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

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Why Housing Prices May Rise in 2011

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Are you keeping up with housing trends? If you are a seller, you may want to see what is driving up home prices, and will these factors effect your home.

If you are in the real estate industry, you watch various trends which effect your business. You wonder if builders are planning to begin new construction projects. Will buyers obtain mortgages. Are buyers looking for deals with foreclosures. Will the homes in the middle price range begin to sell, or will we only see growth in high end homes. For sellers and homeowners, there is more of a focus on home prices or values.  Historically we have crashes that drop the value of the home, but like the stock market, home values rise over time. Recently, however, I have been noticing a trend that is causing homes to sell for a higher price. This trend may be good for sellers to be follow.
   Look at a press release from various builders, or look at their websites, you will see the green home label. There are debates as to whether this is greenwashing or not, but you will see one builder teaming up with a famous brand to deliver a green home. Other builders tout there green credentials in press releases, stating that their homes are becoming more and more green. Then you will find builders proudly announcing their EnergyStar homes of some other green certification. These green announcements are coming consistently before this year’s home buying season.
    Part of the driving force for this green conversion is simple; buyers have said they will pay more a home with green features. From my own observations, builders have been adopting sustainable or green building practices, because they make sense. Basically, the building industry will be going more green, because consumers want those features even if they are not interested in a sustainable lifestyle. Those people who are interested in sustainable homes and communities are looking towards refurbishing foreclosures or other existing homes. Building a green home can be more expensive, since green features are not being mass manufactured, which leads to higher costs. Yet, many innovative builders, architects, and others are showing that sustainable homes can be built affordably.
    The big push right now is to sell a more expensive home to insure better profits, and the green label helps the industry achieve this goal. Are these homes green or sustainable? I would like to respond yes and no. These homes are being built to green standards, whichever standard the builder chooses, but a sustainable or green mindset is needed to maintain these homes to see the best benefits. Home buyers may be willing to pay more for a green home, because they see this as a quality issue, but unless they maintain a green or sustainable lifestyle, they will not reap all of the green benefits.
    How does this trend relate to sellers? Any home can be green. Knowing that buyers associate green with quality, you should consider how to make your home show off its green features to sell it for a better cost. Maybe consider an energy audit. If your home does well, the audit can be a selling point. If the auditor shows you areas that need help, you could make those repairs. Then the energy audit with a statement of your repairs to meet the audit becomes the selling point. Another way to sell a home as green is to show off the EnergyStar label. I have seen EnergyStar homes in my home inspections. If your home met this standard or any other green standard, then make that a selling point. If not, you could install EnergyStar approved appliances. You can then do simple green steps: CFL or LED lights, insulation, and caulking.
    If you are looking to sell your home, you may increase your asking price if you have a green label. Is this greenwashing? Maybe. Going green by adding green features is a good first step, but anyone who is devoted to creating more sustainable homes will not buy into this trend. Sustainability is a lifestyle choice, not a feature to add onto the home. 

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© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States
713.781.6090

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