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Posts Tagged ‘Mortages and Loans’

Housing Outlook for the Next 6 Months

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 posted by Tommi Crow

The real estate market was overheated during the first 6 months of 2013.  Low home inventory, record low interest rates and the lack of new construction were to blame for the unsustainable, rapid price increases and multiple bidding wars for properties. 

5 Reasons we do not feel the hyper-inflated housing market will, or should, continue. 

  1. Rising Interest Rates – Interest have risen sharply in the past few weeks and the trend continues up.  Current rates will slow the number of homebuyers and speculators that are coming into the market during the next 6 months.
  2. Marginal buyers have been priced out of the market due to bidding wars, rapid price increases and higher borrowing costs.
  3. Wall Street and large investment groups are curtailing their buying.  One-third of all homes purchased this year were Cash sales.  This translates to heavy investor buying, which will slow down going forward in 2013.
  4. Shocking run up in home prices are not sustainable.  In May, home prices were up 12.1% on average.  This brings home price levels to a 5 year high.  Pricing is now at a point that many of the short term gains have been realized, and the market will fall back to more normal levels.
  5. Realtors and builders report that inquiries and calls from new customers is down 11%, so far for June. 

Summary:  We feel that the housing market was under valued at the start of 2013, but a frenzied market chewed through much of the low hanging fruit.  With rising interest rates, and increasing inventory levels, we see a move to more sustainable and healthy growth moving forward.   It is still an excellent time to buy or sell.   Inventory levels will increase, but they will remain on the low side throughout the year.  Interest Rates are still at historic lows and price increases, although impressive, leave the average home price far below levels seen in 2006 and 2007.    

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Don’t Pay Down that Mortgage

Monday, October 15, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

  Article by Boston Real Estate

Is your dream to own your home free and clear?

If so, join the crowd. More borrowers than ever are taking out 15-year mortgages in hopes of accelerating the day they can wave bye bye to the bank, the Globe’s Jenifer McKim reports.

While the traditional 30-year loan has long been king, 30 percent of borrowers during the second quarter opted for shorter loan terms with 15-year terms the most popular, the Globe’s Jenifer McKim reports.

That’s up from just 10 percent during the same time period in 2006, when the real estate market was at its peak.

And rock bottom interest rates have been one big factor – the piece offers up a Natick homeowner who found she could shift to a 15-year loan and save money given the drop in interest rates.

It is certainly an intoxicating dream at a time when debts, both personal and national, seem so crushing. Yet there are some potentially big pitfalls to this approach.

For starters, my bet is that our Natick homeowner is in the minority.

First, not everyone is in position to capture the lowest rates – you have to have some darn good credit these days.

And if you end up having to pay a bit more in order to pay down your mortgage faster, there is an opportunity cost here. The extra cash you are pumping into your mortgage is money that you could otherwise stash, tax-deferred, into a retirement account.

For that matter, if you have credit card debt, you should be paying that down first – the interest rates are likely much higher than on your mortgage.

Moreover, if you do run into trouble, such as losing your job or taking a hit to the paycheck, you have locked yourself into a format that may not be so easy to get out of. Good luck trying to refinance back into a 30-year mortgage at that point.

A Plymouth financial planner cited at the end of the piece actually had the best advice for homeowners eager to hasten the day when they make their final mortgage payment. He argues for making extra payments on a 30-year mortgage in order to accelerate repayment. If money gets tight again, you can just stopping paying that extra in.

This also gives you the extra flexibility to craft an approach that works from you, maybe putting a little bit more into both the mortgage and the retirement account as opposed to either or.

Makes sense to me, but how about you?   

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4 Tips to Become a Successful Landlord

Monday, September 24, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

   Owning a piece or real estate with the objective of earning regular cash flow is probably the best known and most common form of real estate investing.   The rental property is the way a lot of people in the “middle class” have found a real opportunity to make a fortune, if they know what they need to be successful.

