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

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Considering Foreclosures as Green Homes in Houston

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This is more of an editorial piece looking at the foreclosure problem that does exist in Houston and elsewhere, and how this can be a green home opportunity.

I inspect quite a few foreclosures. Enough where my opinion has been sought on the topic of evaluating foreclosures by others. If you know me or read this blog, you will know that I have a desire for green homes. Yes, green is a buzzword right now, and many people are jumping on the bandwagon. I have been interested in organic gardening for over thirty years, and I guess I can trace my focus on green issues back to Jimmy Carter’s presidency and the energy crisis that we faced at that time. Somehow, it fit into my love of gardening, but I did have a love of architecture too, which may have helped my green concerns develop. When I was inspecting a foreclosure, a thought came to me where I wondered if I could convince others that the ultimate green home may not be green now, but this home could be a foreclosure.

   My line of thought centers on the idea that “reuse” is a fundamental part of a green philosophy, so could we reuse a home? I guess people want things easy, so we buy homes that are already green. I might if I was considering a new home. However, I like the home that I am in, which prompted me to post on green home conversions. Seeing so many foreclosures though prompts me to say that the world (and the housing market) will not be going green until we bring our attention on making other homes energy efficient. You see I am worried. Going into the winter of 2009, we are hearing reports that lenders will restart the foreclosure process early next year on many homes that they qualify for that process. With news of more job losses, I can sense that even more homes will end up in foreclosure. I hope that I am wrong.

    With all of these homes on the market, home prices cannot stabilize, and we will be seeing inventory suffer from neglect. By taking on a foreclosure close to where you work with the intention of making green changes, I feel that you are making a wiser choice than buying a green home far from work. You have committed to the home. This commitment caries on into the community, which you will want to help. By having the green home further away from your job, with all of the features handed to you, you will not appreciate the green home or extending your green desires beyond the community, unless you are truly involved with the green philosophy. If enough people see foreclosures as a way to spread a green philosophy, neighborhoods will thrive.

    A few months ago I was performing a home inspection in Deer Park. My habit is to drive through a neighborhood to get a feel for the construction. What I noticed was if one homeowner on a street was working towards a green remodeled home, you would have other homeowners following suit. Keeping up with the Joneses.If no homeowner on the immediate street was involved with solar, then other saw no need.I imagine that the motivation behind those first homeowners going green was not climate change or other global issue, but rather a personal concern over finances. Efficient homes cost less money to operate. That is the basis for most of us when we discuss green options, lower bills. Consider living closer to your work or to your family, you will have lower costs associated with your car. If a park is nearby, you can walk there with your children to play. Your green fling may be due to saving money, but then you will see that you will be saving money in other parts of your life with a green lifestyle.

   So do you see a foreclosure as a green home in Houston? I hope that you consider that idea. The benefits can spread beyond your life.

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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

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