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Selling Your Home Without An Agent

 

This episode is all about how to sell your home without an agent. Join Bonnie and Lily as they chat about why most of us think we need an agent and how you can save tens of thousands of dollars by doing it yourself, just like Bonnie. She also shares the common mistakes to avoid when selling, and who the essential players are that you should have on your team.

 

Transcript

BONNIE: Hello and welcome I am Bonnie

LILY: and I am Lily, and this is Little Home Organised the Pod Cast dedicated to helping you declutter, get organised and reclaim time for the things you love.

MUSIC

BONNIE: Hello and welcome, in this week’s episode we are going to be talking about selling your home without an agent.  We will chat about which professionals you do need to invest in, common mistakes to avoid and how you can save yourself tens of thousands of dollars by selling it yourself.

LILY: Well Bon before we jump into today’s episode, I of course have to tell everyone about our competition that is running at the moment.  You can be in it to win it.  A $150 gift voucher to Howard’s Storage World.

BONNIE: Oh I love Howard’s

LILY: So they are an Australian store that sells all different kinds of amazing storage paraphernalia, would that word work?

BONNIE: I don’t think so, I think we should probably just say product.

LILY: I was going to go with décor but I decided to go with

BONNIE: Considering that’s not really a word.

LILY: That’s the point.  Its funny I listened back to that episode and I was like oh obviously it is décor so now I just don’t trust myself.  So I will be looking at every time I finish a sentence I am going to look at you and go ehh, ehh

BONNIE: Did I do it right Mum?

LILY: No but anyway we do have this competition on at the moment so you could win a $150 gift voucher and the competition does close midnight on Wednesday 16th September so you have to jump on it and it is super simple to win.  You just need to go to our Facebook page, Little Home Organised Podcast, find the post with the competition on it, it will be pinned to the top of the page and here is what you need to do.

  1. Like the post
  2. Share the post
  3. Tag a friend and every time you tag someone that is an additional entry into the draw. Therefore increasing the likelihood that you may win this fantastic prize.

BONNIE: That sounds awesome.

LILY: So be in it to win it, jump on over to the Facebook page and enter for your chance to win.

BONNIE: Can I enter?

LILY: No, but you know what Bonnie I think you have already won something pretty amazing and that was selling

BONNIE: Being your sister? Is that where we are going with that?

LILY:  Yes what a gift it has been, for you.  No I mean the fact that you have managed to sell your house and you did it without an agent.  That is just incredible.

BONNIE: It is and I didn’t actually start out planning on doing it that way.  I thought, can I sell it privately.  Is there a law?

LILY: Yeah honestly I didn’t even no that was a thing and I remember that mum and dad actually sold our family home, and I remember as a kid and it was a private sale and even then I was thinking, oh that’s odd I didn’t know that you could do that, but as I have gotten older I guess that in my brain I have always assumed, no you need a real estate agent to sell your house.

BONNIE: Yeah and I remember looking at the sign that mum and dad put up when they sold our house in Coorparoo which is in the south of Brisbane and I remember thinking oh that is a pretty average sign, like there was no picture, it was just all text

LILY: It was really plain

BONNIE: Yeah it was really like boring in my 12 year old mind and then you look at other peoples houses that are for sale with an agent and they have got these big glamorous pictures and lots of bright colours and stuff and yeah things have changed so much since then. Like it is so easy to create your own sign that has beautiful pictures and stuff like that.

LILY: Oh absolutely and like there are so many industries out there that have people who have got these really practical jobs and things that they do that can make our lives better and it is interesting how the real estate industry of agents is just, it permeates everything to also to spread this idea that, no that is the way it’s done, you have to do it that way.

BONNIE: There is like this almost societal belief that you can’t do it without them, and that really got me as well and it is just so funny because I think there is definitely a place for professionals and there are some things that you shouldn’t do yourself like for me I should cut my son’s hair or my husband’s hair because I always end up giving them bowl cuts

LILY: Oh have you done that before

BONNIE: Yeah like literally I cut my husbands hair when we went on  a road trip with friends to Far North Queensland, this is like 15 years ago and we were in this caravan park and it was pouring down rain as it does in the tropics and we had nothing to do and um we were really broke so we couldn’t go anywhere and so we were sitting under this rotunda because we just had a tent and everything was wet and I said oh you really need a haircut, let me give you a hair cut and I literally got a stainless steel bowl and stuck it on his head and used that to guide the scissors around

LILY: Ohhhh, no

BONNIE: Oh, it was horrible, it was so bad. We got home and 2 days later he went and got a proper haircut.

