21 Easy Outdoor DIY's Real Estate Agents Wish You’d Do Before Listing Your Home

Real estate is a game, and you’ve got to play to win.

Part of playing the real estate game is getting people through your front door. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to make that happen: curb appeal.

Curb appeal doesn’t require a major investment in time or cash like installing impact resistant windows or building a wine cellar to impress buyers. In fact, it can be fairly DIY.

We’ve put together a list of 21 DIY ways to make your real estate agent happy and lure prospective buyers out of their cars and into your home.

Make A Mini-Statement With Your House Numbers

Just about everyone has brass or oil rubbed bronze numbers on their home that they picked up from Home Depot, but you do better.

Custom house numbers mounted on inexpensive picture frames and hung by the front door.

If you have a covered porch you can mount the numbers in inexpensive picture frames from the craft store and hang the frames by the front door. I would not make these if the frames will be exposed to direct sunlight and rain.

Custom house numbers mounted on inexpensive picture frames and hung by the front door.

If you have a little more time to spare you can make this address plaque with MDF, a few screws, and black paint. Here are the instructions.

Polished Exterior Hardware Catches The Eye

Your homes hardware has been slowly losing its’ luster for so long you probably didn’t even realize it was happening. But I can guarantee you that with 10 minutes and a can of polish you can make any dull hardware look new again.

‘This includes door handles, knockers, address signage, and mailboxes. If you don’t want to replace doorknobs, try to get them polished. If you have a door slot for mail, make sure it shiny and clean. New address numbers can easily be purchased from the local hardware store.’ Source

This tip is from Margaret Goss, a real estate agent with Baird & Warner.

Power Washed Walkways & Steps Make The Whole House Look Cleaner

Half of this set of bricks steps has been power washed and the other half has not to show what an difference it makes.

‘Power washing your steps or driveway can take a dingy looking front walk and make it look brand new. You can rent power washers for a small fee. Easy, and fast!’ source

This tip comes from Jenifer Duguay from RE/MAX.

Paint The Front Door To Draw In Buyers

A collage of 9 colorful front doors.

Most people take the front door for granted. How many front doors are so boring you didn’t even notice them? Most of them, right?

But it’s a perfect place for a dash of color, especially if you paint the shutters to match.

Jan Green, a realtor with the HomeSmart Elite Group goes on to say; ‘The home as seen with the painted shutters and front door, conveying that it is well taken care of and possibly move-in ready.’ You can read the rest of Jan’s article here.

Hang A Festive Wreath To Help Buyers Envision Living there

A handmade front door wreath using begonias.

You want people to envision what it would be like to live in the home and a big part of that is decorating for the season or the current holiday. Don’t go nuts with the decorations but do make the exterior festive with an appropriate wreath for the front door.

Thanks to Pinterest there is no shortage of simple and quick ideas to dress up the front door with.

Update The Mailboxes To Prove The Home has Been Cared For

If you forget about the mailbox you’re short changing your curb appeal. Whether your mailbox is hung by the front door or on a post out by the curb, you should replace it or if it’s in good shape take a critical look at it to see how you can make it better. Don’t let the mailbox be an afterthought.

Chris Ann Cleland from Long and Foster Realtors has some easy fixes that you can do in minutes on her blog.

Incorporate The Mailbox Into The Landscape

Two examples of mailboxes that have been incorpated into the landscape using flower beds.

Is your mailbox on a post at the curb? If it is then this is the perfect place to add a splash of color with flowers.

Heck, why stop at just a splash of color around the base of the post for the mailbox? Why not incorporate the mailbox into a full fledged garden bed? Just a couple plants that are about the same height as the mailbox and a fee more shorter ones will be enough to create some real drama in the front yard.

Container Plants Add Instant Color

A collection of purple flowers in wicker baskets for the front porch.

Image Attribution

Adding container plants to footpaths, doorways, and patios is a great way to dress up your house on a budget.

These plants add a splash of color and a whole lot of vibrancy to your yard while still leaving a blank canvas for potential buyers to day dream about.

You can add a simple row of flowers or a full display to show off the potential of your property. Just make sure you’re using quality containers – not cheap plastic ones.

However, avoid adding personal items or anything kitschy. Garden sculptures, little statues, or hand-painted mailboxes posted in the middle of your lawn may be cute to you, but they may also bug visitors.

Buyers Love Fragrant Flowers

Perennial shrubs, hydrangeas, and pansies filling the flower bed of a colonial home.

If you’ve ever wanted to create a fragrant flower bed but have never had an incentive – you do now.

Adding color in the form of beautiful flowers and plants is a great way to boost curb appeal without engaging in heavy-duty landscaping projects. In fact, there’s even a strategy to follow if you’re trying to sell your home.

Homebase, a UK-based garden store, surveyed customers to find out what flowers house hunters love to see on potential properties.

The top flowers included:

  1. Roses
  2. Lavender
  3. Fuchsia
  4. Tulips
  5. Sweet Peas
  6. Lilies
  7. Jasmine
  8. Pelargoniums
  9. Hydrangeas
  10. Sunflowers

Did you notice a trend? That’s right, these are some of the most fragrant flowers you can buy.

