Checklist for Selling a House

Using A Checklist for Selling a House Can Keep Money in Your Pocket!

Whether you are selling as a for sale by owner (FSBO) or using a real estate agent, using the attached checklist for selling a home is critically important.

Buyers make a decision to buy usually within the first seven seconds of being on your property!! Seven Seconds!!

I have shared the attached checklist with thousands of sellers and used it myself when selling my own homes. To use the checklist properly, follow the steps below BEFORE YOU HAVE PICTURES TAKEN! This is so important as pictures of your home will be all over the Internet. When you place your home on the market, you will have a lot of competition. You need to stand out to get attention. If your pictures are unappealing, you will get less buyer interest.

See Your Property from the Buyer’s Perspective

Be open minded and try to see your property the way a buyer will see it. 

First — Take a walk from the end of your driveway or from across the street. Look at the exterior and “see” what a buyer will see. You may have become blind to many items —

Are there cracks in your driveway or would a load of fresh gravel make a huge difference? Does the grass need to be cut? Are there dead bushes or would adding new bushes or flowers make a difference? Are there dangerous or fallen trees? Do the deck railings need to be painted or are they loose? Is pressure washing necessary? Are steps rotted, uneven, or loose? Are windows cracked?

Next, pretend you are being escorted by a real estate agent to your front door —

Where could you place attractive pots or flowers that will attract a buyer’s eyes? Move trash cans or other unsightly items from your entrance view. Is your front porch or doorway in good condition? Is it welcoming or might a small table with a lamp be attractive? If the weather permits, is there an inviting place for a buyer to sit and linger? Is the doorbell operable? Does the door open easily and quietly?

Next, walk inside. Use your senses to see, smell, hear, and feel what a buyer will notice — 

Are there cobwebs or dust? Are the windows dirty? How does the house smell upon entering? Does it smell musty or moldy, or smell of pets or smoke? All rooms should smell fresh. Is it uncomfortably cold or unpleasantly hot and humid? Consider turning on TV’s to show an attractive scene rather than just leaving them black.

Finally, use my free checklist for selling a house. It’s only a start as your house and property will have different needs. Don’t make the mistake of thinking a buyer will just make an offer unless you are willing to give up a great deal of money.

Go through your property, starting from the outside, and address as much as you can. Assign tasks to others who are willing to help. Consider having a home inspection beforehand and take care of any items that a buyer will discover. Be sure to disclose required items.

 Once you have your property looking the way you like it, it’s time to call a professional photographer or agent!

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Shipping Container Homes

Shipping Container Homes are all the rage and for good reason. 
Where city building lots are getting smaller and smaller and construction costs are getting higher and higher, this type of structure can take advantage of its small footprint and incredible strength and be stacked to achieve multiple stories and as much square footage as you like. 
Also known as conex homes, conex box homes, or cube homes, they are incredibly inexpensive to purchase. Building a stick-built or site-built home in much of the US costs approximately $150 to $350 per square foot and require your frequent on-site supervision. Expect up to nine months, on average, for a stick-built home to be completed.
Modular-type homes are usually far better constructed than stick-built homes as they are “put-together” in a controlled, indoor environment. Usually, the manufacturer has a series of home plans and their employees are building the same plan repeatedly so there is less chance of mistakes. During construction, the homes are continuously inspected and when approved, they ship to you completed. 
If you are considering a container home, think ahead about the setting. Look carefully at picking a location where your ultra-modern design will fit best and can take advantage of the lot’s features. Generally, a container home won’t blend with more standard homes in more standard subdivisions. To make life easier, find a piece of land without restrictions or a homeowners association.    

It would appear that “Meka” is a stand-out in designing modular container-homes with the strength of a shipping container but the flexibility to have more windows, doors, etc. has a nice feature on shipping container homes by Meka —

Meka modular container home

Courtesy Meka Modular Homes

Here’s more info on container homes from different designers —

Here’s a great blog from someone who built his own conex home a number of years ago. His story is a “Container Home 101”: 

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Describe a House to Bring it Alive!

Describe your home to create an image of what it is like to live there. The goal of your real estate description is to emotionally transport house-hunters in such a fashion that they picture themselves in your home and on your grounds.

