in your local market to understand which housing options tend to be available at certain times of year.

 

Image Source: Getty Images

 

Where to Stay While You Sell Your Home

 

In Your Home

There is the option to stay in your home while you sell it. If your home is still on the market, understand that a fully staged home will be fundamentally different from the one you’re used to. Once you’ve sold your home, there are additional options for staying as well. By working closely with your agent, you can negotiate a longer closing period or a rent-back agreement with the new owners. A rent-back agreement is an agreement between the two parties in which the seller rents their old home from the buyer for an agreed-upon period of time before the new buyers move in, allowing for a smooth transition to take place. Depending on the buyer’s urgency to move in and the competitiveness of the market, a rent-back agreement may not be feasible, but in the right situation it presents a mutually beneficial solution.

 

Apartment or Condo

Renting an apartment or condo while you wait to get into your new home can help make the transition easier. To avoid unpacking all your belongings only to have to pack them back up when it’s time to move again, try to find furnished listings in your area, or search for units that offer furnishing at an added cost. Although paying rent is an added expense, this set-up can help you stay organized throughout the moving process.

 

Friends & Family

If you have friends or family nearby that have space to accommodate you, they may be open to the idea of taking you in until you’re able to move into your new home. In this scenario, you’ll likely need to store your household items elsewhere, which will come with an added cost. Of all the options, this is typically the least expensive.

 

Short-Term Rentals

The short-term rental market offers a flexible approach to finding somewhere to stay. Filtering your results by location will allow you to select a place that won’t disrupt your daily routine. If you won’t be moving into your new home for an extended period of time, you can choose a rental with amenities accommodate your longer-term needs. Keep in mind, the cost of short-term rentals can easily add up, and in some cases may be more expensive than renting an apartment or condo.

 

Hotel

Another popular option for riding out the interim period between houses is staying at an extended-stay hotel. These hotels usually offer amenities that accommodate long-term living like a kitchen, living space, laundry services, a refrigerator, internet, and more.

For more information on selling your home, visit the Selling Page on our blog. To get an idea of what your home is worth, try our free home value calculator at the link below:

 

What’s my home worth?

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Preparing Your Equestrian Property for Sale

Selling a horse property is quite different to selling your typical single-family home and can present some unique challenges. Therefore, when marketing a property like this, there are certain things to consider in order to achieve a successful sale. Because equestrian properties aren’t usually located in heavily populated areas, when buyers take the time to visit your property, you need to do everything you can to make a lasting impression. Having an equestrian property is a major responsibility, but if you convey to interested buyers the value and joy it can bring, it will help with getting your property sold. Here are some ways you can prepare your equestrian property for sale.

Sell the Lifestyle

How your property is described and positioned in the marketing assets is key. You are selling a lifestyle, so it’s worthwhile to talk up the experience that comes from owning such a unique property. Elaborate on nearby vets, feed lots, co-ops and grocery stores. Describe the nearby trail rides and point out if there are neighborhood riding clubs.  Paint the picture of what a potential buyer’s life could look like when they buy your property. Will they be enjoying the sunset on the patio overlooking the pasture? Does a stream trickle by the patio creating a relaxing ambiance? Can you watch the horses play in the field from the bedroom window? These are the visuals images that can capture a buyer’s imagination.

Organize your Documents

There are certain legal documents and records that come with owning and operating an equestrian property. Make sure you have the title and any land surveys or improvement location certificates ready to go as you prepare the property for sale. In addition to legal documents, make sure your agricultural records are current and updated. This includes plant health analyses, well permits, water or mineral rights, grazing leases or anything relating to natural resources on your property. Many buyers will ask to see records of past water and utility bills as well. This will make the process that much easier when you know the logistics have been taken care of.

Stage for Buyers

More than likely, the buyers who are touring your property either own horses or have been around equestrian properties before. Therefore, you will want to make sure the property appeals to horse owners. This includes making sure your fencing is intact, locks are secure, the barn is clean, and the pastures are mowed to perfection. This will also show buyers that they too can make the property look exactly the way they envision.

