What’s up everyone and welcome to another episode of Become A Local Leader! In today’s episode, we have Keryn Young, a Licensed Real Estate Professional with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Properties.
Meet Keryn Young – Our Featured Local Leader!
After graduating with her business administration degree from Middle Tennessee State University, Keryn relocated back to Plymouth, Michigan in 1995 and started her real estate career. She became an accredited buyer’s agent in 1996, and a certified residential specialist in 1999. She was at the top 3% of all agents nationwide.
After working hard and learning the basics in 2000, she moved her home office to Birmingham, Michigan, where she focused her attention on the higher end markets. In 2001, she received her graduate Realtors Institute designation.
Later, she moved to Old Westbury, New York to join Daniel Gale, now also part of Sotheby’s International. After one too many cold winters, Keryn moved to Southern California. She started her San Diego real estate career in La Jolla, and progressed to Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Properties in Del Mar.
As an agent, she loves working with amazing clients and sees it as a privilege to represent their best interests. Some of Keryn’s best qualities are that she’s really friendly and personable. She has high integrity without compromise, and always has her client’s best interest in mind.
When she isn’t working, Keryn loves to be around animals. Being born in Canada and raised by Australian parents, travel is in her blood. Although living in San Diego, she can just go to the beach after work. Keryn also has done several professional training and coaching courses with Landmark, a worldwide organization.
You sure did a lot. How do you feel after hearing your bio?
I think real estate is in my blood. I will say that the CRS designation, certified residential specialist, is the highest designation you can get in real estate. You got to educate yourself so that we can educate others and pass that on. When I had it, I was under 30 and had this designation. People were like, “Wow! Do you really have it?” And I was like, “Yeah.” I remember my broker saying to me, “Wow, Keryn!” So, it was really great.
What attracted you to San Diego? What do you love about it?
I actually ended up in San Diego, prior to this I was in New York. I loved my time in New York, I will say that. It’s good to have been there. I lived in Long Beach. When I came to Southern Cali, I wasn’t sure where I was going to be. I started up further north in the Thousand Oaks area. And at the time, I was actually a trader. I used to trade online and sat behind a computer all day long.
What happened was, I was trading for someone and they own some homes in San Diego. That’s how I ended up here. As fate would have it, that’s how I ended up in San Diego. I just love it. I mean, I tell people I landed in San Diego because it’s a great place to be.
Yeah, I think it’s nice. We still have kind of a big city feel. I mean, we’re not from LA and Orange is pretty close. Personally, I go to Orange County often. The sun shines all the time. I love that, I love to wake up in the morning in the sunshine.
Do you live in the same area that you work in?
Yeah, I’m just five minutes from my office. Although, with COVID we have not been going in. We kind of set up from home. It’s kind of changing the way we operate in this business.
Why would you say you focus on the areas that you do focus on for your business?
I think what happens is you just get to know people in those areas. You have a listing, you do an open house and you talk to the neighbors. Before this COVID thing, I did this fabulous open house in this area called Clairemont. We promoted it a lot. I’m really big on promoting stuff online. My company tells me all these things to do and so, we do it.
I’m a big door knocking person. I door knock and walk the neighborhoods. What we did was we did a neighbor’s brunch before the open house because all the neighbors know. They know the sign goes in the yard and so they want to see the house. They want to know what it’s going to sell for because they want to know what their own house is worth. And so, I’d walk the neighborhood and handed out flyers and invited the neighbors to come to visit.
For the first open house, the first weekend we went online, we hit 88 people through. I’ve never heard of an open house so crazy. They were all hanging out. I mean, I was in the driveway and I had someone helping me. I had a mortgage person there with me. She was in the house, keeping an eye on everything because the sellers weren’t there. I was having everyone sign in so we could be accountable for who came through. And they were like hanging out in the driveway. It really became a neighborhood event, which was just fabulous because that’s how you get to know people.
I talked to a lot of those people. That was just before the pre-COVID thing. I got to know the people in the neighborhood. You’re walking the streets with them. You see them walking their dog, that kind of thing. That’s where I think that you build those relationships and rapport with people. I think people work with people that they know, like, and trust. If they don’t know you, then they are not likely to want to do business with you.
I think one of the things I need to do more of is to create video content. I love that you’re doing this because I think that people see my post but they don’t really know me because I don’t really do the live videos. This way, they can get to know who I am.
