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Buying Your First Property in London

moove2london on 22 Mar 2014

Over the past year, house prices have risen by 8.1 percent in London and are now currently at a record high. The average home in London costs £425,000, and this means that a significant investment is required if you’re serious about buying a place in the city. Renting prices can be proportionately even higher, and this means that many professionals are being priced out of renting and forced to climb on to the property ladder. A house or flat in London should be viewed as an investment, and if you’re fortunate enough to have a generous budget then London is definitely the place to buy.

Location Matters
London’s size and the diversity of the areas it has to offer means that first time buyers can be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a postcode. For those on a more modest budget, it’s definitely a good idea to put aside location prejudices and turn to the lesser known addresses to find somewhere more reasonably priced. Many of London’s ‘bad reputation’ areas are becoming gentrified and are now referred to as ‘up and coming’ and can be great investments if you’re considering renting out your property, or selling it on in the future. For those with more money to spend, it’s worth being as close to central London as possible. Some postcodes will always inspire envy and admiration in others, and areas such as Chelsea, Kensington, Richmond and Mayfair will always have a reputation for style and class.

Negotiation is Encouraged
Whether you’re strapped for cash or newly minted, it’s definitely worth negotiating your price. The asking price is usually a guide, and many sellers are willing to accept a lower price. First time buyers are attractive to sellers because they come unencumbered by another property, and this can encourage sellers to drop the price accordingly. Remember that there’s no substitute for good research and that the internet is a very important tool for comparing properties and getting clued up on the kind of prices places are selling for. Check how much of a difference there is between the sale and asking prices, and how long properties sit on the market for before they are snapped up.

Buying at Auction
Some properties in London are sold at auction, and these tend to be slightly ‘distressed’ assets that banks or other investment groups are trying to move cheaply. The risks of buying at auction are similar to those for buying through a private treaty and it’s essential that buyers do their research before they commit. At auction, the documentation and necessary property info will be available beforehand, so make sure you or your solicitor reads it carefully before you put in an offer. Winning a property at auction also means that you should have a deposit of 10 percent ready.
Whether you’re making good use of the government’s popular Help To Buy scheme or borrowing from generous parents, London is the place to invest in property. To find out more about buying and renting in the capital, contact an experienced agency like Wilfords London.

The Complete Student Landlord Guide

moove2london on 22 Mar 2014

University College London, Queen Mary’s College London, King’s College London and Imperial College London are just a small selection of the large number of universities which have their homes in England’s capital. This means that each and every year, thousands of students from around the world come flocking to the city for the opportunity to learn at some of the finest academic institutions the nation – and indeed the world – has to offer. Ultimately, this means that there is a growing need for student housing across the capital, with the South West of London included. This means that if you can stomach the thought of letting out your property to students, it’s a great way to ensure your property will be filled all year round.

Letting Go of False Preconceptions
Students get a bad name when it comes to being tenants because many have the false preconceptions that every student flat will feel like a ‘Skins’ party day-in, day-out. Of course, this isn’t the case, and as the number of international students (15 percent of all students in 2008 to 21 percent by 2018), and mature and postgraduate students increases over the coming years, it’s more than likely going to be the case that the types of tenants student landlords receive will be greatly different to mainstream ‘party culture’ preconception.

Increase Your Profit
With non-student tenants, it’s almost certain that in a three bedroom property, as a landlord you could only have three tenants. This isn’t the case with student tenants, however, as most students are looking for the best deal – in financial terms – that’s available, so this means that converting a living room or dining room into a fourth bedroom and finding a fourth tenant to fill it would be perfectly acceptable. In fact, the students are likely to welcome this, as it will bring their individual monthly rent down, while you receive more income per month.

Budget décor and Interior Design
Another benefit to dealing primarily with student tenants is that their standards for what constitutes acceptable living are much more reasonable than the professionals market. This means that so long as the property is presented well and has the basic amenities; your student tenants are likely to be appeased. In terms of furniture, a trip to a site like PeelMount will ensure you can source high-quality, yet inexpensive, bedroom furniture all from the same place, making the paper trail easier if you need to return or replace something.

