Survey: Older homeowners less likely to upgrade

Given a choice to love it, leave it or fix it, homeowners have mixed reactions – and in some cases a love-hate relationship – with their homes.
Washington Energy Services released findings from its semi-annual Northwest Energy Survey in May, revealing respondents’ attitudes about their homes as well as desires to upgrade the object of their sometimes affection.
People who have owned their home for three years or less appear to be in a state of bliss, with nearly 60 percent saying they have the home of their dreams or are proud to have visitors. This compares to all homeowners surveyed, where 41 percent say the same. Some 12 percent of respondents feel their home needs work, call it so ugly it’s cute or simply a money pit.
Nearly 40 percent of survey respondents see room for improvement and are likely to make upgrades this year. And those age 25 to 34, who probably don’t remember a home without remote-control everything, are much more likely to make upgrades than their elder boomers (63 percent versus 37 percent).
New windows and improved insulation or sealing are topping the list for homeowners this year. Other popular choices include roof repair or replacement and landscaping.
One in four homeowners believe they will save more than $500 annually by making energy-related upgrades. This may be just the incentive needed by the 23 percent of Puget Sound-area homeowners who aren’t planning to make improvements because they say they can’t afford it. It might also be the gentle push needed by the 44 percent who say they procrastinate when it comes to home repairs – with 17 percent admitting they’ve been putting off repairs and home energy improvements for over three years.
In all relationships, there’s give and take, but when it comes to temperature control, the battle’s on. Given the choice, 56 percent of male respondents would rather tolerate sweltering heat than suffer through freezing temperatures, compared to 45 percent of women who choose heat over cold. So it follows that more than a quarter of men are putting a heating system on their home upgrade list verses 18 percent of women.
Men and women seem to agree on the home water temperature, though. About 86 percent of all respondents reported that they’d prefer a three-minute hot shower to a longer shower that ends up cold. So it’s little surprise that, of homeowners planning to make upgrades this year, 22 percent intend to switch to a tankless water heater.
Buying a home can be stressful and particularly so when problems are discovered after settling in. More than 50 percent of homeowners report that, after moving in, they discovered problems with their home that were not disclosed in the sale. The top three unpleasant surprises include exterior issues such as siding, windows, or roofing, problems with plumbing or water heaters, and difficulties with heating or cooling systems.
The Northwest Energy Survey was conducted online by Washington Energy Services among 1,065 homeowners living in western Washington between Jan. 25 and Feb. 27, 2015.
Washington Energy Services has served the Puget Sound region since 1957 with home energy products such as energy audits, heating and cooling, plumbing services, and window and door installations.