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... and Landlord! Rental Real Estate Investing Podcast
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... and Landlord! Rental Real Estate Investing Podcast

Author: Jonathan Taylor Smith

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Husband, Father, Entrepreneur, Realtor... a long list of other titles and descriptions... and Landlord!

Welcome to the... and Landlord Podcast - with Jonathan Taylor ("J.T.") Smith... Following a road-map to financial Freedom through residential rental real estate. Here you'll learn how adding "... and Landlord" to the litany of titles and descriptions that speak to who you are and what you do may be the greatest opportunity to achieve financial freedom available to the average person today. Where someone else pays the bills (the Tenant) and someone else provides 80% or more of the money (the Bank) and where you get 100% of the cash-flow, all future appreciation and the tax benefits. All on an asset that's insured against loss, and that cannot be worth ZERO short of an Alien Invasion or the Zombie Apocalypse, ultimately resulting in a FREE HOUSE for YOU (the Landlord) - that will kick out cash-flow for the rest of your life and beyond! You try getting any of that from the stock market or your 401K. So be all that you are... and Landlord!
55 Episodes
CHANGE OF SCHEDULE DUE TO COVID-19... That's not just the title of this episode, but also an announcement. Because I'd rather not talk about Corona-virus week after week (and some other reasons) - I'm temporarily changing the schedule of the show from a weekly Tuesday release, to be a little more flexible and random. For the next month (or few), I'll still be releasing episodes, but maybe not weekly (at least once per month) - and not always on a Tuesday.
In this episode of the... and Landlord Rental Real Estate Investing Podcast - I talk about the home, and how it has become the center of our universe. And then what that may mean for the future. What does it mean to be a Landlord in a time when it seems the government has positioned itself to start covering the expenses (including RENT) for those who now cannot work due to no fault of their own? And what will this mean for the future once this concept takes hold? Well, that's a bit political - and so I explore why I am willing to move forward with purchasing properties, even now amid all this economic uncertainty. I'm buying now (while I can), but with lending terms changing daily, that ability is quickly coming to an end. So I'll be working to get set for buying even more properties, once things start to open up again. Because I want to own as many properties as possible once the government starts paying everyone's rent - or whatever becomes the system to make sure that we're not in this same virus inflicted financial crisis all over again.
Today is March 31st... One day from now is April 1st, when RENT IS DUE in the USA. But on this Aprils Fools Day - will Tenants even be able to pay their rent? People have largely been unable to work for the last two weeks. And more people than you may be aware are working from paycheck to paycheck. And those government relief checks have yet to arrive. So what's it going to be between April 1st to the 5th?
April Fools Day is a little more than a week from now. But what that day means to me, is the same as any 1st of the month... It's the day RENT is due. But on this April 1st - the joke may truly be on me (and all Landlords)... Because there may be no rent coming in due to COVID-19. But this episode of the... and Landlord Rental Real Estate Investing Podcast is about how half of my rental units are occupied by Tenants who have Section 8 Vouchers. Thus, a portion of my monthly rents come directly from the Government. This means the joke won't be completely on me. At least I'll have some amount of guaranteed rental income. But for my non-Section 8 Tenants... The World has essentially shut-down. Most businesses are closed (or greatly reduced), so those workers aren't getting their normal paychecks. Some businesses are running reduced hours and altered workloads, but even those must often layoff workers in a situation like this. You can't keep all those employees on payroll when there are no customers. And if those now un-employed (X-employee's) are your Tenant's - how are they going to pay rent to you? And then compare this to those who are invested in short-term rentals (AirBnB). No one is travelling - so they have basically lost 100% of their rental income. Yet mortgages and leases remain due for payment. Maybe payments will be waived or some sort of forbearance will be granted. But in this episode of the Landlord Podcast, I contrast my situation with Section 8 Rentals to those who have Short-Term (AirBnB) Rentals. Just saying... Right now, I'm happy to know that I'll have some rental income in April. And I think I'd be freaking out right now if I was singularly and all-in on AirBnB.
