Author Archives: Hallmark Abstract Service

About Hallmark Abstract Service

Hallmark Abstract Service provides title insurance for residential and commercial real estate transactions in New York State and nationwide, underwriting through Chicago Title. HAS opened its doors in 2008 with two primary goals in mind! Number one was to create a title insurance company that would provide our clients with a superior finished product while affording them a seamless and stress-free process. Number two was to make the experience of working with Hallmark Abstract Service as easy and as pleasurable as obtaining title insurance for a real estate transaction could possibly be! From the sheer number of satisfied clients who keep coming back to Hallmark Abstract Service for their title insurance needs, I believe that we have accomplished our goals in the past, and we will continue striving to improve on them in the future! My Background In 1980 I earned an undergraduate degree in economics followed in 1984 by an MBA in finance with a concentration in the tax-exempt market. With this focus on the municipal market I became a municipal bond analyst at Shearson/Lehman Brothers tasked with following both general obligation issuers on the city and state level as well as housing bonds secured by mortgage pools. This experience at Shearson/Lehman Brothers followed by stints at PaineWebber and Citigroup provided a broad framework of understanding concerning the mechanics of mortgage debt in terms of prepayment experience, mortgage quality and the expected duration of a portfolio. Leaving Wall Street I started Exeter Commercial which funded commercial mortgage loans. Title insurance was a critical part of the underwriting and closing process. At the peak of the financial crisis, I recognized both an opportunity and need as many title firms, for a variety of reasons, closed their doors. Out of this, Hallmark Abstract Service was born.

Hallmark Abstract Service President Michael Haltman On The Debbie Nigro Show (Audio)

The Debbie Nigro Show

On March 15th Hallmark Abstract Service President Michael Haltman had the opportunity to appear as a guest on nationally syndicated ‘The Debbie Nigro Show‘ with renowned host Debbie Nigro!

Having been graciously offered the opportunity by Debbie, the purpose of Michael’s appearance was to raise awareness of the Heroes To Heroes Foundation and the 2017 Golf Classic the organization will be holding on June 15th at the Saint Andrews Golf Club in Hastings-On-Hudson, New York.

Prior, during or after listening to the interview, more information about the Golf Classic can be found on the Heroes To Heroes website here: https://heroestoheroes.org/2017-golf-classic/.

Regardless of your golfing ability, you can sign-up as a single golfer or as a foursome with early bird pricing in effect until May 15th.

There are fantastic sponsorship opportunities still available as well and, on the day of the event, live music performed by nationally recognized jazz singer and band leader Marcus Goldhaber along with an auction that will include an incredible hand-painted and etched magnum of Kosta Browne 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir wine (minimum bid $2,000 with ALL proceeds going to the Heroes To Heroes Foundation…You need not be present to enter a bid! Contact Michael at mhaltman@hallmarkabstractllc.com). More information about the wine is available at the link below.

New York rare wine auction

If you have any questions or would like more information please contact Michael at the email address above or at 646.741.6101.

military veteran suicide

Related Article

Hand Painted And Etched Magnum Bottle Of Kosta Browne Winery 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir To Be Auctioned For Charity!

Hand Painted And Etched Magnum Bottle Of Kosta Browne Winery 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir To Be Auctioned For Charity!

New York rare wine auction

Only 12 of these magnum bottles have been produced, and they are made available ONLY for private auctions and charitable events that help raise funds and awareness for charities of the fallen and injured!

One of these bottles will be offered at auction on June 15th and can be examined on that day at the Heroes To Heroes Foundation Golf Classic being held at the Saint Andrews Golf Club in Hastings-On-Hudson, New York about 15-miles north of New York City (minimum starting bid $2,000).

Heroes To Heroes Foundation provides a spiritual healing program for veterans who have attempted suicide due to Moral Injury, Post-traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury suffered in combat.

Approximately 85% of donations go directly towards Heroes To Heroes fulfilling its mission!

Registration for golf or for dinner and cocktails only can be found at this link: https://heroestoheroes.org/2017-golf-classic/

Can’t attend that day but have an interest in bidding on this very special bottle none-the-less?

