Archive for Real Estate

4 Reasons to Take Your Own Car When Viewing Homes

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 18th, 2019

4 Reasons to Take Your Own Car When Viewing HomesWhen you’re in the market for a new home to buy, your real estate agent will likely invite you to ride along with them to view homes. This is a convenient courtesy, but you may want to reconsider. Your other option is to follow the real estate agent in your own car instead.

Here are some reasons to take your own car when viewing homes:

1. It Gives You Time To Confer With Your Partner

After you’ve looked at one house, getting back into your private vehicle with your partner allows some time to openly talk about the house you just saw without worrying about how it may influence others. 

2. It Lets You Drive Slower

Real estate agents do quite a bit of behind-the-scenes preparation when showing homes. They may have driven to a property several times before they bring you to see it. As such, they may drive with the intent of “getting there,” while you may might like to drive slower so you can see more of the area.

When you follow behind in your own car, you can take your time or even slow down more if you see something of interest, like a park or an interesting coffee shop.

3. It Lets You Contemplate Specific Features

When you get back into your own car after viewing a house, you and your partner can sit in comfortable silence if you wish to think about certain features you really liked. This is also an opportune time to make mental notes of features you’d be interested in seeing in future houses. Once you get your list together you can talk about it later with your real estate agent.

4. It’s More Convenient If You Decide To Make An Offer

Let’s say you’ve just seen the house that you are positive you want to buy. You ask your agent to make a formal offer. Now the agent has to head back to the office to submit the offer.

If you’ve driven your own car, you can simply part ways and you go back to work or home and await the results. Otherwise, there’s a delay on the submission while the agent drops you at your house first.

The next time you spend an afternoon looking at houses with your agent, consider taking your own car. As you can see, it’s the smart option.

Partnering with a trusted real estate agent is an important part of your home buying experience. Be sure to communicate your needs every step of the way.

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4 Simple Tips For Staying Organized With Kids

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 13th, 2019

4 Simple Tips For Staying Organized With KidsIt can be challenging to be organized when you have children. But this is only because, as a devoted parent, you want to be sure your child has everything they need to become happy, well-rounded adults some day.

This usually means you’ll be bringing your kids to extracurricular activities, play dates, fun events and family outings. It also typically means that over the years there will be a steady stream of school supplies, toys, new clothes and maybe even a musical instrument or two. So how can busy parents stay organized with kids? 

Share A Calendar

Depending on how you prefer to organize your days, consider sharing a digital or paper calendar with the entire family. Family members can add events as needed and everyone can access the latest updates. This way, no one gets caught off guard when the dinosaur diorama is due on Monday morning or your child’s ballet recital gets moved from Friday to Saturday afternoon.

Don’t Be Too Detailed

Toys and art supplies have a way of ending up on the living room floor no matter how many tidy storage bins are in your child’s room. Try keeping a large wicker laundry basket in the corner of the living room and let your child pile their things randomly inside the basket. This allows for fast cleanups and doesn’t require you to supervise the “organization.” It also lets smaller kids feel like they’re being a big kid by helping to straighten up.

Store Papers In Accordion Files

Keep accordion folders on hand in the kitchen for when your child comes home with artwork or papers with A grades. Have one accordion file for each month, because they will fill up fast. At the end of each month, go through and filter out anything you don’t want to save permanently. With this method you’ll automatically have your child’s best papers saved according to date.

Do Things On The Same Day

It’s surprisingly helpful to make a practice of always doing certain things on certain days. For instance, every Saturday is bath night, or every Wednesday is change the sheets day. This lets kids know what to expect in their lives and makes it easier for parents to remember things. 

Children add so much joy to parents’ lives. When you’re organized, you’ll probably find that you have even more time to share with your little loved ones.

Need some extra space for the kids in your life? Call your trusted real estate professional to help you find your next dream home today!

 

 

 

 

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Smooth Move: Do These Six Things When Transitioning Towns

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 12th, 2019

Smooth Move Do These Six Things When Transitioning TownsIt can be physically and emotionally challenging when moving from one town to another. There are lots of things going on at once; the actual packing and moving your belongings, saying goodbye to friends, changing jobs and just getting used to a new way of living.

