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  • Pricescope Upgrade/Maintenance Is Complete.

    We still have a few things to iron out. If you see any bugs, issues or have any concerns, let us know here in this discussion.

Am I crazy? Or, a week ago we weren''t even looking at houses . . .

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phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 20, 2003
Messages
3,369
DH and I live in a 700 square foot condo. In the past we thought we''d move summer of 2007 into a house. I''m a teacher so it made more sense to worry about all the details while I wasn''t working. Also, ideally we''d live in this really expensive area with these neat old houses, and DH''s commission based job is less than one year old and he''s still making an ever-reducing salary, so I thought we''d wait and see where things stood a bit later. However, DH is outperforming everyone else in his "class" of new hires despite being given less business and having to find it himself. Still, it''s not as though he''s making enough not to still be getting the salary.

We love our building and our neighbors. Our units all back up into one deck area, and we just pop out back to hang out whenever the weather is nice. Honestly, that''s the number one reason that I have been reluctant to move. I also feel bad because DH just joined the condo board.

We weren''t really even thinking about moving until we put up the Christmas tree. We always hated this compact but unwieldy CD tower we got to house our hundreds of CDs, DVDs, and VHS tapes. I commented casually about how I hated the darn thing, so DH decided to get rid of it. In true DH fashion, he did so without any plan on where to put everything that was on it, so now they''re just stacked here and there (as if it wasn''t cluttered before).

DH suggested building shelves behind our bedroom door for the CDs. The door swings out pretty much flush with the wall, so I don''t really understand the theory there. Suddenly I just felt this certainty . . . this is ridiculous . . . we must move!

So I basically announced that we must move and we went to a few open houses on Saturday. We had seen a house near where we live that a friend bought a few months ago. It''s not a huge house, but it''s more than double our current size plus a full basement. I realized that this kind of house would be perfect for us.

One of the houses we saw inspired us although it had only one bathroom (and it was upstairs!!!). There is a house for sale on the same block as our friend''s, so we asked our realtor to show it to us yesterday. And it''s super duper cute. The floors are in great shape for being the better part of a century old, and walls have been knocked down downstairs to open things up.

Our realtor checked the history and it has been on the market several months. It started out priced at X, and it has recently been reduced to 90% of X, which we''ll now call Y. DH and I really hadn''t processed this whole thing, but decided to get "pre-qualed" just in case. Then DH said, hey, let''s offer 90% of Y. This seemed like a crazy low-ball bid, so I guess my reasoning was that, well, if they accept the offer then that will be our sign.

Of course, the offer was rejected, but they came back right away with an offer for 95% of Y. Before we made our offer, that''s actually the exact amount DH said he was hoping we''d settle on. After already dropping the price, I think their response was pretty generous. The owner is deceased so nobody is living there and I think the executor would like to make the sale and move on.

So now reality is sinking in and I''m realizing that I seem to be making a major life decision on a whim. I realize that sometimes that''s a good thing. I''m sure that when we decide to have children, we''ll just suddenly decide to start trying one day. But now I''m panicking at the decision we have to make.

Pros
*location: only two blocks away. The neighborhood of these houses extends many blocks in either direction starting about one block from where we live, so finding a place so close is lucky and important to us. Two blocks away means we''ll have our old neighbors over all the time and walk to all the same places. Ten blocks away, while really really close when you''re driving :), would mean that we couldn''t pop on over to the same markets or restaurants.

*size: we can stop living on top of one another and can have out of town guests (going from one bathroom to two and a half)

*charm and upgrades: there are many cute features, and things that obviously take a lot of work that we would really want have been done -- opening up living room and dining room, knocking down wall between kitchen and dining room, adding a bathroom downstairs and even one in the basement for good measure, adding A/C upstairs (um, hello, why not do the whole house people?)