Whether you are a homeowner trying to sell on your own or a real estate agent representing a homeowner, a house is so much more than just a building.  All houses have a history — even new construction. The history of a house starts from the ground it is built on.  Why was it built there? What makes that location special or interesting? Does it have views? Is it within a quaint town, a Brownstone in a major city, or a seaside escape? 

Describing Your Home or Listing with Effective Words Can Make All the Difference

There are many tools you can use to describe a house. Focus on its setting, its architecture, history, owners, etc. I start with the setting or location first, then work my way inside, which I’ll share with you in the next post.

Using the Setting in Your Home’s Description

Talk about the setting to describe your home.  Is the house in a city? Talk about the neighborhood restaurants — “Cheers” if you will. Can you ride a bike to the green-grocers? If the property has hills or slopes does it have views or areas for terraced gardens or rock gardens? Is there a water feature — a pond that is stocked or could be stocked. Could you paddle a boat across it? Use creative words. Use your imagination to describe a house.

A gully presents an opportunity for an arched bridge. 

Use the unique architecture to describe a house.

Buyers search for water of any kind when buying a home.  Do you have a stream or creek — Is it seasonal or year-round? Is your property wooded or partly wooded? Is it low-maintenance or are the grounds manicured or need to be cleared? Are there perennial gardens that provide fresh flowers to grace your tables?  Is the land flat and appropriate for a tennis court or swimming pool? Are your neighbors nearby and will you miss them? Is your community active? Can you see your neighbors or are you beautifully private in a park-like setting? 

Following is an example of a house description using emotional wording. It paints a mental image of the setting, more than the house. The property description is most important as it lets a buyer know the history and use of the property which is farmland. The house itself is not the selling feature. It is very important to direct your property description to the right buyer, rather than just describing the property to the masses. 

Use Adjectives when Describing your Home – Use Emotions


Every Sunday, sinners, and saints showed up at Grandma Allison’s house. No invitation necessary, no shortage of food – fried chicken, mashed potatoes, fried okra, and more. The kitchen was roomy and we all fit in — buttermilk biscuits hot out of the oven. Prayer, then pass the dishes – all gone.

Kids everywhere, slamming doors, hiding in the bedrooms upstairs and down. Out in the big barn, men discuss livestock, and when or if to cut the timber again. Women relax on the wraparound porch.  Banana pudding for dessert!

Use adjsectives and emotions to describe a house.

Having trouble coming up with adjectives to describe your home? 

Be careful not to overuse the same words! Is it better to use the word house or home? Rather than using the word “house”, You might use the word “home” in your descriptions. It gives your property warmth and feeling. The word home describes the home’s character. Buyers need to relate to your description and know that if they purchase your property they will feel at “home”.

Depending on the type of house or property, you could substitute those words with farm, or cottage, homeplace, manor or castle — use a descriptive name that makes sense and gives a true image of what you’re trying to convey. I use for assistance with ideas for coming up with adjectives when describing a house. The site helps you pick “elegant words”. You can also get suggestions for adverbs, nouns, verbs in many different languages! Plus, the site offers proofreading but I use the free version of Grammarly!


“A house is made of walls. The walls are designed to “contain” things. We buy the walls and the walls “hold in” our thoughts, our emotions.  We create rooms within the walls. We color the walls with our dreams. As the walls become embedded with our personalities — our experiences, the house transforms into our “home”.

When we decide to sell the house, we still see it as our “home”.  Our perception of its value is not only how much of our funds we’ve invested, but how much of “ourselves” we’ve invested. We don’t realize that in a buyer’s eyes, we are simply selling a “house”, a house upon which the new owner will imprint his or her own personality — and the cycle continues!”

© Brenda Thompson, 2016

Consider creating a video to describe a house. You can point out the features in a fun way without being too “salesy”!

In the video above, I used pictures to describe the house rather than a lengthy and wordy description.  We believed the buyer for this property would most likely be going to use it as a vacation home. We already had ads written with all the factual data but wanted to open a buyer’s eyes to the property’s potential use.  I used a whimsical and fun font and a little humor and it worked! And, because it was a light-hearted approach, buyers did not feel pushed or afraid to reach out to an agent to see the property.

