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Home maintenance costs

Surveyees spend over $3,000 a year on home care

taking care of your investment header graphic

Key takeaways

  • Americans spend about $280 per month on home maintenance projects — that’s almost $3,500 a year.
  • On average, Gen Z completes the majority of outdoor tasks nearly two times faster than other generations.
  • Over 30% of men and over 20% of women prefer working on solo projects.
  • Gen Zers clean their toilets over 20% less often than other generations.

Buying a house is only the beginning when it comes to committing to and investing in a home — there’s also regular upkeep and renovations, which not everyone carefully considers before move-in day. After talking to more than 1,000 homeowners in the U.S., we found that standard home maintenance has fallen by the wayside for many Americans.

Curious to learn which generations are neglecting their chores? Or how long it takes and how much it costs to complete them? Keep reading to find the answers to these questions and more.

Most common household chores

The most commonly done tasks, or what we’re calling the most “popular” chores, aren’t necessarily the most enjoyable or even the most essential. However, they’re what respondents accomplished most often within the home.

graphic depicting indoor and outdoor tasks by popularity

Perhaps one of the least enjoyable chores for most homeowners — cleaning the toilet — was also the most commonly performed. It was the only chore more than half of the respondents did themselves. Homeowners in general seem well aware of the importance of cleaning the toilet, but younger participants, specifically Gen Zers, said they clean their toilets more than 20% less often than other generations.

We found that issues like mold and other environmental toxins, especially during the recent buying rush, were often overlooked. According to our results, Americans most commonly failed to notice a home’s roof condition during the buying process. It’s a significant oversight: Some estimates average $7,000 for a major roof repair (even more when an entire replacement is necessary).

The cost of maintaining a home

Next, we asked respondents how much time (in minutes) and money they spent on various home-related tasks and compared their answers by generation.

graphic depicting average completion time and cost for home tasks

Refinishing a deck is an ambitious and costly process — homeowners we surveyed took an average of 111 minutes to get the job done (longer than any other tasks we discussed took). With an average cost of $120, deck refinishing was also one of the most expensive tasks. It was second only to exterior paint touch-ups, which averaged $122 per project.

Gen Z reported accomplishing outdoor tasks much more quickly — twice as fast, actually — than older Americans. Maybe it’s because this digitally native generation is younger, or perhaps they’re just better at researching and outsourcing this type of work through apps like TaskRabbit.

Some indoor tasks were quicker or cheaper than outdoor chores. Deep cleaning appliances, for instance, only took an average of one hour and cost about $60. This simple job likely saves homeowners money; regular cleaning, especially deep cleaning, helps appliances function better and last longer.

All things considered, according to our results, indoor and outdoor chores currently cost the average American homeowner $3,360 per year ($280 each month).

Homeowners need help

Homeowners don’t have to be in it alone when it comes to maintaining their property. We shouldn’t be afraid to ask for a little help, especially for tasks that require specialized knowledge or work beyond our physical abilities. Here’s how American homeowners are currently approaching these scenarios.

graphic depicting most delayed chores

Despite Gen Z reporting faster job completion times outdoors, they were more likely to delay outdoor work than any other generation. Raking leaves was the chore most likely to be put off by our surveyed homeowners — cleaning up leaves triggered procrastination in 20% of respondents.

For some, it might just take a change in perspective to see a chore as less burdensome. Raking leaves, for instance, offers fresh air, time outdoors and some exercise.

As some residents were aware, tasks like this can also provide a sense of camaraderie if you ask for assistance. People were most likely to ask their spouse or partner (if anyone) for help around the house, although many (30%) turned to friends. However, men were 10% more likely than women to prefer doing housework alone.

Checking your home maintenance list twice

Home maintenance isn’t everybody’s favorite part of homeownership, as we saw in our survey results. Respondents claimed to commonly avoid roof repair, disinfecting the bathroom and cleaning appliances — but avoiding these tasks for too long can cost a lot of money in the long run.

Age did play a factor in a person’s inclination to care for their investment. Younger respondents seem to delay certain chores the longest, although they do claim to move most efficiently once they get started.

If you’re having trouble getting motivated to keep up with your household chores, it might help to think of these tasks as a way of maintaining your investment. A well-cared-for home can serve a family — and even generations to come — for years.

Methodology

We surveyed 1,017 homeowners about their home maintenance habits and overall sentiment toward these tasks. The mean age of respondents was 41 years old. Among them, 51% were men, 48% were women and 1% were nonbinary. We saw the following generational breakdown: 24% Gen Z, 28% millennials, 25% Gen X and 23% baby boomers.

To help ensure that all respondents took our survey seriously, they were required to identify and correctly answer an attention-check question.

Survey data has certain limitations related to self-reporting. These limitations include telescoping, exaggeration and selective memory.

About ConsumerAffairs

Those of us making big purchasing decisions benefit greatly from the knowledge of experts in the field and reviews and feedback from the public. ConsumerAffairs offers up-to-date experience and research in a single place to help buyers across the board.

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