DIY: Home Insulation

Building codes specify that homes must be insulated to protect against extreme cold and heat. Adding insulation is an option for home improvement project or a renovation and an important step in the house construction process. The procedure for doing your insulation depends on what present insulation is present and also the quantity of space you have to work with.


Additional insulation is important for many reasons. Insulation can help increase a home’s worth when it is time to sell. Moreover, adding insulation helps prevent heat transport, which lowers the requirement to run a heater or air conditioner and cuts down on natural gas or power usage, thereby lowering utility bills. Various types of insulation are simple to install and do not require the added expense of hiring a contractor.


Insulation manufacturers create different types of insulating material for use in certain types of spaces or regions of the house. Fiberglass and polystyrene rolls and panels form the basic insulation in many homes. Cellulose insulation comes as a loose fill product, whereas reflective insulation sheets are big, lightweight sheets that homeowners can cut to size. At length, spray foam insulation is.


Every sort of insulation has its own installment approach. Fiberglass panels are acceptable for attaching or nailing to cellar walls or between layers of drywall. Fiberglass rolls, which can be more elastic, can serve as the foundation insulation in an attic. To set up fiberglass roll insulation, homeowners need to simply unfurl the roll and then affix it to the wooden frame of the attic with nails. Reflective insulation hangs on exterior walls with the reflective side pointing . Homeowners can unite fiberglass panels and reflective sheets for added protection. A vacuum cleaner or air compressor with a blower attachment can spray loose fill insulation into an attic across the top of fiberglass rolls. Spray foam insulation comes in an aerosol can. Pushing the button on the can causes the memory to flow through which the nozzle points, injecting the glue, expanding foam into hard-to-reach areas.


Insulation manufacturers quantify the effectiveness of insulation using a collection of numbers called R-values. The R-value of a item indicates its resistance to heat transport, with greater R-values representing better protection. Homeowners who add their own insulation ought to shop for products with greater R-values, because these will have the best impact on keeping cool or warm air inside. Comparing prices to R-values is your very best way to determine the worth of a given insulation product.

Construction Planning

Some types of home insulation need professionals to set up or build into a new residence. Homeowners can become involved in this procedure by considering high-efficiency windows and insulating concrete forms throughout the construction planning. High-efficiency windows utilize a coating of compressed gas between two thin panes of glass to decrease heat transfer through the window, whereas concrete forms are a part of the home’s fundamental structure and decrease heat transfer through cellar walls.

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Remodeling Ideas for Backyards

Backyards can be sanctuaries or constant reminders of a to-do list. Remodeling the inside of a house may take precedence over repairing the backyard, but once attended , a beautiful and user-friendly backyard adds value to your home and offers a sanctuary from the world outside. Making a simple sketch of this outside area helps to organize a garden that works. Include existing shrubs and trees and indicate areas that need screening for privacy, in addition to areas that get full sun or full shade.

Patios and Decks

Old, cracked, concrete patios are eyesores and can be safety hazards. Breaking up concrete patios is noisy and can be pricey, but the piled broken pieces make rustic and attractive non retaining walls. Newly poured concrete patios can be a fantastic solution for mid-century-style modern gardens, however flagstone placed in brick or concrete patios add more warmth and texture to a room. Crushed-gravel patios work well where water runoff is an issue –the permeable surface allows water to percolate through, instead of slide surfaces. A deck made from wood or composite materials can immediately extend the living area of a house. Ideally, a deck may have easy access in the kitchen, making impromptu alfresco meals a likelihood.

Water Features

The noise of water at a backyard can be soothing, but also paying for water functions may not inspire Zen-like thoughts. Natural-looking rock waterfalls that fall a few feet into shallow pools, designed and installed by professionals, can be pricey. Homeowners can opt to install a cast-stone fountain, though, using a recirculating pump to conduct it. Licensed electricians can hardwire the electric motor, or homeowners can select a solar-panel-operated version. Long cords that extend from the solar panel to the pump allow the fountain to sit at a shady corner and also the solar panel to occupy a glowing patch.