When the Coronavirus hit, as with most things, I had jokes... I posted on FB the question of if this might be the Zombie Apocalypse virus or maybe the Planet of the Apes virus - and what should be my primary weapon of choice in either case. For instance, should I go with a crossbow or the shotgun to take out the resulting Zombies or talking Apes. Jokes aside, while this is not that level of crisis, it is a challenging time none the less - and we could be on the verge of an economic recession of epic proportions. And while I certainly do not intent to make lite of being prepared with food and other items for the household - it occurs to me that while some people are rushing to the stores to buy toilet paper (among other things), others are buying the discounted assets (or preparing to do so) - that result from apparent crisis situations like this. So hence the title and topic of this 51st episode of the... and Landlord Podcast - "The Rich Buy Assets, While the Poor Buy Toilet Paper". Fortunes are often made when there's fear, panic or even blood in the streets. And there is a quote that says "Observe the masses, and do the opposite." - well the masses appear to be focused on buying things like toilet paper. When they should be looking to buy the discounted assets that are certain to result from an economic downturn or recession. The Stock Market is down big-time - but another way of looking at it, is that the Stock Market is having a sale. Real Estate is also likely to be on sale soon, as all-time low interest rates will increase purchasing power. We may also enter another round of short-sales and foreclosures as another economic downturn (or full on recession) causes financial stress for millions. So I recorded this episode just to get you thinking - that while you certainly need toilet paper and other household items to get through the sort of thing we're experiencing now with this virus - you also need to be thinking about how you're going to come out the other side better off. Because the rich are buying assets while the poor (and middle class) are buying toilet paper.
Do you believe your local market to be "Too Hot" to start investing in Real Estate? No deals to be had where you live? If only you lived "there" - where deals are plentiful, because prices are low and rents are high - there. But where you live... Nope! Sucks to be you... Your Real Estate investing dream will have to wait for another day - when it's not such a "seller's market". Or at least, that's what I hear... My local market is Durham, North Carolina. I'm both a Durham Realtor and an Investor in Durham. I started Investing in Rental Properties here in 2015, and I'm still buying in this market right now, for both myself - and for client's who I represent as their Durham Real Estate Agent. In this episode of the... and Landlord Rental Real Estate Investing Podcast, I question those who think their local market is "too hot" and that there are "no deals". Yes, competition has increased across the nation. How could it not, with house flipping shows on every 10th channel? But are you not able to out perform someone who just watched a TV show and then said "hey, let's flip a house!" If not, then your problem may NOT be just the "Hot Market". Maybe you also need to improve your systems and process. Or maybe you need to partner with an Investor's Agent - like me! Or at least if you're investing in Durham, North Carolina... Outside of Durham, I can't help you. But I'm convinced that deals are available almost everywhere. So don't fall for the "grass is greener" syndrome. The grass is fine where you are also - but maybe it just needs some care. Likewise, maybe you just need to apply some consistent effort in your local market or work with a local professional to get a deal done.
Let's Talk... Business, Finances & Wealth. But not just in this 49th Episode of the... and Landlord Podcast. I'm now ready (and now have the location) for an in-person local meet-up. So here I announce that starting on April 6th (and the 1st Monday of each month thereafter) - we'll have a monthly meet-up to talk about (among other things)... Business, Finances, Wealth Creation, Mindset - and so much more about MONEY. The location? It will be at Rivals Barbershop in Downtown Durham, North Carolina (727 N. Mangum Street - Suite 100). And Rivals Barbershop is my latest business endeavor... A partnership with Professional Barber (Khedron Mims) in a Sports Themed Barbershop. NO - I'll not be cutting anyone's hair! But in line with the purpose of this monthly meet-up - I partnered with Khedron in Rivals Barbershop because its another business that will create additional passive income for me. It also gives me the chance to lend my business knowledge and expertise to aid Khedron in creating passive income for himself. So what better place to come together on a monthly basis to discuss helping others to do the same. If you've ever desired to start a Business; have a Business that you seek to grow; want to get into Real Estate (Flipping, Wholesaling, Rentals); or you just want to make more Money; improve your Finances and grow your Financial IQ - this is the place you need to be each 1st Monday of the month at 6:30PM.
