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Modern Property Groups has been chosen by Bank of Missouri as the Local Business Spotlight “Featured Business” for Columbia, Missouri during the month of April.
When it comes to selling a home in Columbia, MO there’s a lot to know beyond staging your home and setting a reasonable sale price. As with any new venture, there are definitions and a set of acronyms (DOM, CMA) that might seem a bit foreign if you’ve never bought or sold a home in Columbia before.
This brief glossary of real estate terms should be a good starting point for a buyer or seller in Columbia MO when they enter the real estate market.
Affidavit of title: A written statement that sellers make under oath certifying that they are in possession of the property, and that since the examination of the title on the date of the contracts no defects have occurred in the title. Marital status is also stated.
Agent: The licensed real estate salesperson or broker who represents buyers or sellers.
Appraisal: The estimated current market value of a property, as determined by a professional appraiser — usually by comparing the property to recent sales of similar ones.
Assessed value: The value of real estate property as determined by an assessor, typically from the county.
“As-is”: A contract or listing clause stating that the seller will not repair or correct any problems with the property.
Back on market (BOM): When a property or listing is placed back on the market after being temporarily removed.
Back-up offer: When an offer is accepted contingent on the fall-through or voiding of an accepted first offer on a property.
Bidding war: When two or more buyers compete for a property by submitting higher offers than the first.
Brokerage: A firm engaged in buying and selling real estate for clients, using brokers and real estate agents to handle the deal.
Broker’s tour: A set time and day when real estate sales agents come to view listings by multiple brokerages in the market.
Buyer’s Agent: The agent who shows the buyers the property and negotiates the contract for the buyer through closing.
Buyer’s market: A market condition characterized by low prices and a supply of properties that exceed demand.
Capital gain: Profit earned from the sale which is above the original purchase price.
Chain of title: The document that shows the succession of conveyances, from some accepted starting point to the current holder of title.
Closing: The end of the transaction process, in which the deed is delivered, documents are signed and funds are dispersed.
Closing Costs: Expenses above and beyond the purchase price of a house and land (such as agent fees, taxes, etc.) that is paid by the buyer or seller at the completion of the sale.
Closing statement: A detailed cash accounting of a real estate transaction showing all cash received, all charges and credits made and all cash paid out in the transaction
Commission: The compensation paid to the listing brokerage by the seller for selling the property, a percentage of which is also paid to the buyer’s agent (although in some cases a buyer may be required to pay his or her own share of the commission).
Commission split: The percentage of commission which is split between the real estate sales brokerage and the real estate sales agent or broker.
Comparable: A property used in an appraisal or comparative market analysis (CMA) report that is equivalent to the seller’s property.
Competitive Market Analysis (CMA): A comparison of the prices of recently sold or listed homes that are similar to a seller’s property in terms of location, style and amenities. This is usually prepared by a listing agent for the property’s seller.
Contingency: A provision in a contract that requires certain actions before the contract is binding or the transaction can be finalized or “closed.”
Contract for deed: A sales contract in which the buyer takes possession of the property but the seller holds title until the loan is paid. Also known as an installment sale contract.
Cost approach: Determination of the estimated value of a property that comes from adding, to the estimated land value, the appraiser’s estimate of the replacement cost of the building, less any depreciation.
Counteroffer: An offer made in response to an offer received from the buyer (which, in effect, rejects the buyer’s offer).
Curb Appeal: The visual impact that a property projects from the view from the street.
Days on market: The number of days that a property has been for sale on the market.
Depreciation: A loss of value in property due to physical or functional deterioration.
Disclosures: Federal, state, county and local requirements of disclosure that the seller provides and the buyer acknowledges.
Down payment: The amount of cash put toward a purchase by the borrower.
DOM: Days on market — the number of days that a property has been listed for sale.
Dual agent: A state-licensed individual who represents the seller and the buyer in a single transaction.
Earnest money: The money given as a good faith deposit to the seller at the time the offer is made. Once accepted by the seller, it is held in a trust account until closing.
Escrow account: The trust account established by a broker for the purpose of holding funds, such as the earnest money, on behalf of the seller or some other person until the closing.
Exclusive-right-to-sell listing: A listing contract whereby the owner appoints a real estate broker as his or her exclusive agent for a designated period of time, to sell the property on the owner’s stated terms, and agrees to pay the broker a commission when the property is sold.
