Mark Healey

mark-healeyMark is a content development specialist who enjoys researching and writing about various topics. He is passionate about the digital space and is involved with promoting and distributing beneficial content throughout internet communities.

 

 

 

 

 Latest posts from Mark:

 

Wheelchair-Accessible Home? 5 Tips for Finding One

Posted by on May 31, 2016 in Mark Healey | 0 comments

Wheelchair-Accessible Home? 5 Tips for Finding One

Buying a house is no easy task. Finding the right home in the right location, with the right number of bedrooms, a big kitchen and enough general living space is not easy to do without compromises, and becomes even more challenging when adding a need for an accessible home to the mix. If a wheelchair-accessible home presents itself to you, take advantage of it, because they are uncommon in the housing market. But if it’s not possible to buy a wheelchair-accessible home (or convert one yourself), here are some things to look for in the next home you buy. Single-level home In order to make the entire house accessible, make sure it’s actually accessible. Stairs are a great way to ensure anyone with a mobility challenge won’t be able to reach half of the house. Don’t forget to consider the outdoor parts of the property. A steep driveway will make getting the mail problematic, and a backyard with multiple levels or hills means it won’t be enjoyed to its full extent. Open floor plan Hallways aren’t the only spaces that need to be wide enough to maneuver. Large rooms with enough space to leave space between furniture, and between sections of the room is vital in order to comfortably and safely move around the house. It’ll give more space to everyone: friends you invite over for a dinner party, family who comes over for a birthday party or even anyone who’s there to help and perform caregiver responsibilities. Wide hallways & doorways For a powerchair or a manual wheelchair user, this one is obvious. Not only does the chair itself need to fit down hallways and through doorways, but it needs to be able to get by if something is sharing the space or someone else happens to be walking down the hallway at the same time. Maneuvering in a powerchair is challenging in tight spaces, and wide hallways & doorways can alleviate that problem. No steps While some homes may appear or be listed as single-story, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re on one even level. Sunken living rooms were at one time a favorite architectural feature, but will be rendered useless for anyone with mobility challenges. Double-check the doorways into the garage, out the front door and back door, to make sure the threshold won’t be impossible to get over. Capacity to be creative If all else fails, look for space that can be manipulated. A threshold in a doorway can be fixed with a small ramp, as could a sunken living room. While large-scale renovations aren’t always possible, look for simple options. Remove a kitchen island to clear out the kitchen. Little changes can make a home much more navigable. Even if it’s not possible to do a full home conversion, being aware of these details can make the house-searching process simpler, easier and more successful in the long...

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Increase Your Home’s Value with a Home Gym

Posted by on Jan 14, 2016 in Mark Healey | 0 comments

Increase Your Home’s Value with a Home Gym

American obesity is still on the rise, and it’s becoming increasingly important for us to become more health-conscious. The most important thing that we should be doing is watching what we eat. As the old adage goes, “you are what you eat,” and America’s public shows that’s true. Aside from watching what you eat, you should also take the time to get regular, moderate exercise. Combining these two ideas will help you lose weight and feel better about yourself. Working out is imperative and the exercise helps boost your immune system to fight off viruses, bacteria and other maladies. For many of us, working out in a gym is intimidating. Both men and women can suffer from a lot of potential problems— from insecurity issues with how we look, to how much we can lift and how heavy we are. Due to this problem, more homeowners are building their own home gyms. Not only does this make working out a much easier task, it can even increase the aesthetic value of a home. If you are considering building a home gym, there are a few initial steps. First, you’ll need to figure out if you want to convert an existing room into your home gym. If you can’t convert an existing room or your garage, a new addition is another option. Certainly building an additional room will be an expensive project, but it will increase the value of your property enough to justify buying new exercise equipment for your home gym. It’s important to note that if you want to build a home gym correctly, make sure your new addition has relatively high ceilings. This will give you more range when choosing which exercise equipment to buy or when taking into account calisthenics like jump rope. Keep in mind the size as well as you will need space to stretch and move. You’ll also want to consider the materials you will use to build your home gym. For sanitation purposes, carpet probably isn’t the best choice. If you plan to use metal weights, look into a rubber floor. Cork is another good option, but it will dent if subjected to high impact activities like weightlifting. Other ideas include: interlocking EVA foam tiles, utility grade wood flooring and laminate flooring. Tidbits: Room: Decorate simply Invest in Ventilation Sound system TV for video workout programs Equipment: Treadmill Stairmaster Bowflex – It really does work Dumbell Set Medicine ball, yoga mat, flat bench As one of the top specialty rooms that buyers are looking for in a house, a home gym will be a great addition to your home and your health. For other inspirational ideas about how to set up your home gym, search online for images and consider using social media sites like Pinterest & Instagram. Image Courtesy...