Here’s our favorite blooms from this list that are easy to grow, hardy, and reliable:


Roses appeal to most homeowners because not only are they beautiful and fragrant but they’re almost disease proof and always provide a reliable bloom.

Add full rose bushes to your yard or plant them in a few containers.


Lavender plants bring to mind the fields of Provence, which can send even otherwise uninterested buyers into a tailspin.

Not only is lavender easy to grow, but their scent is amazing! All you need is well-drained soil and full sun.


There’s a variety of lilies for every climate whether you live in Alaska or Arizona. These blooms are great because they look exotic, but they’re still easy to keep alive. Their scent is also to die for and the gorgeous smell will waft across your yard whenever they’re in bloom.


You don’t need to fill your yard with these to enjoy the full effect. Even a compact bush next to your door or in the corner of your yard will do. Be sure to choose a color that matches your home or neighborhood for maximum appeal.

Fresh Mulch Makes A Home Seem Cared For

A one stroy home with mature plantings and fresh mulch.

Here’s a quick and easy way to improve the look of your yard and garden in a few minutes. Apply fresh mulch to all your garden beds – or at least those in the front of the house.

The earthy color of the fresh mulch improves the contrast of the flowers and plants in your flower beds, making their colors bright.

Opt for cedar or hemlock mulch because they are the most fragrant but if you’re trying to spend as little money as possible pine bark mulch is ok too. Just stay away from anything that isn’t bark because it’s likely to just be old palletes that were ground up and dyed.

A Freshly Edged Flower Bed Looks Neater

If the line between your lawn and mulch is beginning to blur, freshen it up with an edger. You’re looking at 30 to 60 minutes of work here that gives another clue to potential buyers that this home has been well maintained through the years.

Green Lawns Sell Homes

Want a crazy green lawn? No problem!

Use an iron rich fertilzer like Milorganite or Ironite and mow on the highest setting to keep it from drying out and turning brown. I prefer Miloganite but it will smell for a week or so after putting it down so if you’re listing your home tomorrow use Ironite instead.

Grow some new grass in the bare or thin areas. If you’re in the northern part of the country, the period between Labor Day and Halloween is the best time to sow those seeds.

Impress Buyers By Labeling Your Shrubs & Flowers

A collage of different plants with labels.

This isn’t just for vegetables and spices. Buyers love this touch and I’m not sure why, but if you listen as they approach the house they almost always mention it. I think it satisfies their curiosity as to what the plants actually are.

The labels in the picture above are made by the Kincaid Plant Markers company.

Get Your Irrigation System Checked Out

This is indirectly related to curb appeal and buyers know irrigation system repairs can be expensive. They will ask about them, particularly if you installed an automatic system.

Ultimately, improving your yard means very little to a potential buyer if there’s no easy way to maintain it. So, get a tune-up and make any repairs required before showing your home.

5 Quick Landscaping Ideas That Instantly Increase Curb Appeal

I hate to have to even include this list but the number of homeowners who fail to weed their flower beds, trim their shrubs, or even mow their lawn before listing their home is astounding.

  • Trim your shrubs
  • Get rid of low hanging branches
  • Mow your lawn using a high setting
  • Weed your flower beds
  • Dig up any flowers or plants you’re taking with you so the potential buyers know they’re leaving with you

These are simple things that any homeowner can do to boost their curb appeal and make both their yard and their whole house look better.

Imagine pulling up to your potential new home and seeing an overgrown lawn with weeds everywhere and a tree branch dangerously close to the garage roof.

The first thing most of us would think is, “Wow, that looks like a lot of work.”

It goes without saying that you don’t want your home to scream manual labor – you want it to gently say ‘Buy me!’

Pesonalized Door Mats Make Buyers Feel Welcome

A couple simple door mats that welcome potential buyers into the house.

Is your doormat tattered and worn? Or worse, does it have your name on it?

Buyers don’t want to be welcomed to ‘your’ home. They want to be able to picture themselves living in the house. If your doormat has your name on it or says welcome to ‘our home’ swap it out for something more generically welcoming like ‘Welcome Home’ or ‘Home Sweet Home’.

If you can’t find one that fits the bill either eliminate the doormat completely or get a custom one made up.

Replace The Light Fixture To Add Charm & Ambiance

You probably don’t even notice the light fixture hanging by your front door any more. It’s been there so long you take it for granted.

A new fixture from Home Depot won’t cost you much at all and will make an instant impact, especially at night. Even better, it will probably take you longer to pick one out than it will to install it. It’s an easy 30 minute job in most cases.

Make sure you get the right bulb for your light fixture too. Those spiral CFL’s don’t belong in there but you see them on peoples front porches all the time. They attract bugs and cast a very harsh light. Pick out a bulb like this one that is designed specifically to ward off bugs and cast a warm glow.

Do you have any other ideas that you think may be a good fit for this page? Send me an email at scott@architypes.net and tell me about them. If they’re good I’ll add them to the list and give you full credit for them. It’s got to be curb appeal and not interior upgrades like painting the kitchen cabinets, replacing worn out laminate, or cleaning the stone counters until they sparkle. Those are topics for another article.

Page Last Updated On June 21, 2018 by Scott Jenkins