The Price is Right

A major factor in attracting buyers is the listing price. It’s important to work closely with an Equestrian Advisor who specializes in selling horse properties to ensure that yours is priced accurately. When potential buyers see that your equestrian property is properly priced, they are more likely to view it as a good investment. If you plan to include any equipment like a tractor, mower or other large items in the sale, price those separately and do not include them in the list price of your home. This will ensure that your property is listed at an appropriate price and that buyers will pay the necessary sales tax on those items outside of closing.

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Selling a Home with Pets

For pet owners, it’s hard to imagine their home without a furry friend. However, when it comes time to sell, showcasing the qualities of a home should take precedence over the pets that live in it. This creates additional steps in the process of preparing your home for sale, but it makes all the difference in the minds of buyers.

 

Staging Your Home

A well-staged home makes it appealing to the widest variety of buyers and has significant ROI potential when it hits the market. However, having a pet can complicate the staging process. Buyers may lose interest in the home if they see traces of pets, so it’s a good idea to hide any and all signs of their presence.

It’s especially important to hide evidence of your pet in marketing photos. Prepare for your home’s listing photos by cleaning and vacuuming, making sure all pet stains are gone and any pet-related damage is repaired. Stow any pet carriers, cages, toys, food bowls, and other supplies that may hinder the photographer’s ability to capture the essence of a room.

 

Showing Your Home

Before inviting potential buyers inside, it’s best to give your home a deep clean to improve your home’s air quality, and to rid your carpets, flooring, and surfaces of pet odors and any dirt they may have tracked in over time. If you’re using your own furniture, vacuum and clean everything to extract as much fur and pet dander as possible. Talk to your agent to see if it’s a better idea to stage your home with rented furniture. If your pets have caused any damage in the home, make repairs or replacements as needed. After tending to your home’s interior, don’t forget to clean up after your pets in your yard as well. Fill in any holes in the lawn, freshen up your flower beds, and tidy up any areas of the landscaping where your pets may have dug.

After you’ve prepared your home for showings, there’s the question of what to do with your pets once buyers actually start taking tours. Ask a family member, friend, pet sitter, or neighbor to watch your pets while the showings take place. If you’re not able to find someone to watch them, form a strategy to temporarily relocate your pets during showings. If they must stay in the home, garage, or backyard during tours, it’s best to give buyers advanced notice that there are pets on the property. Talk to your agent about posting signage communicating their presence so that there are no surprises as guests make their way through the house.

Taking all these precautions will help to present your home in the best light without detracting certain buyers, for whom the signs of a pet may cause them to lose interest. On the other hand, if any buyers inquire about how the home can accommodate their pet, you and your agent will be more than ready to answer any questions they may have.

 

Selling Your Home

For more information on the process of selling your home, visit the Selling Page on our blog. To get an idea of what your home is worth, try our free home value calculator below:

What’s My Home Worth?

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What is a Seller’s Market?

When the housing market favors sellers, a seller can expect ideal conditions for selling their home. However, that’s not to say that a seller’s market doesn’t come with its own unique set of challenges for parties on both sides of the transaction. That’s why it’s critical for buyers and sellers to work with an agent who not only understands their wants and needs but who can also help them navigate highly competitive market conditions.

 

What is a Seller’s Market?

A seller’s market occurs when demand exceeds supply. When inventory is limited, competition amongst buyers is fierce. Median sales prices increase, days on market decrease, and homes commonly receive multiple offers, often over their original asking price.

 

Selling in a Seller’s Market

Though demand is high in a seller’s market, staging and making any necessary repairs are still important steps to take before hitting the market. An agent can help a seller make important decisions about which repairs and updates help add value to the home.

When it comes to offers and negotiations in a seller’s market, sellers have the leverage. It’s common for homes to fetch more than their asking price with multiple offers on the table. Though prices are being driven up by demand, a seller may choose to list their home at or just below fair market value with the hopes of starting a bidding war. Because competition is so high, buyers may be willing to waive an inspection contingency to help make their offer stand out. Agents can help sellers decide whether they should conduct a pre-listing inspection, which sometimes helps the seller get more offers and command a higher price.