ROI
Although you might think that students are the sorts of tenants who will be there for a year and then be gone, student tenants can be fiercely loyal to their landlords if treated with the appropriate level of respect and service. If you only provide the bare minimums and exclude things like ironing board, vacuum cleaner and free light bulbs, your tenants will more than likely leave after the minimum allotted time. However, if you provide the extras aforementioned and listen to your tenants’ questions, you’ll build rapport and they might just stay for longer. Doing this might take greater effort, but it will also guarantee that your tenants remain loyal to you, ensuring their custom for future years.

Ukrainians moving to London

moove2london on 04 Mar 2014

For obvious reasons, we’ve noticed a huge increase in Ukrainian visitors coming to our site over the last couple of days.
Whilst we do not offer personalised moving assistance, we wanted to help out any Ukrainians who are wanting to visit or move to London in the near future by providing a list of companies and websites that you can contact for guidance.
For visas, you’ll most likely require either a General Visit visa or a Family visit visa – both of which would allow you to stay in the UK for up to 6 months. Both can be applied for up to 3 months in advance of your visit and you would normally receive a decision on your visa status within 3 weeks if you apply direct through the UKBA website.
If you understandably require a fast track visa service, then a company such as 1stContact may be able to help you.

Other organisations and websites that may be helpful to you include:

In terms of getting to London, you can use a site such as Skyscanner.net which gives you a breakdown of all airlines flying from Kiev (and other Ukrainian cities) to one of our London airports. Airlines such as Ukraine International, British Airways and Turkish Airways have frequent flights leaving daily, with some seats available on the day if you’re lucky.
For those of you who would prefer to get here without flying, you could consider travelling to London by train. Seat61.com offers a full summary of the route to London – which involves travelling by sleeper train from Kiev to Warsaw, spend the day in Warsaw, then board another sleeper train to Cologne. Take an early morning train to Brussels and finally the Eurostar to London. The whole journey will take you just less than 2 days.
There are also options to start the journey from beyond Kiev in places such as Odessa, Sebastapol, Yalta or Simferopol. Ticket details can be found on Seat61.com – this is unlikely to be as affordable as flying to London and will also obviously take much longer.

Do not buy tickets for flights or train travel until you’ve secured your visa though.
If you do get a visa organised, then your next step will probably be wondering be where to stay when you arrive in London. Those of you on a family visit visa will undoubtedly be staying with family.
Others can use sites such as Easyroommate which is a fantastic flat finding service, local estate agents (rightmove.co.uk is a good starting place for rentals, some of which will be short-term within your 6 month period), or a hostel site such as hostelworld.co.uk. Hotels are also an option depending on your budget. Expedia.co.uk has a great range.

Once you’re here, you might be interested in getting in touch with other Ukrainians in London – there are a couple of Facebook groups such as Ukrainian Events in London and of course the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family which will allow you the opportunity to meet fellow Ukrainians.

We wish you the best of luck.

Be an Au Pair in London

moove2london on 08 Feb 2014

For those of you who are thinking of moving to London from abroad, you might be interested in becoming an au pair in London.
An au pair comes to England as part of an ‘au pair scheme’ and is typically from another European country. Very often au pairs are between the age of 18-20 and are on a gap year, but this is not always the case. An au pair visa allows you to work in the UK as an au pair for up to 2 years.
Au pairs live with a host family in order to help take care of the family’s children and assist with general light housework. In return, an au pair can expect to improve their English language skills, often enrolling in a language school and of course live in an exciting and vibrant city like London where they can meet many other young people.

In terms of the ‘deal’, au pairs can expect to be given their own bedroom and all meals will be included in their board. It is often common to have additional expenses such as a mobile phone and travelcard paid for, particularly if they are essential to the daily duties of the au pair – for instance if it is necessary to travel on public transport to pick up/drop off the children at nursery.
It is important that the host family are clear about the au pairs hours from the outset – 25-35 hours per week is the norm spread over 5 days and for this an au pair can expect to earn £65-80 per week on top of the room and board.
Babysitting work can also be agreed upon as an optional paid extra.

In terms of qualifications, whilst it is not necessary to have taken any childcare certifications as an au pair, it is desirable as there have been a number of newspaper reports with attention-grabbing headlines such as this one from the Daily Mail – ‘Drunk on the school run, dragging toddlers by the hair and never off the phone – are cut-price au pairs damaging our children?’. This has obviously alarmed families so at the very least you must have and display an interest in enthusiasm in caring for children. You should also be dedicated to fitting in with the routines and disciplinary methods that are currently in place for the children at home. It is a very good idea to seek an au pair position through a recognised agency such as the British Au Pairs Agency Association who will properly vet you.

