You don't have to remove every single leaf as soon as it falls in your home's yard, but you have to keep the property's exterior looking tidy and well maintained. "Leaves actually look nice as long as they have some color to them, " Harnett says. "But you need to make sure that your walkways are swept clear for safety purposes."
Homes in most parts of the country lack the blooming flowers and grass that make their yards look particularly nice during warmer months. Hartnett says you can give a property's exterior an attractive "harvest" feel by adding fall-themed decorations. "You lose some of the curb appeal that goes along with [spring and summer's] nice landscaping, but something like a seasonal wreath on the door can bring some of it back," she says. Also consider placing pumpkins and pots of mums on your home's front porch or portico. Maximize lighting
Shorter days and less-intense sunlight make good interior lighting more important than ever when showing a home during the fall. Hartnett recommends opening all blinds and turning all lights on when you know a potential buyer plans to stop by -- even if you're leaving for work and the showing won't happen for hours. "You have to make sure everything looks light and bright," she says. Another tip: Make sure all windows are sparkling clean inside and out. Hold earlier showings
Hartnett doesn't bother at this time of year to schedule the evening open houses she often holds during spring and summer to catch house hunters on their way home from work. Instead, she typically hosts open houses on Saturdays and Sundays between 2 and 4 p.m. -- but also keeps big sports contests and other autumn events in mind when setting times. "This time of year, we schedule our open houses around Boise State football," she says. "We know what's going on in town and base our open-house times on when we think people will be around." Provide warm-weather photos
The beautiful grass and garden your home has in the spring might be long gone by the fall, but you still want would-be buyers to know it exists. Hartnett suggests making photos of your home's exterior taken during the spring and summer available online, as well as putting out hard copies during showings. But you don't want to use spring or summer photos exclusively with an autumn listing. "There's nothing worse than looking at a home's listing in the fall and seeing photos from the spring," Hartnett says. "That immediately gets buyers thinking: "Gosh, this home has been on the market forever.'"