Thousands of distressed and vacant properties, historical low interest rates and rapidly increasing rental rates have converged and created a great opportunity.  If you are considering becoming a landlord, focus on 4 basic fundamentals to insure profits and success.

1.  Paying Tenants-  This may sound obvious, but the first fundamental you need to be a successful landlord is a good quality tenant who can pay the rent.

One of the biggest challenges for a landlord is keeping good paying tenants and avoiding vacancies.  If a property is vacant, it usually results in the loss of at least one month’s rent while the place is being freshened up and a new tenant is found.   We highly recommend that all prospective tenants be screened, including a background and criminal record check.   Landlord screening services are available to assist you or your property manager.

One of the best way to keep your rental occupied at all times is to invest in a location that attracts a lot of renters.  Neighborhoods near colleges and universities are filled with students who rent while they attend school…and for the most part, parents insure the rent will be paid.   Homes near education facilities are also in high demand and landlords can usually charge a rent premium for these properties.  Any area with a lot of employment opportunities will also have very good rental demand.  In many markets, larger, 4 or more bedroom homes are scarce.   Find a niche in your market that provides a stream of ready tenants. 

2.  Keep Expenses Low – Contolling costs are one of the basic fundamentals of successful real estate investing.  Some costs of property ownership are known, such as taxes and insurance…but, others are often beyond an investors ability to control. 

Property taxes and insurance are expenses that are determined by third parties.  Combined, they can easily cost at least one months rent each, or more.  On average, budget about one months rent to cover your insurance premium.  Property taxes are another matter and they can vary greatly.  High property taxes helped trigger the housing collapse in Florida, when landlords couldn’t earn any cash flow on rental property.  When searching for an investment property, make sure you verify the taxes because tax rates can easily cost as much as two or three monts rent.

3. Property Maintenance – Keeping your property in good working condition is a big part of managing a successful investment.  Again, screening tenants is key in keeping costs down.  A good tenant will certainly have normal wear and tear and your property, but they won’t do much damage.  However, a bad tenant can cause thousands of dollars in property repairs in a very short period of time.

As far as controlling expenses  is concerned…it is cheaper in the long run to address maintenance issues as they arise.   For example, a roof leak can cost a few hundred dollars to fix, but the price can quickly escalate to thousands of dollars and lost tenants, if ignored.   Although no one likes to pay maintenance expenses, being a slum lord is a costly proposition.  Deferred maintenance brings down the value of the entire property, increases ownership costs in the long term, decreases the amount of monthly rental income that can be charged and atracts renters with less than stellar references or ability to pay.

4.  Reduce Mortgage Costs – Refinance and lock in historical low interest rates.  Current quotes for investor loans for residential property are under 4%.  If you can reduce the amount of interest you pay for your money, it immediately increases your bottom line.  It is also a good idea to appeal tax assessments.  Contact your local taxing authority to see the procedure required.  Most people who go to the tax office armed with recent comps and educate themselves, can get some tax relief.

If renting is so great..why does your landlord own? For all the challenges of owning investment real estate, earning income while owning an asset that someone else pays for is still one of the best ways to create wealth.   If you get really good at it, you can make a good money, decrease the amount of taxes you pay and increase your networth multi-fold.   Lucky you.  Timing has never been better.

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Proof the Real Estate Market Has Turned Around

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

The cover story for the September 10th weekly magazine Barron’s is on the recent surge in real estate and how the rise in property prices is no fluke.  We agree with the many experts and professionals that believe the recovery is real…and that is will continue in the foreseeable future. 

First take a look at the chart below.  You can see that housing starts (crucial to rebuilding our economy) bottomed in 2009 and have been trading in a healthy base pattern for 2 years.  In February of 2011, we finally started moving up off the bottom and the trend is continuing.

We all know that real estate can not thrive in an environment where lenders will not lend money.  Tracking real estate loans is a good indicator for the future direction of housing.  As you can see in the chart below, there has been a dramatic increase in lending, which has pushed the housing market higher over the past year.  We believe this trend will continue and will improve as lenders work there way past non-performing assets and bad loans liablities.

