the right plants, trees, other landscape alternations, and even furni- ture, to create outdoor space that could garner great returns.

makeover project. Of course, painted flower pots alone probably will not counterbalance a dead, brown lawn. They can, however, add to the finished look in a way that makes your home appeal- ing from the street and that enhances your bottom line.

2. MATURE TREES Shade trees are not only visually attractive; they also offer some serious cost savings to homeowners by reducing energy costs associated with heating and cooling the home. Add in the visual appeal of a mature tree, and you could see property value improvements between seven and nine percent, according to the NAR and the National Gardening Association. Consider plant- ing trees well-suited to the local environment rather than simply opting for the leafiest or most flowery varieties. While most garden centers will sell you just about anything, certain

A FINAL NOTE: CURB APPEAL Curb appeal is often literally the first thing a potential buyer considers when viewing a home online or in person. Your ability to create strong feelings of attraction in a potential buyer from the very first glance will play a huge role in your ability to sell your retail properties at top dollar, and good landscaping plays a huge role in that process. •

trees will thrive in an area while others may take much longer to mature. Walk around the neighborhood to see what types of trees are doing well in the area or call the local conser- vation office to get a list of native trees acclimated for your specific climate.

Kristina Phelan is a freelance writer and her parenting column, Mama Bear Moxie, is printed in a few newspapers across the coun- try. Learn more at

A single burglary on a vacant or renovation property can cost over $8,000. That’s over 4 times the national average per break-in! Real estate investors can experience higher losses due to stolen appliances, HVAC Equipment, wiring, plumbing and more. 56% OF THIEVES BREAK-IN THROUGH A DOOR. WE'RE IN YOUR CORNER.


3. PROPER MAINTENANCE Prune trees and shrubs so the landscape looks well cared for and not overgrown. Replace dead plants with bright perennials of different heights to add interest to a landscape. Add gravel to walkways and spread some mulch around the base of trees to pro- vide an instant updated look. This will also help to deter weeds. 4. A LUSH LAWN Take an unkempt, sparse lawn to a lush, green oasis and you could see up to 303 percent return on your investment! A re- cent HouseLogic study indicates homes with thriving, well-cul- tivated lawns may see these types of returns on lawncare costs when they sell. Be sure your lawn is regularly watered, aerated, and fertilized with the right combination of care for the plants inhabiting it and the local environment. A “barefoot lawn” can be a huge plus for curb appeal and price tag.

by Kristina Phelan

Prevent costly break-ins. Reinforce your doors. Layer your Security with products from:

hen you think about selling a property for top dollar, you probably think about the interior improvements that will warrant a high price tag. However, the lawn should be on your mind as well. Landscaping tends to fall among the top seven home improvements that improve retail value, but the deciding factor is not necessarily whether you go with pansies or daffodils in the flower box out front. Top quality landscapes, which include all aspects of outdoor living, may contribute as much as 20 percent to a home’s overall value. Here are five landscaping changes and improvements that could help increase the overall property value of a home: W

1. OUTDOOR LIVING SPACE Extend living spaces into the outdoors. Homes with less square footage should establish, if possible, a particular focus on outdoor-living options. This can make a small property feel much larger. According to the National Association of Real- tors (NAR), more than half of all homebuyers said they would pay more for a home with “great outdoor living spaces.” Make these spaces comfortable and somewhat private to entice buyers. The outdoor living space should, to a degree, reflect the size of the home, meaning it is not necessary to add an enormous patio that dwarfs the home itself. Even small spaces can be updated with

Visit for more tips and discounts on products to help you protect your assets.

5. COLOR ACCENTS You do not have to plant flowers to get a good pop of color in your | 816.398.4114 Learn more at:

landscaping. Painted pots or a bright front door can make a home stand out without requiring a total yard

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