Expired listing: A property listing that has expired per the terms of the listing agreement.
Fiduciary relationship: A relationship of trust and confidence between the real estate agent and client, as under the terms of a listing contract or buyer agency agreement.
Flat fee: A predetermined amount of compensation received or paid for a specific service in a real estate transaction.
For sale by owner (FSBO): A property that is for sale by the property owner and not represented by a real estate agent.
Inclusions: Fixtures or personal property included in a contract or offer to purchase.
Installment sales contract: A sales contract in which the buyer takes possession of the property and pays the purchase price in periodic installments, even though the title is retained by the seller until the loan is paid off. The same as: contract for deed.
Lease option: When a lease gives the tenant the right to purchase the property during the lease term.
List date: Actual date the property was listed with the current broker.
List price: The price of a property through a listing agreement.
Listing agreement: A contract between an owner-seller and a real estate broker to have the broker find a buyer for the owner’s real estate in exchange for the owner paying a commission.
Listing appointment: The time when a real estate sales agent meets with potential clients (who are selling a property) to secure a listing agreement.
Lockbox: A device with a combination or keypad that hangs from the doorknob and stores the keys to the property for sale, so that agents can gain access for showings.
Market value: The estimated price that a property is likely to sell for under normal conditions on the open market.
Multiple-listing service (MLS): A group of member brokers who agree to share their listing information with one another in the hopes of procuring buyers for their properties more quickly than they could on their own.
National Association of REALTORS® (NAR): A national association of real estate sales agents.
Net listing: A listing contract between the seller and the seller’s broker which sets a baseline price for a property; the broker nets any funds above that price when it sells. This type of listing is illegal in some states.
Open listing: A listing contract under which the broker’s commission is contingent upon the broker bringing in a buyer before the property is sold by the seller or another broker.
Parcel identification number (PIN): A county or city tracking number for a property.
Pending: The status of real estate under an accepted contract that has not yet closed its transaction.
Preview appointment: When a buyer’s agent views a property alone to see if it meets his or her buyer’s needs.
Quit-claim deed: A document that releases the grantor/seller from whatever interest he or she has in the real estate.
Real estate agent: An individual who is licensed by the state and who acts on behalf of his or her client, the buyer or seller.
REALTOR®: A registered trademark of the National Association of REALTORS® that can be used only to refer to its members.
Re-list: Property listed by a broker that formerly was listed with another broker.
Severalty: Ownership of real property by one person only; also called sole ownership.
Staging: Preparing a home for sale through the neutral but appealing placement of furniture and accessories.
Survey: The process by which boundaries are measured and land areas are determined; the on-site measurement of lot lines, dimensions and position of a house on a lot, including the determination of any existing encroachments or easements.
Temporarily off market (TOM): A listed property that is taken off the market for a short time.
Title search: The examination of public records relating to a real estate parcel which determines the current state of its ownership.
Transaction: The purchase process from offer to closing or escrow.
Under contract: A property that has an accepted real estate contract between a seller and a buyer.
Walk-through: A showing before closing that permits the buyers one final tour of the property that they are purchasing, typically so that they can check for any changes or defects.
Expenses of renting property can be deducted from your gross rental income. You generally deduct your rental expenses in the year you pay them. Publication 527 includes information on the expenses you can deduct if you rent a condominium or cooperative apartment, if you rent part of your property, or if you change your property to rental use.
When to Report Income
Report rental income on your return for the year you actually or constructively receive it, if you are a cash basis taxpayer. You are a cash basis taxpayer if you report income in the year you receive it, regardless of when it was earned. You constructively receive income when it is made available to you, for example, by being credited to your bank account.
For more information about when you constructively receive income, see Publication 538.
Advance rent is any amount you receive before the period that it covers. Include advance rent in your rental income in the year you receive it regardless of the period covered or the method of accounting you use.
You sign a 10-year lease to rent your property. In the first year, you receive $5,000 for the first year’s rent and $5,000 as rent for the last year of the lease. You must include $10,000 in your income in the first year.
Do not include a security deposit in your income when you receive it if you plan to return it to your tenant at the end of the lease. But if you keep part or all of the security deposit during any year because your tenant does not live up to the terms of the lease, include the amount you keep in your income in that year.
