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Questions about updating home how much $ is too much?

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posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 10:54 PM
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So I've decided I want to move back into my rental home. There are a number of reasons, but that's not really the focus of the thread.

The place is only valued at $250,000 (just got it valued), so I'm sort of unsure how much I should put into it. It was paid off completely a few years ago (and yay, the value is up quite a bit!). There are certainly some things that I want to change, but I'm trying to find a sort of sweet spot between making it comfortable and nice for me, and not wasting money that I won't see a return on investment from in 3-5 years with either renting out again or selling.

So here are the problem areas and what I think needs to be done. Appreciate suggestions on what to spend, how to spend it and any tips you may have from a similar experience. This is a three bedroom, one bath ranch style home. There is a lot that was recently redone or updated. It's very solid, and though I'm making it sound a little nasty it's actually quite a charming place and I'm excited about living there.

Kitchen:

The kitchen is freaking hideous. I rented it out to someone who didn't give a crap about the kitchen (right before it was taken care of like the rest of the place) and needed to move in ASAP, so it has sat there in all it's hideousness for years. I'm not all that picky, but it's just awful. It's not in bad shape at all, it's just the colors. I want you to picture bright blue countertops and the strangest pattern linoleum (with some garish blue highlights) set against nice but dark cabinetry. Gross right? Now let's throw in some very dated appliances. Now I want you to look up. WTF. Is that plastic paneling covering fluorescent lighting? Why yes, yes it is. Now look to your left. Note that insanely hideous 1978 mini island with horrifying cedar trim and again a blue countertop between the kitchen and dining area?

The countertops need to be replaced. I am thinking either tiling over them with some large granite tile, or going super cheap and using stick on floor tile. This is one thing I may consider re-hiring my contractor to do. I just don't know if I can justify putting down solid granite. I am confident I can tile it myself with either option.

I'm pretty sure going mid tier with the appliances is probably the best bet. I have a thing for stainless, and I can easily do this myself. I will also be replacing the oven hood (because it's brown). The cabinets are actually really nice. I sort of don't want to do anything with them, but if I did I would sand them and re-stain.

I'm going to replace the sink. The cut out is substantial so I can easily fit in a nice sink and faucet set. I can easily do this myself.

The floor. This another WTF do I do thing. I've seen those peel and stick tiles turn out really nice. I've actually been in a number of homes that look beautifully appointed, asked about the floor and been... floored (it was horrible, I know) to learn they were this stick on stuff. I wouldn't be opposed to having the linoleum ripped up and pay to have it re-tiled, but do you think that's necessary? Or wise? I'm fairly confident that I could do this myself, and have friends that actually have done this before, but I would rather pay to have it done and get banged out in a day if I go the real tile route.

The ceiling. Oh man the ceiling. I think this is another area where I'm going to be able to do a good job on the cheap, and it will have a dramatic effect. The ceiling is held in by thin metal strips. I figure I'll just take down the hideous plastic tiles, snip the metal out, and wire in some nice track lighting. Easy. The way it is right now, the tiles are flush with a beam on the ceiling that separates the kitchen and dining area. So the kitchen ceiling is maybe 5 inches lower than the rest of the house. I think opening that space up and painting a contrasting color would look pretty cool.

The awful island thing. I want to just tear it out and replace it with one of those wheeled island/countertop combo things. I just became aware these exist the other day, and found one that would be perfect and I think look great. It would also allow for about three bar stools to be tucked under it and out of the way. This was actually one of my bigger concerns, there isn't a ton of counter space anyway, so completely taking the thing out would be a problem. Replacing it was something I didn't have a ton of confidence in doing myself.

