Selling your home can be expensive and stressful. You want your home to look good to potential buyers, but you don’t want to spend a ton of time, energy, and money redoing your landscaping.
Don’t worry—just grab your lawn mower and a few other tools and supplies! A little bit of lawn care and basic exterior cleaning can go a long way toward making buyers take a look at your house.
Curb appeal refers to how attractive your property looks to someone looking at it from the curb. Anyone visiting your home will make an initial judgement within 30 seconds of arriving, which means the front lawn, landscaping, and entranceways set the tone of the entire tour. Even before that, people browsing your listing online may keep scrolling if they don't like the external appearance,
Yes, people will judge a book by its cover, so learning how to add curb appeal could make a big difference for you. The checklist below contains affordable steps you can take to improve your home’s curb appeal while it’s on the market and even before.
One of the best ways to maintain your lawn is to mow it.
For most of us, the easiest course is to mow on a regular schedule. However, it’s better for your lawn’s health (and will save you a ton of time in the long run) if you mow it when it needs it.
If the weather’s been rainy, your grass might grow so tall that it needs to be mowed several times a week. If it hasn’t rained in a while, your grass might not need much mowing.
How do you know when you need to cut your grass? Check its height!
For most grasses, the ideal height during the growing season is between two to three inches, though the correct height depends on the type of grass (cool-season grass or warm-season grass) you have on your lawn.
Mow your grass at the right height. Grass that’s too long will look messy and neglected. Grass that’s too short will not only look difficult to maintain; it also won’t be able to process sunlight effectively and will be exposed to diseases and pests.
For added curb appeal, consider mowing stripes and other patterns into your grass.
Trimming the grass along walkways and driveway is especially important. The paths that lead to and from your house look best when they appear open, inviting, and ready to lead someone into their new home.
Use your rake, a leaf blower, or a lawn sweeper to remove common bits of lawn debris:
In addition to making your lawn look neat, cleaning up debris also allows more sunlight to reach your grass.
Add fertilizer at the right time of year for your lawn:
If you have the time, try to start fertilizing your lawn at least six months before you put your home on the market. This gives your grass plenty of time to absorb those nutrients.
On average, most types of grass need about one inch of water per week. That one inch of water is a total that can come from your sprinkler, from rainfall, or both.
An easy way to check how much water your lawn receives is to measure and mark the depth of a container like a food storage container and leave it outside in one spot while rain is falling or your sprinkler is running.
The best way to give your lawn the water it needs is to saturate it a few times a week to encourage deep root growth, instead of giving your lawn a little water at a time every day.
When weeds do appear on your well-maintained lawn, however, they have the same effect as a muddy footprint on a freshly scrubbed floor: they make it look as if you did no work at all.
Removing weeds by hand is the most effective way to rid your lawn of weeds. Make sure you pull out the root as well as the stem, or else the weed will grow back.
If you’re pressed for time, you can apply a broadleaf herbicide. These chemicals work on broadleaf weeds like dandelions, but they can also harm common garden plants. Be careful, and always read the directions on the label!
Add a new layer of fresh mulch over your existing mulch. Leave space around the bases of tree trunks and plant stems. Avoid piling the mulch in hills against tree trunks, or volcano mulching. It’s bad for your trees’ health!
One popular mulch material for visual appeal is pine bark, which allows other plants to stand out thanks to its dark color. For a more affordable option, choose materials like stones and pebbles.
Spray your windows with your garden hose, and wipe down your windowsills and front door with a wet sponge.
For harder surfaces that have acquired dirt and stains, such as your walkway or your home’s siding, a pressure washer might come in handy.
Place your containers where the plants are likely to catch a potential buyer's eye:
Or, place them where you don’t want to draw attention. Plants in containers are excellent for hiding visually unappealing structures like gas meters and air conditioning units. Just make sure that the plants are kept a safe distance away from the structure.
You can buy a wreath from your local craft or outdoors store. For a piece of individual décor that’s a great conversation starter, consider making your own wreath.
You can always take additional steps to boost your home’s curb appeal:
But a great-looking home starts with regular care, and the way you care for the outside of your house gives people an idea of how you care for the inside. With these easy, affordable curb appeal ideas, you make sure your home’s always ready to invite buyers inside.