If an amount called a security deposit is to be used as a final payment of rent, it is advance rent. Include it in your income when you receive it.
Expenses Paid by Tenant
If your tenant pays any of your expenses, the payments are rental income. You must include them in your income. You can deduct the expenses if they are deductible rental expenses. See Rental Expenses in Publication 527, for more information.
Your tenant pays the water and sewage bill for your rental property and deducts it from the normal rent payment. Under the terms of the lease, your tenant does not have to pay this bill.
While you are out of town, the furnace in your rental property stops working. Your tenant pays for the necessary repairs and deducts the repair bill from the rent payment. Based on the facts in each example, include in your rental income both the net amount of the rent payment and the amount the tenant paid for the utility bills and the repairs. You can deduct the cost of the utility bills and repairs as a rental expense.
Property or Services in Lieu of Rent
If you receive property or services, instead of money, as rent, include the fair market value of the property or services in your rental income.
If the services are provided at an agreed upon or specified price, that price is the fair market value unless there is evidence to the contrary.
Your tenant is a painter. He offers to paint your rental property instead of paying 2 months’ rent. You accept his offer. Include in your rental income the amount the tenant would have paid for 2 months’ rent. You can include that same amount as a rental expense for painting your property.
Personal Use of Vacation Home or Dwelling Unit
If you have any personal use of a vacation home or other dwelling unit that you rent out, you must divide your expenses between rental use and personal use. See Figuring Days of Personal Use and How To Divide Expenses in Publication 527. If your expenses for rental use are more than your rental income, you may not be able to deduct all of the rental expenses. See How To Figure Rental Income and Deductions in Publication 527.
Buying real estate in Columbia, MO has a lot to do with negotiating. Make sure the real estate agent you are working with knows how to negotiate effectively and does not use some of the following common mistakes I see every day.
1. Don’t underestimate the other side
Find out everything possible about whom you’re dealing with—not only their personality and profession and background, but how they think. Whether your prospective seller is a teacher or a banker, they are bound to think and negotiate differently.
Try to understand where they’re coming from, their experience on the market, why they’re priced where they are, etc. Do some fact finding before you decide to negotiate and make an offer. Look at public records, case net, face book and google the seller. With today’s modern technology, you will be amazed what you can learn about someone on the internet.
Having this information not only makes it easier to plan your strategy, but also to interpret statements like, “There’s a lot of interest in this property” or “we really don’t need to sell.”
2. Don’t be a jerk
Being nice will generally get you a lot further in real estate negotiations than being a jerk.
There’s a lot of value in being nice because residential transactions are more emotional. The seller has pride and ego and so does the buyer.
Being heavy handed or bullying is the worst thing you or your real estate agent can do when presenting an offer.
3. Don’t forget to negotiate key terms besides the price
Some Columbia, MO buyers and sellers sometimes think they have a deal when in fact they haven’t fleshed out some important elements.
Make sure you ask for everything you want in your initial offer. The blinds, curtains, washer and dryer, closing costs…..everything in a real estate transaction is negotiable!
4. Don’t blow small things into deal breakers
With real estate being such a large investment in Columbia, MO, it’s easy to feel like you’re being gouged no matter which side of the table you’re sitting on.
Don’t let the little things ruin a deal. The reality is, when you are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, a few hundred bucks should not get in the way.
5. Don’t push ahead when you’re butting heads
At some point in many deals, buyers and sellers start splitting hairs and no one is winning. You get into a little bit of a stalemate and everyone wants an answer now.
If your real estate negotiations start to stall, walk away…..take a 24 to 48 hour break from communication. Let everyone calm down and try to remove the emotion. A pause can also introduce anxiety into the deal. The seller may start thinking they have lost a deal completely.
6. Don’t take it personally
Probably the biggest mistake buyers, sellers and their brokers make is getting their egos involved and taking things personally. This is my personal favorite! Do your best to relax, detach, and keep your eye on the big picture. It’s not about you.
Ultimately, buying a house in Columbia, MO is just business.
Modern Property Groups has noticed an increase in fraudulent posts regarding rental property on websites such as Craigslist and others. We hope that this blog will help you make an informed decision when dealing with property via the internet.
