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Curb Appeal Means Elbow Grease, Real Estate Agents Say

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By Jim Gallagher

That’s why real estate agents take a tough love approach to customers.

“I’m pretty brutal. I’m not afraid to tell people what they need to do,” said Cheri Peterson, an agent and president of the St. Charles County (Mo.) Association of REALTORS®. “We did have someone who wouldn’t buy a house because they didn’t want to pull the weeds.”

Start with the main entrance.

“The front door is going to set the pace for the rest of the house,” Peterson said. So paint it, then “throw a wreath on it.”

“Green creates energy; red is inviting and draws the eye; black is elegant and dramatic; and orange is invigorating. Plus, add a door knocker,” says a suggestion sheet from a St. Louis real estate agency.

Add big, bold house numbers, Johnson said. They’re cheap and effective.

Wash the windows, said Peterson, including the storm door. “Use Windex and a newspaper, not a paper towel,” she said. Paper towels leave track marks.

Look for holes in the eaves of the house. “If there are squirrels, they have to move out,” said Peterson. Ditto with the nests that insects build. “They look like a big daub of dirt. Gotta go.”

Siding gets dirty, and sometimes mossy on the north side of the house. “A house with green mold — it has to come off,” Peterson said. Rent a power washer and spray away.

With the outside spiffed up, it’s time to consider landscaping. Selling a house means becoming a landscaping artist.

The Schneiders live on a golf course in St. Charles County. With their kids grown and gone, they’re looking for a more rural setting with room for horses. Their outside fix-up on their present house includes a “landscape plan” with new trees, shrubs, plants and decorative brickwork.

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