Noel Johnson's Blog Posts

Landscape Architects Champion (Guess What?) Mud Pies!

Last Thursday, the professional blog of the American Society of Landscape Architects championed an unlikely health abettor: "mud pies." At first blush, that sounds more like an April Fool’s

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“Double Yellow Line Value Killer” Not Obvious from its Listing

As it relates to St. Cloud residential properties, the “location, location, location” homily is usually thought of as referring to neighborhoods. Homes in superior St. Cloud

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What Inevitable Force is Tamed by St. Cloud Real Estate?

You can forgive those responsible for the St. Cloud family shopping if they tend to be suspicious when we go for long without hearing much about inflation. Last Wednesday’s Associated Press

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Buying St. Cloud Homes: Sure Thing in Volatile Times

St. Cloud readers may have come across a worrisome prospect being suggested by some prominent real estate pundits: the likelihood that the steady rise in residential real estate values will trigger

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St. Cloud Home Theaters May Morph into Something Else

Last week’s announcement came as gloomy news for local filmgoers who’d been counting on a field trip to see the new James Bond release (it’s been delayed again, this time, until

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A Practical Housewarming Gift List for New St. Cloud Arrivals

The U.S. News & World Report weighed in last week with a quite useful list: housewarming gift ideas that are both thoughtful and practical. The entire list ran to 15 entries—some less

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Will a “Renter Nation” Future Spur St. Cloud Investor Interest?

When yahoo!finance (the exclamation point is part of the title) puts residential real estate at the top of their feed, a fair number of St. Cloud readers are apt to come across it. Last Thursday,

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To Sell Your St. Cloud House, this Room Rates Attention

Once you have decided to sell your St. Cloud house, unless it’s already in top-notch shape, you face some meaningful decisions about things that might need to be refreshed, upgraded, or

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Why St. Cloud Mortgage Rates are Anything but “Normal”

Ask any grandparent: “is it actually true that St. Cloud mortgage rates averaged more than 18%?” They’ll tell you. It happened. And that was less than 40 years ago.The reason to

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Your St. Cloud Home’s Value and Sale Price: they’re Different

Last month’s U.S. News article headline looked promising: “The Guide to Understanding Your Home Value.” What St. Cloud homeowner isn’t at least curious about that? Written by

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October Means it's St Cloud Home Safety Check-up Time!

October arrives on Thursday, which means it's time for homeowners to set aside the hour or two it takes to carry out an annual October home safety check-up. October is widely deemed the appropriate

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Existing Home Sales Skyrocket with No Need for the ‘R’ Word

When corporate leaders seek to communicate good news on their company’s performance, they frequently reach for the ‘R’ word: “robust.” Sales are robust; production is

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Probing the Future and St. Cloud’s Residential Real Estate

“To understand the future, we must focus on what real estate does for people.”That deceptively simple quote underlies the central proposition in this month’s Editor’s Pick by

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Closing Out Your Unused Credit Cards? Not So Fast!

St. Cloud residents who will be buying a home, refinancing their mortgage, or even just financing a car anytime soon, should think twice before making abrupt credit moves. Even some actions intended

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If This is Tuesday, it Must be Autumn in St. Cloud

Tuesday marks the end of summer and the onset of autumn in St. Cloud—the day astrophysicists and TV weather forecasters like to refer to as “the autumnal equinox.” After the,

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Year-End Real Estate Predictions: Take Your Choice

It’s normally tricky business to predict the direction that the U.S. real estate market will be taking in any coming year, but in most years, projecting the situation for just a few months in

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Negotiating St. Cloud Home Sales Calls for Cool

A few years back, the Business Insider listed one tip for negotiating a home sale: “Don’t be a jerk!” That sounds like a hyperbolic put-down (after all, who wants to be a jerk?).

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When Home Loan Rates Don’t Match All-Time Lows

Last week, those who closely monitor St. Cloud home loan rates were treated to a literary fit of impatience by the Mortgage News Daily—usually one of the most dispassionate of mortgage.

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For St. Cloud Home Buyers, Fall Brings Renewed Incentives

For everyone whose springtime house-hunting plans were disrupted by the pandemic, it might seem best to just let the year pass before renewing the project, since things still haven’t settled

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This Year’s St. Cloud Labor Day is a Little Bit Different

Doug Larson was a local columnist in Wisconsin who won national prominence for his droll observations. He came up with what is still the most often repeated joke about Labor Day: “If all the

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Home Loan Paperwork Addition Resembles a Childhood Oath

“Cross my heart and hope to die!”It’s one of childhood’s most solemn oaths, still uttered by six-year-olds who hope it will convince one and all of their heartfelt intention

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Googling Sales Gains, Why the Apparent Disparity?