Once you have acquired a position, moved to London and got to know your host family, you might feel that moving to London has been somewhat of a culture shock – don’t worry, because here at Moove2London we have helped thousands of newcomers who feel a little out of their depth. Take a look at the articles on our site that help you settle into London for the first time, find out how to meet people in London and discover how to enjoy our exciting city on a budget – it can be done.

The effect of young professionals on London’s property market

moove2london on 07 Feb 2014

Winkworth estate agents have confirmed today in the Metro what we have suspected for a long time – young professionals are key players in the state and shape of London’s property market. Young professionals decisions on where to live in London create a pattern that ripples across London throughout the years. It goes a little bit something like this: young professionals choose a suitable area that holds amenities (transport links, pubs and bars, restaurants, local gym etc) and is convenient for their workplace. They flood into the area as it becomes more gentrified and established. This of course pushes prices and demand up. New prospective incomers to the area find that they are outpriced and can get a lot more for their money just down the road in the neighbouring postcode, so a new influx of interest floods the next area which in turn gets posher as the years go by. And so this domino effect goes on and on.

It has had a staggering effect on property prices in various areas as the following information proves:
10 years ago, in Islington (a mecca for young professionals and graduates) prices were 12% above the average of London’s property prices. These prices are today 40% higher than the average.
Other areas that are popular with young professionals can report similar findings – Hammersmith and Fulham was 24% above average prices 10 years ago, it is now 65% above. Hackney was 6% LOWER than average London prices 10 years ago, now it is 22% HIGHER. Tower Hamlets and Wandsworth were 1% and 2% respectively higher than average 10 years ago, they are now both 22% higher than average houseprices in London. All of these areas mentioned have over 50% of the population aged between 20-44.

So why is this effect more prominent in London than it is around the rest of the country? Well, according to the Office of National Statistics, 60% of London’s workforce are graduates. This is much higher than Scotland (41% graduates), Wales (33% graduates) and the North-East of England (29% graduates).

Where do we expect young professionals to move to next in London? Whilst there’s been a lot of talk about the commuter belt in recent times, with the Crossrail plans coming into fruition, we don’t really expect a lot of young professionals to want to move too far outside of Central London – so look closely at currently ‘cheap’ areas such as Penge, Collier’s Wood, Enfield, Leyton, Eltham, Wood Green and South Norwood.

If you’re interested in finding accommodation in any of the areas we’ve mentioned today, check out Easyroommate

Make money by hiring out your car in London

moove2london on 04 Feb 2014

We’ve talked in the past about the benefits of Car Sharing in London, but now we’ve come across a brilliant scheme involving hiring out your car and making bucketloads of money in the process.

Many car owners in London commute to their jobs in London, simply because it is easier and quicker to do so. Finding a parking space in London can be a total headache and parking charges are through the roof. So many owned cars sit in a driveway at homes out in the suburbs from Monday to Friday and at the weekend they only get used for a quick trip to Tesco or to visit friends/family outside of London.

What a waste!

Well from now on, you can make money from that vehicle that is of no use to you during working hours and hire it out using the easyCarClub

The biggest selling point to doing so is that you can earn up to GBP 250.00 per month if you rent it out regularly. That could go a long way towards paying some of your bills!

Things you need to know:

  • You choose the times at which you want to rent out your car
  • You can either hand the keys over in person or use the remote Key Safe option
  • You choose the price at which you’re willing to hire your car out at – if you’re unsure then easyCarClub can assist you in setting the right figure
  • You choose where to rent the car from – eg your driveway, your workplace, wherever is more convenient to you
  • You choose whether or not to allow pets or smoking
  • Your car must be less than 10 years old
  • Your car must be in insurance group 1-32
  • Your car must not have a replacement value of more than GBP 25,000.00
  • Your car must have less than 120,000 miles on the clock
  • Your car must be currently insured
  • Your car must have more than 30 days left on the MOT certificate and the Road Fund Licence.

