Insights

Joe-Lewkowikcz 2

Real Estate Scams You Should Watch Out For

Buying or selling your house is one of the most expensive transactions that you may deal with in your lifetime. With lots of money involved comes great responsibility, meaning you have to be careful. Criminals target the ones who are ignorant and easy to prey on. They come up with the most creative tactics to make money. Scammers aim for anyone whether they are a buyer, seller, or a real estate agent. Here are some scams that happen in real estate that you should be aware of, in order to avoid being caught in a trap.

Hackers Can Steal Your Down Payment

Yes, this is possible, and it happens. Someone can hack into your agent’s e-mail or other personal property and try to contact you into sending them money, which you are not going to get back.

This situation has escalated so much that the FTC released a statement to consumers about real estate agent’s e-mails getting hacked. The best way to prevent this is to make sure there are zero closing costs when you are purchasing a home. You can also request to make a phone call when wiring money.

There Can Be Fake and Duplicated Listings

Sometimes people copy legitimate listings onto other websites, and this you should be careful of, especially if it is a site that is non-related to real estate. It is common that people fall for listings like this and then wire money to the scammer without even knowing it. Once they fall into the trap, there is not much they can do about it after.

To avoid this, make sure to do your research on a specific listing, website, or real estate agent. If the landlord happens to mention that they cannot allow you to see the property or says they are not local, then it is best to avoid the situation.

Strange Contact Information

Scams in real estate can happen right down to the contact information someone provides. Most of the time, an agency’s information is provided. If you see someone’s personal contact information, this could be a sign, but you shouldn’t worry too much about it because it happens sometimes. It only gets weird if there is no number given or if it’s a long-distance connection. Then the listing is probably not legitimate.

The Overly Eager Buyer

If you ever sell your home, watch out for the overly eager buyer who offers way too much detailed financial information. This is common for cash-buyer scammers who give bank statements or some other document that proves their financial situation. These scammers want you to believe that they can be trusted, but this is a way to reel you into a trap.

The Pushy Seller

These people are usually in a rush because they can’t wait to get you to approve the deal, so they can get what they want without getting caught. If you feel a seller is pressuring you in any way, or you feel rushed during the process, it is best to just go find another listing.

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Joe-Lewkowikcz 1

How the Government Shutdown Affects the Real Estate Market

As many people have heard, the U.S. government shutdown occurred from December 22, 2018, to January 25, 2019. There were many factors affected by the government shutdown including the scientific community, the criminal justice system, the internal revenue service (IRS), and even the real estate market. For instance, homebuyers and real estate agents faced delayed closings.

With the already struggle to gain momentum, the government shutdown did not help the real estate market at all and only slowed things down, which could result in some long-term consequences. Here’s how the government shut down affected the real estate market.

The effect on the IRS – This was the largest issue that impacted the real estate market. Most loans require the form 4506-T, which is a document that has tax transcripts on file from the IRS. Due to the government shutdown, these files were delayed in delivery.

The housing market – From the buyer to the real estate agent, all factors in the whole housing market were impacted in some way. Many home sales were paused due to the standstill of new flood insurance policies, which was stopped by the Federal Emergency Management Administration. If the shutdown had continued any longer, there could have been a major decline in home sales, which would have prohibited the real estate market’s journey to improvement.

Economy effects – Everyone knows that selling your home or even buying one is a lengthy, time-consuming transaction that can cause serious anxiety. With the government shutdown in the picture, this did not help the situation. Delays in this process definitely made a negative impact on consumers and even the economy as a whole.

The USDA stopped processing loans – The USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) temporarily stopped issuing new USDA Direct Loans and Guaranteed Loans, while scheduled closings of Direct Loans were canceled. Some people who were planning to use the program for making a home purchase had to put their transaction to a halt depending on the lender.

Social Security reports stopped – This mainly affected homebuyers who wanted to process a mortgage application. This enables them to borrow money to buy a home. The application requires the applicant’s social security number, which is verified by the lender through the Social Security Administration. Since delays in this process were expected, government-sponsored agencies went easy on the rules for lenders submitting reports before delivering the loan.

