Home inspection findings by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC# 9073

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What Fannie Mae’s Findings May Mean to the Real Estate Investor

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How consumers feel can be more important than what is actually happening. The survey that was conducted as a national housing review does indicate a change in attitude that can help real estate investors make a decision.

I think people may pick and choose statements from this survey to support their case about the housing market. There are factors that do not look so great, but you can find other factors that bode well for housing. This will lead to various stories about the decline of the American Dream of homeownership in general, about how homeownership is a great investment for the average American, or about how there are signs of a resurgence in homeownership in the future. My thought after skimming the results of the survey is that we need to rethink urban planning, which may be unusual for others to be thinking after looking at this document. There were two factors that I thought would be interesting for the real estate investor to delve into further.
    Americans may not want to own their homes? A rather dramatic statement is being made after the release of the report. The finding was one person out of three felt that renting was a better option. This is a shift away from the idea of homeownership that we have held in the past, and this may be a good thing for the country. It is positive news for the real estate investor looking into rental property. The housing market has been an economic engine for some time, and it will be again, but do we need to be building homes for the end user to buy? Our population will need housing, but they do not need to own that housing, particularly when their own finances cannot help them to meet thepayments (a fact that led to the housing crisis). I see this as an opportunity for the real estate investor. There is a greater market of potential renters who are not looking to become property owners, creating a need for a middle man. Someone has to own the place to live for others to rent. I see a positive mood towards renting as a positive for landlords.
    Hold on, there are signs that owning a home is increasing as a goal that some of our population wants to achieve. If you are looking into flipping houses, there is news in the survey that you should analyze. The idea that owning a home is desired is increasing among certain groups of young people. Most notable a third of young Hispanics want to own a home. Since I am looking at this from the perspective of living in Texas, where the Hispanic population will become a majority, I see this as a factor to consider. Currently, homeownership rates have been low in this community, but this survey has hit upon a trend that I have been noticing. Waiting for my daughter to come out of her elementary school, I hear the mothers talking. I have noticed a few times now that the conversation turns towards purchasing a home. Some people do not seem interested, but you do have a group avidly discussing how they could achieve this goal, and what they want in a home. These conversations are taking place in Spanish.  A real estate investor may be wise to incorporate features that Hispanics are considering for their homes, if they want to flip them faster. This means thinking about including features like more bedrooms and tile floors for one thing (note: although the survey is looking at Hispanics, we have to understand that there are different desires for the home from someone who is of Cuban descent to someone who is of Mexican descent).
    These trends do not come as a surprise. The real estate industry was already seeing the growing influence of the Hispanic market, and we were hoping for this market to blossom, since there are many potential sales there. We were  vaguely aware that some people buying homes should have been renters, and hindsight indicates that this trend may have been in the shadows. There may be a factor that helps us better make a business decision, so at least read this press release about the report. In conclusion, I think that this report highlights that this is a good time to obtain rental properties.

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2 Responses to “What Fannie Mae’s Findings May Mean to the Real Estate Investor”

  1. These are certainly things to consider. It is always wise to make the home attractive to the demographics in the area. We have a large Hispanic population here in San Diego as well. Houses are beginning to move, and the pace is accelerating over the last couple months so hopefully the trend will continue.

    You touched on another important topic and that is perception. People often get too involved in listening to how bad things are, but if you look around and open your eyes if often is not as bad as you think.


  2. We have seen a slight improvement here as well. An interesting book on the topic of Hispanic home buyers is “Casa y Communidad”, which has articles from several top people in their field. What I have noticed through direct involvement in that community is how a larger extended family will work together to make homeownership possible (a fact that is pointed out in that book too). I think investors have to consider factors like who may be there potential clients. Many communities follow a pattern of helping someone purchase a home through the help of a larger extended family.

    An interesting note for us home inspectors would be to understand the needs of these communities as well. For example, garages, especially if they are attached, are often converted into rooms by these families to create more living space, since they may have a relative outside the immediate family unit staying with them. We should explain the concerns that would arise if the garage was converted. In the kitchen, we may find that the dishwasher is not used, so explaining the consequences to that unit if it goes for long periods of non-use (seals failing causing a leak). Items to think about.

© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States

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