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How People Moved During the Pandemic — and the Unexpected Costs They Encountered

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans were working remotely alongside significant others and/or kids who were distance learning at home. The growing desire for more space combined with lifestyle flexibility led to many households to uproot themselves and seek more spacious digs.

A new survey from Angi, a digital home services and projects marketplace based in Denver, finds that 35% of U.S. adult homeowners who have changed their primary address since March 2020 say the pandemic prompted them to move earlier than planned. Meanwhile, 14% say the thought of moving had not crossed their minds pre-pandemic.

The highest percentage of folks moved to large single-family homes with four or more bedrooms (31%), followed by small single-family homes with one to three bedrooms (25%).

The unexpected costs of moving

While moving might mean more comfortable living arrangements, it also can come with unexpected costs. Upon moving in, the majority of Angi respondents say they found minor issues with their home (39%), while 23% found a mix of major and minor issues. Issues they found included:

  • Cosmetic (painting, wallpaper, cabinets): 40%
  • Plumbing/leaks: 38%
  • Electricity/wiring/outlets: 36%
  • Water damage: 34%
  • Landscaping: 33%
  • Sewers/septic tank: 32%
  • Structural (foundations, walls or roof): 30%
  • Mold/mildew: 29%
  • Code violations: 26%
  • HVAC: 25%
  • Other: 11%

As for which repairs were most surprising, respondents cited plumbing and leaks (15%), cosmetic fixes (13%), electricity, wiring and outlets (12%), and water damage (10%) at the top.

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In the realm of unexpected costs, the top areas were necessary repairs and renovations (38%), appliance repairs and replacements (37%), cosmetic improvements (36%) and utilities (35%).

To deal with these unexpected costs, 17% of respondents shelled out $1,000 to $2,000, followed by:

  • 16% who spent $2,000 to $3,000
  • 13% who spent $3,000 to $4,000
  • 13% who spent $4,000 to $5,000
  • 12% who spent $500 to $1,000
  • 12% who spent more than $5,000
  • 10% who spent $1 to $500
  • 7% who spent none

3 in 4 homeowners had official inspection completed

Three-quarters of homeowners (75%) did their due diligence and had an official inspection done before buying their home.

That means 25% opted out of a formal home inspection, saying they wanted to speed up the moving process, were confident they could handle any issues that popped up and didn’t want to be outbid. Among those who skipped the inspection, 1 in 5 (20%) say it was a regrettable move.

The top areas of concern for inspectors were plumbing (41%), electricity (39%) and roofing (38%).

Hindsight is always 20/20

In retrospect, 17% of U.S. homeowners say they would get a home inspection if they could go back in time and fix one thing about the moving process. That was followed by hiring movers (16%), budgeting more (16%) and asking more questions along the way (16%).

For those thinking of buying a home soon, keep all costs in mind — from moving to unexpected repairs — to be financially prepared. Setting aside 1% of a home’s value for general repairs and maintenance is typically recommended. When shopping for a mortgage, remember to account for all expenses, including closing costs.

Methodology: Angi commissioned DKC Analytics to survey 1,000 U.S. adult homeowners who have moved since March 2020, fielded from Sept. 24-27, 2021.


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