The government shut down caused some negative impacts to the real estate market overall, but despite this event; it is still more stable than it was last year.

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Joe-Lewkowickz, 4

Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Buying a house for the first time is hard and often can become stressful and confusing. That is why it is important to find a realtor you trust and can help you figure out the housing market. Joe is always there to help you out from finding your dream home that is in your budget to help you get in contact with a mortgage broker. Here are answers to some questions first-time home buyers ask to help you be prepared to buy your first home.

How do I decide my budget?

Spend more money on your house if you believe in a few years your income would be enough to cover the mortgage payments. You do not want to settle for a house because of your current income just to get a higher income in a few years and go through the buying process again. Buy a house that you will qualify for so that you are not disappointed in your house in a few years.
While budgeting you should also be aware of the closing costs. They are usually between 2% and 5% of your loan amount but you can look around for the best one that suits your needs. You should also plan for after move-in costs. Once you are done budgeting your down payment and closing cost you should figure out how much you will need to be left for the finishing touches. This includes furniture, any new painting you want to be done, or any other improvements you plan to do in the following months.

How do I know which realtor is right for me?

A realtor is a big part of finding the perfect home. They can affect which homes you see and the deals you get. That is why it is important to find one that is local to the area you want to move to. If you are looking for a home in the Tampa area you would want to find someone with years of experience. Someone with experience in the area will know where to look for the type of home you want, and which ones are in your budget. They also have connections with sellers and mortgage brokers to help make the process easier and less stressful for you.

How to qualify as a first-time homebuyer?

Meet with a mortgage broker. There are multiple programs you could investigate. Often, they have bond programs that are financed by the government. You can also look into FHA financing which may allow you to have 3.5% down payment and the seller may pay your loan closing costs. If you are a veteran, you should see about getting a VA loan. A mortgage broker will help you find the best programs for you and see which ones you qualify for.

Stress is one of the largest concerns when selling a home. Staging, managing finances and documents, and simultaneously juggling the rest of your life can be completely draining. However, one thing is certain about selling your home: it’s a lot easier when you have a solid real estate agent to handle it. Remember, No-One Works Harder to Sell your Home more than Joe! Contact Joe today by calling 813-908-7293 or visit https://josephlewkowicz.com/

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Joe-Lewkowickz, 3

4 Signs You are Ready to Sell Your House

You might have been asking yourself or discussing with your partner whether it’s time to sell the house. Selling your home is a huge step to take, and it is essential to make sure you are ready to make this happen. There are several factors that go into making this decision, and it can be overwhelming to think about, especially if you have been living in your home for years. If you aren’t too emotionally attached to your home and have been debating to sell it, here are six signs it’s time to make the big step.

1. There is a sense of imbalance.

This could go two ways. One situation could be that you and your family have outgrown the home. Maybe you are expecting a child or have some relatives staying with you for a while and space seems to be getting smaller. The other could be that the home has outgrown you. Some people have moved out and you are now left with an unnecessary amount of extra space. If things start to feel cluttered or you are having problems maintaining a large amount of space, consider making the move.

2. You have positive equity.

Equity is the remaining amount you have in your home after subtracting what your home is worth and how much you still owe. If your home is worth $250,000, and you owe $50,000 in mortgage payments, then your equity is $200,000.

To find out how much equity you have, review your recent mortgage statement and then figure out how much your home is currently worth. You can receive the most accurate amount by contacting a real estate agent who is going to view the homes that sold in your area and determine the final market value.

With a generous amount of equity, you are probably going to be eligible to purchase a new home and be covered for a down payment and any closing costs.

3. Change is calling for you.

Change can sometimes be overwhelming when you have to adjust yourself to some new area, new people and new surroundings. Maybe you had a negative experience in your life or got a new job somewhere else. You know you’re ready to sell your house when the place you are living in now is not giving you the fulfillment and satisfaction you once had or are still looking for.

4. The market is strong right now.

If you have been living in your home for several years, then you are probably familiar with the real estate prices in the area. With this in mind, be on the lookout for the trends and the best times to sell your house. In a strong market, there are some common indicators to be aware of. If the homes’ price per square foot is increasing and the number of days that homes have been listed is decreasing then the market is strong and good enough for you to sell your house.

