NEW YORK — Buying a new home? Be sure you like the color of those walls. A new poll finds new homeowners are most likely to put off painting over any other household repair.
That’s according to a recent survey of 2,000 American homeowners, which found they were most likely to put off repainting (46%), cleaning the gutters (40%), and fixing holes in walls (40%). The main reasons? Lack of money (49%) and uncertainty over which specialist to hire (43%). Meanwhile, the most frequent unignorable problems included plumbing issues (30%) and water damage such as foundation issues, flooding, or settling (29%).
Older homes, bigger costs
Those with homes built between 1921 and 1970 cited windows and doors as their most expensive fixes (30%), while those with homes built in the past 50 years noted plumbing repairs as their biggest money-drainer (36%).
To help offset some of their maintenance costs, homeowners have put their DIY skills to use by replacing light bulbs (43%), cleaning dryer vents (36%), swapping out air filters (36%), and testing smoke-detector sensors and alarms (36%). However, other tasks seemed much more out of reach — like checking the steam system safety valve and steam gauge (23%) or testing the sump pump (20%).
“It’s interesting that only 36 percent of homeowners said they swap out their air filters. Simple preventative measures like this can take just minutes to do but can help ensure their HVAC system is working efficiently and help save money in the long run,” says Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt, American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning partners and second semester instructors for the brand’s Homeowning 01 series, in a statement. “Doing so every 30 to 90 days could save them up to 15 percent on their monthly energy bill.”
Home repairs get pricey fast
Respondents with more modern homes were more likely to consider themselves savvier about certain systems, including plumbing (61% vs. 46%) and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) (59% vs. 39%). However, almost two-thirds of all homeowners admit to knowing nothing about how to perform ongoing maintenance on these systems.
“While some home maintenance projects can be DIY tasks, ensuring the longevity of your home’s electricity, plumbing, fire safety and HVAC systems often requires a professional,” Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt add.
“Knowing nearly three in five homeowners said they underestimated the total maintenance costs in their first home, with the average homeowner spending about $2,700 within the first five years, we always recommend that they should budget one to three percent of their home’s purchase price for annual maintenance while also performing some DIY- and budget-friendly monthly checkups.”