LILY: Oh I would be wearing a cap.

BONNIE: Yeah I think he did, like it was really bad. Yeah and then I have done that once to my son as well, he was probably 3 at the time.  You know when you cut someone’s hair

LILY: No I don’t, I don’t go cutting peoples hair

BONNIE: Yeah okay, see I have got a girlfriend who is really good at cutting her hair and her kid’s hair and yeah me just I do not have that skill, anyway I cut his hair Mr 3’s and I just felt like the fringe wasn’t quite short enough so I went a bit further and then it dried and of course it springs up again and the next morning um we were actually at church and he was sitting across the isle with our cousins and I looked at him and went oh you look like that dude, you look like Jim Carey off Bevis and Butthead

LILY: I don’t know

BONNIE: Oh my gosh

LILY: I can imagine it though

BONNIE: It is like a monk’s hair cut at the front.

LILY: Yeah

BONNIE: Like it was like long on the sides but short on the front

LILY: Yep

BONNIE: Yeah it was, I am so glad he was so young cause had he been older I think I actually would have given him real trauma.

LILY: Yeah you would have scared him.  So note to self, use professionals for certain things

BONNIE: Yeah exactly and you know people said to me when I said well we are selling our house and I am doing it privately people were like, oh why did you decide to do that? And I said oh

LILY: Yeah it is against the grain doesn’t it?

BONNIE: It is and I said I just wanted to give it a go.  Why not

LILY: What was interesting is like when you did say that you were going to sell and like I was, and you kind of said oh, real estate agents kind of charge you know this amount, I got interested and started looking at some other countries and I was looking at the states and in the states a real estate agents commission from what I have seen on average is around 5-6% of your sale.

BONNIE: What that is huge

LILY: Right, when that is thousands of dollars, that is like tens of thousands of dollars, that’s huge money.

BONNIE: That’s is a lot

LILY: Yeah

BONNIE: That is like twice what it is here in Australia

LILY: Yeah and even for what it is here  in Australia, like again if it is a service that you need, do it, but if you can do it by yourself that is a huge saving.

BONNIE: It is and the thing is real estate agents are a bit like professional organisers in that there is no real barrier for someone saying oh yeah I am a real estate agent, I have got an ABN, I have set myself up.  It is the same thing with organising, so you really have to know and trust that your real estate agent or your professional organiser really knows what they are doing and that they have got the experience and the referrals and recommendations to back it up.  So when we decided to sell the house I did enlist the help of a real estate agent friend who came over and gave me a bit of advice which was really helpful and the most interesting thing I learnt was that the first kind of 3-4 days are actually the most pivotal because everything is online and so it use to be like to first 2-3 weeks were the most important in selling your house and if you hadn’t sold it by kind of that 3 week mark then people were going to start looking at it and thinking oh what’s wrong with it.

LILY: What’s wrong with it.

BONNIE: Yeah but now he is like it is actually the first 3-4 days and amazingly enough for us we actually sold it in less than 48 hours.

LILY: That is just crazy. Like I think when you think about the idea or selling your own place you don’t think it could possibly go that well.

BONNIE: No and I honestly was really prepared for it to be really difficult and really hard and like we were looking at probably $15,000 – $20,000 in agency fees had we chosen to go with an agent and my husband was like you are so busy and you are so like over worked all the time I don’t want you taking this one, and I said look, I would rather you spend like $10,000 – $15,000 on massages for me and me do this to have a go then paying an agent just because I am a bit busy.  Like I just really wanted to sink my teeth into it and try it.

LILY: Yeah give it a go.

BONNIE: Yeah and

LILY: It turns out is worked out pretty okay.

BONNIE: Apparently I am awesome and I am setting up a real estate agency now.  Joking, joking not doing that

LILY: I think what definitely would have helped and you know the people who listen to this podcast are probably can relate to that, what would have helped when selling it is having a home that looked sellable in the sense that it was organised.

