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HomeServe USA (HomeServe), a leading provider of home repair solutions, announced the findings of the summer 2018 edition of its Biannual State of the Home Survey. The twice annual survey, now in its seventh edition, reports on the financial impact of home repairs and the state of the American home. The summer edition of the online survey was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe from Aug. 27-29, 2018, among 2,012 adults age 18 and older, including 1,377 who identified themselves as homeowners.

The survey findings reinforced previously collected data that showed that emergency home repairs are an unfortunate reality of homeownership. The last Biannual State of Home survey, conducted in February 2018, found that 51 percent of homeowners reported having a home repair emergency just in the past year. The summer 2018 edition of the survey dug deeper into that data, finding that one in five Americans (20 percent) reported needing to repair or replace their heating or air conditioning systems (HVAC) in the last year. Supporting this result is that many homeowners have HVAC systems that are aging, including forty-two percent of homeowners reporting heating systems over ten years old, and 30 percent indicating that their air conditioning system is over 10 years old.

In addition to HVAC systems repairs, Americans reported over the past year needing repairs to their blocked and/or overflowing toilet (14 percent), leaking water pipes (13 percent), water heater repair/replacement (11 percent) and a faulty electrical circuit, switch, or outlet (10 percent).

When asked how they paid for home repairs, 69 percent of homeowners indicated that they rely on cash or savings to cover the cost.  Given that the vast majority of homeowners depend on cash or savings for home repairs, the survey’s findings show that many actually have little savings set aside for a home repair emergency.  The survey found that more than one in five (22 percent) homeowners have no money set aside for a home repair emergency.  This is a jump from 18 percent reported in the winter 2018 survey edition. Americans with more limited financial means are the most vulnerable to the monetary impact of a home repair. Of those homeowners with household incomes of under $50,000 a year, 65 percent reported having $500 or less or even no money at all set aside for a home repair emergency. This figure is significantly greater than the 57 percent reported earlier this year.

“We see a trend, survey after survey, that many Americans are not financially prepared to shoulder the cost of an emergency home repair,” said HomeServe USA Chief Executive Officer John Kitzie. “Repairs or replacement of water or sewer lines or repairs to major home comfort systems can run in the thousands of dollars, yet one in four Americans have no savings set aside to cover these types of expensive repairs.”

American homeowners also reported problems with the home repair process with some (30 percent) experiencing concern about selecting a trustworthy contractor, while 28 percent said that the repair process took longer than initially expected. One of the benefits of a HomeServe emergency repair plan is that it takes the fear and hassle out of the process of finding a qualified, reliable contractor. One call to HomeServe’s 24/7 customer service hotline, which is open 365 days a year, including holidays, starts the process of dispatching a local, qualified contractor to your home.

Finally, for the first time, the survey examined attitudes toward and adoption of smart home technology. The findings make it clear that more and more Americans are turning toward these devices to make life easier. Fifty-two percent reported having a smart home device, including 23 percent who indicated they had a voice-controlled assistant (e.g., Amazon Alexa, Google Home). Thirty percent of those with devices cited convenience as the biggest benefit, followed by security/peace of mind (23 percent) and energy cost savings (19 percent).

Survey Methodology

The August survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe USA from August 27-29, 2018 among 2,012 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,377 are Homeowners.  The February survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe USA from February 22-26, 2018 among 2,037 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,389 are Homeowners. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact homeserve@hkstrategies.com.

 

HomeServe USA partners with utilities across the nation to offer water, sewer and electrical service line and interior plumbing and electric warranties to their customers. HomeServe maintains a 400-seat, award-winning call center 24/7/365 and dispatches fully licensed and insured, local contractors after one call. To learn more about an affinity partnership with HomeServe, contact us.