The affordability of owning a home and household budgeting are just some of the issues facing today’s homeowner.
We’re keen to hear what you think about these issues, as well as more light-hearted topics such as DIY and how you get along with your neighbours. To do this we’ve teamed up with top market research company Populus to create The AA Home Panel.
Your views will help us to better understand and raise awareness of the home-related issues that matter to you.
Each month we’ll send you a short online survey that should take no more than five minutes to complete and we’ll publish a summary of results on our website each month. In return we’ll enter you into our monthly prize draw to win £250.
Since the home panel was created in November 2012 we’ve covered topics including how you choose where you live, home improvements and energy efficiency in the home.
‘I hope you’ll be able to find the time to join our home panel. For just a few minutes each month you’ll help us to create campaigns which will highlight the issues important to today’s homeowner.’ Brendan Nevin, Director of Home Services.
Make your views on home issues count
Populus (www.populus.co.uk) is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules
Most people begin their Christmas shopping in November though an eagle-eyed one in fifty starts theirs in January. Shoppers in the North West, meanwhile, are most likely to leave theirs until December. Only one in three use their savings to purchase gifts at Christmas.
Approximately one in fourteen households has solar panels installed at their home. Only one in three checked with their home insurer to see if the solar panels would be covered.
The most common cause of arguments in AA members households are partners and children not doing their bit to help keep the house tidy followed by disagreements about what to watch on TV. Leaving dirty laundry on the floor was also a common reason for arguments.
The majority of respondents have had some sort of damage to their home in the winter. Almost one in five (18%) have had a blocked drain and twice as many (41%) have had a fence blow down. Those living in the West Midlands are most likely to have had some winter home damage.
Almost half (45%) of AA members do not have a carbon monoxide alarm in their home. One-fifth (22%) of those who do have one do not test it every year.
Thinking about when they moved away from home for the first time, 22% of AA members said their biggest surprise was the general expense of running a home.
The most common silly thing respondents did when living alone was not locking windows and doors, followed by careless cooking.
More than half like the idea of a house with a name – but only if it has something to do with the history of the property. On the other hand, a quarter (24%) thinks that house names are pretentious.
White is the most popular front door colour which half of people have. At the more colourful end of the scale, one lone respondent has an orange front door. Respondents are most likely to describe somebody with a white door as ‘contemporary’ while they’d imagine somebody with an orange front door to be ‘quirky’.
A quarter of holidaymakers (25%) have returned home to find that they’d had a home emergency while they’d been away. A water leak was the most common which struck a third of those (30%) who’d had a problem. It was also the most expensive to fix – half paid over £100 to fix it and one in five paid over £1000.
Most people who’ve tried their hand at DIY have had some kind of accident; Londoners are most likely to have had a DIY disaster while people in the East Midlands are least likely. Hitting a thumb with a hammer was the most common incident which four out of ten people have done.
People living in the North East are most likely to have had a wasp nest in their home. Those in the South West are least likely to have had one.
Almost a quarter of people have had some sort of accident while watching a sporting event on TV. Of those that did, 71% spilled wine on the carpet, 22% fell over, 12% had a cooking accident and the same number broke an appliance.
More than a third would choose a tradesperson based on their online reviews, but almost a half think online reviews are biased. Younger respondents (under 35) were most likely to leave a positive review online for a tradesperson if they did a good job.
Respondents were most likely to pay for a holiday with their savings. Just 3% would borrow money from friends or family to go away.
One in five (19%) don’t bother to buy any souvenirs for friends and family. Those that do spend £44 on average.
One out of nine respondents has had a fire in their home. Of those, one in ten either didn’t have a smoke alarm or they had one which didn’t work.
Respondents think the biggest cause of house fires is cigarettes while over half think chip pans are a top culprit.
The most common cause of house fires is actually the misuse of equipment or appliances and the most common source of ignition was kitchen appliances.
The biggest indicator that spring has arrived is when plants and trees start to grow, followed by it being light when people are getting up for work. Turning the heating off is third.
The majority of respondents turn their heating off in April. One in twenty-five keep theirs on year-round.
Two out of ten people have been locked out of their home – and it’s highest in London where over a third (35%) have been locked out. To combat this, nearly one in ten people keep a spare key hidden outside their home. People aged over 65 are most likely to do so.
Only one in six respondents say they know exactly how much all of their possessions are worth. Three-quarters of respondents say they own some sort of valuable item: under 35s are most likely to have valuables, but those belonging to over 65s tend to be the most costly.
Around half of respondents have made a home insurance claim, and despite heavy rain and gales over the winter, they were least likely to claim for flooding and storm damage.
Respondents plan to spend around £30 on Valentine’s Day. Under 35s intend to spend the most – approximately £43.
Men were more likely than women to spend on credit cards over the Christmas period. Those living in Yorkshire intended to spend the least amount of money on credit cards at Christmas (£179) compared to those in the South East (£255).