Finally, we show a chart of home prices since 1991.  The chart shows that home prices are certainly on a sustainable upward trend, since the 2006 crash.


In conclusion, we believe conclusive evidence shows that there is immediate long-term opportunities for homebuyers and investors in the housing market.  InfoTube is BULLISH on housing and the stocks of home builders, some REIT’s and home improvement giants like Home Depot and Lowes Hardware.

Thank you for visiting  We are Made in the USA manufacturers of the InfoTube and InfoBox real estate marketing tools.  If you have a home to sell…you need this product.  Exposure is everything in this market!!!  Show and Sell! 

Thanks to Barrons and Seeking Alpha for giving us facts and charts for this story.

How to Speed Up a Home Closing

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

Some home-sale transactions close quickly, while others can take months. Two significant factors that affect most home sales are inspections of the property and financing the purchase.

Inspections should be done within the first couple of weeks after the offer is ratified, i.e., accepted by both buyer and seller. Usually, the day after ratification is day one of the contingency and closing time periods. This may vary from one location to the next.

When transactions fall apart soon after ratification, the cause is usually something discovered during the buyer’s inspections. It’s a good idea for sellers to get presale inspection reports so that the buyers have as much information about the property as possible before they make an offer.

Most home inspection reports make recommendations to consult other specialists such as a roofer, furnace contractor, drainage specialist or engineer. Few sellers have these additional inspections done. Even if they do, the buyers might want a second opinion.

Inspections are also somewhat subjective. One inspector might say a roof needs to be replaced; another might say it has a few years of life left as long as it is properly maintained. Transactions fall apart because the buyer and seller can’t come to an agreement on inspections, which means the sale doesn’t close, the house goes back on the market and the buyers renew their home search.

If the inspection issues are worked out satisfactorily, the next major hurdle that could delay your sale, or crater it, is the loan contingency. Cash buyers bypass this rigorous process; however, they do need to provide the sellers with evidence that they have sufficient liquid funds to close the sale.

All-cash deals can close whenever the buyers and sellers agree, after all inspection issues are resolved. Closing can occur in a week or two. Some all-cash buyers include an appraisal contingency in their contract to confirm that they’re not paying over market value.

In this case, it would take longer to close because an appraiser would need to visit the property and work up an appraisal report. If the property didn’t appraise for the purchase price, the buyer might be able to back out and have the deposit returned.

Both buyer and seller would start all over again. However, if they negotiated a resolution, the sale could close quickly and would take far less time than it does to close a sale involving a mortgage.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: Purchase contracts include contingencies and time periods for them to be met. To avoid having to ask for extensions, make sure that the time periods you request are reasonable. An extension might not be granted if the seller has a backup offer for a higher price.

Buyers should get preapproved for the financing they need to close a home sale before their offer is accepted. This way, they are assured of what they can afford to pay. Preapproval can cut a few days off the loan approval process.

Loan approval can go relatively quickly if you present all required documentation promptly and your financial situation is not complicated. It can be more time consuming for buyers who are self-employed or are using other than W-2 income to qualify.

Part of loan approval involves an appraisal on the property by a licensed appraiser. This can slow the process down depending on the lender, how backlogged they are and the loan amount. A large loan amount can prompt the need for two appraisals, which adds more time to the approval process.

THE CLOSING: If you’re buying in an area where homes are selling quickly, it may take 35 to 45 days from contract acceptance for final loan approval and closing.

Dian Hymer, a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience, is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author of “House Hunting: The Take-Along Workbook for Home Buyers” and “Starting Out, The Complete Home Buyer’s Guide.”


President Obama just announced a plan to help US families.  And, miraculously, he doesn’t need the approval of Congress to help us.

