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Remortgage to Release Equity

Find out how to remortgage your property to release equity through our guide below

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By Pete Mugleston  | Mortgage Advisor Pete has been a mortgage advisor for over 10 years, and is regularly cited in both trade and national press.

Updated: 11th November 2019 *

From funding the extension you’ve been dreaming of, to settling your long-standing debts, there are many reasons why you might want to remortgage to release equity from your home.

In this article you’ll find everything you need to know about taking out a remortgage with additional borrowing, as well as the alternatives that are available to homeowners who are considering a remortgage to release equity from their property.

The following topics are discussed below:

If you’re short on time and want to know your options for remortgaging to release equity from your own home call 0808 189 2301 or make a quick enquiry. We’ll match you with one of the experts we work with for a no obligation chat.

They will be happy to answer your questions and let you know all your options, ensuring you get the best available remortgaging deal, saving you time, money and a heap of hassle.

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Equity release or remortgage?

Remortgaging is when you take out another or a different type of mortgage on a property you own. It is possible to do a straight mortgage swap, sometimes with the same lender, to a different mortgage product with a more favourable rate.

If you were looking to release equity, this is also something you could do by remortgaging your property.

If you’re remortgaging to take advantage of an increase in the value of your home, don’t forget to factor in any exit fees or early repayment charges on your existing mortgage.

There’s often an administration fee to take into consideration when you remortgage as well. It’s a good idea to get a clear understanding of all these additional costs before you commit to a remortgage or an equity release plan to make sure your new arrangement will be truly cost effective.

If you want to do a straight equity release, then there are products for this which you we explain in detail in this article.

How does remortgaging to release equity work?

When you start thinking about remortgaging your home, it’s not unusual to wonder how much you more you might be able to borrow.

Many UK lenders are happy to arrange remortgages and lend you more money at the same time, so long as you meet their criteria and are able to pass their eligibility checks.

Whichever mortgage lender you qualify with will depend on various criteria, including:

  • What you need the money for
  • How much equity you have
  • Whether the loan is affordable
  • Any credit history issues you may have.

Equity is the portion of the property the borrower actually possesses, and is typically a homeowner’s greatest asset. To calculate how much equity you hold, subtract any outstanding loan balances from the property’s current market value.

Customers who remortgage with extra borrowing can release some of the equity they’ve built up and, for many, this is the most affordable way to borrow a large amount of money.

Remortgage or secured loan for additional borrowing?

When looking to raise capital from a property, borrowers often only consider going to their bank or referring to their current lender to ask for a remortgage. Whilst this can be a suitable option, it’s always recommended to compare the costs of this with other forms of borrowing, such as:

Full remortgage

A remortgage with additional borrowing is a full swap from the current lender to a new one. Additional borrowing can be achieved along with the refinancing of your existing mortgage loan.

Second mortgage / secured loan

Refinancing with a second charge mortgage (or secured loan) can be a great alternative to remortgaging. This method allows you to leave your current mortgage as it is and borrow more money with a new loan.

It can be a great option if you have a tie-in period with penalties to pay if you remortgaged, or if you’re on a fantastic rate and don’t want to remortgage away.

A second charge mortgage might also suit you if you’re unable to refinance because your current mortgage is interest-only or you don’t meet the eligibility requirements with first new charge lenders.

Secured loan lending can be more flexible and offer larger borrowing amounts, since criteria around income and credit history is more generous.

Can I remortgage to release equity?

If you’re hoping to remortgage your house to release equity, many UK mortgage lenders would be willing to oblige. Providing you pass eligibility checks for a remortgage and have built up some equity during the course of your mortgage, you should have a choice of lenders.

Generally, when you are capital raising, most lenders will consider releasing up to 75-85% of the property value. Depending on the purpose for the money, some mortgage lenders may be willing to lend up to 90%.

It’s also possible to borrow up to and over 100% of the property values with some lenders, but this would be on a secured homeowner loan basis, and rates would be far higher than a traditional mortgage or second charge lending.

How to remortgage to release equity

Remortgaging in general is usually a more straightforward process than taking out an initial mortgage.

