Urgent Message to Pet Owners, Toad Kills More Dogs Each Year Than Rattle Snakes

June 4th, 2018

Urgent Message to Pet owners: Did you know that Rattlesnakes are not your Dogs worst enemy — Sonoran Desert Toad kills more dogs each year than rattle snakes. 

The reason I am sending out this warning is I did not learn about this toad for nearly 20 years after living in AZ. Of course I was concerned about scorpions, rattlesnakes and coyotes for my pets, but I was completely shocked to hear about this poisonous Toad that shares my same zip code. 

Unfortunately, I learned about this toad the hard way, we lost our 6 year old Weimaraner to this deadly toad. We had know idea what was wrong with her and thought she had an upset stomach, as she had a tendency to eat foreign objects and pass them later and be fine, that wasn’t the case and she was gone within 24 hours. I have lived in my home in Surprise, AZ going on 13 years, I had seen these Toads several times and never thought anything of it, we had no idea of the danger that lurked in our own backyard. 

Well the reason for this post, is that we found our puppies Sadie & TJ chasing one of these deadly Toad last night (June 3rd). Please note that this is the beginning of June, not Monsoon season, when they are most prevalent. As well as we do have a water feature in our backyard, so we clearly did not expect to find a Toad this time of year.

Thankfully my husband saw them chasing something and went out to check on them shortly after they went outside. They fortunately did not come in contact with the Toad. Sadie and TJ are just 7month old pups so they were more curious and didn’t try to bite at it which could have been deadly. 

These toads secrete the toxic chemical which is absorbed quickly and they can exhibit signs of almost immediately. If you believe your dog has made contact with this Toad, you should rinse their mouth with the water hose, carefully as much water as possible without chocking them. Watch for severe drooling, head shaking, pawing at mouth and eyes, hyperthermia (over heating), Difficulty breathing, vomiting or yellow fluid or any neurological signs. If any of these signs occur, get them to an emergency Vet right away. 

Also keep in mind that your dog could have the toxin on their paws, so we immediately washed Sadie & TJ’s paws to avoid them ingesting any toxin. 

These Toads are nocturnal, it is recommended to keep your water bowls up at night and give fresh water in the morning. 

Please share this information with anyone you know that may be new to the Valley of the Sun or any pet owner you know

Phoenix West Valley Real Estate Market Report by City April 2018

May 14th, 2018

How’s the Market? Here is the April 2018, West Valley Market Report. Inventory levels remain low, month after month as we seem to list the same amount of homes we sell each month. Despite low amount of homes for sale on the market, Mariaopa County had a 4% increase in sales over April 2017. Some West Valley cities saw a huge spike in closed sales with double digit increases, Litchfield Park led that boom with a 37% increase over last year. Buckeye followed with a 24.4% increase, Avondale at 15.3%. Only two West Vally cities fell short on closed sales last month Surprise -1.1% and Laveen -8.3%. Median home prices continue to rise in Maricopa county, which is up 9.35% for the year as compared to 2017. All West Valley cities are up including a few with double digit increases, LAveen 15.54%, Litchfield Park 14.35%, El Mirage 11.94 & Tolleson 10.60%. 

 
Stability is the name of the game in the Real Estate industry and we are definitely seeing that ring true in the Phoenix market. Low supply of homes for sale continues to drive homes values in a positive movement. However we do not want another BOOM—we all saw the BUST that follows that boom! However with current regulations on the lending and appraisal industry, you can rest assured that this is a secure market.

 

If you are looking to Buy, Sell, or Invest in the Phoenix area, we would love help you.

Phoenix West Valley Market Report by City- March 2018

April 17th, 2018

How’s the Market? Here is the March 2018, West Valley Market Report. Inventory levels dropped in ALL West Valley Cities, continuing a strong Sellers Market. El Mirage is at 1.05 months of inventory, followed Tolleson 1.2, Glendale 1.57, Avondale, 1.66, Laveen 1.73. Although buying and selling a home is typically  an emotional transaction, homes are still a commodity and the Real Estate market is driven on Supply and Demand. With extremely low supply of homes for sale, home prices will continue tone stable or increase, however these levels are considered extremely low and actually make it very difficult for some buyers to find a home. Some buyers are having to put offers on several properties before getting an accepted contract. Which means on that same home, there were several other buyers that did not get their offer accepted. Demand is very high right now in the West Valley, yet closed transactions last month were down in most cities, Laveen, -20.5% over last year, Avondale -13.2%, El Mirage, -13.%, Surprise -10.4%. To prove that point further, the 3 cities with the most amount of inventory did have increases in closed transactions, Buckeye 31.5% increase over last year, Litchfield Park 30.2% increase & Goodyear 12.8% increase.