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When the stuff inside your house becomes “home”

Posted by on Dec 29, 2015 in Greater Boston, Mark Healey | 0 comments

When the stuff inside your house becomes “home”

To a little kid, a move is exciting: it’s an excuse for a newly decorated bedroom, new toys and new neighborhood friends. But to anyone else, a move sometimes signifies leaving more than it presents the opportunity for novelty.But for anyone who spent their childhood (or adulthood, or anything in between) moving, it’s not the house that stores the memories, like many of us think. Quite often, it’s the things inside the house that are filled with meaning and hard to let go of. What makes a “home” Instead of the walls of the house, it’s the dresser set that traveled with the family during each move, and stood next to your bed in each new bedroom, and the dining room armoire holding Grandma’s china that really hold the memories. They’re the constants in pictures, in the background of the home videos, and the things that fill memories. Redecoration can help On top of the furniture that travels to each house, with each new home, the opportunity to redecorate and buy new things will always exist, a process that adds to the memories. A chest bought in one city might stand next to a sofa bought in another, both undoubtedly with their own stories and memories. While moving can always be an excuse to clean out the house and purge what isn’t absolutely necessary, it’s really an exercise on deciding what’s important and meaningful and what should be taken by a Boston junk removal company. Move after move, the less important belongings will be naturally filtered out, and the important will stay, making an appearance in another room in another house. Things to leave behind The things left behind in a move don’t have to be negative losses. Getting rid of superfluous items can be cleansing, and learning to live with less can be freeing. (Practical too, when paying a local mover.) Knick-knacks, trinkets and collectables are easy to dismiss as small and inconsequential, and therefore worthy of keeping, because after all, they don’t take up too much space, do they? But junk adds up, and throwing them in the corner of moving boxes won’t make for an enjoyable unpacking experience. Plus, isn’t there a better purpose for that end kitchen drawer than a junk drawer? When the walls of a house or a backyard can’t come with you, the meaning of the things that filled those rooms is magnified. Leaving a house, especially one filled with memories, can be hard, but knowing the most memory-filled things are coming with you, it can make the move one step easier. When your stuff becomes your home, even moves will mean your home is always with...

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Moving is Expensive: Here are 5 Tricks to Cut Costs

Posted by on Aug 11, 2015 in Mark Healey | Comments Off on Moving is Expensive: Here are 5 Tricks to Cut Costs