Stress is one of the largest concerns when selling a home. Staging, managing finances and documents, and simultaneously juggling the rest of your life can be completely draining. However, one thing is certain about selling your home: it’s a lot easier when you have a solid real estate agent to handle it. Remember, No-One Works Harder to Sell your Home more than Joe! Contact Joe today by calling 813-908-7293 or visit https://josephlewkowicz.com/

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Joe-Lewkowickz, 1

Joseph Lewkowicz January 2019 Market Recap Report

Joe Lewkowicz is a real estate agent in the North Tampa Bay area and has established himself as among the top .5% of realtors in the nation and is now ranked among the top 1% of agents internationally. He is consistent and provides all his clients with valuable market information and excellent customer service.

This month, Joe is back with another spectacular livestream discussing the latest reports about the real estate market including the current state of the market, the best time to buy and sell homes, avoiding scammers, and more. If you have any other questions that were unanswered in this month’s livestream, feel free to contact Joe at any time by phone (813) 701- 2030 or by visiting https://josephlewkowicz.com

The Overview of the Market in Northwest Tampa

The market for Northwest Tampa is going to be affected by the current interest rate. Right now, they are at 4.5%, which is about half a percent increase from December and January last year. Although, the market is generally unpredictable, Joe predicts this will slightly affect the real estate market.

Now is a great time to buy a house. However, interest rates are on the rise and buyers are much pickier about what they are willing to do about buying. Because of this, prices are slowly beginning to moderate, and Joe predicts a 3-4% increase in price.

Overall, this is a really good time to buy a house, and the market will start to pick up for those who are selling. March through July tend to be the best months. If the interest rates don’t change, there is going to be another strong year in home sales.

Live Q&A with Joe Lewkowicz

After he discusses the state of the real estate market, Joe answers some viewers’ questions in the livestream.

“When is it too soon to be looking at houses if you don’t plan on buying right away?”

According to Joe, if you plan to buy during the summer around May through July, you should start looking at homes right now. What’s currently happening is the start of the relocation season. Corporations that transfer people are sending them on buying trips around this time of the year. First, they check out the area while deciding to take the transfer or not if the option is given. Then, if they find a home they like, they will most likely purchase around April through June, especially for families that have kids and want to get settled before school starts.

This is why Joe stresses that it’s a good time to buy a house now to avoid the rush of the people who are being transferred.

“Should I be worried about scams when looking at online listings? What are some signs that they may be scams?”

Joe says that on any scam, you should never give any of your personal information. The biggest, most trusted sites with the most valuable information are realtor.com, zillow.com and trulia.com. If a site asks for your social security number, then there is a high chance that could be a scam. He recommends viewers to avoid smaller sites that ask for anything more personal than an email address.

Join North Tampa Realtor Joseph Lewkowicz, who will be hosting a livestream conference call on the second Thursday of every month at 10 AM EST. Users can log in and communicate with Joseph Lewkowicz directly to gain insight into the Tampa market.

To catch all the questions in the Livestream call, click to watch on Joe’s TV Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwVCxXv6wT0S-LDFORWTwNw

For more information on the current real estate season, check out Joe’s monthly livestreams at

https://josephlewkowicz.com/livestream

To watch the full January 17, 2019 Market Recap report, visit Joe’s TV Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwVCxXv6wT0S-LDFORWTwNw

Video Link: https://youtu.be/SrPT31bsVzc
Website: https://josephlewkowicz.com/livestream

Joe-Lewkowickz, 2

Tips to Sell Your Home to Millennials

Millennials have recently been starting to become a growing factor in the housing market. This is because many are getting jobs that are enabling them to qualify for housing payments. If you want to sell your home and are looking to expand your clientele to this quick, upcoming generation of homebuyers, here are some helpful tips to get you started.

Be Fast-paced with Your Service

Companies like Amazon, Uber, Apple, and Starbucks have spoiled millennials with the gift of fast-pace products and services. Faster is better, which makes waiting almost a joke now. Millennials appreciate rapid, yet well-constructed responses to their questions and concerns. Everything comes to millennials almost instantly, and it is important that you keep up with this culture. This may prompt you to stay away from such demanding behavior, but learning to work with them is only going to place you at the top of your competitors.