Complications can arise if you have no equity or your circumstances have changed since you took out the original mortgage, but for many borrowers, it’s a relatively stress-free experience.

  1. If your plan is to remortgage to release cash, first work out your LTV ratio by dividing the loan value by the value of your home and multiply that figure by 100. Make sure your new deal will be affordable when offset against your income and outgoings
    Remember: max borrowing is capped around 4x income with most lenders, 5x with a few others, and 6x by exception. If you want to borrow more than this, you’d need to consider a secured loan.
  2. Next, look for the lender offering the most favourable deal for somebody in your situation. The best way to find them is through an expert whole-of-market broker, like the ones we work with. They will search the entire market to find the right provider for you.
    Remember: remortgage comparison rates tables are nice to look at, but finding the best one that you qualify for is another thing altogether, and making multiple applications with numerous lenders can impact your credit score, as well as taking a lot of time!
  3. The broker will then gather all the relevant information from you, as well as documents like ID and proof of address and income.
  4. The broker will then make an initial application and get an agreement in principle approved.
  5. Then the full application is submitted to the lender, outlining the exact product you want, and gives you the option to input solicitor details, and book a valuation on the property.
  6. Once the underwriter has signed off all paperwork and the property is valued, the mortgage will go to formal “offer”.
  7. Solicitors will then do the necessary work to change the charge to the new lender and organise release of the funds.
  8. Your existing lender is paid by the solicitor, who then pays any surplus funds into your designated bank account. You have then completed!

How soon can I remortgage to release equity?

Technically speaking, some providers will let you remortgage to release money as soon as you have equity to extract, although there’s a legal requirement which states that a borrower needs to have owned the property for at least six months before remortgaging.

This, however, is waived in some circumstances, such as when the property in question was gained through inheritance or when one family member is buying out another.

Eligibility for remortgaging to release capital

If you wish to remortgage to raise capital from your property, you will be assessed based on the following factors…

  • How much equity you hold (the more, the better)
  • Your age (some lenders are unwilling to deal with applicants over 75, but others will stretch to 85, and a minority impose no age limits at all)
  • Income and employment status (the lender must ensure the new loan is affordable and income type is acceptable to them, every lender is different, on both what they’ll accept and how generous they are with their lending calculations)
  • Credit history (a clean credit history always helps, but some remortgage providers specialise in customers with credit problems)
  • If the remortgage is classed as a large loan (there are often different rules for loans over £500,000-750,000, up to millions)
  • Type of property and how old it is

How much equity do I need to remortgage?

To put it simply, the more the better. Homeowners who have built up a healthy amount of equity during the course of their mortgage are deemed lower risk to lenders.

Many lenders cap the loan to value (LTV) on capital raising to 75%, where others will consider up to 85%, and a few will consider up to 90% in some circumstances.

How much extra can I borrow?

When remortgaging to release equity, the extra amount you’re able to borrow depends how closely you meet the lenders’ eligibility requirements for a remortgage. Lending criteria will vary from provider to provider but the two main considerations are:

  1. Your income and affordability
  2. The purpose for the new funds

How your income and affordability impacts additional borrowing

Some lenders are stricter than others and take different types of income into account to different degrees. For example, some lenders will accept 100% of any regular bonuses and overtime while others won’t take this sort of income into consideration at all.

As a general rule, you can take the combined annual income, multiply it by four and you’ll get a rough idea of the total amount you’re able to borrow.

However, a few select mortgage providers may lend up to five times your income, and a handful up to 6x, providing you tick the other boxes on their eligibility checklist. There are a few specialist lenders who will go higher than this.

It’s important to factor in any other debts that will remain after the remortgage has taken place. Most lenders will be happy to ignore the payments of debt being paid off in their calculations for the new mortgage, but any outstanding debt remaining will eat into what you can afford to spend.

Even if you’re likely to be in a far better financial position after the refinance, lenders cannot approve a mortgage that is outside the affordable limits.

You might be able to borrow more on a second mortgage

Some lenders of secured loan and second charge mortgages can offer more generous affordability calculations, and it’s possible for some people to borrow up to and over 10x annual income in the right circumstances.

