Your Building Blog for the Rochester Area

What to Know About Rochester Area In-Law Homes

Posted by John Graziose on Fri, Apr 13, 2018 @ 20:04 PM

What to Know About Rochester Area In-Law HomesYears ago, families used to gather around their television sets to watch a show about what we now call a “multi-generational” family that lived together in rural Virginia during the Great Depression. At the time, the show was a reminder of the times when several generations would occupy a single house. Today, that practice is becoming a reality again as increasing numbers of families are once again living together under one roof—even right here in the greater Rochester area. Here’s what to know about Rochester area in-law homes.

Things have changed a bit since the days of the fictional Waltons (who were actually based on a real Virginia family).  Today’s demands of two-career households coupled with economic strains have motivated more families to bring different generations under one roof. You can add to that the increasingly high costs of retirement homes and assisted living facilities. On top of that, many maturing adults simply prefer to be with their families.

Of course, housing opportunities have changed as well.  Today we tend to preserve our privacy a bit more than in days gone by—and housing designs reflect that. There are floor plans that allow older family members to have their own private space (bedrooms, sitting rooms or family rooms, and even their own bathroom facilities). Some plans even include a kitchen or kitchenette so that older family members can prepare their own meals if they want—and still join the rest of the family at other times.

In some cases, families opt to remodel an existing home or put on an addition to accommodate their extended families. That option often includes having a separate entryway allowing extended family to come and go at their leisure without disturbing other members of the family.

Sherrie and Brenda are clients of ours who were looking for a home that would meet their needs and also provide a safe and comfortable living space for Mom and Dad. Click here to hear them describe their experience with having Gerber build a home for them that included an in-law suite.

One of the things they loved about the particular plan they picked was that the in-law suite (which contains a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen nook, and its own bathroom) was on the main level. That meant they didn't have to worry about navigating stairs. The floor plan also provides ample space on the upper level where you'll find a master bedroom and bath along with two additional bedrooms and a second bath. There is also an optional Bonus room that can be added.

Even if you’re not considering space for aging parents, an in-law suite such as this is ideal if you have older children who need a place to live while they are pursuing their careers.

Because of the increased demand for homes with in-law suites, Gerber has additional floor plans in our In-Law Layouts section. Click here to take a look at the various option to create a home that’s just right for your multi-generational family!

Check out our client testimonials!


What to Look For as a First-time Rochester Homebuyer

Posted by John Graziose on Fri, Apr 6, 2018 @ 06:04 AM

What to Look For as a First time Rochester HomebuyerWe’re used to hearing that “One size doesn’t fit all” when making personal choices—whether we’re talking about shoes, cars, or even houses. I’ve talked before about how what you want out of a new home can vary depending on your age and your specific needs.  But there is some interesting information that came out of the recent National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Show in Orlando. There’s evidence that what you look for in a home also depends on whether it’s your first home or not. So let’s take a look at what to look for as a first-time Rochester Homebuyer.

According to the NAHB Economics & Housing Policy Group, here’s a list of the top 10 features first-time homebuyers are looking for.

  1. Living room (61%)
  2. Laundry room
  3. Dining room
  4. Walk-in closet in master bedroom
  5. Both shower stall/tub in master bath
  6. Front porch
  7. Great room
  8. 2-car garage
  9. Kitchen double sink (40%)

It's interesting to compare this list with a list of what people who've already purchased at least one home are looking for. Here's the list NAHB shared that shows the top 14 essentials seasoned homeowners are looking for. Apparently, people become even more demanding once they have one purchase under their belts—so their list is longer!

  1. Laundry room (72%)
  2. Living room
  3. Walk-in closet in master bedroom
  4. 2-car garage
  5. Garage storage
  6. Kitchen double sink
  7. Dining room
  8. Patio
  9. Table space for eating in the kitchen
  10. Both shower/tub in master bath
  11. Hardwood flooring
  12. Energy-Star appliances
  13. Great room
  14. Granite countertops (40%)

So what does that mean for you if you’re a first-time buyer in the Rochester area? For one thing, it’s interesting how many of the same features both first-time and repeat-homebuyers consider essential. If you ever decide to sell your home down the road, you’ll probably have an easier time selling it if it includes these features. Even if some of the features don’t make your “Top Ten” list, it may be wise to include them for resale value.

