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Painting the front door of your home a different color than the rest of your home makes a statement and draws attention to your entry. Here’s a Cape Cod style home in Minnetonka.

I’ve tweaked the front door with Photoshop to show the difference with a door painted another color. An actual paint job would retain the depth of the panels on the door. See how the eye is drawn to the front door?

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Bringing Nature to Your Home Brings Beauty and Tranquility


Guest author: Neal Klabunde, owner of Gardening at the Crossroads

Folks selling their home have a lot on their mind. Prices, agents, open houses, etc. In the midst of all this, it’s easy to overlook some simple steps that can improve the curb appeal of your home. Some steps are pretty obvious such as painting or cleaning the exterior of the house, or replacing the front door.

The point of this article, however, is to focus on the landscape improvements that you can make. There are a lot of little things that when added together can give you a healthy return on your investment. The American Nursery and Landscape Association’s research has shown that landscape improvements can increase a home’s value by 7 to 15 percent and that a well-designed landscape can raise the selling price by almost 7 percent.

The best place to start is to look at your house as if you’re visiting it for the first time. Look for problems or issues and note what you saw and why it bothered you. We asked Lisa Ciofani Basham, a Certified Professional Home Stager in NE Ohio, if the impressions formed as a potential buyer walks to the front door for the first time are important. “Absolutely. The walk to the front door is where opinions are formed. Look at your home through the eyes of a buyer and take a critical look at your homes outside as you walk to the front door. It’s that first impression that is so important.”

Look at your lawn first. Is it tired looking and full of weeds? Renovating a lawn is one of the items that you can do and realize a good return on investment. Keep the lawn cut to the proper height for the season and make sure that the sidewalks and driveway are edged.

Look at the shrubs around the foundation. Are they neat and compact or overgrown? Trimming the shrubs and trees is an easy task.

Speaking of trees and shrubs, there is an old proverb that says-“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is today.” If selling your home is three or more years down the road, planting shrubs and perennials sooner rather than later will help them get settled in and blooming. Have any branches that overhang the roof trimmed back.

Make sure that the landscape beds are weed free and have fresh mulch on them. Fresh mulch will make the plants stand out.

Entryway with Planters and Seating

Containers such as urns, hanging baskets, and large pots can be a versatile way to add spots of color to your home. These can be purchased relatively inexpensively. Hanging baskets will do fine as a planter if you remove the hook. If necessary, place the basket inside another, more decorative, container. You don’t even need to get your hands dirty!

Seasonal annuals add an instant pop of color. Pansies in the spring, petunias and zinnias in the summer, or asters and mums in the fall give the house a lived in, cared for appearance. Add a wreath with seasonal flowers or colors to the front door for a special touch.

Adding landscape lights are another inexpensive way to spruce-up the exterior of the house. These are fairly inexpensive and easy for the home owner to install, especially if you get the solar variety.

Window boxes add views from both outside and inside.

Another landscaping design issue that is often overlooked is how the landscape vistas are framed in the major windows of the house. Home owners spend a lot of time looking at the outside from the inside. Think of your windows as a canvas and plant a lovely view.

All things considered, a well maintained landscape shows the potential buyer that the house is well cared for; more than an overgrown, unkempt one. You don’t want to overdo it, though. Stay main-stream in your landscape choices. While you may enjoy a large rose garden, a dozen or so roses or a water feature might scream “high maintenance” to a potential buyer.

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Neal Klabunde and his wife Catherine live in North Eastern Ohio and are avid gardeners. They are the owners of Gardening at the Crossroads, a gardening website that covers all aspects of gardening and is geared towards gardeners of all skill levels.

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All photos ©Kate Walsh/designhouse9.com

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Photo of the Day
February 15, 2011

Doorway number 9 at the Pratt School in the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Read more about Pratt School and Community Center.

Read about the Prospect Park neighborhood.

Map showing location of Prospect Park.

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Related post: House No. 9

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Photos of the Day
February 2, 2011

Winter storms have been blanketing many states with snow and ice, shutting down roads, businesses, schools, airports and more. Supposedly spring is not far off, according to Pennsylvania’s famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil. Let’s hope so. In the meantime, here’s a reminder of warmer days and calmer weather.

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Photos of the Day

January 3, 2011

Powdery snow fell and blanketed the city with fresh winter beauty.

Red Brick and Falling Snow – Minneapolis

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Weekly Market Activity Report

It’s been almost 3 months since the expiration of the federal home buyer tax credit and the market appears to have settled into something of a rhythm. With the dust settling, pending sales have become mostly fixed in the 500-to-600 per week range for the past 9 weeks.

While the dramatic drop from a year ago is certainly not positive, demand is at least holding relatively steady for the time being. The 626 purchase agreements signed for the week ending July 17 were 39.7 percent behind a year ago. For the same reporting week there were 1,618 new listings in the Twin Cities, down 10.0 percent from a year ago.

Inventory is rising due to slower demand. The 27,350 homes currently available for sale represent an increase of 4.8 percent from last year.

As reported by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors

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