 
Some market insides we are still seeing a lot of offers contingent on the sale of the buyers home, as people move they want to secure a home before the sell their current home. We are seeing multiple offers, however that does not mean bidding wars. Home priced at fair market value, and staged to sell, are selling first while others sit on the market. Once again, don’t be fooled that low inventory high demand means as a seller you can demand high prices, buyers are more consumer conscience than ever and are not paying more than the fair market value. Over priced homes are sitting on the market and we are seeing lots of price reductions on those properties  Buyers are still flooding in from California, Illinois, Indiana, Washington, Oregon and Nevada. Interest rates are ticking up with more increases expected by the year end. What are these buyers looking for, single level with pool seems to be the highest demand right now, followed by RV parking allowed by the HOA. 
 
If you are considering Buying or Selling, Investing & Second homes, we can help with all your real estate needs.

Phoenix Area Real estate Market Report by City February 2018

March 9th, 2018

How’s the Market? Here is the February 2018, West Valley Market Report.Extremely low inventory levels continue to drive home prices up in Maricopa County, as the median home price was up 9.57% for February 2018. Some West Valley cites reported double digits increases for the Month of February, Litchfield Park 23.60%, Surprise 16.04%, Tolleson 13.22%, and at Goodyear 11.16%. Sales were strong in the West Valley as all cities had an increase in closed sales over February 2017, sales were the strongest in Litchfield Park with a 28.9% increase in sales, Laveen 13.4% and Phoenix with the third highest at 13.7%. Inventory levels remain scarcely low with several cities with less than two months of inventory, Tolleson only has 1.5 months of inventory, Avondale 1.52 months, Glendale 1.73 months, and Laveen 1.84 months.

Some Market insights: We are still seeing lots of contracts contingent on buyers selling their home. Still experiencing multiple offers in certain areas and price ranges. Lots of folks moving in from other states, California and Chicago   seem to leading the pack. New homes sales are some of the highest we have seen in years, partly because the resale market inventory remains so low. Buyers expectations remain high, they want nice move, remodeled or updated homes, its definitely NOT 2005 when anything would sell with multiple offers. Homes that go on priced right, staged to sell, sell fast while others will just sit on the market. Interest rates expected to increase a few times through out this year, making NOW a great time to purchase your dream home.

We are a full service real estate team, we would love to help you with all your real estate needs. Thinking of Buying or Selling, please give us a call we would love to help you!

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Phoenix West Valley Real Estate Market Report for January 2018

February 10th, 2018

How’s the Market? Here is the January 2018, West Valley Market Report. Maricopa county continues with extremely low inventory levels, in fact not a single city in the west valley has over 3 months of inventory, cities with the highest inventory levels are Goodyear reports 2.64, followed closely by Litchfield Park 2.63, and Buckeye with 2.62. The cities with the least amount of inventory are Tolleson at 1.72, Avondale at 1.73, Laveen at 1.79 and Glendale at on 1.8 months of inventory.  

 
Closed home sales continued strong in most West Valley cities, Litchfield Park had a 29.7% increase over last year, Buckeye reporting a 28.3% increase, Surprise with 11.5% increase, Glendale & Peoria with a 10% increase. Laveen had the biggest median price increase with a 15.18 increase over last year, followed by Avondale at 12.62%. Maricaopa county had an 8.89% increase in the median sales price over last year. Interest rates are on the rise and increasing prices, now is the time to make your move. Our Buyer’s this month purchased homes under appraised value!! Our Buyers home appraised for $360,000 and they only paid $337,000 another appraised at $286,000 with a sales price of $275,000! Call us today, there are still great deals out there!! 

Does Staging Really Help Your Home Sell?

