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Home Buying Tips

Top 10 Online Tools for Efficient House Hunting

Last Updated on February 9, 2024


Efficient house hunting saves time, reduces stress, and ensures finding the perfect home.

Online tools revolutionize house hunting by offering convenience, accessibility, and comprehensive search options.

These tools empower buyers to browse listings, compare prices, and gather vital information from the comfort of their homes.

Online tools streamline the house hunting process, providing access to extensive listings, photos, and virtual tours.

They offer advanced search filters, allowing users to specify preferences such as location, price range, and amenities.

These tools facilitate communication between buyers and sellers through instant messaging, email, and virtual appointments.

With interactive maps and neighborhood insights, online tools help buyers evaluate the surrounding area’s suitability.

Additionally, they provide valuable resources like mortgage calculators, affordability estimators, and real estate market trends.

By harnessing technology, online tools empower buyers to make informed decisions and navigate the competitive housing market effectively.

Tool 1: Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

Overview of MLS

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a comprehensive online database of real estate listings.

Real estate agents and brokers use MLS to list properties for sale or rent.

It contains detailed information about each property including the price, location, square footage, and features.

MLS is accessible to real estate professionals and buyers through various online platforms.

Benefits of using MLS for house hunting

  1. Wide range of listings: MLS provides access to a vast number of properties in different locations.

  2. Accurate and up-to-date information: Listings on MLS are regularly updated by real estate professionals.

  3. Detailed property descriptions: MLS offers comprehensive descriptions and high-quality photographs of properties.

  4. Advanced search filters: Users can apply specific criteria to narrow down their search and find the perfect home.

  5. Save time and effort: MLS saves potential homebuyers from manually searching through various real estate websites.

  6. Expert guidance: Real estate agents can assist buyers in navigating MLS and finding suitable properties.

How to effectively utilize MLS for efficient house hunting

  1. Refine your search criteria: Determine your budget, desired location, size, and other preferences.

  2. Use advanced search filters: Specify your requirements regarding price, number of bedrooms, and amenities.

  3. Regularly check for updates: Keep an eye on new listings and price changes in your preferred area.

  4. Contact a real estate agent: Seek the assistance of a professional to guide you through the MLS search process.

  5. Attend open houses: Take advantage of the opportunity to personally view properties of interest.

  6. Make use of saved searches: Save your preferred searches to receive notifications about new listings.

By utilizing the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), house hunting becomes a more efficient and convenient process.

With its extensive listings, accurate information, and advanced search features, MLS proves to be an invaluable tool for homebuyers.

By following the steps mentioned above, potential buyers can effectively navigate MLS and find their dream home.

Read: Crafting a Home Buying Budget That Works

Tool 2: Zillow

Introduction to Zillow

Zillow is an online tool that provides a comprehensive platform for house hunting.

It simplifies the process of finding the perfect home by offering a range of features and benefits.

Features and Benefits of Using Zillow for House Hunting

  1. Extensive Listing Database: Zillow boasts an impressive collection of listings, including houses, apartments, and condos.

    This vast database ensures that users have access to a wide range of options to choose from.

  2. Advanced Search Filters: Zillow’s search filters allow users to customize their house hunting experience based on specific criteria such as location, price range, number of bedrooms, and more.

    This feature saves time and helps to narrow down the search results to match individual preferences.

  3. Interactive Map View: With Zillow’s map view feature, users can explore neighborhoods and visualize the location of available properties.

    This helps in understanding the proximity of essential amenities like schools, parks, and shops, making it easier to make an informed decision.

  4. Price History and Trends: Zillow provides historical pricing data for properties, enabling users to assess the market value and fluctuations.

    This information helps prospective buyers or renters to negotiate better deals and make informed decisions.

  5. Virtual Tours and Photos: Zillow offers a collection of high-quality photos and virtual tours for many listings.

    These visuals provide an immersive experience, allowing users to get a realistic impression of the property before visiting it physically.

  6. Saved Search Alerts: Zillow allows users to save their searches and set up alerts when new properties matching their criteria become available.

    This feature ensures that users remain updated and never miss out on potential opportunities.

Tips for Maximizing the Use of Zillow

  1. Refine Your Search Criteria: To get the most relevant results, make sure to use Zillow’s advanced search filters effectively.

