Hookers unveil truth about cause of coastal Ecuador title issues

“Man, I haven’t done that since I was a 20 year old in college in Waikiki with nothing to do.” I responded as my friend and I walked the dark streets outside a bar we just visited in Quito.

You see, in the US, for a 20 year old, there isn’t much to do at night except get into mischeif on the street, because almost no night establishment will let you in the door.

So one of our favorite past times was to go to this one street in Waikiki where hookers hung out and chat them up. They are some of the wierdest people you’ll ever meet which always made for interesting conversations.

Now here I was, years later in a dark street in Quito with a friend getting egged on to do the same thing as we approached a corner that always had streetwalkers.

“OK, lets do it.” I was never a match for peer pressure.

We picked one particularly hot looking one to chat up. And as we approached we quickly realized this gal was actually a dude (as is usually the case).

Then when she spoke it was obvious. She was a dude. “Hola mi amor.” she began in her deep raspy voice.

“Hey.” I started in Spanish. “So where you from?” I asked.

“I’m from Esmeraldas.” She said.

“Cool, beautiful area, I was thinking about buying a house there.” I continued, trying to break the ice.

“I have a house there.” She followed.

“Oh really, how much you pay for it?” I asked matter of factly.

“I didn’t, it was a land invasion.” She boasted.

Then two of her friends walked over and joined the conversation.

One of them said… “I also have a land on the coast.”

“Got it through a judgement.” She said. (Which is basically a more legal way to claim unclaimed lands in Ecuador.)

The third one piped in… “me too, I have a land in Esmeraldas also.”

She continued, “My father was a comune member, and was gifted the lot, then he died and left it to me.”

Wow, I thought, so there you have it, on the coast of Ecuador it seems like only foreigners actually pay money for the land.

So when you’re about to buy a property, it’s even more important to research the title history, and look smart by asking for the following documents right away so you don’t waste time on a property with possible title issues with various people making claims of ownership (which is COMMON)…

-Copy of the notarized title (Escritura)
– Copy of the property taxes receipt (Predios)
– Certificate from the Property Registry (Certificado del Registrador de la Propiedad)
– Certificate from the Municipality (Alcabalas)
– Receipt of the Fire Department tax (Certificado de Bomberos)
– Municipal appraisal (Avaluo Municipal)

So there you have it, how streetwalkers in Quito enlightened me about Ecuador real estate.

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High-season’s coming: Leaving money on the table on the coast of Ecuador

As we enter November here in Ecuador.

And all the leaves on the trees are exactly the same color as they were the rest of the year…

As the owner of vacation rentals on the coast of Ecuador I’m being constantly reminded of one fact as the email requests start to flood in.

That the demand for home rentals on the coast of Ecuador really spikes upward from late December to early April when all the folks from the northern hemisphere try to escape the winter.

The difference in demand is huge and shouldn’t be overlooked if you own a rental on the coast of Ecuador.

You really can charge double, maybe even triple the rent that you could during the rest of the year.

And you’ll get it! Just be patient.

Especially if you market to both Ecuadorians (who also want to be on the coast more in those months due to the nicer weather) and English-speakers (escaping the winter up north).

A lot of renters will want to enter starting in November and drag into the high season paying the same low-season prices, or pay you months in advance for the whole high season at a discounted rate.

Don’t let them, or you will be leaving serious mu-la on the table.

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Hostal El Viajero died, what happened?

You got to be careful in Ecuador when investing in property, man.

You see, you´ve probably lived your whole life taking for granted a right in the US, Canada or Europe that simply is not held as dear in countries like Ecuador.

The right to sleep in peace.

Seriously.

I remember from my time living in the US if a neighbor was making noise at an unpleasent nightly hour the cops often would beat me to the punch and be over there quieting the people down. If not, a simple call and they’d be there within a few minutes.

Not in Latin America. And not in Ecuador.

Call the cops on a noise complaint. Chances are they don’t even show up.

And if they do show up, the locals probably won’t even take them seriously.

Different culture, different place, different values.

The last 4 months I was leasing Hostal El Viajero here in Quito and using it as an auxiliar second location to my primary business Quito Airport Suites, a small hotel near the airport in Quito.

