San Francisco Mortgage & Financing Info, San Francisco Real Estate, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Buyers, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Sellers, San Francisco Real Estate Resources

Loans Through Mortgage Brokers Might Get Cheaper!

No Comments 21 February 2011

If you’ve been working with a good and honest mortgage broker, you’re already getting the lowest rates possible.  A good mortgage broker knows that providing folks with lowest rates and best terms is the right way to do business, regardless of the amount of his paycheck.

A good broker knows that they are only as good as their reputations, and unless they’re honest and upfront with every client, they won’t get repeat business.  (Which is THE way to do business – ANY kind of business, whether you’re in real estate or you’re a dentist,

But not every mortgage broker works that way, especially when you consider that if a loan has higher interest rates and higher points – the mortgage broker makes more money!  Yikes!

The new rule will change things though – the way brokers will soon get paid will be a fixed commission that is no longer tied to loan terms.  Yay!

The new rule comes from the Federal Reserve and is called “Loan Originator Compensation amendment to Regulation Z” and the rule kicks in April 1st of this year (2011).

So if you’ve been dealing with a broker that’s been putting their paycheck in front of your needs, your loans, be it for a purchase or a refinance, will get cheaper.

Though if you haven’t been dealing with some honest, (shameless plug for my favorite mortgage broker alert!) like Tim Higbee from Guarantee Mortgage, then, well, you probably won’t notice much of a difference.  Honest brokers like Tim have been putting their clients’ needs first for years.  :-)

Misc Musings from Your San Francisco Realtor, San Francisco Local Resources, San Francisco Neighborhoods, San Francisco Photos, San Francisco Real Estate, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Buyers, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Sellers, San Francisco Real Estate Resources, San Francisco Videos

What’s the Right San Francisco Neighborhood for You?

No Comments 21 February 2011

There are just under 100 unique and distinct districts in San Francisco according the the San Francisco Realtors Association.

Other sources will list just over 100.  But no matter how you count them, there’s no denying that there’s A LOT of variety when it comes to what neighborhood you ultimately choose to call “home!”

Whether you like your neighborhoods full of nightlife vs. life on the quiet side, completely urban vs. bordering nature, or if you prefer your shopping high-end vs. funky and thrifty, there’s a neighborhood for you here in SF.

You want views? Hills? Public schools? Walkability? Something trendy? Something polished? Something family oriented? A single person’s dream? San Francisco has it all.

But how do you decide which San Francisco “Nabe” is right for you?

Well – I suggest using BOTH of these sites to find out.

1)  Visit Zephyr Real Estate’s neighborhood guide. Zephyr has 89 districts in San Francisco and has broken them up into little blurbs of digestible information.  Neighborhoods have a description, photos, links to available homes for sale, real estate market statistics, demographic info, and in many cases, even a  short video highlighting the neighborhood in greater detail.  It’s polished, easy to read and the SF real estate stats and available listings are constantly updated.

2) Visit NabeWise. This site splits SF into 104 districts (frankly, more accurate than our SF real estate board if you ask me – Lower Haight gets its own home here, whereas our board lumps it into Hayes Valley.)  The only way I can really accurately describe this site is the Yelp! of local neighborhoods.  It features a neighborhood summary, highlights, lowlights, maps, trends and most importantly, in my opinion, reader reviews.  People can post photos, videos and review their own neighborhoods and those which they frequent.  You get a glimpse of the neighborhoods both through the eyes of locals and those that step foot there along their travels.  You can see who lives there (hipsters, beautiful people, students, liberals) and so much more.  I personally just started playing with the site and managed to squeeze out one review of the Outer Sunset. But so far, I’ve really enjoyed reading other people’s opinions of the various San Francisco hoods.

So, Zephyr Real Estate’s neighborhood guide will give you the polished presentation that markets each neighborhood, while NabeWise will give you an insider’s scoop and actual people’s perceptions of every nook and cranny in San Francisco that you’d want to call “home.”

