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October 1, 2013

    I n   t h i s   i s s u e . . .
  • 2013 - 2014 PGCAR Board of Directors
  • Red Cross Blood Drive - Next Thursday
  • Annual Charity Event - December 11
  • 2013 NAR Annual Conference
  • Columbus Day

    Homeownership Matters
  • Newly Proposed QRM Rule Removes
        20% Downpayment Requirement
  • Homebuyer Incentives in Prince George's County
  • Consumer Tip: Avoid Home Upgrades that
        Don't Pay
    The Industry Insider
  • Contract Forms Alert - New County Lease and
        Addendum Effective Immediately
  • New State Sales Contract Effective Today
        - Download All 36 Updated Forms
  • MREC Short Sale Guidelines
  • 2014 PGCAR Dues - Due Today, October 1
  • 30 Under 30 Application
  • Earn Your MD and DC CEU at PGCAR
  • Sale!  Only $11 for 1.5 CEU; $18 for 3 CEU
  • Market Sen$e: 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage
        Falls to 9-Week Low
  • August Continues Recent Trend:
        County Home Settlements Increase
  • Sales Coach: Wandering Vines
  • Code of Ethics: Case #3-4
  • Free Hands-On MRIS Training
  • Auto and Motorcycle Loans as Low as 1.49%?
        Sure Thing! At the REALTORS® FCU
  • SentriLock Lockbox Sale Expires Soon!



    Join us in congratulating the 2013 - 2014 PGCAR Board of Directors, sworn in at the Installation Luncheon on Wednesday, September 18. Congratulations, too, to our 2012 - 2013 Board of Directors and Committee volunteers for a successful year!

    We thank everyone who participated in voting and all who joined us for the Installation.

    The 2013 / 2014 Board of Directors
    President: John Lesniewski, RE/MAX United Real Estate
    President-Elect: Desiree Callender, Desiree Callender & Associates
    Secretary: Chuck Ottley, SellState Dominion Realty
    Treasurer Patricia Long, Keller Williams Preferred Prop
    Past President: Anthony Williams, Long & Foster Real Estate Inc
    Directors: Cheryl Abrams, RE/MAX United Real Estate
    Patricia Dowtin, Long & Foster Real Estate
    Donald Frederick, RE/MAX United Real Estate
    Fredericka Lloyd, Lloyd & Associates
    Yolanda Muckle, Long & Foster Real Estate
    Emerick Peace, Keller Williams Preferred Properties
    Veera Phillips, Keller Williams Preferred Properties
    Willie Rhone, Weichert REALTORS®

    Congratulations to our 2014 Award Winners!
    Anthony Williams -
    2014 REALTOR® of the Year
    Kathleen Rollins -
    2014 Distinguished Service Award
    Doris Kessebeh - 2014
    Distinguished Sales Agent Award
    Michael Chelst -
    2014 Affiliate of the Year
    View more photos here >

    Please also help extend a thank you to our Installation sponsors: Embrace Home Loans, Homestead Funding Corp. and Village Settlements, Inc.


    Revised and New Contract Forms Already in Effect
    Forms are Online at Both and ZipForms

    Alvin C. Monshower, Jr., Association Counsel

    The current PGCAR Single Family Dwelling Lease (PGCAR Form 1105, Rev. 9/13) (the "PGCAR Lease") has been substantially revised from the October 2011 version. In particular, Section 3 of the current PGCAR Lease has been revised to specifically address the requirements of the Prince George's County Code with respect to rental security deposits.

    In consideration of the final revisions to the PGCAR Lease and its re-posting and dissemination, you should consider the following recommendations:
    1. Remove from your current inventory all prior versions of the PGCAR Lease, including such inventory as stored by hard copy or digitally.
    2. In the event you are a property manager or person leasing property which utilized the PGCAR Lease with the revision date of "10/2011", attached you will find an addendum which you are encouraged to have the tenant sign should your lease be expiring in the next thirty (30) days.
    3. If you are a REALTOR® member and are presently involved in negotiating a Residential Dwelling Lease, and if the property is located in Prince George's County, you should utilize the attached addendum to any current lease form which you use or which your company provides (other than the revised PGCAR Single Family Dwelling Lease revised 9/13).
    Should you have any questions or require additional clarification, please contact Mike Graziano, PGCAR Director of Government Affairs at 301-306-7900 or

    County Rental Security Deposit Law Differs From State Law

    PGCAR Form 1105 - Revised September 6, 2013
    Prince George's County Single Family Dwelling Lease

    PGCAR Form 1108 - Added September 6, 2013
    Addendum to the Prince George's County Single Family Dwelling Lease

    That's right! 36 Maryland contract forms and addenda have now changed. The following 3 have significantly changed.

