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Curb Appeal Means Elbow Grease, Real Estate Agents Say

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By Jim Gallagher

curb_appeal_manicured_yard(MCT)—Back in May, Cindy Schneider and her husband, Vince, thought they’d achieved curb appeal. That’s the look — clean and green — that helps sell a house.

“We were all set to list our home. We’d just trimmed and edged and mulched and weeded, she said.

Then came the tornado. “My husband was outside getting the dogs in. It was such a sucking type of wind that we couldn’t close the door.”

They fled to the basement as the storm roared through. They emerged to find a third of their shingles gone and water dropping through the roof.

That handsome landscaping was a mess. Big trees were blown over and the carefully tended grass torn up.

Their home insurer helped repair the house, but her insurance didn’t cover landscaping. “We lost some pretty expensive trees.”

Now they’re ready to put their St. Louis-area house up for sale again. The roof and the inside are repaired. But the lawn and shrubbery were still a mess, and trees were missing.

The Schneiders decided to pay about $5,000 to a landscaping firm. They say it’s worth it.

Through her own research, and by talking to real estate agents, Cindy Schneider became convinced that a house without curb appeal would sell for less, or not at all. Buyers “don’t want to do the work,” she said.

That is certainly the case, real estate agents say.

“It’s easy to drive on to the next house,” said Susie O. Johnson, the agent listing the Schneiders’ house.

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