At the beginning, I saw El Viajero struggling so I swooped in and made a deal with the owner who initially didn’t have plans to lease but instead run it himself.

After a few days I realized what I got myself into.

Right next door was a makeshift, illegal (without permits) dog kennel.

As the weeks passed the kennel grew and at any given moment, at any hour, the dogs could be ticked off and trust me, no amount of sound proofing can help against the thunderous roar of about 50-100 dogs yelping.

We filed the complaint with the Municipal.

We complained to local authorities including the police.

We talked to the owner of the kennel.

Nothing helped, months later the kennel remained, and the hospitality business next door just wasn’t feasible.

I really felt bad for the owner, who must have invested well over a hundred thousand in the construction of an otherwise nice building in a good location. As a renter I simply turned the keys back to him and left.

His problem.

Its absolutely essential before you invest in property in Ecuador to study the surroundings and see if the noise level is to your liking. Cause your surroundings are very hard to change later. You’ll also need a little bit of vision to also see what could be in your surroundings later that may be problematic.

Spend time in an area at different times of the day, and actually spend significant time there before investing. Talk to neighbors. Get the real scoop, you’ll be glad you did.

At the very least, noise level is something you may not even think about before investing in countries like the US because its a non-issue, but its something you should think about in Ecuador.

Especially in some areas the countryside of Ecuador… dog barks and roosters are real noise makers.

In the cities, impromptu parties from a rowdy neighbor or car alarms, vehicles braking and horn beeps can also be an issue.

For instance, is a speed bump right in front of your house? If so, then be prepared to listen to the squeel of brakes at any god-awful hour.

Pass on that property.

In third-world countries across the globe, as in Ecuador, you and your investments are just not as well protected as they are in places like the US.

But not one tells you this before buying.

So due diligence is even more important.

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2013 Ecuador property transaction records: Cuenca, Vilcabamba, Loja and the Ecuador Highlands

The responses are in…

We asked how much you actually paid for property in the highlands area of Ecuador.

And you answered.

These aren’t asking prices, but actual recent values people opened their wallet and spent.

In a country like Ecuador with no MLS standardized system, nor publicly recorded comps (or comparable sales records) and with historically low and unrealistic municipal appraisals knowing how much people are actually paying can be very useful.

And thanks to all those who responded to this inquiry… below are the responses!
Loja area

1. 24 hectares (60 acres mas o menos) en La Paz, a small rural town about half way between Cuenca & Loja. We were able to get it for 60k. It has a pristine biew of the valley, two narrow waterways that supply the water for the towns in the valley, Wild Blueberry treeas all over it & maybe 350ft of roadfront property on the main highway.

Vilcabamba area

1.  Malacatos, near Vilcabamba that I bought in May,2011 for $6.83 m2 that is 11,000m2.

2. bought a house in Vilcabamba for 165K in March 2013, land 3,500 sq m. construction 140 sq m, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms , 2 years old, American standards. Sloping land, landscaped, excellent view.

Cuenca area 

1. Cuenca, South side on Rio Tomebamba. 2 floor penthouse condo with 2000 sf. Bought in Jan 2010 for $70K. Found it in the local paper. Condo is 7 yrs old.
2. Cuenca, 10 min (by taxi) from Plaza de Armas.  $67,000.  apartment, 2 bed/2 bath with (solar) heated water, washer/dryer hookups. Follow solarkraft to know more uses of renewable energy. one of the bedrooms is en-suite. apartment complex was built in 2011.  apt. is 80 square meters, on the 2nd floor of a 4 story apt. complex.

3. on the Tomebamba River in Cuenca El Centro. $175000.  Penthouse condo – brand new.  150 sq meters – includes 30 meters sq of terrace.  October 1 2013

4. Lot 45 minutes from Cuenca, near Paute $40K gental hill side over looking Paute river.  4295 sq mtr, about 1 acre,  January of this year.  has power and water to it

5. 7 hectare (about 17 acres) finca near Guachapala (it’s halfway between Paute and Guachapala) earlier this spring (2013). It has a 3BR/1bath house (in pretty good shape), lovely rock outcroppings, small pine forest, 800 producing fruit trees of several varieties, large spring-fed pond stocked with tilapia, and the access is excellent. The asking price was $165k and they got it for $150k.