Contact Michael Haltman at mhaltman@hallmarkabstractllc.com or at (516) 741-4723 to discuss how you would like to proceed.

Details Of The Partnership Between Kosta Browne Winery And Honor Winery!

military veteran fine wine auction

Heroes To Heroes Foundation:

Heroes To Heroes Foundation – Because 20 Veterans A Day In The United States Commit Suicide!

The Best Date (And Day Of The Week) To Put Your Home On The Market!

On March 20th Spring will have officially sprung but, that said, what date or date range will get your house sold the fastest and for the highest price?

It’s a common adage that parents want to get into a home before the next school year begins, so that Spring is king when it comes to selling a home.

But, according to a study conducted by the real estate website Zillow, the very beginning of Spring may not be the most opportune time from either a price or quickness of sale perspective.

Some study takeaways:

  • In order to maximize sale price, sellers should aim to list their home near the end of spring
  • Listing at the end of the work week – or even on the weekend – will maximize how many people see your listing.
  • When deciding the best time to host open houses or set offer review dates, know that listing interest drops off quickly. In many markets, half of all views of a listing within the first month occur during its first week on market.
  • Less than 1 in 4 homes that take longer than 1 month to sell end up selling for their initial list price or more.

In the study it was determined that geographic regions have differing date ranges that are optimal, but generally May 1 – May 15 dominates in terms of netting the most for your home…

date you should list your home

The chart below from Inman provides more detail by area, and the link to the Zillow article below will give access to the interactive chart.

For more information about the best times to list a home visit ‘The Whens of Our Sales: Strategy Tips for Timing the Housing Market When Selling A Home‘ from Zillow.

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Article by Hallmark Abstract Service President Michael Haltman who can be reached at 516.741.4723, 646.741.6101 or at mhaltman@hallmarkabstractllc.com. Michael also serves as Board Chair of the combat veterans 501(c)(3) Heroes To Heroes Foundation.

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Do you know everything that you need to know about your title insurance?
  • Who is your underwriter?
  • What is the claims experience of your title insurance provider?
  • Do you know whether the non-title insurance premium fees you are paying are fair and reasonable?
If the answer to any of these questions was NO, please read…

Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous: The Worlds Most Expensive Hotel Suites!

When the cost of a one-night stay in a hotel has a price tag similar to that of one-year at the nations most expensive private colleges, it’s certainly not accessible to anyone but the wealthiest few among us!

That said someone must be staying in them as 2016 saw the U.S. 2016 post the second best industry occupancy rate, behind 2015, at approximately 67.4%. New York City, despite an influx of hotel rooms onto the market, had an occupancy rate in the range of 86%.

From an article at Guest of a Guest, nine suites from around the world that represent another bastion of the rich and famous…

(For those who are interested in booking a room, reservation links are provided)

The Suites Of The Rich And Famous Located In New York City

Grand Penthouse at The Mark, NYC: Price Tag $75,000 a night! http://www.themarkhotel.com/rooms-and-suites/

Penthouse Suite at The Mark, NYC

Ty Warner Penthouse Suite, Four Seasons Hotel, New York: Price Tag: Starting at $50,000 a night http://www.fourseasons.com/newyork/accommodations/

Ty Warner Penthouse Suite, Four Seasons Hotel, New York

Presidential Suite, The St. Regis New York: Price Tag: Starting at $35,000 a night http://www.stregisnewyork.com/rooms/presidential-suite

Presidential Suite, The St. Regis New York

To read more about these suites and the other six from around the world, visit the article at Guest of a Guest here.

And, if you’d like to grab your piece of relatively affordable luxury while helping military veterans at the same time, read…

Attention Wine Collectors And Connoisseurs Of Fine Wine! Put June 15th On Your Calendar!

charity wine auction

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Do you know everything that you need to know about your title insurance?
  • Who is your underwriter?
  • What is the claims experience of your title insurance provider?
  • Do you know whether the non-title insurance premium fees you are paying are fair and reasonable?
If the answer to any of these questions was NO, please read…

Title Insurance: Do You Know What You’re Paying For?

title insurance ripoffs

Can a homebuyer or mortgage refinancer actually pay too much buying title insurance? Isn’t title insurance all the same no matter who’s providing it? Won’t my attorney/mortgage banker be looking out for my best interests?

