Skip to main content

The State of Home Repair in 2024: From Homeowner Payments to Provider Promises

When water is pouring into your basement or your toilet is overflowing, there isn’t much time to wonder how you’ll pay for it. Homeownership is already as expensive as it has ever been, and the cost of repairs is just one more stone in your financial wheelbarrow.

In April 2024, Roto-Rooter surveyed 1,000 homeowners to learn how they cope with unexpected home repair expenses. We learned a lot of illuminating things about how people pay for their most critical home fixes — and about what it takes for home repair contractors or service providers to earn the trust of today's homeowners.

A lack of savings is leaving many homeowners unprepared for home repairs.

Even a smaller home repair can be a big financial challenge, considering all of the factors hitting Americans’ wallets today. Inflation has soared, household debt levels are high, and buying a house is often an eye-wateringly expensive process

So, when the major home expenses arrive, it’s no surprise that homeowners have to dig deeper than ever for the resources to afford them. Our survey found that: 

  • Nearly 70% (67.5%) of homeowners have less than $5,000 set aside for home repairs or maintenance, and 12% of homeowners do not have at least $1,000 saved for potential repairs.
  • 34% of homeowners do not have a savings account or any money set aside for home repairs or maintenance. 
  • Nearly 1 in 5 homeowners have used a "Buy Now, Pay Later" service to finance an unforeseen home repair. 

Q: Which of the following methods have you used to pay for an unforeseen home repair?

Roto-Rooter State of Home Repair Survey Results for Payment Methods

Extensive home repairs are leading to buyer’s remorse.

Most home buyers know that a thorough home inspection is an essential part of the buying process. But in the red-hot, low-inventory US housing market, homes often sell so quickly that many buyers can’t be as choosy as they’d like to be about home condition. Some even agree to waive an inspection contingency — a practice the pros don’t recommend but one that’s increasingly a reality for buyers in fast-moving markets.

However you get there, the result is often the same: a home that needs a lot more work than you were ready for. Some of our major findings about home repairs and potential buyer’s remorse include:

  • 1 in 4 homeowners regret buying their current home due to the number of home repairs they've encountered. 
  • 46% of homeowners have encountered more home repairs than expected when they bought their house. However, 41% experienced less than expected. 

Q: What level of home repairs does your home currently need?

Roto-Rooter State of Home Repair Survey Results for Homeowner Repair Needs

  • While the majority of homeowners (60%) have successfully done a home repair themselves, nearly 1 in 5 (19%) have attempted a repair unsuccessfully and had to call a professional.

Homeowners are facing honesty challenges when hiring home service providers.

In a perfect world, home service providers like plumbers and handymen would be a homeowner’s most trusted allies. Unfortunately, our study found that many homeowners have been burned too often by bait-and-switch pricing, hidden fees, and other underhanded tactics from home repair contractors. As a result, levels of trust in-home service providers are low across the board. 

Bad actors drive this phenomenon. For example, look at the many “$99 Drain Cleaning Special” ads you’ll see on any search for plumbing services. Nearly all plumbing companies that offer such big, flashy discount deals are playing a larger game that involves deceptive pricing, pushy up-selling, or quick-and-dirty service  that doesn't actually clean your drain. Find out more about why $99 drain cleaning offers don’t add up.

Here are some other key takeaways about trust in home repair services from our survey: 

  • 16% of homeowners have little to no trust in home repair providers, while over half of homeowners 'somewhat' trust them. Just over 30% trust them entirely.

Q: What is your biggest reason for not trusting a home repair provider?

Roto-Rooter State of Home Repair Survey Results for Trust Factors

  • 55% of homeowners have been enticed by an advertised low-cost service from a home service provider only to find out the final cost was significantly higher.
  • Nearly 3 in 4 homeowners (73.4%) would be willing to pay a slightly higher upfront price for home services if it meant avoiding potential hidden costs later on.

When choosing a contractor, great reputation, volume of online reviews, and personal recommendations are everything.

So, what makes a home service contractor trustworthy in the eyes of homeowners? Our survey respondents said their highest priorities were a large number of reviews, a good reputation, and especially recommendations from family and friends. They also told us they aren’t shy about shopping around, with most homeowners saying they compare quotes from multiple service companies.

For service providers, that means word of mouth is anything but dead in the digital era — in fact, it’s the defining factor in how many homeowners choose their service providers. These survey results show exactly how important factors like reviews and recommendations can be:

  • Overall, homeowners would rather choose a home repair company with more online reviews but a lower star rating (68%) than a company with fewer reviews and a higher star rating, revealing that the quantity of reviews matters more to homeowners. 

Q: Which of the following would encourage you most to hire a home repair company?

Roto-Rooter State of Home Repair Survey Results for Encouraging Factors

  • Overall, homeowners would rather hire a provider with a great reputation than a company that is completely transparent and offers upfront pricing.
  • The majority of homeowners get quotes from 2 or 3 companies before choosing a provider (57%).

Every day, Roto-Rooter partners with homeowners to execute thousands of home plumbing repair and maintenance jobs across America. We see firsthand how challenging it can be for homeowners to pay for the most important repairs. 

That’s why we work so hard to make sure we respect your money and your time, with up-front pricing and no bait-and-switches or hidden fees. Roto-Rooter also offers complete financing options to help ensure that every homeowner can access the right services for their home when they need them. It’s part of the uncompromising promise we’ve made to our customers since 1935: trustworthy service, transparent pricing, and the knowledge and expertise of our friendly plumbing professionals.

20 Years of Google Search Trends Data Reveals The Top Home Repair in Every U.S. State

To get a better sense of the home repairs plaguing America’s homes, Roto-Rooter investigated the most-searched home repairs across the United States using Google Trends. 

Using search history for home repair terms across a 20-year period (2004-2024), Roto-Rooter found that repairs varied across regions. The results reveal how vastly different American homes are when it comes to home repair necessities, from architectural needs to environmental impacts.

In 11 U.S. states, faucet repair was the top-searched home repair over the past two decades, followed by a running toilet repair (8 states) and broken window repair (6 states). 

However, there were some repair anomalies. Hawaiian locals searched the most for termite damage repair over the last 20 years, while Texans lead the way in foundational repair inquiries.

Roto-Rooter State of Home Repair Survey Results for Most Googled Repair per State


Roto-Rooter surveyed 1,000 homeowners in April 2024 on home repair finances, trust in-home service providers, and more to uncover the biggest home repair struggles and insights on choosing home service providers. Additionally, they looked at Google Trends data across 20 common home repair terms from the year 2004 to 2024 to determine the top-searched repair in every U.S. state.



Related Articles