6. Cuenca – edificio fronting Rio Yanuncay $89,500.  Apartment, built in 2010 , 116m2 + parking space & small storage area Bought Jan, 2011.  3 br, 2.5 ba.

7. Chordeleg – rural  $160,000.  Orchard, garden, House, empleada      Constructed 20 years +/-  Land = 5945m2 Main house = 180m2 2nd “house” 65m2 Bought May  2009
8. Cuenca.  first floor three bedroom two and a half bath condo for 100,000.00 USD at the corner of Premier de Mayo and Avineda des Americas in Cuenca. The purchase was made last October and the unit is rented out at $875.00 per month

9. Cuenca. 3 blocks from Tomebamba river away from El Centro at Solano and Crespo $174000.  115 sq meter condo built in 2009 Bought October 2013.

Quito area and valleys

1. Centro area, one of the few condos facing Calle La Ronda near the Sur Arco.The purchase price was $38,000. The age of the complex is about 42 years old. The 3 bdrm unit itself is approximately 90sq. metros. The purchase date was in July of 2012.
.2 La Carolina/Quicentro area, across from the Mega Maxi on 6 de Decembre. This 12 floor penthouse suite (1 bdrm) is in a brand new complex. The purchase price was $85,000 and is about 50 sq. metros. The purchase date was May, 2013.
3. Quito, La Carolina $104 000 dollar US condominium under construction, delivery on April 2014.  flat of 60 square meter + parking Bought April 2013

4. Checa: For $ 180.000, in Nov. 2011, I bought a 2 bedrm house, in a triplex, with a third of a wall attached. Gardens to be enamorred by, but at that stage, no Internet nor the promised swimming pool etc… Today, with some of the amenities better established, the same house sells for $230.000. The development will soon include a medical center, the covered and the open swimming pool, a mini-market, and high speed Internet,  well as several other conveniences. By then, it will probably be worth closer to $250.000.
5. Cumbayá in Urbanización Meneses-Pallares near Colegio Menor. The property has 1,360 mts2 of land and the house has 760 mts2 of construction. It has some 17 years of being built. I sold it for $500K.
Ambato, Banos areas

1. AMBATO
-the actual purchase price – 125,000
-the type of property and age – RESIDENTIAL HOME /1994
-meters squared of land and construction – 300 / 344
-approx date of transaction 2006

2. BANOS   three bedroom house in  Banos ( near ambato) for $42,000.  it sits on a large lot but had no wall around it.  the house is brandnew but was not well made. white washed walls,no kitchen cupboards

Otavalo, Ibarra, Cotacachi, Atuntaqui areas (north of Quito)

1. Atuntaqui $31,000 . lot.  5,000m2.  6/2013 with irrigation water [4 blocks closer,  property starts at 25 per meter to 50]

2. North and west of Cotacachi.  $18,000.  Raw land some primary forest 1 hectarias flat, 9 hectarias steep from river to Peaks of mountain, accross river from dirt, drivable road. No buildings, electric, or phone.  We do have our own springs and reliable good quality water.  slightly less than 10 hectarias.  march of 2011

Amazon region
1. Between Tena and Archidona, Napo Province. $17,000 for 2.3 hectares of rural land, adjacent to a river (fertile). Cafe and cacao trees on 1 hectare, no construction.  Bought February 2013.

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RE: How much did they pay for coastal Ecuador real estate?

You can ask whatever you want for a property in Ecuador.  Doesn’t mean you’ll get it.

In fact, some are quite ambitious when they price properties in Ecuador.

But in a country like Ecuador with no MLS standardized system, no publicly recorded comps (or comparable sales records) and with historically low and unrealistic municipal appraisals seeing how much people ACTUALLY HAVE PAID recently for property in Ecuador can be very useful.

Today you’ll get to see just that. Good real estate service numbers.

Or actual property transaction records for real estate in Ecuador.

This is how much someone actually opened their wallet and paid.  (Not the asking prices!)