January 10th, 2018

Staged to Sell

Here is the cold hard truth about selling your house, I tell all my sellers, “nobody wants to buy your house, they are looking to buy their new home.” National Association of REALTORS® staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than homes than non-staged homes. Keep in mind, staging and decorating are not the same at all. Staging is a way of presenting the homes features in the best way possible, while giving the potential buyer a sense of belonging, they need to be able to see themselves living in the home.

As a Listing Specialist and Accredited Staging Professional® in the Phoenix, AZ market I believe staging a property to sell has never been more crucial that right now. Inventory levels remain low, but the bar has risen for buyers expectations. As a seller, your competitors are New Builds selling model homes and property flippers, which both of these type of sellers know the importance of home staging and so should traditional sellers. I would like to share some before and after pictures of a home I staged and sold in 4 days, at full price offer and with multiple offers. Now keep in mind, the home had been listed for sale on the market for nearly 5 months with 2 other real estate agents.

First and foremost the largest return on investment is to declutter. This proves to have a 90% return, mostly because it doesn’t cost the seller much money at all. Perhaps some cost in storage fees, however most of my sellers choose to just load it all up in the garage, the one area of a home buyers expect to see clutter. Besides, your going to be moving anyway, start packing now.

So what are the most important areas of your property to have staged? If its at all possible, every room should be staged. I spend one appointment with my sellers just going through the each room with a checklist to prepare for our staging appointment. Realistically it isn’t always feasible, to stage every room, so here are the most important rooms to stage.

The heart of the home of course, the kitchen. Take a look at the before and after pictures of the kitchen. It really doesn’t need much, however dirty dishes in the sink and food on the counters just aren’t appealing to potential home buyers. Also notice the removal of appliances on the counter tops, this helps to show the most amount of counter space. Remove everything off the refrigerator, its just clutter and distraction for the buyer.

Second most important would be the Master Bedroom and Bath. Simply removing the clutter from bath counter tops can make a huge impact. I always prefer the shower curtain closed about three-quarters of the way. You will also see the impact that photo angle has here on the difference in the before and after photos. Professionally photography is a must! After all 98% of buyers start the search for a home on the internet, pictures really are worth thousands of dollars!

The other rooms would obviously be the family room, living room or formal dining room and entry way. As a Listing Specialist, my minds eye always goes to our target prospect and what would appeal to them. This particularly home is large, 5 bedrooms and most likely buyer would have multiple members and looking for a larger play yard. This home had just that so staging the backyard was very important. Relocating some outdoor furniture and staging an intimate dining area made a tremendous difference in opening up the small patio. I also removed several potted plants and relocated some in a cluster setting to add to the ambience.

After all was said and done this home was completely staged inside and the backyard and the only thing it cost my seller was a weekend of packing put the items they were already going to be packing and they got their asking price and was able to move into their dream home.

Here are some actual before and after photo examples…

Kitchen Notes: Better wide-angle photography and lighting, (Professional photography is something that is a standard with our team) but also notice no dishes, less clutter, no magnets on fridge. Kitchen looks way better.

Bathroom Notes: Better angle, less clutter, view into master bedroom making bathroom look bigger.

Backyard Notes: Look how we angled the shot to make the backyard appear larger. Additionally we added color with the umbrella and chairs.

If you or someone you know could use our services, or perhaps you tried to sell and couldn’t maybe a better marketing plan and staging is what you need. The home illustrated above was listed by two other agents before we were hired and we sold it fast, for top dollar. Exposure is key. We work hard to sell your property using techniques illustrated above to get agents and buyers in your home.

Phoenix West Valley Real Estate Market Report for December 2017

January 5th, 2018

Happy New Year Everyone!! Wow what a great finish to 2017 our West Valley Real Estate Market. Contrary to popular belief, that December is a bad time to sell, the Holidays didn’t stop buyers for shopping for their dream home! Surprise had incredible boom with a 24.7% increase over Dec 2016, followed by Litchfield Park at 17.8%, while Buckeye was up 11.4% and Glendale with 8.4% increase. A few cities saw a down turn in the December market, Peoria -9.9%, Avondale at -9.7% and Goodyear at -7.5%.

As we continued to struggle with low inventory levels all year, I am happy to report that Maricopa county finished 2017 strong with a 6.6% increase in the number of sales over 2016. Even better ALL West Valley cities saw an increase in transactions over 2016. Buckeye with an incredible increase of 14.5%, Peoria came in strong with an 11.00%, Surprise with the third highest at 10.4%, followed by Phoenix 7.2%, Glendale 6.3%, Avondale 3.8%, Litchfield Park 1.9% & Goodyear 1.3%.