Here’s another thing to keep in mind. Some of the features on the second list show up there because they are things people who had already owned a house wanted (and perhaps didn’t have in their original home). Things such as table space for eating in the kitchen; hardwood floors; Energy-Star appliances; and granite countertops could be considered “upgrades.”  And while we firmly believe that you should set a realistic budget and stay within that budget, there are times when spending a little bit more can be a smart move. The upgrades mentioned here aren’t necessarily “luxury” upgrades (with the possible exception of the granite countertops). They are simply things that make living in your home more enjoyable.

The truth of the matter is that making these upgrades will never be less expensive than when you’re building. Renovating, or adding on later will cost you more. If you can afford it—including some of those items can really make sense. Not only will you derive more enjoyment from your home, but you’ll also make it more attractive to a wider group of potential buyers if you ever decide to sell.


Topics: Buying a Home in Rochester NY, First-Time Home Buyer

2018 Housing Trends: Bigger Isn’t Better—Better Is Better!

Posted by John Graziose on Mon, Apr 2, 2018 @ 13:04 PM

2018 Housing Trends Bigger Isn’t Better Better Is BetterSmart home shoppers in the Rochester area know that it makes sense to keep an eye on trends in housing. They don’t want to find themselves living in a house with an outdated design or sense of style. They also have a sense that it makes sense to look for classic, enduring design rather than to blindly pursue the latest “hot” styles. It does, however, make sense to be aware of broad trends in the housing industry. I’m not talking about “This Year’s Bold New Colors,” or “Are Stainless Steel Appliances Dead?” Instead, I’d like to talk a bit about a couple of 2018 housing trends that the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has been tracking.

Bigger Isn’t (Necessarily) Better

The first piece of information (as documented by the NAHB Economics & Housing Policy Group) is that in general, new houses are a little bit smaller than they have been. They’re not talking about the “Tiny House” movement that tends to get a lot of press. They’re talking about the average/median size of homes across the country.

2018 Housing Trends Bigger Isn’t Better Better Is BetterAs you can see from this chart (from the 2018 NAHB show) the size of homes has steadily increased over the years. There was a dip around 2008 and then the overall size of homes flattened out in 2013. We’re not talking about a huge shift here, but it is a break from past trends. One way to interpret this trend is to say that homeowners may find the overall size of their homes less important than their home’s overall quality. They’re after floor plans that deliver more efficient and comfortable use of space than simply more space. It’s also probably safe to say that homeowners are aware of the costs to maintain (especially heat and cool) larger spaces.

I would like to offer a caveat. While bigger isn't necessarily better, there are times when there is simply no substitute for additional square footage. Here’s an article that looks at those cases when sometimes bigger is better!

Better is Better

2018 Housing Trends Bigger Isn’t Better Better Is BetterSo if size is perhaps less important, what is it that will make a home better? This chart from NAHB highlights the features that industry research indicates will be the most likely features to appear in new homes for 2018. Those include (in order of popularity):

  • Walk-in closets in master bedroom
  • Great room (Kitchen/Family/Living)
  • Laundry room
  • Low-e windows
  • 9' first floor ceiling height
  • Granite kitchen countertop
  • Programmable thermostat
  • Energy-Star appliances
  • Central Kitchen Island
  • Energy-Star windows
  • Exterior lighting
  • 2-car garage
  • Front porch
  • Bathroom linen closet
  • Private toilet compartment in master bath

The NAHB research shows that these are what most people will be looking for—and expecting to find in any new home they consider. Your specific list might be a little different. There may be things that aren’t on this chart that you’d definitely want. There also may be things on here that you hadn’t thought about—but recognize as being things you would value.

Obviously, your personal needs and sense of style are the most important things to consider. But these are at least some of the features you'll want to think about to make yourself comfortable in your home for a good long time. And if you keep an eye on resale value, these are things that future buyers will be looking for if and when you should decide to sell your home.

Let’s be clear: There is no “magic” number for determining exactly how big your new home should be. And there’s no specific set of features that will fit the needs and desires of every homeowner. It really comes down to finding the floor plan that really fits your family. And when it comes to choosing the right floor plan, Gerber can help!

So keep your eye on general trends in the homebuilding industry. And make sure you choose what will make you happy—and hold its value.

