Vast Majority of Women Will Be Solely Responsible for Maintaining a Home One Day - But Are They Prepared?

Nationwide Survey Finds Women Enjoy Home Maintenance, But Issues Emerge Over Getting the Job Done

According to the results of a nationwide survey released here today, single and married women homeowners alike are actively involved with home maintenance, know a lot about it, and want to know more, particularly about engaging reliable home care professionals. But the survey also pointed to some worrisome trends.

The survey of 603 women homeowners was commissioned by Sears, Roebuck and Company (NYSE: S), one of the nation's leading full-line retailers.

The issue of women and home maintenance is critical because, as Sears found, 85% of women have been, are currently, or expect to be solely responsible for maintaining a home.

"From the record numbers of single women buying a first home to those who are suddenly single as a result of divorce or the death of a spouse, more and more women are finding themselves responsible for a home," said Georgeann Georges, vice president of Sears Home Services. "Given that a woman's home is frequently her most valuable financial asset, women need to arm themselves with the knowledge and tools to keep their homes in good repair."

It is an increasingly important issue with an aging population. Forty-nine percent of the women homeowners 50 and over who were surveyed said they are concerned that they won't be able to keep their homes up in years to come.

Overall, findings from the survey indicate that women clearly enjoy home maintenance:

  --  83% of women said working with tools makes them feel independent
  --  Three out of five would rather receive an hour of advice from Bob Vila
      than Dr. Phil
  --  69% of women homeowners consider themselves at least somewhat handy
  --  Proficiency in home repair admired twice as much as fashion sense in
      other women

Yet, the survey pointed to some issues for women and found a number of areas where women need to learn more or where they are looking for advice and resources. Specifically:

  --  Women's knowledge, confidence and abilities in home repair lag men's
  --  In 44% of married or cohabiting households, husband/partner is solely
      responsible for home maintenance
  --  While women rely on home care professionals for maintenance, many
      believe they're being overcharged
  --  Good home repair professional ranked harder to find than doctor or
      financial advisor
   (Editor's note: For more detailed results of the survey, go to .)

Encouragingly, most of the women homeowners surveyed by Sears said it is important for them to learn more about home maintenance and repair.

One of the factors driving women's interest in keeping their homes up is the fact that their home is the primary asset for many women homeowners. Forty-one percent of women said the equity in their home is worth more than all their other financial assets combined and another 30% weren't sure which is worth more, underscoring the importance of keeping a home well maintained.

"Women will pay a hefty price if they fail to maintain their homes," Georges said. "It is the proverbial double-edged sword. For many women, their home is the bulk of their nest egg, but failing to maintain it means both an economic loss and a lesser lifestyle. It is critical that women develop a stronger foundation on home care and the costs associated with it."

Sears has created a special informational web site for homeowners: . The site includes Sears' Ultimate Home Quiz, where readers/viewers can test their mettle on many of the same questions asked in the nationwide survey. The site also offers a wealth of home maintenance information and advice including a virtual home, a checklist of home maintenance items organized by month, a helpful guide to help take the concern out of hiring a home repair professional, links to other useful sites for homeowners, and an "Ask the Expert" feature.

The nationwide telephone poll looked at the home care knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of 603 female homeowners. It was conducted between March 27 and April 18, 2004 by the research firm of Mathew Greenwald & Associates. The survey base included 301 married or cohabiting women and 302 single women homeowners. The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 3.9%. The margin of error for the sub-samples of married/co-habiting and single women homeowners is +/- 5.5%.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a summary release. For the complete version of this press release and for more information on the Sears survey, including complete survey results, please go to: .)

Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading broadline retailer providing merchandise and related services. With revenues in 2003 of $41.1 billion, the company offers its wide range of home merchandise, apparel and automotive products and services through more than 2,300 Sears-branded and affiliated stores in the U.S. and Canada, including approximately 870 full-line stores and 1,100 specialty stores in the U.S. Sears also offers a variety of merchandise and services through,, and specialty catalogs. Sears is the only retailer where consumers can find each of the Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard and Lands' End brands together -- among the most trusted and preferred brands in the U.S. The company is the largest provider of product repair services with more than 14 million service calls made annually.

SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck and Co.

CONTACT: News Media Contact, William B. Masterson of Sears, Roebuck and
Co., +1-847-286-2304

Web site:

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