How the reason for releasing capital impacts additional borrowing

What you’re planning to use the capital for is often crucial when lenders are assessing applications for customers who wish to remortgage to release money.

Most lenders (LTV) Specialist lenders (LTV)
Debt consolidation 80% 90%
Home improvements 80% 90%
Mortgage swap (No additional £) 90% 95%
Buy furniture, electrical or white goods 80% 90%
Buy car, caravan or boat 80% 90%
Pay for school fees 80% 90%
Pay for medical expenses 80% 90%
Other personal consumption 80% 90%
Buy final share in shared ownership 90% 90%
Buy a self build home 75% 80%
Purchase a second home 80% 90%
Buy a holiday home 80% 90%
Buy freehold or new extended Lease 80% 90%
Buy a share in the freehold 80% 90%
Buy land to extend security 80% 90%
Invest, save, or share purchase Not usually allowed 90%
Invested for business purposes Not usually allowed 90%

If you’re unsure how much capital you’d be able to access with a remortgage plus additional borrowing,get in touch. The whole-of-market mortgage brokers we work with will connect you with the right lender to help you get the best available mortgage solution for your circumstances.

Call 0808 189 2301 or make a quick enquiry for a free, no obligation chat.

Can I remortgage to release equity on a buy-to-let?

Many UK lenders offer customers products to remortgage their buy-to-let (BTL) property. Terms will depend on the number of properties held, whether this is in a Limited company or personal name, and of course, if the rental income for the property adequately covers the new mortgage payments (within new stress testing guidelines).

For more information about remortgaging a buy-to-let property, consult our dedicated page on this topic or make a quick enquiry and we’ll match you with one of the experts we work with.

Buy-to-let second charges

A BTL remortgage to release equity may not be the most financially viable option available as there are other ways to raise money via your property, by way of leaving the current mortgage in place and applying with a secured loan buy-to-let lender.

Buy-to-let secured loans tend to be more flexible when it comes to credit history. Many lenders are willing to accept more recent and severe issues, many are also more generous when assessing the maximum loan amounts they’re willing to offer against your income. The purpose for the loan is also less relevant to the decision.

With this increased flexibility, the lender is taking more risks so this tends to be offset with higher fees and rates.

Alternatives to a remortgage

If you’ve been declined for a main remortgage either on a residential or a buy-to-let property, or you think that remortgaging might not be for you, it would be worth considering some alternatives.

Second charge mortgages

As referenced several times above, one of the most popular alternatives is a second charge mortgage - or a homeowner loan - which is a loan secured against the equity of a property you own. It’s essentially a mortgage on top of a mortgage.

If you’re locked into a deal with high early repayment charges or on interest-only rates you are unable or unwilling to change, you might find a second charge mortgage a good option.

Borrowers who have been turned down for a main mortgage sometimes find that providers are more flexible in their criteria for secured loans. Many lenders can lend in excess of 10x income, and to people with more recent and severe credit issues.

If you’re thinking of taking out a second charge mortgage or are wondering if it’s a good route for you to take, make an enquiry and we’ll connect you with one of the expert mortgage brokers we work with.

Personal loans

For many consumers, it’s a choice between a remortgage or additional borrowing, and an unsecured personal loan is another way to do the latter.

The obvious benefit of a personal loan is that they aren’t secured against a property, which means your house will not be at risk if you fail to keep up with the repayments. That said, rates tend to be higher than with second charge deals and remortgages.

Unsecured loans are capped at £25,000 and must be paid off within seven years, which obviously means the repayments will be more than if the same amount of borrowing was stretched across a standard mortgage term.

Bridging finance

Depending on why you need to release funds, a bridging loan might be a better fit than a remortgage. These are stop-gap loans designed to tide the borrower over when a debt is due before a more traditional mortgage or loan is available.

You may find bridging finance useful if, for instance, your credit history is too poor but likely to improve in the near future, or your source of income is not currently acceptable but likely to change in the coming months, or when there is another exit strategy in play, such as the plan to renovate and sell the property to repay the bridging loan.

Bridging loans typically come with high interest rates and are popular among landlords and property developers, as they enable them to snap up new properties quickly, which is useful in situations such as auctions.