If you think hiring out your car to other Londoners could be for you, then find out more by visiting easyCarClub

Graduate Recruitment Fair Dates for 2014

moove2london on 02 Feb 2014

For those of you who missed out on the successful Postgraduate Study and MBA Fair at Senate House on Thursday (30th Jan), we thought we’d put together a list of other top graduate recruitment fair dates for your 2014 diary.

At these fairs, you can expect to have access to 100s of graduate jobs and career tracks, workshops for your CV, employability seminars and much more.

Camp America Final London Recruitment Fair – 22nd February 2014 – 12pm onwards – Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, SW1P 3EE. For more information see campamerica.co.uk

Shell EmployAbility Insight Day 26th February 2014 1pm onwards (application deadline is 14th February) – for students and graduates of any discipline. For more information, see employ-ability.org.uk

Spring Graduates Fair – 19th March 2014 12-4pm – Senate House, University of London – up to 70 top recruiters in attendance, CV and application form feedback, expert advice from The Careers Group Careers Consultants and a free presentation programme

Summer Grad Fair – 11th June 2014 11am-4pm – Olympia Central – interview techniques zone and live jobs boards, employability advice and CV workshop, industry seminars, 100s of grad jobs available.

Graduate Entry to Medicine – 16th June 2014 10am-4pm – Chancellor’s Hall, South Block, Senate House, University of London – accelerated medical training for non-medical graduates.

London Graduate Fair – 18th June 2014 – 12pm- 5pm – from The Careers Group and Targetjobs.co.uk – 80 top employers and training providers – 1000s of jobs available.

National Graduate Recruitment Exhibitions – 10-11 October 2014 – Olympia, London – headline media sponsor is Guardian Jobs.

Graduate Career Options Fair – 28th October 2014 – 12.30-3.30pm – Great Hall, Strand Campus, Kings College, University of London – this event is only open to Kings College students.

Autumn Grad Fair – To Be Confirmed – Excel Centre – dates yet to be announced. Register your interest on autumngradfair.co.uk to be kept in the loop.

Moving to London – what’s your relationship status?

moove2london on 16 Jul 2012

With social networking sites such as Facebook making it more important than ever to define your relationship status, we thought we’d explore how your existing love life can affect your circumstances if you’re moving to London. People move to London whether they’re single, moving to London as a couple, or attempting the long distance thing.

Moving to London if you’re single
If you’re single when you move to London, you might be either looking for love or happy to stay single and enjoy having fun in your new city. If you fall into either of these categories then you’ve come to the right place. Those looking for love will find thousands of the opposite sex (or same sex) also looking to hook up. With the popularity of singles nights and dating sites, now is a great time to meet your new other half. For more tips please view our Dating in London section. If you’re very happy to be single for now, then that’s great too. You’ll be completely free to do whatever you like without needing to check in on anyone or consider their interests and schedules. Of course being single can sometimes be lonely too. But not if you keep busy. Use your time as a singleton to see the city, create a great social life and most of all have fun!

Moving to London with your other half
If you’re coming to London with your partner, then this will be a great adventure for the both of you and you get to experience everything that is new about London together. If you can afford it, then you can just move straight into a 1 bed flat (or larger if your budget allows), without having to worry about finding flatmates. If you need to move into a shared house as a couple, you can sometimes run into difficulties as sharers are concerned that they’ll find you having make-out sessions on the couch or flinging pots and pans at each other in a domestic rage. Sometimes it can be easier to share with other couples.
When it comes to creating a social life for yourselves, although it’s great that you have each other, try and create something separate from the relationship for yourself and encourage your partner to do the same. It’s healthy to have different sets of friends and interests as well as common ground too.

Following your partner in moving to London
If your partner is either from London or has already moved and is established in London, then you have someone to show you the ropes. If you’re moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend, then you won’t have the headache of looking for accommodation or figuring out where to live in London. If you’re not moving in with them, then they can assist you with this and tell you which areas of London to avoid like the plague and which would suit you (although we like to think that if you read through our site, then we can be of assistance in this area too!). Be careful though to try and carve out a life for yourself in London too. It’s very easy to just slip into your partner’s existing life, but this can cause problems, so try and make your own friends too through work, classes, sports teams etc.

