What Makes a Happy Homeowner?

A 2020 survey from LawnStarter.com has uncovered some notable insights.

LawnStarter’s “New Homebuyer Happiness Index” surveyed more than 5,600 recent homebuyers about their recent purchase. The 118-question survey covered a wide variety of topics – from neighborhood safety and the local job market to the friendliness of neighbors – to identify the most common factors that create happy homebuyers.

The biggest takeaway? Overall, homebuyers are a happy bunch with location, price, square footage, and bedrooms looming large in the Happiness Index and only 15 percent of homebuyers regretting their purchase.

Size matters. Despite the tiny-house craze capturing mainstream attention, those living in “mini-homes” less than 600 square feet were the “least happy,” while those above 2,000 square feet reported being the most satisfied. The more bedrooms a home had, meanwhile, the greater the happiness of its owners. An interesting aside: more bathrooms did not equate with greater happiness, as those with one bathroom were just as satisfied with their purchase as those with five or more bathrooms.

Move into happiness, not a renovation. The LawnStarter survey found that those who purchased move-in ready homes were happier than those who bought fixer-uppers. Furthermore, big surprise repair bills trended with unhappiness, a point in the favor of new construction.

Money doesn’t buy residential bliss. Those who paid more than $900,000 for a house were among the least happy homebuyers. In fact, those who paid between $100,000 and $900,000 were the most satisfied with their purchase. In an interesting twist to the discussion of home price, those who scored the biggest bargains were among the unhappiest homeowners.

The intriguing role of age and architecture. For all the romanticism about homes with historic charm and character, older homes, those built before 1960, tended to host the least satisfied homebuyers. And architectural style also contributed to happiness with owners of ranch homes reporting high satisfaction.

Unrelenting interest in bedrooms and garages. LawnStarter asked homebuyers about their must-have items during the home search as well as those they were willing to sacrifice. The two items most homebuyers weren’t willing to budge on: the number of bedrooms they wanted and a garage. In Illinois, specifically, homeowners refused to give up garages, but relented on pools.

Knowledge sparks happiness. Those who reported having little to no knowledge about the homebuying process expressed significantly higher dissatisfaction with their purchase compared to those who came to the table more informed and educated.

The ability to be “Front Yard People” energizes. Homebuyers who had both a front yard and a backyard reported higher contentment with their home purchase. This trends with the rise of front yards as in vogue gathering spots with neighbors and as safe outdoor play areas for children.

How to Tackle Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is an annual event in many households across the U.S. – and one that has taken on added intensity in some residences amid stay at home and shelter in place orders issued during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The benefits of spring cleaning are many. It allows homeowners to purge themselves of unnecessary clutter and adopt a more streamlined lifestyle. It helps eliminate allergens, including the dust, mildew, and pet dander that can accumulate during the closed-window winter months. And numerous experts report a cleaner home sparks improved mental and physical health benefits ranging from reduced stress and enhanced productivity to greater energy and happiness.

Not bad for a few hours of work, hey?

Here are five tips to guide your spring-cleaning efforts:

#1: Craft a Room-by-Room Plan of Attack

Creating a plan – what needs to be done and where – will keep you on task and drive more focused work. A number of websites offer handy room-by-room checklists to guide your efforts. But rather than looking at the entire to-do list, which can leave you feeling overwhelmed, take baby steps and address one room at a time. Breaking a single room into smaller chunks, such as dusting ceiling fans or wiping down baseboards, will also help spring clean seem more manageable – and give children a way to contribute as well.

#2: Start with “Neglected” Spaces

Consider how your home is used on a regular basis and begin with the most neglected spaces while your motivation and energy for spring cleaning are highest. A mudroom, for instance, might have become a catch-all for all sorts of items during the fall and winter months, while a children’s play area might feature dozens of outdated toys that can be donated, sold, or tossed. Other spaces, like a basement or den, might be glossed over during routine cleaning when kitchens, bathrooms, and common areas tend to capture more attention. 

#3: Declutter First

Before you can disinfect counters, clean bookshelves or wipe down coffee tables, you must first rid those spaces of clutter – old magazines, winter gloves, kids’ artwork, and the like. This will allow you to see what you’re dealing with and help streamline the cleaning process. As a bonus: decluttering spaces will help you feel more organized, which can curtail stress.

#4: Work Top to Bottom

If there’s a golden rule to cleaning, it’s this: work from the top down. By starting high, you force debris and dust downward, so you’re not forced to re-clean a space. In the bedroom, for example, clean the ceiling fan and wipe off furniture before shaking out the area rug. Or dust from the top stair down to the bottom one before cleaning the front foyer.

#5: Mind Your Investments

Couches, stone counters, and outdoor grills aren’t cheap items and those high-ticket items need some TLC to function at peak performance and reach their maximum life expectancy. Protect your investments by folding the regular maintenance these items require into spring cleaning. This will help your home look better and run more efficiently.


Capture the Benefits of Spring Cleaning

With a thorough spring cleaning, your home sheds its past and charges into the future – or at least the summer. It becomes a healthier environment thanks to the removal of allergens; a more organized home that boosts productivity; and a tidier home that enhances mood and mental health.