    See all of the updated forms at In addition to the substantial changes due to new regulations and laws, all MAR addendum are now fillable PDFs!



    by Mark Feinroth, Esq.
    MAR Director of Regulatory Affairs

    The Maryland Real Estate Commission is expected (officially released July 22, 2013) to adopt new guidelines for real estate agents who assist clients with obtaining short sale approvals. When read together with guidance issued by the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation, the Real Estate Commission's statement will allow real estate licensees to communicate with a lender to assist a client awaiting a lender's approval of a short sale request.

    Prior to July 1, the Credit Services Business Act was the controlling statute for anyone engaged in the practice of negotiating a short sale on behalf of a seller. An exemption in the law allowed real estate agents and brokers to engage in short sale communications with a lender on behalf of a seller client, as long as the real estate licensee does not negotiate with the lender as the seller's representative.

    Beginning July 1, The Maryland MARS (Mortgage Assistance Relief Services) Act became the controlling authority for short sale negotiators. The Maryland MARS Act incorporates into Maryland law the Federal Trade Commission's Regulation O, which is now enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB). While there is no exemption in the MARS Act for real estate licensees, Federal and Maryland regulators have declared that they will not enforce the Act against agents and brokers who are "acting within the scope of their license." The Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation published guidance on the new law which states that he will rely on the Real Estate Commission's definition of permissible short sale assistance by a licensee.

    All of this means that most licensees may continue their practice of helping a client sell a home and obtain third party approval for a short sale. Under both the old and new law, a real estate agent is permitted to forward documents and information to the lender on a client's behalf in order to complete the short sale application process. The agent may also communicate with the lender concerning the value of the home and property to be sold. If the agent has the seller's authority to negotiate a deficiency agreement or other relocation benefits, the real esate agent may do so, but must first comply with the various MARS Act disclosure requirements. Real estate licenssees who negotiate with a lender on behalf of clients purusing a short sale approval are advised to consult the Commissioner of Financial Regulations "Guidance for Individuals Providing Short Sale Negotiation Services."

    In June, the Real Estate Commission considered a draft statement prepared by staff on short sale assistance that licensees are permitted to offer under the terms of a Maryland real estate license. Revisions were requested and a final approval of the statement was expected in July. Here is a link to that statement.

    In the meantime, licensees should take care to avoid entering into negotiations with a seller client's lender. Any real estate licensee who intends to perform those kinds of services should be prepared to comply with the disclosures mandated by the MARS Act. A future article in Maryland REALTOR® magazine and in REALTOR® Connection will detail the MARS Act disclosures.

    Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or comments at

    Reprinted from Mark Feinroth. "Commission Revising Short Sale Practice Guideline." Maryland REALTOR® August | September 2013: 30. Print.

    Other important legislative issues being tracked:


    Re-Proposed Qualified Residential Mortgage Rule Gains Support of REALTORS®

    On Wednesday, August 28, a re-proposed Qualified Residential Mortgage rule was announced. The new version has met with approval from REALTORS® - a departure from the first QRM rule proposed in April 2011 that required a 20% downpayment. Proposed downpayment requirements range as high as 30%. The re-proposed QRM draft rule announced last Wednesday has eliminated that downpayment requirement and provides standards that will help to maintain home buying affordability as well as prevent unscrupulous lending.

    Click here to read NAR President Gary Thomas' statement on the new QRM rule.
    Click here for an August 29 Reuters article, "Proposed QRM Rule a Plus for U.S. Mortgage Lending."

    Blood Donors Save Lives!