And thanks to all those who responded to last weeks question…

-On Ecuador coast, No area specified
100,000 (500m2)  Purchased JUN 2013
ocean front  new gated community   lot on front row  ($200/m2 of land)

Puerto Lopez

1. Ocean view on a hill, road dirt access
$6000 USD (320m2) Purchased May 2013  ($19/m2 of land)

2. 26sq.m suite in the Piedra del Mar hotel in Puerto Lopez we bought last May. We have about $33,000 in it now including appliances and furnishings.  ($1269/m2 of construction)

Canoa

1. $19,000 (June 2012)
Lot in urbanization, roads, electricity water pipes installed
400m2   ($47.50/m2 of land)

2. 5 kilometers west of Canoa and  kilometers north on a dirt road …..location:  17 Hectares @ $1800. per Hectare
Purchased in June 2013

3. Briceno, between San Vicente and Canoa on the coast
$30,000 usd
vacant beach front lot on Pacific ocean
360m2  ($83 per m2)
Purchased 05/2013

4. House with oceanview, 2 bedr 1 bath on 1000m2, poor condition
$22k, FEB 2013.   ($22/m2 if taking into account only the land)
Salinas 

1. We purchased an apartment in Chipipe 4 years ago for 230k. 4 bedroom direct beachfront + Maid Quarters, fully furnished + 1 covered parking space.
2. Salinas. 1 block from beach in San Lorenzo. 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo with 900 sf. Bought in Feb 2011 for $49K. Condo is 10 yrs old. ($583/m2 of construction)

3. Salinas. New construction. 3 blocks from beach in Chipipe. 2BR, 2BA, 1000 sf with pool and rooftop spa and BBQ. Bought in Mar 2012 for $70K. Brand new. ($753/m2 of construction)

4. On the Malecon of Salinas, 4 buildings up from the Hotel Barcelo. A 15 unit condo, and we are on the top floor of an 8 story, 6 year old building. Our unit is just under 89 square meters, is 3 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath with an ocean view. With it came a 2200 square foot finished terraza, with a rest room, and wet bar that is ours, and not part of the common area. We paid $95K. It was purchased April of this year. ($1067/m2 of construction)

5. I bought a house & 2 lots in La Malina (Salinas),$49,000 house is 120 mtrs, 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 2nd lot has 18X36 ft pool.

6. Salinas 45K 8 blocks from beach. 4bd 3ba

7. April 15,2013 we bought a 2000 sq ft, 4 bed room, 4 full baths, 19th floor, 5 year old  condo on the Salinas Malecon for $220,000. We are right on the Pacific with  fabulous panoramic views of the Pacific from every room. The building has a swimming pool, kiddie pool, hot tub,2 designated parking spaces, sauna, gym and full 24hr security.  ($1182/m2 of construction)
8. Salinas Malecon Beach View Condo Salinas
$105,000 Purchased Dec. 2011  170 Sq M interior 50 Sq M exterior terrace
Penthouse Suite – Full Floor 8 floor building 2 units per floor except penthouse level
Garage constructed by a local garage door company to fit in 2 parking spaces

3 bedroom 3 bath total with a separate lock-off suite with 1 bedroom 1 bath and living, dining, kitchenette
Condo required total gut and remodel.  1975 construction ($618/m2 of construction). Our Bradco Kitchen & Bath, designers have valuable knowledge and tools to work out all the technical details involved with designing a functional kitchen.

9. Chipipe Beach View Condo Salinas
$123,000 Purchased Sept 2013 163 Sq. M includes ‘interior’ terrace with sliding doors
3 bedroom 2 bath w. separate maids qtrs.  1974 Construction
7th floor of 11 story building.  2 units per floor.  Condo requires total gut and remodel  ($755/m2 of construction)

Jama
1. Jama Campay which is a residential resort complex (in process) located north of Jama, south of Pedernales. The preconstruction price of my home in May 2012, with 3 BR, 3 BA, one row back from oceanfront, including appliances, basic furniture (for which I had to check if there was Exquisite Living Furniture Near Me) and a jacuzzi off the MB was under $140,000.  Prices have increased a little since then.  It is now scheduled to be finished in the first quarter of 2014, which is behind the original completion date (oh surprise.) The condo is approx. 1600 sq. ft. ($940/m2 of construction)