BONNIE: Yeah and that is the biggest thing that I think I would like to kind of tell people about is that presenting your home like perception is reality and those photos and they really tell the story, like the picture is the thousand words and if you think about how long our attention span is and how we look at a website and we know within, what is it, less than 3 seconds, whether we want to stay on that website or not. It is the same thing when you are listing your photographs for your real estate add people know within a few seconds whether your home is something that they want to continue looking at the photos for or whether it is not for them.

LILY: Umm

BONNIE: So that presentation is everything.  As well as a good real estate photographer I cannot stress that enough.

LILY: Oh absolutely.  We will dive into that more in a second but I think we should take a break for a clutter confession.

CLUTTER CONFESSIONS;

WACKY CONFESSIONS ANONYMOUS CALLER 1:

Hey guys firstly I just wanted to say thank you so much for the Podcast I am really enjoying it and second of all my clutter confession is that I claim to be such a minimalist in my day to day life and I have really paired down my items to what I love and use however I actually have items cluttering up my parents place from when I was in university so definitely I don’t know if I should be calling myself a minimalist when I have that but I think it maybe something other people can relate to as well but yeah so it is still at my parents place, cluttering up their space instead of mine.

LILY: Guilty, we do the same.

BONNIE: I think you need to refer back to our episode on storing other people’s stuff.

LILY: Maybe they are feeling inspired by there persona, oh I just need to get this off my chest.

BONNIE:  Yeah, what is it, acknowledgment is the first step in the 12-step program.

LILY: Ahhh there you go.

BONNIE: There you go

LILY: Well we can relate to that one but yeah it is an interesting thing she observes too, she is like am I truly a minimalist?

BONNIE: Yeah

LILY: I just relocated some of my belongings.

BONNIE: Yes well it is easy to be a minimalist when other people are storing your stuff

LILY: All you stuff

BONNIE: Emotional stuff, that is awesome

LILY: Well if you have a clutter confession we would love to hear it, so make sure to send it in as an audio file to the Facebook page Little Home Organised Podcast.  Just tell us something weird, wacky or wonderful that you have held onto, we would love to hear it and we keep it anonymous.

BONNIE:  So, when you are selling your home there are kind of like 3 different phases that you should consider going through.  The first one is decluttering and a lot of people I think miss this step and they try and jump straight to the staging of it and the decluttering is really important because not only do you want your home to look as presentable as possible when you are selling it but you also don’t want to pack an move stuff that you don’t really need and that you are not really using and that you are not going to keep long term, and so I think the real benefit for us is we declutter regularly, like I could have a tricky client at work who doesn’t want to let go of anything, which is fine because it is their house but my therapy when I come home is I declutter something.

LILY: Gosh after a tough work week your husband just must go through the house and start hiding things in different cabinets.  No not my weird figurines.

BONNIE: He doesn’t have any figurines but you know what

LILY: That’s because he is good at hiding them.

BONNIE: You know what I did find this week while we were packing to move is in the cupboard above our fridge behind the recipe books I was up on the stool because it is quite high making sure I emptied everything out and there was a bar of chocolate and I was like what is this, and I pulled it out and it expired in 2018,

LILY: Oh gross, did you lick it

BONNIE: No I opened it and it was all mottled and everything  and it was so funny because obviously one of us and neither of us can remember who, I would say it is more likely him because that is way to high for me and I need a hiding spot that is far more accessible, one of us had hidden it from the other person up there and then totally forgotten about it.

LILY: Oh what a waste

BONNIE: I know, so you know what he probably does have figurines because he is clearly very good at hiding.

LILY: There you go, but you talk about decluttering and it being important, the thing is, if you don’t declutter and you are selling your house people are going to talk through your house.  They are going to open cupboards, like they are here to buy they want to see exactly what they are buying, so you know the whole I am having guests over I can hide it in the spare room or in that cupboard and people come around to check out the house they are actually going to see all that stuff and whether we like it or not, our stuff sends a message, how we keep our home sends a message and if you are trying to sell your house, like you are going to want it look presentable in the photos and everything but you also want the reality when people walk through to match that.

BONNIE: Yeah and I think real estate photographers have got a really hard job ahead of them because they can go into some homes where people haven’t declutter or they haven’t bothered to tidy up and it is a bit of the philosophy of like well you can just photo shop that right? Like you can just fix that on your computer in the editing process and that is actually a really difficult thing to do, it is far easier for you to have set the space up exactly the way you want it to be represented in the photo than for them to have to actually edit it later.