In terms of your business, can you give us an idea of just your current volume?
Well, it’s pretty low right now. The thing about San Diego is there are parts of it that are a little bit more inland, as we say when we’re locals. And then there are parts on the coast. So, you get all kinds. It depends on where you are.
I can say that my volume is down for the year. I think it’s going to be picking up. I’m noticing it picking up. I’m getting the calls and things coming in. I think it kicks into all the systems I’m using.
One of the things I do a lot of and have really taken on is really getting my persona out there. Who I am doesn’t really matter, it’s how I’m perceived. I do campaigns on AdWords for different advertisement things where it’s just a little. I do a lot of daily posts on social media. There’s a lot of things that I use. You guys see me sitting here but what you don’t see is the team behind me.
I’ve become a big fan of this company, Keeping Current Matters. They do daily blogs Monday through Friday. They’re really current on what is happening in real estate nationwide. They listen to a lot of in the news. A lot of people know, Keeping Current Matters.
People want to know San Diego and they also want to know other areas. The nice thing about San Diego is we do get people that have the second homes here. It’s pretty common. So are shorter-term rentals. We have investors that might buy a second home here. I just got a referral from my CRS designation from someone in Wisconsin and her son and daughter in law live in Scottsdale. They’re going to buy a second home here in Del Mar. What they want to do is rent it out when they’re not using it. So, when I say short-term rental, I’m thinking 30 days. Some people think seven days, four days, three days or different things like that. I think it’s 30 days.
So, what happens is when they’re not using it, we can rent it out, and they can get an income for it. This way it’s not just sitting there. Or it could be that they don’t have to have someone watching it and it makes sense to have someone in there. That’s very common in our area. You get investors that just want to come down to San Diego. I mean, they could even be in LA or other parts of the country. They just want to get out and just be quiet, you know, kind of Del Mar – come to the races or walk down to the beach. I mean, we’ve got some really nice beaches, and it’s not uncommon to have that mentality.
The people here have a lot of equity built up in their houses and you can talk to him or her about taking equity out of that house buying a second home and leveraging things. I mean we leveraged stuff in our portfolios, with stocks and investments. We can also leverage things with real estate so they can take money out of that home still have you know a lot in there.
We don’t want anyone to be at risk or anything like that. They can be small investment properties. I have different investors that I do that for that are not in town, and I just keep them rented for them. And then when they’re in town, I just block it out so no one else can rent it while they’re here. That’s like a whole another market here.
There’s a lot of opportunities in San Diego. But it depends on whoever I’m speaking with. “What are their goals?” I mean, opportunities are opportunities, there’s always going to be something. But the question is, “What are your goals? What are your goals? Do you have real estate goals? Is there something that I can help you with?” You know, something like that.
So, that’s where I really want to focus on. What are their goals and asking them questions about what they want to be doing. I use Paperless Agent. I’ve just signed up with BombBomb. I did a newsletter, but I still need help with this stuff. I have a virtual assistant and I have someone I use for part-time things because I’m not a graphic designer. At the end of the day, it’s about knowing your strengths – I do better with talking to people.
I think that’s a big part, I always kind of had a virtual assistant or part-time assistant or something like that to help me. In California, we have a lot of transaction coordinators that handle the paperwork for us so that you can get back out there and get more deals instead of dealing with the paperwork because it’s vital. And you know, we’re a disclosure state. We definitely have lots of paperwork.
I have a transaction coordinator that I use for that. So, that’s why I say like, there are people behind me that helped get me where I am. That makes a huge difference. And, I use the software Top Producer. It’s my first screen I look at in the morning. I do my posts, and then I do five touches a day. And so, it gives me five people to make sure I’m contacting. Maybe an email, maybe a call, maybe I mail them something, whatever it is, it’s about getting it done. That kind of sets me up. And then it’s like, “Okay. Who am I working with now? Have they looked at the houses I’ve sent?” We have this new software, Real Scout that Berkshire provides for us. It helps people to look for houses.