2. -the approx. location  JAMA CAMPAY
-the actual purchase price  $89,500
-the type of property and age NEW CONDO
-meters squared of land and construction 2 BED 2 BATH OCEAN VIEW
-approx date of transaction   COMPLETION END OF THIS YEAR

3. Coco Beach Village – just outside of Jama, Manabi
$200,000 for beachfront lot with shell of house – put $100,000 into it this year (3 bedroom, 3 bath)
1,000 sm of lot and 2,350 sf of house (ground floor) w/roof terrace   ($200/m2 of land) ($459/m2 of construction)
Purchased May 2012 – Moved here August 2012

4. Jama / El Matal
$123,000.  Oceanfront lot
Land only – approx 1900 square meters
Nov. 2008  ($177/m2 of land)
all infrastructure in place, ready to build, gated community with club house, pool.

Santa Maranita 

1. $217,000
4 bedroom infinity pool yard done in paveing stone gated outdoor kitchen. Built about 5 years ago.
approximately 660 sq meters double lot . House is roughly 1800 sq feet on two levels.

Esmeraldas 

1. Colope Esmeralda ,  actual purchase price:$ 30,000.00   type of property : 4ac. / 1 1/2 ac. flat land . Approx date of purchase: Aug. 2013  Any other pertinent facts regarding purchase: Top of hill with ocean view .

2. playa provincia esmeraldas
usd 45,000.  casa 20 years old, 3 floors 4 rooms 2 bathrooms
129 sqm land  180 sqm building
summer 2012

Bahia de Caraquez

$175,000
New Ocean Front Condominium, custom built, 4th floor of 8 story bldg. with balcony, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths.  The living room, dining room and 2 of the bedrooms all have fantastic ocean views.  Inside parking garage and bodega.  197 sq. meters, around 2,000 sq. ft.  (2011).  Pre construction pricing.  ($888/m2 of construction)
Tonsupa

1. in Tonsupa, in September, 2011. I found everything that I had ever hoped for and more, at Playa Almendro Resort. It was new construction, 95% completed, and I was able to choose everything inside the doors, including custom wood cabinets and bathroom vanities.  There is 6 pools, with a 7th under construction, 2 spas,a commercial laundry, mercado, 2 tennis courts, 2 volley ball courts.  My condo is 94 square meters, and the cost was basically $1,000/square meter.  We have agreed to lease our condo on an annual basis for $900/month.

2. Lot near beach but not right on it.  $ 35.00 a square meter….total for 1200 square meters is $ 42.000

San Clemente

1. San Clemente  $75,000
“Townhouse” / condo (Vistazul) Built 2008
130 m2 on two floors, 60 m2 roof terrace, May 2011
(6) – 3 floor buildings (5 to 7 units per building), 1 hectare gated community, 100+ meters to ocean ($577/m2 of construction)

2. 820 sq mts beachfront with 10 ft concrete fence; 12 year old about 2600 sq ft 2 story house, 5 bedrooms 4 bathrooms, large patio and balcony.  $110,000. North San Clemente

3. San Jacinto, Carchi, 98 hectares, 4 hectares in platanos and coffee, cacoa, two bedroom, two bath house up, one bedroom one bath down. 2 kitchens, big patios, beautiful views, cloud forest, four streams, river frontage, tilapia pond, $132,000, purchased in Dec 2012.  ($1346/hectare of land)
4. San Clemente
-the actual purchase price:  $85,000, including parking space and storage locker
-the type of property and age: condo, pre-construction, estimated completion March 2015
-meters squared of land and construction: 1.5 acres of land, 1 unit in 54 unit complex, 1,250 sq. ft, 2 bedroom, 2 bath, plus 250 sq. ft balcony
-approx date of transaction: Oct. 2012  ($733/m2 of construction)

5. Beachfront 3 bedr 1 1/2 bath house $100k Sept 2013.
Ayangue

$75,000
Vacant land right on the beach
600sq meters
approx date of purchase: 9/11/13  ($125/m2 of land)
Puerto Cayo

1. Lot in Gated Community.  $82,000
beach front property (new subdivision)
1250m2 (May 2012)
lot is right on the water… community has pool, club house, tennis courts, street lights, sidewalk etc.  ($66/m2 of land)

2. Mirador San Jose NEAR PUERTO CAYO
I paid around 24000$ but I’ve received 15% off on the original price because me and my friends bought 3 lands.
nobuilding yet, I have 5 years to built something
lot is 2160 meters squared.  (May 2013)
gated community, 400m from beach, board walk, 40 min from Manta   ($11/m2 of land)

3. puerto cayo 4000 square meters … cleared…city water…..1/4 mile from ocean with 180 view of pacific and 180 view of foothills….14.50/square meter….buying now.