Identity thieves have increased their presence in the housing and rental markets making it even more important for potential homebuyers and renters to do due their diligence and know the warning signs of a scam.
The housing bubble caused many homes to be pushed into foreclosure and the owners into the rental market, and scammers are using a myriad of ways to steal personal information and money from unsuspecting victims.
Many of the scams we see involve an online post about an available property to rent and when someone is interested, the scammer sends a rental or lease agreement that requires a plethora of personal information like birth date, Social Security number and current address. Some even ask for bank account information to verify eligibility. The unsuspecting renter ends up giving up the information hoping that they can rent the property.
Some scammers post bogus properties online and target renters moving from another city or state. Typically we have noticed that the fraudster will list a rental online with a market price far lower than others in the area. The listing will have a real address and photographs and the renter will be asked to either wire a deposit or send a money order to hold the rental. We have noticed that listings are being copied with a new lower price and different contact information.
Landlords in Columbia, MO need to pay attention as well. The scam seems to go both ways: People with a property to rent can also become victims. A popular scam involves someone living outside the country agreeing to move into a rental unit sight unseen. You will get an email requesting room dimensions, price, etc. This will be a drawn out process and over time you will give up a lot of valuable personal information.
While scammers have become more sophisticated, renters and landlords in Columbia, MO can stay one step ahead. Being aware of some red flags will prevent you from losing any money or sacrificing personal information. Red flags to look for include, if the person asks for personal information via the Internet and/or asks you to send money via a money order or a wire transfer, which isn’t easily traceable. We also recommend never sharing personal information without meeting someone and checking their credentials.
Modern Property Groups suggest out-of-town movers to work with a licensed agent to find a place to live. To verify if an online posting is legitimate, we recommend searching the address and if it turns up on multiple sites with different names, there’s a strong change the listing is a scam listing. The tax Boone County assessor’s office can provide the homeowner’s name of the particular property and many of the offices have websites making it easier for renters to check public information.
Using common sense can go a long way in dealing with internet scams. If the deal sounds to good to be true, it probably is. Pay attention!
Now is the perfect time for investors to start buying rental property in Columbia, MO. The local housing market is still recovering, which means that home prices are reasonable, interest rates are low, and rents in Columbia are on the rise. Under these circumstances, buying a rental property in Columbia seems like a good choice.
However, owning an investment rental property is not always as easy as it may seem. Becoming a landlord comes with many risks-and just like any investment, you need to be prepared. In my opinion, the following topics are important to consider before you enter the wonderful world of investment property.
- Do you have cash?
Before you can even get to the point where you place a For Rent sign in the yard, you’ll need to get financing from the bank. The rules have changed with the banks in Columbia, MO. I have seen this first hand! The days of purchasing rental property with little or no money down are gone. Today you will need at least 20% cash to put down in order to get the ball rolling at the bank.
In addition to your down payment, the bank will want to see your cash reserves. You need to be able to show the bank that you can cover the mortgage if you have a vacancy or unexpected maintenance expense.
- Will I make a profit on this property?
A good rule of thumb for rental properties that produce a positive cash flow is that you should be able to charge 1% of the mortgage price for each month’s rent. So a $100,000 mortgage should be bringing in $1000 in rent per month. This is a fairly easy calculation to do as you are looking for rental properties, since you should be able to determine rental rates for comparable houses in your area.
However, you also need to take into account your vacancy rate. I would advise landlords to assume 10% vacancy per year when doing your calculations. To be conservative, you should only plan on having rental income 10.5 months per year.
Between the 1% rule and the possibility of vacancy, you will need to determine if you have the necessary funds to handle down times, or if your monthly rental income will generate enough extra that you will be able to ride out vacancies.
- Do I know the right people?
You don’t want to start looking for a contractor, an electrician, or a plumber in Columbia, MO after a problem arises in your rental property. So start building a relationship ahead of time with maintenance personnel so that you can simply call them when you need them-and you can trust that they will be reliable and timely. You do not want the stress of dealing with an undependable contractor on top of soothing unhappy tenants.
In addition to maintenance, you will also want to build a relationship with an attorney who can help to advise you on issues with your tenants. Again, the time to go looking for a lawyer is not after your tenants are three months behind on rent.
- Am I cut out for this?
