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Originally published August 23, 2013 at 8:05 PM | Page modified August 30, 2013 at 3:16 PM

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HomeWork: How to bump up your curb appeal

Many a potential home sale has been lost because of poor curb appeal. After all, the first thing a buyer sees is the exterior of your home.

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Q: With the market improving, we are considering selling our home. How can we increase our curb appeal?

A: Many a potential home sale has been lost because of poor curb appeal. After all, the first thing a buyer sees is the exterior of your home.

Assuming the exterior paint looks good, the roof is free from moss, and the lawn is mowed, are there other changes you can make to enhance the welcoming appearance of your home? Absolutely!

You’d be surprised at how many listed homes do not have an address clearly visible from the street. Adding big, attractive house numbers is an easy and inexpensive way to add visual appeal to the exterior of your home.

You can find fonts and materials that match the style of your house — such as hand-painted tiles for a cottage-style house or clean, bold numbers for a more modern exterior. And if the exterior paint is just OK, bright, new house numbers will catch the eye, making the exterior paint job less noticeable.

Another great trick is painting the garage door. Garage doors take up a lot of visual space, and a fresh coat of paint will do wonders to the overall exterior image, as will painting or replacing the front door.

If you have a porch that is visible from the street, make sure the porch floor is in good shape, and either repaint or refinish if it is looking worn or shabby.

Place a few pieces of welcoming furniture on the porch. Look for pieces that complement the style of your home and the size of the porch. If your porch is small, placing a planter with colorful flowers could do the trick.

Depending on the style and color scheme of your home, you might try adding a red accent to make your home’s exterior look more vibrant. Get creative. It could be a red door, a red mailbox, a red bench on the porch or planters with red flowers.

A little can go a long way, but you’ll be surprised at how your house will stand out from the other homes on the street with that pop of color.

The little things really do mean a lot, so make sure your porch lighting is attractive and effective. You could add recessed lighting beneath the eaves or install solar lights along the front walk, as if shining a spotlight on your home.

Keep your driveway and any walkways to the house in good shape. Cement, stone and pavement can all split and crack over time but walkways and driveways in need of repair send a subtle message that the inside of the home has been neglected as well.

Keep lawn tools, toys, and other family items off the lawn and the driveway, and be sure to keep garbage and recycling bins out of sight. Also remove any large lawn ornaments. You may love the lawn gnome or the large custom butterfly you have on the side of the house, but in the same way that you keep personal items out of sight inside, you want to remove very personal touches from the exterior as well.

HomeWork is the weekly column by the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties’ Remodelers Council about home care, repair and improvements. If you have questions about home improvement, send them to


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