LILY: Yeah and you are trying to sell the dream.  When we go and look at houses, you are looking at them to see is this a match for me, and people want to always be progressing and moving forward and living towards that dream for whatever it looks like.  So you don’t want your house to look just a bit ugh, you really want it to have that pizazz. You know that meh meh, that official term.

BONNIE: That is totally a term.  Meh Meh

LILY: How do you spell that?

BONNIE: Meh, meh

LILY: Meh, all right moving swiftly along

BONNIE: Um the other thing to remember when you are decluttering in readiness for moving is declutter your family photos as well, like you need to impersonalise the home so much that someone else can walk in there and think yeah

LILY: For selling yes

BONNIE: I could live here

LILY: I thought you meant to move, just like no just halve your family here.  Halve this child

BONNIE: No so like in our house, we use to have a really big photo gallery wall in the main living area and then when I knew we were going to sell we replaced it with a couple of floating shelves, you know lots of beautiful indoor plants and a few like quite décor things to look at

LILY: Hahahaha got her

BONNIE: And the only family photos we actually kept out were in the living room and there was only like 5 of them.  So they kind of fit the space.

LILY: Yeah you want people to walk in and be able to see themselves in the space.

BONNIE: Yeah

LILY: I hear what you are saying

BONNIE: It is a bit like a holiday home as well, you want it to be impersonal enough that anybody could imagine living there.

LILY: Yeah for sure.  You were talking about those phases right, and you were saying that the first one is that you obviously need to declutter before you do the next phase which is staging of course.

BONNIE: Yeah and I think it you don’t feel like you are very good at the staging part, get some, this is where you need to get help and like obviously with the decluttering phase, if you are struggling to declutter don’t keep forcing yourself, like don’t flog a dead horse, get help, get a professional organiser in if you don’t know anybody who is very organised and can help you, and it is the same thing with staging, like I was actually not all that great at staging so I have had help over the last 2 years with one girl in particular in my team who absolutely loves all this aesthetic stuff and I have learnt so much from her, you know the rule of 3’s and tiers and colours and just all of this cool stuff that I have now being able to implement myself and every time I create a new little vignette I send her a photo and I am like aren’t you proud of me, look at what I have learnt, because my way of like styling stuff use to be everything has got to be um, what’s the word, evenly spaced and what is the word, come on help me out here, you know like

LILY: You’re on your own.

BONNIE: Oh, you know when it is like

LILY: All you banter from earlier is turned around

BONNIE: I have deflated you

LILY: Yeah

BONNIE: My brain if fried, no when it is like um evenly spaced out and it is like oh my gosh this is going to kill me

LILY: You have literally not given me enough to be able to help you pick the word

BONNIE: Ok so say

LILY: People right now are listening to this and they are shouting words

BONNIE: I know, I know

LILY: In their cars, in the street

BONNIE: Please just send it to me

LILY: It is this Bonnie, it is this.

BONNIE: Okay so you have the TV unit and say you have got 4 pot plants that are exactly the same and they are spaced

LILY: Evenly spaced

BONNIE: Evenly spaced out, what is the word? It is like an S word? Ohhh we are going to have to come to that one because it is going to drive me insane.  Anyway that’s how I use to do like vignette but how I use to style stuff right and I have since learnt about vignettes and colours and rules of 3’s and all that sort of stuff. So I have slowly over the last kind of 2 years styled my house.  So it was pretty much ready for selling anyway there were just a few little things that we need to change when we decided to sell.  But if you are someone and you have got no idea about that stuff, either that is where you need to invest in a professional to do it and it is the same thing with a photographer, don’t do the real estate photos yourself, like

LILY: Oh, they are so good at them, aren’t they?

BONNIE: They are so good at them

LILY: They make even a good space look great and a not so good space look good

BONNIE: And when you are picking a real estate photographer, make sure you have seen their previous work that you like it, make sure they are going to come in and have an attention for detail.  Oh we just need to move this over here, we need to turn this light on, we need to move this over there to make the room look the best that it can, make sure they are getting lots of different angles so that you have got different options to chose from and all of those kind of things, but when you invest in it being stage properly and it being declutter in a good real estate photographer, that’s where you can make so much more money from selling your house because it is

LILY: people see the value in it.