Moving is Expensive: Here are 5 Tricks to Cut Costs

Everybody knows that moving is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. Changing environments, a new office, and the process of packing could make any one go crazy; and that’s without looking at the financial impact of a big move. Use the following tips to reduce the fiscal burden of your next move. DIY This is the first and most obvious way to move without overspending. Find a quality truck rental company and move all of your belongings yourself. If you are staying in town then use pizza and beverages to inspire your friends to help you move. The cost of a nice lunch for your friends will be significantly less then hiring a mover. Make sure to choose a group of friends that you trust though. A careless friend could break something important or expensive without the means to reimburse you. You should also be aware of your liability if anyone is hurt on your property helping you move your stuff. This is the cheapest option; but tread carefully. If the move is sloppy and your walls get dinged up with dollies and boxes, you will need to hire a One Day Painter to get the house back in shape for it’s next inhabitants. Go local Some times doing it yourself with a move is just not possible. Some objects are hard to move like pianos and pool tables and require professional help. The best thing to do in this circumstance is go local. Hire a Professional Mover to help execute the move without damaging your belongings or property. Cut costs by buying the boxes and having everything ready to load when the movers arrive! Use clothes & blankets as bubble wrap Rather then spending money on packing peanuts or bubble wrap, get creative. Sweatshirts, blankets and the rest of your clothes can be used to pack breakable objects. This saves you money on the number of boxes you will have to purchase as well thanks to the fact you are packing your clothes while utilizing them to safe guard things like plates and glasses. Use your luggage to reduce overhead Delving even deeper into ways to save money on boxes; make sure you utilize every suitcase, back pack and duffel bag at your disposal. This is a great way to not only cut down on moving costs but also to reduce the impact of your move on the environment. The fewer boxes you have to use, the better the move will be in both of these aspects. When it comes to moving, saving money and saving the earth go hand in hand. Sell or donate what you don’t need Yet another great way to cut expenses while moving is to make sure you truly bring only what needs to come. Go through your house prior to moving and decide what things can be left behind. As a rule of thumb, if you forgot you had it the object can go. Start by gathering all of these items up for a moving sale and advertising it with signs, online listings and your social media account. Execute the sale and look at what is left over. If the items left are still in pretty good shape then donate them at the nearest Goodwill. If all you...

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Moving Safety 101

Posted by on Jun 19, 2015 in Mark Healey | Comments Off on Moving Safety 101

Moving Safety 101

Moving from one house to the next is one of the most exciting and stressful undertakings you will do in your lifetime. While there is obviously a lot to think about such as organization, timing and budget; one thing that is too commonly overlooked is safety. Safety is the most important aspect regarding moving, especially when heavy furniture and stairs are involved. If you choose not to hire a Massachusetts moving company use these tips to avoid adding stress or a hospital visit to your next move. Clear Pathways The fist step you should take to ensure no one is hurt during your move is to clear all walkways in and out of the house. When moving heavy furniture people often walk backwards and if they were to trip over anything it would be an absolute catastrophe. Remove all hazards from these walkways to ensure no furniture (or bones) get broken. It’s a good idea to call you’re a professional junk removal company prior to moving day to get as much junk out of the way as possible. Pack Smart While it may seem counter intuitive, the best way to pack is by putting larger, heavier items (such as books) in the smallest possible box. Instinct tells us to fit as much of these items as possible in one large box. The issue is that to many heavy items in one box could lead to muscle injuries for anyone helping you move. By placing lighter items in the biggest boxes and vice-versa you can keep all the boxes a similar, manageable, weight. Be Prepared This means have the right equipment for the task. A dolly is an invaluable asset during a move which is usually available to rent from the nearest home improvement store if you do not own one. A dolly takes a lot of the muscular stress off of your helpers, which will keep them safe! I also recommend having some old blankets, which you can lay down and use to help slide objects that are too large or awkward for the dolly. The blanket will help the object slide across the floor without damaging it, which is also nice. Be a Manager If you have all of your friends helping you move, it is a good idea to delegate tasks to those you feel most comfortable doing each task. Have the strongest movers carry the heaviest objects. If one of your friends gets hurt helping you it is your responsibility. This means that injuries can get very expensive for you and you have to do your best to help your friends stay safe. It is your move so take charge! Additionally, put all of your pets in crates or have a friend watch them while your moving. Animals never mean to be in the way, but always seem to be on moving day. Having animals out of the picture keeps them, the movers, and your furniture in one piece Dress Appropriately This is absolutely crucial on moving day. While your flip-flops may be your most comfortable pair of shoes, they offer zero protection in the case that something is dropped on your foot. Check your jeans to make sure the bottom seam is in tact and that your shoelaces are tied securely. Any one of these...