Adding backyard light isn’t inexpensive, but it can add safety in addition to attractiveness to a backyard. Professionals need to install high-definition lights to code. Low-voltage or solar-powered lights are good projects for do-it-yourself enthusiasts. Choose large trees and install lights that shine up into the canopy from the base of this tree. Adding lights under the railings of decks, or along the risers of almost any measure leading up to them, makes night dining safer and more appealing.

Lawns and Plants

Installing new sod, or reseeding tired or worn-out yards, is relatively inexpensive and offers young children with safe places to playwith. A concrete strip installed around yard areas helps remove the need for constant edging around the turf. Before ripping out any existing plants, analyze which ones thrive in their existing site. Mature landscaping can be worked around, and it can’t be replaced once ruined. Even if a specific plant annoys one member of their household, frequently adding companion plants around it is going to help it fit in the landscape.

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Define Capital Improvements

Homeowners that are looking to increase their home’s value can consider making capital improvements to their home. Only certain jobs can be categorized as a capital improvement, such as installing solar panels replacing windows. Although these jobs are generally completed just in front of a homeowner wants to sell the home, they may be produced at any time with no intent to market.


A capital improvement includes any major enhancement that is made to your home. The Cooperator explains that so as to qualify as a capital improvement, the enhancement should either”add value to a property or substantially prolong its lifetime.” A few examples of a funding improvement include obtaining a new roof, installing a generator, including a porch or updating an electrical system. Minor interior layout changes, such as a fresh coat of paint, aren’t considered capital improvements.


The Homeowners Association indicates that homeowners decide to make capital improvements shortly before putting their property on the market. This not only raises the market value of the home, but also creates the chance for the homeowner to get a tax deduction. In fact, homeowners may find a worksheet from the IRS to monitor their capital improvement expenditures, which may subsequently be reported on Form 2119. Besides an increased home value and tax breaks, homeowners may also benefit from the enhanced living conditions made by these home enhancements.


There are two chief types of funding improvements: interior and exterior. The interior enhancements may include a remodeled kitchen, a new boiler or installing central air conditioning. Exterior improvements may consist of everything from adding on a garage to installing a swimming pool.


Homeowners should take caution when planning capital improvements. The American Homeowners Association warns that upkeep, repairs, wallpapering and painting don’t qualify as capital improvements. Homeowners should consult the IRS capital advances worksheet or speak with a tax preparation specialist if they are not sure about whether or not a job will qualify.

Expert Insight

The AHA advises homeowners to maintain all receipts linked to their own capital improvement projects. These ought to be saved not only to help with the tax planning process, but also in case the IRS should ever inquire concerning the homeowner’s improvement expenses. Homeowners should also consider whether to rely their jobs as a capital improvement or an expense. The Cooperator explains that an expense counts for only one year, even though a capital improvement for a depreciating asset, such as a roof, can count for several decades.

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Can a Mortgage Business Come After a Foreclosure After a Person?

By signing a mortgage contract, you agree to settle your lender the full amount of the loan no matter your circumstances. If the mortgage business forecloses on the home, it sells the home to offset its losses. In the event your property value decreases and your home is no longer worth what you owe on the loan, your lender will endure a reduction and, sometimes, pursue you to your balance.

Mortgage Deficiencies

Borrowers who owe money to their lenders following their homes are sold and foreclosed owe a”deficiency.” The deficiency is the difference between the debtor’s debt to the creditor and the amount the creditor received from selling the home. A mortgage company’s ability to lawfully pursue the debtor for the mortgage lack is dependent on the details of the first loan contract and the legislation in the debtor’s state of residence.

Lender Lawsuits

Before the housing bust from the mid-2000s, lenders rarely sued former homeowners to get mortgage deficiencies following foreclosure. However, as foreclosure rates rose, lenders began applying more pressure on borrowers to make good in their mortgage loanseven when the creditor no longer owned the home. According to”The Buffalo (N.Y.) News,” lenders evaluate a borrower’s ability to pay when deciding whether to file a lawsuit against him to get his mortgage lack. Therefore, people facing a true financial hardship are more likely to escape a lack lawsuit than individuals who command an income.

