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When yellow leaves start to fall and nights grow longer—not to mention chiller—it’s time to pull out your autumn home maintenance checklist. While some projects are quick and easy, others require a little more time and skill. Some homeowners feel a sense of accomplishment tackling these tasks on their own, while others would rather leave it to the professionals. Ultimately, whether you choose the DIY (do-it-yourself) route or hiring help depends on your priorities—cost, quality, time and skill.

Some homeowners choose to keep up with this maintenance to preserve the quality of their house— one of the most common, and most lucrative, long-term investments. Not only will regular seasonal upkeep protect your home, but it will also ensure its curb appeal is pleasing to you, your neighbors and potential home buyers.

Fall Chore #1: Power Washing

Power washing—one of the easiest ways to clean siding, brick, wood, concrete and other materials of the dirt and grime from summer. It’s fairly easy to rent a power washer from your local hardware store, much more cost effective than bringing in a professional. However, the effort it takes to power wash the exterior of your house—especially if it’s two story—and can take several days. Hiring a professional can cost around $250, but save countless hours of your own time.

Fall Chore #2: Exterior Painting

Every once in awhile the exterior of your home could benefit considerably from a fresh coat of paint. It’s astounding what an updated color palette can do for curb appeal. Painting the exterior of your home, including doors and trim, can be a daunting chore depending on the size, shape and design of your house. The average national cost to paint the exterior of a house is roughly $2,581. Your skill level and knowledge can help you decide to do-it-yourself or bring in a pro. Do you know how to prep a house to be painted? Do you have the time, either by yourself or with a friend, to make sure your paint job is of the highest quality with attention to detail? If you answer no to any of these questions, a painting professional might be the best choice.

Fall Chore #3: Gutter Cleaning

Cleaning gutters and downspouts is one of the most important autumn tasks a homeowner can take on. Even if you only clean your gutters once a year, fall is the most important time to tackle the task. While some people don’t mind spending a day up on a ladder clearing the drainage areas from leaves and debris, others see the value in hiring a professional to get the job done right. The average cost of having a professional clean your gutters and downspouts runs between $105 and $177, and takes about five hours.

Fall Chore #4: Sealing Windows

Walking the perimeter of your house, examining windows for holes, leaks and gaps may or may not reveal the information you need. Occasionally these issues can be spotted quickly, but often professionals can examine windows more closely, discovering more subtle repairs that need to occur to make sure your home stays warm and your heat bills stay low during the winter. Most window repairs cost between about $150 and $500, though in some situations homeowners can pay more than $1000.

Preventive maintenance is critical to your home’s value. Making sure you’re in good shape for every season can save you substantial costs in the long run. While some tasks are easier to take on yourself, others are better left to the professionals. Give your fall curb appeal a boost by tackling these essential fall chores.

Thanks to Eugene Williams at for this article.