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JANUARY 2017

T H E H E A R T L A N D ’ S L E A D I N G R E A L E S TAT E & H O M E L I V I N G M A G A Z I N E

INSIDE THIS MONTH’S EDITION: n Organize by Feb. 1, 2 n Sizing up Surveys, 3 More information on this listing can be found on the back cover.

C H E C K O U T L I S T I N G S & I N F O R M AT I O N F R O M T H E S E G R E AT A D V E R T I S E R S : C O L D W E L L B A N K E R , M A R K C A M P B E L L & A S S O C I AT E S , M C C L U S K E Y & A S S O C I AT E S , T E X A S B A N K , T E X A S R E A LT Y, M I L L S C O U N T Y S TAT E B A N K , T E X A S G O L D S TA R R E A L E S TAT E , T O O T I E K E L LY R E A L E S TAT E , A C M E B R I C K & T I L E , B R O W N C O U N T Y S E R V I C E D I R E C T O R Y


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For questions or to advertise please call the Brownwood Bulletin at 325-646-2541 or come by the office at 700 Carnegie, Brownwood. NOTICE All Rental and Real Estate Ads are subject to the Fair Housing Act which makes it illegal to advertise any preference, limitation or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, or family status or national origin.

Organize your home by Feb. 1 in less than an hour a day Follow this list for an easy path to organized spaces Happy New Year! Have you noticed most of your resolutions are actionoriented? Walk 10,000 steps a day. Fix that leaky faucet. Register for VolunteerMatch. But “get organized”? It’s a goal so broad that just trying to figure out what action to take makes you wonder what you were thinking in the first place. It’s like you need an organizing plan for your organizing. Ta da! Here it is. Follow these steps, spending less than an hour day (sometimes just a few moments), to a better organized home by Feb. 1: n 1. Do That Project “What about your space is making you feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed?” asks Amy Trager, a

professional organizer in Chicago. Is it the paperwork disaster in your office? The pile of clothes teetering on your dresser? Or that mess that surrounds your doorway? Start with what’s annoying you, she says. One hour on that task will get your organizing engine revving. Spend Oh-So-Wisely on a Kitchen Remodel 1. 6 Materials to Never Use in Your Kitchen 2. How to Shop for a Retro Kitchen — and Not Get Stuck with Junk 3. Refacing Your Kitchen Cabinets: The Options and Costs n 2. Create a “Go Away” Box Put anything you’re planning to ORGANIZE, 7


Sunday, January 15, 2017 

Sizing Up Surveys

By Rusty Adams How can a Texas farm buyer make sure he is getting all the land he is paying for and that he has access to and from the property? How does a home purchaser know where her lot ends and her neighbor’s begins? Is her home in the flood plain? How does a commercial developer know that a planned shopping center won’t cross a property line or setback line and that utilities will be available once it is built? The answer? A survey. A survey is a measurement of a tract of land and its boundaries and contents. Situations in which a survey is advisable include when land is bought, sold, cleared or divided; when planning construction projects or subdivisions; when harvesting timber; or when building a fence. A survey is often required by lenders and is necessary to obtain title insurance or flood insurance. Participants in real estate transactions, and their sales agents, brokers, and attorneys, should be familiar with the types of surveys available.

Types of Surveys

Land surveyors are licensed by the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying. The types of surveys available are set forth in the Manual of Practice for Land Surveying in Texas, published by the Texas Society of Professional Surveyors. The professional services of a Registered Professional Land Surveyor are divided into categories, each of which is defined in the manual and has specific requirements. Categories are further divided into four “conditions,” determined by the location of the site to be surveyed (urban business district, urban, suburban, and rural).