*some must-haves: some houses only have outside basement access or a very primitive basement area -- this basement isn''t carpeted or anything, but it has heat, a bathroom, and inside access. There''s also a garage. DH had one or the other on his must-have list. Then there are the bathrooms.

*price: We''d be paying about 80% of what our friend paid for her incredibly similar house. I don''t think she realized the bubble was bursting and paid a price more of what you''d have seen a year or two ago.

*upgrades: the bathrooms are all new, the kitchen has room to grow but is livable, A/C has been put in upstairs, and the house has been opened up


Cons
If you read the last pro, you realized A/C is *only* upstairs. We''d have to put it in downstairs. Our friend did this when she moved into her house, and it didn''t seem too hard.

*upgrades: A/C downstairs, ideally we''d redo the cheap counters to match the marble that was put in when the wall between the kitchen and dining room was knocked down and replace the stove and dishwasher. Also, ideally we''d wall off the door adjoining the two big bedrooms and add a closet, both for privacy and because there''s nowhere obvious to put the bed except up against that door in one of the rooms.

*appliances: house does not come with washer and dryer, but there are hookups in the basement; we''d want a new stove and dish washer

*cable: the house does not seem to be fitted for cable TV; we saw where the phone lines enter, so hopefully that wouldn''t be too hard. The house next door had a satellite dish, so we should get confirmation on the ability to have cable internet and TV.

*security: living where we live now, there are only two points of entry: the front, which is controlled-access, and the back, which is past all of our neighbors'' places. We have an estranged family member who married a violent felon whom she had never seen outside of prison while he was still incarcerated, and there''s always the thought in the back of my head that he could come after us. We would definitely need to get an extensive security system, and I think I''d still feel less safe. (That was inevitable whenever we move, and you can''t put off life decisions because you''ve got a crazy family member.)

*timing: this is obviously not when school is out, so we''ll be doing all of these upgrades and selling our current place while we''re both working.

*buyer''s market: we may have more difficulty selling our condo than we think. (We bought it before the market peaked but while it was on the way up; I am fairly confident we could easily sell it for what we paid or a little more. We may have more difficulty getting 10-20% more than what we paid, but we didn''t buy it to make money. Of course, the buyer''s market is benefitting us on the buying end, and that is the bigger transaction of course.)

*two mortgages: we''d have two mortgages until our place sells. We were approved for X even with our current mortgage, so in theory we should be able to handle 82% of X, but it''s not as though we''ve had thousands of extra dollars left over each month that would make this a smooth transition.

**********************************************************************************

Well, the good news is that I feel better and less panicky now that I wrote this post. Obviously if we live two blocks away, we can see our neighbors whenever we want. We''ll just have to make the effort to go two blocks rather than two feet. This was always inevitable anyway, so it shouldn''t be a deciding factor.

I really think the price is good. It''s 14% below the original asking price, which was already lower than what our friend paid, and she also had to put in A/C downstairs.

I can''t tell you how wonderful it will/would be to have the room and flexibility. When my parents come to visit, we let them sleep in our bed, and we sleep on the futon that''s crammed into the office. It''s not pleasant sharing a bathroom with four people in a tiny place. In this house we could easily have guests and a small child or two, although we''d want to move again into one of those dream houses when we need more room and have school-age children.

You might be thinking, a house with no A/C downstairs? What kind of crazy people live like this? Well, yes, I agree, we wouldn''t move in without putting it in first, but that''s just what comes with a charming old neighborhood that was built before central air. All the houses in this neighborhood are all starting out without any upgrades or A/C and just one bathroom, so it''s actually ahead of the game.

Honestly, sometimes I think about not being in the tiny love nest with my husband anymore and get sad. Wherever you are, you can talk to the other person. In a three story (counting the basement) house, we can be in the same house but be apart. But then I think of the hundreds of CDs sitting on top of my husband''s dresser, and how we were going to move anyway.