If you said, “Okay. I want a three-bedroom, two-bathroom property and I really want to be in the Carmel Valley area.” Well, what happens is when the client looks through the options and they ick a couple of them out, the software will identify the common things between all of these homes. Say it’s that they have a pool. Well, then what will happen is the next time it’ll send you a house that says, “We noticed you looked at some pools. This one has a pool.” It’s kind of smarter than we are. And so, it makes it more personal for buyers when they’re looking at houses, even if they don’t realize that’s what they’re drawn to.
Right now, I think you’re getting a lot of people that are or we’re going to list their house and now their life has been impacted by not working so they’re going to stay a little bit longer instead of retiring. And that’s why you’ve got to keep those lines of communication open.
For my mailings, I use Every Door Direct. I pick a neighborhood and then you kind of work with it. We call it farming because eventually, it starts to produce sales for you. With Every Door Direct, what you do is you pick the mail carriers route, and that’s where you mail postcards so that you can mail them every month. You might try and pick a neighborhood but if there are two mail carriers in there, it might not be the whole neighborhood. It depends on the mail carrier routes but it’s less expensive to do mailings for people. I have so many software systems. I feel like there’s so many tools now between our phone and our computers.
Is there anything you would say hasn’t worked for you that you haven’t had a good experience with?
I think that the key is staying in touch with people and not getting discouraged. You really have to self-motivate. I have affirmations on my bathroom wall and stuff like that in my kitchen counter because I think you have to have the right mindset, first thing in the morning. I think the thing that doesn’t work is getting in our own head. In our own head we think, “Oh my gosh. I can’t do this. They don’t like me.” And it’s like, you know what? They were busy, they were in the middle of a conversation or they didn’t have time to talk.
If we get in our own head, we said that’s a dangerous place to be. I think the things that don’t work like staying at home, staying behind a computer, staying by yourself, you really got to self-motivate. I think I’ve learned that from different mentors.
Paul Benek is my manager right now and he’s all about mindset. I get up in the morning, I do my yoga, I do my affirmations and I always have my breakfast. I think that the things that don’t work are not being consistent. Now, I don’t know if this is true or not, but I have the mentality that it takes around 18 touches to get someone to sign with you. Keeping track of this and being mindful of your total number of touches is key. Because if I got discouraged after three or four, I wouldn’t still be doing it. I’m 10 or 11 right now. So, I document. I email them, I call them and I text them.
Real estate is full commission like a lot of other businesses out there. If you don’t generate business for yourself, you’re not going to get the business. I think you’ve got to value who you are. Value your self-worth and be accountable to yourself. I have a coach that keeps me accountable. When I don’t have a coach, I notice I can start to slide. I think that doing things with other people (I have a mini group called Team Works) where you meet and do calls and we hold one another accountable helps a lot!
In Michigan, I did really well. I started out just cold calling. They told me to cold call so I did it, then I got a listing. In New York, I got in with a really great company. I was involved with some of the people in the community. I do like floor time but the thing about this is in California is that a lot of people are agents. The question is, are they full time? Are they professional? Are they full-service agents? I think it’s something hard to do part-time.
On average, my goal used to be in that I needed to be in 10 houses a week. If I wasn’t showing them, I needed to be doing broker caravan because the thing is if you don’t look at the house now, a month from now, when someone in that neighborhood calls you, and you didn’t see the neighbor’s house, you don’t know much if not anything about it.
This whole COVID thing is really hard on real estate. Being home, that’s where you really got to generate that much more because you got to get out there and talk to people. That’s why I’m grateful for things like Zoom and doing things like this because it’s so great. It helps me get out there. I think it’s great what you’re doing, talking to entrepreneurs and things like that, because it makes a difference for us. Because I think when we get in our own head, it’s discouraging.
We really need to build community. And build it within ourselves. I’m loyal to my church. I have a group, the Mighty Women of God, we call ourselves. It helps too when I get discouraged. I mean, they’re there for me and I think we all need that. It’s not something that we can do by ourselves. I think that the key is to not do it by yourself and know that you need help. It can show up in different ways.
How much do you tap into your network for business? Do they also send referrals your way?
I would say it’s both. I have a sphere of influence. It’s a good size but it tends to be people from all over the United States, even all over the world because I know people in other countries that I’m connected with. I’d say my core people are both. They send me referrals. They take my business card to work and tell their husband, “If you hear anybody at work looking for an agent, refer Keryn Young.” And I love that. I don’t even have to ask for it. And when something’s going bad or going wrong, I mean, they’re there for me. So, I think it’s both.