Category 1A: Land Title Survey

This is the survey real estate professionals will encounter most often. Whenever a transaction requires a title policy, such as when property is purchased or refinanced, this survey is required. A Land Title Survey is a comprehensive investigation and evaluation of factors affecting boundary locations, ownership lines, rights of way, and easements within or

immediately surrounding a property. The distinguishing characteristic of a Category 1A survey is that it provides what the title company needs to insure the title. It includes greater detail than a standard survey. It shows recorded easements, as well as any evidence indicating the possibility of prescription or limitation rights, and visible improvements. As part of a Land Title Survey, the surveyor will produce: n monuments for corners, points of curves, or references to property lines of adjacent properties; n a signed, sealed, and dated written description n a signed, sealed, dated, and certified map or plat clearly depicting the survey as made on the ground; and n if required, a written report of the surveyor’s findings and determinations. Sometimes this will include opinions, particularly if the surveyor finds conflicting evidence. While the survey must be accurate and complete for the purposes of title insurance, in practice, the degree of detail will depend a lot on the nature of the transaction. The

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sale of a residence will likely require substantially less detail than a large commercial transaction. Because survey matters are standard exceptions in a title policy, buyers want the most accurate survey possible to protect themselves from unpleasant and costly surprises. A surveyor is impartial and simply records what is found in the records and on the ground. The survey should be reviewed by an attorney.

Category 1B: Standard Land Survey

This is a traditional boundary survey. While similar to a Land Title Survey, it is not for title-insuring purposes. It locates the boundaries and determines the area, and it may include rights of way and easements within or surrounding the parcel. However, it normally does not locate improvements, rights of way, or easements within the surveyed site unless requested by the client, or in cases in which the surveyor in his professional judgment observes something that might indicate an encumbrance. SURVEYS: Continued on page 5


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Category 4: Reclassified

SURVEYS: Continued from page 3

Like a Land Title Survey, the surveyor sets monuments for all corners, points of curves, or references to property lines; provides a signed, sealed, and dated written description and a signed, sealed, dated, and certified map or plat clearly depicting the survey as made on the ground; and, as required, a written report of the surveyor’s findings and determinations.

Category 2: Route Survey

A Route Survey locates the planned path of a “linear project” or right of way that crosses a piece of property from one point to another. A common use of a route survey is for planning a right of way or for acquiring an easement (or fee title) for a road, canal, pipeline, electric line, or the like. Commonly, but not always, the route is described by defining a center line and then defining the route as a certain distance on either side of the center line. The surveyor will provide: n a signed, sealed, dated, and certified map; n signed and sealed written descriptions of each segment of the route (as it crosses tracts of separate owners); and n references to monuments and specific locations for use in planning construction.

Category 3: Locative Survey

A Locative Survey is often called a layout or stake-out survey or a site plan, and is usually done as a preliminary step in a construction project. It establishes the location and position of various structures in relation to the boundaries of the site. The surveyor may install reference stakes, markers (or monuments), construction baselines, and benchmarks. The surveyor also prepares a plan or drawing showing the perimeter of the property and the location of the stakes or monuments and data sufficient to identify them. The survey also includes a signed, sealed, and dated written description. A Locative Survey is similar to a Construction Survey and may become part of a Construction Survey. However, it only involves locating the proposed structures. It does not necessarily include continuous or periodic observation of the site as construction progresses.

Category 4 was once for mortgage loan inspections but has been reclassified as Category 1B. For continuity, the remaining categories retained their original numbers.

Category 5: Construction Survey

A Construction Survey usually follows or includes a Locative Survey. It is performed before, during, and/or at the end of a construction project. The surveyor makes measurements while construction is in progress to control elevation, horizontal position, dimensions and configuration, and, following construction, to obtain essential dimensions for computing construction pay quantities and establishing “as built” conditions. In other words, the surveyor makes sure the building is built according to the engineering design. A Construction Survey might include a “slab survey” after pouring the slab but prior to framing, to make sure it’s in the right place, as well as an “as built” survey after construction is complete.

Category 6: Topographic Survey

Topographic Surveys gather information to be depicted on topographic maps, which are used by landowners, engineers, architects, planners, and developers to design the development of a site, landscaping, flood control, runoff of surface water, and various other purposes. The surveyor determines contours of the land and may determine volumes or quantities (of water, for instance). The surveyor’s product includes: n a control survey network, with horizontal and vertical positions noted; n major control points monumented and referenced; n a signed, sealed, dated, and certified plat showing elevations or relief by contour lines or grid plotted elevations; and n locative descriptions of the control points.

