Curb appeal remains the standard. If a house doesn’t have it, the property is likely to languish on the market. A Michigan State University study estimated that good landscaping adds 6 percent to 11 percent to the eventual sales price of a home. It doesn’t take a ton of cash to get curb appeal. Often a little bit of elbow grease will do the trick.

Here are the basics:

  • Front yard and porch. Mow the grass and keep it green. Keep the porch immaculate – no dirt or bugs.
  • Mulch all the beds. Flowers and shrubs help, but if the owner can’t afford anything else, mulch will do the trick. 
  • Paint will pay off. Covering everything with a fresh coat of paint – preferably a neutral color – will help the house sell. Freshening up the front door is particularly important.