It can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Try these six tips for a smooth transition.

1. Let Go

Try to look forward instead of back. You will certainly want to remember all the wonderful moments you’ve had in your “old” town, but give yourself permission to be excited about your new place to live. Leave the past in the past while still treasuring the times you shared with friends and loved one. This will enable you to fully open yourself to new possibilities.

2. Learn Your Way Around

Do some exploring in your new town. If possible, stroll or bicycle around to acclimate yourself to your new surroundings. If it’s too far away and you haven’t yet moved, use Google Earth’s street view to wander around virtually. Locate the places you’ll definitely need, like the post office, coffee shop and dry cleaners. 

3. Join Local Groups

Do a search for Facebook groups in your new town and ask to join. You’ll get a sense of the community and get better tuned into what resources are available and what people are talking about. Try searching Meetup groups in the new town for activities in which you’re interested.

4. Plant Roots

Make your new house a home by planting some pretty perennials out front or creating a vegetable garden out back. When you literally plant roots, you’ll feel more like you really belong.

5. Get Involved

It’s hard sometimes to make new friends as adults, especially out of work. But if you make an effort to get involved in the community, you’ll likely find that people are eager to get to know you. Keep your eyes and ears open for ways to join in with community events.

6. Fling Open The Doors

Say yes to life. You’re in a new town, and this is the perfect time to start new projects, try new things and meet new people. Try doing something new at least once a week. You just might find a new favorite activity or a new friend.

These six tips for transitioning to a new town will help you begin your new life with a positive outlook. Remember, there’s no time like the present to start the future!

One of your best assets to navigate the properties in a new town is an experienced real estate professional. Be sure to make contact with your wish list before you start your search.

 

 

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How Color Can Affect Your Home and Psyche

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 11th, 2019

How Color Can Affect Your Home and PsycheAre you dreaming in color of your future new home? You probably can’t wait to get your hands on a paintbrush and a bucket of beautiful new paint. But how will you choose the colors to decorate your new home?

If you’ve been to a paint store recently, you know there are thousands upon thousands of shades to choose from. Choose wisely, because color can affect your home and psyche.

Shades of Purple

Whether you call it purple or eggplant or violet or plum, purple evokes feelings of warmth and vitality in a home. The dustier shades of plum are ideal for walls in the dining room, where taste buds are tantalized. Light lavenders and lilacs are perfect for a little girl’s room, perhaps dotted with white and yellow daises as a border around the baseboard.

Crimson Reds

Red is a dramatic color to use in the home, yet it works in many contexts. Try dark red in a bathroom with dark wood cabinets for a sophisticated look. Burnt red in the bedroom is sultry and inviting. A statement wall of red in a home office denotes serious business and power.

Bluesy Blues

Blues can evoke serenity and peace, but they can also spark creative thought. Blue green colors are ideal for vintage kitchen themes, whereas navy blue in a boy’s bedroom is a classic look. Try white tinged with blue for your new home’s ceiling; it’s said to make a room feel more spacious because it simulates the sky.

Going Green

Kelly green isn’t a color that most people would use in the home, but sage green is perfect for a bedroom in which you want to instill tranquility. Sea foam green is a classic choice for a bathroom even if your home is miles from the ocean. Lime green can be surprisingly uplifting, especially when used in the kitchen. 

Pinkies

Though little girls seem to adore pink, it’s been psychologically shown to be a color that induces upset. It’s not a particularly passive color, but in pastel shades, pink can be soothing, especially when combined with calmer colors like beige or blue. 

Sunny Yellow

If you want a room to feel happy, consider painting it a shade of yellow. Yellow makes you smile; it’s cheery and friendly. Of course, if you get into the neon shades of yellow, it can have the opposite effect, so to stay safe, stay on the lighter side of yellow.

Color can certainly affect the way your home looks and feels, and how you feel in it. The wonderful thing about paint is that it’s an easy way to make a house a home.

