Home Maintenance Guide: Curb Appeal

Want to make your house look amazing without breaking the bank? Opt for curb appeal. Here is your guide to achieve great curb appeal affordably.

The front of your house is the first thing a potential buyer sees. It’s what draws them inside the house to get a better look. In fact, your home’s curb appeal is probably what’s most likely to capture buyer interest.

Because first impressions are so important, and what’s on the outside provides that first impression, make sure things look their best. This means more than mowing the lawn and pulling weeds. The whole package needs your care and attention to aesthetic beauty, from the landscaping to the fence in the backyard.

Further reading:

Home Maintenance Guide: Your House’s Interior

Home Maintenance Guide: Kitchens and Bathrooms

Home Maintenance Guide: Your House’s Exterior


The grass grows greener on your side of the fence as long as you know how to take care of it. Whether you hire a lawn service to do the work for you, or take on maintenance yourself, don’t let your landscaping get away from you.

The grass

Keeping your grass healthy requires three regular activities: mowing, weeding, and fertilizing. Mowing every two or three weeks should keep your grass the right height. During the warmer months, never cut more than one-third of the height of your grass by setting your mower to its tallest setting. Taller grass is actually less susceptible to heat or drought. It’s okay to leave the grass clippings on your grass too. It keeps your soil healthy.

Weeds steal nutrients from your grass, so don’t let them take over. Weed early in the year and then consistently through spring and summer. If a weed does take hold in your yard, remove it with a weeding tool or pull it up yourself.

While it’s not always necessary to fertilize your grass, it never hurts to give it a nutrient boost. Adding a light covering of compost or organic fertilizer, early in the spring when conditions are wet, gives the grass the food it needs right as it’s beginning to grow again. Fertilizer helps strengthen roots so your yard looks and stays healthy and green.


Whether your yard is full of tiny plants, big shrubs, or trees, maintaining them prevents you from ending up with a messy, overgrown yard. Pruning is the secret to keeping your plants and trees in good shape. The best time to prune is during the dormant season for plants, just as fall is transitioning into winter. Prune no more than 25 percent of a plant at one time, but do so with at least one of these goals in mind:

  • Removing dead branches or plant parts.
  • Reshaping an overgrown plant.
  • Redirecting plant growth.

You want plants to look healthy and well-kept, so make sure to reign in the summer’s growth at the end of each season.


Another part of keeping your yard looking beautiful is watering. Irrigation is important, but you don’t want it to become too costly or time-consuming to manage. The trick is to water deeply each time so you don’t have to do it as often. You can extend time between waterings by mulching around trees and in garden beds. It helps reduce evaporation so you use less water to keep your yard healthy. A few other tricks to make irrigation more efficient include:

  • Aligning sprinklers so they water your yard and not the sidewalk, driveway, or road.
  • Using drip irrigation systems for a slower, more direct system.
  • Directing downspouts from gutters to empty into the landscape.

If you do have a sprinkler system, make sure you check it periodically for any leaks or drips. A broken sprinkler head can waste a lot of water, causing your water bill to soar. You should also check hoses, especially where they connect to the faucet for leaks as well.


Even though potential home buyers won’t see the backyard in your home’s first look, it’s another important component to a beautiful outside. A well-maintained backyard appeals to home shoppers just as much as the front, so keep everything looking its best.


If your deck is made out of wood, the best regular maintenance is to clean and seal it every few years. Decks get a lot of wear, not just from feet. Rain and sun can damage the wood as well. Professionals can get the job of cleaning and staining done fast, so don’t hesitate to enlist some help. You should also check individual boards. If they’ve begun to age, rot, or become loose, make sure to repair them quickly. Replacing one single board when it starts to give trouble saves you from having to redo the whole deck.

Composite decking requires a lot less maintenance than wood. Basic care helps keep it looking newer longer though. All you really need to do is clean your deck regularly to remove any debris and mop up any standing water. There’s no regular schedule for care, just give it a cleaning when you notice buildup or puddles.


Fencing can cover a large area on your property, so the best general activity is to do a yearly inspection. Walk around your entire fence to look for damage or rot and replace any boards that aren’t at their best. Hammer in any nails that have come loose and tighten screws. Every five years, give your fence a good cleaning to remove dirt, moss, mildew, or any other buildup. A pressure washer works best. Once the cleaning is done, schedule a professional to repaint or reseal your fence with a stain.

Pool and/or spa

If you happen to have the added luxury of a pool or spa on your property make sure to keep it looking nice by maintaining the chemicals and keeping the water clean. Test the chemicals in your pool regularly and adjust as needed. You also want to have a robot vacuum to help with skimming and scrubbing. For hot tubs, the most common buildup comes from the natural oils on people’s bodies. Toss a tennis ball into the spa and let it bounce around a bit. It soaks this stuff up making the water clearer and less frothy.

Also consider: Home Renovations with the Highest ROI

A picture worth a thousand words

The curb appeal of your home makes a big difference when it’s time to sell. According to a study in The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, curb appeal can account for up to seven percent of a house’s sale price. Maintaining your home’s exterior while living in it can only help you when it comes time to getting top dollar from a sale. It also makes your home stand out from that very first image potential buyers see on the listing.

Based on the size of your home, exterior maintenance can vary in time and cost. While you may be able to keep the yard looking nice, it can be hard to keep up with a large fence or big deck. Having a pool you don’t use can easily become an unattractive spot in your backyard.

If the care of the outside of your property becomes too much, but you’re looking to sell your home, there are other options than a traditional market listing. Working with an off-market buyer allows you to get an offer on your house without having to make any repairs. Off-market buyers assess your home as is, which means less work for you. At Sundae, we connect homeowners to the largest network of investors to ensure you get the highest possible offer for your home. Contact Sundae today to learn more.

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Kyle Spearin

Kyle is Sundae's Real Estate Editor. As both an investor and content marketing professional, Kyle combines his passion for real estate investing and educational background with his love of helping others. His experience with real estate tech companies, including contributing to BiggerPockets Pro, gives him insight into markets across the United States.