Text only newsletter stories Issue 4 Vl. 4

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Headline: If you’re selling, improving your curb appeal can make a huge difference

Curb appeal is a big factor for home buyers. The exterior of your home is the first thing buyers will see when they come to a showing or open house, and you want to make a great first impression. And even if you’re not selling your home, these are low-cost, low-time investment fixes that can make a big difference.

Fix landscaping eyesores
A brown, dead lawn—or an overgrown one—isn’t the best way to welcome buyers to your home. If your lawn is in need of repair, consider watering it regularly. If your grass is healthy, keep the lawn freshly mowed. An appealing lawn can be worth more than $1,500 in the final price of your home.

Shutters and siding
It’s easy to let your exterior walls fall into disrepair, or even to let them get a little dirty. A good scrubbing or power washing can make your siding look brand new, and you can touch up any major issues with some paint. The same goes for your shutters.

Add some living accents
So far we’ve covered fixing what’s broken. Next, it’s time to add a little personality. Planting flowers will add some much-needed color to an otherwise ordinary outdoor space. Potted plants will do the trick too, especially if you have a deck or patio that needs a little decorating.

Work on your walkway
The path to your front door should be inviting. A stone walkway from the driveway instantly upgrades your curb appeal. And if you’ve already taken care of that part, tidy up by removing weeds and debris, and then line the walkway with some subtle lighting. It’ll make your home look cozy and appealing, day or night.

Headline: Five websites for planning your next vacation

Most travelers forego using a travel agent when planning a trip, and there are a ton of great online resources that can help you get great deals and save a lot of money. Here are five favorites.

 1. airbnb.com: Still staying exclusively in hotels? It’s time to try airbnb.com. Residents in your destination city rent out their homes, from single rooms to entire houses, and it’s often much cheaper than a hotel.

 2. AirfareWatchdog.com: The experts at AirfareWatchdog.com search and analyze thousands of fares to bring you the best possible deal. You can sign up for alerts on low fares to your preferred destinations, so you’ll always be ready to book a seat.

 3. Hostelz.com: If you’re traveling alone, staying in a hostel is a great way to meet new people and save on lodging expenses. Hostelz.com has a ton of listings in about 9,000 cities.

 4. XE.com: International travel means using different currency. XE.com is a great resource for exchange rates.

 5. TripAdvisor.com: There’s no shortage of websites that are great for searching flights and hotels, but TripAdvisor.com is also a go-to resource for hotel reviews and travel advice.

Headline: Less is more: How to improve your vocabulary

It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to improve your vocabulary is by eliminating words, rather than adding new ones. There are many words we use every day that are either unnecessary or overused. By removing these words from your vocabulary you can become a better writer and conversationalist.

Really and very: We use these two words all the time, but what do they really add? Instead of adding “really” or “very” in front of an adjective, think of a better adjective. Instead of it being “really hot” outside, say it’s “scorching.”

Amazing: If we say that just about everything is “amazing,” in removes all meaning from the word. If everything is amazing, then nothing is amazing! Instead, use less common synonymous like stunning, marvelous, or incredible.

Literally: Think of how often you hear the word “literally” each day, and then consider how often it’s used incorrectly. Most of the time what someone actually means is “figuratively,” so adjust your vocabulary accordingly.

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