Non-Recourse States

Borrowers living in non-recourse states receive some protection from lack lawsuits following foreclosure. California State Civil Code, for example, dictates that mortgage lenders can’t legally pursue a mortgage shortage unless they utilize judicial foreclosure to seize the property. Given that judicial foreclosure is a much longer process than nonjudicial foreclosure, and the huge majority of California lenders opt for nonjudicial foreclosure–leaving taxpayers protected from paying any deficiencies left in their loans.

Second Mortgages

Although a primary mortgage lender’s ability to come after an individual following a foreclosure depends directly on the type of loan that the borrower needed and the laws in her state of residence, second mortgage lenders can always file a lawsuit following foreclosure. Lien priority order dictates that, after foreclosure, the principal lender receives payment first. Other lien holders get payment only in the event there is surplus money left over following the original mortgage loan is paid off. Second mortgage lenders, consequently, must often sue the debtor to obtain payment.

Debt Enforcement

A lawsuit to get a mortgage lack not only makes the debtor’s other assets subject to seizure by the mortgage business, but also the judgment looks on his credit report. Judgments are negative entrances and The Fair Credit Reporting Act dictates that credit bureaus may report them for seven years or the statute of limitations for judgment enforcement in the debtor’s state, whichever period is longer. Along with credit damage, many states allow lenders to garnish an individual’s paychecks and bank account following a lawsuit until the deficiency is paid in full.

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Explain the Subprime Mortgage Rate Crisis

With the exclusion of the burst of the dot-com bubble along with the temporary downturn after 9/11, America saw continued expansion of the market during the late 1990s and 2000s. A housing market drove customer spending and made the financial markets a great deal of money. Yet, when the sector began to falter, the market began to falter with it, and a domino effect began that led to a meltdown in the financial sector and national recession. Two individual factors caused the subprime mortgage crisis: a home market that expanded too rapidly to become sustainable and a basic change in the managing of mortgages.

Time Frame

Starting in the 1990s, the USA began experiencing a time of great financial prosperity. The nation had a balanced budget and many consumers were feeling good about the future. These positive feelings spurred consumer spending, forcing a growth in industrial output, which boosted employment and contributed to greater prosperity. The first part of the 2000s saw a reduction in interest rates and people buying houses in record numbers, driving up demand and prices. In many areas, such as California, Arizona and Florida, buyers greatly outnumber sellers and bid for houses over the asking price. Sellers began increasing asking prices in response and double-digit annual value increases became common. Many who did not market their houses borrowed from the equity produced by the inflated value of the houses.


The assumption in the 2000s was that housing prices would grow indefinitely, which makes buyers rush into purchasing and investors and sellers anxious to see gains. Lenders fueled this assumption by developing risky, innovative loan programs to fund this overblown market and enlarge the pool of buyers. A huge proportion of those loans were subprime loansloans especially geared toward buyers with high risk credit and greater debt.


Lenders operate on perceived risk. They judge whether to approve a person for a loan based on the default risk of the applicant. Lenders do not like loan defaults due to the fact that they result in foreclosure, which traditionally costs them money. When home prices rise at a quick pace, as they did at the 2000s, foreclosure is much less costly or as likely, because the homeowner can sell before foreclosure occurs or the lender can stand to eliminate money once in a while on a foreclosed home. This means the lender can afford to take some extra risk with the types of loans it provides.


Lenders began offering subprime loans that featured reduced credit criteria, reduced down payment requirements, let more debt versus income, and started more applications with little to no income verification in exchange for gains from charging higher interest rates. These products enlarged the pool of buyers, which warmed up the industry even more. Adjustable-rate mortgages provided low initial monthly payments for a couple of years that would adjust to a speed more in keeping with the market and let more people get into homes that would otherwise be out of the price range with minimal to no money down. Home buyers with such mortgages expected refinancing to fixed-rate loans before the modification interval and building equity from increasing prices.


Lenders took even more risk in their loans since they changed how they did business. In the past, lenders were restricted in how far they could lend by just how much they had in deposits or may borrow. In the 2000s, most lenders acquired a continuous source of money to lend by bundling loans and selling them at a profit as mortgage-backed securities. These bundles comprised both high- and low-risk loans. The demand in the secondary market for these securities was high, with everyone from insurance companies to mutual and pension funds one of the purchasers. The sale of these loans required the foreclosure threat off the lender’s shoulders, freeing them to create even more loans and continue to fuel the market. A vicious cycle has been born.