Owner's Property Insurance is not the only type of Insurance that you need to consider... Another is Renter's Insurance. And do you / should you require your Tenants to obtain Renter's Insurance? That's the question being asked and answered (from my point of view) in this episode of the... and Landlord! Rental Real Estate Investing Podcast. Here I go into details as to some of the ways you're protected by having Tenant's obtain their own coverage in the form of Renter's Insurance. Not least of these protections is that the mere fact that you've impose this requirement will result in certain prospective Tenants (who might have been problematic) - self-eliminating from consideration of occupying your property in the first place. Putting reasonable (and LEGAL) barriers to Tenancy in place will help to get you the best Tenants - and a Renter's Insurance requirement can be just one means of doing so. Much of what we discuss on this Podcast is about how to be the best Landlord you can be - with the fewest headaches. Well, having a Renter's Insurance requirement for Tenants can be one of many means to that end. Renter's Insurance is a protection not just for your Tenant, but for your property, for YOU and your LLC - paid for by your Tenant. What's better than a benefit for you that is paid and provided by someone else - and for which they benefit as well?
I LOVE owning Rental Real Estate and being a Landlord - however, maybe it's not for you... But that doesn't mean you cannot be a Real Estate Investor - as there are ways of doing so without having to buy Real Estate and becoming a Landlord. One such means is Real Estate Note Investing. And so who better to have on the show than Scott "The Note Guy" Carson - to cover the basics of Investing in Real Estate by obtaining the Note. Scott Carson joins us for an episode of the... and Landlord Rental Real Estate Investing Podcast - to discuss both Performing and non-Performing Note Investing. So what is Note Investing? What is a "Performing" versus "non-Performing" Note? Well listen to Scott answer these questions - and many more about Real Estate Note Investing in this 47th episode of the... and Landlord Podcast.
The cover-art for this episode has multiple paper airplanes flying - but one is a different color and is soaring higher than the others. You could consider that one to be the successful attempt at flight; whereas the others failed. Well, this is what Marketing for Deals is like. Each paper plane represents a different marketing method, channel, message or attempt - and you may have no idea which one(s) will take off and soar high into the air with success; versus which will fall to the ground in failure. To be successful in the business of Residential Rental Real Estate Investing, you must be able to find an ample number of distressed properties that can then be obtained for below there typical value - even after accounting for the rehab required. And to do that, you must be good (if not great) at Marketing for Deals. And that's what this episode of the... and Landlord Podcast is all about. Marketing for Deals and creating your Marketing for Deals Machine.
One of my favorite quotes is... "Just because I'm paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get me!" - so I'm primed to be one who is paranoid about and fears the risk of proceeding in business (especially Rental Properties) - without having an LLC in place for liability and asset protection. "What if someone slips and falls (or otherwise gets hurt) on one of my properties?" "What if there's a fire?" "What if there's an issue with CO2 or Radon?" "What is someone dies!?" If you're a Landlord and you've not asked yourself these exact questions, then you've certainly expressed some collection of concerns that if they happened - you feared ending up in court. And so you certainly wanted to have the best protections in place, such as having your business established as and properties held within an LLC. Is this valid protection for legitimate concerns or just unfounded paranoia? Well, I actually believe BOTH are true. You certainly want to have proper protections in place for liability and asset protection. But this episode of the [... and Landlord!] Podcast is about how far too often, those who are new to business and Real Estate Investing are encouraged to spend time (and even more money) to setup an LLC (and sometimes a complex system of LLC's). This adds cost, often complexity and may waste time. Not that an LLC (or a few) is unnecessary, but LLC's are pitched as step 1 and the first line protection against law suits for those in business - when really an LLC is nearer to being the 4th line of protection. There are other things that come BEFORE having an LLC that will provide protection and potentially keep you out of court. So on this episode, I discuss those other things that provide protection to maybe lessen the obsession with LLC's. As you progress, you will reach a point of needing an LLC (maybe several) - but you don't need it from day one, and you certainly don't need to spend thousands on some complex out of state LLC setup from day one (if at all).