This doesn''t really factor into the decision, but this will also strain things with a certain friend. She graduated from college and never really got a real job. She worked as a realtor with her mother, but I get the sense that that just meant her mother cut her in (I am in no way saying that being a realtor is not a real job . . . just that I think psychologically my friend was afraid of the interview process and was avoiding it by trying to do something she wasn''t cut out for . . . and she may not have realized that because her mother was subsidizing her). Then she got married and tried to be a realtor in our area, with very little success. I''m guessing about two sales in a year. She''s finally gotten a 9-5 job (her husband is in grad school), but she still considers herself a realtor. She was irate when the brother of a friend (so this wasn''t even a friend, just his brother) used someone else. In her mind, she''s thinking that we''re making this transaction anyway, so why can''t she get the commission? But the person we''re using is a really good connection for my husband''s business and is an expert both in condos and houses in our area. He has furniture on hand to stage your place and has a contractor who does touch-up work to make it look better. I don''t think our friend would have any idea what comparable places are selling for, but the person we''re working with sells them all the time. The bad thing is that a year ago DH asked her to show us a place that we would never have bought anyway just because he wanted to see the inside, so she may feel there''s precedent for us using her. But again, this is a bridge we''ve always had to cross . . . I''m just not looking forward to her reaction.

So, some feedback would be great. Are we CRAZY???? Or is this a great opportunity and let''s stop worrying about all the details and just jump in?

Another thing that concerns me is that I had to make a Pro/Con list. To be fair, my husband called and told me about the counter-offer while I was asleep, so I think my subconscious mind was getting all stressed and so when I woke up to go to the bathroom I started panicking. But one of my theories of life is that you shouldn''t need a pro/con list to make a decision. For my first job, I made one, and it turned out I had convinced myself to take a horrible position. When I was lucky enough to transfer with only one year under my belt, I didn''t need a list. When I got my current job, the answer was, YES! Same thing with getting married -- I never once worried that I was making a bad decision or had cold feet. So just the fact that I had a panicky feeling and had to make a list worries me.

But then again, I guess I''d be a pretty dumb person if I just made life decisions on a whim and didn''t at least consider everything. So in this case, a list seems like a good idea.

The funny thing is that I''m the one who said we had to move and I''m the one who wanted to see that particular house before I left for vacation. And yet DH seems to be ready just to take the plunge (men
. . . j/k). I mean, those two impulsive statements alone are sort of out of character for me, but I also think that that''s my role in the marriage . . . the catalyst.

Does anyone have any feedback???

Oh my . . .
 

dani13

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2004
Messages
6,183
Hi PG,

Your story sounds a lot like my fi and I's. We also live in a 900 sft condo, we bought it last yr- its in a great area, super-cute, blah, blah, blah....but every day I feel like it gets smaller and smaller. It bugs me that if we would have waited one more yr we probably could have gotten into a small house for just a little more than what we paid for this place....I try not to dwell on that though....But, I have to say, if you guys have the $$$ and it feels right to sell and get into this new place, than do it!! You want to move again anyway, you love this new place, and the way the market has been going, who knows what could happen within the next year??? But, it needs to feel right to you and your dh, ya know? Certainly, the house is going to need some work- but think about it, what place doesn't? And it doesnt sound like it needs anything major or anything that needs to be immediatley done....a lot of that stuff that you mentioned can be done over time.

If my fi and I were in a great $$ situation right now, and he was done with grad school, etc., I really think we would have considered looking for a house right now too. The prices have substantially dropped, although I have to say, at least in our area, condo's and townhouses are holding their values....so, if we sold this yr we could probably get at least what we paid. As long as you are not going to take a loss on your place, then I would take the chance and get this house....I know the whole thing is nervewracking, its a major decision, but I think you will be happier in the end. You sound like you like your current place, but you wish things were different, so here is your opportunity to get out of there and really be in a place you love and could see yourselves living for the next 10 yrs., starting a family, etc....plus, you can't beat the price your getting!!

