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14 ways to make the most of your curb appeal

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8. Paint your house. If you want to really amp up that curb appeal, "painting your house makes a difference," says Silva. Use colors that are appropriate for the style of your house. For instance, in historical buildings, that often means soft colors and warm colors, he says. "You want to have a color that's warm and inviting," he says. "It's one of the easiest ways to get curb appeal."

9. Call an arborist. Get the low-hanging branches -- especially those hanging over the house -- removed, says Cook. And that's an area where you do want to use a pro. If you're ever hiring anyone to work on your home, Cook says, get several free estimates. Don't automatically choose the cheapest one. Instead, select the one in whom you have the most confidence. And verify that your choice has liability and workman's comp insurance. (Ask to see the certificate.)

10. Reseal the driveway. Do it yourself in a weekend or hire a pro, says Cook. For a pro, the best thing you can get is a recommendation from someone who's had the work done fairly recently, he says. If you do it yourself, wash down the driveway one day and let it dry. Then seal it the next day. If it has cracks that you need to seal, allow an extra day for the job.

11. Examine the shutters. Many times they're the wrong size and most people hang them upside down or put them too far away from the windows, Silva says. What that does is throw off the proportion of the house.

12. Look for elements that draw too much attention from the rest of the house. One example is the garage door. "A garage door should blend in. It shouldn't stand out and be the whole focus of the garage," says Silva. "You don't want it to dominate."

13. Hire a professional designer. If the front of your home needs a little cosmetic work, that's a good time to call in a designer, says Silva. You might want to change the porch or add a new type of railing, or select a different style or number of columns. A designer is also a good option if you sense there's something out of whack with the way the front of the home looks, but you can't quite put your finger on it. Prices vary. A designer can give you options, a plan and a budget.

14. Make a plan. If your landscaping lacks luster, sometimes it's a matter of moving things around, says Cook. One good move: If you're going to stay in the house, consult a professional to give you a long-range landscaping master plan, says Cook. "You can pick little things and keep working and after four to five years, you're done," he says.

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