Patio:

There is a concrete slab connected to the house in the backyard. Whoever poured it, or expanded it, was clearly drunk. The middle is really dark, and the concrete on either side of that is the same color, but much lighter. I'm thinking about paying to have someone throw a deck up. I was also thinking about just going over it with pavers. I don't know how to do a deck. I'm sure I could learn, but I don't went to drop money on materials and screw the thing up. Doing pavers is relatively cheap, very freaking easy and I think the results turn out well. The question is would dropping the money to have a wood deck installed pay for itself when I go to rent or sell? I'm kind of doubting it. I'm actually rather fond of pavers making up a deck.

-Fireplace

Just awful. I'm embarrassed I did this, but I painted the thing with some high heat paint because it was the most disgusting scarred up brass I'd ever seen. I have no idea what options are here. Can you just get a new insert? It's a wood burning fireplace, the chimney guy said it was good to go, but DANG do I want to replace it with something else. Its probably nowhere near as bad as I'm making it out, I think it's just the awkward squeeky doors. That and knowing underneath the nice paint job I did is some seriously ugly brass.

If I could (and please tell me if this is feasible and not highly expensive) I would actually consider replacing it with a wood burning stove set out a few feet with masonry and using the existing chimney. I lived in a 2500 sq. ft. + home with my parents and the one wood burning stove downstairs could easily heat the entire two stories by itself in the winter. I can get wood cheap (get your mind out of the gutter).

-Baseboard heating

Anyone know if you can just replace these with the kind of heater that sits in the wall? They are ugly as *bleep*, restrict how you can decorate and did I mention they are ugly as bleep? I think worst case scenario I need to at least replace them with something that isn't that horrible dingy sort of wants to be brass but looks like poo color that you see in older homes.

Other stuff I want to do that I think I can accomplish easily myself on the cheap that will add to the appeal for me, and eventually potential renters or buyers.

-Redo the baseboard molding
-Put in crown molding
-Replace door molding
-Replace all light switch and electrical socket covers
-Replace all doorknobs
-Replace all hinges
-Replace all hinges and hardware on drawers and cupboards
-Thinking about replacing interior doors with something a little less cheap looking/need to price interior doors
-Paint the interior and use fairly neutral colors throughout


Anything and everything you all can think of would be greatly appreciated. Where to skimp on cost, where to pay for a pro, how to weigh cost vs. benefit.




posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 11:11 PM
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a reply to: Domo1

I think it depends on whether you intend to continue living there indefinitely or upgrade it as an investment to be sold. IF it's the latter, you might want to talk to a realtor to find out which upgrades fetch the best price. It's my understanding that kitchen and bathroom upgrades are a good investment as well as items that create good curb appeal. Unless you're very skilled at tiling, hire a professional or select another option. A bad tile job is highly visible. As for flooring, I know someone who did the sticky tiles and regretted it. They looked fine until someone pushed a chair a few feet and they came loose. Some came loose spontaneously. You might consider laminate flooring which you can probably do yourself if you're handy. As for the patio, you should probably talk to someone who has experience with putting pavers over concrete. It might turn out to be a nightmare. A realtor could tell you if a deck would be a good investment. It probably would be if it's big enough and the surrounding yard is decent. Good luck.



posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 11:15 PM
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go to your lowes or whatnot there theyll give you a price on what you want done



posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 11:23 PM
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a reply to: Tangerine

For the flooring,I would look at the new vinyl flooring sheets they have. Not that expensive and easy to lay. I have done one of my bedrooms with it.Very easy stuff to work with.No shine to it and it is easy to clean.Stuff feels almost like skin,very strange.

Also,remember that replacing all those baseboards is an expensive thing to do. I know I had to do it here. It very quickly adds up in cost and can pretty well drain your resources. Have you also looked into the new concrete counters they have? Very heavy duty and nice looking. At least the ones I have seen. Good luck with your projects. I hope they all turn out well for you.



posted on Dec, 3 2014 @ 11:32 PM
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a reply to: Domo1

I'm just finishing up remodeling my 1970s house. I also worked in interior design and am a self proclaimed do it yourselfer and am well versed in property values in my area.

Here's my advice...