Have fun as you write your home’s real estate description! Don’t be afraid to speak from your heart. Share stories so the buyer can see themselves living there and creating their own stories. Let your emotions flow free and bring your property to life with a fabulous property description!

Words on an image can be another good way to describe a house.
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Biophilic Design – Adding it to Your Home

How to Incorporate Biophilic Design into Your Home

Using Biophilic Design in areas of your home is an essential part of creating a stronger environment that syncs with the natural biorhythms of humanity. Consider these biophilic design principles to incorporate into your home. There are focused efforts to bring nature back into the normal scope of life. You’ll find many architects and interior designers incorporating areas of nature back into living spaces to reconnect humans with natural sources. 

What Is Biophilic Design?
Simply put, Biophilic Design is the practice of connecting humans to nature within areas of their home. It isn’t just adding a houseplant or creating a living wall but uses the natural forms, shapes, and colors of nature into an integrated design that supports the health of humanity. Biophilic Design incorporates a web of physical items that intricately work together to create an overall connection to nature within a space.

Understand Direct/Indirect Nature Experiences
There are both direct and indirect experiences that you can have with nature within your home. Direct experiences include exposure to light, air, water, and plants as well as animals, weather, and natural landscapes. Experiencing light through a picture window would be a direct nature experience as well as having a home located on waterfront property.biophilic design includes views or a deck open to nature

Some long experiences to nature include pictures of scenic landscaping, life, natural materials, and colors, as well as natural geometries. Experiencing nature through the recorded sounds of a bubbling brook or featuring wood tones within a home would be indirect natural experiences.

Biophilic Design Examples
Access to Fresh Air
Windows are an essential part of Biophilic Design as they allow access to a wide range of direct nature experiences. Opening a window will allow fresh air to enter your home which will connect you with nature as well as the current weather. Sunlight will filter into your home as well as the sounds of nature like birds chirping, raindrops falling, or wind blowing. Making sure that your home’s windows are easily accessible, as well as in good repair for frequent use, is vital in Biophilic Design.
Blur the Boundary
Many residents find themselves wanting to spend more time outdoors. The desire makes outdoor living spaces very important even in the smallest home or properties. Creating an outdoor space that is easily accessible will be used frequently and connect residents to nature in a profound manner. Investing in an outdoor area that feels just as comfortable as an indoor one will help blur the boundary between indoor and outdoor spaces of the home.

Add biophilic design in an outdoor seating area.

Another way to blur the boundary between outdoor and indoor areas of the home can be done by adding native plants to areas of your home. Bringing native plants indoors, that already do well in your climate, will help you not only appreciate nature but also witness the unique life that each plant exhibits. These indoor plants also help to create an awareness of native plants in your area that you will recognize and connect with on a daily basis.

Embrace Natural Aspects
One of the easiest ways to begin incorporating Biophilic Design into a home is to add natural shapes, forms, and colors in a way to appreciate nature. Choose to leave wood trim or furnishings a natural color instead of painting over them. Avoid straight lines that rarely occur in life but embrace the creativity of nature with imperfect curves and shapes. Add organically curved lines to areas of your home in the shape of the counter, wall decorations, or area rugs that replicate the many forms of beauty you see in local nature spots. Incorporate natural forms into your home by imitating the shapes of waves, shells, or plants in many areas of the house as well.

Create Unity Within the Space
Again, Biophilic Design is not just choosing one of these aspects to incorporate into your home but is instead the weaving of many elements together in an intricate manner. Choose items to add to your home that makes sense not only to you but also to each other to receive the most benefit. Try to make each space of your household have different Biophilic Design elements that are both subtle but noticeable to find harmony within the senses and nature at home.

There are many aspects to Biophilic Design that create a wonderfully complex way to connect with nature within an interior space. Consider these tips to incorporate Biophilic Design into your home to intimately unite with nature on a daily basis.

Kena Morris is a guest contributor, gardener, and flower expert who loves sharing in the growth of nature.


