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Archive for May, 2007

Landscaping is one of the simplest and most important ways to increase curb appeal.  But don’t fret, a total renovation isn’t always necessary to create an inviting entrance to your home. First, prune trees, shrubs, and ground covers and get rid of all the weeds.  These maintenance steps “clean up” your front yard and clear the way of any distracting visuals. Try to look at your home as though you were a first-time visitor to the house. From the street, what do you see first?  Is there a clear and inviting path to the front door? Are there any obstacles in the way? Do all the plants look healthy? Is there any non-landscape maintenance that needs attention?  The attached photos don’t have a lot of color or wow, but you can see the difference it makes when you open up your walkway by trimming back overgrown shrubbery.Next, remove anything that blocks the view of your front door or entryway. Add plants like grasses and groundcovers with colorful foliage and flowers, lantana is always a good choice for summer. Add vertical interest with shade and ornamental trees or climbing vines. If you add a tree(s) be sure to position it so you don’t block the view of the front door. Add plants where you want to disguise or hide unattractive features like air handling units and outdoor faucets & hoses. Maintaining the appeal of bold color via flowers is tough in Phoenix come summer time. You can plant annual flowers at the sidewalk, near the front door, or along a walkway but if your find yourself struggling to keep them alive, try planting succulents in colorful pots like the one pictured.  Succulents do well in our climate with little attention, it’s just a matter of making sure you plant the right ones for sun or shade conditions.  Before heading out to the nursery make notes on where you want to plant and what the conditions are.  Will they be in pots or in the ground and how much sun and shade do those areas receive during the day? Make sure to pick up extra soil to give your new plants the best start possible.  Doing a little pre-planning will prevent you from making extra trips to the nursery.  Then, get busy planting and enjoy the rewards all year long!

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If you didn’t catch the recent real estate numbers out of the Realty Studies at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic Campus, I’ll summarize them briefly.

Total number of sales are up in the Ahwatukee Foothills area compared to a year ago; 125 sales this year over 120 last April.  But, the average sales price did decrease (about 15%) to $325,000. 

As a comparison, Chandler and Tempe had marginal price increases (and I do mean marginal – Chandler about $3k and Tempe $10k) but lowered total number of sales. Gilbert was hit with the double whammie of decreased total sales and decreased sales price.

Over the past couple of weeks the market has started to pick up.  Between now and the time school starts you’re going to see more homes moving off the market.  Despite the summer heat it’s actually a great time to sell!  Keep in mind though, you’ve got to price your house right from the start.  You need to look at it objectively (sometimes tough to do) and evaluate its upgrades or lack of thereof, location and other important factors as compared to similar homes sold in the past six months as well as your competition.  Pricing it too high from the start will undoubtedly lead to longer market time.

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Does your backyard lack pizzazz thanks to boring block fencing? There is a cure and it’s called paint; colorful, wonderful paint! For those of you who formerly received my Tukee Talk newsletter, we featured this idea last season but it’s worth repeating. If your fence isn’t already finished with stucco, just adding paint can make a big difference. On a ‘raw’ wall, start with a masonry block product to smooth and coat the porous texture. It’s about $70 for a five-gallon drum and can be tinted with your color choice to reduce the number of coats you have to apply in regular paint. Then, follow the filler with 1-2 coats of exterior paint. You can plan on covering 200 square feet with each $15-20 gallon. Using a paint sprayer provides even coverage and can make the project go faster than using a roller. You can pick up a hand sprayer at any home improvement store for about $100.

As you can see in our before and after pictures, a few coats of paint in a color choice to complement your yard can make a big difference. Just look at how the foliage accents the wall with the new color! Another way to add interest is to decorate your wall with fun art that fits your personality. Check out the friendly frog we found in Sedona. But you don’t have to travel far to find outdoor art. Last time I visited Razzmatazz in Chandler they had some neat pieces to choose from or try Cost Plus, just east of I-10 on Ray Rd.

Other accessories for the backyard include fire pits (the one pictured was at Target for $100) and colorful Mexican style-pots you can pick up at the authentic markets in Guadeloupe.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to transforming your outdoor spaces. Like anything else; it just takes a little creativity and planning!

Do you have home tips to share? Or, have you tried any of our nifty ideas? Don’t be shy, let the blog know, it’s fun to learn from each other!

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