I am sure you have heard horror stories about deadbeat tenants or unexpected damage to rental properties…..all of which happen! It pays to understand that screening your tenants does not always weed out the unsavory individuals, and to recognize that not even a thorough inspection of a new rental property can stop damage from occurring.
If you can’t abide the thought of dealing with middle-of-the-night phone calls to come fix leaking pipes or having to evict a tenant who is behind on the rent, becoming a landlord might not be the investment for you.
If you’re not certain whether you could handle the necessary work, consider using Modern Property Groups in Columbia, MO for property management. Modern Property Groups handles much of the landlord work that you would otherwise have to do, like screening tenants, performing maintenance, and collecting rent.
The Bottom Line
While owning a rental property in Columbia, MO can be an excellent investment, you need to make sure that you enter into it with both eyes open and a clear idea of what could go wrong. If you do your homework and work with the right professionals, owning rental property can give you a great head start to retirement.
- 1. Demand Is High
Homes are selling at a pace not seen for a while in Columbia, MO. The most recent market summary for the local MLS showed that sold listings in December 2012 increased 18.8% over 2011. And sold listings YTD in December 2012 increased 20.1%. There are buyers out there right now and they are serious about purchasing.
- 2. Supply Is Low
The number of Active Listings in December 2012 was down 16% from the same time last year. Historically, inventory increases dramatically in the spring. Selling now when demand is high and supply is low may garner you your best price.
- 3. New Construction Is Coming Back
Over the last several years, most homeowners selling their home did not have to compete with a new construction project around the block. As the market is recovering, more and more builders are jumping back in. These ‘shiny’ new homes will again become competition as they are an attractive alternative to many purchasers.
- 4. Interest Rates Are Projected to Inch Up
The Mortgage Bankers’ Association has projected mortgage interest rates will inch up approximately one full point in 2013. Whether you are moving up or moving down, your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.
With these four reasons in mind, listing your home for sale TODAY is a great idea. Modern Property Groups would like to help you sell your home in Columbia MO. Please give us a call to get the process started!
Want to be a rental property owner in Columbia, MO? Here’s some good and bad news for you.
The bad news is that all of the TV shows and infomercials about flipping houses and people making money, or turn-key hassle-free rental property, are not reality.
Real estate investing in Columbia, MO is actually really hard work, it’s time-consuming and if you don’t know what you are doing, it is a pretty risky place to invest your money.
The good news is that most people, with hard work and determination, can earn a fairly substantial amount of wealth over their lifetime if they educate themselves and make better decisions when purchasing property in Columbia, MO.
Here are some tips that should help you earn real estate wealth.
Think long term
Long-term ownership is the key to real estate wealth. If you buy decent properties and hold them forever, that’s going to provide the highest likelihood that your real estate will have significant equity down the road.
Also, if it sounds too good to be true, it always is — especially in real estate. Drop the idea that there is fast and easy money to be made in real estate. It’s just not true. Sometimes people get lucky, but you don’t have to worry because that “lucky” person will never end up being you.
Cash flow positive properties
A significant portion of investors buy properties that are cash-flow negative or have very low investment returns. That means the buyer puts in their equity cash capital when they purchased the property, and they are still investing additional funds each month, which could go on for decades depending on how bad of a deal they purchased.
The better way to invest is to buy properties where the rents minus all the expenses, including the mortgage payment, provide positive cash flow that you can deposit in the bank. So if you collect $1,200 in monthly rent, then subtract expenses of ($400) and a mortgage of ($500) you will have $300 per month left over. Nice job!
Simple analysis tool: The 1 percent rule
A simple way to do a quick analysis is to take the conservatively estimated monthly rental income and divide it by the purchase price of the house. You still need to pencil out your deal with rents and actual conservatively estimated expenses, but this back-of-the-napkin test is a quick and easy test to see if it makes sense.
- Example of a good deal: If you can collect $1,600 per month in rent and you paid $200,000 for the property, you are collecting rent that is 0.8 percent of the purchase price (0.8 percent = 80 basis points in financial terms). And that’s probably a really fair deal.
- Example of a bad deal: If you can collect $1,600 per month in rent and you paid $400,000 for the property, you are collecting rent that is 0.4 percent of the purchase price, or 40 basis points. And that’s not a really good deal.