Some interesting facts of 2017, Maricopa county saw the largest increase in homes sales with properties with a sales tag of $2,000,000- 3,000,000, in fact we sold 227 properties compared to 179 in 2016, a 26.8% increase. The $550,000-$749,000 had an increase of 26.5% selling 3532 homes sold, versus 2792 in 2016. Further proof that its a good time to have real estate equity in AZ, all homes sales from $180,000 — over 3 million saw double digit increases over 2016. West Valley cities contributed to the over million dollar homes, actually selling more than twice as many homes over a million than 2016. Those cities were, Peoria with 16 sales, Glendale with 9 and Litchfield Park selling 6 homes over a million in 2017.
Maricopa county closed out 2017 with a 6.67% increase in median price at $240,000. Starting our 2018 with all below norm inventory levels, at 2.69 months of inventory in Maricopa county. All West Valley cities are below 3 months of inventory, if you know someone who is thinking of selling, now is great time. All in all Maricopa finished out 2017 in a nice stable market and appears to be headed to repeat that stability in 2018.
As always we would love the opportunity to assist you with all your real estate needs, Buying, Selling, Investing, Property Managment, our team has you covered.

Real Estate Licenses Exposed! Before you Buy or Sell in AZ, here are some things you need to know

December 6th, 2017
Can we just cut to the chase and get to the point. All to often I hear, “well I thought all real estate agents were the same, how was I supposed to know?”  Well I am here to tell you that they are not all the same and hopefully help you to choose an agent wisely.
First of all, I want to expose the myth of Real Estate school. In the state of AZ, in order to obtain a real estate license, you must complete 90 hours of class room time. This can be done in a 2 week crash course, 6 weeks or 1 year. These classes are to prepare the licensee on subjects like Fair Housing, State Laws, Water Rights, types of Loans, and basic real estate vocabulary. Truth is, you don’t learn anything about real estate transactions, you haven’t even seen a purchase contract. Once you have completed your required courses, you are required to pass the state and federal exams. It is at this time, the licensee will need to complete a 6 hour purchase contract class. Then you can “Activate” your license and start selling real estate!
So where does an agent learn how to write a purchase contract, complete a market analysis, perform searches on the MLS, negotiate contracts., etc.? There the rubber meets the road and  things you need to know before you hire your next real estate agent. But first I must explain something that many people aren’t aware of, as an agent, you pay your company to work for them!! Sounds crazy right? True story, we are independent contractors, that pay our Brokerage to work as a part of their company. How much money depends on what they provide to the agent and their clients. These fees can be deducted from the commissions at a rate of 15-50% or monthly payments as little as $20-50 per month or as much as $1150 per month. Typically brokerages that have small monthly rates, don’t have a lot of training programs or an onsite Broker for training and mentoring.
So what if the agent can only afford to work at low cost broker that doesn’t offer training? Then it is up to the agent to find education or mentoring on their own. They can go to the local Board of Realtors, perhaps join a team, or obtain a Graduate of REALTOR® Institute (GRI). This is a 90 hour course schedule specifically geared towards the real estate transaction. Then there is the more popular form of education, just wing it! Trial and Error! Fake it till you make it! Unfortunately we see this a lot. And unfortunately there is a 90-95% failure rate within the first 2 years for real estate agents in the Phoenix Metropolitan area.
Now you probably have a vision in your head of a brand new agent, after all we began the discussion with real estate school right? Something else you should also know, the time a licensee has had a license does not mean they have experience. We see agents all the time that have been licensed 15-20 years and only sold 4 homes during that time. There are no guidelines for part time versus full time agents. Once you obtain your license, you just have to complete 24 hours of renewal classes every two years, subjects are similar to real estate agenda and pay your dues. Its the same wether you sold 100 homes that year or zero its just 24 hours every two years.
Something else to expose here, is the difference between Broker and licensee. In AZ, there are two kinds of Brokers, Designated and Associate, what’s the difference? There can only be one, Designated Broker per Brokerage, any other agent that has obtained a Brokers license are considered Associate Brokers. These are licensees that have had a real estate license for at least 2 years and took a 90 hour Broker course, similar to the real estate licensee agenda, but more intense. Note, I did not say that these licensee’s were required to have completed a real estate transaction, there is no requirement, not even one, in order to obtain a Broker license in AZ. In fact, many states do not recognize a Broker in this manner, AZ is one of a handful where the Broker is responsible for over seeing the paperwork, contracts and keeping the agents up to date on current changes in laws effecting the industry.
So how do you choose a good agent to work with? Ask the right questions. Don’t be afraid to ask them where the get their training from? Are they being mentored? Are they on a team? Do they have a Broker that is available immediately should a situation arise? Are they familiar with the area you are wanting to live in? How many homes have they sold/listed in the area in the last 6 months? What type of on-going training does their Brokerage offer them? Are there any benefits to you such as advertising or technology for you, as a client to work with their Brokerage? If you choose to no longer work together, what is their Brokerage cancelation policy? Is it in writing? Side note, when you sign employment agreements with an agent, you will be employing the Broker and not that agent.
At the end of the day, buying or selling a home is one of the biggest decision of your life, you need to know that your investments are protected with an experienced and knowledgeable agent by your side.
Want more information on this subject? See our blog post entitled Buying a Home in AZ, what is your Agent’s role as your REALTOR®

