Buying a house is something many aspire to do, but maintaining it isn’t always as exciting. Once the rush of being handed the keys is over, many new homeowners have trouble getting accustomed to the time and dedication needed for upkeep. For this reason, we’ve surveyed 1,000 homeowners to learn more about their opinion (and disdain) toward household maintenance.
More than 1 in 4 homeowners regretted buying their home.
The most disliked home maintenance tasks were cleaning windows, cleaning gutters, and cleaning the bathroom fan.
50.7% of homeowners had experienced negative consequences from ignoring home maintenance tasks.
Prior to buying their current home, the majority of homeowners underestimated the time and money that go into home maintenance.
While being a homeowner is a dream for some, a quarter of respondents actually regretted buying their house. With a home often comes extra space (one of the main reasons for many to buy a house instead of rent), but it often leads to additional tasks that need to be done on a regular basis.
One-fifth of surveyed homeowners regretted buying their house strictly due to the dedication needed to maintain it.
Around half of respondents underestimated how much time, money, and effort needed to be put into home maintenance tasks. A sizable chunk of people knew exactly what they were getting themselves into, and a fraction were pleasantly surprised at the upkeep needed, compared to what they thought it would be like.
From a generational perspective, Gen Xers (those born between 1965 and 1980) were the most likely to underestimate the time home maintenance took. Looking at costs, baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) underestimated the costs of home upkeep the most, while Gen Zers (those born after 1997) were the most likely to underestimate the effort involved in keeping a home maintained.
Millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) made up the largest share of homebuyers in 2020, and they seemed to have a good idea of what homeownership entails. Roughly 47% of millennials surveyed stated they perfectly estimated the time needed, while 38% felt they had the perfect idea of how much money was needed. Nearly 48% also believed they knew the amount of effort home maintenance would take.
Regarding time spent to upkeep a house, different tasks need to be tended to at different occurrences (some daily, others weekly, etc.). That being said, experts recommend tidying your house for 15 to 30 minutes a day. If you clean less frequently, such as once a week, you’ll have to dedicate more time (two to three hours) during your day.
When it comes to maintenance, a good rule to follow is that your annual bill will be about 1% of your purchase price. So, a $500,000 home will run about $5,000 for yearly maintenance, for example.
In terms of effort, you don’t need an expert to tell you that the more work you put into your home maintenance, the fewer problems you’ll encounter down the road.
Must-Avoid Maintenance Tasks
Now that homeowners are in charge of tending to their homes, which tasks do they want to avoid the most?
Although maintenance could be tedious, it’s important for the well-being of your home. A clean house means fewer germs, higher air quality, and can prevent diseases or pests, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A Little Help
We know that a lot of respondents don’t like doing household chores, but why not?
Over half of surveyed homeowners said routine upkeep is too time-consuming. Another 47.5% would rather hire a pro to do maintenance for them, and over 40% were just grossed out by the task.
73.9% of those surveyed hired a professional to do their home maintenance tasks for them, whereas 46% asked their partner or spouse to handle it. Meanwhile, 18.2% had their children chip in.
When deciding which tasks to delegate to an external party, over 37% were happy to hand off gutter cleaning duty to someone else, and 34.5% wanted nothing to do with fixing leaky pipes.
The Cost of Avoidance
Over half of respondents admitted to neglecting household tasks, and they’ve suffered because of it.
Many homeowners have had to spend more money than they would’ve liked to fix a given issue. Other problems such as water, surface, structural, and freeze damage arose if maintenance wasn’t done properly.
While dealing with upkeep can be a pain at the moment, the negative implications of putting off maintenance could affect homeowners down the line—for instance, a house in need of repairs will make it less valuable.
Maintenance Made Easy
One-quarter of respondents said they weren’t prepared to become homeowners and promptly regretted it.
Of this portion, 24.3% said the upkeep made them have second thoughts about their purchase. About half admitted they underestimated the time, money, and effort required for upkeep.
Luckily, if you don’t want to do maintenance tasks yourself, it’s easy to find professionals near you online or from neighbor recommendations and word of mouth.
Methodology and Limitations
This study uses data from a survey of 1,000 homeowners located in the U.S. Respondents were gathered through an online survey platform where they were presented with a series of questions, including attention-check and disqualification questions. 54.5% of respondents identified as men, while 45.5% identified as women. Respondents ranged in age from 22 to 77 with an average age of 38. Millennials accounted for 26.8% of respondents, 27.5% were Gen Xers, 20.4% were baby boomers, and 25.3% were Gen Zers. Participants incorrectly answering any attention-check question had their answers disqualified. This study has a 3% margin of error on a 95% confidence interval.
Please note that survey responses are self-reported and are subject to issues such as exaggeration, recency bias, and telescoping.
Fair Use Statement
Maintaining our homes can be a drag, but it typically pays off in the long run. If you know someone who hates chores, feel free to send them this article to see if they can relate to our respondents. We just ask that you do so for noncommercial use only and to provide a link back to the original page so our contributors can earn credit for their work.