Adapted from the original published Jun 18, 2014 @ 07:06 AM



Topics: Buying a Home in Rochester NY

If You’re Thinking About Building in the Rochester Area You May Want to Take a Spring Road Trip!

Posted by John Graziose on Mon, Mar 5, 2018 @ 06:03 AM

Thinking About Building In the Rochester Area Take a Spring Road TripWe’re approaching that time around Rochester when the ice begins to give way to the first blossoms. Officially, the first day of spring is March 20th this year (and the long-range forecast for Rochester on that day calls for a high of only 33 degrees—not very spring-like!). Still, if you’re thinking about building in the Rochester area you may want to take a spring road trip!

Why take a road trip this time of year if you’re planning to build a new home? Choosing where you want to build is an extremely important part of the homebuilding process. In fact, you could argue that where you choose to live is as important as the floor plan you choose for your home. And while you can look at floor plans online, it's a bit more difficult to get a sense of what a community is like just from online images.

We build homes in communities all across the greater Rochester area, including Webster, Perinton, Victor, Ontario, and Canandaigua—just to name a few. You can read descriptions about the communities (click on the links shown here) and their amenities. You can even check out photos of what the town looks like. But there’s nothing quite like visiting the communities themselves to get a feel for what it actually feels like.

A short road trip will let you see for yourself what traffic is like, where the stores are, how far it is to schools and work. You can get a feel for the general lifestyle of the community and see if you think it’s a good fit. Another thing to consider is that a description (or even a picture) of a lot doesn’t really tell you much about what that piece of property is like.

That doesn't mean you can't do a little homework ahead of time to narrow down your search a bit. We invite you to check out the communities where we’re currently building. Simply click on the name of the community and you'll see sitemaps and photos of the area. Then if you see some communities that appeal to your family, you can head off for a first-hand look. If you can't find what you're looking for in any of those communities, you can also search for property (or houses) by zip code.

But once you’ve done some preliminary research, there’s just no substitute for seeing a community for yourself to see if it feels like a good match for your family’s needs and lifestyle. And doing that now can put you a step ahead in the process of building your new home when the weather is no longer a factor.


Topics: Building a New Home Rochester NY

Cost Versus Value for Your Rochester Remodeling Project

Posted by John Graziose on Sat, Mar 3, 2018 @ 06:03 AM

Cost Versus Value For Your Rochester Remodeling ProjectAny time you consider a remodeling project for your Rochester home you'll want to know what it's going to cost you—and what kind of return you're going to get on your investment. And while no two projects are identical, it's nice to have some kind of benchmark so that you know that the bid you have is a realistic one. So how do you evaluate cost versus value for your Rochester remodeling project?

The good news is that you have a valuable, free resource at your disposal. It’s called the Cost vs.Value Report and you can download it for free at to see what costs are for your specific area. It’s the oldest and most popular remodeling report in America—and it provides costs for 20 different remodeling projects (by region). It also includes data from local real estate professionals that tells you what you can expect to get back from these projects if you sell your home.

Click to Download: 2018 Remodeling Cost vs Value Report for Rochester, NY 

That helps you when you’re trying to create a realistic budget for your remodeling project. By the way, here’s a helpful post about how to talk about costs with your builder to make sure you’re both on the same page.

The new Cost vs. Value Report for 2018 is now available. It’s a great idea to download it so that you have access to good impartial information. Here is an interesting trend from this year’s report. Overall, remodeling costs around the country are up between two to five percent. In some cases, it can be higher because the hurricanes and fires that hit the U.S. this year are causing some material shortages—which drives prices up, even in areas not affected by those events.

If you’re interested in a remodeling project in order to sell your Rochester home (and get the best price for it) you can evaluate which projects will give you the best return on your investment. By the way, of the top six projects listed in the report (based on their payback), five of them are projects that focus on the exterior of the house. Curb appeal still matters!

Of course, if you’re not planning to move, you’ll want to focus more on the cost side of the report when considering a kitchen remodel, a bathroom remodel, or even a home addition. Those are projects you undertake to make your home more comfortable, convenient, and enjoyable. But it’s still helpful to have a rough idea of what you can expect to spend.

Whether you’re planning to move or simply planning to make your house more comfortable, it’s good to have access to accurate and impartial information that can help you plan. The Cost vs. Value Report for 2018 can provide you with exactly that kind of information.