Build a Social Media Presence

Social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter play massive roles in the lives of millennials. Having a presence on social media is the Yellow Brick Road to millennial homebuyers. The process of selling your home is going to be a little easier with the help of your Facebook page or even your YouTube channel.

Instagram is a great tool to use because of its convenient hashtag feature, which is used by millions every day. You could also use Pinterest to create different folders and mood boards of your home to help customers imagine what it would be like to live there.

Be Someone They Can Depend On

Since many millennials are new to the home-buying process and becoming a homeowner, it is essential that you know what you are doing and that you can be a resource for them. This means you must find a good real estate agent who is knowledgeable and is also willing to be a stable resource. Be ready to answer any questions and concerns that they may have.

Sell Beyond Your Home

Yes, you do want to sell your house, but millennials generally tend to look for the perfect community that will support their needs and interests. Put some extra value in the area surrounding the home. Make sure you are knowledgeable about all the local businesses, restaurants, bars, and activities around. Bringing this up in the conversation can really help them imagine themselves living and thriving in not only the home but also the community.

Adapt to Their Communication Methods

It is important that you use the communication method they prefer the most. These days, it is common for millennials to use instant messaging apps, text, and email because it takes less energy and time away from their day. Talking over the phone or even meeting in person tends to be a rare occasion, so make sure you ask how they would like to communicate and familiarize yourself with these methods.

Stress is one of the largest concerns when selling a home. Staging, managing finances and documents, and simultaneously juggling the rest of your life can be completely draining. However, one thing is certain about selling your home: it’s a lot easier when you have a solid real estate agent to handle it. Remember, No-One Works Harder to Sell your Home more than Joe! Contact Joe today by calling 813-908-7293 or visit https://josephlewkowicz.com/

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JOSEPH-LEWKOWICZ,9

Tips for Selling Your Home this Winter

It is usually recommended not to list your home during the winter. The weather often keeps people inside and deters people from going to open houses or showings. When people do leave their home, it is to work on their preparations for the holidays. But there are exceptions. If you need to sell your home during the winter, you will not be having as much competition as you might during the spring. Here are some tips that will help you sell your house fast during the winter.

Be inspection ready

Make sure your home is winter-ready before putting it on the market. The first step is to have the HVAC system looked at and fixed. Then, cover all of the basis by replacing air filters and humidifier pads. Have the roof checked for any damage, a damaged roof can lower your house’s value. While you are up there clean out the gutters. When they are clogged the rain can’t go through and can end up damaging your walls or siding. If you have a fireplace clean it as well as the chimney.

Clean up the exterior

First impressions make a big difference when selling your home and the first thing buyers see is the outside. With fall just ending you will need to make sure you clean up the leaves and fix your landscaping. Clean up your planting beds and make a distinct cut between your lawn and the planting bed. It is recommended to use darker mulch because it is more attractive than the lighter or red mulch. Next fix up the exterior paint particularly around the front entry and door.

Make the interior warm

While this includes the temperature, it is not limited to changing the thermostat. With winter often being cold and dark you want to make your house feel warm by making it bright and inviting. Showcase the natural light by using lightweight curtains, high-wattage light bulbs and hanging mirrors to reflect light. Another way to make the house feel warm is by starting a fire in your fireplace. All of these tricks will lead to pleasant showing and will make the potential buyer associate your house with warm feelings.

Don’t overdo the decorations

With it being the holiday season, you may want to decorate your home. Although a few decorations can add a homey feel to your listing, do not overdo it. This can overcrowd the house and make it hard for the buyers to fully view the home and its size.

Be flexible

With the holidays approaching you may have a lot on your table, but it is important you stay flexible. This includes showings as well as when you finalize the deal. Although you may have planned to spend the holidays in the house the buyer may want to be moved in and settled down before the holidays.