Buying a Home in AZ, what is your Agent’s role as your REALTOR®

December 6th, 2017
Buying in AZ maybe quite different from other states. There are several things you should know before you choose a REALTOR® to work with. First, we are not “an attorney state,” severals states have laws that mandate the involvement of an attorney to draft executed purchase contracts, amendments and estate closings. Arizona is unique in that Article 26 of the Arizona Constitution authorizes real estate salespersons to engage in the practice of law, in order to draft purchase contracts and other legal documents needed to transfer real property. Arizona Association of REALTORS® have boiler plate forms that your agent should be using, these forms are drafted by attorneys and approved by committees of Brokers, Mortgage Attorneys and other Board members, they are written according to the law with best regards to the Principals of the contract, Buyer and Seller. It is very important that your agent fully understand and be able to explain these contracts to you.
Who determines the value of the home? Keep in mind in AZ, it is not standard practice for the Seller to obtain an appraisal prior to sell. The listing price of the home could have been determined by several different sources. The listing agent hired by the Seller provided a Comparable Market Analysis in order to determine the value. The seller has a set amount that he needs to obtain in order to be able to sell the property. Automated Evaluation sites online, such as a Zillow’s Zestiment. Crazy as it sounds, one time I asked an agent where they came up with the listing price, “thats what the neighbor told the seller it was worth.” All of these sources can be completely inaccurate in their valuation of a property. So what does this mean to you as a Buyer? Typically the Buyer pays for the appraisal, if the home does not appraise for the purchase price, Buyer and Seller have two options, reduce the contract purchase price to meet the appraised value or cancel the contract. Therefore choose a Buyer’s agent that is competent, educated and skilled on providing you with a Market Analysis on the home, prior to you making an offer.
A revison to the AAR Purchase contract, was the limitation on Seller Warranties, basically the homes are sold as-is, where is. Sellers are not required to repair any items that were not working on the day you wrote the offer. This isn’t as bad as it sounds. Prior to writing the offer, you and your agent should throughly explore the property. If you notice something is not working, for example, the microwave door is falling off, if you would like this item repaired/replaced, your agent will address the issue in the offer. You are given a 10 day inspection period, highly recommended that you hire a professional home inspector. Your agent should also provide a Buyers Advisory to you so you can perform your Due Diligence and research, schools, crime stats, sex offenders, etc. You will also have an opportunity to give the Seller a notice of the items that you disapproved of during the inspection and the Seller will have an opportunity to repair those items or not. Should the Seller choose to not, you are given an additional 5 days after notice from the seller to cancel or accept the items, as-is and move forward with the purchase of the home. This is 10-20 day negotiation process, you will need a knowledgeable agent advising you on red flag repairs and negotiate strongly for your best interest.
If you are financing your purchase, your Buyer’s agent will follow up with your lender. In the purchase contract the Buyer agrees to update the Sellers with the loan progress. There are more than 38 boxes that need to be checked on in a specific time frame, in order for you to move into your new home on time.  The Buyer’s agent should be requesting a Loan Status Update from the lender to ensure the loan is processing smoothly. It is very important that your lender and your agent have a good communication process through out the transaction. Many experienced real estate agents have gained strongly relationships with preferred lenders, ask your agent for recommendations.
Your agent will also be in communication with the Title/Escrow company facilitating the transaction and issuing the title insurance policy on your behalf. This will ensure that the title is free and clear of liens. The escrow officer will also receive your loan documents and facilitate the signing and notary of the Docs. At that point, your agent will review the Settlement Statement, provided by the Escrow officer to ensure that the fees being charged to you are accurate to agreed amounts of the purchase contract, to ensure your not be over charged. Your agent will arrange signing, if you are not in the state at the time of closing, no worries, the documents will be FedEx to you and you will have them notarized and send back with the enclosed FedEx packing slip. If you are in the state, the title company will graciously accommodate you and your work schedule. Most title companies have office valley wide, if need be, they can arrange a mobile signing at your home or workplace.
As you can see there are a lot of roles your Buyer’s agent will be playing on your behalf. Something else to consider when buying in AZ, although many states no longer allow “Dual Agency” it is legal here. Dual Agency is a limited representation from an agent that is representing BOTH the Buyer and the Seller on a transaction. Hopefully know that you see the significant role your agent performs on your behalf, you will also see why you would not want to work an agent that has already signed an agreement with the Seller to negotiate on behalf of their best interest. I am sure you can imagine it is a challenge for an agent to try to get a Buyer the best price on a home, while trying to get the Seller top dollar, all while the agent is getting twice the commission, who’s best interest is at stake here? This is why our team consists of “Buyer’s Specialist” and “Listing Specialist.” If you call on our listings, you will be working with the Buyer’s Specialist, whom has your best interest at heart.
Now you are probably wondering why I didn’t mention the one BIG THING, maybe the ONLY THING you thought a Buyers Agent does for you, FIND YOU A HOME. Am I right? We hear that all the time, “well I found the house” or “I don’t need an agent, I like to shop online and will find my own home” Well hopefully you can see now that finding a home, is important part of a Buyers agents role, it is no where near what the extent of our role as your agent. It is very important that you have and your agent have a consultation and they thoroughly understand your needs, wants and must haves. This will help them establish a search portal on the Multiple Listing System, now you will be alerted of a home that meets your criteria the instant it is listing by the Sellers Agent. Many websites you are searching online are 3-5days behind, the property could already be sold by the time you see it on Zillow or another website. It is very important that you and your agent have good communication and if your criteria in your home search changes in anyway, you let them know so they can set your search portal accordingly.
Unique thing about all this Buyer Representation does not cost you a thing. The Sellers pay the listing commission and the listing agent offers a split of that commission on the MLS for the Buyer’s agent. So why would you not have a Buyer’s Specialist representing you?  If your would more information on Buying a home in AZ, call us for a no obligation Buyers consultation today.