Topics: Home Remodeling Rochester NY

Build, Buy, or Remodel? What’s the Right Choice for Your Rochester Home?

Posted by John Graziose on Sat, Feb 24, 2018 @ 21:02 PM

Build-Buy-or-Remodel-What’s-the-Right-Choice-for-Your-Rochester-Home.jpgWe Americans love our choices and options. If you don’t believe me, take a walk down the cereal aisle in one of the Rochester-area supermarkets and look at all the different options you’ve got for breakfast cereal!  The same thing is true when it comes to your housing needs. You have options for meeting your family’s needs. But should you build, buy or remodel? What’s the right choice for your Rochester home?

The answer, of course, will depend on what you’re looking for in a home. Your budget and the timing of your move will also be factors. Your specific needs will be different from those of others, so there’s no “one-size-fits-all” answer to whether you should build, buy or remodel.

That's why it may be more helpful for you to compare some of the advantages and disadvantages of your various options. Here's a quick overview of some of the pluses and minuses of building a new home, buying an existing home, or remodeling your current Rochester home.

Building a New Custom Home


  • Your home will be built to your exact specifications. You’ll be involved in the process from the ground up to ensure you get exactly what you want.
  • You’ll start with a clean slate. That means you won’t have to work around existing structural constraints or styles in order to get what you really want.
  • You get to put more of yourself into the way the home is built. Your home can reflect more of your personality.
  • With a new custom built home, you'll have lower initial maintenance costs (because it's new) and down the road because of the quality of materials and craftsmanship.
  • Custom built homes are more likely to use green building materials and technologies—resulting in lower utility bills and a decreased impact on the environment
  • With a custom home, you can build in features such as higher ceilings and bring in more natural light.
  • New custom homes offer the advantage of a basement that's dry from the beginning and remains dry because of the quality of construction.


  • There is a cost differential. Custom homes tend to cost a bit more than tract homes (but bear in mind that you’re getting more as well, so you have to take overall value into consideration).
  • You may face some delays before you can move in. If immediate occupancy is important this can be an issue and you may have to stay where you are longer—or find a temporary solution.
  • Custom building is a lot more “hands-on.” You’ll face a lot more decisions about the design and finish of your home. That can consume a lot of time and mental energy.

Buying a New or Existing Home


  • Buying an existing home gives you the ability to move in more quickly. There’s no waiting for construction to be completed—your home is “move-in ready” right now.
  • Existing homes generally have landscaping already done—and it’s often more mature. In addition to looking nicer, it can save you money later on.
  • Buying an existing home requires fewer decisions. If the thought of deciding on finishes and features and the like leaves you cold, you avoid all that. 

By the way, at Gerber, we frequently have existing models for sale that allow you to see a finished home that nobody has ever lived in—and move in quickly. Click here to check out our current inventory.


  • An existing home sits on an existing lot and you have to take what you get. You don’t have the option of choosing the lot you like best.
  • You’ll be somewhat limited with regard to how much you can customize your home. If you like the way the home is designed and finished, that’s great, but if you want to make changes it will take time, effort, and money.
  • If you’re buying a home that someone else has lived in you don’t get to “break in” your new home. Some people really like the idea of being the first ones in their new home. Also, your fixtures and appliances won’t be brand new (unless you’re buying a model).

Remodeling Your Existing Home


  • If you live in a neighborhood you love that is convenient to work, schools, and other activities, you don’t have to pull up roots and start anew.
  • You can avoid the stress and extra expense of a major move. There will be some disruption—but it’s not the same as moving. 
  • Good remodeling isn’t cheap but it’s probably going to be less expensive than building from scratch. 


If you really don’t like the overall style of your current home (i.e. You really want a rancher and you’re in a two-story) your remodel may not be able to address that issue.

It’s good to have options. And while you may have additional questions that you need to address before you decide what’s best for you and your family, evaluating the advantages and disadvantages above will give you a good start on your decision-making process.


