If you have bare dirt, you need to do something with it. I'm not sure what exactly you mean by "zero landscaping". But even if the market is down, curb appeal is just about the best place you can invest if you are trying to sell you home. Bad landscaping can cause a home not to sell or bring the price way down, even if it is very nice inside.
Sod can be expensive, so you might want to try planting grass seed yourself. Make sure to get a Northern blend with at least a couple of different types in it. If you are in full sun or full shade, that will make a difference too. Read the labels and try to pick one that best matches the conditions in your yard.
If you ask your neighbors nicely, maybe they will let you take a splitting from some of their hostas or daylillies! If you have elderly neighbors with well developed landscapes, maybe you can trade some yard work for plants. Hostas and daylillies (and other plants too) NEED to be dug up and divided every so often to keep them healthy. Maybe you can work out a win-win situation with someone in your neighborhood!
Also, check on craigslist for low cost plants, just be careful about where you meet strangers and don't go alone. Or post your own craigslist ad and offer to trade something for what you need.... more