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Buying Unique Mountain Properties

Buying Unique Mountain Properties 

The mountains of western North Carolina are an easy drive from major cities like Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh. Many residents already have a vacation or retirement home here. Heading toward cooler temperatures and escaping the asphalt jungle on weekends is a common practice for big city area residents.

The WNC mountains offer almost every type lifestyle imaginable from championship golf courses, ski and lake resorts, city living in Asheville, to small eclectic communities nearby, or to get out into the country in just 20 minutes. You can hike the Appalachian Trail, paddle any number of rivers, or drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, just to name a few of the many outdoor activities. If people-watching is your thing, there’s no better place to be than downtown Asheville! Housing choices range from adorable tiny houses, remote log cabins, organic farms, riverfront retreats to expensive luxury estates. All price ranges are represented.

Buying Unique Mountain Properties would include this spectacular home just west of Asheville

Do Your Research

When buying unique mountain properties, especially since the mountain area is so large and the options are so many, potential buyers from outside the area will want to narrow things down a bit before beginning their search for the perfect property. Two of the most important considerations are the budget and the type of area where you want to live. As an example, do you want to live close to conveniences such as shopping, restaurants and medical centers, or is your passion to be in proximity to recreation activities such as hiking, horseback riding trails, boating or skiing? These are not always mutually exclusive as we do have many communities that have both the modern conveniences as well as recreational amenities in close proximity. You will also want to decide on the size of the house you want including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms needed.

When buying unique mountain properties, is there a specific type of community where you would like to live? We have a large variety in the mountain area with communities focused on some recreational activities such as skiing, golf, equestrian and fishing and boating at rivers and lakes. There are communities focused on the arts and spiritual or holistic living. We have historic districts and gated-luxury communities. Another consideration is the amount of land you desire. Consider if you want to live in a city or town with close proximity to neighbors, or in a more isolated, rural setting.

These are just examples of some of the initial points buyers will want to consider before starting the search for a property. Once you have a pretty good idea of what you are looking for, it’s time to contact an agent or start searching online. In addition to all of our own Special “Finds…” listings, we have put together a catalog of all listed unique properties in the mountain area, in one place, on our website.

We review every property listing in the mountains and identify the ones we would classify as unique. We then sort them by style and type and organize them for buyers to review on These properties are sorted into the following categories: Log and Rustic Properties, Historic Properties, Water Front or Water View Properties, Horse Properties and Farms, Modern Green Eclectic Houses and Luxury Homes and Estates. is the only place buyers can find virtually every listed unique property in the mountain area without having to wade through the clutter of ordinary properties seen on other real estate websites. We can tell by our web traffic that buyers will visit the site, often lingering for hours, searching through the various unique property listings.

Search our unusual mountain properties

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Getting Unique Homes Sold – a Creative Approach

Getting unique homes sold is the primary marketing focus of Special “Finds…”.
We use a completely different approach… a different thought pattern, to attact house hunters for our unusal properties.  
When selling an unusual property, homeowners often find that traditional marketing methods just don’t work. Special “Finds” is a marketing agency for unique properties that takes a creative approach to getting unique homes sold.
Special “Finds…” Uses an Innovative Approach to Market and Attract Buyers for Unique Homes

Special “Finds…” is a marketing and advertising agency that specializes in helping owners of unique homes get their properties noticed and sold. The agency uses innovative marketing techniques along with mass-market advertising campaigns to get wide exposure and reach potential house-hunters. They develop custom innovative marketing campaigns to get one-of-a-kind properties noticed.

The first step in the Special “Finds…” marketing approach is to “capture the feeling of the property.” The agency then crafts a lengthy property story written from the house’s perspective. The house is brought to life and buyers are emotionally transported through the property from wherever they are as they read the story. Buyers can feel what it’s like to live in the house and on the grounds.

Next, full-page ads are placed in the digital editions of the New York TimesWall Street Journal, Robb ReportMansion GlobalduPont Registry, and over 120 international publications representing over 60 countries, including in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. An HD video tour and Google Earth video fly-over are also created and used in all ads as well as on LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, and other social media.

Each home is placed on the Special “Finds…” website, which has a national and international following of unique property buyers. All pages are translated into the language of the reader. This is an important part of the marketing strategy needed in getting unique homes sold!