    Customize your search based on your preferences and prioritize the features you need the most.

  2. Utilize Map View: Take advantage of Zillow’s map view feature to explore different neighborhoods and assess their suitability.

    Consider factors like proximity to work, schools, and amenities before finalizing your house hunt.

  3. Research Price Trends: Before making an offer, analyze Zillow’s pricing history data to gain insights into price trends in your desired area.

    This knowledge will help you make a more informed decision and negotiate better deals.

  4. Save and Monitor Listings: Save properties that catch your interest and regularly monitor them.

    This way, you can keep tabs on any updates or changes in availability and be among the first to know when new listings match your criteria.

  5. Read and Leave Reviews: Once you’ve visited a property or had an experience with a real estate agent, consider leaving a review on Zillow.

    This helps other users in their house hunting journey and fosters a helpful community.

  6. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent: While Zillow provides valuable tools for house hunting, consider seeking guidance from a trusted real estate agent.

    They can offer personalized advice, negotiate on your behalf, and ensure a smoother home buying or renting process.

By leveraging the features and benefits provided by Zillow, users can streamline their house hunting journey, saving time and effort while making informed decisions. Happy hunting!

Tool 3: Redfin

Overview of Redfin as a house hunting tool

Redfin is an online tool that helps individuals efficiently search for their dream homes.

It provides users with comprehensive real estate listings and data to aid in their search.

Redfin offers a user-friendly interface and intuitive search options, making it easy to navigate.

Unique features of Redfin compared to other online tools

  1. Redfin’s unique feature is its “Hot Homes” feature, which highlights properties with high demand.

  2. It also provides a “Price Tracker” tool, allowing users to monitor price changes of preferred listings.

  3. Redfin has real-time updates, ensuring that users have access to the most current information.

  4. Additionally, Redfin employs local agents who can provide personalized assistance throughout the house hunting process.

Strategies for efficient house hunting using Redfin

  1. Create a personalized account on Redfin to save favorite listings and receive notifications about price changes.

  2. Utilize Redfin’s advanced search filters to narrow down your preferences for location, price range, and property type.

  3. Take advantage of Redfin’s map view feature to explore different neighborhoods and evaluate their proximity to amenities.

  4. Use Redfin’s “Walk Score” feature to assess the walkability of a particular area and determine its convenience.

  5. Tap into Redfin’s mortgage calculator to estimate monthly payments and assess affordability.

  6. Read through the detailed descriptions and view high-resolution photos provided by Redfin for each listing.

  7. Make use of Redfin’s “Tour Insights” feature, which provides feedback from Redfin agents who have visited the property.

  8. Connect with Redfin agents for additional guidance and support during the house hunting process.

  9. Attend open houses and schedule private tours through Redfin to get a firsthand look at potential properties.

  10. Compare and analyze comparable sales data provided by Redfin to make informed decisions and negotiate effectively.

With Redfin’s comprehensive features and user-friendly interface, house hunting becomes an efficient and enjoyable experience.

By utilizing the strategies mentioned above, individuals can maximize their chances of finding their dream home on Redfin.

Read: Essential Tips for Home Purchase Savings

Tool 4: Trulia

Introduction to Trulia and its features

  1. Trulia is an online tool that helps users find their ideal home.

  2. It provides a wide range of features and resources for efficient house hunting.

Advantages of using Trulia for house hunting

  1. Extensive database: Trulia has a vast collection of real estate listings across the United States.

  2. Advanced search filters: Users can narrow down their search based on specific criteria such as price, location, and property type.

  3. Interactive map view: Trulia offers an interactive map to visualize the locations of available properties.

  4. Neighborhood information: It provides detailed information about neighborhoods, including crime rates, schools, and amenities.

  5. Price history: Trulia shows the price history of a property, allowing users to assess its value.

  6. Alerts and notifications: Users can set up alerts to receive updates on new listings or changes in prices.

  7. Mobile app: Trulia has a user-friendly mobile app that allows house hunting on the go.

  8. Agent directory: It includes a directory of real estate agents, making it easier to find a professional for assistance.

  9. Community insights: Trulia offers insights from local residents to provide a comprehensive understanding of the neighborhood.