Category 7: Horizontal Control Survey

A Horizontal Control Survey is used as a framework to which other surveys are referenced and adjusted and, therefore, must be extremely accurate. It ties a particular location to the National Geodetic Survey and the Texas Plane Coordinate System, which are consistent coordinate systems used to establish latitude and longitude. These surveys establish a network of points on the ground sufficiently accurate to provide control for any surveying project. They are needed for accurate mapping and charting projects and in construction of underground utilities, power lines, highways, bridges, tunnels, and dams, and are particularly adaptable to property and subdivision surveys. By statute (Natural Resources Code, Ch. 21, Subchapter D), state plane coordinates may be referenced in deed descriptions.

Category 8: Vertical Control Survey

Vertical Control Surveys also are tied into the National Geodetic Survey and used as benchmarks for other surveys. They must be very accurate. They determine elevation relative to sea level and are used for surveys of tidal boundaries, locative and construction surveys, route surveys, topographic surveys, investigative surveys, and making measurements from photographs.

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Category 9: Investigative Survey

Investigative Surveys are used when it’s necessary to determine the location of certain features or improvements, and their locations relative to each other, to determine the effects of an actual, impending, or planned occurrence. Examples include investigation of serious accidents for litigation purposes, mitigating natural disasters, determining whether a structure or other object is an encroachment on a property, and measuring ground subsidence or erosion.

Category 10: GIS/LIS Surveys and Products

A Geographic Information System (GIS) Land Information System (LIS) for surveying is the creation of maps and databases representing boundaries, manmade objects, natural features, or topography. The maps and databases are used as elements of GIS/LIS mapping applications. Surveys are a key part of any real estate transaction. Knowing the different types of surveys and the purpose each serves is valuable knowledge for real estate professionals. E. V. “Rusty” Adams III (rusty@brazoslawyers.com) is an attorney with the Peterson Law Group in Bryan-College Station. 


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Sunday, January 15, 2017 

ORGANIZE CONTINUED FROM 2 donate in it (or give to a friend, or take to recycle). And keep it by the door so you can easily grab it when you’re leaving. n 3. Deal With the Decorations Hallelujah — the holidays are over! When you’re putting away your décor, donate anything you didn’t bring out last season, and separate decorations by holiday. No need to dig through your St. Patty’s clovers when you’re searching for a menorah. n 4. Create a System for Your Entryway Set up a “command center” so your front door doesn’t become a lawless accessories arena, especially during winter months. Add hooks for coats, bins for shoes, and a mail sorter if you need it. (Remember to keep a place for your “go away” box). n 5. Wrangle Your Pet

Supplies Minimize the time spent scrambling when your pup is desperate for a walk or eager for a meal. Hang hooks and cubbies near the door and keep leashes, kibble, bowls, and toys in one convenient spot. n 6. Organize Your Spices Arrange your herbs and spices alphabetically, by cuisine, or by brand — whatever makes them easier to find when you’re in the middle of your noodle stir fry. n 7. Pare Down Your Utensils You’ve accumulated several dozen kitchen utensils in your culinary career: can openers, microplanes, four (what?!) wine openers. Pare down the collection and use drawer dividers to keep the remainders in order. n 8. Reconfigure Your Pots and Pans Stop digging around in your shelves for the oversized, cast-iron skillet. Donate the pots and

pans you hardly use, and install cupboard organizers to help manage the rest. n 9. Throw Away Expired Foods You never use Worcestershire sauce — except that one time. Go through your refrigerator and pantry and ditch or donate anything past its prime. n 10. Stack Your Pantry Staples Make better use of your pantry by sorting through your staple dry goods — think flour, sugar, pasta, oatmeal, dry beans — and putting them in airtight, stackable containers. You’ll free up a ton of space, too. n 11. Downsize Your Kitchen Gadgets You had noble intentions when you purchased that spiralizer. (Zucchini noodles every night, right?) Give those space hogs to someone else with lofty dreams. n 12. Say No to Coffee Mug Over-Saturation

