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Home Projects Council Survey Defines Five Home Improvement Personalities


April 13, 2018

Every spring signals the start to a new home improvement season with projects dictated by a variety of tangible factors like cost, difficulty and aesthetic, functional or financial value. However, a recent survey by the Home Projects Council found that a homeowner’s personality plays a critical role in his or her home improvement attitude and behavior. Designed to help homeowners understand what fuels his or her project activity, the survey identified five unique Home Improvement Personalities including The Sensible Improver, The Project Planner, The Reliable Renovator, The Visionary and The Extrovert.

Nearly 1,140 homeowners the age 21 or older took an online survey that combined an established personality test with insights about his or her recent and planned home improvement projects. While no one fits exclusively into any single Home Improvement Personality, everyone does land predominately into one category based on a scoring algorithm that compares significant differences in project experiences and habits.

“It is very common to segment home improvement attitudes and behavior by demographic factors, but by using a well-established model of personality, the Big Five, we were able to confirm a direct relationship between home improvement and personality types,” said Fred Miller of Consumer Specialists, which conducted the research.

The Home Improvement Personalities are listed below from largest to smallest group (percentage), with each defined through the bundling and synthesis of similar feedback in survey. A Home Improvement Personalities infographic is available on the Home Projects Council Facebook.

The Sensible Improver – Caring is Sharing Smart Home Improvements (39 percent)
A nurturing homeowner who often puts others first, The Sensible Improver embraces home improvement projects that create a warm and welcome environment. Not necessarily a skilled do-it-yourselfer, The Sensible Improver enjoys smaller, manageable projects that add decorative flare and visual appeal to his or her home while passing on more complicated projects to a contractor. A seasoned homeowner, The Sensible Improver calls on past experience while keeping a fresh perspective to make smart, informed and personal decisions about home improvement projects.

  • Highest percentage of Boomer generation at 53 percent
  • Male 42 percent vs. Female 58 percent
  • Non/Light DIYer 38 percent vs. Moderate/Heavy DIYer 62 percent
  • Overall Home Improvement Spending 29 percent
  • Project Comfort: Paint a Room
  • Project Angst: Installing a Fence

 The Project Planner – If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It (28 percent)
An orderly and practical homeowner that is careful to avoid problems, The Project Planner takes a meticulous and thoughtful approach to all home improvement projects. No matter how big or how small, The Project Planner thoroughly assesses the pros and cons of every situation before committing to a home improvement. With a priority on functional improvements, not cosmetics, The Project Planner becomes familiar with the details of a project before ultimately enlisting the services of a contractor to make sure it’s done right.

  • Predominately Boomer generation at 49 percent
  • Male 50 percent vs. Female 50 percent
  • Non/Lighter DIYer 36 percent vs. Moderate/Heavy DIYer 64 percent
  • Overall Home Improvement Spending 23 percent
  • Project Comfort: Landscape Property
  • Project Angst: Tile a Shower

The Reliable Renovator – Steady Leads to Home Improvement Success (15 percent)
Commonly an empty-nester that takes a laid-back approach to home improvement, The Reliable Renovator is most often moved to action when his or her aging home needs attention. Maintaining an even keel regardless of the circumstances, The Reliable Renovator assesses projects thoroughly before getting started and to change course swiftly if needed. Armed with an understated confidence, The Reliable Renovator has no interest in adulation for their efforts, only the knowledge that his or her home is in good shape and contributes to the financial value of the home, even if it requires paying for a contractor.

  • Highest percentage of Mature generation at 20 percent
  • Male 66 percent vs. Female 34 percent
  • Non/Light DIYer 38 percent vs. Moderate/Heavy DIYer 62 percent
  • Overall Home Improvement Spending 16 percent
  • Project Comfort: Install Countertop
  • Project Angst: Replace Windows

The Visionary – Taking Home Improvement to the Extreme (13 percent)
A homeowner with boundless passion and enthusiasm for upgrading his or her family’s home, The Visionary tends to have an appreciation and curiosity for art and for novel ideas. The Visionary fearlessly takes on projects despite having limited do-it-yourself experience. Driven by a desire to try new things and keep his or her home fashionably current to the point that neighbors might have curb-appeal envy, The Visionary often starts projects on the spur of the moment and with little guidance or help. The Visionary is proud to share his or her accomplishments with family and friends and ultimately invests twice as much on home improvements as the average homeowner.

  • Highest percentage of Millennial generation at 34 percent
  • Male 65 percent vs. Female 35 percent
  • Non/Light DIYer 22 percent vs. Moderate/Heavy DIYer 78 percent
  • Overall Home Improvement Spending 27 percent
  • Project Comfort: Install a Patio or Walkway
  • Project Angst: Replace Wood or Vinyl Floor

The Extrovert – Go Big Or Go Home (5 percent)
A rare breed that artfully balances family life with a gregarious personality, The Extrovert takes pleasure in completing large, complex home improvements that make a big impact to his or her home both in function and appearance. With a preference for doing projects without the help of a contractor, The Extrovert has a healthy addiction to home improvement that is constantly evolving. While The Extrovert thrives on conceiving, designing and executing unique and challenging projects, he or she takes pleasure in their home improvement project through the reaction and appreciation of others.

  • Highest percentage of Gen X generation at 40 percent
  • Male 60 percent vs. Female 40 percent
  • Non/Light DIYer 22 percent vs. Moderate/Heavy DIYer 78 percent
  • Overall Home Improvement Spending 5 percent
  • Project Comfort: Add a Bathroom
  • Project Angst: Replace a Roof

Age, gender and DIY skill level provide several clear distinctions between the Home Improvement Personalities, but where a homeowner falls on the scale between emotional desire and practical need also contributes to project decisions. That same pendulum between emotion and practicality also shapes the approach each homeowner takes in preparing, executing and sharing a project. That is reflected in the complexity of a project, the resources used on a project, and the amount of time and money spent on a project.

“The Project Planner worked hard to buy their first house and have been there long enough to understand the value of maintaining their investment,” said Tom Kraeutler, host of the nationally syndicated radio show and podcast The Money Pit. “Along the way, they gained an appreciation for thoughtful projects that make the home more comfortable, especially as the household morphed from traditional to empty nest. Conversely, The Visionary takes on interesting projects of all sizes and difficulty for the experience rather than the practical benefit, even when the cost may not seem to justify the end result. Ironically, The Visionary represents the smallest group, but are responsible for disproportionate of the project spending.”

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