St. Cloud real estate observers who Googled ‘existing home sales’ on Friday would have encountered a valuable reminder of how statistics can be true—but nonetheless misleading.

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St. Cloud Residential Inquiries during Summer’s Silly Season

This year may go into the history books as the one that sprang more surprises and turnarounds—including unparalleled disruptions and resumptions in St. Cloud residential commerce —than

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What Common St. Cloud Refinance Decision May Prove Costly?

“This is so very wrong,” wrote leading personal finance adviser Suze Orman last week. She was blogging about what she considers a major error being made by homeowners currently arranging

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Why are Average Down Payments Shrinking?

Most of today’s first-time St. Cloud home buyers are aware that they’re no longer tied to strictures laid down in previous eras—especially the one dealing with 20% down payments.

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Is ‘Own-to-Rent’ Impacting St. Cloud Home Sales?

Last week a thought-provoking article appeared on PYMNTS.com (the leading news channel for the payments industry). In case you’re one of the St. Cloud residents who’s never even heard of

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Home Improvement Surge: Another Pandemic Side-Effect?

One pandemic side-effect affecting St. Cloud residential properties got Wall Street’s attention last week. The second-quarter sales numbers were scheduled for release, and the home improvement

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Practical Moving Tips for Getting Started Early

You don’t have to rely on psychologists to know that moving your entire St. Cloud household can be one of life’s more taxing events. Early on, well before you have firmed up a moving,

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St. Cloud Home Sellers Greeted by Encouraging Signs

For prospective St. Cloud home sellers who have been holding back, waiting for the past months’ chaotic events to quiet down, last week ended with an array of encouraging signs. The national

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For St. Cloud Listing Lingo, ‘Most Popular’ May Not be ‘Best’

Today's St. Cloud real estate listings create a live, real-time catalog of homes from Architecture Digest-worthy estates to the humblest fixers. When the nuts and bolts of a property fill the

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Record Mortgage Rates: Is It Time to Invest in Real Estate?

Most people are aware of the record-setting lows St. Cloud mortgage rates are chalking up right now—the kind of rates that create tempting cashflow projections for even the most conservative

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Reliable St. Cloud Movers Face “Black Hat” Competitors

Back in February, the housing market’s watchdog housingwire.com observed that a good way to judge the strength of the housing industry is to “Look at how often people move.” That

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Virtual Tours in St. Cloud: Now’s the Time!

In case you’ve been thinking of selling your home but aren’t keen on letting strangers into the house at this moment in time, that problem has a two-word solution (although, in fact,

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How the Pandemic is Affecting Homebuyers in St. Cloud

In the days before COVID-19, had you asked most people how a pandemic might affect the homebuying public in St. Cloud, a fair majority would probably have replied something along the lines of &ldquo

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Why St. Cloud Real Estate Prospects: Different This Time

The bright economic news that began this summer may have wilted a bit in the July heat, but as the month draws to a close, St. Cloud real estate watchers have reason to doubt that some of the more

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One St. Cloud Homeowner Decision Gets Tougher

There used to be little debate when it came to the kind of houseplants St. Cloud homeowners preferred. For the finishing touches they provide, the gracious choice was always the live variety.

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St. Cloud Apartments: What Will They Think Up Next?

St. Cloud apartments—specifically, the way new apartment complexes are built—could be in for some major changes if some tech company executives are right. The idea is to bring the

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One Way to Recognize the Best St. Cloud Real Estate Agent

By definition, the best St. Cloud real estate agent for you is the one who sells your St. Cloud home soonest, for the highest price, and with a minimum of hassle. Because you have to designate the

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St. Cloud Home Fixer-uppers: Not for Everyone

Despite the well-documented national shortfall in residential housing, determined house hunters still can find St. Cloud homes for sale that are priced to sell. Given today’s extremely low

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St. Cloud Readers Find Evidence of Home Sales Resurgence

Yahoo’s “Money” tab is a source St. Cloud readers can visit for non-technical reportage on the latest U.S. economic developments. Last week it led with a surprisingly upbeat look

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AC: a Cool Feature for Selling Your St. Cloud House

There was a sort of silly article last summer, “What You Can Do if Your Air Conditioner Breaks Before Selling Your House”—a title designed to ensure that St. Cloud readers who plan