Every time you lose a sock, a new coffee mug appears. Keep one or two mugs for every coffee or tea drinker, and donate the rest. n 13. Sort Your Food Storage Containers No singles allowed. Toss any tops or bottoms that have no mates. n 14. Reassess Your Display Shelves Shelves crammed with knickknacks, books you’ll never read, and stuff you somehow accumulated are just a waste of space. Donate books to the library, discard the junk, and arrange what’s left in a way that pleases you. n 15. Deal With Your Cables With a Roku, PlayStation, DVD player, and a cable box, it’s no surprise your entertainment center is a mess. Create ID tags for each plug from bread tags or cable ties, and bundle the clutter together with

Heartland Your Home velcro strips. n 16. Put Clothes on New Hangers Switch your clothes over to the slimmer, grabbier hangers. They use less space and keep your clothes from sliding down to your closet floor. As you do this, discard the clothes you never wear. n 17. Corral Your Accessories Belts, scarves, purses, hats — all the accessories that don’t have a drawer or spot in the closet can end up everywhere. Buy an accessories hanger or install a simple series of hooks to give your wardrobe’s smallest members a home. n 18. Purge Under the Bed Under-bed storage is ideal for out-of-season clothing. But when out-of-season becomes out-of-sight and out-ofmind, clear out those clothes you’ll never wear again from this precious

TIP OF THE WEEK Seal up drafts to save money Drafts from overlooked spaces like pull-down attic stairs, a whole-house fan, a fireplace or clothes dryer can waste energy and cost you big in the form of higher energy bills. Here are some tips and techniques that can seal and insulate these areas. • Add an insulated attic stair cover that seals the stairs and stops drafts and energy loss. Add the desired amount of insulation over the cover to restore the insulation removed from the ceiling. • For whole-house fans add a shutter seal. Made from white textured flexible insulation, you install the seal over the ceiling shutter, secure it with Velcro, and trim it to fit. • To avoid cold drafts around a fireplace, add a plug to it. A fireplace plug is an inflatable pillow that seals the fireplace damper, eliminating drafts, odors, and noise. The pillow is removed whenever the fireplace is used, then reinserted after. • A clothes dryer vent seal will reduce unwanted drafts, and also keeps out pests, bees and rodents. The vent will remain closed unless the dryer is in use.

— Brandpoint/Battic Door

DECORATING TIP Seek out granite alternatives

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storage space. n 19. Declutter Your Desk When your workspace is swimming with collectibles, staplers, Post-its, and more, paring down can keep you focused when it’s time to hunker down. n 20. Shred Old Paperwork Not every form, statement, and tax record needs to stay in your filing cabinet forever. Check out this list to make sure you’re not wasting space. Shred the rest to ward off identity thieves. n 21. Tidy Your Files Now that you’ve shredded the paperwork you don’t need, tidy up your files by organizing them and labeling them clearly. Colorful folders can help organize by theme (home stuff, tax stuff, work stuff, etc.). n 22. Get Rid of Mystery Electronics PATH, 9

Homeowners looking to break from the standard granite countertops have a range of alternate materials from which to choose. Crisp marbles infuse a room with a clean, stately charm while having the benefit of being cool to the touch. On the warmer end of the spectrum, butcher block countertops bring in a more relaxed vibe and will withstand rigorous use by the serious home chef. For something a bit out of the norm, soapstone and concrete are dependable surfaces that will patina over time.

— Brandpoint

GARDEN GUIDE Rake your leaves more efficiently Instead of spending hours or even days raking leaves, you can clear your lawn more quickly and efficiently by using the wind, patience and the proper tools. If it’s windy outside, rake your leaves in the same direction the wind is blowing to avoid them blowing around the entire yard. Although you might want to get ahead of the debris, be patient and wait to do your raking until all the leaves have fallen off your tree. Use a tarp to rake your leaves into small piles on top of the tarp. Once your tarp is full, drag it to your main pile or compost location.

