Real Estate

Unexpected Repairs Leave Many Homebuyers With Regret: Survey

One in three homeowners in a recent HomeAdvisor survey say they regretted their purchase after paying for repairs left unfixed by the seller.

The vast majority of homebuyers say they have had to fix issues they were unaware of during the buying process, and many lack the cash to fund those projects.

Homeowners reported spending an average of $7,080 repairing issues that were left unaddressed by the previous owner, according to a recent survey from HomeAdvisor.

“How serious are the issues? Bad enough that one in three say they wouldn’t have bought the house if they had known, and more than three in five have considered taking or have taken legal action,” the HomeAdvisor report reads.

The survey was based on conversations with 1,900 homeowners who bought their houses in the past five years.

Electrical issues, drainage problems and roofing deficiencies were the most common reasons for repair. Ventilation and flooring repairs were also common.

Homeowners flagged the bathroom and kitchen as the areas most in need of improvement, followed by bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms.

The survey respondents were an average age of 37, and all moved into their homes within the last five years. They reported spending more than $15,000 on home repairs in that time. Nearly half of those costs came during the first year alone, they said.

“It seems to suggest that, in addition to unresolved issues left over from the previous owners’ tenure, run-of-the-mill maintenance can also come as a surprise to new homeowners,” the HomeAdvisor report says.

Roughly 3 in 4 homeowners in the survey said they were not prepared for the costs they faced. One-third said they skipped home repairs because they were too expensive. 

The survey also found many homeowners don’t hold sufficient cash savings to cover an unexpected maintenance issue. A quarter of respondents said they had fewer than $1,000 available for repairs, and nearly that many said they didn’t have an emergency fund at all set aside for this type of expense.

The survey also hints at the reason for the issues. Of those respondents who said they had ever sold a home, almost 3 in 4 admitted they themselves had hidden a problem from the buyer.

Most of the time, these sellers said, they declined to repair an issue because it was too expensive, or would take too much time to fix.

Instead, the majority of these homeowners admitted to taking shortcuts, mostly without consulting a contractor. The most common shortcuts reported were to the home’s electrical system, roof and drainage — lining up closely with the issues the full group of respondents reported experiencing after their most recent home purchase.

Email Daniel Houston

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