How to make the most out of Trulia for efficient house hunting

  1. Define your criteria: Determine your budget, location preferences, and must-have features before using Trulia.

  2. Utilize advanced search filters: Use the search filters to narrow down the options based on your preferences.

  3. Explore the map view: Take advantage of the interactive map view to visualize the properties in your desired area.

  4. Research neighborhoods: Dig deeper into neighborhood information provided on Trulia to find the right fit.

  5. Monitor price changes: Keep an eye on the price history of properties you are interested in to make informed decisions.

  6. Set up alerts: Set up alerts to receive notifications whenever a new listing matching your criteria becomes available.

  7. Download the mobile app: Install the Trulia mobile app to access house hunting tools even when you are on the move.

  8. Contact real estate agents: Use Trulia’s agent directory to connect with professionals who can assist in your house hunting process.

  9. Read community insights: Gain valuable insights from local residents to get a better understanding of the neighborhood.

  10. Compare listings: Use Trulia’s comparison feature to evaluate different properties side by side.

In essence, Trulia is an essential online tool for efficient house hunting. Its extensive database, advanced search filters, interactive map view, and neighborhood information help users find their ideal home.

By utilizing the features and following the tips provided, individuals can make the most out of Trulia and simplify their house hunting process.

Tool 5:

Overview of as a house hunting tool is a comprehensive online platform that provides users with a vast database of real estate listings.

With its user-friendly interface and powerful search filters, it is one of the top choices for efficient house hunting.

Special features and benefits of using for house hunting

  1. Accurate and up-to-date listings: ensures that the listings displayed are verified and regularly updated, saving users from the frustration of outdated information.

  2. Advanced search options: The platform allows users to customize their search criteria, including price range, location, property type, and amenities, among others.

    This feature helps narrow down the options and find the most suitable properties.

  3. Interactive maps: integrates interactive maps that provide a visual representation of the surrounding area, including nearby amenities such as schools, parks, and shopping centers.

    Users can easily evaluate the neighborhood before visiting the property.

  4. Saved searches and notifications: Users can save their preferred search criteria and receive notifications when new listings that match their preferences become available.

    This feature saves time and ensures that users don’t miss out on potential opportunities.

  5. Mortgage calculator: offers a built-in mortgage calculator that helps users estimate monthly payments based on the property price and selected loan terms.

    This tool allows for better financial planning and decision-making.

Tips for optimizing the use of

  1. Refine search criteria: Take advantage of the advanced search options to tailor the results to your specific needs and preferences.

    This will help you find properties that meet all your requirements.

  2. Set up email alerts: Sign up for email notifications to be among the first to know about new listings.

    This gives you a competitive edge in a fast-paced real estate market.

  3. Explore the map view: Utilize the interactive map feature to get a better understanding of the property’s surroundings.

    This can be particularly useful if you are unfamiliar with the area.

  4. Save favorite listings: Keep track of the properties that catch your interest by saving them to your account.

    This allows for easy comparison and reference when making decisions.

  5. Read property details carefully: Pay attention to the property descriptions, including any potential limitations or deal-breakers.

    Thoroughly analyzing the information can help you avoid wasting time on properties that don’t meet your requirements.

  6. Use the mortgage calculator: Take advantage of the mortgage calculator to get a clear understanding of the financial implications of purchasing a particular property.

    This ensures that you make an informed decision within your budget.

  7. Contact real estate agents: provides contact information for real estate agents associated with each listing.

    Reach out to them for additional details, property visits, and expert guidance throughout the house-hunting process.

In fact, is an invaluable tool for efficient house hunting.

Its extensive listings, advanced search options, and interactive features make it easy to find the perfect property.

By optimizing its use and following the provided tips, users can streamline their house-hunting process and make informed decisions.

Read: Avoiding Pitfalls in the Home Closing Phase

Top 10 Online Tools for Efficient House Hunting

Tool 6: NeighborhoodScout

Introduction to NeighborhoodScout

When it comes to house hunting, finding the perfect neighborhood is just as important as finding the perfect home. This is where NeighborhoodScout comes in.

NeighborhoodScout is an online tool that provides comprehensive information about neighborhoods across the United States.

Importance of neighborhood research in house hunting

Researching neighborhoods is crucial in house hunting because it helps potential buyers make informed decisions.

It allows them to gauge whether a particular neighborhood aligns with their preferences and needs.