Good luck with everything, and let us know how this turns out!!!

ps- what kind of house is it? I love older-ish homes!!!!!
 

KimberlyH

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
Messages
7,485
Was your offer contingent on your condo selling? What would happen if you couldn''t sell the condo? Could you float both payments or would you lose the house? For how long? And what sort of loan were you pre-qualified for? Do you have a sizeable down payment?
 

gail013

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 21, 2006
Messages
335
HI PG-

I am a realtor myself and hear about this situation alot with friends gettting mad etc. The best approach is really to be honest and just go about your business. If she is not a professional, that is not who you want helping you anyway. But you could also give her the opportunity to put together a market analysis etc. and offer her the chance to help you sell your current place, and that way you will at least have listened to what she has to say. Just because this other realtor is helping you with the purchase, does not mean he also has to help you with the sale. It wouldn''t hurt to at least have those two opinions on what your place is worth. Then you can chose eho seems to have the better marketing plan.

This other realtor should be able to adivse you if the price you are offering is good, based upon what other things have sold for in the past year. It sounds good, but so often people over inflate their asking price for this reason. You want to be sure.

You may want to consider going non-contingent, BUT pushing out the closing date for a period of time, based upon how long properties are taking to sell. I have seen too many people with double house payments, and it is not fun. If you go contingent, chances are you won''t get as good a deal. The best approach is usally to put your house up for sale, be non-contingent, and then move in to make a great low offer on something that needs to be sold-I am sure there are other properties out there. This one sounds good, but is it the first one you have looked at?

It''s funny, it''s usually a good time to buy, or a good time to sell, but rarely a good time to do both. Keep us posted.
 

winternight

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2006
Messages
887
Date: 12/20/2006 10:21:41 AM
Author: KimberlyH
Was your offer contingent on your condo selling? What would happen if you couldn''t sell the condo? Could you float both payments or would you lose the house? For how long? And what sort of loan were you pre-qualified for? Do you have a sizeable down payment?
Very good points. Also in many parts of the country real estate is predicted to go down in value next year. We''re not buying until we see an end to the bottom. I''m not sure where you''re located but what if prices drop another 10-15% - would that be a problem? I know you also have the condo to sell, can you rent that out for the payments if you had to and just move in the house if the market falls?
 

phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 20, 2003
Messages
3,369
Well . . . I must be crazy because we did it! We got another 1.7% shaved off after their counter.


Dani,
Thanks for your perspective. You''re right, we can do it, and life is just getting tighter and tighter in our old space. Sure, it''s a little sooner than we thought we''d be moving, but that''s ok. I guess I''d describe it as a brick detached row home built in the teens.

KimberlyH,
We''re working all those details out. Our offer was not contingent and we can swing the 20% down payment, but we''d rather not liquidate all those assets under the assumption that the condo will sell. So we''ll do margin and/or a bridge loan and then reconsider if it''s not selling. I certainly do not want to be paying two mortgages for more than a month or two.

Gail013,
I''m glad to get a realtor''s perspective. I hadn''t thought about asking our friend to give us a market analysis. Honestly, though, I just don''t think she knows much about the market. We know another realtor who sells more than half of the condos in our building (but we don''t really like him), so we''d probably seek his advice if we really wanted a second opinion. I think it would be worse to give our friend hope and make her do a bunch of work if there''s only a slight chance we''d use her.

Winternight,
That''s definitely true that the prices may continue dropping. I guess I just don''t want to delay what''s right for me based on what may happen with the market. We already waited long enough to be able to afford to live where we want . . . hence the sudden decision. I''ve seen people buy places in recent times and then refuse to sell them for fair prices based on some sort of sense of entitlement . . . my property must appreciate! Unless the neighborhood goes to seed, I don''t think our value will be affected that much in the long run. And actually there''s quite a lot of gentrification going on, so I think that after the market corrects we''ll still be ok.