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Interview: Local Agent Thoughts On Housing Market Downturns

Posted by on Jun 4, 2014 in Mark Healey | Comments Off on Interview: Local Agent Thoughts On Housing Market Downturns

Interview: Local Agent Thoughts On Housing Market Downturns

We wanted to find out how real estate agents cope with market downturns or even seasonal market changes so we went out and interviewed a Realtor that has been in the business for quite a long time. Bill Gassett, a top Franklin Massachusetts real estate agent has been selling homes for nearly thirty years. He is a RE/MAX agent located out West of Boston that has been through both up and down markets and everything in between. We thought Bill would be the perfect candidate to answer some of our questions. What type of challenges do realty agents face during a recession or economic downturn? One of the things that is almost always affected in a recession is the real estate market. In most cases the real estate market follows what is going on in the economy. If the economy is rolling along the real estate market typically follows suit. Conversely the market will also be affected negatively is the economy is not performing well. Two things that can have a dramatic affect on the real estate markets performance are interest rates and the stock market. Both of these forces however can have varying effects on different types of buyers in the market. For example interest rates are more likely to have a greater impact on first time home buyers as a rate can really change a buyers purchasing power. The stock market on the other hand has a very powerful influence on those who are more wealthy and are heavily invested. Many luxury home buyers will be completely swayed whether to purchase a home based on how well their portfolio is performing. Each of these things of course can impact the amount of sales a real estate agent is looking at in a given year. This would especially be the case for an agent who has not established themselves well enough in the business. Is there a particular way realtors should approach selling/buying homes for clients during a recession? There really isn’t a different approach for a Realtor when selling homes for clients during a recession. There are however some Realtors who will make the mistake of spending less on marketing because of a lack of funds coming in. This is a big mistake! When times are tough the best of the best spend more money on marketing not less. How does a real estate broker keep his/her head above water when clients are not arriving to buy or sell houses? One thing that is kind of unique about the real estate industry is that the pay is commission based. Most real estate agents do not earn a salary so it is important to learn how to budget properly especially when times are tough. A Realtor should not only be investing a portion of each of their commission checks back into the business but also setting aside money for those times when things get tough. Are there any tips and tricks to selling or buying a home that real estate agents can employ during economic strife to increase the likelihood of a successful purchase/sale? The best tip of selling a home in any time is to make sure you are giving accurate pricing guidance and then doing an exceptional job of marketing. One of the things that often...

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Moving Soon? Declutter Beforehand

Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Mark Healey | Comments Off on Moving Soon? Declutter Beforehand

Moving Soon? Declutter Beforehand

Flicking on a light switch you notice a stack of month-old newspapers sitting in the living room corner surrounded by a pile of last week’s clothes, and that seven partially-full coffee mugs are haphazardly resting around the room, one nudge away from spilling their contents on the new carpet. Moving boxes are scattered around the area; some are full of random, dust-covered possessions that were tucked away in nooks and crannies for the last five years. You didn’t think moving would be this hard. You forgot how much junk you actually own, or why you even bought it in the first place. Sighing, it dawns on you that you wouldn’t be in this predicament if you de-cluttered the home first. The good news is you can now forewarn others about this calamity by giving them the following advice. The five minute clean up Once you’ve committed to moving, the best way to de-clutter, without taking up time from other tasks, is to start the process early. Begin cleaning up two weeks before you actually begin packing. Why start that early? Because you’re only going to spend five minutes a day de-cluttering specific parts of the house. It’s true that five minutes isn’t going to solve all of your problems, but it’s an excellent start. By taking those five minutes day after day, it’ll make a difference before you know it. But you have so much stuff to go through, where is the best place to start? Begin by creating a “no clutter zone,” by clearing everything away in a specific spot, be it a coffee table, kitchen counter or a three foot perimeter around your bed. Make a rule that nothing is allowed within this clutter-free zone that isn’t currently in use. Once something is no longer being used, it needs to be put away instead of being left in the new area. Every next day, take five more minutes and expand the zone. Maintain this method long enough and you’ll eventually get the entire room done. But if you have to move quickly, the slow and steady approach isn’t going to work well enough. The Trash Bag If you’re on a time sensitive deadline to de-clutter one of the simplest options is to grab a large trash bag, choose a room, and then begin filling the bag with items you either don’t want or don’t need. Naturally, debates are going to sprout whether you need something or not. To solve this, ask yourself if you’ve used it in the last three months. Yes? Keep it. No? In the bag it goes. Once you’ve filled up this bag, assuming there is no literal trash inside, donate the bag to a local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Repeat this process once a day and, before you know it, you’ll be ready to pack what possessions you actually want to keep. The 12-12-12 Challenge This is a task the whole family, kids included, can partake in and make a big impact. The goal is to choose 36 items, 12 of which are junk to be thrown out, another 12 that will be donated, and the last 12 are things you want to keep. This can be made into a fun competition as well, upping the numbers as you go along. If you...