When remortgaging to free up cash isn’t a viable option, for whatever reason, a bridging loan could offer a lifeline, but it’s vital to be clear on the overall costs and risks they come with. Along with the high interest rate, there’s often legal and administration fees to cover.

If you’re unsure whether remortgaging to get cash or one of the loan products mentioned above is the right choice for somebody in your circumstances, make an enquiry and the advisors we work with will discuss all of the available options.

Remortgaging for business purposes

Banks and building societies offer a range of services to business owners and aspiring business owners, but remortgages aren’t usually one of them.

If you plan to remortgage your home for business purposes you’ll need to find specialist lenders who offer commercial products.

The expert brokers we work with are whole-of-market brokers with access to all kinds of specialist mortgage. Make an enquiry for a free, no obligation chat.

We’ll match you with one of the expert brokers we work with. They’ll be happy to answer your questions and help find the right lender for you.

Starting a business

Some borrowers decide to remortgage to release capital to buy a business or fund a business start-up. The vast majority of mainstream lenders won’t be able to provide help with this.

However, some specialist lenders will make an exception, especially for high net worth customers, i.e. those whose net income is more than £150,000.

The reason most lenders turn away borrowers wanting to remortgage their house to fund a new business is because they are unable to provide evidence of income cash flow since the firm is yet to start trading.

If the borrower has a job they intend to keep, then that income can be accepted when it comes to borrowing money. However, lenders will still be concerned about the risk of the business going under and causing financial pressure that can impact the borrowers’ ability to repay.

Remortgaging a buy-to-let for business purposes

In general, the rules will be the same between residential and buy-to-let lenders.

If a lender is happy with lending for business purposes on a residential property, it’s likely they will do so on their buy-to-let products too. Equally, if they decline on residential, it’s unlikely they’ll approve on a buy-to-let.

Invest in or grow a business

To refinance for business purposes, there are some specialist lenders happy to remortgage, and at attractive rates too. However, it’s likely they’ll ask a few more questions, so you need to be prepared to answer them.

If you want to remortgage to invest in a business you already own, many lenders will decline your application as they deem an investment like this as an unknown potential for risk.

For instance, if the investment fails, will this impact the borrowers’ ability to repay the loan? Is the investment likely to significantly change how the business functions? Will it change the borrowers’ income

If you want to remortgage to buy into an established business that you’ll go on to run, then lenders may want to know:

  1. Will your current income stop?
  2. What the business does, and are you experienced in doing it?
  3. What income will you be receiving from the business to afford repayments?

If you want to remortgage to buy shares in an established business and have no involvement, then so long as your income won’t change and the investment is of legal standing, most of the specialist business lenders will support your application.

What are the alternative options to remortgaging for business purposes?

Mortgages aren’t the only option for companies in need of capital:

Secured loans

Some secured loan (also known as second charge mortgages) lenders are more flexible than their first charge main residential mortgage competitors. For this reason, some lenders are happier to consider releasing equity for business purposes in a more flexible and accommodating way. Rates may be higher, but they can offer the funds where others don’t.

Business loans

Often the most viable alternative to remortgaging a residential property is a business loan. These don’t necessarily have to be secured against a property, although the interest rates are typically higher than with mortgages.

Generally, lenders will want to see that the business is a going concern. They will be looking to see that the business has the cashflow to be able to afford and service repayments, and that the potential investment is thought out and likely to enhance growth.

Most lenders will want the main shareholders or directors to put up personal guarantees, confirming they will personally be responsible for repaying the debt if the business fails to do so. Some lenders may also want to hold a legal debenture over the business for the duration of the loan.

Commercial bridging finance

In some circumstances where the money is only required for a short time, it may be possible to borrow on a bridging loan. This is essentially a higher rate loan secured against a property for 6-12 months with interest added to the loan, and paid off in full by either refinance or another exit strategy, such as sale of the property.

Bridging can be an option where more traditional means are not approved, so long as the equity is there. They tend to be much more flexible in terms of purpose and credit history, and affordability is seldom an issue as the interest is rolled up into the loan.