Phoenix West Valley Real Estate Market Report by City November 2017

December 5th, 2017

How’s the Market? Here is the November 2017 West Valley Market Report. Black Friday deals weren’t the only thing selling last month. Two West Valley cities reporting double digit increases in the amount of homes over last year, Surprise 20.00% increase, Peoria 13.8%, followed by Phoenix 8% and Buckeye 6.7%. Inventory or Home supply levels, continues low, as each month we list and sell almost the same amount of homes. 

However something interesting happened last month, we saw increases in the amount of New Listings. Buckeye had the largest increase of new listings  with a 33.8% increase over November 2016, leaving them at 2.98 months of inventory year to date.  Followed by Peoria 9.1%, Glendale 7.8%, Phoenix 5%, Surprise 4.8% Avondale 0.9%. 
 
Pending sales were down in all cities except Litchfield Park. Avondale was down -47.7%, Goodyear -38.7%, Peoria -26.6, Phoenix -25.5% Glendale -23.9%, Surprise -18.7%, Buckeye -4.7%, Maricopa County -27.8%. 
 
New listings taken on the rise and Pending sales down, we could start to see the Market shifting to more of a Buyers market. We will keep on eye on these numbers closely next month.
 
As always we would love the opportunity to earn your business and help you with any real estate need you may have, Buying, Selling, Investing or Property Managment, we are here to serve you!

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