Study: People Are Definitely Judging Your Home.
We Asked Them How.

By: House Method
Key findings
  • The older you are, the more likely you are to judge someone for the tidiness and perceived cost of their home, and the younger you are, the more likely you are to judge someone on the stylishness of their home. 
  • Boomers are more than twice as likely as Millennials and Gen Xers to look up the cost of their boss’s home or rent.
  • 57% of people say that having unkept landscaping would make them think less of someone.
  • 47% of people say they would negatively judge someone if their home looks cheap, and 43% say they would judge someone whose neighborhood looks cheap.

We may not like to admit it, but we do judge others based on their homes—whether that’s cleanliness, how stylish it is, or its perceived cost—and we know they judge us too. Most of us spend time preparing, decorating, and cleaning to make our guests feel welcome and comfortable, and—let’s be honest—impressed. We’re certainly not ones to operate based on others’ opinions, but we are suckers for curiosity—and for eliciting a great response. So we just had to know.

To better understand what people notice about our homes and what leads people to judge, we surveyed more than 1,800 people about exactly what they think about your home—yes, yours—when they walk through the door. 

Most people will notice how clean you house is—or isn’t—when they walk in the door

First things first. What do your guests notice about your home when they walk in the door? Break out the mop, this one isn’t hard to satisfy: 41% of respondents to our survey say the first thing they notice about someone’s home is how clean it is. Twenty-eight percent say the first thing they notice is how it smells (that is, for better or for worse). And don’t throw out your KonMari books just yet, organization, or lack thereof, is the third most popular answer.

Pet owners can take it easy, though: less than 1% of respondents said that the presence of pet hair is the first thing they notice. So shed away, practically no one will notice.

57% of people say that having unkept landscaping would make them think less of someone.”

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Almost half of people say they would judge someone for having a home that looks cheap

Here’s what our survey shows about what people are judging about your home when it comes to looks and cost—because they’re 100% doing it.

Curb appeal

Curb appeal is a huge factor in making a great first impression, and a big part of that first impression is your landscaping. Our study shows that that’s where most people will judge you as well: a majority—57%—of people say that having unkept landscaping would make them think less of someone. In fact, according to our survey, shoddy landscaping is the number-one reason someone would judge you based on your home.

Cleanliness

Cleanliness is, after all, what people say they notice first about someone’s home, and when it comes to cleanliness, 42% of people say that having a dirty bathroom would make them think less of you, 15% of respondents said they would judge someone for having dirty floors, and 14% say they would judge someone who has a dirty kitchen. Load that dishwasher, honey.

Cost

Perceived cost of someone’s home is also a big swayer of opinion. Forty-seven percent say they would negatively judge someone if their home looks cheap. Perceived cost of neighborhood is number two when it comes to what people judge about cost: 43% say they would judge someone whose neighborhood looks cheap.

Style

When it comes to what inside your home will garner judgement, cheap furniture and cheap decor are the frontrunners: 30% say they would judge someone for having cheap-looking decor, and another 30% say they would judge someone for having cheap-looking furniture.

The older you are, the more likely you are to judge someone for the look and perceived cost of their home.

On the whole, younger generations are far more likely than Boomers to judge others for having outdated kitchens and bathrooms or for having outdated decor. But when it comes to keeping up landscaping, the older you get, the more likely you are to judge someone for having low curb appeal: 72% of Boomers say they would judge someone for having unkept landscaping, while 60% of Gen Xers and 44% of Millennials say the same.

But the younger you are, the more likely you are to judge someone based on how updated their house is.

Older generations are more likely to be curious about the cost of their boss’s home

Here comes the juiciest bit. So, how much are we snooping around about our friends’ homes? Well, more than a quarter of people—31%, in fact—say they have looked up the cost of a friend’s home or their rent. And across generations, we’re all just as likely to go snooping around about our friends’ homes, and the same goes with colleagues. Seventeen percent of all respondents say they’ve looked up the cost of a colleague’s home or rent—and that percentage is roughly the same across generations.

But bosses are a different story: Boomers appear to be quite interested in the cost of their bosses’ homes. In fact, Boomers are more than twice as likely as Millennials and Gen Xers to look up the cost of their boss’s home or rent.

Methodology

We collected survey responses from 1,874 singles Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. The data we are presenting relies on self report. There are many issues with self reported data. These issues include, but are not limited to: selective memory, telescoping, attribution, and exaggeration.

Fair use statement

If you’d like to share our graphics and information with your own audience for noncommercial purposes, go for it. We ask only that you be a good internet neighbor and provide a link back to this page so the House Method team gets credit for their work.

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