With multiple offers on the table, it may be tempting to simply choose the one with the highest figure; however, the best offer is also the one that removes risk and aligns with the seller’s goals. Whether that entails waived contingencies, a shorter closing window, or an all-cash offer, in a seller’s market, the seller has the power to choose. Sellers should fully review each offer with the help of their agent before proceeding.

 

Buying in a Seller’s Market

Buyers in a seller’s market must act fast. Due to the high level of competition, they must be prepared for a frustrating scenario where their offers may not win out. This emphasizes the importance of working with a buyer’s agent. In a seller’s market, it’s more likely that the buying process will include such factors as seller review dates and escalation clauses. A buyer’s agent will help navigate these challenges while working with their client to make their offer stand out. They will formulate a strategy, comparing their client’s wish list and budget against the limited number of homes available and proceeding accordingly. A buyer’s agent will also set the expectation that, due to the competitive nature of the market, finding the right home may take longer than expected.

In a seller’s market, the buyer is at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiations. The chance of getting a contingent offer is minimal and pushing for certain closing dates and specific repairs may do more harm than good to their offer. A cash offer has significant power in a seller’s market. If a buyer can make a cash-heavy or even all-cash offer, it is likely to stand out to the seller. It gives the buyer more buying power and greatly increases their chances of winning a bidding war.

 

For more information on the conditions of your local market, visit our website for Quarterly Real Estate Market Updates from our Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner. For assistance planning a home sale or purchase, connect with a Windermere Real Estate agent here: Connect With an Agent

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Knowing When to Sell Your Home

Of all the components involved in a successful home sale, there is perhaps no greater contributing factor than timing. Knowing when to sell your house gives you the best chance to make an impact when you hit the market. Every seller’s situation is unique but choosing when to sell comes down to how prepared you are, finding the right agent, and local market conditions. Once you’ve got a grasp of these elements, then you can decide if it’s the right time to sell.

 

Are You Ready to Sell?

Before you sell your home, your finances must be in order. Equity is a natural starting point for assessing your financial health. To calculate your equity, you’ll need to know your home’s market value. Your real estate agent can help you determine this by conducting a comparative market analysis (CMA), which involves comparing your home to others in your area by such characteristics as square footage, the number of bedrooms/bathrooms, age, and lot size. Once you know your home’s market value, subtract your current mortgage balance from that number and you’ll have your current home equity. If your equity is negative, then it may not be the best time to sell.

Beyond your home equity, there are plenty of other financial factors to consider when preparing to sell. Selling a home does not come without its own set of costs. Commission fees, home repairs, inspections, and staging are just some of the expenses you can expect to incur. For more information on the costs involved with selling your home, talk to your Windermere agent.

Selling a home is an emotional process that comes with significant lifestyle changes, so it’s important to make sure it’s the right time for you and everyone in your household. Part of a real estate agent’s’ role is understanding how the varying emotions of the selling process apply to different people. For every fear, worry, and hesitancy you may experience when trying to decide if it’s the right time to sell, your agent can share similar experiences while working with past clients.

 

Local Market Conditions

The state of the real estate market in your area could dictate whether it’s the right time to sell. Various factors affect local market conditions like inventory, seasonality, mortgage rates, and home price growth. Talk to your real estate agent about what the local conditions mean for your selling strategy and what kind of buyer negotiations you can expect to encounter. Agents have the tools and know-how to perform a complete analysis of the market to help you decide when the right time is to sell.

 

Find the Right Agent

Real estate agents are the catalyst for a successful home sale. They not only bring a wealth of resources to the table, but they can also offer helpful advice on the optimal time to sell. Agents can assess your goals for selling your home, how that aligns with your budget, and how those factors fit into the context of current local market conditions.

To truly know whether it’s the right time to sell, it’s important to find the right agent who understands the needs of your household. The more an agent knows about your situation, the better they can formulate a selling strategy. This also allows them to understand what the best offer for your home looks like. When searching for an agent, ask for referrals from your inner circle. Interview multiple agents to get an idea of their qualities, and select the one that makes the most sense for you.