The bubble burst when the first wave of foreclosures arrived in 2006 and 2007. Many homeowners did not or could not refinance their adjustable-rate mortgage could not afford the new high corrected payment. The resulting foreclosures began to flood the market and bring prices down. Lenders began to tighten lending criteria, which restricted the pool of buyers and, even when combined with falling home prices, further restricted the ability of homeowners to avoid foreclosure. Eventually, many homeowners were”upside down,” meaning that they owed more than what their houses were worth. A cycle began that eventually affected the whole nation and pressured many lenders out of business, starting with the heavily subprime lenders.

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Difference Between a Credit Line and a Home Equity Loan

An investigation on second mortgage loans results in a barrage of terms, two of which are fixed rate home equity loans and home equity lines of credit. When there are similarities between these and other household loans, they still have their own unique attributes. Both have their own place as valuable resources in the homeowner’s fiscal arsenal as ways to tap into a home’s equity.


Both home equity loans and home equity lines of credit, also called HELOCs, use the worth of a house for collateral to secure the loan. While you can repay either at any time, as soon as you sell or refinance the house you must repay the home equity loan or HELOC in full. Many wrongly refer to them as second mortgages, because they aren’t the principal loan on a house, but they aren’t part of the original purchase of the house so they are technically not a mortgage.

Home Equity Loans

Home equity loans are one-time loans made against the equity in a house that typically have a shorter loan term than mortgages, such as 10 to 15 decades rather than 30. They are compensated in a lump sum amount and can be used to pay off bills, make purchases, finance home improvement jobs or could be obtained as cash. Various lenders have different rules as to the highest percentage of a home’s worth they’ll loan for a particular purpose. A lender may allow you to borrow up to 90 percent of your home’s worth for paying off bills or decreasing debt, but might only allow you to borrow up to 85 percent if you’re taking the cash in cash.


Home equity loans are all available as fixed rate loans and adjustable rate loans. Fixed rate home equity loans feature an interest rate that remains the same during the life span of their loan. Adjustable rate loans have an initial rate of as much as two percent under a fixed rate home equity loan, but initial rate adjusts after a specified interval. Many homeowners enjoy a fixed rate home equity loan, especially when rates are reduced, because they can organize their funds not be surprised by greater payments due to their loan adjusting upwards.


Unilike house equity loans, HELOCs aren’t loans at all, but are open lines of credit which you can use at any given moment in a specified interval. When applying for a HELOC, your lender approves you for a maximum credit limit based on the value of your house. The creditor can correct the limit up or down, or cancel the credit line, dependent on changes from the house worth or variables like your payment and credit history. HELOCS function much as a credit card–your credit is revived as you pay it back.


HELOCs traditionally feature variable rates that change based on the prevailing prime rate. You might have a minimal payment because, for example credit cards, so many HELOCS only ask that you cover a very small percentage of everything you have borrowed from the payment. Your lender may ask that you take out a minimum amount during the life span of this HELOC.

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What Causes Foreclosures?

The foreclosure procedure permits a creditor to take back ownership of a property from a debtor. Foreclosure occurs when the debtor is no longer making the mortgage loan payments on time and in total. The lender may sell the home at public auction, and becomes the owner if there are no successful bidders.


Foreclosure processes vary by state. There are two distinct types of mortgage foreclosures. Non-judicial foreclosure generally occurs when a deed in trust, a type of legal tool used to demonstrate ownership of property, is utilized. The debtor deeds the property to the lender for the lender to maintain until the loan is paid in full. Deeds in trust typically include wording which permits the creditor to foreclose in your home without going to court. Judicial foreclosures happen when the creditor has to go through a court procedure and get a signed judgment so as to foreclose and publicly auction the home.