Don't do the granite tiles in the kitchen. Do a solid surface. The kitchen is where you will earn your money back. Don't skimp in there. A precut slab of 7ft granite that comes with a 3 inch backsplash will run about $300, not including install. You mentioned you didn't have much counter space, so you may be able to get away with using one precut. Then add on labor for the templating. Also, only do an undermount sink with a solid surface countertop. While you are at it, and it will be free with labor, do the cut out for the soap dispenser. No one likes having dish soap on the counter.

For the kitchen floor, rip up the linoleum and definitely put down some tile or at the very least vinyl wood plank flooring. Vinyl wood planks actually look quite nice. Raise the kitchen ceiling as you stated. Drop ceilings have got to go. Track lighting isn't the best option, and if you can get ahold of some can lighting for a good price and if it works in the space, it's much better from a resale perspective. The rolling island is a great idea. You could even build one and use the cut out from the granite where the sink went to top the island for free.

As for your concrete patio, I've had concrete refaced and stamped to look like flag stone. It may be worth looking into. It's just an overlay.

Depending on what your interior doors look like...if they are flat and have no details, you may want to replace those. 6 panel doors are the cheapest and are standard in newer houses, but better options are available. If you paint the doors yourself, just use the old door hinges (if still in tact) and paint them white along with the door. New door knobs like you said.

I don't know anything about heaters because I'm in Texas. But another biggy is the master shower. How is that? That's always worth redoing. If it's a standard tub, reglazing it and putting up some modern neutral tile with a tiny bit of decorative tile will go a long, long way.

If it's valued at $250k, I'd spend about $20k in updating over the course of 1.5 years. That's just me though!



posted on Dec, 4 2014 @ 12:06 AM
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a reply to: Domo1

Do not put stick down tile on your countertop!!!! That is not something that should be wet a lot or it will unstick.

You can use resilient flooring right over the old Lino. So easy to use I did my own craft room with no help and having never used it before and it looks perfect.
www.armstrong.com...

I don't think crown moulding will add any value, but it does cost a lot.

I wouldn't buy stainless steel appliances as a selling point. Lots of people hate it.

The one thing that really raised the value I my house is everything is fairly modern and well looked after, as in walls, floors etc., and having a completely finished basement.

A YouTube link for the flooring I'm talking about because not so sure the Armstrong link goes to the right kind.
youtu.be...


edit on 4-12-2014 by meomy because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 4 2014 @ 12:11 AM
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My father has done wonders to his backyard with pavers, and are absolutely less expensive and labor intensive than a wood deck. His home is assessed at about the same value as yours. If you check craigslist, you can always find a good volume of pavers with a design you like regularly for half the price that would normally be sold in a hardware store. And they usually got them for sale by the pallet.

My father did a new floor in his kitchen as well this year, it has that like real wood look and feel, but is not real wood. I hope you kind of know what I mean?? I was not really involved with the project but I grew up in the same house when the kitchen had yellow tiles, and boy howdy it looks a lot nicer now.

The only fireplace I ever had came with my first apartment, so I cannot really make any recommendations there. Also as far as the appliances go in the kitchen, check your local used appliances stores. They usually have great recent model stainless equipment at a great discount, and many of them will give you trade in credit for your old appliances. Some here in my town even offer extended warranties on their used goods. That could come in handy when your renting and something goes wrong. It is typically easier to deal with a local technician than through the multinationals warranty on a new product that has to go through specific specialists in their networks which can be a hassle to deal with in a timely manner.



posted on Dec, 4 2014 @ 12:13 AM
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Wow . A big list of things so i will throw in a couple things you might consider . The kitchen flooring . Now i am assuming you have wooden floorboards under the lino (linoleum ) these look absolutely great if you sand back the wood (hire an industrial sander) then stain to your taste ,then seal it and use a hard clear finish . It doesnt matter what the floor looks like unless there are major pieces missing . Actually the more battered the better in a lot of cases . Do not fill the nail holes in unless you can get a perfect match . Also sealing the wood eliminate creaking if done properly . The paving ,bad paving looks just like that ,bad . I used to be a bricklayer and when i see home jobs in most cases i cringe . Personally i would go with decking and remember this does not have to be done in one week . Good luck



posted on Dec, 4 2014 @ 12:49 AM
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a reply to: Domo1

What you want to spend on this depends on what you want it for. Are you thinking of renting it again, are you living in it? Who are you renting to? etc.