For me, I think the nice thing is when you have a transaction with people and they know you. It’s almost like you don’t even have to ask for referrals but you do. I think that’s where it’s really nice when someone was referring you and you didn’t even ask.
Are there any things you find in particular that they say that they just love about working with you?
I think the biggest thing is being in communication and making those calls when you don’t want to. An example of the conversation you don’t want to have. So, during this covid, we had a house went into escrow, went through all that. So, we have the clear to close from the mortgage lender and we’re supposed to close on Wednesday night 5:30. On our lockboxes, we can tell who went in and out every day. I noticed the other agent hadn’t gotten in that day. After work, I get a call from the agent. I said, “Do you guys share your walkthrough today?” She’s like, no, buyers got cold feet. The day before closing. We’re supposed to close on Thursday. This is Wednesday night at 5:30.
So, it’s after business hours and you get that call. It’s like, “What do you mean they got cold feet?” I’m like, “Get them back in the house.” Your reaction was, “Get them back in there. They love the house.” Lo and behold, she can’t get them back in. They love the house but they just got scared. So, they ended up walking away from the deal.
Then I’m the one that gets to call my sellers and say, “you know how we’re closing tomorrow and you thought you were going to get that money? And you know how you rushed and moved and got out of the house and got the cleaning lady in and everything done? And that you had people pull all kinds of strings so you could be out on time? Well, we’re not closing tomorrow.” And so, it’s like, how do you have an empowering conversation with that?
The key is to make sure that you’ve communicated with them all along and that you have a rapport with them. Making sure that you’ve spent the time and built a relationship with them. I mean, we end up putting your house back on the market and get another deal, but that moment, it’s tough. I mean, you put your sellers in a tailspin emotionally. This is their home. They’ve had a lot of happy memories in it. They’ve moved to another house, which is their new home. But it’s very emotional and it’s a lot of money involved.
Those are the calls you don’t like to make, but you’ve got to make them. And you got to make them as soon as possible. You can’t think about it overnight and sleep on it, you got to make decisions quickly. And of course, you’ve got to do it in a professional manner.
I mean, in the end, we sold their house again. They wrote me a really nice testimonial and said, “We wouldn’t want to go through this journey with anybody else”. You got to act quickly on that. You think you’re closing and you’ve got your people all set and then all of a sudden you pivot 180 degrees the other direction. What are you going to do? You got to go with it.
What would you say some of your goals are moving forward?
I create my goals based on a number of things I do. I think because of this COVID thing, I’m looking at how can I measure things differently as opposed to my dollar amount? How about I look at how many testimonials I’ll get or how many referrals I’ll get out of this? And, how does that help me in my business going forward? I was trying to think of a way to look at different metrics in terms of making a difference for people. I’m reviewing how to do that because I don’t want it to be all about me. I want it to be about them.
My business goals, I think are going to change than they were at the beginning of this year. I look at it like, “Okay, so how can I use this time and enjoy it?” I’ve taken up walking a lot more than I ever did. I mean, I love walking on the beach and I love walking so I do that more than I have in the past. So, I’m looking at like, “Okay. This is the plate you’re getting served for dinner. What are you going to do with it?” “You wanted a roast and they gave you chicken”.
I would say I look at goals and business and how you’re progressing. I think that’s where and why I’ve gotten into investors looking for second homes kind of thing. Where I think I didn’t realize that market had so much opportunity for my business. I also look at where can I stretch myself in terms of education and being out there. What I do is I set my goals and I put songs to them to kind of get me motivated. I look at it spiritually. Like that Josh Groban song, You Raised Me Up. So, that’s my spiritual song. How can I make a difference for people spiritually? And then, I use Eye of the Tiger for business because it’s so motivational!
I think you have to have goals more than just business. I think that’s where it makes a difference. Because you’re business all the time. So, I think it’s having goals in other areas. It can be in your relationships. It can be in your education, in your business, in your health and well-being, and how you’re handling your finances. I switched and kind of put some things on hold.
Would you say that there’s anything in particular that you need to stop doing in order to realize your goals?