In this episode of the... and Landlord Podcast, I speak about RENT increases here in Durham, North Carolina. And one example I give is that of my own... The 2 Bedroom Duplex unit that I lived in for 4 years when I was last a renter myself (from early in 1998 to the start of 2002), where my rent was $625/mo (increasing to $645 in the final year). Well now here 18 years later, that exact same 2 Bedroom Duplex unit (of ~1,000 SqFt), is suggested by Zillow and Rentometer to have an average rent value of $1,381/mo, with the median rent for 2 bedroom homes in the area being $1,450/mo... That's crazy! If correct, it means that rents here have more than doubled over the last 15 years or so since the boom and bust occurred in Real Estate. But think of that... This Duplex is nearly 20 years older than when I last lived there. And I drove by it recently, and it doesn't look like anything major has been done to update it or improve its appearance or condition. If the same people / company owns it now as then, they have likely paid it off by now (or are near to doing so). So they are not only getting more cash-flow from this now 35 year old property than before due to greatly increased rents, but also because they may no longer have a mortgage to pay from those rents. What is better than Rental Real Estate Investing!? You end up with what is essentially a FREE house - because the tenants pay all the bills and expenses. You get cash-flow for life. And that cash-flow greatly increases over time due to the mortgage pay-down / payoff; and as result of annually increasing rents. Not to mention the incredible tax benefits and the likelihood that the property increased in value despite having gotten older. And did I mention the tax benefits? You get to depreciate the value on paper as it actually appreciates in real value... Wow - Seems like you'd go to jail for that, but its allowed!
OK, so there was a time in my life when I spent a LOT of time playing video games - which is then kind of ironic that it now annoys me that my 12 year old son does the same (even more so that I was the one who first introduced him to video games). But for the most part I left that behavior in my teens; however, whenever I'd allow myself to get sucked back into a given game, I could easily blow 6+ hours before I even realized it. I really LOVE playing video games, but I have no time for playing games right now - haven't for years. Now I make an exception in playing with my son, but he now prefers playing online with his friends from school - so I'm currently retired in my video game career. Now that said - this episode of the [... and Landlord!] Rental Real Estate Investing Podcast - is my excuse to express my love of video games, and how it relates to business and life. Level Up! That is the goal when playing video games, and the same is true when playing the games of Real Estate, Business and Life. Here I wanted to make clear with the sub-title of "Problem? What Problem?" - that what a person at Level 1 perceives as a problem, may be no problem at all for a person at Level 2 or 3. And a Level 10 person would not even slow down when encountering a Level 1 speed bump - they wouldn't even see it as a problem. Success in Rental Real Estate Investing requires that we Level Up. My first property was just over $60K - when I was just starting with Real Estate Investing. Whatever level I was at then could not relate to my current level where my latest project will have a value of over $600K. And I have no doubt that I'll soon be dealing with projects that are over $6M - because I'll Level Up! So this... and Landord Podcast episode serves as an analogy between Leveling Up / improving your charter in a role-playing video game and improving yourself in life - so that in both cases you're able to handle ever greater challenges to win the game. This is the final episode of 2019 - so let this be your start to an amazing 2020. Make it your goal to end the coming year at a higher level than you began. The... and Landlord Podcast itself began in 2019, and I'd like to think it has reached a new level and will continue to improve in the coming year. Happy New Year!
The cover image for this episode shows your rental property flooded and infested with water fowl. So maybe you can't Tenant Proof against flood and fowl - but this exaggerated scenario (and birds) aside... You can certainly do somethings upfront (during the rehab) to protect your rental property against the more typical hazards - including pets (but hopefully not penguins). So in this episode of the [... and Landlord!] Rental Real Estate Investing Podcast - I'm going over some of the things that I've done during my Rental Rehabs to Tenant Proof my properties. You can save yourself from headaches and keep money in your pocket by avoiding certain issues from the start. Floors, Faucets and Fixtures - These are where I focus my Tenant Proofing efforts. These don't cover everything, but they go a long way towards your headache and hassle free Landlord life. They form the foundation - and built upon these, you must start with proper Tenant Screening, proceed with effective Tenant On-boarding, and continue with on-going Property Inspections. So checkout this Episode #39 of the [... and Landlord!] Podcast to hear my insight into how I Tenant Proof Blue Chariot Properties.