    Join us at PGCAR's next Red Cross Blood Drive® Next Thursday, October 10

    9 am to 3 pm
    at the PGCAR office


    1. College Park Live Smart Program
      Up to $5,000 in Homebuyer Incentives!
      College Park's program highlights affordability and convenient location to encourage home sales in the community, offering up to $5,000 in incentives to home buyers. Program details >
    2. Homebuyer Savings for City of Laurel
      Buyers of foreclosed homes receive tax credits. The program offers a five-year descending City tax credit of up to $3,500 for buyers purchasing their primary residence within Laurel City limits.
      Program Details >
    3. $30 Million Targeted Areas Initiative for All Homebuyers
      First-Time Homebuyers Can Gain Same Benefits in ANY Prince George's County Area

      Reduced interest rates starting at 2.875% (APR 3.675%) for qualified homebuyers purchasing a new primary residence. Program Details >
    4. Buy Suitland Initiative
      $40,000 Maximum in Downpayment & Closing Cost Savings!
      Up to 5% of home purchase price to first-time homebuyers or those who haven't owned within the last 3 years; Up to 7% for local civic employees. Program Details >   Revised Buy Suitland Flyer >
    5. Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLB Atlanta)
      Up to $15,000 toward a foreclosure purchase; Up to $7,500 toward the purchase of a property located in area approved for NSP funds.
      Program Details >
    6. American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI)
      Up to $10,000 to County homebuyers who have not owned a home within the last 3 years.
      Program Details >
    7. Freddie Mac HomeSteps SmartBuySM
      Offers up to $500 for purchase of a home warranty.
      Home listings and incentive details >   Sign up for buyer leads >

    Most of these programs can be used in combination. Information on these and other homebuyer savings are available at


    Do You List Outside of Prince George's County?

    SentriLock We have received a complaint that a County REALTOR® listing outside of Prince George's County didn't have their SentriLock lockbox properly programmed, which caused a potential homebuyer and their agent to be denied entry to this listing.

    Don't let this happen to your listings. Please take the correct steps to assign a lockbox to another region or Association. Otherwise, agents in those specific regions will not be able to access the lockbox.
    1. Remove the shackle from the lockbox.
    2. Insert your SentriCard® into card reader.
    3. Type in password and click Login.
    4. Click Customize a Lockbox.
    5. From the Select Lockbox window, select the lockbox you want to assign to another Region/Association. Click the serial number of the lockbox.
    6. On the Customize a Lockbox window, you'll see a Region drop-down list. Click the drop-down list and select a Region/Association.
    7. Click Finish.
    8. The Card Utility will update your SentriCard®. When finished, remove your SentriCard® from the card reader.
    9. Insert your SentriCard® into the lockbox. The lockbox will make a series of beeps.
    10. Insert the shackle into the lockbox at the listing.
    NOTE: Do not insert the shackle until you place the lockbox on the listing. Releasing the shackle after customizing the lockbox could cause you to lose your settings. If you need assistance, contact SentriLock support at 877-736-8745 (SentriLock).


    Consumer Tip: Avoid Home Upgrades that Don't Pay

    Avoid Home Upgrades that Don't Pay It's nice to make changes to a home to make it more comfortable or functional, but some upgrades simply don't give you the return on investment that you're hoping for.