Almost nine out of ten respondents say they keep a careful eye on their finances and so seven out of ten don’t mind looking at their credit card bills in January. However, one in eight under 35s has thrown away credit card bills without looking at them.
Six out of ten plan to make some sort of New Year’s resolution. The most popular resolution is to lose weight with three out of ten intending to do this. Only 4% want to give up smoking and 2% want to overcome a phobia.
Two-fifths are doing Christmas ‘on a budget’ this year because money is tight and almost three-quarters say their Christmas spending is well-planned and under control. However, four out of ten under 35s describe their spending habits as ‘chaotic’.
Just one per cent of respondents said their Christmas would be spoilt if a recipient didn’t like a present they gave them. Burglary is most likely to spoil Christmas, with three-quarters saying so.
The most popular way to save money at Christmas is to limit the amount of money spent on each person, while buying presents early is the second most popular option. Almost half of respondents said they wouldn’t spend so much at Christmas if they didn’t have children or grandchildren to buy for. Only nine per cent say they’ll make homemade presents for friends and family.
Around one in seven householders say they argue with their housemates over the heating each week. The most common cause of fall-outs are the temperature of the heating and how long it should be on.
Britain’s favourite temperature for their home is 20°C. A resilient two per cent have much colder homes than that – they say they won’t turn their heating on until December.
Most respondents take some sort of measure to try and save money on their energy bills. Seven out of ten said they would put on warmer clothing rather than switch on the heating, while two out of ten will only turn on the heating when they’re freezing.
Those living in the East Midlands were most likely to have needed a home repair last winter. Those aged under 35 are least likely to perform maintenance checks around their home such as checking their insulation or having their boiler serviced.
Men are more likely than women to use their sheds for creative purposes such as DIY projects or carrying out hobbies. However, only 1% uses their shed for beer or wine making and another 1% has turned theirs into a gym. People from Yorkshire have the ‘highest value’ sheds while the West Midlands have the lowest.
When there is a problem around the home, men are four times as likely as women to attempt to fix it themselves. The likelihood of a householder fixing a problem themselves increases with age, with over 65s more than twice as likely to do this as under 35s.
Of those who’ve never applied for planning permission, just 3% said it was because they were concerned that their neighbours would complain if they were given the chance. Another 6% thought it would be okay to apply retroactively.
Only 23% would look for a tradesperson online and less than 1% would hire a tradesperson based on their appearance. Younger respondents are most likely to choose a tradesperson who gives them the cheapest quote, with 11% of under 35s saying this compared to 3% of over 65s.
Twenty-three per cent of male respondents say they would attempt to carry out repairs in their home themselves rather than call somebody out to help. Just 10% of women would do the same.
Almost nine out of ten respondents say they own at least one kitchen gadget.
Electric tin openers are the most used gadget, with owners saying they use them at least once a month.
Cocktail fountains are likeliest to languish in a cupboard; a quarter of those who owned them said they’d never used theirs.
Respondents in Yorkshire came top in the survey for losing things down the drains – 40% say they’d lost something, compared to 28% in the East of England.
Items lost include mobile phones, cash, socks and toothbrushes.
The most costly items lost were pieces of jewellery, valued at £175 on average.
Women are more likely than men to have had at least one neighbour they dislike, as are those who live in purpose-built flats. Around one in ten has had their property damaged by a neighbour and 13% have been angered by their neighbour’s building work.
The majority of respondents think it’s important to have good relationships with neighbours. Only 5% thinks the perfect neighbour keeps themselves to themselves. Instead, respondents would prefer somebody who’s friendly, with two-thirds saying this is the case.
On average, respondents have decorated their homes three times in the past ten years. Around one out of ten had refurbished their bathroom, which proved the most costly room to decorate. Those aged under thirty-five are likeliest to have carried out some decorating.
Almost a quarter think that decorating nearly always leads to arguments and two-fifths find it stressful. Women are more likely than men to think that it’s too expensive to decorate.
Artex, coloured bathroom suites and cladding were amongst the worst decorating trends. Respondents also weren’t keen on inflatable chairs, artificial flowers or round beds.
Eight percent of respondents have become guarantors for children who are buying their first home, while a quarter have let their children live with them while they saved a deposit.
Four out of ten don’t think it’s any more difficult than it has ever been to become a homeowner and 16% think that owning a home is overrated.
The vast majority of respondents would make some sort of compromise in order to be able to afford their first home. Half would consider a property of a different age, while one out of ten would look for a property in a noisier location.
Over half of our respondents say they have a ‘spring clean’ each year and a third say they enjoy cleaning. Ten percent say they clean their home only once a fortnight or less.
It takes the majority of our homes 2-3 days to become messy after they’ve been tidied up and just 1% says the tidiness of their home is not important to them. Those living in flats say lack of space is their biggest problem.
Nine out of ten respondents have put together their own furniture, with a bed or bookcase the most popular. Almost half say they enjoy the satisfaction of putting together their own furniture.
If you have comment or question relating directly to the AA-Populus Home Panel then feel free to email the PR team at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org