What's Driving Home Improvement?

While there are many reasons to embark on a home improvement project, from increasing your home’s value to expanding your living space for your family, for some Americans, the next-door neighbors are the driving force.

According to a survey of 2,000 homeowners conducted by OnePoll for home-goods manufacturer Wilsonart, one in five Americans (34 percent) started a home improvement project in order to keep up with - or get ahead of! - a friend, family member or neighbor.

The survey revealed that the average homeowner spent $3,558 on home improvements or renovations to impress others, with 42 percent of respondents reporting that there is significant competition among neighbors to have the best house on the street. Summer was far and away the peak season for home improvement projects, chosen as the most popular season by 42 percent of respondents, with as many as four projects underway. Additionally, 41 percent of respondents were working on a lawn project solely to impress the neighbors, with 1 in 4 tackling a deck renovation to attract friends and neighbors to come on over.

Candidly, 48 percent of respondents admit to walking into another person’s home and immediately feeling jealous about their renovation or addition. Conversely, 63 percent report walking into another home and secretly feeling satisfied that it wasn’t as nice as their own home.

Some of the things people most often notice about a friend’s or neighbor’s home compared to their own?

  • Its cleanliness - 54%

  • The amount of clutter - 39%

  • Odors - 34%

  • Whether there’s a garden bed in front - 25%

  • How nice the TV is - 19%

  • How comfortable the couch is - 18%

  • How many toys are scattered about - 12%

  • The quality of the artwork - 11%

Source: RISmedia