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Give your house curb appeal

If you can get buyers through the front door, you've passed the first hurdle in selling your home. "If they don't like what they see outside, they'll never walk inside," says Michael Love, president of Interior Options Inc., a New York interior design firm.

Curb appeal can often mean the difference between a house sitting for months or selling in a few weeks.

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Here are a few tips to improve the view from the other side of the curb:

1. Look at the big picture.
After you've lived with fading trim -- or that shutter that hangs at a jaunty angle -- for a year or two, you probably don't even see it any more. So ask your real estate agent or a trusted friend to look at the front of your home with a new set of eyes. Would they be interested in the home if they didn't know you? If not, what are the turn-offs?

2. Shine. Got a brass doorknob? Make it shine. If you have wrought iron, clean it or paint it. Wash the windows so that they gleam. "If a house really sparkles, Realtors will like to show it," says Myra Zollinger, an owner/broker with Coldwell Banker Realty Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.

3. Apply pressure. If the exterior needs a fresh look, consider getting it pressure washed. This is a great way to clean trim or walkways and give them a clean, white look.

4. Paint. Want to make the house look great without painting the whole thing? Just paint the trim and the front door. Or paint the shutters a color. "It really catches the eye," says Love. But if it needs it, don't be stingy. Paint the whole house. It will be worth the money if you get a clean-looking home that moves fast.

5. Invest in landscaping. If you have just a little money to spend, consider landscaping. "A landscaped front yard is a good jump on selling your home," says Dick Koestner, of Koestner McGivern & Associates in Davenport, Iowa.

This Bankrate story has the complete list of tips to increase your house's curb appeal.

-- Updated March 18, 2004




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