The answers to those questions are a qualified yes, no and hopefully so!

With the Spring buying season now upon us and mortgage rates, while still historically at low levels expected to move higher, homebuyers and mortgage refinancers will be out looking to get deals done!

And whether a first-time homebuyer, a family relocating, a move-up or move-down buyer based on personal circumstances or maybe someone buying a vacation home, there is one constant regardless of the situation…title insurance will (or should) be purchased!

Can a consumer actually get ‘ripped off’ buying a title insurance policy? Well certainly not in the classic form of what we think about when considering a consumer getting taken advantage of. And, in reality, perhaps ‘ripped off’ is too strong a word. Instead let’s substitute ‘potentially paying more than necessary’ for ‘ripped off’. While the premium for the title insurance will be the same no matter which of the TIRSA-affiliated underwriters is used, remember that there are other fees involved in the process.

Isn’t title insurance the same no matter which underwriter is providing the policy or the abstract company I’m working with? That’s like saying that all health insurance is the same, all life insurance is the same or all car insurance is the same!

Doesn’t my attorney/mortgage banker or broker have my best interests at heart? Not being a statistician I would say that they do 99.99% of the time. But to paraphrase what Sy Syms used to famously say, an educated consumer is the best consumer.

And in the same way that 99.99% of mortgage providers and attorney’s are looking out for their clients best interests, so too are 99.99% of title insurance providers.

But, for someone who is entering into what may be the largest financial transaction of their life, it’s most definitely a good idea to do a little research.

So at this point if you’re inspired to read on, the article below will break it all down a little bit further…

Title Insurance: Always Compare Apples To Apples!

 

Wine Collectors, Fine Wine Enthusiasts And Supporters Of Our Military Veterans! Put June 15, 2017 On Your Calendar*!

charity wine auction

On June 15, 2017, a magnum of Honor-Kosta Browne 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir will be auctioned at the Saint Andrews Golf Club during the 2017 Heroes To Heroes Foundation Golf Classic! (*Can’t be there? Bid in absentia!)

Register Today Here!

What: We’re honored to have a hand painted and etched magnum of 2012 Kosta Browne/Honor Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir that’s been donated and will be auctioned on June 15th. One of only 12 bottles made, they’ve never been sold to the public and have only  been made available for private auctions and charitable events that help raise funds and awareness for charities of the fallen and injured.

Over the last two years, these bottles have raised close to $195,000.

Honor Winery and Kosta Browne, 2011 Wine Spectator #1 Wine of Year, formed a partnership to make one barrel of this wine with 100% of the proceeds going to charities of the fallen and injured.

When: June 15, 2017

Where: The Saint Andrews Golf Club, Hastings-On-Hudson just north of NYC.

Who: Heroes To Heroes Foundation, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to helping U.S. combat veterans suffering with debilitating, life altering and life threatening injuries not visible with the naked eye.

Why: Wine auction proceeds will help Heroes To Heroes pursue its mission of providing a spiritual healing program for veterans who have attempted suicide due to Moral Injury, Post-traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury suffered in combat.

How: The auction of the magnum of Honor-Kosta Browne 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir will occur during the cocktail and dinner portion of the 2017 Golf Classic.

If you’d like to participate as golfers we would love to have you join as a foursome or single.

The pre-May 15th price of a foursome is $1,600 that will then rise to $1,800. The price for a single golfer is $450.

If you would like to come only for cocktails and dinner you can do that as well for $150.

Register Today Here!

Questions?

Contact Hallmark Abstract President and Heroes To Heroes Board Chair Michael Haltman by email at mhaltman@hallmarkabstractllc.com or by phone at 646.741.6101.