Winter is hectic with holiday preparations and adding selling your house to your things to do can make things even more stressful. Stress is one of the largest concerns when selling a home. Staging, managing finances and documents, and simultaneously juggling the rest of your life can be completely draining. However, one thing is certain about selling your home: it’s a lot easier when you have a solid real estate agent to handle it. Remember, No-One Works Harder to Sell your Home more than Joe! Contact Joe today by calling 813-908-7293 or visit https://josephlewkowicz.com/

 

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Tips for Buying and Selling a House in the U.S.

Buying

Find a realtor
A real estate agent helps you navigate the tricky housing market so that you don’t have to do it alone. It is important you find a realtor that connects with you and you trust. Your realtor can make a huge difference in what homes you see and how fast the deal closes. Try to learn about the realtor before you make a final decision. You can talk to their old clients, or check their website or blog to see if you can get testimonies.

Pick a mortgage lender
When buying a home you will most likely need to borrow some money. You can find mortgage lenders online or through recommendations. Make sure you know what deal you are making and ask about the down payment, your monthly payment, and the interest.

Find your dream home
Now that you have a better idea of your budget it is time to find the right home for you. When looking at homes make sure your realtor knows what you are looking for and what requirements the house has to have. Look online and in the paper for offerings to give you more options. Once you decide which home you are interested in, negotiate a deal through your realtor. Have an inspector check the home before finalizing the deal to make sure there are no hidden expenses.

Selling

Pick the perfect time
Before deciding to put your house on the market, look at the real estate condition to make sure it is in your favor. If the market isn’t great but you are looking to move out and earn some money consider renting it out until it is a good time to sell.

Have the house inspected
Call an inspector to come out and check your home to make sure everything is okay and to fix what is wrong. This will help you get more money and can help make the process go by quicker once you get a buyer.

Post the house offer online
Once you decide on the price you want to sell your house at it is time to post your offer. Post your offer online as well as in the paper to give yourself a better chance of getting offers. Soon you will be getting offers flooding in for you to decide from and pick the best deal.

Whether you are buying or selling a home in the U.S. there are a lot of restrictions and guidelines you need to be aware of. It will take a lot of time and research before you close any deal. Realtors help relieve a lot of the stress and can help make the buying and selling process easier.

Stress is one of the largest concerns when selling a home. Staging, managing finances and documents, and simultaneously juggling the rest of your life can be completely draining. However, one thing is certain about selling your home: it’s a lot easier when you have a solid real estate agent to handle it. Remember, No-One Works Harder to Sell your Home more than Joe! Contact Joe today by calling 813-908-7293 or visit https://josephlewkowicz.com/

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JOSEPH-LEWKOWICZ,5

Joseph Lewkowicz December Market Recap Report

Joe Lewkowicz is an experienced and award-winning real estate agent based in the North Tampa Area, who aims to deliver the most up to date real estate news to readers and viewers like you. If you have any questions on the current real estate market, feel free to contact Joe Lewkowicz. In Joe Lewkowicz’s latest livestream, he discusses the current state of December’s real estate market and answers questions about the market and first-time homebuyers.

How is the market this December?

According to Joe, the market is slowing up a bit. In North West Tampa, it went from 759 house sales in 2017 with a median price of $299,000 to 704 house sales with a median price of $303,000. The houses that are in great shape and have had upgrades are flying out the door and are getting a lot of money for them. Joe mentions these homes are often being sold in less than 15 days. The ones that need work sit longer on the market or they take a hit. The last tip Joe gives the viewers is, for those who aren’t knowledgeable about selling, it may not be worth it to fix up your home. “People are not just buying anything,” Joe says, they want homes that are good looking.

Q&A

Joe answers a few questions that viewers had during the livestream. One viewer asks, “Currently, how is the housing inventory at this time of year?” Joe replies that a lot of people don’t put their house on the market, especially during the holidays and winter season of December-February, so the inventory is about 2/3 of what it usually is in May-July. He also states that there are fewer buyers, so the prices are usually less. He recommends selling now because interest rates are unpredictable.

Another viewer asks, “Is the millennial generation a growing factor in the housing market?” Joe responds by stating that they are really starting to especially because they are starting to get jobs that have a high enough income to afford buying a house. Joe says the biggest struggle millennial’s are facing, however, is not having enough money for the down payment and have a hard time making sure their credit is high enough. Another struggle Joe says they face is trying to pay off student loans and paying their mortgage at the same time.

