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

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What Will Home Buyer’s Be Looking for in a Home in 2010

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If you are looking to sell your home, you may want to consider these trends to help your home sell faster.

The end of the year, in fact the end of the decade, causes most of us to reflect upon what happened during the past year. Dealing with home buyers allows me to reflect upon some of the questions that I was asked at the completion of a home inspection, which leads me to pick out these trends. I think that maybe sellers will want to know about these questions, because it will help set up your home for a quicker sale.

Homes with lower utility costs– notice that I did not say a green home or an eco-friendly home. Those are trends, but I noticed that buyers bottom line this idea to how much will it cost to run a home. What will the gas, electricity, or water bill be? That question comes in many forms. (Home inspectors take note; you should have some idea about how to answer this question to better serve your clients). A seller may want to gather some averages for potential buyers. For example, in June, my electricity bill went up to $200, while in November, it was $60. The higher amount will scare a buyer, and the lower amount will mislead them. If your average is around $130, you may be giving them a figure they can accept. By the way, very few clients have asked me if the appliances are EnergyStar compliant.

Low maintenance– buyers consistently ask me how do they take care of their new home, and what option will allow them to decrease their maintenance duties. For example, tile or wood floors are popular as a low maintenance feature. With many Hispanic buyers here in Houston, you will find this type of flooring a must. They will want carpet in the bedrooms though. When thinking about this area, consider how easily surfaces can be cleaned. You will also want to consider your garden. More garden beds with properly sized perennials will go over better than grass that has to be cut, or beds that need much attention.

Fresh decor– new looking floors, freshly painted walls, new looking appliances catch a buyer’s eye. This ties into value. Buyers want to feel that they are getting a new home, even when your home was built in the sixties. You do not necessarily need new appliances or new flooring; a really good cleaning may work. Painting the walls though should be done. Go with a semi-gloss or gloss white. These walls are easier to clean, and they do look brighter to the buyer.

Create gathering spaces– indoors or outdoors, you will need to have places where people (the buyer and their guests) can sit down to chat. My wife and son use every available seating area as a storage spot for their backpacks, jackets, or whatever they are carrying. Sometimes I tell them that I have had enough when I can no longer find a place to sit. Believe or not, I see sellers with the same habit. One lady, a Realtor no less, had her washing all over the couches in the den. There is a feeling that we will be focusing our lives on the home, since this recession. Buyers are looking for areas where they can entertain. Families are looking for spots where they can get to know each other again. Consider how your house will be used by people gathering, and emphasize these features.

Is there a home office?– buyers frequently tell me that this bedroom will be an office. I have three children with three bedrooms in the house. I cannot set aside a room to be a home office. My front room does serve as an office, but it also serves as a family room in the evening. I built bookcases along one wall, with a space on the wall for a flat screen television. I have a large desk set from an office. I picked mine up for free from a business that was closing, but you can find some nice refurbished desks from many stores that specialize in this kind of furniture. My point is that you should not set up a little student desk in a corner. Really create an office look. My desk is near the book case. On the opposite wall, facing the television, I have a seating area. At night, we can watch the television. We also sit there to read, and we have played in the space between the desk and seating area. You may find that you can create a multi-use room like this one.

The standard renovation– buyers will not change on this point. Remodeling your kitchen and bath will always pay off, and it is something that buyers will look at it.

Not really in the trends category, but two systems that I am consistently asked about during my home inspection are the roof and the foundation. Not all buyers ask about them, but they eventually come up when the report is being discussed.I do have a significant number of buyers ask me to pay attention to the roof or foundation, because they have a concern.Typically I work alone;however, I have seen this trend occurring more: the massive inspection. I will see a buyer hire every type of inspection possible. Generally their goal is to greatly reduce the price of the home. I have seen this backfire though. I had some sellers ask me to look over an inspection report, which caused the buyer to demand $30,000 off when the sellers had already decided to accept $10,000 less than the asking price. I pointed out that most of the report stated that the inspector did not know if there was a problem, because he actually did not inspect it. He stated “if there is a problem, it would cost so much to fix”. I hate that. I pointed out this fact to the sellers. For items that really did need repairs, the sellers were able to fix much of it themselves, with some being done by professionals. They spent $3000. They rejected the idea of lowering the price further. They obtained another offer about a week after rejecting the first one. They only lowered the price by $5000. As a seller, you will have to accept that some repairs will be needed on your home, but take repair cost estimates with a grain of salt. Check the numbers for yourself.

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3 Responses to “What Will Home Buyer’s Be Looking for in a Home in 2010”

  1. Byron Says:

    Great post with insight and the experience of working with home buyers and home owners shows in your writing.

  2. Thank you for dropping by. After rereading the post, I think that I should have included storage areas. Many buyers are looking into storage spaces, or how they can store their goods.

  3. […] to your agent about what’s “hot” right now. Obviously, your strongest selling points are what buyers are looking for now. Two years ago, buyers were looking for fewer square feet, stepping away from the McMansions. Last […]

© 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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