In responce
Going to do this point by point.

kitchen: there are some fast becoming interesting alternatives to granite, but the natural stone look is elegant and affordable. As long as your island is not plumbed you should be good to do what you want to. Let the pros do it unless you are really good cutting stone with a disk grinder yourself.

Fireplace: There are inserts, there are wood burning ovens/ stoves, there is so much to choose from.

Patio: have you looked at concrete stains, or painting it? If the color is all that bothers you, there are fixes. What would a deck gain you?


Not sure about heating systems.

The rest:

-Redo the baseboard molding
Only if it needs it
-Put in crown molding
Only if the ceiling is 10 feet or more.
-Replace door molding
Only if it needs it
-Replace all light switch and electrical socket covers
Covers maybe, only replace switches as needed- unless most need replacing, then replace all.
-Replace all doorknobs
Only if it needs it
-Replace all hinges
Only if it needs it
-Replace all hinges and hardware on drawers and cupboards
Only if it needs it
-Thinking about replacing interior doors with something a little less cheap looking/need to price interior doors
Only if it needs it
-Paint the interior and use fairly neutral colors throughout



posted on Dec, 4 2014 @ 12:56 AM
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a reply to: Domo1

Sounds good the way it is. The more you spend, the more you got to make. Now if you fix it all up, spending twenty grand, and you screw something up by accident you will be kicking yourself in the butt. We have been conditioned to want things nicer than they need to be and this means we have to work more and longer. All the money we spend on these things relates to a later retirement age. Don't replace anything that does not need replacing unless it is something like blue countertops. If you get it too nice, it is not comfortable, My flooring is twenty four years old, it will last for another ten years before it needs replacing. Most people who buy a house would rather get it a little cheaper and change things to their personality if given a choice. I remodeled a few homes where the people wanted to change something the previous owner just replaced because it didn't fit their taste.



posted on Dec, 4 2014 @ 01:25 AM
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a reply to: Tangerine




IF it's the latter, you might want to talk to a realtor to find out which upgrades fetch the best price.


Good call. I have a realtor I trust that helped me sell some properties in the past. I was thinking about getting her hunting some land anyway.

Not sure if I want to rent or sell. Rather not say what it's being rented for currently, but it's a fair amount.
edit on 0420141220141 by Domo1 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 4 2014 @ 02:40 AM
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The peel and stick floor tiles are very easy but the problem is they seperate during temperature changes, depending on your climate. Mine were perfect placed together but during winter when the joists or house shifts, stretches, shrinks, whatever it does , they seoerate by a half inch! They are not practical for a counter surface. They will not tolerate high heat near a stove. Might actually be a fire hazard too. Having said that I did like them. It was my ex who bitched about them. They were very easy to cut once I scored them with a razor, just snapped apart.



posted on Dec, 4 2014 @ 02:44 AM
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Patio:

You can paint concrete. Looks very nice, you can even point a faux paver effect. Depending on how artistic you are. I paint everything, I'm a paintaholic but haven't much much outdoor stuff, so you need exterior paint that works on concrete.