BONNIE: Yeah it’s the perception

LILY: The potential

BONNIE: Yeah it is like amazing

LILY: You know maybe you want to do the actual selling part yourself and you get the professionals to come in and help you get to that the point so you can save the money on the real estate fees but of course when you do go to post things on line, you do go to sell and have people walk through, you have got to make sure everything is super clean.

BONNIE: Yes and so getting some cleaners on board to help you clean before every open home is another thing that I think is really worthwhile investing in, because especially if you are a busy parent with lots of children or young children or you are working full time or whatever is going on in your life, cleaning is something that it is so easy to outsource because the people who are professionals at it, they really know what they are doing and you don’t really need to be involved in the process, so that frees you up to work on the things that only you can do, like being a parent and all that kind of stuff.

LILY: So because I personally have never sold my own house, and you are now a professional at is apparently

BONNIE: Yes

LILY: Apparently it is your second profession in waiting.

BONNIE: Yes, yes I am starting a side hustle.

LILY: Literally, what do you do to go from the start to finish.

BONNIE: So we have one major thing on our side and that was time.  We didn’t have to sell by a certain date, we didn’t have to sell for a certain price, we have had plenty of time.  When we bought this house we said we were going to be here for 5-7 years, we have been here for just over 6, 6 ½ so when we knew that we were going to sell we had months to prepare and to plan, and so we slowly finished off the last little bits of staging, we made sure everything was beautiful, had the real estate photographer come in and then because we were launching the Podcast at the time, I wanted to give myself a breather personally and focus on us launching the Podcast, so I just didn’t list the house for at least a month and I just kind of put it on the backburner.  The photos are done, I worked on the description a couple of times, I sent is around to our family and to a few friends and said what do you think about this.

LILY: And on that note I would say that was a great thing to do, when you write anything that is of value like that, like it is a post or you are selling something serious and it is involving a decent amount of money, or even assignments and things like that, writing something and then giving yourself a few days away from it and reading it with fresh eyes, you go oh what was I thinking and you will tear it apart and write it even better and then of course get the opinions of other people as well.  So that was a really good thing that you did.

BONNIE: And you know it is funny, whenever I did assignments at uni or at school I was also the last minute Larry and I always did things right on the deadline but I always wanted to be the person who had the fresh eyes a couple of days later and then looked at it and then a few days later looked at it again and I just never go to be that person, and so this is like the first time in my life where I have written something and I have had enough time to be able to go back and review it multiple times and make it even better.  I think I have really wanted to paint a picture.  So when I wrote the add description for the house I wrote it for the people who I wanted to buy the house and we wanted a family to be here, because we had turned a 3 bedroom, one bathroom house into a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom duel living, beautiful patio, closed in double garage, fully landscaped property that is complete.  That someone can move into and they don’t have to do any renovations, it is right near sports fields, it is a 10 minute walk from the water. It is right near public transport.

LILY: You have sold it right, you are not trying to sell it again.

BONNIE:  I know, I know but you see when you are passionate about something it sells itself.

LILY: But you make a good point.  So if you are thinking of selling your own place and you are wondering how to do it, um Bonnie is hitting the nail on the head there, think of the person who is wanting to buy your house and write your add for them, investigate how other people are writing their adds on realestate.com or whatever website you are going to look at other peoples adds, compare and see what other people are doing.  See what houses, what price houses are listed at in your area

BONNIE:  Research is very key

LILY: Absolutely

BONNIE: You have got to spend a lot of time doing research I think

LILY: Yeah and you know sit back at night, pour yourself a glass of bubbles or whatever you like to consume, Kombucha…. Some might say.  Will she let it go? No she won’t and do your research.  Look at the pricing and compare. If you have got friends who have got industry insight ask them, be aware of the market and make sure that you are writing the add and making a post for the people who are going to want to buy your house.

BONNIE: Yeah and that is exactly what has happened with us.  We listed it on a Tuesday mid afternoon, we got an enquiry 2 hours later, it was the first enquiry and they ended up being the buyers and

LILY: What’s that saying first off, best offer

BONNIE: First in best dressed.

LILY: No no

BONNIE: Ah Dad says like your first offer is usually your best offer.