I’m a big door knocking girl. My goal was to hit 50 doors a day. That I cannot do right now. I would knock on the door and just say, “Hello, my name is Keryn Young.” I’d wear my name tag so they knew who I was. And say, “My name is Keryn Young. I have someone who wants to buy your neighborhood.” I mean it’s not uncommon that that would happen where someone picks a neighborhood, they want to be in.
And so, instead of doing the mailing, I would do the door knocking. I can’t do that right now. You’re not allowed to. I don’t want to offend anybody. I don’t want to expose myself or anybody else to COVID. Safety is number one. If you’re not feeling well during this, stay home and be safe. So that’s something I can’t do right now. And I was a big door knocker. I mean knocking on doors and talk to people. And then, I would get their emails or phone numbers, build my rapport with them. And then, a year later they’re like, “Keryn Young, I remember talking to you when you came by. You know what, now I’m ready to sell.” Unfortunately, I can’t do that right now.
What would you say you’re doing right now to replace that?
I think right now I’m upping my social presence and really looking at how can I promote myself more in line with that. They are saying that more and more people are online. I would say I really focused on that and working that at a whole another level and really paying attention to that. I think at first, I was kind of dismissing that. “That’s just marketin”g. But I’m really getting it. It does make a difference. You really got to build your personal persona.
Do you find the results are comparable between the door knocking and then the online approach? Or would you say you see much more results from door knocking?
I would say door knocking, history-wise, has done very well for me. I think that this whole posting has not… With that being said, I have not been doing it as long. So, door knocking hasn’t been on producing results for me in terms of sales and building my business. The door-knocking is definitely one over. And now I can’t do it right now. So, I’m like, “Okay. Let’s really promote me on social media.” That’s the new way to do business that I’m learning. I’m a work in progress.
It’s like having good content too. My key is really to educate people on whatever it is and to give it away for free. I can do free buyer guides, free seller guides, anything like that to give it away for free. Because if I know something, I’ll give it away for free. I think that they understand that you have the knowledge and you’re giving it away. You’re not trying to keep it to yourself. Because then you can educate them to make better choices. Maybe you educate them on what their house is worth and maybe they decide they want to stay. That might not be what you wanted initially, but it’s the right decision.
And the thing about this is if it’s the right decision if you don’t force them now and you build that relationship, in three years when they do want to sell, they’ll call you because you didn’t push them to do it. If you educate them on whatever it is that you know, they can make better choices, and then they can feel better about it. Then hopefully they pick you in the process of whenever that is.
They’re going to find out anyway, so why not give it to them now so they can figure it out because you don’t want to put their house in the market and then find it’s not the right time or not this. Or you do a purchase agreement with tight competing offers is not uncommon in San Diego. You get in the house and then you find out it’s too much and they really can’t afford it. Well, get out now.
Do you use Zillow?
Have used. Lot of love. Good advertisement.
What about realtor.com?
Yes, I’m on realtor.com. I don’t utilize it very much.
What about homes.com?
What about Facebook ads?
I do Facebook ads. I think the key is really targeting your audience. And it keeps changing how we do them. So yes, Facebook ads.
What about LinkedIn ads?
I have not done LinkedIn ads. That’s a great idea because I think LinkedIn is very professional.
What about Instagram ads?
Haven’t done those yet. I’m working on building my followings. I think I’m on 700 and something now. I have not done those yet but open to them.
What about Google or YouTube?
I have done Google ads, but I have not done YouTube ads.
Do you do any retargeting?
I have this company that we use with Berkshire Hathaway, they do that for me.
Do you pay anybody to do digital marketing for you?
Yes, I do. I have different companies and solo professionals that I pay. Typically I operate with these external providers on a monthly basis.
What would you say your budget is for marketing and advertising?
I have a lot of stuff that I just do monthly. I don’t know what the answer is offhand. I’d say less than $1000 a month.
Do you do any park benches, grocery carts, or any other types of display advertising?
I do not. I know they’ve called me for stuff. I’ve talked to people that have done them. I haven’t heard great stuff about them and so I have chosen not to do them.
What about direct mailers? Flyers, door hangers, other forms of print advertising?
Yes, I do that every month.
How about writing blogs?
I’m not the best writer but I have a daily blog that is created for me that I post.
Where can people find that blog?
It’s on my Facebook page. If they go to my website, they’ll see the option for the blog and you can get to it there. I post Monday through Friday. It’s real estate economy kind of stuff right now that everyone wants to know. I think the housing market is going to get us out of this.
