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By Christa Lohman

HomeServe Finds Majority of Homeowners Not Budgeting for Repairs or Maintenance

NORWALK, Conn. — HomeServe USA (HomeServe), a leading provider of home emergency repair service plans, today announced findings from a new online survey conducted on their behalf by Harris Poll in December 2014 among 2,022 U.S. adults ages 18 and older on how American homeowners are budgeting for 2015. Only 32 percent of homeowners report that they currently budget for all their expenses and stick to it, while 38 percent keep a budget but do not always stick to it. 30 percent report they have no budget at all.

“While everyday expenses such as utility bills are top of mind with homeowners, a hidden danger to their budgets can be the cost of unanticipated home repairs, such as a heating system breakdown or water line break”

When it comes to home-related expenses, homeowners are crossing their fingers that nothing goes wrong this year: the survey found that only 40 percent of homeowners are budgeting for home maintenance expenses and even fewer (38 percent) are accounting for home repairs in their budgets. In addition, more than one-third (35 percent) of homeowners would not have enough money saved or are not sure if they have enough money saved to replace their heating system if it were to break down this winter.

The survey also found that most homeowners aren’t worried about a major home repair in 2015 with 59 percent indicating they are not at all or not very concerned. So it comes as no surprise that 40 percent of homeowners gave equal weight to budgeting for a vacation, a more discretionary expense, as they did for home maintenance in 2015.

On the other hand, energy/utility bills are a priority for homeowners with 55 percent claiming they regularly track or monitor their home energy use/utility bills such as those for oil, gas or electricity. Their primary motivation for tracking these closely may be cost considerations – 67 percent express concern about the cost of energy use in their homes – or environmental factors, since 45 percent expressed concern about the environmental impact of energy use in their home.

“While everyday expenses such as utility bills are top of mind with homeowners, a hidden danger to their budgets can be the cost of unanticipated home repairs, such as a heating system breakdown or water line break,” said Tom Rusin, CEO, HomeServe USA. “The cost of a water line replacement, for example, averages $2,200 nationally and replacing a heating system can cost thousands. Because many homeowners aren’t budgeting for these unexpected expenses, it might make sense for them to consider a service repair plan for a fixed monthly fee to provide financial certainty and avoid the surprise of a costly system repair or replacement.”

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States between December 19th and 23rd, 2014 among 2,022 adults (aged 18 and over) by Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe via its Quick Query omnibus product. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, the words “margin of error” are avoided as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in our surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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