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Based on the book: 

It's January and Time to Rev Up the Engines!

It's January! Some of you who are reading this blog have a solid Masters contract in hand. Others are hoping one comes through. Wherever you are in the program, I encourage you to come along for the house preparation journey, taking you from this week all the way up to Masters week. If you rent, you won't be in the last minute panic. If you end up missing a year, you'll have a house that is in wonderful condition for your own family.

I started this blog as a book thirty years ago. I found myself crying my way out the door the first year we rented and vowed I would work on a system that kept that from ever happening again. I interviewed friends, rental agents, and renting visitors and came up with a book that walked homeowners through the preparation process in highly manageable chunks. Over the years, that process turned into a blog, beginning each January. I hope you will find this blog helpful whether you are renting or just taking the walk toward a home that is in pristine order.

January is the best month to tackle your work indoors and really review your home, jotting down any items that may need outside attention. Start by picking up a pad and paper and going room to room. Is everything in working order? If you have rooms you don't use, flip on lights, open the blinds, look at the vents, check the paint for chipping, etc... This is the time to get a repair person on your schedule to fix the things that your family has lived with during the last few holiday months. Do you have a finicky commode that only you know how to flush correctly? Does your sink faucet leak if you don't put the handle in the exact "right spot"? Don't expect your renters to take the time to figure out the quirks of your home...fix them.

Don't put off getting on a contractor's schedule this month. If you hesitate, you might find yourself fitting into Augusta's contractor schedules in May. That extends to painters, landscapers, upholsterers, roofers, etc... If you think you need a piece of furniture, make your way into the showrooms to be sure that you have delivery of any special order items in time for the tournament as custom pieces can sometimes take 8-10 weeks. This is the week of solidifying any and all items that require help from the outside, so jump on your task list, star all items that require an outside "specialist". Don't know who to hire? If you're a Facebook user, that is a great way to poll friends for great recommendations. So poll, go and see the work of your friend's contractors and get yourself on those coveted schedule spots.

This blog will take all of us to a perfect point with our houses by the end of March. Grab a pretty notebook and jot down things you do that are particular to your house. Jot down contractors who did good work for you this year. If you are fortunate and get a multi-year contract, you'll be happy for your personalized notes. I love prepping for Masters. It takes me from the point of just sitting around, thinking about how my home could be in better shape to getting things done. Come along for the journey. Three small months for many seasons of "home love".

Laurie Easterlin is a realtor with Keller Williams Augusta Partners, a home stager with Staged2aTee, and a golf rental preparation specialist. She can be reached below:



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