HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Henrico County is trying a new idea to keep home values up, and it all starts with a book.
The county spent $95,000 to make a Homeowner's Enhancement Guide: 136 pages of ideas for making old homes almost look new again.
When the lawn gets water, Don Curry gets...curb appeal.
"If you ever want to sell your house it makes it easier to sell, and you get top dollar for it," Curry said.
That's why Henrico just came out with the new guide. It's aimed mostly at people who own mid-century homes, which make up nearly half of the county's housing stock.
"If people fix up their homes it adds to the desirability of the community and generally a way to keep neighborhoods looking good," said Mark Strickler, director of the county's Department of Community Revitalization.
When people landscape their property or put-on fresh paint, for example, their homes often go up in value. That, in turn, raises the tax base, which benefits the county.
"We think it's gonna be a very successful effort," Strickler said.
The book is full of ideas for big or small problems; large or lean budgets. But real estate brokers say be careful not to go overboard.
"You don't want too much landscaping where people walk and say, 'this is gonna be too much for me to keep up, there's stuff everywhere, I don't know what to do'. But you want to make it look nice," said Taylor Steele of Virginia Realty and Relocation.
In a struggling housing market, homeowners risk losing money on a big-time investment, though Don Curry says when it came to his new deck... It's not always about the buyer.
"Some people wait till they're ready to move and then do all the improvements. Well, you didn't get the use of all those improvements. So it's better to do it while you're still active," he said.
Guides are being loaned-out from all Henrico County libraries, or you can buy it for $10. It's also available as a free download. Click here.