    Before you spend your entire bank account on home improvements, give careful thought to the following investments that often don't pay off:
    1. Patio Kitchen.
      The amount of time most families really spend outdoors just doesn't justify the cost of an outdoor kitchen, which can be up to $15,000. Instead, get a great grill and install outdoor lighting; you'll enjoy the time outside, but still have funds for other interests.
    2. In-Ground Swimming Pool.
      The idea of spending the summer poolside is divine, but there are a lot of maintenance, liability, and security responsibilities, and increased costs that come along with pools. If you're sure that a pool is the thing for you, just dive in with eyes wide open.
    3. In-Ground Spa.
      Like the pool, these come with additional responsibilities and costs, and you'll only recoup your investment if the next homeowner fancies the idea. A good alternative is the portable hot tub, which can save you thousands.
    4. Elevator.
      If you or a family member has trouble with stairs, an elevator is convenient, but the ROI isn't likely to reach the top. You can opt for a chair lift in its place, which is functional, removable, and a much more modest investment.
    5. Backup Generator.
      It's a pain to lose power, but unless that happens frequently in your area and/or you have a medical necessity, the relatively short duration of the average outage isn't worth the typical cost of about $11,000 for the generator.
    6. Brand-New Windows.
      Replacing old windows cuts down on energy costs, but you'll have to stay put for several years to recoup your outlay for new windows, as resale nets you only about 70% of the cost. If you don't plan to stay long, you might want to opt for better insulation, caulking, and weather stripping to avoid the out-of-pocket replacement expense.
    Admittedly, it's exciting to make improvements to your home; just consider the resale payoff of your investments before you commit. Any or all of the above may be of value if you'll truly enjoy the benefits. If you're only doing it for resale value, though, tread lightly, and consider carefully the likelihood of returns on your investment.

    For more information on the value of home improvements, please visit

    2014 Dues Renewals
    Due TODAY, Tuesday, October 1
    Late Fees Begin December 1

    Don't wait until the last minute to pay this year's dues.
    Use our fast and secure Online Dues Payment!
    Paying online is easy, secure, and supplies you with a receipt.

    Renew Online as Easy as 1-2-3:

    1. Click here
    2. Log in
    3. Renew online and receive receipt !

    The due date is today, October 1, 2013. A late fee of $50 will be added for dues payments not received by midnight November 30, 2013.

    Prince George's County Dues $310
    Maryland Association Dues $215
    National Association Dues $155
    Voluntary 2012 RPAC Contribution $  35
    Voluntary Scholarship Fund Contribution $   5

    Please note: If dues payments are not made online, they may not be reflected in your payment history in Members Only.

    Thank you for being a part of PGCAR, and to all who have already renewed!


    30 Under 30 Application Opens October 15!

    Are you a rising star in the real estate industry, and younger than 30 as of May 31, 2014? If so, apply for NAR's 2014 30 Under 30 and be recognized internationally for your exceptional real estate skills! The application opens Tuesday, October 15.

    30 Under 30 Web Site >      30 Under 30 FAQ and Contest Rules >

    Maryland boasts two REALTORs® in the 2013 class of 30 Under 30, and one in 2012.

    We'd love to see a member of PGCAR in the 2014 list of honorees!


    Earn All MD and DC Required CEU at PGCAR

    Tuesday, October 15
    ABC's of Rentals
    3 MD Elective CEU
    Rayna McLendon 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    Thursday, October 17
    MD Legislative Update
    3 MD Required Legislative Update CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 9:30 am - 12:30 am
    MD Fair Housing
    1.5 MD Required Fair Housing CEU;
    1.5 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

    Monday, October 21
    Commercial SBA Loan Programs
    3 MD Elective CEU
    John Throne 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

    Wednesday, October 23
    MD Code of Ethics
    3 MD Required Ethics CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Don Martin 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
    Reverse Mortgages
    1.5 MD Elective CEU
    Eric Rittmeyer 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

    Friday, October 25
    Financing Issues / Update
    3 DC Required CEU;
    3 MD Elective CEU
    Michael Chelst 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Tuesday, October 29
    3 MD Elective CEU;
    3 DC Elective CEU
    Rachel Jefferies 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Complete CEU Schedule >

    PGCAR Store


    Remember! Enjoy Savings on CEU at PGCAR!

    Maryland and DC real estate CEU is on sale at PGCAR PGCAR Members and REALTORS® - Enjoy steep discounts on ALL classes held at PGCAR!

    Register for ANY 3 CE class for $18 early bird, $33 regular.
    Register for ANY 1.5 CE class for $11 early bird, $26 regular.

    Hurry to today >


    Market Sen$e: 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Falls to 9-Week Low

    Results released by Freddie Mac last Thursday, September 26, had the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at its lowest since the week ending July 25, 2013 - a response to the Federal Reserve announcement that its bond buying stimulus will continue.

    The 30-year fixed rate averaged 4.32 percent last week. The 15-year fixed rate was also down, at 3.37 percent.