Brenda Thompson, Special “Finds…” Founder, President, and CEO was the Director of Marketing at the New York Stock Exchange before entering the real estate industry in 1991. She founded Special “Finds…” in 1995 and has focused exclusively on marketing unique properties and getting unique homes sold. She has consistently used a creative marketing since she founded the firm.

Thompson said, “Every home I’ve ever owned has been unique, from a stone gatehouse on the Hudson River in New York to a post and beam home with colored bottles embedded in the walls in North Carolina. When I was ready to sell, my only option was to rely on traditional real estate firms. I quickly discovered their lack of marketing skills and that marketing a unique home in a sea of cookie-cutter houses was a certain recipe for failure. I then founded Special “Finds…” to fill the need for professional marketing in an unserved market in the real estate industry.”

Special “Finds…” is a professional marketing and advertising agency for selling unique properties. Headquartered in North Carolina, Special “Finds…” develops and executes marketing and advertising campaigns for unique properties throughout the United States and around the world. The agency is also a licensed real estate firm in North Carolina and Pennsylvania and represents buyers and sellers with their unique property transactions in those states.

See our unique properties for sale.


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Choosing a Swimming Pool Liner Color

What is the best choice for a Swimming Pool Liner Color?

Recently, the owners of one of our luxury historic homes decided to investigate replacing the vinyl liner of their heated inground swimming pool to stretch out the time the pool could be used. The sellers looked at the benefits associated with choosing a different liner colors, specifically dark blue versus light blue.

This property sits is in the mountains of western North Carolina in the charming college town of Sylva. It is located less than an hour west of Asheville, and like Asheville, this property enjoys four distinct seasons – a short winter, long warm spring, short hot summer, and long warm fall. 

The sellers have a large family. Children and grandchildren are frequent visitors and spend much time splashing in the pool.  In their quest for a different swimming pool liners, they discovered the following pros and cons:

Cleanliness — A light swimming pool liner color will show more dirt. The aqua colored liner that they had previously was seldom dirty, but any leaves or dirt in the pool caused it to appear dirty, especially as debris beneath the water became magnified.

light swimming pool liner color at this home


dark swimming pool liner color at this home


Temperature — One of the biggest advantages attributed to their new dark swimming pool liner color is that it absorbs the heat from the sun as opposed to their former light color pool liner that reflected the sun.

Energy Savings — This pool has a new gas heater but because of the new dark swimming pool liner color, the heater is not used as often and definitely reduces gas usage!

Aerial view of historic luxury home with dark swimming pool liner color.Bottom line, they love the new dark swimming pool liner color. Aesthetically, the pool blends beautifully with the home’s exterior. The pool is much more inviting and has a more relaxing appearance!  

Learn more about this house and amazing property that is currently for sale for $865,000: 

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Selling Metaphysical Houses | Selling Unique Homes

Tips on Selling Metaphysical Houses

Selling metaphysical houses have unique challenges.  There are homes on this earth that hold a special calling. Often the location on which the property is located reaches out to the new owner.  Buyers may be attracted to an advertisement for the property but feel no connection to the setting.  When the right buyer comes along, it is important to allow them to “connect” rather than force or push for an offer.

Such is the situation with one of our Special “Finds…” listings at 1192 Rabbit Skin Road in Waynesvilleselling metaphysical houses like this one in Waynesville NC, sometimes requires waiting for the buyer to be called!This home has a history of ‘finding its next owner’.  Over the years this property has gained much worldwide attention. In its early years, it was the home of psychic, author and cosmic communicator Greta Woodrew. Acting as the corporate retreat for the founders of the Space Technology and Research Foundation (S.T.A.R.) it hosted many famous visitors from around the world.  Currently, it is utilized as a private, family residence.  These owners saw the property in a dream and felt such a strong calling that they relocated from Florida — no questions asked!  They later discovered that on the 23 acres were life healing crystals and a vortex that they were able to re-open.

When selling metaphysical houses, it is important to recognize that everything emanates from energy and by focusing on the “feeling” that the property is giving out, you may be able to allow the house to attract its next owner.

