What are your most embarrassing home repairs? [Survey]

Key takeaways:

  • 7 out of 10 homeowners believed it was important to be able to maintain upkeep of their home without the help of professionals.
  • 44.2% of respondents had been overcharged by home repair professionals in the past, while more than 1 in 10 respondents had lied to home repair professionals about how an issue occurred.
  • According to home repair professionals, the easiest home repairs are replacing a window screen, cleaning a dishwasher, and wall mounting a TV.
Surveys

Key takeaways

  • 7 out of 10 homeowners believed it was important to be able to maintain upkeep of their home without the help of professionals. 
  • 44.2% of respondents had been overcharged by home repair professionals in the past, while more than 1 in 10 respondents had lied to home repair professionals about how an issue occurred.
  • According to home repair professionals, the easiest home repairs are replacing a window screen, cleaning a dishwasher, and wall mounting a TV.

Homeownership bliss

Ah, the joys of being a homeowner. You can paint the walls any color you want, have guests over and enjoy the freedom that comes from being your own landlord. But with these joys also come some downsides, including maintenance. From major fixes, like roof repairs, to the minor wall patch required after a failed attempt to put up a shelf, as the homeowner, you’re responsible. 

You can choose to tackle home maintenance yourself or give the pros a call. Either way, you’re likely to face some a-ha moments when you realize that one option might’ve been better than the other.

We surveyed more than 800 homeowners and 200 repair professionals to find out about home upkeep, embarrassing moments and the importance of home maintenance. We found that homeowners of all ages have faced these challenges and learned from their experiences.

Taking care of your property

So who’s responsible for upkeep in general? And how important is it?

home-upkeep-responsibilities

70% of homeowners said it was important to be able to maintain their home without relying on professional help. Not everyone is able to take the task on entirely by themselves, however. Nearly half of Gen Z respondents relied heavily on other family members for home repairs, while almost a third of both millennials and Gen Xers preferred to leave maintenance jobs to their children. Across all generations and genders, many respondents said that home repairs were the responsibility of their significant other, with women more likely to say this than men (43.7% vs. 29.3%, respectively).

Ego repairs

While it may be important to maintain your home yourself, sometimes it seems like calling for professional help is the only option. For many, this admission is an embarrassing one – especially if it ultimately concludes that you probably could have succeeded on your own.

home-repair-responsibilities

Overall, 58% of respondents said it was embarrassing not to be able to take care of an issue themselves, with millennials being the most ashamed (72%). This has led to nearly a third of millennials being embarrassed to admit to others when they have to call in reinforcements. In an era of home improvement shows and social media feeds filled with DIY hacks, this connected generation is feeling the pressure. 

The tasks that our respondents were most embarrassed to require professional help with? Fixing a running toilet, unclogging a sink and wall mounting a TV ranked as the top three.

embarrassing-home-repairSometimes, embarrassment can stem from knowing exactly what caused the problem: like putting things down the sink you just knew you weren’t supposed to.

home-repair-embarrassmentHiring help

When you do bring in the pros, experiences can vary from the incredibly helpful to the incredibly frustrating.

hire-home-repair-helpBeing overcharged was the most frequently reported regret, with 44.2% of our respondents having experienced this. Baby boomers were the most likely generation to report overpaying. There are ways you can protect yourself from extraneous charges, including purchasing a home warranty service. Cover typically includes flat fees for service visits and set costs for replacements and repairs, helping to eliminate the financial surprises associated with calling for help.Having workers in your home can also lead to some awkward moments, according to over 35% of our respondents. And of course, hiring a pro to fix something that turns out to be pretty obvious or easy can be embarrassing in its own right.embarrassing-home-repair-story

A pro’s point of view

In some instances, it may take a homeowner hours, if not days, to remedy a problem in their home, whereas a professional may take less than 15 minutes! So what are some of the easiest jobs, according to the pros? First on their list of simple fixes was replacing a window screen, which is a basic home repair a lot of people could tackle themselves.

handyman-job-difficulty

Other simple jobs included cleaning a dishwasher, wall mounting a TV and replacing light fixtures. While tasks like wall mounting a TV and dealing with light fixtures can seem daunting because of their complexity or the fact that you’ll need another hand, cleaning a dishwasher is a job that homeowners can master themselves or even prevent altogether through regular maintenance.

handyman-storyAnd just like most people, the pros love it when a job is easy for them, with 79.5% preferring easy repairs over more challenging ones.

Making maintenance professionals’ lives difficult

Just as homeowners have sometimes been disappointed by their encounters with maintenance professionals, the pros have had their fair share of negative experiences with clients. More than half of professionals said homeowners had made them feel uncomfortable while they worked.

handyman-refusing-workEven though it was voted the easiest job, 12.6% of maintenance pros said they’d never take on a screen repair again after past experience. Perhaps it’s due to the simplicity? According to the surveyed home repair professionals if  tasks are too easy, homeowners can be more likely to complain about having to pay their bill. 
handyman-horror-story
Of course, the life of a maintenance worker can also get messy at times, especially when dealing with plumbing. One pro said their worst experience involved unclogging a sink for a homeowner.
handyperson-horror-story

Keeping it all together

At the end of the day, there’s no way to avoid home repairs. Whether you decide to tackle them yourself or call in reinforcements – even if how you got there was embarrassing – is up to you.

Feel at ease about your home appliances and their maintenance with a home warranty. From your garage door to your plumbing and kitchen appliances, a home warranty plan from Cinch Home Services can give you peace of mind knowing that even the simplest repairs are covered. 

Methodology and limitations

This study uses data from a survey of 807 homeowners and 200 home repair professionals located in the U.S. Respondents were gathered through the Amazon Mechanical Turk survey platform where they were presented with a series of questions, including attention-check and disqualification questions. 54.7% of respondents identified as men, while 45.3% identified as women. Respondents ranged in age from 21 to 79 with an average age of 39. Millennials accounted for 26.8% of respondents, 27.5% were Gen Xers, 20.4% were baby boomers and 25.3% were Gen Zers. Participants incorrectly answering any attention-check question had their answers disqualified. This study has a 3% margin of error on a 95% confidence interval. 

Please note that survey responses are self-reported and are subject to issues such as exaggeration, recency bias and telescoping.

Fair use statement

Feel free to share this article with your roommate, significant other, or family and friends who’ve experienced some embarrassing home repairs. Just make sure to do so for noncommercial purposes only and to link back to this article so readers can see the full study.

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