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Do you know everything that you need to know about your title insurance?
  • Who is your underwriter?
  • What is the claims experience of your title insurance provider?
  • Do you know whether the non-title insurance premium fees you are paying are fair and reasonable?
If the answer to any of these questions was NO, please read…

Morning Thoughts: Giving Up To Achieve Success

 

Courtesy of JASB Management, some excellent points about achieving success to consider for business and for life.

Sometimes, you have to give up to get ahead!

25 Simple Things to Give Up If You Want to Succeed

1. Trying to be perfect.
Perfectionism sets us up for failure. It’s not a quest for the best but a way of telling yourself you’ll never be good enough.
2. Playing small.
Expand your horizons. Go big. Grow! Sometimes the process is painful, but it’s worth it.
3. Faking it.
Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re always strong.
4. Waiting for luck.
Luck builds its foundation on preparation. Coming across good opportunities may be partly a matter of luck, but it’s also a matter of knowing where to find them and being prepared to make the most of them.
5. Waiting for anything.
We have been fooled into thinking that if we wait for the right time, right place, and right person we will be successful, but opportunity is where you find it, not where it finds you.
6. Needing approval.
Don’t let the opinions of others consume you. What a waste of time!
7. Trying to do it alone.
Even if you can pull it off, it’s twice as much work and half as much fun when you do it alone.
8. Making empty promises.
Make your promises rare and 100 percent reliable.
9. Fixating on your weaknesses.
We all have our weak points. Work on them, but focus on your strengths.
10. Blaming others.
It’s cowardly and it costs you respect.
11. Overlooking your negative thoughts.
You may believe that you are responsible for what you do but not for what you think. The truth is those things can’t be separated.
12. Living in the past.
Your future starts now.
13. Trying to please everyone.
The surest path to failure is trying to please everyone. Work to please only yourself and those who are important to you.
14. Small goals.
Small goals yield small results; big goals, big (and sometimes huge) results.
15. Holding on to grudges.
They’re a waste of time and a thief of contentment and happiness.
16. Avoiding change.
Change will happen with your permission or not. Manage it when you can and always make the best of it.
17. Trying to never make a mistake.
Avoiding risk and never daring is the biggest mistake you can make.
18. Saying “I can’t.”
Don’t give up just because things are hard, and don’t talk to yourself in negative terms.
19. Minimizing yourself.
Being a shrinking violet doesn’t help you, it doesn’t put anyone else at ease, and it’s a bore.
20. Gossiping.
Small people indulge in gossip. Talk about ideas instead–and when you do talk about people, be compassionate and supportive always.
21. Staying down.
Failure does not come from falling down. Failure comes from not getting up.
22. Complaining.
If you spend time complaining about yesterday, you won’t have time to make tomorrow better.
23. Spending time with negative people.
If those around you are trying to bring you down, maybe it’s time to lift yourself up.
24. Comparing yourself with others.
Comparison is another thief of your happiness. Don’t worry about what others are doing.
25. Thinking you can’t make a difference.
Each of us can make a difference–and together we make a change.

We all have traits and tendencies we need to give up so we can let something great come in. Everyone is entitled for success; we just have to make room for it. Learn to give up what is keeping you stuck and start moving closer to the things you want out of life.
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Do you know everything that you need to know about your title insurance?
  • Who is your underwriter?
  • What is the claims experience of your title insurance provider?
  • Do you know whether the non-title insurance premium fees you are paying are fair and reasonable?
If the answer to any of these questions was NO, please read…

New York Business Development, Corporate Branding, Military Veterans 501(c)(3)….And Charity Golf!

Heroes To Heroes Foundations saves combat veterans lives

Heroes To Heroes Foundation journey-member at Israel’s Wailing Wall!

Why Should Your Company Consider A Sponsorship, Foursome Or Both At The Heroes To Heroes Golf Outing On June 15th At The Historic Saint Andrew’s Golf Club In Hastings-On-Hudson, New York?