And of course, if you’re considering buying or selling a home in any of these awesome neighborhoods, well, you know who you can call! ;-)

Misc Musings from Your San Francisco Realtor, San Francisco Local Resources, San Francisco Real Estate, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Buyers, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Sellers, San Francisco Real Estate Market Conditions, San Francisco Real Estate Resources

Single Female in Search of Home for Sale

No Comments 17 February 2011

The title of the post almost sounds like a personal ad, right?

Well I was taking a look at my list of San Francisco clients that are looking for a home or have recently purchased a home and I realized that about 35% of them are single women.

While it does appear that I tend to work with more single female home buyers than national averages, across the country, I did find some interesting statistics while searching the net:

  • Single women make up more than 20% of home buyers
  • Single women buy twice as many homes as single men
  • Single women make up more than one-third of the growth in real estate ownership since 1994
  • Not bad for girl power, eh?

    The demographic includes all women, including never married, divorced or widowed.

    Each person’s motivations for buying a home is, without a doubt, different.

    Past generations waited for Mr. Right to come along and give the poor helpless female financial security.

    But TODAY’S woman is ready to take her financial destiny into her own hands. According to an older article from USA Today:

    The trend is striking, because in 1981, the number of single women and single men home buyers was virtually the same. Since then, the percentage of buyers who are single women has almost doubled, while the percentage of single men buyers slipped 1 percentage point to 9% last year.

    The article goes on to say:

    “For the first time in history, women have access to the same resources men have always had — money, social status, power,” says Donald Hantula, professor of organizational psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia.

    “Women can go and acquire them on their own rather than searching for a mate to provide them. These demographic and social changes are not in line with how we adapted in the hunter-gatherer era.”

    In SF, women have a number of options when it comes to buying a home. My clients’ searches have included houses, condos, TIC’s, lofts, fixer-uppers, new construction, Victorian architecture, modern design and so many other variables that there’s just too many to list.

    And now that we are seeing some better deals in the San Francisco housing market, I’ve been getting more calls from single women ready to take the plunge and buy a home. In fact, now that the real estate prices have softened in SF, I’ve gotten calls from some past single female clients that are ready to jump in and buy investment property, with a big enough down payment, they are actually able to see a positive net gain on a rental property in San Francisco.

    If you’re a single woman and you’re thinking about buying property in San Francisco, whether for your primary residence or for investment purposes, give me a holler – I’m happy to help you decide whether now really is the right time for you to buy.

    Oh, and the embedded video??? Just a gratuitous baby dancing to the Single Ladies song because who doesn’t like to watch babies boogie!

    Misc Musings from Your San Francisco Realtor, San Francisco Real Estate, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Buyers, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Sellers, San Francisco Real Estate Market Conditions, San Francisco Real Estate Resources

    Will San Francisco See an Increase in Real Estate Inventory?

    No Comments 16 February 2011

    We seem to be seeing an increased inventory of real estate in San Francisco.  So far, we haven’t just been seeing MORE inventory, but we’ve also been seeing BETTER inventory!

    And while we don’t know if the flow of good properties will continue (though I can vouch that I have a few fabulous listings coming up in a variety of price ranges), there is anecdotal evidence that the flow of inventory will continue.

    You see, when you need to sell a home, you need to pull what we in the real estate industry call a 3R Report.  It’s also known as the report of residential record.

    It includes:

    - Address of the building including condominium or unit number if any
    - Block and Lot
    - Present authorized occupancy or use
    - If the property is classified as a Condominium
    - If the building contain any Residential Hotel Guest Rooms
    - Zoning district
    - Building Code Occupancy Classification
    - Expiration date for non-conforming use
    - Building construction date
    - Original occupancy or use
    - Building permit application history and status of building permit:
    N = Unknown
    I = Issued
    X = Expired
    C = Completed
    - Franchise Tax Board lien
    - Abatement case on the property
    - Number of residential structures on the lot
    - If energy inspection has been done and proof of compliance has been issued

    The above information will be shown on the report if available through the Department of Building Inspection microfilm records.  In many cases, submittal of additional  records from other city agencies such as the Assessor’s Office and SF Water Department will be required for the completion and/or revision/update of a 3R. Please note that a 3R does not list the electrical or plumbing permit history, cancelled or withdrawn building permit applications and any building permits taken for the commercial portion of the building.