If you are in the market for a new home, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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Renovations That Improve Resale Value And Those That Don’t

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 7th, 2019

Renovations That Improve Resale Value And Those That Don'tThose who want to renovate a home usually do this to make it more spacious, improve its condition, and to add amenities. However, it is also important to consider if the renovation has the potential to add value to a home.

Unless the plan is to live in the same place for life, there is a strong likelihood that, at some point, the home will go on the market for sale. It is nice if it sells for a high price and there is some profit for the seller in the transaction.

It is not the amount spent on renovations that is the key consideration. In fact, spending a lot of money making certain renovations may not improve the sales price, when the home sells. This guide helps decide between renovations that add value and ones that do not add value.

Renovations That Add Value

Renovations that add value are those things that almost everybody wants, which include:

  • Upgraded Kitchen: Having a professional-style cooking area and all the appliances with matching stainless steel-finishes creates an attractive upgraded kitchen. Many appreciate having an island area in the center for use as a working area when cooking large meals that doubles as an eating area for breakfast.
  • Luxurious Master Bedroom and Bathroom: Homes with a large master bedroom with big windows and a king-sized bed usually sell for a top price. If the master bathroom has a large renovated bathroom with a big tub, then this is a plus.
  • Extra Bedroom: Having another bedroom puts a home in a higher-valued category.
  • Lots of Closet Space: Many think that adding an extra bedroom is sufficient; however, adding extra closet space is also a great idea, especially when adding walk-in closets with his/hers vanity areas that are accessible from the master bedroom.
  • Green Systems: Solar energy systems that reduce the monthly utility bill are desirable. Energy-efficient windows are also attractive.
  • Smart Home Systems: These systems offer computer control of the home for energy efficiency, security, and convenience for the occupants.

Renovations That Do Not Add Value

  • Carpeting: Carpet colors are a matter of personal taste. If the carpet is not brand-new or thoroughly cleaned, it will lower the interest in the home. It is better to have nicely-finished wood or tile flooring with rugs strategically placed to create different usage areas. Offer to sell the rugs for their value with the home or to take them away.
  • Excessive Front Yard Decorations: There are a few homes that have so many garden gnomes in the front yard that adding another one is nearly impossible. Avoid this because not everybody appreciates this style.
  • Swimming Pools: For many, this is potentially negative. The cost of building a new, in-ground, swimming pool is not usually an amount recouped in the selling price. Some like pools; however, many others do not like the idea of continual maintenance and monthly expenses. Families with young children may see pools as very dangerous.
  • Bright-Orange Exterior Paint: It is not surprising to learn that most people do not like houses painted this color and other garish colors. Even if the paint is new, they do not usually sell for a higher price.

Summary

In general, in order to add value with renovations, do the things that most people appreciate. Complete the project for a budget to add to the purchase price of the home that will not exceed the average market value of a home of a similar type.

Homeowners who follow this general rule, get to enjoy the renovations and get their money back, perhaps with some profit, when the home sells.

If you are in the market for a new home, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

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How To Turn A “Dumb” Home Into A Smart Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 6th, 2019

How To Turn A Dumb Home Into A Smart HomeHaving a “smart home” is a trend that is popular. What does it actually mean? Smart home technology improves energy-efficiency, increases security, and creates more convenience for the home’s occupants.

Innovative smart home technology improves with the deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G wireless broadband, and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) programming. Many things that an owner and/or occupant of a home needs or wants may be done for them by smart home technology.

Energy-Efficiency

Green energy systems include installing energy-efficient windows and perhaps solar panels along with battery storage. Moreover, by managing micro-zones within a home, money is saved by not wasting it on heating or cooling when not needed.

Management of temperature control is possible with smart home technology that allows the heating and air-conditioning system to direct hot or cold air to the rooms that need it, only when occupied. These systems turn off the zone when the room is not in use.

Advanced systems learn the occupant’s typical home-use patterns and anticipate them. For example, if a person comes home around the same time each day, the house prepares the rooms for that person in advance of their arrival.