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10 Household Leaks You Can Prevent

Posted by on Mar 27, 2014 in Mark Healey | Comments Off on 10 Household Leaks You Can Prevent

10 Household Leaks You Can Prevent

Nobody likes to hear the sound of a leaking faucet,  and USAA recently shared an article detailing the 10 most common leaks and what homeowners can do to address them.. 1. Washing Machines Since the clothes washer is the biggest leak hazard you have to make sure you place it in a room with a floor drain. This helps minimize damage if there is a flood if it is on the top floor near the bedrooms, and floods, everything below it will be soaked and destroyed. To be extra safe replace old hoses every five years,check the connections every year, and make sure that you know how to shut off the water to the washer.   2. Plumbing Systems A burst pipe is one of the costliest repairs a homeowner can face. It may run as much as $8,000!  Freezing and high water pressures can shorten the life of these pipes.  To be safe watch for spikes in your water bill, listen for pipes that ping or bang, and make sure your water pressure is 30-40 PSI. Check that your main pipes are buried deep enough that they will not freeze in the winter.Finally make sure that everyone knows where the main water shut off valve is. Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. 3. Toilets Toilets can flood your home 2 ways – a leaky supply line or an overflow. To prevent this check the supply lines yearly and make sure they are secure. If you happen to encounter a clog, lift the tank lid, close the flapper, lift the ball, and then turn off the supply line. This will prevent overflows.   4. Water Heaters Water heaters, which can hold up to 80 gallons of water, can cause major damage if they are located on a main level and fail. Since they have a lifespan of about 10 years they need to be check and maintained or they may rust and fail.  Make sure you have a floor drain so that if your water heater ruptures you could avoid a major catastrophe.   WOULDA COULDA SHOULDA A water detection device could’ve helped prevent several weeks of personal misery and thousands of dollars in losses for one USAA employee. 5. Drains and Sump Pumps The worst possible leak is a bakced up sewer drain. Sewage in a home is not only smelly but alos bad for health.  To prevent this messisest of floods have backflow preventers installed by a plumber, keep trees and their roots away from the drainage lines, and avoid pouring grease down the drain.   6. Dishwashers and Refrigerators Kitchen leaks are actually fairly common but avoidable. Unfortunately these leaks can go on for yeas behind appliances and never be seen until the damage is done.  So check for leaks under appliances from time to time and identify discoloration as an early warning sign. Also be sure the connections are tight and secure when you clean out behind the fridge every year.   7. Sinks, Showers and Bathtubs Sinks and showers are also common flood risks because we use them every day. Some times we forget to turn them off, and some times we simply splash more than we think. To prevent these from causing damage make sure that the caulk around the sinks and tubs and showers...

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Do Deaths In Homes Affect Their Sale Price?

Posted by on Mar 5, 2014 in Mark Healey | Comments Off on Do Deaths In Homes Affect Their Sale Price?

Do Deaths In Homes Affect Their Sale Price?