LILY: Yeah yeah or Daddo,

BONNIE: Go Dad

LILY: That’s incredible though

BONNIE: It is, it really is and like they messaged and said oh we can’t come to the open home can we come earlier and I said yeah sure come tomorrow, so they did and they were here for nearly an hour and we met them and it turned out we knew them through a third party and so it was always like oh hi, when they turned up

LILY: Oh fancy it being you.

BONNIE: Fancy it being you and by the time they left it was like we were bosom buddies, you know it was just, it was so

LILY: I will leave that go on.

BONNIE: At least I didn’t say they had a rap sheet.  Refer back to your organising your kitchen

LILY: No don’t, don’t do it.  No you don’t need to know

BONNIE: But no they were so lovely and they were exactly who we wanted to come into the house.  They were a young couple, they were looking to get settled in their forever home and it was exactly what we wanted and within 48 hours they had made an offer, we had accepted it, two days after that we signed all the paperwork and it just like, it could not be easier and the one thing that they actually said to us that really stuck out in my mind is she said it is so refreshing to actually be shown a home, because they had been looking for 5 months, it is so refreshing to be in a home where you can actually ask questions that people know the answers to, because so often we would ask the real estate agents oh what about this, or blah blah blah and they would say oh we don’t know or we have to get back to you and I thought yeah that is really true because I could really paint the picture of this is where it is nice to sit for your morning cup of tea, this is where the birds come and they will you know drink the nectar from this beautiful vine over here and this area is good for this and this is where the sun comes in the afternoon or whatever like and that was just really amazing for them.

LILY: And for you as well to kind of feel like look this is the home we have renovated and we are really proud of and this is what we love about it, but also to be able to be honest and be like these are some quirks of the home that you maybe want to know about as well.  So if you were to say one thing that you have taken away from this experience what would it be.

BONNIE: If you want to have a go at it, I think try it, if there is nothing to loose why not try it because the worse that happens is you list it for sale and it doesn’t sell and you take it off the market and maybe list again later with an agent. Like I just kind of think if you have got nothing to loose, why not try it.

LILY: And there you go.

BONNIE: The other thing I want to mention though is when you are selling your house there is one professional I forgot to mention that I think is really important and that is lawyers and solicitors.  So for the contract of sale and for all of the conveyancing stuff

LILY: Yes

BONNIE: That was something that I was not comfortable in doing that has been awesome to hand over.  Like you can do it, there are plenty of like law societies and things like that, that give you free templates for those kind of things but I personally chose not to do that, so in the end our listing fees with like realestate.com.au because we did that through a third party.  There is company that you can just use there like real estate licence to list online.  All of our fees for listing for our adds, doing our solicitor and conveyancing stuff, paying the real estate photographer it ended up being just over $2500.00 and had we gone with an agent it would have been about $20,000 so it saved us a lot of money and I think you are someone who is really confident and you feel like yep I could show my home to people without worrying about it, then why not give it a go.

LILY: You have inspired me Bonnie to sell the house that I don’t own.  All right what is this weeks tidy task

BONNIE: So if you are selling your home, what we would like you to do is go and investigate what the cost of an agent would be versus the cost of your time because selling your home is not for everyone and if you are someone who is really introverted and you don’t like meeting new people then maybe getting an agent is actually the best way for you to go forward, if you are someone who is really time poor maybe getting an agent is the best way to go forward for you, but the other thing is if you do end up having an open home, like we had to have one because the contract wasn’t signed and we just needed to have a few birds in our pockets, what’s the saying, birds in your pocket, I don’t know, it is getting late

LILY: And I am still thinking about that S word from earlier,

BONNIE: Ohhh

LILY Is it like sequence,

BONNIE: Synchronisation

LILY: I don’t know

BONNIE: I don’t know, anyway we still had to have the open home and so that was a good experience of meeting a whole lot of new people and stuff but realistically the people who have ended up buying the house, the first offer, the first enquiry, they are just the loveliest out of the whole bunch so I am really glad that the house is going to them because there is a lot of blood, sweat and tears that went into all the renovations here and I am glad my marriage is still together.

LILY: So there you have it, give it a go, investigate and see what is the best option for you but that is it for this week’s episode and thanks for choosing to have us in your ears.

BONNIE: And remember PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION.

LILY: See you later

BONNIE: Bye

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