Topics: building a new home, Rochester NY Home Builders, Moving to Rochester, Rochester Remodeling, Buying a Home in Rochester NY

Exterior Remodeling—Because It’s Not Just What’s Inside That Matters

Posted by John Graziose on Sun, Feb 11, 2018 @ 23:02 PM

Exterior Remodeling Because It’s Not Just What’s Inside That MattersWhen people think about remodeling their Rochester area home, they often focus on renovating the inside of the home. That’s understandable since it’s where homeowners spend most of their time when they’re at home.  At Gerber, we certainly do our share of kitchen remodels, bathroom remodels, and other interior renovations such as basement finishing and garage conversions. But we also do a lot of exterior remodeling because it’s not just what’s inside that matters.

Click to Download: 2018 Remodeling Cost vs Value Report for Rochester, NY 

In fact, the editor or the 2018 Cost vs. Value Report (download it for free at mentioned that five of the top six projects listed in the report (based on their return on investment) are projects involving the exterior of the house. How the outside of your home looks can make a big difference if and when you want to sell your home.

Not all exterior projects, however, are cosmetic. Often an exterior improvement also adds functionality and comfortable usable space to a home. So in addition to improving the curb appeal of your property, you also get to enjoy your home more. Here are a few examples of projects we’ve done in the area that are focused on the outside of the home—specifically, on porches that provide comfortable and fun areas for entertaining when the weather is good.

Exterior Remodeling Because It’s Not Just What’s Inside That MattersHere’s a screened-in Rochester-area porch that allows homeowners and their guests to enjoy being outside in warmer weather without being bothered by pesky bugs. As a matter of fact, they can even sit “outside” in a gentle rain!

Click here for a Sunroom Addition featured on Houzz to gather additional ideas.




Exterior Remodeling Because It’s Not Just What’s Inside That MattersAnother option is to add a screened-in porch along with a beautiful deck such as the one we built for these Rochester homeowners. They can enjoy being out in the sunshine during the days and early evenings—and then retire into the screened-in and covered area if they so choose.




Exterior Remodeling Because It’s Not Just What’s Inside That MattersPerhaps you’d like an option that allows you to enjoy the outdoors even when the temperatures drop or the rain prohibits you from sitting outside. An addition such as the one you see here lets you take full advantage of the natural outside light, but provides plenty of protection against the elements.



Whether you’re looking for a new front door (which, by the way, is one of the home improvements with the best return on investment), energy-efficient windows that will keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, a porch or deck, we design and build beautiful exteriors that can revitalize the exterior of your home, increase your enjoyment of it, and improve it’s value. 

Whatever project you have in mind, you’ll find help in thinking it through and planning it in our Home Design Guide.


Creating Your Perfect Rochester Home: Is New Right for You?

Posted by John Graziose on Sun, Feb 11, 2018 @ 07:02 AM

Creating-Your-Perfect-Rochester-Home-Is-New-Right-for-You.jpgWhat should you do if your current Rochester home is no longer meeting your needs?  Family dynamics can change. Perhaps you’ve added a child or two since you first moved in. Perhaps you’ve had an older family member move in with you and you want to be able to accommodate them comfortably. Maybe you need to make some changes that address the needs of multiple generations. Or it could be that you’re looking ahead to your own retirement and want to make sure you’re in a place you’ll enjoy for years to come. How do you go about creating your perfect Rochester home? Is new right for you?

Often, the first thing homeowners think about in response to changing needs is making a move to a new home. Sometimes that’s the right move. For some individuals, however, a new home isn’t what they really want. What if you really like the neighborhood you’re currently living in? What if you have a great relationship with your neighbors? Good neighbors aren’t a guarantee when you move into a new community. And what if you essentially like your house?

Remodeling your home is a great way to get the space, comfort, and convenience you want from your home—without having to move. Whether it's an extra room or a new second floor, Gerber Homes & Additions can work closely with you to turn your existing home into the home you really want and need. We’ve developed an approach that allows side, back, and second-story additions to be completed while your family remains in the house throughout construction.

You may not need to do a full-blown addition to your home. You may simply want to re-purpose some of your existing space to make better use of it. Maybe you find yourself working from home more often—but don’t like the idea of setting up shop in the kitchen or the spare bedroom. Here’s a look at how to create a great home office.

It could be that simply re-designing your kitchen will make your home more comfortable and convenient. Here’s a look at kitchen features you’ll want to take into consideration—whether you build a new home or remodel your existing home.