If you own a property that you believe has a special calling, if you or friends are healed or become healthy upon visiting your property, you may own a metaphysical house! 

Calling on a higher force to find the next buyer can help. Walk the grounds, be quiet, meditate and notice any special sensations.  Your property has a soul that may have existed before you.  Tap into it by listening and feeling.

Selling metaphysical houses may require more time and thus, patience. Be open to signs equaling opportunities for the new owner to appear!



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Curb Appeal — Getting a House Ready to Sell

Before and After — Getting a House Ready to Sell

Curb Appeal is extremely important in getting your house ready to sell.  To improve your chance of selling your property more quickly, and to make your house stand out from the crowd, it is imperative that before you call a Realtor, you spend some time focusing on your property’s curb appeal and getting your house ready to sell.  A large part of a Buyer’s “Buying Decision” happens during the first few seconds at your property. Buyers will notice your curb appeal immediately.  Make sure they get a great feeling from the beginning. Look at your house and your property the way a buyer will see it.

Step 1:  Curb Appeal — Drive Up to Your Property

Take notice of how your property appears from the curb — “Curb Appeal”, or, if a buyer will be approaching on foot, look from that vantage point. –       Is the driveway in need of repair? –       Is the yard mowed? –       Are there bushes that need trimming or dead trees? –       Do you have a fence that’s broken, or a tilting or damaged mailbox?

Step 2:  Walk up to the house, and to your main entry.

–       Is your walkway in good repair? –       Are there trash cans visible? –       Does the door need painting or repair? –       Are gutters running over and downspouts clogged? Adding potted plants or fresh flowers to your entryway or stairs always helps!

Step 3:  Open the door and look inside.

–       Does the doorbell work? –       Does the door lock and unlock easily? –       Does the door squeak? –       Are windows in the door or surrounding the door clean? –       Is the entryway floor, floor mat or rug clean? –       Look up – are there cobwebs?

Step 4: Walk through your house

–       Are the windows and floors clean? –       Pillows should be fluffed, furniture dusted. The rooms should smell fresh – no pet or smoking odors!  If necessary, invest in a room ionizer to eliminate odors.

Step 5: Use my free checklist

Use a list similar to the following, starting outside and working inside. Breakdown things you notice into chores, and if available assign someone to complete them. Once you finish everything — with your curb appeal refreshed, and after you have taken all the other steps toward getting your house ready to sell, your property should look so good that you might have second thoughts about selling.  If that’s the case, it’s time to call your Realtor! To Do list to get the best curb appeal

Download Special Finds House Sale To-Do List as a PDF

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Unusual Houses Asheville NC

Biltmore Estate Asheville, NCBiltmore Estate Asheville, NCThere are a great number of unusual houses in Asheville NC.  The most unusual, of course, is the famed Biltmore Estate, ranked eighth in America’s Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects, and sits on some 8000 acres.

Having marketed unusual houses in the Asheville as well as Hendersonville NC  since 1995, I am very familiar with the broad range of fun, unique, weird and wonderful properties in the area.

Take a look at this map to see the surrounding counties.

Buncombe County with Asheville NC and Surrounding CountiesBuncombe County — where Asheville is located;

Henderson County  — to the south and east with the quaint town of Hendersonville

Haywood County  — to the west, with wonderful Waynesville, just 20 minutes from Asheville;

Madison County — with the artistic and farming communities of Marshall and Mars Hill;

Polk County — with the horse country of Tryon;

Transylvania County — with the beautiful college town of Brevard, and over 250 waterfalls!

Yancey County — to the north and east, with Burnsville;

You don’t have to drive far from Asheville to find unique properties.  One such property is located in Waynesville.  Named “Echo” by the owner, this property at 326 Howling Wolf Trail (not on GPS!) was given that name because she believed that “you get back what you put into something”.

asheville nc area homes range from modern and eclectic to antique

With over 5800 square feet, this home with professional chef’s kitchen has every amenity you can imagine is priced almost $300,000 under appraised value!

Modern Houses for Sale,  Log Cabins and Rustic Homes,  Historic Houses for SaleHorse Properties and FarmsCountry FarmhousesWaterfront or Water View Houses for Sale


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