Crown molding us expensive to buy and you need to know how to cut a miter joint good at a 45 degree angle to do yourself

Here's what I do to hinges. Might Sound daft , but I use metallic nail polish. It's super easy with the tiny brush. I also painted the knobs, got loads of compliments, nobody knows. With other paint Ive painted door knobs too. Took them off to do, left screws in and put in egg cartons to hold in place while I paint. Looked great.
edit on 4-12-2014 by violet because: (no reason given)

edit on 4-12-2014 by violet because: (no reason given)


The reason I painted the knobs rather than buy new is the the cost adds up. You need so many! I painted my fireplace brick a stone effect because it had already been painted solid white when I moved in. Last year I painted my black 1970's hearth a stone colour, I watered some paint down and ragged it on. I added a bit if blue food colouring to tint it to the colour I wanted, to tell the truth I just used a mix of old paint I found around the house. Couldn't be bothered going out to buy new so I made my own colour.

Some paint comes with built in primer and I've bought that to do other projects.
I painted ugly clay pots for my patio. I'm buying more next year to paint in colours I want but they don't actually sell. I rag it in for a roughed in worn stone effect.
edit on 4-12-2014 by violet because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 4 2014 @ 03:19 AM
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originally posted by: Domo1
The place is only valued at $250,000


"ONLY!" .... You're kidding right?

Why not turn it into a homeless shelter. Then it will be priceless.
edit on 4/12/2014 by nerbot because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 4 2014 @ 03:35 AM
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a reply to: violet

Come on over! There will be some good food if my girlfriend makes me stop cooking, and you can crash on the futon. Or the couch. Or the other couch. Or the bed. We have a lot of furniture. Seattle isn't THAT far away! I hope you like dogs though!



Crown molding us expensive to buy and you need to know how to cut a miter joint good at a 45 degree angle to do yourself


It's really not all that expensive in my opinion, and I'm good with a compound miter saw. Least of my worries. I'll have to buy one, but $350 for something that will last a life time isn't bad.



Here's what I do to hinges. Might Sound daft , but I use metallic nail polish. It's super easy with the tiny brush. I also painted the knobs, got loads of compliments, nobody knows. With other paint Ive painted door knobs too. Took them off to do, left screws in and put in egg cartons to hold in place while I paint. Looked great.


That's pretty awesome. I have a little bit of change and a lazy side so I think I'll just be buying hardware. So the doorknobs on interior doors are those awful 80's style things. They're round but the center is concave and they look like crap no matter what. I want to upgrade them, even just for me. I'm weird about doorknobs.



The reason I painted the knobs rather than buy new is the the cost adds up. You need so many! I painted my fireplace brick a stone effect because it had already been painted solid white when I moved in. Last year I painted my black 1970's hearth a stone colour, I watered some paint down and ragged it on. I added a bit if blue food colouring to tint it to the colour I wanted, to tell the truth I just used a mix of old paint I found around the house. Couldn't be bothered going out to buy new so I made my own colour.


I like you. I figure the most expensive handles are going to be about $25 a pop. I will need 5. That's fine. I can't remember what hinges cost, but lets figure the same amount. Thats fine too. Again, pretty lazy when it comes to painting. I figure I'll spend maybe $500 matching up door knobs, hinges, and electrical plate covers.



posted on Dec, 4 2014 @ 05:48 AM
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a reply to: Domo1 I would suggest finding a designer in your area. Setup a appointment for him or her to look at your house. Telling them what you would like to do. Let them go through the house and come back with a estimate of cost/ time. These people always have good contractors that work for them. Since the house is paided for use some of the equity to pay for the remodel.



posted on Dec, 4 2014 @ 06:22 AM
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We aren't rich, but we went ahead and put $20,000 into a new kitchen. We took it down to the studs, put insulation in, a new tile floor, all new appliances, etc. I'm very glad we did that. We are getting good use out of it AND kitchens are where the resale value is ... IMHO. If the wife doesn't like the kitchen, the house won't sell. I think kitchens are a good investment when upgrading.



posted on Dec, 4 2014 @ 08:01 AM
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originally posted by: nerbot

"ONLY!" .... You're kidding right?
.


i was stuck on this bit too.
only 250k....