Mortgage Sort

The type of mortgage a debtor has can contribute to an eventual foreclosure. An adjustable-rate mortgage, or ARM, is a loan which”resets” on a date noted from the mortgage documents. The rate of interest is adjusted to whatever is standard in the financial market at that moment. The reset may cause the loan obligations to go up unexpectedly, and if the borrower can’t afford the new payment amount, the loan may be foreclosed . A balloon mortgage is a loan where the total payments aren’t enough to cover the entire balance due on the mortgage. A huge portion of the principal of this loan is due at the end of the mortgage term. A borrower who cannot afford the balloon payment at the end of the loan may face foreclosure as a outcome.

Personal Situations

Events in a borrower’s life can result in foreclosure if the situations result in a drain in financial resources. These events include medical emergencies that result in unexpected debts, unemployment or other factors that drain a borrower’s funds. A borrower may file for bankruptcy in these types of situations to halt a foreclosure. The creditor may nevertheless proceed with a foreclosure if the insolvency court deems that foreclosure is the best course of action, such as when the debtor doesn’t have enough income to make the payments.


Some foreclosures are due to the debtor electing to not pay the mortgage. This is also known as”walking out” from the property. A borrower may drift away from the property when the balance of the mortgage is no longer in accordance with the true worth of the home due to decreasing property values in the area. The family of a deceased borrower might not wish to take on the mortgage debt if the home is in poor condition or of little value.


Alternatives are offered for a borrower who’s facing foreclosure. The creditor may agree to a short sale, which is when the borrower sells the home for less than the balance on the loan and the creditor cancels the debt. A creditor may accept a deed in lieu of foreclosure, when the borrower deeds back the property to the creditor in return for getting the mortgage canceled. Some creditors will use a debtor who’s in financial distress, to be able to modify or refinance the existing loan to create the mortgage less expensive.

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DIY: Home Improvement: Exterior Wall Insulation

In winter, air moves out of a building’s heated spaces into cooler areas, such as an attic, basement or outdoors. In the summer, heat flows out of outdoors into chilled spaces. Exterior insulation provides resistance to this flow, reducing the energy costs associated with your property and buffering exterior noises. A building must be insulated to cellar and throughout the outside walls.


As stated by the U.S. Department of Energy, the first step in insulating exterior walls would be to evaluate the current state of current insulation. Older buildings generally have low levels of insulation, and many new buildings may benefit from extra insulation. The Department of Energy’s energy assessment provides directions on how best to check the location and types of insulation in your construction (see Resources). Perform the DOE's assessment yourself, or hire a contractor to perform the energy assessment.


Several types of insulation are acceptable for use in outside walls, according to Habitat for Humanity. Fiberglass or stone wool loose-fill insulation can be blown into the wall cavity or built into batts created to fit gaps between the wall’therefore studwork. Rigid foam insulation provides higher insulating value per inch of depth in comparison to fiberglass or rock wool, and is more capable of stopping air flows. Cellulose insulation is also effective at stopping air flows and provides greater soundproofing. It is made of recycled newsprint and may be set up as a damp or dry material. Foam insulation sprayed into wall cavities provides air stoppage qualities similar to rigid foam insulation.


Insulation's efficacy is measured in R-values. The greater a product’s R-value, the more insulating material capacity it’s. To utilize insulation at a cost-effective fashion, you need to know how much R-value your outside walls need. Get into the U.S. Department of Energy’s R-Value Suggestions Calculator through its site (see Resources). Use the drop-down boxes to select if your building is new construction or present and what type of fuel it uses; enter the first few digits of your zip code. The calculator generates a list of those R-values necessary for every space in your building.


Air tightness and moisture control are significant components to consider in replacing or installing insulation. Sealing the outside wall against the water leakage and air flow is crucial to guarantee the effectiveness of your insulation and protect against mould from growing in the wall . Energy Star recommends using caulk or expanding foam to seal outside wall joints, windows, doors and holes for wiring and pipes.


The California Energy Commission requires that insulation provide “a continuous barrier between the interior conditioned space and the exterior. ” It recommends insulation be set up to permit no gaps, but not be compressed into the insulated area, which would reduce the insulating material ’s efficacy. All small or irregularly shaped spaces must be filled with insulating material, including the areas around and behind plumbing, electrical cables and junction boxes.

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Where Can I Find Apartments for Rent?

