Competition motivates home improvement, survey finds

If you think you’re the only one who does yardwork after a nudge from neighborly competition, think again. A study conducted last month by Wakefield Research and shared by Home Depot for their Spring Black Friday sale found that 53 percent of Americans have tried to compete with their neighbors by working on outdoor home improvement projects.

Millennials are particularly likely to take on an outdoor project in the hopes of one-upping their neighbors. A generation inundated with a constant flow of filtered and curated photos, it’s no surprise they’re especially conscious and competitive when it comes to the appearance of their homes.

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The study found 70 percent of millennials were inclined to compete with their neighbors and 50 percent acted on their inclination, embarking on a home improvement project largely out of competition. They’re also more likely than baby-boomers to purchase new furniture and other home décor.

It’s also not surprising that most Americans act on their competitive urges through exterior home improvement, rather than indoor, with 89 percent preferring to tackle outdoor projects first. What’s the point of a friendly competition if you can’t show off the results with curb appeal?

Parents are far more likely to compete with their neighbors than are those without kids. While only 20 percent of non-parents tried to win the home improvement competition, 40 percent of parents made the effort.

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The reality of competitive motivation shouldn’t give you too much pause. Even if it doesn’t motivate you to re-mulch your garden or clean the gutters, chances are it motivates your neighbors. So it probably makes your neighborhood a lot prettier.