So here is a situation that you may find yourself in one day. Your real estate agent shows you a home, and you fall in love with it. Seriously fall in love with it. It has the right size, great design, perfect neighborhood, and a surprisingly reasonable price. That is when your realtor shatters the moment and tells you that someone died in the house. But is the dream really over?Does it matter if someone died in the house? If someone dies in a house does it affect the sale price? First you have to understand the kind of tragedy that took place in the home before you determine if it impacts the sale price. When something tragic happens in a home, and it becomes public knowledge, the home becomes ‘a stigmatized property‘. Do does a stigmatized property sell for less? – “it depends”. Estate Sale of a Home The important thing when talking about stigmatized properties is always how the general see the events that took place. Lots of older people pass away in their homes. Unless you read the obituatires you would never know. Some people check the obituaries to find possible homes to buy before they are listed for sale. In that case, the death in the home may increase the sale price. How Do You Sell The Murder House? Every city has ‘that murder house’, where there was a violent crime. When a home is that notorious it you may see the banks, who typically ends up inheriting the real estate, tear it down because it is just unsellable. So there a death can really impact the price of the home. But there is a pool of buyers who do not care about what happened in the home in the past. All that they care about is getting a great deal, and a stigmatized home may offer them that. How long can a house be stigmatized? How long a house is stigmatized depends on how public perception changes over time. If the story persists in the media and the public’s mind the stigma can last for generations. So if you buy a stigmatized house you may save a bit of money, but you had better be prepared to sell it for less for the same reason you bought it for less. How Do I Know if Someone Died in my Cincinnati House, or if it is a Stigmatized House? Before you even begin a home search you should speak with a Realtor  whoactively works in the areas you are interested in. . They know the market and can answer these kinds of questions. . Beyond that  why not Google the home address and search for articles about the home? There are also services such as Died in House that runs a registry of stigmatized homes. It could be a good investment if you are concerned about things like this. As a parting though – when celebrities die in their homes they become stigmatized too. Here are a few interesting examples. Alison Moss is a Cincinnati real estate agent and can be reached at...

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Warm Investments… Home Heating Alternatives

Posted by on Feb 14, 2014 in Mark Healey | Comments Off on Warm Investments… Home Heating Alternatives

Warm Investments… Home Heating Alternatives

Maybe you’re looking for ways to simultaneously green up your home while reducing heating monthly heat costs during cold winter months. Especially if you’re building a new home or moving to a new home in a cold city like Vancouver, it could be helpful to plan for the future by investing in a nontraditional heating system. By and large, most American households are heated by consuming natural gas, following close behind is electricity. In fact, over 50% of US homes are heated using some type of gas-powered heating system and the majority of those people use what is known as a central warm air furnace. However, as with any natural resource in high demand, prices will climb as a response to increased scarcity. To combat or prepare for the cost of natural resources, you might wish to consider greener / more sustainable home heating options. Geothermal Heat Pumps Geothermal heat pumps, conceivably the smartest solution to winter blues problems, will also help cool you down when scorching summer months arrive. This is one of the best solutions to combating year-round temperature fluctuations. The fundamentals behind these systems are incredibly simple as they take advantage of nature’s 100% renewable energy (stable ground temperature). It turns out that the earth’s temperature about 10 feet down remains at a consistent 54 degrees fahrenheit. We can tap into that heat and export it to desired locations – like our homes! These systems attach to your home’s HVAC unit, so you’ll still need to schedule regular HVAC tuneups. Although upfront costs are higher than other, more traditional choices, geothermal heating and cooling systems can substantially lower energy & utility bills, eventually covering their original cost. Furthermore, individuals who invest in geothermal heating and cooling qualify for energy tax credits. Overall, geothermal heating and cooling is great for people building a new home or who plan to live in their current home for a number of years. If you’re selling a home with a system already installed, the selling value will be significantly higher. Furthermore, these systems can work in conjunction with tankless water heaters, solar water heaters and hybrid water heaters. They can also be hooked up to infloor radiant heating systems. Pellet Stoves This may sound like an old fashioned alternative and yes pellet stoves have been around for awhile but, like one might expect, technological advancements have made these stoves much more convenient. How advanced are we talking? Well, as it may be, most newer models automatically ignite and cycle themselves and can be controlled by a thermostat. The really fancy ones can even be controlled remotely. Although pellets burn cleanly, they do produce a small amount of byproduct. When purchasing pellets, it’s important to note their efficiency grade. Premium grade pellets will burn at hotter temperatures and produce only 1% of their weight in waste. 100 pounds of pellets leaves you cleaning 1 pound of ash. That beats paying for and cleaning out your home’s air filter regularly. Furthermore, these pellets stoves can burn materials such as grain, corn and woodchips. How much do these pellets cost? You might be wondering. Well, according to the United States Department of Energy, the average cost of a ton of pellets is $190. Plus, $15.15 creates around 1 million British Thermal Units (BTU). To put this into perspective, 60,000 BTU’s can heat a 2,000-square-foot home....

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