 

When you’re ready to sell, or if you have any questions about the selling process, talk to an experienced Windermere agent here: Connect with an Agent

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7 Costly Mistakes in the Selling Process

Sellers dream of a flawlessly executed home sale where everything goes smoothly, and they end up with a satisfied buyer. To achieve this ideal end goal, it’s important to be aware of the mistakes along the way that could potentially derail the sale. Mistakes in the selling process come in all sizes, but some can be more costly than others.

 

1. Incorrect Pricing

Simply put, sellers want to get the most value for their home. Inaccurately priced homes create complications in the selling process and can be costly. Overpriced homes are unable to compete with other homes in a more expensive bracket, reducing its appeal to buyers. The longer a home stays on the market, the more likely the seller will have to lower the price, and this could result in a final asking price that is well below what the home is worth. Underpricing can be used as a strategy to generate added interest among buyers and thereby drive up the home’s market value, but it requires that a bidding war take place among buyers.

 

2. Underestimating Selling Costs

There are many costs associated with selling a home that can easily pile up if not planned for. Commission fees take up a significant portion of selling costs, typically between five to six percent of the sale price. Sellers must budget for home inspections, making repairs, and staging the home to get it market-ready. During closing, sellers need to prepare for various costs including sales tax, attorney fees, and any fees related to the transfer of the title, and more. Not accounting for any of these costs can come as an unpleasant surprise.

 

3. Selling When Underwater

It may be tempting to think of selling a home solely as a revenue-generating event. However, if a seller still owes more on their mortgage than what their home is worth, or if the property has gone down in value, they still may not make enough money on the sale to pay off the mortgage. Any homeowner who finds themselves underwater on their mortgage should consider building more equity before they sell.

 

4. Selling FSBO

Selling a home “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) presents sellers with the opportunity to save on commission fees but is a complex and risky process that can easily lead to serious costs. Not only does selling FSBO mean that the seller will incur all costs an agent would have taken on to market the home, but they are accepting added liability as well. If any mistake occurs during the offer process, negotiations, or closing, the seller finds themselves without the representation of an experienced professional. This leaves a great opportunity for costly mistakes that could potentially jeopardize the sale.

 

5. Failing to Disclose Repairs

If a seller fails to disclose any outstanding repairs and issues inherent in the home, they will likely come to light during the buyer’s inspection and can create a very costly situation for the seller. These losses can be avoided by being transparent about what repairs are needed ahead of time. Sellers can also opt to conduct a pre-listing inspection, which can be especially helpful in competitive markets. Disclosure rules vary by state.

 

6. Neglecting to Stage Your Home

Home staging is a critical element for getting the most value for a home and selling it quickly. By neglecting to stage, sellers are opening the door for lowered offers and reduced sale prices. The staging process is also the perfect time for sellers to inspect their home for any minor or cosmetic repairs that can be addressed quickly.

 

7. Not Choosing the Best Offer

Naturally, the highest offer received on a home may seem like the most enticing. But just because an offer may be higher than another doesn’t mean it’s the best one. It’s critical for sellers to communicate with their agent about the full terms of the offer to understand its contingencies, how it affects their bottom line, and how those components align with their needs and preferences.

 

If you’d like more information on selling your home and how to avoid costly mistakes, an experienced Windermere agent is ready to help. Click here to connect with an agent today.

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The Risks of FSBO

Selling a home is a complex process that requires patience, knowledge of the market, and a deep understanding of the financial processes. And that’s just the beginning. Accordingly, many homeowners trust in a professional to sell their home by working with a real estate agent. Despite the expertise an agent brings to the table, some homeowners choose to go it alone, bearing the responsibility of a successful home sale on their own shoulders. If you’re thinking about selling “For Sale by Owner”, or FSBO, know that there are certain risks and obstacles  that can easily cause your home selling journey to veer off course.