    You need a 3R report whenever you sell a property.  And we recently received a notice from our (MARVELOUS!) office staff at Zephyr letting us know that the 3R department is taking about 3 weeks and up to process requests that normally take just over a week to fulfill!

    In fact, rumor has it that there are 70+ requests a day flying into the 3R department!  That’s quite a few new San Francisco listings that would appear to be heading to the market in the near future!

    We’ve yet to see whether these properties will be quickly snapped up, but I’d say that if they are priced in line with recent comparable SF sales, they’ll quite possibly see the multiple offer game we’re seeing these days at quite a few properties are selling for WELL over the asking price!  (But they’re marketed aggressively, so the selling price is still the true current market value.)

    But in the meantime, it’ll be great to see some more good San Francisco real estate porn! ;-)

    San Francisco Neighborhoods, San Francisco Real Estate, San Francisco Real Estate Fast Facts, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Buyers, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Sellers, San Francisco Real Estate Market Conditions, San Francisco Real Estate Resources

    SF Real Estate Fast Facts – January 2011

    No Comments 15 February 2011

    San Francisco Real Estate Fast Facts – Sans Commentary, Provided by the San Francisco Association of Realtors


    (Editor’s Note: Set forth below are Unit Sales/DOM/Monthly Supply charts for the month of January for single-family homes, condominiums and 2-4 units, as well as Supply/Demand, Sales Rate and Median Price charts for the same month.)

    Single-Family Homes

    Condos

    2-4 Units

    NUMBER OF UNITS is the equivalent of number of sales/transactions. For condominiums, each unit is treated as a sale. For 2- to 4-unit buildings, the “building” is treated as a sale.

    NUMBER SOLD is the number of properties in the market segment that closed escrow during the month.

    NUMBER FOR SALE is the number of active properties on the market for one day or more during the month.

    MEDIAN PRICE (SOLD) reflects the “middle” price point of a group of properties that have successfully closed escrow on a monthly basis, i.e. half sold for more and half sold for less than the median price. Tracking the movement of median prices over time provides a good indicator of the direction market forces are moving.

    If the percentage change is positive between the two periods then there is upward pressure on prices in that market segment. If the percentage change is negative between the two periods then there is downward pressure on prices in that market segment.

    AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET (DOM) reflects how long it has been taking (on average) to draw an offer on a reasonably priced property exposed to the market. The AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET is defined as: The average number of days it took all of the properties that went under contract during the period to accept a first position offer.

    MONTH’S SUPPLY OF INVENTORY (MSI) is a measure of how long it would take, in months, to sell the existing inventory at the current sales rate for the specific neighborhood and property type. The MONTH’S SUPPLY OF INVENTORY is defined as: The number of active properties on the market for one day or more during the month, less the number of properties that have been withdrawn or expired, divided by the number of properties that have gone under contract during the month.

    * * * * *

    Data provided by Terradatum.

    San Francisco Real Estate, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Buyers, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Sellers, San Francisco Real Estate Market Conditions

    San Francisco Real Estate Update – January 2011

    No Comments 14 February 2011

    Yet again, Luba’s San Francisco Real Estate Blog brings you latest San Francisco Real Estate market report here. (You can also view previous market updates by selecting the archives on the upper right portion of the screen). Heres’s a little glimpse of the report:

    Prices for single-family re-sale homes began the year by declining.

    The median price for homes dropped 7% from December and was off 15.1% year-over-year.

    Home sales were also down from December, but that is normal. Year-over-year, home sales were up, for the second month in a row, by 19.8%.

    Home sales momentum continued trending downward, dropping a percentage point to +6.

    Misc Musings from Your San Francisco Realtor, San Francisco News and Events, San Francisco Real Estate

    There’s a Whole Lot of Cranky San Francisco Realtors Out There

    2 Comments 13 February 2011

    These days, you might be seeing a lot of SF Realtors walking around with more gray hair, muttering curse words under their breaths and breaking out to into hives.  You see other SF real estate agents pulling out clumps of hair, going into cold sweats and breaking apart their computer equipment with hammers.

    So what’s going on?

    It’s not the real estate market.  The SF market is actually doing remarkably well as compared to the last few years.

