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Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

How to increase your home's curb appeal

It is said "first impressions are lasting impressions." And when selling a home, curb appeal can make the difference between a quick sale and a passing glimpse.
More importantly, when all of the homes in a neighborhood look great all their values increase. Whether you are selling your home or just want a place that is more beautiful to look at, here are a few tips on how to do it:
Make sure that the path to your front door is obvious and visible. Dark alleys of overgrown shrubs that obscure a walkway don't encourage visitors. Large shrubs that can't be cut back without ruining their appearance may need to be removed.
Others may benefit from just a bit of aesthetic trimming. Also, look at your house at night and see if the path to the front door has enough lighting for someone to navigate it safely without tripping.
The front path should have an even surface and be free of loose objects. Small rocks or gravel, nuts or acorns from nearby trees, twigs and leaves can all pile up and become a trip hazard.
The path should be well-swept and power-washed once a year. Cracked or heaved paving may need to be replaced with a newer surface that can update the look at the same time.
An attractive and well-maintained front door is important. The front door gives an impression that the entire home is well-kept. It should be in good condition. An entry door is a relatively small expense. And painting an old one a new contrasting color is also inexpensive and can add beauty and interest.
Container plantings also help improve the curb appeal of a home. Spring and summer annuals and perennial flowers can brighten up the front of any home. Pots that are well-selected for color, shape and scale can add a lot of interest at or near the front door.
Yard accessories such as house numbers, lighting fixtures, the mailbox and the garage door are often overlooked. These items, for the most part, are relatively inexpensive upgrades.
The garage door can be a bit pricey. But, considering that it can account for much of the front of the home, it is an important consideration.
A little extra care to the lawn can go a long way toward making the front yard more appealing. A lawn can be kept greener longer with less fertilizer if a mulching mower is used. By the way, organic fertilizer lasts longer and doesn't leach out. And a crisp edge trimming does wonders for its appearance.
As with the lawn plantings are very important. Overgrown hedges, shrubs and border plantings detract from a home's curb appeal. When plantings look shabby or in poor health, a little tender loving care may help to prevent the cost of replacement. Weeding and deadheading can also create great improvements in appearance.
Last but not least, the addition of a visual accent can do wonders for the appearance of the front yard. There are so many to choose from: a magnificent ceramic pot with a beautiful glaze, a piece of garden art, an interesting outdoor bench on which to enjoy the morning sun, a stunning piece of driftwood, a lovely birdbath, or some other object that can help recall memories of wonderful times past.
Not all of us have the means to cover the cost of some of the options noted in this article. However, hard work and a little paint can help to fill the bill.
For tips from James and Morris Carey, go to www.onthehouse.com or call the listener hot line, 800-737-2474, ext. 59. The Careys are also on KRKO (1380-AM) from 6 to 10 a.m. every Saturday.
Story tags » Real EstateHome Improvement

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