  • Obama promised relief to homeowners who are trapped in high rate loans by banks.  If a homeowner is current on their current high interest loan payment, they can not be turned down for a lower interest rate loan that reduces their monthly payment.
  • Obama will cut closing costs for loan refinancing on FHA loans to make refinancing affordable.  The average borrower will save at least $1000 a year in fee’s and charges, in addition to saving about half of the closing costs on the new loan.
  • Obama waives appraisal value as a criteria for refinancing a high rate loan.  In other words, your bank can no longer use an appraisal against you…no matter how much you owe on your current loan.
  • Obama promises to compensate all US Servicemen and Veterans who were foreclosed upon during their tour of duty.  All Veterans who attempted to refinance their home to avoid foreclosure, and were turned away by their lender…are entitled to full compensation for all penalites, fee’s and losses.

We applaude this action and feel that it is long overdue.  This is exactly the type of change that Americans, and the housing market, need to avoid further personal and financial losses.  There is no legimate reason for a bank, who received taxpayer handouts, to turn down a borrower who wants to benefit from low Fed bank rates.   If a borrower is able to afford a $1500 house payments at a 10% interest rate, then why would a lender turn them down for a loan payment of a $1000 per month at 4.5%?    The only answer is a unfortunately a common one…GREED.    Banks are closing ranks to protect their 10% rate of return from dropping to 4.5%, even though the Fed’s (ie: taxpayers) are giving them the money for nothing.

Thank you for visiting  If you have been turned down for refinancing…reapply today.  

Tommi Crow, owner of Crow Erickson, Inc and inventor of the InfoTube and InfoBox battled Home Depot and Lowes…and WON!!!    Now, she and her company get to keep selling their American Made products and her US workforce will stay employed.

To Read About this David vs Goliath Victory …CLICK HERE!!!!

Banks Bulldoze Foreclosed Homes

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 posted by Tommi Crow

Bank of America has come up with a new tool to deal with its glut of abandoned and foreclosed homes…. a Bulldozer.

Bank of America, the nations largest mortage servicer, plans to “donate” 100 blighted homes in Cleveland, OH and contribute cash toward their demolition.  The bank has a similar plan for 100 homes in Detriot, 150 in Chicago, with 9 more cities to follow.  Wells Fargo, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Fannie Mae are also considering their own bulldozing programs.

  Getting rid of repossesed homes is the biggest headache for US lenders.  1,679,125 homes ( 1 in every 77) are in some stage of foreclosure as of June.    Lenders feel that no one will buy many of these homes and they”re trying to cut their losses.  Bulldozing the problem away means the banks won’t owe property taxes to our floundering cities and it won’t have to pay for repairs, maintenance and upkeep on the property.  In addition, there are some perks for giving away a house.  The banks get a bunch of tax write-offs and best case… they may even get a pat on the back and some nice PR, too. 

The idea of Bulldozing houses is nothing new.  Although the banks are not blowing up homes for alturistic reasons…I think we can all agree that removing home inventory is good for all of us.  In 2010, Warren Buffet advised that “blow up a lot of houses” was a viable option and similar to ‘cash for clunkers’ auto program.  I always thought bulldozing abandoned homes and returning the land to a raw state was a smarter solution than handing out money in the form of a homebuyer tax credit.   The tax credit cost billions of dollars, put money into the hands of a few people blessed with good timing and did little to reduce inventory.

Bankers, why not take the “TNT” strategy one step further.   Donate unwanted houses to local non-profits vs blowing them up?  Make a call to Habitat for Humanity, for example?   I can’t understand why Habitat is still building new homes, when we can’t get rid of the ones that are causing problems in our neighborhoods.   Habitat needs to change their business model with the times and so do our lenders.  Families, who are in dire need now, wait up to 6+ months for a new home to be built and the cost of building from scratch far exceeds the costs of rehabbing properties, in most cases.       

Just my two cents….

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7 Secrets to Selling Your Home Now

Thursday, April 21, 2011 posted by Tommi Crow

In today’s’ super-competitive housing market, it is essential that homebuyers picture themselves living inside the home you are trying to sell.    