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Why Experienced St. Cloud Realtors® Ignore "Zestimates"

Today's St. Cloud house hunters are using the web more than ever—and more than ever, they're running into seemingly omnipresent "Zillow." It's unavoidable because Zillow ads are everywhere

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How Millennial, Boomer, and GenXer Traits Differ

If you are thinking about putting up your St. Cloud home for sale, you can expect that a goodly number of the buyers who will be considering your property will be female. And increasingly, the

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Luxury Homes in St. Cloud: Part of a Rising Market Segment

If Yahoo Finance’s take is correct, as residential real estate continues to revive after the economic shocks of the pandemic, high-end properties may be among the first to lead the recovery.

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Should St. Cloud Celebrate Independence on July 8?

John Adams’ ferocious work ethic was legendary among the Founding Fathers, which makes it more than a little ironic that he could rightfully be called the foremost Party Planner of the.

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Few Luxury Homes are This Nostalgic…

St. Cloud luxury homes can be categorized as ultra-modern or even exhilarating contemporary, incorporating the latest wifi- and Bluetooth-enabled smart home technology in with elegant design and

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What Workplace Change Could Affect St. Cloud Real Estate?

As more and more local businesses cautiously reopen, it’s becoming apparent that some lifestyle changes that began as temporary adaptations may be around for a while. One of those could impact

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“Nothing Short of Miraculous”—Housing Market Rebound

Long ago, Hollywood discovered the ticket-selling power of inserting “Miracle” into film titles. St. Cloud moviegoers in the early 20th century flocked to the Christmas family classic,

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Behind the Decision to Enlist St. Cloud Realtors®

Most St. Cloud homeowners who prepare to put their homes on the market come to the same decision—to tap into the services of one of St. Cloud’s Realtors®. They decide they’ll

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St. Cloud Real Estate on Our Longest Day of the Year

St. Cloud’s summer solstice arrives this Saturday, June 20th. Astrophysically speaking, the solstice marks the longest day of our year. The moment of the summer solstice prompts a lot of

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St. Cloud Mortgage Interest Rates: Calm in the Storm

The unsettling events of the first half of 2020 have prompted some St. Cloud residents to adopt a wait-and-see attitude—especially major decisions concerning St. Cloud real estate. For most of

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Friday’s News Shock Rocks St. Cloud Real Estate Prospects

Last Friday morning, St. Cloud residents who had braced themselves for the dismal details of an unprecedented surge in national unemployment heard some astounding news instead. The greatest surge in

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The Joy of Tidying Up before St. Cloud’s Summer Begins

Summer doesn’t officially begin until the 20th, but with most St. Cloud householders having spent so much time at home, it’s a cinch that there will be a lot more need than usual to tidy

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Selling Your St. Cloud Home? The 2nd Crucial Decision

When the objective is selling your St. Cloud home for the highest price (which it always is), establishing the asking price is the second of the two most crucial decisions you will make. Many

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St. Cloud Real Estate Activity Eludes Expert Predictions

predictions, last week was a good one…to take the week off! In a week crammed with news that ranged from tragic (Minnesota) to triumphant (America’s superbly art-directed return to)

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Why St. Cloud’s Summer Weather is Especially Welcome

Officially, St. Cloud’s summer won’t arrive for a couple of weeks—but Memorial Day was the unofficial starting date, and the thermometer has seemed to agree more with that than

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St. Cloud House Hunting for a “Very Satisfied” Result

One consequence of the pandemic was the on-again/off-again nature of this year’s St. Cloud real estate busy season. The restrictions resulted in what you’d expect: pent-up demand. The

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What's the Story behind those Memorial Day Poppies?

St. Cloud families with members currently serving in the armed forces don't need to be reminded of the purpose of the Memorial Day holiday. In most years, that somber meaning can be all but drowned

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In St. Cloud Listings, What’s “Sticky”?

Crafting language that makes a property stand out in the St. Cloud listings is one of the skills that successful Realtors® continue to develop throughout their careers. Initially, a listing;

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Buying a Home in St. Cloud Now: 6 Factors

The other day, it was interesting to read a featured commentary on the MoneyCrashers.com website. It promised to pinpoint the “6 Factors” to consider when deciding whether you

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Airbnb Turmoil: Early Signal for St. Cloud Homebuyers?

Prospective St. Cloud homebuyers who have held fire during the pandemic emergency might be encouraged by some signs emanating from Wall Street. Although the news was narrowly focused on a vacation

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Is St. Cloud Real Estate Poised for an Early Turnaround?