Read about why these great companies and organizations, among others, have decided to participate with Heroes To Heroes at the June 15th Golf Classic…

PGA Tour
Soho Cigar Bar
Baker Tilly Consulting and Professional Services
ABRAMS GARFINKEL MARGOLIS BERGSON, LLP
Fidelity National Title Group
Luman Tucker LLP
Kap Planning
Nicklaus Companies
The Westchester Bank
Yonkers Brewing Company

Golf Classic Registration Page

First, with so many charities to choose from, why the Heroes To Heroes Foundation?

  • Heroes To Heroes Foundation provides a non-denominational spiritual healing program for military veterans who have attempted suicide due to Moral Injury, Post-traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury suffered in combat,
  • A 10-day journey by teams of 10 veterans to Israel, the birthplace of all major religions, is the centerpiece of the program and the reason for our great success,
  • Since its founding, NONE of the veterans that have gone through the Heroes To Heroes program have taken their lives,
  • Approximately 85% of donations go directly towards Heroes To Heroes fulfilling its mission,
  • And finally, as a relatively small 501(c)(3), your participation at whatever level will actually move the needle!

Golf Classic Registration Page

Second, while most all of us are philanthropic, why sponsor the Golf Classic on June 15th?

Truth be told, while companies and individuals would love to donate to every great cause, funds for philanthropy are typically limited and some potential for business development is a terrific and often necessary bonus!

On June 15th this is who we expect to attend for golf, cocktails and for dinner:

200 attendees comprised of NYC attorney’s, CPA’s, bankers, business owners, real estate industry and financial industry senior executives will be joining us that day!

If this is a demographic that you and your company would like to be in front of, then consider one of our sponsorships that are affordably priced between $500 to $15,000!

Sponsors will appear on the Event Registration page with a link to their website, appear in all promotional material and will be promoted and recognized on the day of the event.

Golf Classic Registration Page

PLEASE SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA!

Hallmark Abstract Service President Michael Haltman serves as the Board Chair for the Heroes To Heroes Foundation.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you could become involved with this critical mission, contact Michael at mhaltman@hallmarkabstractllc.com or 646.741.6101.

Some Luxury Real Estate Markets Are Experiencing Painful ‘Price Discovery’…

the excess in NYC real estate prices at 432 Park Avenue

432 Park Avenue, New York City

While the adjustment in luxury real estate prices can of course be up or down, this time around they are down having a negative impact on sellers! Buyers are now in the drivers seat dictating more of the terms of real estate transactions!

Prices are not down in every U.S. city, but they are in New York City where some of the excesses in pricing were most profound (432 Park Avenue Penthouse: 8,200 Sq. Feet Of Luxury Priced At $10,000 A Foot!)!

From an article at Wolf Street, ‘Luxury Home Listings “Overpriced by a Third?”’

Why a real estate insider thinks era of “aspirational pricing” is over.  

Luxury real estate got battered in 2016 in some of the toniest markets – in Manhattan, in the Hamptons, in Aspen, in Miami, etc., but then some sales closed this year, and traffic ticked up in some places, and the meme cropped up that the soaring stock market or whatever was pulling luxury real estate out of its funk.

Last month, Bloomberg explained the phenomenon this way:

Manhattan’s luxury apartment market is seeing sparks of life after sputtering for much of last year as a construction surge created an abundance of choices for the well-heeled. The first two weeks of January marked the strongest start to a year since 2014 for sales at $4 million or higher, with 50 contracts in that range signed, according to a report from Olshan Realty Inc. The increase in deals, coinciding with a stock-market euphoria and developers’ greater price flexibility, follows a year in which luxury contracts fell by 18% from 2015….

But it may just be that sellers, after watching their properties languish on the market, swallowed the bitter medicine and slashed the price they’re willing to take in order to make a deal.

“Nearly every time we read about a high priced sale, there is usually a big discount associated with it,” explained Jonathan Miller, CEO of real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel, in his newsletter. It doesn’t mean the luxury end of the housing market is suddenly recovering, but “that the property was significantly overpriced, to begin with, and after a lengthy marketing time, the seller came down and joined current market conditions.”