Finding a flat in a significant metro region poses challenges for those seeking the perfect apartment. Searching for an apartment entails driving to lots of communities, walking through many distinct units and filling out applications. In metropolitan areas like San Francisco many options exist for finding a flat, some of which involve working with property representatives, and others that involve using online and print media resources to locate suitable apartments.

Real Estate Agents

Besides selling houses, realtors may also locate rentals by using the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database; flat communities also use real estate agents to list their possessions. Private parties that have rental units in their homes often find it is easier to list the device with the agent instead of trying to find a tenant themselves. The owners pay a commission to the agent once the prospect she referred to the house signs a lease.


The Internet is a great resource for finding rentals of all kinds from the Bay region. A great deal of websites are specifically devoted to finding apartments, and the majority of them are easy to navigate. Apartment directory websites supply a fair quantity of information. Apartment communities may list their vacancies on line on directory websites, or supply links right to their own sites for more comprehensive information. Apartment community websites always include photos, floor plans, rental numbers, deposit information, pet policies, amenities and lease lengths. The individual community websites also supply maps and phone numbers, making it effortless for those looking for a rental unit to get hold of them.


The weekly residence and property sections of newspapers often carry advertisements for flat communities. The want ad sections of those papers may additionally contain listings for apartments or houses for rent. Individuals who have houses for rent can promote them from the want ads comparatively inexpensively, and they are a fantastic resource for those looking for places to live.


Because real estate is local, many people and rental communities set up signs near or in their home to market an available lease. The route from home to work can turn up a few possessions, and looking for homes in specific neighborhoods can involve driving around in free time to find out whether there are any houses for rent.

Rental Magazines

Rental magazines are free books generally found in supermarkets, external popular restaurants or other retail shops, and may include a lot of information about apartment communities by area. The magazines provide lots of information about the communities and supply phone numbers and websites so prospective renters can find out more about the neighborhood. Sometimes the apartment communities promote specials or coupons for those that use the magazines to obtain the apartment community, offering them a discount or a bonus for visiting and renting with them.

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Can FHA Be Qualified for by an Investor?

Real estate investors utilize different investment strategies to make money. Some repair and flip homes; others buy rental properties and hold onto them for monthly cash flow. Based on what real estate investment strategy you employ as an investor, you might benefit greatly from getting an FHA loan. Investors do fulfill the qualifications to obtain at least one kind of FHA loan, though some do not.

FHA Loans

FHA loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration, a government company. Though the FHA doesn’t directly contribute the money, it guarantees FHA mortgages created from FHA-approved lenders. A lot of people think that FHA loans are just for first-time house buyers, but you may actually take out an FHA loan on your property. You cannot have more than just one FHA loan at a time, however.

Investment Benefits

Among the main benefits of working with an FHA loan within an investor is the capability to put down hardly any money for a deposit. To get an FHA loan, a borrower or investor is simply required to have a deposit of 3.5 percent, as of July 2010. FHA loans generally have lower rates of interest than conventional loans because they are insured by the national government.

Accessible Properties

An investor who purchases commercial properties cannot meet the requirements for an FHA loan. FHA loans are only available on residential properties of one to four components. FHA loans can also be used to buy condominium units or manufactured homes on permanent foundations. says that FHA loans can only be employed on owner-occupied homes. An investor cannot qualify to obtain an FHA loan on a property that he never plans to reside in. He is, however, use an FHA loan to buy a four-unit home, reside in one of those components and let the others out.

Debt-to-Income Ratio

To obtain an FHA loan, an investor must have the correct debt-to-income ratio. says that the Federal Housing Administration requires borrowers to have a debt-to-income ratio of 31 to 43 percent. This usually means that you cannot owe more than 43 percent of your monthly income in debt, such as additional mortgages. Investors that have too much debt or inadequate income would not qualify.

FHA 203(k) Loans

FHA 203(k) loans have been intended for a specific kind of real estate investor. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, FHA 203(k) loans may be used to buy and fix properties in distress, such as homes which have been foreclosed on. Although the creditor, the debtor and the house must be pre-approved from the Federal Housing Administration, these kinds of loans may be helpful for investors that fix and flip properties that they reside in.

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