In the home-selling market, there’s nothing more unappealing than a house with bad curb appeal. For potential buyers, things like peeling exterior paint and an untamed lawn are big turn-offs.

“The first thing a prospective buyer sees is the front of a house, which includes the yard and exterior of a home,” says Kurt Blackburn, a broker associate at RE/MAX Northwest in Westminster, CO. “If either of them looks shabby, that once-potential buyer might just keep driving to the next house for sale, one that has great curb appeal.”

And there’s no doubt that the house with great curb appeal will command a better price than the shabby one. A Texas Tech University study published in 2012 showed that improved curb appeal, such as sprucing up the landscaping and touching up the exterior paint, can lift the sale price of a home by as much as 17 percent.

“Just as job seekers shouldn’t show up improperly attired for a job interview, sellers need to ensure their property is as attractive from the outside as possible,” says Scott Robinson, president of the Appraisal Institute, an association of real estate appraisers. “First impressions matter.”

miami-home-1

Photo: Lennar

No matter where you live, first impressions matter when you’re selling a home. But there are some places where improving curb appeal might be less of a chore.

To compile our list, we checked out the landscape for curb appeal in the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S. In evaluating the landscape, we searched for data that indicates a metro area has a sufficient supply of professionals who can help improve various aspects of curb appeal. We also looked at the suburban scene in each metro area and the rise in home prices, with both of these factors underscoring the overall curb appeal of a home market.

In all, we settled on nine factors that benefit physical and psychological curb appeal:

  • Number of top-ranked suburbs
  • Painters per 1,000 jobs
  • Roofers per 1,000 jobs
  • Real estate agents per 1,000 jobs
  • Lawn care workers per 1,000 jobs
  • Real estate appraisers per 1,000 jobs
  • Landscape architects per 1,000 jobs
  • Handymen per 1,000 jobs
  • Increase in home prices Q4 2014-Q4 2015

Each factor was evenly weighted and combined to come up with our final scores. Here are the places that qualified for our ranking of the Top 12 Metro Areas for Boosting Curb Appeal.

1. Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL

Home in Miami

Photo: Flickr/Alesh Houdek

Top-ranked suburbs: 0
Painters per 1,000 jobs: 1.889
Roofers per 1,000 jobs: 1.406
Real estate agents per 1,000 jobs: 2.938
Lawn care workers per 1,000 jobs: 7.984
Real estate appraisers per 1,000 jobs: 0.532
Landscape architects per 1,000 jobs: 0.116
Handymen per 1,000 jobs: 10.395
Increase in home prices Q4 2014-Q4 2015: 7.9%
OVERALL SCORE: 7.93 out of 9

2. Seattle, WA

Seattle homes

Photo: Flickr/Cameron Perkins

Top-ranked suburbs: 2
Painters per 1,000 jobs: 3.04
Roofers per 1,000 jobs: 1.17
Real estate agents per 1,000 jobs: 2.845
Lawn care workers per 1,000 jobs: 5.791
Real estate appraisers per 1,000 jobs: 0.193
Landscape architects per 1,000 jobs: 0.527
Handymen per 1,000 jobs: 9.304
Increase in home prices Q4 2014-Q4 2015: 9.5%
OVERALL SCORE: 7.64 out of 9

3. Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas house

Photo: Flickr/Tod Kurt

Top-ranked suburbs: 0
Painters per 1,000 jobs: 2.6
Roofers per 1,000 jobs: 1.1
Real estate agents per 1,000 jobs: 1.481
Lawn care workers per 1,000 jobs: 8.494
Real estate appraisers per 1,000 jobs: 0.611
Landscape architects per 1,000 jobs: 0.144
Handymen per 1,000 jobs: 10.373
Increase in home prices Q4 2014-Q4 2015: 9%
OVERALL SCORE: 7.54 out of 9

4. Orlando, FL

Orlando house

Photo: Flickr/Martin Brooks

Top-ranked suburbs: 0
Painters per 1,000 jobs: 1.828
Roofers per 1,000 jobs: 1.37
Real estate agents per 1,000 jobs: 3.417
Lawn care workers per 1,000 jobs: 9.365
Real estate appraisers per 1,000 jobs: 0.394
Landscape architects per 1,000 jobs: 0.116
Handymen per 1,000 jobs: 9.346
Increase in home prices Q4 2014-Q4 2015: 13.9%
OVERALL SCORE: 7.34 out of 9

Check out our Orlando, FL lawn care page. 

5. Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville house

Photo: Flickr/Erik

Top-ranked suburbs: 0
Painters per 1,000 jobs: 2.203
Roofers per 1,000 jobs: 1.468
Real estate agents per 1,000 jobs: 1.813
Lawn care workers per 1,000 jobs: 7.988
Real estate appraisers per 1,000 jobs: 0.591
Landscape architects per 1,000 jobs: 0.116
Handymen per 1,000 jobs: 8.207
Increase in home prices Q4 2014-Q4 2015: 25.2%
OVERALL SCORE: 7.26 out of 9

Check out our Jacksonville, FL lawn care page.

6. Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL

Tampa-St. Petersburg home

Photo: Flickr/Simon Kellogg

Top-ranked suburbs: 0
Painters per 1,000 jobs: 1.899
Roofers per 1,000 jobs: 1.687
Real estate agents per 1,000 jobs: 1.812
Lawn care workers per 1,000 jobs: 6.656
Real estate appraisers per 1,000 jobs: 0.398
Landscape architects per 1,000 jobs: 0.116
Handymen per 1,000 jobs: 10.274
Increase in home prices Q4 2014-Q4 2015: 9.4%
OVERALL SCORE: 6.77 out of 9

Check out our Tampa, FL lawn care page. 

7. Denver, CO

Denver house

Photo: Flickr/Larsen Development

Top-ranked suburbs: 1
Painters per 1,000 jobs: 1.292
Roofers per 1,000 jobs: 1.022
Real estate agents per 1,000 jobs: 1.341
Lawn care workers per 1,000 jobs: 7.598
Real estate appraisers per 1,000 jobs: 0.726
Landscape architects per 1,000 jobs: 0.233
Handymen per 1,000 jobs: 7.267
Increase in home prices Q4 2014-Q4 2015: 12.3%
OVERALL SCORE: 6.69 out of 9

8. Atlanta, GA

Atlanta house

Photo: Flickr/Stanley Fong

Top-ranked suburbs: 0
Painters per 1,000 jobs: 0.939
Roofers per 1,000 jobs: 0.573
Real estate agents per 1,000 jobs: 2.647
Lawn care workers per 1,000 jobs: 5.993
Real estate appraisers per 1,000 jobs: 0.646
Landscape architects per 1,000 jobs: 0.381
Handymen per 1,000 jobs: 9.286
Increase in home prices Q4 2014-Q4 2015: 7.3%
OVERALL SCORE: 6.47 out of 9

9. Riverside-San Bernardino, CA

San Bernardino house

Photo: SanBernardinoHouses.com

Top-ranked suburbs: 0
Painters per 1,000 jobs: 2.374
Roofers per 1,000 jobs: 1.065
Real estate agents per 1,000 jobs: 0.83
Lawn care workers per 1,000 jobs: 10.124
Real estate appraisers per 1,000 jobs: 0.321
Landscape architects per 1,000 jobs: 0.216
Handymen per 1,000 jobs: 8.624
Increase in home prices Q4 2014-Q4 2015: 6.4%
OVERALL SCORE: 6.43 out of 9

10. San Francisco-Oakland, CA

home in san mateo

Photo: Movoto

Top-ranked suburbs: 4
Painters per 1,000 jobs: 2.386
Roofers per 1,000 jobs: 1.042
Real estate agents per 1,000 jobs: 0.804
Lawn care workers per 1,000 jobs: 5.864
Real estate appraisers per 1,000 jobs: 0.258
Landscape architects per 1,000 jobs: 0.381
Handymen per 1,000 jobs: 6.082
Increase in home prices Q4 2014-Q4 2015: 9.2%
OVERALL SCORE: 6.35 out of 9

11. Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix home

Photo: ActiveRain/Chris Dunham

Top-ranked suburbs: 0
Painters per 1,000 jobs: 1.585
Roofers per 1,000 jobs: 1.387
Real estate agents per 1,000 jobs: 1.232
Lawn care workers per 1,000 jobs: 7.209
Real estate appraisers per 1,000 jobs: 0.505
Landscape architects per 1,000 jobs: 0.098
Handymen per 1,000 jobs: 8.406
Increase in home prices Q4 2014-Q4 2015: 10.3%
OVERALL SCORE: 6.29 out of 9

12. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX

carrollton tx house

Photo: City-Data.com

Top-ranked suburbs: 6
Painters per 1,000 jobs: 1.227
Roofers per 1,000 jobs: 0.617
Real estate agents per 1,000 jobs: 1.289
Lawn care workers per 1,000 jobs: 5.928
Real estate appraisers per 1,000 jobs: 0.448
Landscape architects per 1,000 jobs: 0.141
Handymen per 1,000 jobs: 9.605
Increase in home prices Q4 2014-Q4 2015: 8.8%
OVERALL SCORE: 6.25 out of 9

Check out our Dallas and Fort Worth lawn care pages.

Data sources

http://www.realtor.org/topics/metropolitan-median-area-prices-and-affordability
http://www.zillow.com/detroit-metro-mi_r394532/home-values/
http://www.zillow.com/pittsburgh-metro-pa_r394982/home-values/
http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm
http://www.businessinsider.com/ranked-the-50-best-suburbs-in-america-2015-10

Note: In some instances, statewide or nationwide data was substituted when metro-level data was unavailable.

Top photo: Lennar

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