NEW YORK — It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others, but a new survey of U.S. homeowners has revealed that a significant portion of Americans really, really want to impress their friends and neighbors. A survey of 2,000 homeowners finds that one in five Americans have started a home improvement project solely to one-up their neighbors.
Amazingly, 34% of all home improvement or renovation projects are only started to keep up with a friend, family member, or neighbor. The survey was put together by Wilsonart, a home goods manufacturer, and asked respondents about what motivates them to make changes to their homes.
According to the survey, the average homeowner has spent $3,558 on home improvements or renovations to impress, or one-up, others. It seems that envy among homeowners is very much still a real phenomenon, with 42% of respondents admitting that there is significant competition among their neighbors to have the best house on the street.
All of this behavior can probably be traced back to one universal human feeling: jealousy. In fact, 48% of all respondents said that they have walked into another person’s home and immediately felt jealous about a new renovation or addition.
Of course, this works both ways, with a whopping 63% of respondents saying they’ve walked into another person’s home and actually felt satisfied that it wasn’t as nice as their own house.
So what do people tend to notice about other homes right away? According to the survey, the number one thing people immediately pick up on is cleanliness, with 54% admitting they’ll compare how tidy the place is compared to their own home. That’s followed by excessive clutter (39%), odors (34%), and whether or not there’s a garden bed out front (25%).
Among other odds and ends that folks look for: 19% admit they check to see how nice a friend’s TV is, 18% evaluate how comfortable the couch is, 12% scan for how many toys are littered about the floors, and 11% silently assess others’ artwork.
As for which time of year is the most popular for home improvements, summer was the winner among respondents, with 42% saying they’ve got projects they hope to finish before fall. And it’s not just one item on the list, either. The average American has four home improvement projects to finish by summer’s end.
It isn’t just interior renovations either. A staggering 41% of respondents said they had taken on a lawn project or renovation also solely to impress their neighbors. In the same vein, one in four Americans have installed or renovated an outside deck just to woo their friends or acquaintances.
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.