— More Content Now


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Sunday, January 15, 2017 

Not all wood floors are equal

By Laura Firszt More Content Now

What exactly is a “wood floor” anyway? And what’s the difference between new woodlook materials like engineered wood and laminate? If you’re as confused as most homeowners about the terminology of wood flooring, you’ll appreciate this handy guide. Hardwood When you think “wood floors,” solid hardwood flooring is probably what’s on your mind. Durable and beautiful, hardwood’s timeless elegance keeps floors looking gorgeous for years … and increases curb appeal very nicely, thank you, should you plan to sell your home. Although hardwood is susceptible to scratching and water damage, you’ll be able to sand and refinish several times over its lifespan. What’s to love: Hardwood comes in a wide range of colors and grains, depending on the species and the way it was cut. Your hardwood floor will develop a richer patina with time. Keep it green: Forest Stewardship Council certification identifies boards from sustainably grown and harvested trees. Cost: Hardwood flooring cost depends on type of wood, hardness (measured by the Janka scale), grade, and installation.

Engineered Wood and Laminate American homeowners have jumped on the engineered wood/laminate flooring bandwagon over the past couple of decades. Both these hardwood wannabes are assembled in layers. An engineered wood floor consists of a fancy real-wood veneer atop a much lowergrade wooden base, while less expensive laminate is made up of a similar base topped with — get this — a photograph of an attractive wood grain pattern. Like hardwood, engineered wood flooring can be sanded down to remove damaged areas — but fewer times, depending on the thickness of the veneer. With laminate, you can repair small nicks and scratches using filler, but sanding and refinishing is out of the question; its total life expectancy is only about 20 years, compared to a century or more for wellmaintained hardwood. What’s to love: Engineered wood and laminate floors look a lot like hardwood, but cost substantially less. They’re also surprisingly simple to install yourself; snap the tongueand-groove pieces together — avoiding the laborious, hardon-the-knees nailing procedure that is hardwood floor installation — and float them over your existing floor. Cost: Engineered wood

costs more than laminate, for both materials and installation. Aside from that, quality varies a great deal, with corresponding price ranges. A good rule of thumb: The more like real wood a flooring looks, the higher its price tag. Keep it green: Avoid toxic emissions by choosing formaldehyde-free flooring and adhesives low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Bamboo Bamboo looks so much like wood you’ll have trouble believing it doesn’t come from a tree … but in fact, it’s classified as a grass. Bamboo floors do have a nice rich natural glow similar to hardwood, though, and the price is right. If you have bamboo flooring installed, opt for the higher-priced kind, which compares favorably to maple or oak in terms of hardness; cheaper types tend to dent super easily. (High heel aficionados be warned.) What’s to love: The price is right, and the looks are none too shabby, either. Cost: A bamboo floor can cost as low as half the price of a comparable hardwood version. Keep it green: While bamboo is theoretically a sustainable, rapidly renewable crop, check for proof that it was, in fact, harvested responsibly.

PATH

CONTINUED FROM 7 Admit it. You’ve got a drawer where black mystery cords, chargers, and oddball electronic bits go to die. Free that drawer up for better uses, or at least get rid of the ones you know for sure are “dead.” n 23. Pare Down Your Personal Care Stuff Your intentions were honorable when you bought that curl-enhancing shampoo — but it expired two years ago, and you haven’t used it since. Throw away any expired potions, salves, hair products, and medicines. n 24. Tackle Under-the-Sink Storage Clean everything out. You’ll be amazed at what you find (like those Magic Erasers you could never find). Then put back everything you’re keeping in bins you can easily pull out so nothing gets lost again. n 25. Hang a Shelf Wall storage is so often overlooked. Find a spot in your home where a shelf would solve a problem, and hang it. Maybe it’s for some toiletries in the bathroom, or laundry supplies, or for your kid’s stuffed toys. Related: Yep, You Can Put Shelves There: 5 Inspired Storage Ideas n 26. Reduce Your Towels and Linens