4. 1. Lot in Gated Community.  $140,000
beach front property (new subdivision)
1000m2 (Sept 2013)
pool, club house, tennis, paved roads, common areas, social event center.   ($140/m2 of land)

Manglaralto

1. beachfront lot
$45/m2,  4400m2 total $198,000.
Nov 2012

2. 2 bedr/2 bath condo on the beach right next to Montanita in a gated community with amenities for $112,000. It will be finished in August 2015.

3. 800 metros Via Dos Mangas, Manglaralto, Santa Elena. One km from beach
actual purchase price: $20,000
Bare land, 2000 M2 land, no construction
December, 2012   ($25/m2 of land)

Montanita

17 room Hotel with stunning oceanview near the point in Montanita
Listed at $390,000… sold $230,000, APR 2012.
Olon

$185k
2 story house one block off ocean 4 bedr, 3 bath with balcony
Manta
1. Cuidad Del Mar, 100 meter condo, Plaza Del Mar
Overlooking the ocean, best subdivision on the Coast, Fully Furnished
2 bedroom, 2.5 bath, storage, parking space
Built 2012.  $154,000
2.Central Manabi near Pichincha.
$165,000 us
Farm land no livable structure (has primitive costal farm house with open air type construction…. Stilt house is the best way I can describe it, but not livable to US standards)
90 HA
Purchased April 2013

3. Manta
92,500
condo, 3 years old
90 m2
Aug 2011
4. Condo with oceanview in highrise beachfront
new construction
$225,000 (1800 ft2 or 167m2)  ($1347/m2 of construction)
5. Manta
180,000
condo on the beach, new construction
150m2  ($1200/m2 of construction)
Aug. 2011
6. Manta
68,000
condo, ocean view, new construction
78m2  ($872/m2 of construction)
Feb 2012
7. Manta
205,000
Condo on the beach, new construction
153m2 ($1340/m2 of construction)
Dec 2012
8. Manta
200,000
Condo on the beach, new construction
150m2 ($1333/m2 of construction)
Dec 2012
9. Manta
225,000
Condo on the beach, new construction
150m2 ($1500/m2 of construction)
Dec 2012
10. Manta
80,000
condo, ocean view
78 ($1026/m2 of construction)
Mar 2013
11. Manta
30000
land in development
900m2
Apr 2013
12. Manta
110,000
Condo on the beach, new construction
70m2 ($1571/m2 of construction)
July 2013
13. Manta
250,000
Condo on the beach, new construction
150 m2 ($1666/m2 of construction)
Sep 2013
14. Manta
7,500
land in development
230m2
Aug 2013
15. Manta
95000
condo, construction just completed
100m2
Aug 201316. Manta.  $169,000
6th floor condo, 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom, 1 garage & storage, big deck of the spare bedroom, giant deck of living room
living space 118 MS, decks 105 MS
August 2012
2 blocks of the beach, fantastic view

Punta Blanca

900 m2
close to, but not ocean front
land only
$45 K   2013 APR  ($50/m2 of land)
 Santa Elena (near Salinas)

$80,000.  concrete house 3/3 con casita y piscina grande, appx. 30 anos
5000m2 lot.  Oct. 10, 2011 house is beautiful with fruit trees.
Crucita

1. $21,000
Beachfront lot gated community
374m2 ($56.15 per m2)

2. $65,000
4 bedr, 2 bath house
15 yrs old
beachfront, good condition
APR 2012

Playas

1. PLAYAS Duplex 2000sq ft 2 units 3 bed 2 bath. Beach front  concrete built 5 years ago. Purchased 2012. $105000

2. 4 bedr 3 bath house 2 blocks off beach, small oceanview.  20 years old.  $38k.  Purchased APR 2012.

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