7 Secrets to Selling Your Home Now

  • For starters, take down the Wallpaper – Trust me when I say, “Buyers just do not like wallpaper.”   If you doubt how personal wallpaper is…just walk into any wallpaper store and stare at the thousands of available patterns.  Chances of your tastes matching are at least a thousand to one.  Don’t risk it!  Pull that paper down!
  • The Clutter HAS to Go!  Living in a house is alot different than Selling a house.  It is easy to get blind to your own clutter.  Ask a friend, neighbor or neutral party to be honest with you.  Then, pack away every single thing you don’t use.  And, clear the kitchen counters completely.
  • Smelly Homes Will NOT Sell.  Agents have an old saying, “If I can smell it, I can’t sell it.”  Pet smells, musty odor’s, etc will kill a sale everytime.
  • White is not a Color.  But, paint is your friend.  Every room should have a fresh coat of paint in a warm, neutral color.
  • A Spot of Color.  Everyone loves flowers.  Place pots with colorful annual flowers by the front door or plant seasonal color in the beds to make your home inviting and memorable.
  • Househunting Begins on the Internet.  If your property is not exposed on the internet, your chances of a buyer finding you are very small.  Tip the odds in your favor by advertising your home on the MLS and all the major search engines for real estate.  InfoTube also offers FREE property listings on its website.   Also, make sure your listing includes at least 10 good photo’s of the interior and exterior of your home.  If possible, also include a video tour of the house and neighborhood.
  • Forget About Comp’s and Sold Properties.  Study your competition, which means homes currently For Sale.  If your home is priced too high when compared to your competition, it is going to sit for a long, long time.

Homeowners should please keep in mind that Buyers have a lot of choices.  The homeowner who can make their house stand out among the vast inventory of “For Sale” signs will the one who wins the selling game.

Thank you for visiting homes for sale and rent website.  For up to the minute real estate news and tips follow InfoTube for Real Estate on Facebook.

5 Tips for Selling a Home in the Fall

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

Fall is a marvelous time of the year and an excellant time for househunting.  The air is crisp, the leaves are changing, the holidays are just around the corner and every is feeling in the mood to nest.  Make the most of the season!!

1.    Change those Listing Photo’s to Show Off Those Pumpkins, Mums and Falling Leaves. 

2.    Days Are Getting Shorter…which means your rooms are getting darker.

  • Dark rooms don’t show well.  The simple solution…turn on more lights.  Consider changing out your lightbulbs to ones that project warmer (yellow) versus a cooler (blue) tint.
  • If your rooms are painted a dark color, lighten them up with a fresh coat of a light, neutral paint.
  • Do some spring cleaning and wash the windows if they aren’t clean

3.     Spruce up Your Curb Appeal

  • Make sure all summer annuals and perrenials have been pulled up or cut back.  If the bare spots look bad, consider planting mums, pansies or kales in their place.
  • Keep the leaves raked up.
  • Place a few mums and/or pumpkins by the front door or steps.

4.     Everyone Loves Fireplaces…so fire up your fireplace to add warmth and charm.

5.     Holiday Decorating – Less is More

  • Fall – Thanksgiving decor is more neutral than Christmas decorations…but don’t overdo.  Limit the amount of decorations to insure that buyers see the house.
  • Halloween is great fun for kids and adults, alike, but don’t overwhelm buyer’s with screaming witches, howling goblins and motion activated rats.   Too much Halloween can be very distracting to buyer’s trying to see a home for the first time.

Thank for visiting  We have a variety of tools and options that Sell Houses.  Visit the website for details.

Up to 1,000,000 Homeowners Dodge Foreclosure

Monday, October 4, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

An estimated one million U.S. homeowners, behind in their mortgage payments, are breathing easier today after three of the country’s largest banks agreed to immediately stop new foreclosure actions until they could review sloppily-read foreclosure filing by their own staffs.

The lenders are Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and GMAC Mortgage Co. owned by Ally Financial Inc.  They are temporarily halting foreclosure actions in 23 states.

They are Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin.

For the homeowners, the action by the banks gives them a little more time to catch up on their delinquent mortgage payments.

For the residential real estate market, the action means fewer houses will be dumped in the for-sale arena, giving falling prices a chance to stabilize.

