11 Ways to Create a Welcoming Front Entrance for Under $100

By: Cara Greenberg

 

Wouldn’t it be nice to approach your home’s entrance with a grin instead of a grimace? Take our tips for beating a clear, safe, and stylish path to your front door.First impressions count — not just for your friends, relatives, and the UPS guy, but for yourself. Whether it’s on an urban stoop or a Victorian front porch, your front door and the area leading up to it should extend a warm welcome to all comers — and needn’t cost a bundle.

Here’s what you can do to make welcoming happen on the cheap.

1. Clear the way for curb appeal. The path to your front door should be at least 3 feet wide so people can walk shoulder-to-shoulder, with an unobstructed view and no stumbling hazards. So get out those loppers and cut back any overhanging branches or encroaching shrubs. 
2. Light the route. Landscape lighting makes it easy to get around at night. Solar-powered LED lights you can just stick in the ground, requiring no wiring, are suprisingly inexpensive. We found 8 packs for under $60 online. 
3. Go glossy. Borrow inspiration from London’s lovely row houses, whose owners assert their individuality by painting their doors in high-gloss colors. The reflective sheen of a royal blue, deep green, crimson, or whatever color you like will ensure your house stands out from the pack.Related: Pictures of 10 Great Value-Add Exterior Paint Jobs

4. Pretty up the view. A door with lots of glass is a plus for letting light into the front hall — but if you also want privacy and a bit of decor, check out decorative window film. It’s removable and re-positionable, and comes in innumerable styles and motifs. Pricing depends on size and design; many available for under $30.A way to get the look of stained glass without doing custom work or buying a whole new door: Mount a decorative panel on the inside of the door behind an existing glass insert, $92 for an Arts and Crafts-style panel 20-inches-high by 11-inches-wide.

5. Replace door hardware. While you’re at it, polish up the handle on the big front door. Or better yet, replace it with a shiny new brass lockset with a secure deadbolt. Available for about $60. 
6. Please knock. Doorbells may be the norm, but a hefty knocker is a classic that will never run out of battery life, and another opportunity to express yourself (whatever your favorite animal or insect is, there’s a door-knocker in its image). 
7. Ever-greenery. Boxwoods are always tidy-looking, the definition of easy upkeep. A pair on either side of the door is traditional, but a singleton is good, too. About $25 at garden centers. In cold climates, make sure pots are frost-proof (polyethylene urns and boxes mimic terracotta and wood to perfection).
8. Numbers game. Is your house number clearly visible? That’s of prime importance if you want your guests to arrive and your pizza to be hot. Stick-on vinyl numbers in a variety of fonts make it easy, starting at about $4 per digit.
9. Foot traffic. A hardworking mat for wiping muddy feet is a must. A thick coir mat can be had at the hardware store for less than $20. Even fancier varieties can be found well under $50.
10. Go for the glow. Fumbling for keys in the dark isn’t fun. Consider doubling up on porch lights with a pair of lanterns, one on each side of the door, for symmetry and twice the illumination. Many mounted lights are available well under $100.
11. Snail mail. Mailboxes run the gamut from kitschy roadside novelties masquerading as dogs, fish, or what-have-you to sober black lockboxes mounted alongside the front door. Whichever way you go, make sure yours is standing or hanging straight, with a secure closure, and no dings or dents. The mail carrier will thank you.

Related: A Dozen Foyer Ideas Under $100


Read more: http://members.houselogic.com/articles/front-door-entry-ideas/preview/?cid=eo_em_mkt_rcrnewsletter#ixzz31nv6S4Fk 
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All-Time Record Lows for 15yr and 30yr Fixed Mortgages

Average rates for both 15-year and 30-year fixed mortgages fell to new all-time record lows this week, according to a report released by Freddie Mac Thursday.

Borrowers of 30-year loans were charged an average rate of just 3.84%, down from its previous low of 3.87% set in early February, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey.The average 15-year rate was 3.07%, down from the record of 3.11% set three weeks ago.

“Signs of slowing economic growth and inflation remaining subdued allowed yields on Treasury bonds to ease somewhat and brought most mortgage rates to new all-time record lows this week,” said Freddie’s chief economist, Frank Nothaft.

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Better News on the Housing Market

 

KIRKLAND, Wash. (April 5, 2012) – The housing market in the Puget Sound region is pointing toward a sustainable recovery, according to several brokers who commented on the March activity report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

MLS Members reported 9,126 pending sales during March, a year-over-year increase of nearly 21 percent. That total surpassed the previous month by 1,503 transactions (up 19.7 percent). Coupled with shrinking inventory, attractive financing, and rising consumer confidence, the market is becoming more balanced, and even being described by some brokers as “frenzied.” Other brokers commented on the “remarkable opportunities for investing in the residential rental market.”.

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National Assoc. of Realtors Chief Economist Sees Optimism Ahead

“The spring home buying season looks bright because of an elevated level of contract offers so far this year,” he said.  “If activity is sustained near present levels, existing-home sales will see their best performance in five years.  Based on all of the factors in the current market, that’s what we’re expecting with sales rising 7 to 10 percent in 2012.”

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Builder Optimism Improving

Signs are improving in the new-home market and builders are feeling more optimistic about where the real estate market is heading, after coming off last year’s worst year on record for new home construction.

For the fifth consecutive month, builder confidence in the single-family home market increased in February, reaching its highest level in four years.

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Housing market may have reached bottom of cycle.

With spring around the corner and consumer confidence on the rise, members of Northwest Multiple Listing Service are reporting positive gains in activity. Pending sales for February increased more than 27 percent from a year ago, more sellers are listing their homes, and brokers are reporting an uptick in multiple offers.

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