Herbert C. Haber of Tamarac believes giving loan modifications to struggling families has hurt South Florida neighborhoods. Even with lower mortgage payments, the families don't have the money to repair or maintain their homes, he said. They don't replace dead plants nor broken glass. "They have depressed the prices of the other homes in the community far more than have economic conditions," Haber said. But it does not have to be that way. Even cash-strapped homeowners can maintain their homes to keep their property value up - and their neighbors. Here are seven free or low-cost solutions from Ron Shuffield, president of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtors, and other experts on maintaining property value. "They will increase the value of the home more than it costs you," he said.
By Donna Gehrke-White
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