Neighborhood research involves gathering information about crime rates, school ratings, amenities, transportation options, and other factors that contribute to the overall quality of life in a specific area.

By understanding the neighborhood, potential buyers can determine if it meets their lifestyle requirements, such as proximity to work, access to recreational facilities, or the presence of a vibrant community.

How to effectively use NeighborhoodScout for efficient house hunting

Utilizing NeighborhoodScout efficiently can greatly contribute to an efficient house hunting process.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make the most out of this online tool:

Start with your priorities

Before diving into the plethora of information provided by NeighborhoodScout, it is essential to identify your priorities.

Know what matters most to you and your family when it comes to choosing a neighborhood.

Consider factors such as safety, school quality, proximity to amenities, commute time, and any other aspects that are critical for your lifestyle.

Explore the neighborhood profiles

NeighborhoodScout offers detailed profiles of various neighborhoods, making it easy to compare and evaluate different areas.

These profiles provide insights into crime rates, school ratings, real estate market trends, and much more.

Take the time to explore these profiles, paying close attention to the information that aligns with your priorities.

This will help you narrow down your options and focus on neighborhoods that meet your criteria.

Utilize the interactive maps

One of the standout features of NeighborhoodScout is its interactive maps.

These maps allow you to visualize different aspects of a neighborhood, such as crime hotspots, school locations, and nearby amenities.

Use these maps to get a better understanding of the neighborhood’s layout and how it aligns with your preferences.

You can easily identify areas that may be more suitable for your needs and areas to avoid.

Dive into the data

NeighborhoodScout provides a wealth of data that goes beyond just crime rates and school ratings.

Look into demographic information, real estate market trends, and historical data to get a more comprehensive understanding of the neighborhood.

This data can help you uncover hidden gems or potential red flags that may influence your decision.

It provides a more complete picture of what living in a particular neighborhood would be like.

Take advantage of the user reviews

NeighborhoodScout also allows users to submit reviews and share their experiences about living in a specific neighborhood.

These user reviews provide valuable insights and perspectives that may not be captured in the data alone.

Reading these reviews can give you a sense of the community’s atmosphere and help you gauge if it would be a good fit for you.

Keep in mind that personal experiences may vary, so consider a range of opinions.

NeighborhoodScout is a powerful online tool that empowers house hunters to make informed decisions about the neighborhoods they are considering.

By utilizing its features effectively, potential buyers can ensure they find the perfect neighborhood that meets their needs and preferences.

Remember, house hunting is not just about finding a desirable property; it’s about finding a place to call home.

Tool 7: Mortgage calculators

Overview of mortgage calculators

Mortgage calculators are online tools that help homebuyers estimate their monthly mortgage payments.

They take into account factors such as loan amount, interest rate, and loan term to provide accurate calculations.

These calculators are easily accessible and can be found on various real estate websites.

Benefits of using mortgage calculators in house hunting

  1. Accurate budgeting: By using a mortgage calculator, homebuyers can determine how much they can afford to borrow.

  2. Time-saving: Calculating mortgage payments manually can be time-consuming, but with a calculator, it’s a quick process.

  3. Comparison shopping: Homebuyers can easily compare different mortgage options to find the most suitable one for their needs.

  4. Financial planning: Mortgage calculators allow buyers to see the long-term impact of their mortgage choices on their finances.

  5. Realistic expectations: Calculators help buyers set realistic expectations by showing them the actual cost of homeownership.

Tips for utilizing mortgage calculators effectively

  1. Gather accurate information: Make sure to input accurate loan amount, interest rate, and loan term to get reliable results.

  2. Consider additional costs: Take into account additional costs like property taxes and insurance when calculating the mortgage.

  3. Use multiple calculators: Different mortgage calculators may provide slightly different results, so it’s good to compare.

  4. Experiment with different scenarios: Adjust the parameters to see how changes in down payment or interest rate affect monthly payments.

  5. Consult a mortgage specialist: While calculators provide helpful estimates, consulting a professional is always recommended.

Mortgage calculators are valuable tools for anyone embarking on the house-hunting journey.

With their ability to provide accurate budgeting, save time, and allow for effective comparison shopping, they are a must-have for prospective homebuyers.

