Workmen carrying out repairs have even found a newspaper dating back to the First World War blocking one gutter, while a neighbour’s tortoise had set up a nest in another.
Half of over 50s admit they do not maintain their homes that well, according to financial group Saga.
Around 10% even confessed they do little or no home maintenance and 25% do not have any savings for home emergencies.
Simple maintenance like clearing gutters, putting the garden to bed for the winter and lagging pipes is just not getting down, the research showed.
And these small issues can turn in too much bigger problems like burst pipes or damp problems from overflowing gutters.
The survey also found more than half (58%) of over 50s don’t feel qualified to do some jobs around the house, while a third prefer to pay a professional.
While most over 50s are on the ball when it comes to getting their boilers serviced (75%), only half get overhanging branches trimmed (49%) or get their gutters cleared (45%).
Only 28% of people check pipes for lagging or cracks, but this could be a costly mistake as on average burst pipes and the damage they cause cost around £1,300 to repair – while the record pay out for a leaking pipe was almost £70,000.
Although a home emergency could be expensive, a quarter of over 50s don’t put any money aside to pay for one. The majority of emergencies happen over the winter, following the expensive festive period.
“The weather is unpredictable so it’s important that people look after one of their greatest assets and keep on top of basic repairs or put some money aside in case the worst happens,” said a Saga spokesman.
“Unblocking gutters could even provide some entertainment. Saga customers have reported some interesting items found in their gutters – like a World War One newspaper and their next door neighbour’s tortoise!”
If you are over 50 and looking for great deals on home insurance visit quoteline direct.