    The Vice President and Chief Economist for Freddie Mac, Frank Nothaft, said that housing affordability should remain high with the low rates offsetting house price increases in recent months.

    "For instance, the S&P/Case-Shiller® 20-city composite house price index rose 12.4 percent over the 12-months ending in July, which represented the largest annual increase since February 2006. In addition, more than half of the cities had annual growth exceeding 10 percent and four cities saw increases exceeding 20 percent," noted Nothaft. "These increases in home values have also increased homeowner wealth. For example, homeowners experienced an aggregate $1.4 trillion increase in equity in their homes over the first half of this year which contributed to the overall $4.2 trillion gain in household net worth."

    Freddie Mac reports the following averages for the week ending September 26, 2013:

    • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.32%, down from 4.50%.
    • The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.37%, down from 3.54%.
    • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 3.07%, down from 3.11%.
    • The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.63%, down from 2.65%.
    Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey >

    Like us on Facebook to see monthly Prince George's County home sales and weekly mortgage reports as soon as they are released!



    facebook logo Prince George's County single-family homes saw increases in all categories for several price ranges this August over the same month last year. In addition, the entire mid-range between home sales prices of $200,000 up through $899,000 are experiencing year-to-date sales (closed settlements) growth from a low end of 16% growth (homes priced $600,000 - $699,000) to a high end of 44% growth (homes priced $300,000 - $399,000).

    Condo and co-op settlements were up 21.8% in August of this year, compared with August 2012. Those in the ranges of $150,000 - $199,999 and $400,000 - 499,999 rose 100%, and the $200,000 - $299,999 range was up 50%.

    Visit for more details. And don't forget to like PGCAR on Facebook to see monthly statistics first!

    A few articles about the national real estate market from
    Study: Homes Near Public Transit Worth More
    More 'Whisper Listings' Than Ever Before?
    Most Americans Optimistic About Home Values


    Sales Coach
    Wandering Vines: What to do about a Neighbor's Lax Landscaping

    Home Sales Coach One of the many tasks of a REALTOR® is to advise client sellers as they prepare their house for listing. What happens, though, when a neighbor's overgrowth goes wild in your client's otherwise impeccable yard?

    Homeowners have a legal right - called a self-help remedy - to trim tree, shrub, and plant growth that overreaches their property. Whether branches, limbs, roots, or vines, homeowners can prune what encroaches, and it's in their best interest to do so if the neighbor's wandering greenery makes the listed property look unkempt.

    As you might guess, though, there are limitations. Swiping madly with a hedge trimmer at overhanging branches simply won't do. Also, when you discuss with your client the yard and environs, be sure to inform them that you're neither a landscaping expert, nor do you offer legal advice; you may, however, suggest a few tips for tidying.

    The following guidelines can help clients keep foreign foliage outside of their property lines, but within the bounds of their rights as property owners:
    • Know where to stop.
      A surveyor's map should be among the records from the owner's purchase of the house; the owner should pay careful attention to that map and know where the property lines are.
    • Don't cross the line.
      Plants that grow into or over the client's property may be trimmed, but trimming may not trespass that line.
    • Prune prudently.
      It's best to consult a professional when pruning a tree in order to ensure the tree is not harmed.
    • Seek advice.
      It's wise to consult with an arborist when trees are involved, as the "average Joe" may not foresee potential issues.
    • Notify the neighbor.
      Your client should let the neighbor know - in writing - of any known or suspected issues with the trees or plants that are encroaching. If a tree is structurally weakened, for instance, and falls on your client's property causing damage or injury, the neighbor could be liable.
    • Keep it clean.
      Leaves, branches, vines, and sticks that are trimmed off or that fall into your client's yard must be cleaned up; these are not the neighbor's responsibility.
    Thoughtful care and responsible action can help to ensure that your clients' properties are in their best show-ready shape when they hit the market.

    For more information on these guidelines, click here.