For the real estate market as a whole, the banks’ actions give the industry another black eye at a time when it is struggling to regain the public’s confidence.
(This article posted by Alex Finklestein

Thank you for visiting  We are always available to assist you with your home sale.  Visit our website for an overview of available options.

Fannie Mae Entices Borrowers’ to Move Out

Monday, April 19, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

Fannie Mae is dangling a new carrot under the noses of deliquent borrowers…if they agree to turn over their deed in lue of foreclosure…they will be eligible for a new mortgage in two (2) years versus the four (4) year present waiting period.

In addition, borrowers who lost their home due to “extenuating circumstances” beyond their control will be able to qualify for financing with as little as 10 percent down after only 2 years.  Circumstances such as job loss, illness or divorce are considered “beyond ones control”.

Bankruptcy and foreclosure damage millions of borrowers’ credit scores, leaving most unqualified for another mortgage for years.  Fannie Mae requires that borrowers resestablish credit for a five (5) year period in the case of foreclosure.  The minimum wait for borrowers who filed for bankruptcy protection is currently 2-4 years depending on whether the borrower filed under Chapter 7  (4 years) or Chapter 13 (2-4 years) depending on circumstances.

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Mortgage Rates Moving Up

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

Home mortgage interest rates will soon be heading higher.

Why we think so… Ten year treasury securities very recently touched the 4% mark.    The home mortgage is based on the 10 year note in a majority of cases.   The bank adds a premium onto the 10 year rate and that is what an individual will pay for a home mortgage.

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New Program Pays Owners to Sell for a Loss

Monday, March 8, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

With more than 5 million households currently behind on their mortgages, the Obama adminstration is rolling out a new program to encourage lenders to accept a short sale.   A short sale is one in which a property is sold for less than the outstanding mortgage owed to the lender.   The administration hopes the program will prevent more foreclosures, which further depress property values and harm good neighborhoods.

The  program, which takes effect April 5, 2010,  pays lenders and borrowers to complete a short sale.   Key points of the program are as follows.

  • 1.  The program compels lenders to accept a short sale offer and forgive the difference they are owed between the market value and the outstanding mortgage balance. 
  • 2.  The lender will receive $1000 for every short sale they participate in.
  • 3.  The program encourages millions of borrowers to get serious about getting rid of their homes.  It  pays homeowners $1500 in walking away cash for finding buyer for their property and closing the sale.
  • 4.  The lender will utilize real estate agents to determine the present market value for a home.  That value will set the minimum acceptable price.   The estimated value will not be shared with the homeowner.  If an offer is submitted that is equal to or higher than the estimated value, the lender MUST take it.

Pro’s and Con’s

  • 1.  For the investment pools which own most of the home loans, there is the hope of getting more money from a short sale than a foreclosure proceeding.
  • 2.  For the lender, $1000 will help offset the labor intensive short sale process.
  • 3.  For the borrower, their credit will suffer less damage.  They have the lenders assurance that they won’t be sued down the line for their unpaid balance.  And, they get $15oo to assist with their relocation.
  • 4.  For the community, short sales mean fewer empty houses sitting around waiting for the bank sale.  It is estimated as many as half of all vacant properties are ransacked, neglected, vandalized and depress the value of neighboring homes.
  • 5.  The downside is that short sales are “tailor made” for fraud.  House values are inherently subjective, which provides a wide latitude for potential conflicts.
  • 6.  Another problem is that bankers hate the very idea of accepting an offer short of what they are owed.  By nature, they don’t want to sell anything at a discount.  If they loan $200,000 …they expect to be repaid $200,000, not $150,000.

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Get Down Payment Help

Monday, February 8, 2010 posted by Tommi Crow

Home buyers who are a little short of cash can receive down payment assistance from their local and Federal government.  Many city, county and state programs piggy back on the Federal down payment assistance programs.

For information about the help that is available in your area, search for “down payment assistance programs” and include the name of your region of the country.   Also, check the HUD website which is providing a Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

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