What about video content?
I do videos. Every Thursday I post on my YouTube Channel, Keryn Young Real Estate Collaborative. I could do better on that but I do have videos on my YouTube channel.
What about a newsletter?
I’ve actually gotten away from doing a printed newsletter and I do a digital newsletter. I create a calendar of events for the San Diego area and as they’ve been virtual it’s been handy to share! I’ve just started doing it with Keeping Current Matters, sending out the newsletter through BombBomb. What they do is they take the most popular blogs for that month and they put them in a newsletter.
Are you doing any virtual open houses right now? How much do you do open houses when we’re not in quarantine?
I was doing open houses probably once a month. I have not done a virtual open house so far but I have a new construction that I’m getting this month. It’ll be a nice one to do a virtual open house on. I’ll be doing it on Facebook for sure.
Fortunately, I’ve trained in it, I just haven’t done it yet. I’m ready for it though! I’m excited to do this one because it’s a big listing. It’s coming up in Rancho Santa Fe’s new construction.
Do you pop-by?
I’m not great about doing pop-by. I think what happens is my point of view is I feel like, I’m not home. When I lived in Tennessee, it seems like the thing to do. But as a business person, I don’t need people popping by me. I got stuff to do. So, I think I got away from doing it because I wouldn’t want people doing it to me.
You want to be nice because you like them and they’re your friend and everything. But now is not a really good time.
What about writing personal notes?
I could do better on that. I do it here and there, but I’m not great about doing it. After my open house, I follow up with people and I send personal notes.
What about sending gifts?
I have a friend in Canada, in Toronto, Chip Barco, who has these send out cards that he uses. I looked at it and I have not utilized it. They send gifts. I do closing gifts but I haven’t utilized mailing gifts, sending out gifts to prospects.
What about putting on client appreciation parties?
I’ve done that in the past. I did it when I lived in Michigan. I would do different events like pumpkin giveaways and harvest festivals. I’ve done it more in a one to one but not a whole gathering.
In Michigan, we used to do different events as an office and it was really fun. I haven’t done it out here in California.
How often do you do calling, texting, DMing?
I think you’re doing that all day long. If I do my five touches in the day, sometimes that’s a phone call. Sometimes it’s a text. Sometimes it’s a DM. I really try and get back with people if they DM me. I really try and comment on people’s things. But I think you’re doing that all day long so it’s difficult to say exactly how many I do!
What about cold calling?
You can get white pages and you can get people’s information and things like that. I don’t do it as much as I used to. I think I don’t like the slide dial thing or the robocall thing now. I think I tend to not do things that I don’t like. And to me, I’d rather get a text than a phone call. If I’m in the middle of something, I can look at the text. But if I get to listen to the voicemail or pick up the phone, sometimes it’s an interruption for me. So, I think I tend to do things on how I would want to be communicated with.
I might send someone a text and say, “Can you talk?” And then if they’re like, “Not until after four.” “Okay.” You know they can’t talk. It’s not personal. If they can read a text, then you know, and if they can’t even read the text, don’t be bothering calling them.
What about in terms of prospecting, FSBO?
I haven’t done FSBOs out in California. In San Diego, we don’t get them so much out here. I think it’s just a different clientele. I didn’t really have a system in Michigan. I did it here and there but it wasn’t consistent about it. I don’t do it out here.
What about expired?
I haven’t done that out here either.
As an animal lover, dogs or cats?
What would you say to realtors out there who want to become recognized as the local leader, market expert or be the go-to realtor in their community? What advice do you have for them?
I think talking to people is the easiest way to do it. Walking and getting to know the neighborhoods and talking to the people. Social distancing makes it hard. I mean, you don’t even shake their hand or anything. You just give them an elbow.
I think it’s about focusing on your social media for now and getting to know people in whatever way you can. Working with your sphere of influence, I think, is always the best place to start.
Do you have any final thoughts before we head out?
I really want to thank you for doing this interview with me. We’re Kindred Canadians together. I know where Hamilton is. I just really appreciate being here. Thank you to everyone listening and to all the people that follow you.
I think that every day is a new day and just keeping positive and having empowering conversations. Maybe if we stop and think “how can we have this be an empowering conversation?”. I just feel very grateful and blessed.
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