    So what has us going crazy?

    First, the back story…..

    Well, as technology improves, we as a real estate industry have been working towards paperless transactions.  For years now, in San Francisco, we’ve been using technology (most of it web-based) that was brought to us by the California Association of Realtors (CAR).  It was called WinForms and it had all of the forms we needed to do our jobs.  It had both California forms and San Francisco forms (because, come on, we do EVERYTHING differently in San Francisco, so of course, our forms need to be different too!)

    In addition to WinForms, we were able to use DocuSign to quickly and efficiently create electronic signatures on documents.  It meant we could email a contract or a disclosure to a client for their electronic and binding signature.  No faxing and more importantly, no paper.  All forms were saved as PDF’s.

    Well, the San Francisco Association of Realtors (SFAR) at some point decided to add a new system to the mix to host the San Francisco Forms and more.  The idea was to integrate four separate components – Tax Records, MLS, Form Writing AND Electronic signatures.  The Forms component is run by a company called InstaNet and is called Transaction Desk.  The Electronic Signature component is called AuthentiSign.  In theory, this entire 4 part system was supposed to work seamlessly.  All integrated, saving us time and resources, like paper work.

    But like a lot of things that are supposed to work great in theory, in practice… they don’t always fall into place the way that they should.

    So where does it go wrong….

    If  we compare the CAR to mommy and the SFAR to daddy, and San Francisco real estate agents to the children, all the poor kids know is that mommy and daddy are in the middle of the a NASTY divorce, the kids are stuck in the middle and mommy and daddy are each talking some crazy smack about each other and we don’t know who to believe.

    We’re not really sure the details of the story.  But as SF real estate agents that aren’t involved in the divorce, we don’t know what to believe.  Mommy says daddy is a deadbeat that owes her money.  Daddy says mommy is a liar and is just a stubborn bitch that isn’t willing to compromise.

    In December, we were told of this awesome product the SFAR was going to bestow upon us.  Shortly after, we were told the CAR was taking away the use of our forms on their platform.  They created their own forms for SF agents to use, but SFAR told us not to use those forms – they’re sub-par (and I’ll admit, they are.)

    An agreement was struck to give us use of the SFAR forms on the CAR platform till the end of January (if you’re keeping track, mommy and daddy fought for two months before the divorce settlement) and as of February 1st, we were left along with just SFAR’s platform.

    Now this would all be fine and well – except for a few major problems.   The SFAR’s platform is still not fully functional.  The interface is cumbersome, there are lots of bugs in the system and parts of it, like AuthentiSign don’t work at all.  As far as AuthentiSign goes, we were told it was all fine until 1 email mid-last week from one of our Zephyr managers that is trying to help navigate this mess and then finally, an email from the SFAR on Friday telling us THAT part just doesn’t work!

    Since SFAR announced to members that it will be providing Authentisign™, Instanet Solutions’ electronic signature service as a free member benefit, many REALTORS® have tested it out and provided us with invaluable feedback.

    Although Authentisign™ integrates seamlessly with Instanet Solutions’ TransactionDesk™, and allows documents and forms requiring signatures to be easily e-mailed, faxed, or uploaded into a signing, there are some aspects of the service which are in need of improvement in order to meet the expectations that SFAR has for the service. For example, members are reporting that they are unable to complete signings and that the templates needed to facilitate automated tagging of forms are not yet in place.

    Authentisign™ is the most recently developed component of the TransactionDesk™ platform, and unlike the balance of the system, is not yet ready for member use. We apologize for any inconvenience the premature offering of the service has caused.

    As we wait for the updates, SFAR is advising members to continue using DocuSign® for the time being. Once Authentisign™ is updated to be a reasonable substitute for DocuSign®, members will be able to take full advantage of this free service.

    Now let’s not forget, we’ve been going to trainings on the new system and struggling to make it work for almost 2.5 months. If we were to add up all of the hours wasted by all SF Realtors spinning wheels on a product that doesn’t work, I’d guess it’s in the thousands.  And while, at least at Zephyr, our support staff is doing the best they can to try to help us work through the kinks, we’re still left with a lot of frustration.  To give due credit, the powers that be ARE working on the bugs.  But in the meantime, several San Francisco agents have even started a support group on Facebook – together we cry, laugh and report problems that hopefully get reported back to the software developer.