Asset finance

Similar to bridging finance, but secured on any suitable asset rather than just a property. This may be plant machinery, vehicles, land, tools / equipment, a whole host of things.

If you’re unsure whether to go for a secured loan, a business loan, or a remortgage get in touch and the expert advisors we work with will discuss all of your options before connecting you with the broker best suited to dealing with borrowers in your circumstances.

Frequently asked questions

Customers have a lot of questions when it comes to remortgaging to release equity, these are some we hear most often...

Can I remortgage to pay off my debts?

Yes! Many of our customers have remortgaged for debt consolidation purposes.

We’ve helped people save thousands of pounds every month by finding them ways to switch from high rates, low terms and tough monthly payments, to lower rates, lengthier terms and much more manageable repayments.

Whether you’re up to your eyes in debt or have borrowing you’d like to refinance, and have a generous amount of equity in your house ready to unlock, doing this makes sense, but it’s important to weigh up the overall costs you’ll face.

These costs will vary based on your circumstances. For example, how long you secure the debt for, the rates the lender offers and how much interest you’re paying. There’s a chance you could end up paying even more over time, so make sure you speak to an expert advisor, like the ones we work with, before pressing ahead.

Make an enquiry to find out how much you could save in monthly mortgage payments, and whether it makes sense given all your circumstances.

Can I remortgage to pay a tax bill?

Most lenders will not allow you to remortgage if you’re planning to use the released equity to pay off a tax bill. There are, however, a small handful of providers who will consider offering you a deal under these circumstances, subject to other criteria which one of the experts we work with can go through with you.

In general, so long as the business is trading well and the issues surrounding the unpaid tax have now been resolved, there are some lenders happy to help repay the bill by lending you the money.

Can I remortgage to pay school fees?

Some lenders will allow borrowers to use the capital released by a remortgage to fund their children’s education. Depending on finding the right lender, you could remortgage to pay fees for early years schooling, secondary schools, A-Levels at college or university tuition fees.

There may be other options available to you, which may also be worth considering. For example, some schools have a Fees in Advance scheme in place, which grants parents significant discounts if they pay for their children’s education in advance, meaning the amount you need to borrow when remortgaging might be less.

Remortgaging a shared equity property

Shared equity, not to be confused with shared ownership or joint ownership, is the term used to describe a property owned by way of a mortgage and a secured loan. These are usually granted by the government, although they can be private developer loans.

The most commonly used shared equity setup is the Help to Buy scheme, where buyers put in 5% deposit, borrow 20% on an equity loan from the government, and mortgage the remaining 75%.

Because the process of a shared equity remortgage can be more complex than a standard remortgage, and a lot of lenders don’t cater for this, lots of customers come to us looking for help.

Following the success of Help to Buy, there are many lenders now offering Help to Buy remortgages.

Make an enquiry or call 0808 189 2301 for a free, no obligation chat and we’ll match you with one of the expert whole-of-market brokers we work with.

Can I remortgage to release capital and buy someone out?

A transfer of equity takes place when you want to add or remove anyone to or from the ownership of a property.

To remortgage with a transfer of equity, applicants must be subject to the same eligibility checks as a normal remortgage. For instance, if you were recently married and your spouse is joining the mortgage, the provider will look into their credit history, income and more to assess how much risk is involved in the revised agreement, as well as re-assessing your own current situation.

Similarly, if you’re recently separated and are planning to remortgage to pay off your ex with your portion of the equity, the mortgage provider will want to ensure that the new loan is repayable on one salary alone.

A transfer of equity remortgage can be carried out by your existing lender, or by finding a new lender offering a different range of products, as is the case with regular remortgages.

Remember, if you share a property with someone, either as joint tenants or tenants in common, the mortgage remains a joint and several liability. As such it’s crucial that the mortgage payments are made throughout any period of disagreement. It’s also prudent to note that if you want to borrow against the property, all parties will need to agree and sign for it.

Do I pay stamp duty on a transfer of equity remortgage?

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) may have to be paid on a transfer of equity remortgage.

To complete the transaction, your solicitor must send a Stamp Duty Land Tax form to HMRC if the share of the property the new person is taking on (or a previous mortgage is relinquishing) is worth more than £40,000.