Aspen ran into trouble in 2016. According to the Elliman Report, luxury sales in Q4 dropped 11% year-over-year to 25 houses. And the median price plunged 29% to $4.8 million.

So it was a huge relief in 2017 when the sale of a 14,000-square-foot, eight-bedroom, 11-bathroom house closed at a price that was slightly above the most expensive sale in 2016, according to Mansion Global. A turnaround of the market?

The house, which had languished on the market since August 2015, sold for $24.4 million: 32% below original asking price!

And Aspen’s most expensive sale of 2016? It closed in November at $24 million, 26% below the original asking price!

In the Hamptons, a playground for the well-heeled, a similar scenario played out. Judi Desiderio, CEO of real estate broker Town & Country, told Reuters: “The high end sank like a stone in 2016.”

Read the rest of the article at Wolf Street here.
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Do you know everything that you need to know about your title insurance?
  • Who is your underwriter?
  • What is the claims experience of your title insurance provider?
  • Do you know whether the non-title insurance premium fees you are paying are fair and reasonable?
If the answer to any of these questions was NO, please read…

FinCEN Geographic Targeting Orders That Seek To Identify High-End Cash Buyers In Certain Cities Extended!

FinCEN extends the Geographic Targeting Orders

Anti-money Laundering GTO extended for 180 days

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the US Treasury has extended the Geographic Targeting Order (GTO), set to expire tomorrow Feb 24.

The new GTO is identical to the current order and will not expand the cities or the dollar thresholds.

  • Borough of Manhattan, N.Y.; $3 million
  • Boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens and Bronx, N.Y.; $1.5 million
  • Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Florida; $1 million
  • Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Diego counties, California; $2 million
  • Bexar County, Texas (San Antonio); $500,000 (Source: FNTG)

The full order from the FinCEN website…

FinCEN Renews Real Estate “Geographic Targeting Orders” to Identify High-End Cash Buyers in Six Major Metropolitan Areas

WASHINGTON—The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today announced the renewal of existing Geographic Targeting Orders (GTO) that temporarily require U.S. title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind shell companies used to pay “all cash” for high-end residential real estate in six major metropolitan areas. FinCEN has found that about 30 percent of the transactions covered by the GTOs involve a beneficial owner or purchaser representative that is also the subject of a previous suspicious activity report. This corroborates FinCEN’s concerns about the use of shell companies to buy luxury real estate in “all-cash” transactions.

“These GTOs are producing valuable data that is assisting law enforcement and is serving to inform our future efforts to address money laundering in the real estate sector,” said FinCEN Acting Director Jamal El-Hindi. “The subject of money laundering and illicit financial flows involving the real estate sector is something that we have been taking on in steps to ensure that we continue to build an efficient and effective regulatory approach.”

The GTOs renewed today include the following major U.S. geographic areas:  (1) all boroughs of New York City; (2) Miami-Dade County and the two counties immediately north (Broward and Palm Beach); (3) Los Angeles County; (4) three counties comprising part of the San Francisco area (San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties); (5) San Diego County; and (6) the county that includes San Antonio, Texas (Bexar County). The monetary thresholds for each geographic area can be found in this table. A sample GTO, which becomes effective for 180 days beginning on February 24, 2017, is available here.

FinCEN is covering title insurance companies because title insurance is a common feature in the vast majority of real estate transactions. Title insurance companies thus play a central role that can provide FinCEN with valuable information about real estate transactions of concern. The GTOs do not imply any derogatory finding by FinCEN with respect to the covered companies. To the contrary, FinCEN appreciates the continued assistance and cooperation of the title insurance companies and the American Land Title Association in protecting the real estate markets from abuse by illicit actors.

Any questions about the Orders should be directed to the FinCEN Resource Center at 800-767-2825.

Frequently asked questions regarding these GTOs are available here.

Form 8300 Example

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Do you know everything that you need to know about your title insurance?
  • Who is your underwriter?
  • What is the claims experience of your title insurance provider?
  • Do you know whether the non-title insurance premium fees you are paying are fair and reasonable?
If the answer to any of these questions was NO, please read…