Rehabbing distressed properties into rentals is a balancing act... You must watch your budget, because every dollar spent on the rehab lowers your ROI - and depending on how you choose to fund your rehabs, it can also lower your cash-flow (at least initially). And you want the resulting property to be nice, plus you also want everything to be durable - so that you're not likely having to replace everything all over again at each tenant turn. Finding that right balance between price / cost, appearance and durability is critical to a successful outcome. And if you're like me, you want prospective tenants to think "WOW" (or even say it out-loud) - when they first see pictures or have a tour of your rental properties. In this episode of the [... and Landlord!] Rental Real Estate Investing Podcast, I relate some of my thoughts on achieving this outcome and balance - so I ask the question "How Nice Is Too Nice?" Here I relate that I cannot prove it, but anecdotally, I feel that the quality of my rental rehabs both make my properties more desirable (I definitely get that "WOW" effect); and results in an increased durability. But it does come at the price of an increased rehab cost. I put a bit extra into making my properties really nice (but "How Nice Is Too Nice?") - so at the same time, I must be careful not to take it too far. Because at a certain point, things are durable enough and look good enough - so to go further or spend more gains little to nothing in return from increased rent or reduced vacancy. While I feel you can certainly attract a better tenant who may stay longer if you put a little extra into the rehab (like upgrading to Stainless Steel Appliances, LVP Flooring, Granite Counters, etc...) - creating a home they really love and have pride of residency... It has a limit beyond which you get drastically diminishing returns. And since measuring those returns are almost purely anecdotal anyway - you really must be careful when increasing rehab expenses to make a property nice. You can quickly end up with a property that is far nicer than it needs to be to get the same tenant at the same rent you'd have gotten anyway with a lower cost rehab to rental. So where to draw the line? How nice is too nice?
Might there be a "Super" version of yourself inside - just waiting to get out? Or stated another way... Are you currently the best possible version of yourself? Might there be another possible version of YOU - who is capable of doing things that could make you RICH. Or do you think it more likely that you'll somehow develop super powers and fly before you'll ever become RICH? The book Rich Dad Poor Dad puts forth the idea that being RICH is a choice. But the opposite is true as well... Being POOR is also a choice. Or actually, a life long series of daily choices - bad ones. But YOU CAN BE RICH. You just have to WANT IT. You have to WANT IT enough to DO SOMETHING to obtain it. And most people won't. In fact, they CHOOSE not to. In this episode of the [... and Landlord!] Rental Real Estate Investing Podcast - I talk about how most people are not RICH because it has never occurred to them that they can be. And thus they make choices that ensure they won't be. At the basic level, all it takes to be rich is 4 things... 1) The belief that you can be; 2) The determination that you will be; 3) An idea as to how; 4) And effective execution of that idea. The problem is that (outside of maybe winning the lottery) most people don't think that they can be rich. So they certainly don't have any determination to be rich. And most people are lacking ideas, such as for a business, product, service, etc... So they can't execution on what they don't have. Ideas are infinite - but why would an idea come to you if you're just going to dismiss it as something you can't do anyway? So the first part of getting an idea to execute upon is believing that you can and then determining that you will. So listen to this episode of the Landlord Podcast and let's stop being lessor versions of ourselves. We all have greatness within - LET IT OUT!
I was a one-man business machine. 16 hour days were nothing for me. I often worked to 3AM, slept to 7 or 8AM, and got back up to do it all over again - like it was nothing. If something needed to be done, of course I did it myself - as I wanted it to be done right. And surely no one else could do anything right, but me - right? That worked well enough in my late 20's and early 30's... But not so much once I reached 40 or so. At 40+ if I'm up to 3AM, I'm not getting out of bed before 10AM - if not 11. And thankfully, I've long since learned that I'm not the only person who can do things right. Having come to understand this, I'm no longer clocking 16 hour days. I can (and do) occasionally, if and when I must - but now I have a team in place that removes most of that burden from my shoulders. This episode of the [... and Landlord!] Rental Real Estate Investing Podcast is about VA's (#VirtualAssistants) and other members of your #RentalRealEstateInvesting Team. I leverage VA's to get things done - because I can't (and shouldn't even try to) do everything myself. There is a highest and best use for my time, so in this episode of the #LandlordPodcast, I speak about my use of VA's and team building activity. My goal is to fire myself from any and every job that can possibly be done by someone else on my behalf. Even if that person is only 80% as good at the job as me, putting multiple VA's on several tasks at even 80% of my effectiveness still results in a LOT more work getting done than I could possible do on my own. So would you rather a job done at 80% of your greatness or yet another job sitting un-done on your to-do list? I know my answer! Hear it in this episode, along with details that will help you do the same.