 

The Risks of FSBO 

Real estate agents are professionals who possess a vast knowledge of both the industry at large and local market conditions acquired through years of training, certifications, and working with clients. For FSBO sellers, the complexities of the home selling process can easily illuminate a lack of experience and leave them feeling unsure of how to continue, or worse, situations may arise where proceeding incorrectly could jeopardize the transaction. This lack of expertise could lead to incorrectly pricing your home, which will attract the wrong buyers. An accurately priced home requires market knowledge and an objective approach to the home’s value, which can be tough for homeowners. The more time an overpriced home spends on the market, the more likely the price will have to be lowered. A home with a lowered price that has been on the market for some time is less appealing to buyers than an accurately priced new listing. An underpriced home could leave significant money on the table for the seller.

 

A common motivating factor for wanting to sell FSBO is that, in the case of a successful sale, the seller avoids paying commission to an agent. However, what that commission ultimately pays for is a vast skill set that is specifically trained to get you the most money for your home. Agents not only have access to all kinds of information on local market conditions, trends in the real estate market, and data on comparable homes in your area, they are also connected to a network of potential buyers and have the marketing know-how for appealing to them and any others in your market. To attempt to approach this same level of visibility while selling FSBO means incurring additional expenses like ad placement, signage, hiring a photographer, and more.

 

Selling a home takes up a great deal of time. FSBO sellers can expect to stage the home, host showings and tours, answer phone calls from buyers, interview home inspectors, and coordinate open houses, all while gathering data on the local market—and that’s all before any negotiations or paperwork. When an offer comes through, FSBO sellers must dive into the extensive documentation required for the mortgage, title transfer, and any other legalese involved in the transaction. It’s like having another job that you may simply not have time for, whereas a real estate agent’s job is to dedicate their time, energy, and experience to the successful sale of your home.

 

All these factors make selling FSBO a risky proposition. Mistakes in the selling process can lead to both financial and legal implications, but part of a real estate agent’s expertise is knowing how and when these dangers can arise and navigating them properly. If you’re looking to sell your home, we’re happy to connect you with an agent here: Connect With an Agent

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The Benefits of a Pre-Listing Inspection

Pre-listing inspections can help sellers better understand the condition of their home before putting it on the market. They can also strengthen a home’s appeal to potential buyers and help to streamline the offer process, which is especially important in competitive markets. However, pre-listing inspections can also open sellers up to added liability. Talk to your Windermere agent to understand if conducting a pre-listing inspection is right for your home.

 

What is a Home Inspection?

Conducted by a licensed home inspector, a home inspection is a detailed review of the condition of a home and property. Inspectors examine everything from a home’s electrical work and sewage to its heating and cooling systems, searching for any evidence of damage or structural issues that may affect its value. By having your home inspected before you sell, you’ll have the chance to discover whether it needs any repairs or upgrades.

 

Pre-Listing Inspections

Pre-listing inspections not only help identify repairs, but they can also make the selling process more efficient. A pre-listing inspection discloses a home’s condition to buyers up front and gives them confidence that the seller is being transparent about any possible issues. This can save significant time for both buyers and sellers, especially in competitive markets where there are multiple offers on the table.

Something for sellers to keep in mind is that if a home in a competitive market does not provide a pre-inspection report, buyers may be hesitant to make an offer knowing the time it takes to perform an inspection and the fact that they are likely competing against several other buyers who are willing to waive this step.

 

The Benefits of a Pre-Listing Inspection

Home inspections give a good baseline of your home’s condition. The information gathered during this process is exactly the kind of in-depth knowledge that buyers want to know when considering placing an offer on a home.

Since buyers will know right away what repairs are needed, they can factor them into their initial offer, as opposed to discovering them during the inspection contingency and getting entangled in negotiations. Being forthcoming about your home also reduces the chances of an offer falling through and the buyer walking away.

An added benefit of a pre-listing inspection is that it helps your real estate agent more accurately price the home and enables them to market it with the knowledge that everything is being presented in the most transparent way possible.

 

If you have any questions about home inspections or any of the steps in the selling process, we’re happy to connect you with a Windermere agent here: Connect with an agent

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Why Should You Stage Your Home When it’s For Sale?

