AA Home Emergency Response

AA Home Emergency Response

December 02, 2011 14:02 ET

Pounds Sterling 780 Million Repair Bill in the Past Year for New Homeowners

One in four people selling a home (25%) has tried to hide faults

Homebuyers spend an average of Pounds Sterling 1,076 repairing damage to their homes within the first year of ownership

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Dec. 2, 2011) - One in four people (25%) deliberately covered up faults the last time they sold a home, resulting in a huge and unexpected bill for homebuyers, according to new research for the AA's Home Emergency Response service. The findings reveal that in the past twelve months alone, people buying a house or flat have collectively spent £780 million repairing damage within the first year of ownership, an average of £1,076 each.

Around 6.4 million people who have sold or tried to sell a home admit to having disguised damage to the property, according to the AA's figures. Around 3.3 million people admit to covering up cracks with filler, equivalent to 13% of those who have sold or tried to sell a home. Nearly half a million people have covered up cracks with wallpaper.

Some 1.9 million people (7%) have covered up a damp patch by repainting, re-plastering or replacing wallpaper. Almost 600,000 (2%) have made minimal effort in disguising the problem, simply covering up a damp patch by hanging a picture over it or moving furniture in front of it.

Another 1.4 million (6%) have put down a rug to cover up marks or damage on the floor, and the same number have moved furniture to hide damage to walls or floors. Around 2 per cent of those selling a home (around 460,000 people) have adjusted the central heating to stop noises coming from the system, and the same percentage, around 420,000 people, have temporarily stopped dripping water by using tape or gum.

Other acts of deliberate damage disguise include hiding evidence of mice or other pests by sweeping up their droppings, and even using oil to stop the noise of a squeaky floorboard.

With the Easter and May Day bank holiday weekends a key time for prospective home buyers to start viewing properties, AA Home Emergency Response has produced a checklist as a reminder of some of the 'hidden' issues to look out for when looking at a new home. The checklist can be found at http://www.theaa.com/insurance/home-buyers-checklist.html

Tom Stringer, Head of AA Home Emergency Response, said: "A lot of potentially serious problems with properties can be covered up relatively easily, but can prove very costly to repair. We often make decisions about a new home with our heart rather than our head, so it is vital that people looking to purchase a home make sure they know what to look for or ask about when they are viewing a property, from whether the boiler is regularly serviced to missing or cracked slates or tiles.

"Often people can move into a new home and find themselves in an unexpected and expensive mess when an undetected problem rears its ugly head. People might mistakenly think their standard home insurance covers them for emergencies, but things do go wrong with alarming regularity so it's worth checking your home insurance policy carefully and if you are not covered, consider looking at stand-alone home emergency policies to provide you with complete peace of mind."

Those selling a home in London are most likely to have covered up damage, with 19% admitting to having disguised at least one fault before showing their property to potential buyers. Home buyers in London have unsurprisingly also spent the most on average on repairing faults within the first year of ownership. They have typically spent £1,364 compared to only £738 for those in the East Midlands.

Region Percentage of those selling
a home who have
deliberately hidden faults
Average amount of money
spent by homebuyers on
repairs within the
first year of ownership
London 19% £1,364
North West 13% £1,356
South West 11% £1,270
North East 18% £1,170
Scotland 7% £1,041
Eastern 10% £996
Yorkshire & the Humber 17% £984
Wales 16% £973
West Midlands 15% £924
South East 13% £902
East Midlands 10% £738

Notes to editors:

  • Research was carried out by ICM amongst a GB representative sample of 2003 adults between 13th and 15th April 2011.
  • Land Registry data states that 649,957 properties were sold in England & Wales in 2010, and Registers of Scotland data states that 74,538 properties were sold in Scotland in 2010, a total of 724,495 properties. An average of £1,076 expenditure on repairs in the first year of ownership multiplied by 724,495 properties sold in the past year equals £780 million spent in the past year.

About AA Home Emergency Response

AA Home Emergency Response cover provides a network of approved tradesmen available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are no call-out charges or policy excesses and for work carried out under the policy, parts and labour are guaranteed. Cover is available to both existing AA members and non members.

Customers wishing to find out more information should visit: www.theaa.com/home-emergency or call 0800 107 1031

Contact Information

  • AA Press Office
    Sue Beeson
    01256 492874

    Citigate Dewe Rogerson
    Ian Morris or Brandon Stockwell
    020 7638 9571