Being a first-time homebuyer can be a little confusing and it is important to learn as much as you can before beginning your house search. One viewer asks, “What are some good first-time homebuyers tips that you recommend?” Joe says always talk to a mortgage broker or bank that’s local, because often enough, they do not charge. He suggests spending as much as you can the first time you are getting a house because your income will be going up and you will regret getting a lesser house, especially if this means you will be having to buy another house in a couple of years.

Join North Tampa Realtor Joseph Lewkowicz, who will be hosting a live stream conference call on the second Thursday of every month at 10 AM EST. Users can log in and communicate with Joseph Lewkowicz directly to gain insight into the Tampa market.

To catch all the questions in the Livestream call, click to watch on Joe’s TV Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwVCxXv6wT0S-LDFORWTwNw

For more information on the current real estate season, check out Joe’s monthly live streams at https://josephlewkowicz.com/livestream

To watch the full December Market Recap report, visit Joe’s TV Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwVCxXv6wT0S-LDFORWTwNw

Video Link: https://youtu.be/fcJENlbPAvI

Website: https://josephlewkowicz.com/livestream

JOSEPH-LEWKOWICZ,7

How to Stage Your Home When Selling During the Holidays

Colorful twinkling lights, Christmas trees, sparkling snowflakes, glowing reindeer and an inflatable balloon of Santa Claus make up the joyful landscape of the holiday season. Of course, everyone loves to see a plethora of Christmas decorations, except potential home buyers. If you are selling your home this holiday season, read this guide to help you properly stage your property and attract house hunters.

First, here are some helpful things to remember:

Avoid Personalized Decorations

You probably love your children’s hand-made Christmas ornaments, pictures with Santa, and the stockings with every family member’s name on it. Unfortunately, it is best to keep these hidden away when selling your house. Your personal life should not be displayed during this time. Avoid personalized and religious decorations and display only the generic ones like wreaths, Christmas trees, lights, snowmen, etc. You want your home to appeal to as many buyers as possible and help enable them to view their own personal belongings in the home.

Less is More

Potential home buyers want to imagine themselves living in your home, so keep the decorations as simple as possible. Too many rainbow lights, red bows, and mistletoes can be distracting to the viewer, as it does not enable them to view and appreciate the physical aspects of the home. Simple can still be beautiful.

Accentuate Your Home’s Best Features

When you sell your house, you want buyers to catch the best parts that it offers. You can do this by using decorations to accentuate its top features. For example, if you have high ceilings, purchase a tall Christmas tree. If you have a nice porch or patio, add a reindeer or decorate the railings. If you have a gorgeous fireplace, add Christmas candles or a pretty bow or two to make it more noticeable. Doing this makes your home look even more appealing to the buyer.

Now you’re probably wondering, “How exactly do I decorate my home properly?” Well, here’s a more in-depth, quick list of tips to help you do that.

1. Avoid putting reindeer on your roof, the entire nativity scene, rows of angels and inflatable characters on the property as these can be too overboard and distracting.

2. Limit the lights and only use white. Rainbow lights that are animated can also be distracting.

3. Keep it elegant, classic, and professional by adding a beautiful wreath on your door. Avoid witty and quirky decorations that might say things like “You’re not welcome if you’re on the naughty list,” or “Santa’s elves only!”

4. Put holiday cards away because they can make your home look messy.

5. Light a candle with a welcoming and soft scent like warm apple pie, baked cookies or vanilla.

6. Liven up bedrooms and bathrooms with holiday spirit by adding Christmas-themed hand towels and soaps.

7. Use the fire place to enhance the coziness of your home to make it a comfortable setting for potential buyers.

Stress is one of the largest concerns when selling a home. Staging, managing finances and documents, and simultaneously juggling the rest of your life can be completely draining. However, one thing is certain about selling your home: it’s a lot easier when you have a solid real estate agent to handle it. Remember, No-One Works Harder to Sell your Home more than Joe! Contact Joe today by calling 813-908-7293 or visit https://josephlewkowicz.com/

 

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