Anyway, thank you to everyone who read my super long post! It really helped me to put everything down "on paper."
 

phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 20, 2003
Messages
3,369
OMG! I just realized that now I will have to clean this (relatively) giant house with its three bathrooms! I loathe cleaning our tiny condo and its single bathroom!

I am definitely getting a maid service. Is every other week doable?
 

KimberlyH

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
Messages
7,485
Glad you were able to come to a conclusion that suites you and your husband, phoenix! Keep us posted!

I don''t know about maid service; John and I split the housework and it gets done in a relatively quick amount of time. It''s all about maintenance in our world (not leaving junk laying around, wiping down counters every time they''re used, etc.)
 

dani13

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2004
Messages
6,183
Date: 12/20/2006 7:05:29 PM
Author: phoenixgirl
OMG! I just realized that now I will have to clean this (relatively) giant house with its three bathrooms! I loathe cleaning our tiny condo and its single bathroom!

I am definitely getting a maid service. Is every other week doable?
I know Phoneix, I think about that a lot too- I am such a neat freak, I clean (maintenance) every day, and then a BIG cleaning- dusting, mopping, changing linens, etc. once a week...it takes me almost half the day to do that in my small condo!! I always think- what will I do when I actually have a house?? I would eventually love to hire a cleaning service when we move into a bigger space, but I think I am entirely too anal and too much of a control freak to let someone else clean my house and be happy with it....
Nobody will do it like I do it, ya know??


The house I grew up in (my parents still live there) is so big- 4 bathrooms, 4 bedrooms, 2 kitchens, etc....I always remember my mom complaining about how hard it was to keep that place clean- like a full time job!! I would never want a house that large!!! Ugh!!!!
 

jcrow

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
7,395
congratulations!! and i second the picture request!
DH and i are looking at homes as well. it's a bit overwhelming. basically for what we are looking for, the best option may be to build, which is a big undertaking. and the prices, hum, i dunno. i think to myself, would i want to pay 10k in a year for this or that house? i just don't see how someone else would if i wouldn't. and it would suck to buy and then prices drop in a year. yes, we'd still be in our own space, but we could have spent less for that same space? that doesn't sit well.

anyway, i digress. i'm so happy you have a new home!! yea! fun times!!
 

Tacori E-ring

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
20,009
yay! Living is a house is SOOO wonderful! I feel lucky everyday. Don''t focus too much on if you could save $x in x months. You will never win with that kind of thinking. You aren''t just paying for a house but a lifestyle. I third the request for pictures!!!
 

gailrmv

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 8, 2005
Messages
3,136
Congrats! Some times you have to move fast to jump on an opportunity when you see it!
 

phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 20, 2003
Messages
3,369
Kitchen (we're planning to replace the appliances with stainless steel, although I almost accidentally ordered "silver mist" for the oven . . . it's NOT the same!) There was originally a wall between the kitchen and dining room.

kitchennewhouse.jpg
 

phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 20, 2003
Messages
3,369
And here's the downstairs living room and dining room . . . not huge, but charming. Those are faux French doors leading to the backporch and yard.

downstairsnewhouse.jpg
 

jcrow

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
7,395
wowl. so much character! thanks for the pics, and of course, i''m hoping for more!!
 

dani13

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2004
Messages
6,183
OMG, Phoenix, your house is just too cute!! I can''t wait to see it all pulled together.....Congrats!!!


ps- more pics, more pics!!!
 

phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 20, 2003
Messages
3,369
I''m glad you guys liked the pictures! I didn''t include too many at first because I feel like I''ve been forcing pictures down the throats of friends and family. But you asked for it . . .