    Case #3-4: Cooperation Not Mandatory

    Client A called on REALTOR® B to list a small commercial property. In stipulating the price at which he wished to list the property, Client A explained that he was aware that it was a relatively low price, but he wanted a quick sale and, he added, a higher price could benefit very little at that time because of certain tax considerations. He told REALTOR® B that a number of prospective buyers had spoken to him about the property within the past year. He gave their names to REALTOR® B and said he felt sure that among them there would be a ready buyer at the price. He told REALTOR® B that he wanted the property submitted to them first.

    The next day, REALTOR® C, who had unsuccessfully solicited the listing and learned that the property was listed exclusively with REALTOR® B, called REALTOR® B to ask that he be accepted as a cooperating broker. REALTOR® B told REALTOR® C that because of the circumstances the best service to his client did not require cooperation; that a prospective buyer was at that time seriously considering the property; and that under the circumstances he preferred not to invite cooperation.

    REALTOR® C complained to the Board of REALTORS® charging REALTOR® B with a violation of Article 3 by refusing to cooperate. Pursuant to the complaint a hearing was scheduled before a Hearing Panel of the Board's Professional Standards Committee.

    During the hearing, REALTOR® B outlined fully the circumstances under which the property had been listed by him, and maintained that the interest of Client A would not be advanced by acceptance of cooperation by REALTOR® C.

    What do you think the hearing panel concluded? Click here to find out >


    PGCAR's Annual Holiday Charity Event is Just Over 2 Months Away!

    Join PGCAR on Wednesday, December 11

    Help to make the holidays bright for Prince George's County families in need. Register for our Annual Holiday Charity Event, and your tax-deductible donation* will provide much-needed food for local families. At La Fontaine Bleue on December 11, you will enjoy fun, food, entertainment, networking, and dancing (what's not to love about that?).

    *Donations per ticket are
    $30 before December 1;
    $35 per ticket starting December 1.

    For details or to register, go to >

    View photos from the December 12, 2012 Winter Wonderland event >

    Food and coat donations are also gratefully welcomed until December 12
    - either at the PGCAR offices or at the event itself.

    Thank you for your generosity! This is truly the kind of giving that gives back!


    Upcoming Dates & Courses

    Tuesday, October 22 @ 10:00 am
    MRIS 101: Kick Off Your Career with MRIS

    Tuesday, October 22 @ 1:30 pm
    MATRIX 101: The Need-to-Knows of Matrix

    MRIS reports that agents who take advantage of their FREE workshops, also tend to seldom receive complaints and fines for misuse of the MLS. Visit for details and registration. Advance registration with MRIS is required.


    2013 NAR Annual Conference - November 8 - 11

    2013 NAR Annual Conference YOU can Rise to New Heights at NAR's 2013 REALTORS® Conference & Expo! Join us at the conference to hear nationally recognized speakers, learn about the latest tools and emerging trends in the Real Estate industry, network, and just have fun!

    Friday, November 8 - Monday, November 11  |  San Francisco, CA

    Don't wait! Register and book your hotel as soon as possible for best selection. Tickets for NAR events, tours, and attractions are on sale now. To see all that awaits you at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, click here >

    Start planning what you'd like to attend by viewing the Event Schedule.

    Register today >


    New / Used Auto or Motorcycle Loans Starting at 1.49%
    A Benefit of the REALTORS® Federal Credit Union

    Lock in low, fixed interest rates on auto, motorcycle, boat and RV loans through the REALTORS® Federal Credit Union. Why not save those extra dollars each month instead? The FCU's competitive rates beat some of the top banks, especially on credit cards!

    Not a member yet? Just visit and click on the "Membership" tab for complete details and the online application.


    SentriLock Lockbox sale expires soon!  Get yours today!

    Pay only $65 each (plus tax) for up to 9 lockboxes; order larger numbers and enjoy even
    greater discounts! Power paddles are also discounted to $55 for a limited time. To take
    advantage of these great prices, please contact Shirley at the Association office.

    The PGCAR office will be closed on Monday, October 14th for Columbus Day.
    Have a safe and happy holiday!

    Prince George's County Association of REALTORS®
    8300 Corporate Drive, Suite 100  :  Landover, MD 20785
    Phone 301-306-7900  :  Fax 301-306-8273  :  :  ©2013 PGCAR

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