Advanced systems link vehicles with the home. For example, the climate control system may receive the GS location of the vehicle over the IoT. Then, the AI software of the house can determine the distance the car is from the home and the direction it is traveling. The AI guesses if the person is driving home and adjusts the home accordingly.

Increased Security

This is one of the best reasons to install smart home technology. Increased security may help to reduce risks of burglary, home invasion, and damage caused by unavoidable disasters.

Home security may use biometrics, such as facial recognition, fingerprints, iris scans, and others, to authorize entry for specific people and prevent unauthorized intruders.

Video surveillance of the property, inside and out, keeps a record of what is happening. Innovation in AI detects camera images that are not appropriate, such as someone trying to break into the home and alert the homeowners as well as law enforcement.

Alarms trigger for many things such as a break-in of a door or window or someone coming to the front porch to steal a delivered package.

Sensors, which are much more sophisticated than a basic smoke alarm, may warn of smoke, fire, natural gas leaks, carbon monoxide levels in a garage, and even plumbing problems. With nanny cams, monitoring of babies and children is helpful for their safety.

Convenience

Smart Home technology can respond to the occupants’ use automatically or be manually chosen. For example, the coffee maker can turn on automatically in the morning to have the perfect brew ready for those who wake up. The dog door can be unlocked from bed for the dog to go outside in the morning.

A real-time inventory, using the barcodes of foodstuffs, automates the re-ordering of regularly used items when depleted.

The car can be started remotely and warmed up or cool before the driver and passengers enter it. During wintertime, entry steps can be heated to melt ice and snow just in time for people’s arrival. A hot tub can be turned on remotely so that it is fully heated up and ready for use when the owner’s come home.

Summary

There are so many innovations in smart technology already available and more on the way. Homeowners who invest in this smart technology may not only get to enjoy their home more, they may save on energy bills, and might also get a higher resale value for the “smart” home when selling it. It’s worth considering.

If you are in the market for a new property, be sure to tell your trusted real estate agent if a “smart home” is on your priority list!

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The Benefits Of Adding An In-Law Apartment To A Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 5th, 2019

The Benefits Of Adding An In-Law Apartment To A HomeOne renovation that may add value to a home is an in-law apartment. Even if a homeowner does not have any relatives, an in-law apartment makes wonderful guest accommodations. It is possible to rent it when unoccupied to earn some money.

Homeowners who rent out part of a home need to check with their insurance agent to upgrade insurance to accommodate commercial use of a part of the home.

Additionally, a person staying in an in-law apartment, who is not a member of the owner’s household, may need to get renter’s insurance to cover any personal property kept in the in-law apartment.

Renovation Plans

An in-law apartment may be in a basement or attic. Creating one is possible as a home addition, a garage makeover, or as a tiny house in the backyard.

Check the building regulations for the area where the home is. It is wise to get the proper building permits needed for the construction. Work done without permits usually does not add value when reselling because it creates a liability.

Some people make an in-law without having to do major renovations if partitioning the house is possible. It may be possible to separate an area to create an in-law apartment if the house has an extra bedroom with a connected bathroom.

If no existing part of the home is suitable for remodeling, then adding an addition is an option. A better choice for a backyard that usually increases the resale value is building an in-law cottage rather than investing in installing a swimming pool. Some people may prefer having in-law accommodations when compared to the cost of maintaining a swimming pool.

Multiple Uses For An In-Law Apartment

Almost everyone has a use for an in-law apartment. This is why they are attractive to potential home buyers. Children can stay with parents as they become adults. Elderly parents can live with their children. Couples without children can use the room as a home office. Single people can rent out the space to help pay the bills.

Use of the space may change over time, so be sure to think creatively about the space. The value-added for having this space is the privacy it allows. Living together is normally easier when the parties also have some privacy.

Having a private bathroom, a separate entrance, and a kitchenette in the in-law apartment covers all the needs. This allows the space to be self-contained.

Summary

Consider adding an in-law apartment for the convenience, potential improvements in the resale value of the home, and to reduce the expense of supporting family members who live elsewhere and pay rent for an apartment to others.