In order to sell your home, it must be successfully marketed to potential home buyers. Developing a winning strategy to attract as many buyers as possible to your home is something your real estate agent will work on, and part of that process may include staging.

Staging doesn’t just involve decorating your home; it’s using furniture and décor to reveal the possibilities in the space in order to make it appealing to a wide variety of buyers. It is an important step to helping buyers imagine the space for their own use, and it often leads to a higher dollar value and quicker sale time.

 

Staging for Buyers

A well-staged home creates stunning photographs that will attract buyers as they search online. In 2020, 97% of home buyers used the internet to search for prospective homes, and about half of them used mobile devices like smart phones and tablets. Because photos on a mobile device can be quite small and easily swipeable, staging has the potential to grab a buyer’s eye and pull them into the listing. Once they visit in person, staging serves to elevate your space while allowing buyers to visualize themselves living in your home.

 

Investment and ROI

For a relatively low investment, the return on investment (ROI) for a staged listing is worth it for just about any home seller. No matter the size of your home, the average investment on staging is 1% of the sale price of the home. And that 1% investment can lead to amazing gains. According to a 2020 survey by the Real Estate Staging Association, of those who spent 1% on staging, 75% saw a return of 5-15% over the asking price. As this shows, investing in staging can turn into one of the best ways to add value to your home.

In addition to increasing the dollar value of your home, staging is also likely to lead to a quicker sale. In 2020, staged listings sold after an average of 23 days on market. That’s two days faster than the national average of 25 days on market in the same year.

Your real estate agent can connect you with a professional stager who they will work side-by-side with to create a cost-effective strategy for staging your home and getting it sold in the most efficient and effective manner.

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Finding the Right Agent to Sell Your Home

Selling your home is a collaborative effort between you and your real estate agent. As you prepare to sell your home, it’s important to find an agent who not only can answer your questions throughout the selling process, but who also cares about the happiness and goals of you and your household, as well.

 

Before You Begin Your Agent Search

 

Once you’ve made the decision to sell, there are some things to consider before selecting an agent to work with.

 

Communicate your reason for selling

  • Behind every homeowner who decides to sell their home there’s a story, and every story is unique. In the early stages of working together, your agent will be processing a lot of information about your timeline and financial goals. Having these details ironed out and ready to communicate will help them understand your motives and guide the process effectively.

 

Think about selling strategy

  • Part of a real estate agent’s expertise is knowing the optimal selling strategy to pursue, but no one knows your home better than you. Putting time and effort into thinking about things like how your home will be marketed and how showings will be conducted will help inform your agent’s strategic advice.

 

 

Finding the Right Agent for You

 

You and your agent will be communicating throughout the process of selling your home. You’ll be relying on them for updates and information each step of the way. Though your goal in working together is ultimately the sale of your home, your agent’s ability to connect with you on a human level through the emotional ups and downs of the selling process is just as important as their professional attributes. Accordingly, you’ll want to consider what qualities you’re looking for in an agent.

 

To set yourself up for identifying good candidates, talk to people you trust who know your personality and goals. Get referrals from your family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors. If they recommend someone, follow up with that agent to see if they are a good fit for you.

 

Searching for an Agent

 

To give yourself the best pool of potential agents, conduct your search both online and in-person. Exploring an agent’s social media profiles and reading reviews online can be useful in assessing whether they’re someone you want to work with. If in-person showings and open houses are occurring in your market, consider dropping by to get a chance to interact with the agent first-hand. After you have narrowed your agent search, ask for client references to get more insights into what it’s like to work with them.

 

Agent Certifications

 

Some agents choose to earn additional certifications or designations that showcase their commitment to additional training, coursework, and learning to help them specialize and advance their capabilities. Depending on your specific needs, certain designations may appeal to you as you go about finding the right agent to sell your home. The National Association of REALTORS® offers the largest number of professional designations. Explore them here: NAR Designations and Certifications

 

For help finding the right agent for you, we’re happy to connect you with an agent here.

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