Market Insight: Most new home buyers discover repair surprises soon after moving in 

Market Insight: Most new home buyers discover repair surprises soon after moving in 

Key takeaways

  • The American Dream is still alive and well, but most new buyers are unprepared for homeownership's surprises.
  • 70% of successful home buyers said they had at least one regret buying a home, with underestimating the cost of home maintenance topping their list.
  • Nearly 80% of new homeowners had "unexpected repairs" within the first year, some reaching $5,000 or more.
  • Real estate agents can help their buyers avoid home repair surprises by recommending that new buyers have a Cinch home warranty.

According to a recent story in the New York Times, moving from renting to owning remains the American Dream. In fact, the financial services firm Bankrate shows nearly three-quarters of Americans place owning a home as a sign of prosperity, ranking above family, college and career.

Yet becoming a homeowner also means being responsible for housing repairs and maintenance. A recent study says that often translates into surprises for new buyers.

Homeownership research from HomeLight found that among recent homebuyers, 70% said they had a least one regret. Tied for the No. 1 regret with “overpaying” for their home: “underestimated how much maintenance a home required.”

According to homeowner insurance firm Hippo research, nearly eight in ten homeowners had “unexpected repairs” within the first year. In addition, the study noted that while a little more than half of the new homeowners (51%) felt very well prepared before they bought a home, more than one in four (26%) found they were less prepared than they thought.

Hippo noted, "first-time buyers jumped in head first, and many faced unexpected repairs and surprises in their first year.”

The survey found that 77% of homeowners incurred a home repair issue their first year; 62% said a repair came within the first six months. More than half (53%) noted the repairs cost between $1,000-$5,000.

The least prepared generation?

Among Boomers, Gen X and Millennials, Boomers topped the list of the least prepared generation. Nearly 60% of Boomers discovered they were less prepared than they thought when they bought a home. For Gen X, it was 55%, and Millennials were the most prepared generation with 48%.

Millennials also topped the list of generations with 74% saying they craved homeownership education, followed by Gen X at 63% and 42% for Boomers. In addition, nearly 70% of all homeowners said they wanted to improve their knowledge about home maintenance and repairs.

Other unbudgeted maintenance costs

More than one in ten new homeowners paid $5,000 or more for their unplanned home repair — two-thirds of homeowners who had repairs in that first year spent at least $1,000 or more.

These unbudgeted costs do not consider other surprises for new homeowners, such as the impact of seemingly minor home repairs, such as a leaky faucet. The US Environmental Protection Agency says leaky faucets can add up to a total loss of a trillion gallons of water a year.

The EPA estimates that the average US household accounts for nearly 10,000 gallons of water wasted yearly. Moreover, one in ten homes has water leaks that waste 90 gallons or more daily.

Simple solution

Professional real estate agents know that many of the surprises, concerns and regrets of new homeowners could have been taken care of if these new homeowners had a Cinch home warranty in place.

It's why active real estate agents recommend home warranties to buyers – to remove some of the uncertainty that can come from owning and maintaining a home. A home warranty fixes unexpected budgeting issues for buyers and solves the resource challenge new homeowners often face in finding someone to make unexpected repairs.

Real estate agents can learn more about the benefits of a Cinch home warranty for their clients at

Your home protection is ready and waiting!