If an in-law space is on your wish list for your next home purchase, be sure to advise your trusted real estate professional.

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The Benefits Of Developing A Multi-Use Property

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 31st, 2019

The Benefits Of Developing A Multi-Use PropertyRenovations that create a multi-use property or the development of a new multi-use project can be a very attractive investment especially in urban areas that are undergoing redevelopment. The concept of multi-use is to make the most of the site that is revitalized or developed.

Multi-Use Projects

Typical multi-use projects have a mixture of retail space, restaurants, offices, and/or living spaces. They may include parking areas. Large multi-use projects can also become destination locations that are core improvements, which create a momentum for the gentrification of an entire area. Waterfronts, boardwalks, and walking promenades are successful as multi-use projects in many cities.

The advantages for investors in these projects include the ability to design the use of the space to maximize the return on investment (ROI). Depending on the area for the project’s construction, there may also be tax advantages.

Tax Advantages

Under the new tax laws, Opportunity Zones all across America have been created to stimulate redevelopment in areas that are distressed. The federal tax advantages include either delaying capital gain taxes or avoiding them altogether if investors hold the investments for more than ten years.

It is also possible to sell a project in an Opportunity Zone for a profit and then reinvest the proceeds under a tax exchange transaction into another investment in an Opportunity Zone and avoid paying the capital gains. Check with a competent real estate and tax attorney to learn how to set up an Opportunity Zone Fund to maximize the tax advantages.

Additionally, the financial basis used for calculating any profits on the second transaction is raised, thereby locking in the tax savings on the profits from the first transaction. This is a very effective strategy for build-to-suit developers who organize a multi-use development project in an Opportunity Zone with the intent to sell it.

State, County, And Municipal Support

Depending on the location, there may be state, county, and/or municipal support in terms of tax abatements and contribution of the land and funds for the development of a multi-use project.

Lack Of Basic Services

Another key consideration is that many Opportunity Zones lack sufficient basic services. Some neighborhoods do not even have a grocery store. A multi-use development, in a distressed neighborhood, which offers services and stores for these basic needs, is likely to experience an immediate consumer demand for the offerings.

Loans And Investment Funds For Multi-Use Projects

Lenders are more attracted to multi-use projects because of the possibility of higher average rents per square foot that will cover the monthly mortgage payments. Multi-use projects can be successfully funded by crowd-sourcing techniques as well.

Opportunities For Real Estate Agents And Brokers

REALTORS® have commission-earnings potential in the sale/acquisition of the properties for a multi-use development, leasing out the properties when developed, and selling a project upon construction completion or after being leased out.

Conclusion

The advantages of multi-use approaches as a development project are significant. There is plenty of support available in many parts of the country for these projects. REALTORS® benefit from many opportunities for commissions on each project as the development begins, the project is leased out, and then potentially sold.

Be sure to partner with a trusted real estate professional if you are interested in purchasing and developing a multi-use property.

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Loan Servicing Companies

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 30th, 2019

Loan Servicing CompaniesWhat happens when you suddenly get a notice to pay your mortgage to a company you may have never heard of? How do you determine if this is a legitimate request or a scam?

A borrower may get a written notice or an email that their mortgage sold to another entity or that a new loan servicing company will now be collecting the mortgage payments. The borrower needs to exercise extreme caution before just sending in a payment to the new company. It is prudent to double check to see if the communication is legitimate because many people get scammed by this type of notice.

Borrowers must receive a letter in the mail from the original lender notifying them of the change before getting any communication from a new company. If there was not a letter from the original lender, it is probably a scam.

How To Verify A Legitimate Request With The Original Lender

It is important to be 100% certain that communications are with the lender. DO NOT respond to any notice received by email by clicking on any link in the email, even if the email looks legitimate.

Fraudsters on the Internet use a technique called “phishing” to trick people into thinking they are getting a request from a legitimate company when the email comes from a criminal. These emails are very convincing. They look exactly like the real company; however, they are fake.