    Ultimately though, we really just want mommy (CAR) and daddy (SFAR) to get back together.  We’d like them to both be there for us like they promise they will be when they collect our dues.  We’d like them to be honest with us and tell us where things really went wrong for them.  And, of course, we’d like them to figure out a way to make it so that we don’t have to resort to a variety of creative backwards solutions to get our jobs done without pulling out more clumps of hair.

    Mommy, daddy, if you’re listening…. please make up.  Your children are the ones suffering in your divorce and soon, we’re all going to need to go to family counseling. :-/

    San Francisco Local Resources, San Francisco Luxury Real Estate, San Francisco Neighborhoods, San Francisco News and Events, San Francisco Real Estate

    THE 7 Best Neighborhoods in San Francisco!

    No Comments 11 February 2011

    Here’s a little sumptin sumptin from this week’s edition of Zephyr Real Estate’s “The Market Tracker”.   Besides getting the scoop on ALL of the recently sold AND recently listed properties in San Francisco, you also get cool little SF Tidbits like this one.  Sign up today so you don’t miss out on the bi-weekly awesomeness in your inbox!

    7 Best Neighborhoods in the City

    7X7 Magazine recently ranked the Best 7 ‘Hoods in San Francisco. Here are the results:

    Best For Families: OUTER SUNSET. 30% of the homes have kids, several high-ranked public schools, the ocean, parks, golf and the zoo.

    Best Transit: DOWNTOWN/SOMA. Market Street corridor, BART, six MUNI lines, countless bus lines.

    Best Restaurant Scene: THE MISSION. 84 Zagat-rated restaurants.

    Most House for the Money: NORTH PANHANDLE (a.k.a. NOPA). Average $243 per square foot, $635K median sales price.

    Safest: THE PRESIDIO. 19 crimes per half-mile radius.

    Most Walkable: LOWER PACIFIC HEIGHTS. The strip of Fillmore from Sacramento to Eddy has just about everything you could need within a few blocks. Dining, shopping, live music, parks, and even a good hospital (CPMC).

    Most Luxurious: SEA CLIFF. Oceanfront property and a median sales price of $2.4 Million says it all.

    More Notable Numbers:
    Youngest Denizens: THE MISSION. Average age is 34.
    Oldest Denizens: CHINATOWN. Average age is 48.
    Most singles: CASTRO. 66% Single (followed by Marina with 62%).

    NOTE: Information was presented by 7×7 Magazine and gathered from 511.org, Craigslist, City and County of San Francisco, Crime Mapping, Golden Gate Mothers Group, Great Schools, Trulia, Yelp, the US Census Bureau, Zagat and Zillow.

    Misc Musings from Your San Francisco Realtor, San Francisco Local Resources, San Francisco Mortgage & Financing Info, San Francisco Neighborhoods, San Francisco News and Events, San Francisco Real Estate

    TGIF San Francisco! Frickin TGIF!

    No Comments 11 February 2011

    Man, what a week!  I feel like I’m running on empty and am looking forward to getting a few hours to refuel this weekend!

    I’ve been a little light on the San Francisco real estate postings, but between writing offers for clients and working on getting an FHA Short Sale listing pre-approved by the lender in the fabulous Diamond Heights Village (which, by the way, this large 1BR unit has some AMAZING views of San Francisco!  and a pool at the complex to boot!), prepping a magnificent single family home listing in the Inner Sunset (3BR’s, Edwardian details and a yard that forces you into a state of deep relaxation), fighting various wars against technology (the machines are winning…. grrrrrr!) AND overcoming the spring fever caused by last week’s February heat wave here in SF, I’ve just been too swamped/unfocused on blogging to put out a worthy real estate related post.

    And today, well, today it not much different, except I do get to catch up with some clients and finally see their little boy!  AND celebrate another client’s birthday too, so at least I’ll get to play a little in between working a lot!  :-)

    But I DID want to quickly share with you a reminder that when I’m not writing about SF real estateand all the other awesomeness this City has to offer here on this blog, I’m reading about it and sharing the scoop on my Facebook Page (which also feeds to my Twitter Account if that’s more your style.)