By following the tips mentioned above, individuals can utilize these calculators to their full advantage and make informed decisions about their mortgage options.

So, before starting your house hunt, don’t forget to use a mortgage calculator to streamline the process and ensure a smooth home-buying experience.

Read: Hidden Costs in Home Buying Explained

Tool 8: Google Maps

Introduction to Google Maps for house hunting

Google Maps is a powerful online tool that can greatly assist in the house hunting process.

It provides users with a comprehensive mapping service that includes various features and benefits.

By utilizing Google Maps, house hunters can enhance their search and make it more efficient.

Mapping features and benefits of Google Maps

  1. Interactive Maps: Google Maps offers interactive maps that allow users to navigate and explore different areas.

  2. Street View: With Street View, users can virtually walk through neighborhoods and get a real sense of the surroundings.

  3. Satellite Imagery: Google Maps provides satellite imagery, giving users a bird’s eye view of properties and their surroundings.

  4. Traffic Information: The tool includes real-time traffic information, helping house hunters evaluate commute times and congestion levels.

  5. Public Transportation: Google Maps incorporates public transportation routes and schedules, making it easier to assess accessibility.

  6. Nearby Amenities: Users can easily find nearby amenities such as schools, parks, restaurants, and grocery stores.

  7. Neighborhood Insights: Google Maps provides additional information about neighborhoods, including reviews and ratings of businesses.

  8. Customization: Users can create personalized maps, add markers, and save favorite locations for future reference.

Strategies for efficient house hunting with Google Maps

  1. Define Search Criteria: Clearly identify your preferences for location, amenities, and commuting distance.

  2. Use Multiple Layers: Overlay different layers on the map to view information on schools, crime rates, and property values.

  3. Familiarize with Street View: Utilize Street View to virtually explore the neighborhood and examine the property exteriors.

  4. Check Historical Imagery: Use historical imagery to assess changes in the area, such as new developments or renovations.

  5. Assess Traffic Patterns: Analyze real-time traffic data to understand the intensity of traffic during different times of the day.

  6. Explore Public Transportation: Evaluate the accessibility and proximity of public transportation options to the desired properties.

  7. Read Reviews and Ratings: Take advantage of the neighborhood insights feature to gather information on local businesses and services.

  8. Collaborate and Share: Share personalized maps with family, friends, or real estate agents to get valuable input and opinions.

Google Maps is an invaluable tool for efficient house hunting, offering a range of mapping features and benefits.

By utilizing strategies such as defining search criteria, exploring different layers, and leveraging Street View and reviews, house hunters can effectively narrow down their options and make informed decisions during the house hunting process.

Tool 9: DIY Network

The DIY Network plays a significant role in efficiently house hunting by providing valuable resources and information related to home improvement and renovation.

Leveraging the DIY Network can make the house hunting process easier and more efficient.

Role of DIY Network in house hunting

DIY Network can be a valuable source of inspiration for potential home buyers.

It offers a variety of TV shows, articles, and blogs that highlight different home styles and design ideas.

By watching these shows or reading their content, individuals can gain insights on potential house features they may aspire to have.

DIY Network helps individuals visualize how certain improvements can enhance a house’s value and appeal.

Home improvement and renovation resources provided by DIY Network

DIY Network features step-by-step tutorials and guides on various renovation projects.

These resources assist homebuyers in understanding the costs, time commitments, and complexities associated with different home improvement tasks.

DIY Network also provides tips and tricks for DIY enthusiasts who prefer doing the renovations themselves.

The network has a vast collection of videos and articles on topics ranging from small repairs to large-scale renovations and remodeling projects.

How to leverage DIY Network for efficient house hunting

Start by exploring the DIY Network’s website or tuning in to their TV shows to get familiar with different home improvement ideas and trends.

Take note of features or upgrades that appeal to you, and consider incorporating them into your house hunting criteria.

Use the DIY Network’s resources to estimate the costs and assess the feasibility of potential home improvement projects.

Gain insights from experts and homeowners who have successfully completed similar projects.

By leveraging the DIY Network, you can gain confidence in your ability to assess the potential of a house and make informed decisions.

Utilize the DIY Network’s tutorials and guides to evaluate the condition of a house during property viewings.

This will enable you to spot potential issues and estimate the scope of work required for renovations or improvements.