By the way, if you’re closing in on retirement and want to make sure your home will be safe and comfortable as your needs change, here’s a post that talks about remodeling issues you’ll want to take seriously.

If you love where you live—but it simply doesn’t meet your needs anymore—it doesn’t mean you have to move if you don’t want to. I invite you to download our free Create Your Dream Home eBook. It will help you decide whether building or remodeling is the right way for you to get the home of your dreams. And it’s packed with helpful design tips that can help you get what you really want from your new—or remodeled—home. Is new really right for you? This eBook will help you decide what’s best for you!


Topics: building a new home, Rochester NY Home Builders, Moving to Rochester, Rochester Remodeling

How to Make a Rochester-Area Home More Accessible for Aging Loves Ones

Posted by John Graziose on Mon, Feb 5, 2018 @ 21:02 PM





How To Make A Home More Accessible for Aging Loved Ones presented by Transitions Lift & Elevator

Topics: Aging in Place Remodeling in Rochester Area, Bedroom remodeling, Greater Rochester bathroom remodeling, Muti-Generational Living, Retiring in Greater Rochester, Rochester Kitchen Remodel, Rochester-Area Front Doors, Rochester Remodeling

Building or Remodeling Your Rochester Home—Knowing Where to Start Matters

Posted by John Graziose on Fri, Feb 2, 2018 @ 01:02 AM

Build-or-Remodel-Your-Rochester-Home-Knowing-Where-To-Start.jpgThe Germans have an old saying: AllerAnfangistschwer (All beginnings are difficult). That’s certainly true when building or remodeling a home. Given the fact that quite a number of German homes are hundreds of years old, it seems like perhaps they managed to master that “first step” pretty well. What does that mean for you? When building or remodeling your Rochester home, knowing where to start matters.

One thing that makes getting started hard is that many people haven’t built a new house or undertaken a major remodeling project before. It’s new territory. There’s a lot of information to gather—and to digest.

Get the Information You Need

If you’ve been looking into building or remodeling in the Rochester area, you know that it’s not a lack of information that keeps you from getting started. As a matter of fact, it sometimes feels as if there’s too much information out there. How do you sort it all out?

Let’s be honest, both homebuilding and home remodeling involve a whole lot of details. But before you get to the nitty-gritty details, it’s good to have an overview of what you need to be thinking about. Plus, it’s good to glean some general ideas and get some inspiration for what you can do.

One thing that many prospective new homeowners don’t initially think about is where they are going to build their home. Will you be building in an existing community? Will you be looking for a lot elsewhere? What things do you need to consider before purchasing your lot? Here’s a look at how we can help you with that particular issue.

What about choosing the right design to meet your family’s needs? There are a lot of different options available to you. At Gerber Homes & Additions, we offer a wide range of plans. But which one will fit your needs? Here’s a helpful post that can help you pick the right floor plan for your needs.

What can you do if you like a basic plan (whether you’re building a new home or remodeling your existing Rochester home) but want to make some changes? How can you know if the changes you request are realistic—or will cost you a bundle to implement? What if there’s a better way to achieve what you want? Here’s a look at how you can take advantage of your Rochester builder’s expertise and end up with a better solution.

Begin with the Basics

If you’ve been thinking about building or remodeling in Huron, Ontario, Webster or anywhere else in the greater Rochester area, we have some good news that can make it a bit easier to get the ball rolling. It begins with the basics you need to consider.

That’s why we created our Building a House, Creating a Home e-book. This 16-page, full-color book has answers to some of the most common questions homeowners have at the beginning of the building or remodeling process. This guide talks about some basic design elements and uses images to show you how you can achieve the look and feel you want in your home. There are practical tips for getting the most out of the most-used (and remodeled) rooms in your house. And there’s just enough inspiration to get you started so that you can come up with your own ideas or modify the ones you see to fit your taste and lifestyle.

If you’ve been thinking about building or remodeling a home in the Rochester area—but weren’t sure about how to take that first step—and we invite you to download this FREE eBook today. You’ll even find help for deciding whether building a new home or remodeling your existing home makes more sense for you.

Knowing where to start makes a big difference. This handy resource can take some of the uncertainty out of that first step.


Topics: Rochester NY Home Builders, Building a Home in Rochester NY, Rochester NY Remodeling Company, Remodeling a House in Rochester NY

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