    A few examples of recent tidbits that I shared?

    So don’t forget to “like” my Facebook Page or Follow me on Twitter to stay up to date on the various articles that relate to SF real estate, mortgage tidbits and general awesomeness (or in some cases, like Leland Yee’s tolerance for torturing sharks, crappiness) that goes on in San Francisco and beyond!

    But that being said, you know I love me some SF real estate, ;-) so Monday you’ll be able to check back here and get a scoop on the latest market conditions.

    In the meantime, TGIF and wishing you an AMAZING weekend! 

    Misc Musings from Your San Francisco Realtor, San Francisco Absorption Rate, San Francisco Neighborhoods, San Francisco Real Estate, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Buyers, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Sellers, San Francisco Real Estate Market Conditions

    San Francisco Real Estate Dances “The Bump”

    No Comments 07 February 2011

    As the good folks at the San Francisco Real Estate Blog noted, January is often the time when San Francisco home buyers shake off the holidays and add buying a home to the list of New Years Resolutions.

    The San Francisco Real Estate Blog notes:

    In years past, when the market was stronger, there was a “January Bump” in the San Francisco real estate market. The surge in activity occurred as droves of buyers came back to the market after the holiday season, while sellers lagged behind.

    This meant there were more buyers than property listings, and competition ensued. Last year the San Francisco real estate market didn’t experience a January bump, but there are early signs that one is happening right now.

    The blog post quotes a fellow Zephyr Realtor with a recent experience where a home his buyers tried to purchase received 3 over-asking price offers the FIRST day the home was on the market!

    And his experience is not rare.

    An Inner Sunset single family home received 11 offers on its offer date just 4 days after the first open house.

    An Inner Mission condo sold after just 9 days on the market with 8 offers (an offer date was set on this one also.)

    In fact, of the 67 reported sales at Zephyr Real Estate’s weekly meetings for January, 15 had multiple offers and 13 sold over the asking price.  Another 11 sold at the asking price.  (One caveat to mention – these are just the sales that are verbally reported – some agents aren’t able to make the meetings and those sales don’t get mentioned.  But BTW – based on those numbers, that means Zephyr represented more than 20% of the sales that occurred in January.  Um, yeah, we ROCK!) ;-)

    In fact, 329 properties went into contract this January.   There are still a total of 1356 properties on the market.

    That means the absorption rate is just 4.1 (or it would take 4.1 months for the market to “absorb” all of this inventory – aka, it would take 4.1 months for these San Francisco listings to be bought up by buyers.)

    And according to the standard guidelines that we use to determine whether we are in a Sellers’ Market (1-4 months of inventory), a Neutral Market (5-6 months of inventory) or a Buyers’ Market (7+ months of inventory) – right now, we in SF are actually in (drumroll please) a *Soft* Sellers’ Market!  :-D

    (Fair warning to sellers – DO NOT get greedy, this ain’t 2005!  Fair notice to buyers – there are still lots of great values out there, but a variety of circumstantial evidence including a decrease in the unemployment rate, especially in high-paying tech jobs, these good values may not be around too much longer!)

    So, we in the SF Real Estate biz are enjoying the good news the January Real Estate Bump is bringing us.  And since our spirits are dancing, you may as well dance with us.  If you don’t know how to do “The Bump” – the video above will show you how. ;-)

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    About the Blog


    Luba’s San Francisco Real Estate Blog was created to share insights about San Francisco Real Estate and about San Francisco living. Written by Luba Muzichenko, an "almost-native" San Franciscan and a local Realtor® with Zephyr Real Estate, Luba’s San Francisco Real Estate Blog is meant to inform you about a variety of good things and happenings around SF and its unique neighborhoods, about buying and selling homes in the City and about the real estate market in general. If you like what you see, please tell a friend.

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    Luba Muzichenko
    REALTOR®
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    Certified Residential Specialist®
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    Zephyr Real Estate
    415-307-1392 (cell)
    luba@zephyrsf.com
    www.LubaSF.com
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