Moving to London in a long-distance relationship
Everyone knows that long distance relationships can be tricky but that doesn’t mean that they’re impossible. Thank goodness for technological creations such as Skype, email, phones with cheap call plans etc. Stay in touch as much as possible, but try not to leave half of yourself behind when you move to London. You should try and enjoy yourself (we don’t mean like that) as much as possible – get stuck into your dream job and create a great social life for yourself. You’ll be able to visit your partner from time to time and hopefully when he/she comes to visit, you’ll be having so much fun that he/she will decide to join you.

So even though your relationship status can affect certain aspects of your move to London, the advice for everyone is pretty much the same. Get stuck in, make the most of it and have a great time.

Where to live in London on the Piccadilly Line

moove2london on 10 Jul 2012

Do you need to take the Piccadilly line to work and would therefore like to base where you live around using this particular tube line. Well, this article is perfect for you then, as we’re profiling 5 residential areas of London with stations on the Piccadilly line, as part of our ‘where to live in London’ series of articles.
The Piccadilly line serves 53 stations on 4 different branch lines – the Cockfosters branch, the Heathrow branch, the Uxbridge branch and the Hounslow/Uxbridge extension.

Southgate
Southgate can be found in North London – as it’s so far out of Central London, it almost feels like a separate town. When you exit Southgate station, a glance down the high street shows you that there are a decent amount of facilities, high street chains and quite a few restaurants available. Southgate is located near to Trent Country Park (nearest stations Oakwood or Cockfosters which are the next 2 stations along the line) which is in the grounds of a former mansion and has a golf course, woodland, farmland and an equestrian centre. If you don’t mind being a little out of the action, then consider living in Southgate.

Wood Green
Located a little further into London is Wood Green. wood Green is a little rougher than Soughgate but is not without it’s positives. First of all shopping is easy in Wood Green. The high street has a great range of your favourite chains including some Topman, HMV, H&M, Boots, Primark, TK Maxx etc. It also has a good cinema, so you don’t need to trek into town to watch a movie. You won’t be wanting to drink here though – the selection of pubs is not good. But instead you can travel a short distance to either Crouch End (walk or a bus ride) or Muswell Hill (definitely a bus ride) where the selection of pubs, restaurants, coffee shops and late-night entertainment is excellent and feels a lot safer than Wood Green. Having said that, if you’re into your curries, then please consider checking out Jashan restaurant on Turnpike Lane, which is truly excellent. For more information about living in Wood Green, please read our full area guide.

Hammersmith
Heading out to West London now, Hammersmith is a busy town situated on the river. It contains both the Hammersmith Apollo (google free tickets for Live at the Apollo if you want to see some excellent free comedy)and ‘The Broadway’ shopping centre which doesn’t actually have the greatest selection of shops available – make the short journey to Westfield London for a much grander shopping experience. In terms of pubs, there are some good options along the river. Hammersmith is popular with both antipodeans and the Polish communities. To find out more about living in Hammersmith, please view our Hammersmith area guide.

Ealing
Ealing is a pretty, leafy suburban town on the outskirts of West London. It’s station on the Piccadilly line is called Ealing Common (which is also on the District line). Ealing has all the local amenities that you need, is a quick journey into town from 1 of it’s 4 tube stations and has a nice, safe feel to the whole area. Ealing has lovely parks, a good cross-section of high street shops and local independents such as the bakers, butchers and green grocers found on Pitshanger Lane. There are also some good pubs in the area. Ealing really has a lot going for it, so if you fancy living in Ealing, then please view our full area guide.

Acton
Acton is also located in West London – is it fair to say that Acton is for people who can’t afford to live in Ealing or Chiswick? Probably not, but it’s true! New Zealanders in London are also represented strongly in the area of Acton. Acton is a huge area and encompasses people from all classes of society and a sliding scale of housing to cater for all their needs. One major plus point to living in Acton, is the huge Gunnersbury Park which includes loads of sporting facilities such as football and rugby pitches, a cricket square, tennis courts, golf courses, bowling greens and an athletics track. To find out more about living in Acton, please read our full Acton area guide.

