http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2008/09/19/boost-your-curb-appeal


DanvilleSanRamon.com

Real Estate - September 19, 2008

Boost your curb appeal

Whether selling a home in today's tough real estate market or simply trying to beautify and protect your home, curb appeal should be very important to you. Home selling experts predict that as many as 40 percent of potential buyers reject a home based on their first impression of the front of the home. That makes curb appeal - the general appearance of the front yard - the single largest factor shaping impressions of your home.

After lawns, driveways often make up the largest area of the front yard, and can really affect opinions of your home. "Driveways and sidewalks are the entryways to the home. If they're in great shape, you've got a strong first impression. If not - you've said a lot about the quality of the home," says Gordon Blickle, a manufacturer of driveway, brick and patio sealers.

Unfortunately, driveways are often overlooked, spoiling an otherwise manicured landscape. Unless the drive is severely cracked, crumbling or poses a safety hazard, there's no need to spend thousands on removing and replacing it. There are easier options to makeover a tired driveway that boost the curb appeal of a home.

* Drive to impress: Create a great first impression and prevent expensive repairs by resealing your driveway. Renew the look of an old, worn blacktop driveway and fill in small cracks with flexible, long-lasting fillers and sealers.

* Light the night: Installing low-voltage or solar landscape lighting can create a softly lit path to border the driveway. In addition to creating a pretty landscaping effect, the lighting can improve visibility and decrease the chances someone will accidentally drive onto the lawn.

* Clean up that sidewalk: Frequently dirt, mold and algae settle on sidewalks due to their location, and that can create a really dismal first impression. Cleaners are available that attach to garden hoses. To protect stains from coming back, coat the sidewalk and adjacent pavers or edgers with a waterbased clear acrylic sealer.

* Stop and smell the roses: Instead of having to keep the edge of the lawn trimmed against the driveway, create a "buffer" strip with a decorative rock garden or plant flowers along the path to create an inviting drive up to the home. If the driveway is shared with a neighbor, plant shrubs and flowers between them to create a small privacy wall.

* Get an edge: Edge the driveway with pavers in colors complementary to the home and pavement. Use pavers in different shapes and sizes to create an interesting focal point and frame the driveway.

"Consider your front yard the 'arms' that welcome visitors into a home," says Blickle. "Without a warm welcome, guests and potential buyers may just keep walking."

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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