St. Cloud homeowners could be forgiven if recent months of preponderantly bleak reportage have driven them to cut down on their news consumption. Since no one has a very clear picture of how quickly

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Why are St. Cloud Home Values More Stable This Time?

About the last thing area homeowners need now is to spend time worrying about the effect the pandemic will have on their St. Cloud home values. Given that memories of the Great Recession have yet to

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St. Cloud Mortgage Rates Make History

For St. Cloud mortgage interest rate chroniclers, this month began with the culmination of a trend that’s been playing out for quite some time. It’s “the other shoe” that

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For St. Cloud Homeowners, Potting Season is Game On!

We’ve arrived at the familiar post-Mother’s Day time of year. The birds are cheering up everyone’s St. Cloud mornings with their noisy springtime come-hither commotion. Out in the

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A Rosy Report, St. Cloud Homes, and a Prediction Draught

Last Thursday was the regular release date for ATTOM Data Solution’s quarterly Home Equity report. This year, ongoing events created the need for some additional commentary.As the &ldquo

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Businesswise, What’s Odd about Selling Your St. Cloud Home?

Looking at the prospect of selling your St. Cloud home from a purely business perspective, it has some odd sales attributes. Pricing is definitely one of them.Consider how manufacturers arrive at a

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What 7 Spring Cleaning Tips Make for a Professional Job?

The feeling of being cooped up that has predominated throughout so much of St. Cloud’s springtime may be loosening up, but one way to capitalize on the situation is to take the extra indoors

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For St. Cloud Home Buyers and Sellers, a Shift in Tone

The “Real Estate News” tab in Realtor.com is a reliable source for information that real estate followers—especially active St. Cloud home buyers and sellers—can turn to for

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St. Cloud’s May Day Traditions Recalled

May Day is an officially recognized public holiday in 66 nations and unofficially celebrated in many more—but here in the U.S., it isn’t. That’s why on Friday, there won’t be

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Out of the St. Cloud Entertainment Void, Stirrings of Life

Despite all hurdles, St. Cloud residential real estate continues actively—now with the sense that an uptick is in the wind. Even for area homeowners who have been waiting for a return to pre

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Is it Time for Your Own “As Soon as This Passes” Plan?

Like many other local professional people, we St. Cloud Realtors® have been working in a challenging (you might say, “topsy-turvy”) business environment. It’s one that nobody

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Listing Your St. Cloud House Now: Surprising Positives

At first blush, the idea of listing your St. Cloud house during today’s emergency conditions would seem impractical—but it turns out to be entirely doable. There are even some plusses

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Distressed St. Cloud Homeowners Get Forbearance Relief

Fallout from the abrupt closure of local businesses has created financial chaos for some St. Cloud homeowners. For breadwinners forced to make painful choices between creditors, there seems to be no

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What’s the Chance of Selling Your “Unique” St. Cloud Home?

Suppose your St. Cloud home is an oddball? It may be a terrific residence, but there’s no denying that it just doesn’t fit in very well with the feel of the neighborhood. In St. Cloud,

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Despite a Monkey Wrench, the St. Cloud Census is On!

By now, just about everyone has been contacted in one way or another by the folks at the Census Bureau. For St. Cloud residents who received a letter, email, or smartphone notification, it probably

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History’s Surprise Hints for Future St. Cloud Home Values

After what seemed like ages, the tone of the news started to slowly brighten last week. Government officials began to discuss how they anticipated managing a return to pre-pandemic life—one

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Events Distract from Epic St. Cloud Home Loan Bargains

Last week Yahoo’s Finance page led with a commentary that posed the question, “Why Aren’t Homeowners Taking Advantage of Low Mortgage Rates?” Although the premise (

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Through Dire Circumstances, St. Cloud Real Estate Happens

For the next wave of St. Cloud home buyers—as well as for homeowners who intend to offer their St. Cloud properties for sale—the past week produced little to clarify what to expect from

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St. Cloud Homes Might Revive a WWII Endeavor

Among the ideas being floated for projects that make the most of today’s dislodged daily schedules is one that harkens back to old WWII movies—the ones that sometimes showed “Rosie

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What’s the True Reason for “Soap” and “20 Seconds?”

By now, everyone in St. Cloud has had drummed into their consciousness the advice repeated endlessly from every quarter: that we wash our hands for 20 seconds. It’s sound advice that’s

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