Do you like to travel? Would you do more of it if you did not have to pay for your airfare and could fly for FREE? And do you have a business? Having Rental Properties IS a business... So, if you've answered "YES" to each of these questions, then you need to learn about Credit Card Points Hacking. Your Rental Properties (and other businesses) can earn you FREE travel with points! I travel a LOT (over a dozen flights this year), and I've yet to pay a single penny for airfare (other than a couple of upgrades for more legroom on longer flights and a couple of checked bag fees - that I even got back). And that doesn't even include FREE flights for my wife and son; and even a couple of times where I used my points for some other family members to fly for FREE. My businesses generate enough points each month that I haven't paid real money for airfare in years. I even have enough points to be an aid to others, using my points to lower the travel expenses for some family members. How? Because I don't pay my business expenses directly. Instead, I put every business expense that I possibly can on a points credit card. And I then pay that card in full each month. But the benefit of placing the card in the middle of the merchant or vendor and my business, is that the credit card rewards me with points. In most cases its a straight dollar-for-dollar reward, in which $1 charged on the card gives me 1 point. But some cards give double and triple points - maybe for certain categories like gas or food. However I can, I hack my legitimate and necessary business expenses into points that I can redeem whenever I wish for FREE travel. If you have a business that has any amount of frequent or reoccurring expenses that can be paid with a card (the higher the better), then you're missing out on a great opportunity for FREE travel, if you are not paying those expenses with a points credit card. Business owners fly for FREE... And owning Rental Properties IS a business!
On the main image for this episode you see a roof logo silhouette, the words "Real Estate", and then a reference to "Slogan Here". When you're starting your Real Estate Business, you'll certainly come across stock logo templates like this, and any designer you're likely to hire will almost certainly come up with something along these lines for your review and approval. You'll spend time going over all the samples, drafts and mock-ups of what will become your Real Estate Business logo. You'll come up with several slogans, eventually settling on one that fits well enough with your business name, logo and brand. You'll then get business cards created with your nice new logo prominently featured. Maybe you'll keep it simple and go with a card that just has your local phone number and your email address will be But if you're like many starting a new business (especially a Real Estate Business) - you'll want a very easy to remember (maybe even a vanity) phone number; and you'll certainly want your website address listed on your business cards. So in addition to spending countless hours on your business logo, you'll spend weeks (or even months) working on a website for your new business. But because you almost certainly named your business prior to getting your Domain Name (a mistake) - the website address is something horrible. Maybe you named your business "Prestige Home Buyers, LLC" - and was TAKEN, as was or (just for example - I have no idea if these are active sites or not, available, taken or otherwise). And you certainly won't be getting - so you end up registering (which is horrible); or When you see website and email addresses with LLC, INC, NC or non .COM extensions, it almost always means the person named their business BEFORE obtaining their domain name. So in this episode of the Podcast, I go into some detail as to how to avoid this mistake for (CRIME against) your business. I suggest getting your ideal domain name FIRST, and then naming your business SECOND - to match the domain name (and without any LLC or INC). But all of this is not even the real point of this episode. The real purpose here is to express that all of this stuff related to your business name, business cards, website, etc... is NOT what you should be focused on in the first place. Don't get bogged down in the trap of spending your primary time and effort in setting up your business. Instead, spend that time and effort getting your first (or next) rental property! You don't really have a business anyway until you've got some properties (I'd go as far as to say several). Because most people having one or two rentals don't have a business in place. So focus on getting some properties, and worry about creating a business later. But when you do get to the point of being ready to create a business, this episode of the Podcast will provide you with some key insights into how to go about doing it right - so that you do not end up with a website address like
This episode of the [... and Landlord!] Podcast is asking the question, "How Do You View Money?" - Because that's where it all starts. How you view (or think about) money, will determine how you treat it. Because things you treat badly won't stay around for long, if they come around at all. Here I relate some of my challenges with my own view of money - my thoughts and the books I read that lead to me changing that view. And best of all, how money started to flow my way along with opportunities for more - once money became something I desired and valued for what it was... A tool that makes me a better version of who I already am, as well as, a greater blessing to those I know and love.
Comments (1)

Cj Hyndman

love this pod cast. great job. very insightful.

Jan 10th
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