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There are the towels you use — and the stack of towels you never use. Donate them to the animal shelter. Those torn pillowcases? Convert to rags or toss. Same for napkins, dishtowels, pot holders, etc. n 27. Hang a Shoe Organizer Hanging shoe organizers can solve a ton of storage problems beyond the obvious. They can store scarves, mittens, cleaning supplies, craft supplies. You can even cut them to custom-fit inside a cabinet door. Related: Ideas for Using Shoe Organizers n 28. Organize Your Junk Drawer for Good There’s no shame in a junk drawer — but why not organize it? Dump the whole thing on one surface and sort everything into piles. Use drawer dividers to keep each pile in its own space. n 29. Store Your Tools the Right Way Finding the right Phillips-head screwdriver to put together that cute IKEA bookshelf shouldn’t be so hard. Track down your hammers and screwdrivers, and arrange them in one easyto-access spot, such as a pegboard. n 30. Plan for the Future See how much you’ve accomplished! Take a look around your newly organized home, making note of any spaces you missed. Then dream a bit about your next home project. Maybe paint that dining room, finally?


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Three expensive mistakes Texas sellers are making The Texas housing market is hot, which is great news for sellers. However, just because there is a high demand for homes doesn’t mean that a seller is guaranteed to make a large profit. In fact, there are several ways sellers can make a misstep and leave money on the table. The good news is that Texas Realtors help their sellers avoid big mistakes, and a recent poll of members of the Texas Association of Realtors revealed three of the most common ones sellers should avoid. Mistake #1: Overvaluing upgrades and improvements As a homeowner, you know exactly what you paid to have your deck redone, your kitchen

NOTE FROM THE PRESIDENT upgraded and your new floors installed, and it’s tempting to take the prices and simply tack them onto the value of your home. However, that approach could backfire, primarily because you likely made those upgrades based on your personal preferences, which buyers might not share (so they may not be willing to pay a premium for them), and because those were prices paid when those upgrades were brand new, which is probably no longer the case by the time you sell your home. More important, a buyer will place a value on your home as a whole, not based on an individual assessment of each feature, so it’s most effective to look at your home that same way when working with your Texas Realtor to decide the right list price. Mistake #2: Failing to fully

IT’S AGAINST BROWNWOOD CITY ORDINANCES TO: • Allow vegetation to exceed 12-inches in height on property from the street edge to the alley center. • Park any motor vehicle, trailer or boat on any portion of unpaved front yard. • Store or park any vehicle that does not have a valid license plate, inspection sticker and is wrecked or inoperable for more than 30 consecutive days on private property or 72 hrs on public property. • Not display 4” tall house numbers visible from the street. o Have more than 4 dogs or cats or combination of both. Permit continuous barking or animal waste related health hazards. • Park any oversized commercial vehicle on a public space in a residential area. • Park any type of trailer on a public street, alley or parkway. • Have any unoccupied buildings left open and unsecured. • Construct or install any structure without appropriate permits. • Store items normally kept within a structure (appliances, building materials, furniture, mattresses, etc...) and items in such disrepair they cannot be used for the designed purpose (old travel trailers, lawn chairs with rotted cloth seats, etc) and/or trash, in open view. • Dump waste illegally. Not only city ordinance but state law also prohibits illegal dumping in unauthorized locations. Penalties for illegal dumping can be as high as $1,000 and/or 30 days in jail. Report illegal dumping at 1-877-897-DUMP.

disclose One of the most expensive mistakes that sellers can make is not fully disclosing required information about a property. If a seller does not disclose known material defects about a property, there can be financial and legal consequences that create a mess for everyone involved. Texas Realtors advise clients to save themselves the time and headache that can come from incomplete disclosures. Mistake #3: Evaluating offers based on when they came in, instead of what they offer

Sunday, January 15, 2017

terms of the offer. Some buyers reject offers because they only received one or because it came “too quickly.” However, it’s an expensive mistake for a seller to reject an offer that meets their expectations only because it came in the first day or so. As you can see, there are many ways you can make a mistake when selling your home. Hiring a Texas Realtor will ensure you maximize any benefit of the current Texas real estate market while enjoying a smoother sale. Learn more about buying, selling, and leasing property in Texas on texasrealestate.com Distributed by the Texas Association of Realtors

Every seller has different expectations about how quickly their home should sell and when they’ll receive the best offer. However, Texas Realtors caution buyers against putting too much emphasis on when offers are submitted rather than the actual

Vann Stanford, President Heartland Association of Realtors


Sunday, January 15, 2017 

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Your home Jan 2017