Borrowers who want to communicate with their lender online, should type in their lender’s website address and make contact through the company’s official website. 

Better yet, call the customer service number listed on the company’s official website and talk directly to a customer service person to verify that the request is legitimate. They will ask you for identification information and then be able to tell you your loan status.

What Is Loan Servicing? Can A Lender Sell My Loan?

Companies may choose to have the collection of the loan payment done by a third-party vendor. Usually, in any loan, there is a provision that allows the lender to sell it to another party or to change loan servicing companies. These legal rights are normally in the part of the loan document called the “Mortgage Servicing Disclosure.”

This legal right is usually held only by the lender and the borrower has no option but to comply with a legitimate request. Since almost all lenders sell off their loans to other companies or investors, so that they can get more money to loan out, the chance of a new mortgage loan selling is extremely high.

Troubles With Loan Servicing

Many make a smooth transition from one loan servicing provider to a new one by simply following the instructions. Others have troubles. Besides actual fraud by fake companies, there may be problems with real companies if the information in the records is not accurate. The date of a loan transfer may cause an overpayment or a late payment.

Any time there is confusion with regard to a mortgage loan servicing transfer, it is best to be proactive and stay in touch with the original lender for guidance in connecting with the new loan servicer.

Conclusion

Lenders sell their loans all the time. Loan servicing companies change frequently as well. These can be a simple legitimate transfer of the business process from one company to another. However, this is an area that is ripe for scammers to trick people and for bad companies to take advantage of their customers through loan servicing fraud techniques. Be aware of this problem and take care to avoid any negative consequences of loan servicing fraud.

Remember that two of your best partnerships in real estate will be with your licensed real estate agent and your trusted home mortgage professional. Be sure to rely on them if you have questions or concerns about your property.

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Buying A Second Home And How To Pay For It

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on May 23rd, 2019

Buying A Second Home And How To Pay For ItHow does an average homeowner become a real estate investor? Certainly, owning a home is an investment in real estate. However, this guide discusses the next step for many to become a real estate investor. This is to buy another property and use it for a commercial purpose. Owning another home is less of a burden when an investor finds a way to make the home pay for itself.

Here are some tips on how to help a property generate cash flow:

Renting Out A Home

Renting the home to others may be an effective way to pay for it. To do this well, a real estate investor looks for a home with special characteristics. The home is for sale at a low enough price and can be financed well enough so that the cash flow coming in for the rent will be equal or more to the expenses of owning and managing the property. It is terrific if the property makes a positive cash flow each month, even if only a small amount.

If a property has a $50 per month positive cash flow, then that small amount builds up over time. Adding more properties with positive cash flow increases the investment portfolio value quicker.

Home Office

Using all or part of a home as an office creates special tax deductions for the expenses that cover the portion of the property used for business. Even if a homeowner does not have enough money to buy another home, starting a small business by using a home office may help create the money for the investment needed as a down payment on the second home.

Renting A Home Out As A Vacation Rental

Many like to rent homes in nice areas for vacation purposes. The home can rent out as a full home or as individual rooms in the home. Airbnb is a useful web-based service that can bring rental customers for those interested in doing this.

Bed & Breakfast

Another way to make money by owning a property is to turn it into a commercial enterprise as a bed & breakfast. Depending on the location, and the number of tourists attracted to a particular area, a bed & breakfast business can be profitable.

Tax Implications

Even if owning a second home does not make positive cash flow, it can still be financially beneficial when it reduces the tax burden. Work with an accountant and/or investigate the tax implications of owning the property. It may be possible to take deductions such as for property expenses and non-cash deductions such as depreciation, which when combined with other income, reduces the overall tax liability.

If owning a second home reduces the taxes to be paid, this is a financial benefit that offsets any negative cash flow. Tax savings is money in the pocket, so this counts as part of the positive cash flow that comes from owning a property.

Summary

These are just a few ideas to consider that may help pay for a second home and make it easier to become a real estate investor.

When you are considering a new property, be sure to partner with a trusted real estate professional.

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