However, stamp duty fees only apply during a transfer of equity agreement if said share in the property is worth more than £125,000.

Do I pay capital gains tax when I remortgage a property?

Capital gains tax is a tax you must pay when you offload an asset, based on the amount of profit you made. In the context of property, your main residential property is exempt, but on investment property if a landlord sells a buy-to-let property at a profit, capital gains tax will apply.

Luckily, capital gains tax does not apply on a remortgage. It will only be payable when the property is sold.

Can I remortgage with negative equity?

In theory, you can take out a remortgage with negative equity or no equity, but the only provider that can offer this is your current lender, and they will most likely only allow you to switch rate, rather than borrow more on a negative equity remortgage.

The rates you end up with will depend on how flexible your lender is when it comes to customers in your situation.

The exception to this is if you are considering non-equity borrowing, where there are a few lenders willing to offer over 120% of the property value. However, rates and fees are likely to be far higher than a traditional mortgage or secured loan.

If you need to borrow more than 100% of the property value, get in touch and one of the experts we work with will be able to answer your questions, give you the right advice and help you find a mortgage provider who may be willing to lend on the terms you’re looking for.

Remortgage surplus funds

You may have heard this term being bandied about by financial websites and property publications, but what are remortgage surplus funds and when do they apply?

Surplus funds are basically capital due to you following the completion of a remortgage agreement. They will occur when you’ve borrowed more money from a new lender than was actually needed to settle the debt with the previous provider. Your law firm will arrange for this capital to be repaid to you on the day of completion.

For example, you apply for a £100,000 remortgage that takes 2 months to go through, in which time you may have made 2 more payments from your original mortgage. In this instance, as the new £100,000 is a fixed amount over a fixed term, you will have a “surplus” owed to you.

Is equity release the same as remortgaging?

Customers often ask us whether equity release is the same as releasing equity while remortgaging, and the answer is no. Although there’s a similarity in terms of terminology, equity release is an entirely separate product.

In a nutshell, an equity release plan is a product geared towards over-55s, and the most common type is a lifetime mortgage.

This is a loan secured against a home, and the main difference between equity release and a mortgage is that instead of monthly repayments, the interest is added to the loan amount. The final total is payable at the end of term, usually when the customer passes away or enters long-term care. Another key difference is that you can use the capital release for whatever purpose you choose, and this will make no difference to the lender.

If remortgaging to take out money isn’t a suitable option, equity release is a potential alternative if you’re over 55, but releasing equity should never be done lightly.

It’s important to be aware of the pitfalls and alternative options before pressing ahead with any form of equity release and you should speak to an expert advisor before deciding whether to choose equity release or remortgage. The experts we work with are all independent, whole-of-market brokers and will be happy to answer your questions.

Make a quick online enquiry for a free, no obligation chat and we’ll match you with the right broker to help find the best mortgage solution for you.

Additional borrowing for large loans

Borrowing more than £500,000 can change things with some lenders, who can stipulate further requirements and criteria, or conversely, be more flexible with certain things.

In general, there are fewer lenders offering large mortgages which in turn means that rates can be less competitive and maximum lending loan to values can be lower (although it’s still possible to borrow a large mortgage with a low amount of equity).

This usually means that the range of options for borrowers remortgaging to borrow a large amount can be restricted, and those looking to borrow millions with bad credit or self-employed income can find themselves looking at only a handful of lenders.

That said, there are options, so if you’re looking for additional borrowing and have a large mortgage, or want to borrow a large amount, get in touch to talk to one of the large loan experts we work with…

Speak to an expert

If you're interested in getting more information on anything in this article or you have more questions, call 0808 189 2301 or make a quick online enquiry.

We’ll match you with an advisor who can help you find the right mortgage solution for your particular circumstances.

All the experts we work with are experienced whole-of-market mortgage brokers with access to mortgage lenders across the UK, so are well positioned to help you find the right mortgage solution at the best available price.

The matching service we offer is free, there’s no obligation and we won’t leave a mark on your credit rating.

Updated: 11th November 2019
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FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The info on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs. Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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