Find good quality properties
Smarter investors work hard up front to find the good areas where the rents provide a nice positive cash flow and investment returns, low crime rates, better schools, and decent amenities nearby like parks or retail. Coupled with good tenants who have excellent credit, you also create low vacancy rates.
Smart investors also buy properties that are in decent shape, although every property needs paint, carpeting and some plumbing and electrical work from time to time. Do that hard work upfront and spend the money to put your properties in very good shape, you’ll get a little more rent and probably have a bigger pool of interested tenants from whom you can then choose.
Lastly, do your homework, talk to other investors, read guides and books, shop properties, pencil out deals and have a long term ownership plan. Hopefully it will translate into a nice cash flow retirement picture.
The classic game of Monopoly can teach us a lot about buying real estate in Columbia, MO. When you really consider the principals you use to win the board game, it makes sense that the same strategy in real life will help you with your real estate investments in Columbia. Below are 5 rules that you should follow and take the advice of Monopoly:
Rule 1 – Always have CASH
This is the most important rule! The winner of Monopoly is the last player with money. In order to be the last player with money, you have to buy smart. If you bought something on the board every chance you got, you would quickly realize that you couldn’t afford to pay your mortgages and you would run out of money and lose.
This same exact principle applies to buying property in Columbia, MO. If you aren’t patient and just start buying because you think the property is cheap, you will quickly run out of money and lose! The key to buying property in Columbia, MO is cash….if you have the cash, you can take advantage of the other players who bought when they shouldn’t have. They will be forced to sell for a discount or end up in foreclosure. Either way, the investor with the cash will be there to buy at a great price!
Rule 2 – Be Patient
To win at Monopoly you have to be patient and have a game plan. You just can’t win by buying every piece of real estate you land on. As stated above, if you just start buying property, you will find yourself out of money.
Similarly, if you just start buying property in Columbia, you will find yourself the loser of the game. Patience is a virtue. Waiting on the sidelines until the time is right is crucial to building a successful portfolio of real estate. A good real estate investor knows when to buy and when to pass.
But don’t wait too long. I recently started watching two properties that I considered great buys. I was too patient! There are others out there that also noticed they were good buys and before I could act, the properties were gone. If the numbers work and you have the cash to make it happen….don’t hesitate!
Rule 3 – Cash Flow is King
Monopoly is a simple game: you start off with some money and your goal is to be the last player standing with money. The way you win in Monopoly is by collecting rents on property, or cash flow.
Buying rental property in Columbia, MO is exactly like Monopoly in this regard. Over time, the value of your rental property will increase in value based the cash flows they produce. We all know that as time passes things get more expensive, including rent! So take advantage of the prices today and buy real estate. As long as you maintain your property, your rents will continue to increase and so will your cash flow.
Rule 4 – Don’t buy the most expensive piece of real estate
Most monopoly players want to own Park Place and Boardwalk since they have the biggest payouts. But they are also the most expensive pieces to maintain. Many people think that the big pay out will help them win…..WRONG.
Just like in real world property buying, if you can buy 3 homes with the same down payment cash as one expensive home, odds are you are going to make more money on the 3 homes. I see this every day from investors, they want a fancy rental house that costs a lot of money. Sure they can rent it and it might pay for itself. But why do we do this? The answer is simple….we buy rental property to make money! I can show most investors that if they took their down payment money and spread it out over a couple properties, their return on investment would be greater. So remember, the most expensive piece of property is not always the best investment!
Rule 5 – Don’t buy all of your properties in the same area
You will never win at Monopoly buy just buying one property and building a lot of hotels on it. Chances are if you own multiple properties around the board, other players will end up paying you more often. By spreading your investments out over the board, you have the ability to gather more rents.
The same is true when buying rental property in Columbia, MO. If you focus on buying all of your properties in one neighborhood or one price, you limit the number of rentals that you can provide for. Some people want to live in different parts of town. Some can only afford less rent. Make sure your investment portfolio contains all types of properties. There is always a renter if the property is available.
The rules of Monopoly can help you with your investments in Columbia, MO. Just remember to be patient, focus on cash flow, keep cash on hand, and buy properties in all parts of town. If you follow these 5 rules, your investment strategy should improve.
I enjoy working with investors in Columbia, MO. So give me a call if you have questions or want to start investing!
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