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      First Impressions

      MAKE IT INVITINGrutledgeSoldThe first impression your home makes to potential buyers is critical. According to the National Association of Realtors, curb appeal sells 49% of all houses. Fresh mulch, seasonal porch containers, a groomed lawn, and a freshly washed walk do more than just welcome buyers, they set the tone for what a buyer can expect to see once inside. The impression a buyer gets inside is one you can make the most of by strategizing in four key areas with your realtor.

      Fix maintenance issues. You want your home to appear well-maintained. Walk through your home with your realtor and identify which repairs are critical for making a successful first impression. A leaking kitchen faucet, although inexpensive to fix, will stand out to a potential buy who will wonder what bigger maintenance issues you have ignored. Your realtor's professional knowledge and experience will be able to guide you on whether things like dings in the walls, or which dings, need to be fixed and whether carpets need to be professionally cleaned. Your realtor may also notice problems that you are in the habit of overlooking, but will make a difference in the appeal of your home.

      Declutter. You want to make your house seem as big as possible. Remove stuff from your home, don't just store it away in cabinets and closets. Remember that home buyers will open every door and cabinet in your house in order to check that the house has enough room for their "stuff". Move your off-season clothing, sports equipment, holiday decorations to a storage unit. Also, move or remove any items that block the view of your furnace, boiler and air-conditioning units.

      Clean. You want buyers to feel like they can move right in. Make an appointment to have your home professionally cleaned. The kitchen and bathrooms deserve special attention because those rooms, in particular, set an impression of how well a house is maintained. Windows, window sills and baseboards are other areas that should get extra cleaning attention. Have your windows washed to let in the most light possible.

      Depersonalize. You want prospective buyers to see themselves living in your house and you want your realtor to focus on selling your house, not ensuring the safety of your personal items. Have a shoebox for each bathroom to put away all shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, prescriptions and other personal care items anytime an open house is held. Put checkbooks, kids' piggybanks, jewelry and other valuables in your safe or in the trunk of your car.

      Partner with your realtor to plan how to address these four steps efficiently and effectively. An inviting first impression can make your home stand out from the other homes for sale and put your home on buyer's short lists.

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      1. Agoes on

        I have been to Costa Rica on a cruise two years ago. We came into port at Limon and took a tour with a cuople Kids running a Off Road Adventure into the upper rain forests and banana plantations. It was by far the best excursion we have had ever in the 11 cruises we have been on. I was just operated on so I was looking for a light book to read while recouperating and yours struck me to be the one. Love the book and can identify with a lot of the different places you have seen there. We love Costa Rica and are going to Belize this year on a cruise to check that island out. Great book and would love to hear more from you on your experiences.

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