The information obtained from DIY Network can help negotiate better deals or determine if a property is worth pursuing.

Consider connecting with other house hunters or homeowners through DIY Network’s online community forums.

Engage in discussions, share experiences, and seek advice to optimize your house hunting process.

In general, DIY Network offers a range of resources and inspiration for effective house hunting.

By leveraging their expertise and utilizing their tools, homebuyers can make informed decisions and identify the true potential of properties they are considering.

Tool 10: Mobile Apps

Overview of mobile apps for house hunting

Nowadays, technology has made house hunting more convenient and efficient than ever before. One of the most popular tools for house hunting is mobile apps.

Mobile apps are applications that can be downloaded and installed on a smartphone or tablet.

There are a plethora of house hunting apps available that cater to the specific needs of homebuyers and renters.

These apps allow users to search for properties, view photos and videos, read detailed descriptions, and even schedule showings directly from their mobile devices.

Moreover, many house hunting apps offer additional features such as mortgage calculators, neighborhood information, and the ability to save and organize favorite listings.

Benefits and convenience of using house hunting apps

Using house hunting apps provides numerous benefits and conveniences to users. Firstly, these apps enable users to access property information anytime and anywhere.

With just a few taps on their smartphones, users can quickly search for available properties, compare prices, and get detailed information about each listing.

These apps also save time and effort as users no longer need to drive around or spend hours browsing through classified ads to find suitable properties.

Another advantage is the ability to filter search results based on specific criteria such as location, price range, number of bedrooms, and amenities.

This feature saves users from having to sift through irrelevant listings, ensuring that they only see properties that meet their requirements.

Additionally, house hunting apps provide real-time updates and notifications.

Users can receive alerts when new properties matching their preferences become available in the market.

They can also track price changes, schedule showings, and communicate with real estate agents directly through the app.

Recommendations for the best house hunting apps

There are many house hunting apps available, but not all of them offer the same level of convenience and functionality.

To help you find the best app for your house hunting needs, here are our top recommendations:

  1. Zillow: This app offers a comprehensive database of properties for sale and rent, complete with photos, videos, and detailed descriptions

    It also provides a mortgage calculator and allows users to save favorite listings and receive notifications about price changes.

  2. This app is known for its up-to-date and accurate listings.

    It offers real-time notifications when new properties become available and allows users to schedule showings.

  3. Trulia: Trulia focuses on providing detailed neighborhood information to help users make informed decisions.

    It includes crime rates, school ratings, and commuter information. It also offers a “heat map” feature that shows popular areas based on price range and amenities.

  4. Redfin: Redfin is a popular choice for its user-friendly interface and advanced search filters.

    It offers 3D virtual tours of properties and provides accurate and updated information.

  5. This app allows users to customize their search based on specific property features and amenities.

    It also offers a “draw” feature to search for properties in a specific area.

In review, mobile apps are invaluable tools for efficient house hunting. They provide users with property information, convenience, and real-time updates.

By using the recommended apps, homebuyers and renters can streamline their search process, save time, and ultimately find their dream home.


Finding a suitable house can be a daunting task, but with the right online tools, it becomes much easier and efficient.

To recap, the top 10 online tools for efficient house hunting are:

  1. Real estate websites such as Zillow and

  2. Property search engines like Trulia and Redfin

  3. Mobile apps like and Apartment Finder

  4. Online mortgage calculators for financial planning

  5. Virtual tours and 3D walkthroughs to explore properties remotely

  6. Neighborhood information websites to find the right community

  7. Online forums and social media groups for insights from other house hunters

  8. Property management websites for rental house hunting

  9. Online directories for finding real estate agents

  10. E-signature platforms for a seamless document signing process.

It is crucial to emphasize the importance of utilizing these tools when house hunting to save time, energy, and resources.

By leveraging the power of technology, potential homebuyers can access a vast range of information and options at their fingertips.

These tools help in narrowing down the search, comparing different properties, and making informed decisions.

In today’s digital age, it is essential to make the most out of online resources for a successful house hunting experience.

From researching neighborhoods to virtual tours, these tools offer convenience, efficiency, and accuracy in the house hunting process.

So, whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned property investor, embrace these online tools and maximize your chances of finding your dream home.

Happy house hunting!

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