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First impressions are lasting impressions when selling a home, and the first thing buyers see when they drive up is your driveway.

Driveways that are old, stained and cracked are not only unpleasant to look at, but they can have a negative impact on the sale of your home. Even if the rest of the home is beautiful, it can be hard to shake off the immediate negative impression of a driveway in disrepair.

Replacing a driveway can be costly, but many times a few repairs is all you need. If your driveway is showing any signs of damage, consult a home improvement retailer or driveway repair professional. There are varying methods for repairing concrete or blacktop driveways, and their costs are going to differ.

Cracks, for instance, are common, unsightly and stand out like a sore thumb. They can be caused by a variety of factors: tree roots, too much weight on a particular spot of the driveway, weather (from the intensity of the sun to the change of seasons), and damage from snow tires and shovels.

If your driveway has so many cracks that it resembles a road map, you may have to invest in a new driveway. If the cracks are minimal and can be repaired, it’s best to do so as quickly as possible so they don’t spread. A professional can be called upon to fix the cracks, or do-it-yourselfers may be able to use a driveway sealer (available at home improvement stores).

Potholes are another challenge you may come across. Such as on the road, potholes can develop on your driveway, particularly during the winter as a result of shoveling or plowing. Neglecting to fix a pothole can worsen the situation by causing damage to vehicles. Home improvement stores sell pothole replacement materials if hiring a professional isn’t in your budget.

Water in your driveway may not seem like a big deal, and it often isn’t. But a lot of water accumulating after rainfall can be a sign of a drainage problem, particularly if the water is gathering close to the house. This could point to a structural problem because the slope of the driveway leading away from the house isn’t steep enough. Contact a professional if this is happening as water can make its way into your home and cause damage. There’s no need to worry about smaller puddles if they are away from the house.

When it comes to stains, these are more cosmetic concerns but they can be a turnoff. The good news is they are relatively easy to clean. Even a household cleaner can take care of your smaller stains. For bigger stains, a degreaser will likely get the job done.