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Gary Pollard

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For curb appeal of your home, remove debris such as fallen tree limbs and leaves. Keep grass and shrubs trimmed, freshen up the mulch in your flowerbeds, and clear away lawn clutter.

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Studies show that we make up our minds about people withing seconds of meeting them. So it stands to reason that prospective buyers are doing the very same thing with your house.

More buyers these days are sizing up your space and making lightning-quick decisions about whether they should hop back in the car and move on to the next house.

So if you want to be sure buyers don't scurry out the door moments after they arrive, you have to create a fantastic first impression.  Not sure where to begin?  It all starts with looking at your home with fresh eyes.  Luckily, there are some steps you can follow to put your home's best face forward:

1. 'Break up' with your house

If you want to sell your property, you'll need to distance yourself from it first.  You've made it into a home, now it's time to make it into a house.  Think of it as an asset and cut the cord.  Once you put your home on the market, it's a good time to let a professional come in and market it.  If you stay emotionally attached, the process will be harder and longer.

2. Focus on curb appeal

You wouldn't wear soiled sweatpants on a first date - you'd go out of your way to look presentable.  So why would you approach the process of selling your home any differently?  Your home's first impression starts with the exterior, so take a good look at what you're presenting to the world: What's the first thing you notice?  It it's peeling paint, dirty windows, and dead plants, you have work to do.  Ask yourself: 'If I was buying this home now, what would my expectations be?'

Remove debris such as fallen tree limbs and leaves.  Keep grass and shrubs trimmed, freshen up the mulch in your flowerbeds, and clear away lawn clutter such as yard ornaments, garden tools, and that circa 2007 Big Wheel.  Putting out some flowers in front of the house or by the front door always makes people smile; it creates the warmth before they even get inside.  Invest in a new doormat and consider replacing old address numbers and your mailbox if it's worn or rusty.  Patch cracks in the driveway and, while you're at it, give the front door a fresh coat of paint or stain.