my house is only valued at about 58k and i think i have a pretty nice spot.
its not the ritz but its not a dump. does not need anything...pretty average throughout though.

i suppose i would more into it if i were going to sell it domo



posted on Dec, 4 2014 @ 09:15 AM
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hello, builder/ investor here.
Figure your total remod(materials+labor)
Then figure your holding costs(taxes, utilities, maint)X your expected holding time.
Add those figures up and see how they compare with the recently sold properties in the area with the same sqft,and features.(bedrooms, baths, and lot size)
Ignore realtors claimed values a stick to recently sold props only. Market value is what your after, not opinions.

Always stick to favorites...I go in this order:
1.Kitchen
2.Master bath
3.Interior Paint
4.Exterior Paint
5.Curb appeal eyesore removal(yard, bushes, etc)

Cosmetics can add up fast when applied to whole house and some like to add their own colors anyway.
I just bought one for 145 cash, put 60k in it, in materials only, aside from the granite counters(3200)
Its worth 250 now, but you gotta have the 60 on hand or your stuck not selling.

You gotta figure your hold times out before proceeding to dump cash into it.

Kitchen I would
Floor
-scrape up linoleum
-lockdown primer
-pour self leveling
-tile or acid epoxy coat directly to self leveling

Ceiling
- gut dropped ceiling
-patch n sand bad spots
-paint pipes an ceiling
-remod cans(check for compliance to fire code- you don't want hot cans covered in insulation, or too small of a compartment)

If your cabinets look good, clean and minwax them, update hardware/handles
check interior conditions, fix as required.

If you do tile countertops, stick to the biggest tile you can find for minimal grout lines/ bacteria traps.
You can screw your high moisture cement board right to the counter as is and tile right over.

Check out concrete counter vids if your a diy guy. You can't beat granite for a hassle free finish, if you have 2-4k in the budget imo.

Pre primed trim and base is cheap if you buy in bulk at lowes. use a liquid nails or similar adhesive on the back before installing. I pre mark my stud locations on 16" before installing so it pulls tight when nailing.

New sink and faucet.

Money is well spent on high end appliances, it will help beat the competition, just don't overspend for the area.
You can tie them into your negotiation price during sale and take to next place, if they come back with a low offer to you. They make the kitchen.

Big hoods are also desirable.
Master Baths, I usually gut and start over with a big walk in shower,vanity, toilet, flooring, paint and mirror.
They want a clean bathroom, especially in an old house.

The most overlooked cost in my project by far was paint, but I did popcorn removal,prime, texture, prime, then paint in 1600 sqft of ceilings, repainted all trim and walls. It adds up quick.

Like i said, people focus on kitchens, baths and curb appeal. You've gotta get them in the door with price and curb appeal first to see the interior work and seal the deal.

Work backwards with your area comps and figure out your realistic budget for the remod. Don't get upside down with your total cost and holding costs vs sales price after negotiations.
good luck!








posted on Dec, 4 2014 @ 11:03 AM
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The good news seems to be that all the work is cosmetic so you should be able to do a nice job fairly cheap.

The floor will be the easy part there are a lot of inexpensive flooring products that look very nice.
ceramic or porcelain tiles can be bought for as little as $1 a square foot.They can also be used for counter tops.

if you decide to build a deck (they aren`t hard to build) don`t use wood for the deck boards buy the composite boards.
composite boards are basically made of plastic and they cost a little more than wood but they are warrentied for like 50 years.They come in many different finishes,they are guaranteed not to rot,break, fade,crack etc.They never need painting or waterproofing,they are maintanence free. Even though they are plastic they look like real wood.


don`t use sticky tiles they don`t stick well for long and they don`t hold up well.
they have a new product that comes in 8 foot lengths and up to 6 inches wide, it looks like real wood,sticks to the floor like a sticky tile, comes in varies finishes and colors.it holds up real well,doesn`t fade or crack, etc.



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