The 5 Biggest Pet Peeves Real Estate Agents Have About Your Front Yard

published Apr 9, 2021
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A quaint fairytale cottage, covered by lush plant life and flowers, in the Rose Garden at Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Credit: Bianca Izurieta | Getty Images

Real estate agents don’t expect your front lawn to be a perfect green patch year-round. In fact, they might even work some Photoshop magic on your listing photos to make your yard appear uniformly green and lush. (They even color correct the sky so it’s a brighter blue in listing photos — something Tyler Forte, the founder of Nashville-based Felix Homes tipped me off to.)

Still, realtors have some major pet peeves when it comes to front yards that require some real-life edits. These are the mistakes that they say lessen curb appeal.

Lawn ornaments

The “home sweet gnome” sign and accompanying garden gnome collection? It’s best to pack those up as soon as the “for sale” post goes up. 

“My front lawn pet peeves at homes listed for sale are faux items: plastic flowers, fake ferns, pink flamingos, garden gnomes, wind catchers, and garden ornaments,” says Betsy Ronel, a real estate agent with Compass in Westchester County, New York. Too many statues can distract from your curb appeal as well, she says. 


If you’re a buyer approaching a home and the lawn is filled with ragweeds and dandelions, you’re probably picturing weekend chores. “Buyers don’t want to see the amount of work and money they’ll need to repair a front lawn,” says Christina Mendez, a realtor based in the suburbs of Los Angeles. Remove the weeds and any dead plants, and your lawn will instantly look much cleaner. Prospective buyers will see a clean canvas for future landscaping, Mendez says.

Standing water 

If it’s not raining and the yard has standing water or mud, it could throw up a big red flag for prospective buyers, says Ron Leffler, a real estate broker in Alexandria, Virginia. Not only do those puddles attract mosquitos, but they could also hint at something serious, like improper grading that could be leading to leaks in the home’s basement or crawlspace. Maybe the real issue is that the sprinkler is broken. But maybe the grading is off and there are now moisture issues in the home’s foundation. This isn’t something you want buyers to be guessing before they even step foot in your home. 

Credit: Artazum | Shutterstock

Garbage or debris

Keep garbage bins tidy and out of sight, says Raven Reed, a realtor with Realty Executives Select Group Ohio. If there was a storm recently, pick up any large sticks or tree limbs that might have fallen and make sure there’s no pet waste in the front yard. “The second a potential buyer pulls into your driveway, your main goal is to give those buyers the feeling that they are home,” Reed says. “Pulling in to see any type of pile up, garbage, or debris almost always turns buyers off.” 

A lack of basic maintenance

Things like patchy or overgrown grass, barren soil in planter beds, and driveways that have weeds growing in the seams can all discount a home’s curb appeal, says San Diego realtor Ryan Dalzell of Dalzell Group. “Some fertilizer or reseeding will bring back grass to a rich green color that buyers love to see, and some dark mulch or bark in planter beds will provide a rich contrast to the color of the flowers and make a dramatic statement,” he says. Staying on top of these maintenance tasks tells buyers that the home has been lovingly cared for, and sets the tone for the rest of the showing.