Best Places to live in London on the River

moove2london on 02 Jul 2012

As part of our Best Places to Live in London series, today we’re looking at 5 of the best places to live next to the River Thames that cuts London in two to form North of the River and South of the River.
The areas mentioned below are not the only places to live in London on the river, but in our opinion they are well worth considering. Interestingly, given their proximity to the waterfront, they’re not all as expensive as you’d imagine either.

Limehouse
In the East End, Limehouse can be found in the postcode area of E14. It’s a lovely area on the River Thames that is sandwiched between Canary Wharf/the Isle of Dogs and Stepney Green. Due to it’s close proximity to both the financial worlds of Canary Wharf and the City, Limehouse is filled with young professionals from the banking world. But don’t hold that against it. There are beautiful riverside pubs available on Narrow Street including Gordon Ramsay’s ‘The Narrow’, ‘The Grapes’ and ‘Booty’s Riverside Bar’. Property-wise, you’re looking at conversion style flats, the odd warehouse conversion or new-build apartment blocks. You can stroll down to West India Quay and Canary Wharf within minutes for further entertainment options including restaurants, the cinema and more bars. You can be in Central London in less than 15 minutes thanks to the DLR and Jubilee lines.

Greenwich
An attractive part of town, Greenwich doesn’t have much in the way of nightlife, but that is it’s only downside. Greenwich is filled with independent shops, a fantastic market, the leisurely Greenwich Park, cultural options such as the Cutty Sark, National Maritime Museum and the Observatory and you can also enjoy a pint or two on the river at places like the Trafalgar Tavern. The thing about Greenwich though, is that if you don’t live in Central Greenwich, you can easily find yourself living in a less desirable area next to it (Deptford, New Cross, Charlton), which really isn’t the same experience at all, but is much cheaper. If you want to live close to the park in a Georgian or Victorian conversion, you’ll pay a premium compared to East Greenwich. Although this article is about best places on the river, we can’t help but think that one of the nicest streets in Greenwich is actually Royal Hill, so if you find yourself in the area, make sure you visit!

Rotherhithe
Rotherhithe was once the maritime capital of London and was home to the Mayflower Ship, which the oldest pub on the Thames is named after. Rotherhithe also featured in the Dicken’s book of ‘Oliver Twist’ which depicted it with the serious lack of glamour that it possessed at the time.
Rotherhithe is located in the postcode district of SE16 which actually also includes South Bermondsey (nearer London Bridge) and Surrey Quays – home to a shopping centre and cinema. Rotherhithe is quiet compared to it’s neighbours and has some lovely open spaces in the form of Southwark Park, the Russia Dock Woodlands and the Stave Hill Ecology Park. The most popular part of the area is Rotherhithe Village which is quite picturesque – think old Wharf buildings, cobbled streets and great views of Tower Bridge and the City. Property in the area is less expensive than it’s neighbours and usually comes in the form of warehouse conversion flats or new-builds.

Battersea
Battersea has come on leaps and bounds in the last 25 years – it was formerly quite a mess of a place, both industrial and working class. And yet, by looking at a map of London it seems as though it was always inevitable that the area situated directly across the river from Chelsea would become the gentrified location that it is now. Although the hubbub of Battersea can be found down at Clapham Junction and the Northcote Road, the area next to the river is certainly of interest to many too. The beautiful Battersea Park with it’s boating lakes, bandstand, children’s zoo and gardens can be found here as can many riverside apartments with their penthouse views over the Thames. These of course come with a tremendous price tag, much like the the flats in mansion blocks on the luxurious Prince of Wales Drive. Other flats come in the form of ex-council housing on one of the 4 huge council estates in Battersea – these are unglamorous but functional. In summary, Battersea is a large and varied area, but it is a fantastic place to live and it’s closeness to the river makes it well worth a look at.

Putney
First of all let’s talk pubs – what is better than sitting out looking over the river holding a cold glass of wine, or pint in your hand? You can do this at both the Boathouse Putney and the Duke’s Head (a Grade II listed building which is over 150 years old). Putney is a pretty and popular part of town particularly with the Australian and sporting communities (rowing, rugby and cricket). Housing near the river, as you would imagine, is pricey, but if you live nearer the vast Putney Heath which is attached to Wimbledon Common, you’ll find it much more affordable. Putney Pier is home to the start of the Oxford and Cambridge boat race and has the best of Putney’s bars and restaurants. It also has private moorings available if booked in advance.

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