HomeServe USA (HomeServe), a leading provider of home repair solutions, announced the findings of the winter 2019 edition of its Biannual State of the Home Survey. Once again, the latest smart home technology was a popular topic.
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Building on a question first asked in the summer 2018 edition, the survey examined attitudes toward and adoption of the latest smart home technology. The majority of homeowners – 56 percent – report having at least one smart home device. Use of voice-controlled assistant (e.g., Amazon Alexa, Google Home) topped the list at 35 percent, while 20 percent report using smart light bulbs. Video monitoring (e.g., Amazon Cloud Cam, Nest Cam, Ring, Arlo) came in at 17 percent and smart heating/cooling technology is used by 16 percent of homeowners. The findings make it clear that Americans are turning toward devices that can make life easier.
The twice annual survey, now in its eighth edition, reports on the financial impact of home repairs and the state of the American home. The winter edition of the online survey was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe from Feb. 27-March 1, 2019, among 2,031 U.S. adults age 18 and older, including 1,429 who identified themselves as homeowners.
The Latest Smart Home Technology and Apps
The survey also examined the adoption of mobile device apps to manage the home. Thirty-six percent of homeowners report using at least one mobile app, with apps that manage smart devices and appliances/electronics (e.g., Alexa, Sonos, Nest, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings) topping the list at 27 percent. Nine percent reported using home repair apps (e.g., Centriq, WikiHow, DIY Tip Genius, BrightNest) and eight percent use a mobile app to track house cleaning schedules and chores (e.g., Tody, OurHome, HabitHub).
“Smart home technology adoption will likely continue to rise as homeowners get more comfortable using these new technologies,” said HomeServe USA Chief Executive Officer John Kitzie. “That is why HomeServe is committed to offering our customers technology solutions that simplify their lives — including a new partnership with Centriq to offer a mobile solution to help customers better manage their homes.”
 Survey conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe from August 27 – 29, 2018 among 2,012 U.S. adults 18+ (1,377 homeowners)
All eight editions of the survey, which first began in 2015, have examined the savings habits of Americans in relation to emergency home repairs. The previous survey, conducted in summer 2018, found that more than one in five (22 percent) homeowners have no money set aside for a home repair emergency. That number dropped slightly to 18 percent in the most recent edition of the survey, but is the same level seen in the winter 2018 survey (20 percent) .
Of particular concern is the finding that, of those homeowners with household incomes of less than $50,000, almost one-third (31 percent) reported having no savings set aside for an unexpected home emergency. In addition, while some contend that contributing to a “rainy-day” fund is the best way to prepare for an unexpected home emergency, the survey data clearly shows that such a fund is not being utilized by many homeowners. Indeed, 43 percent of homeowners reported having no rainy-day fund or emergency savings fund or a specific line item in their budget for home maintenance or unexpected home repair costs. That number increases to 52 percent for homeowners with a household income under $50,000.
“The trend continues in current edition of the Biannual State of the Home survey – far too many homeowners are not financially prepared for an emergency home repair. This is especially true for homeowners with household incomes of less than $50,000, who, unfortunately, would be the hardest hit by an unexpected and expensive home emergency,” said John Kitzie. “We know that based upon survey results, more than half of homeowners have experienced some sort of emergency home repair in the past 12 months.”
The survey further supports previously collected data that showed that emergency home repairs are an unfortunate reality of homeownership. Fifty-four percent of Americans reported having a home repair emergency in the last year alone, with heating or air conditioning (HVAC) system repair or replacement (16 percent), blocked/overflowing toilet (14 percent), and leaking water pipes (12 percent) topping the list of the most common home emergency repairs.
Picking a Pro
For the first time, the survey examined how homeowners identify a service person or company to complete home repairs. Forty-one percent rely on referrals from family and friends, while 27 percent search online. A small number, five percent, reported using smartphone apps to find repair professionals. HomeServe takes the hassle and worry out of finding a reputable contractor to help with home repairs.
The winter survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe USA from Feb.27-Mar. 1, 2019, among 2,031 U.S. adults age 18 and older, among whom 1,429 are homeowners. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Survey conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe from February 22-26, 2018 among 2,037 U.S. adults 18+ (1,389 homeowners)