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Servicing / The Ticker

Making vacant houses look less vacant -- with decals?

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Vacant housing can be a problem -- and in many cases an eyesore. Boarded up homes serve as an all-too-present reminder of a neighborhood's struggles, beyond telling squatters and others to consider taking up temporary shelter.

The Wall Street Journal reports on an interesting approach being used to address blight. The answer? Decals. (Yes, really.)

To improve the appearance of empty properties, some are trying a Potemkin village approach, hoping to play down the fact that nobody's home. Nonprofits and entrepreneurs are finding ways to make properties appear occupied, from decorating them for the holidays to boarding them up with hard plastic windows instead of plywood.

Home Illusions has a line of decals that cost from around $40 to $100, including fake screen doors and stained-glass windows.

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