Foyer (that ugly mirror is on the door to the downstairs bathroom that is not original to the house):

foyernewhouse.jpg
 

phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
3,369
Here''s the front bedroom (there are three bedrooms: front, back, and the tiny one with no closet that we''re calling the office). Our plan is to make the back bedroom ours, but the front one is bigger so we might change our minds. This one has one closet.

frontbednewhouse.jpg
 

phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
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Here''s the back bedroom. You can see the porch that has been enclosed (with the horrid curtains). Part of it has been made into an additional closet, so this bedroom has two closets plus the little sitting porch. It''s also closer to the bathroom.

backbednewhouse1.jpg
 

phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 20, 2003
Messages
3,369
Here's another view of the back bedroom. The the door on the left adjoins the two rooms. The door in the middle is a closet. The door on the right leads to the hall. We plan to wall off the door between the two rooms and make an additional closet, which would serve the front bedroom. That way we'd have more privacy, more closet space (albeit in the other room) and could put the bed there. We could put it on the other wall, but the chimney causes the wall to stick out six inches for about 56 inches in the middle of the wall, and our bed (a queen) is slightly wider than that. It might not be atrocious to put it there though. I was standing in the corner with the little porch behind me to the right when I took this picture.

backbednewhouse2.jpg
 

phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 20, 2003
Messages
3,369
I am so excited about this room . . . the upstairs bathroom. The double sinks and relative size are to die for in houses like this. Unfortunately, we discovered during the inspection that the shower just trickles out and is unusable as such. The seller is crediting us $1500 to get it fixed. The owner died and left it to a somewhat distant relative so I''m not sure if the seller actually knows what the problem is or how bad it is. So that might not cover it but we already got a great price and at least it''s something. Worst case scenario we''ll shower in the basement until it gets fixed.

Anyway, I always wanted a master bathroom, but this is really right outside of the back bedroom and adding another bathroom upstairs would have taken precious space away somewhere else, so adding another bathroom in the basement really is the best solution.

upstairsbath.jpg
 

phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
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Here''s a view of the upstairs hallway taken from the bathroom and looking into the office which measured 7''9" by 10''3" (that''s actually better than the "trunk room" in some houses which I''ve seen listed as small as 6'' by 8''.

upstairshallnewhouse.jpg
 

phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
3,369
And here''s the cute little hall closet upstairs with a built in chest of drawers. The crawl space to the attic is located in this closet.

upstairsclosetnewhouse.jpg
 

phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
3,369
And finally, the basement. It has two storage rooms built behind where the picture was taken. The laundry area is to the left. It appears that the owner was just venting the dryer into the basement because there's no vent to the outside. I noticed this when we toured the house but DH and our realtor said it must be there somewhere [pats self on back for noticing]. DH will have to put in a hole to the outside.

Behind the laundry area (to the left of that sink) is the bathroom with a shower. There's a little pedastal sink in the bathroom too (in case you were assuming that's what the sink outside is for). We're planning to move the refrigerator that's currently in the kitchen down here for drinks and stuff, and people can come in and use this bathroom when we're entertaining out back.

There is inside access to the basement too (to the left where you can't see it -- comes from the kitchen). A lot of these houses just have outside access, but that was another deal breaker for us.

basementnewhouse.jpg
 

movie zombie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2005
Messages
11,879
you made the right decision. having lived in 738 sf with my spouse and the cats, i can appreciate your situation.

you got lucky and saw the right place at the right price at the right time. yes, it feels/sounds crazy but it happens. i''m so glad you went with it. trust your gut even when the brain panics!

movie zombie
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,069
That house is adorable! I think you made a great decision! Hopefully your condo will sell soon!
 

Tacori E-ring

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
20,009
Very cute! Congrats!
 

Shay37

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 1, 2004
Messages
3,343
I love your house. It is absolutely charming. Those hardwoods look to be in excellent condition as well, and the exterior is really lovely. Lots of room, price is right for you, and it''s available when you were looking. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and jump. you can second guess this to death. Bottom line: You did very well with this one. That gut instinct just kicks in at the right time sometimes. Good luck selling your condo quickly and for what you want.

shay
 
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