A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

Future Developments Due to the Current Real Estate Situation

I am not sure what to write about today on the topic of real estate or home staging, which are my subjects of choice on Tuesdays. I was just informed that an article written by me has become quite popular over the past week. It dealt with ten things you should know about before buying a home. I was asked to write about ten things that your Realtor does not want you to know, but I think that might be shooting myself in the foot, since a part of my business comes from Realtors. This article has led to a few requests from other sites that I should write on real estate or living in your neighborhood or information for homeowners.

Real Estate is the hot news item for the latter part of this year, but should it be? People are concerned now because they might lose their homes, or their home’s value could be lowered. The percentage of people who may lose their home is small in comparison to the total number of owners. Certain markets had rapid increases in values, which were not justified, so eventually the market will correct itself. Buy and hold owners, wether of stocks or homes, will always win out in the end. My intention is to lead you to the conclusion that your home’s value goes up over time.

An interesting turn of events for me is that as a society we may become less mobile. I entered the real estate profession because the company that I worked for wanted me to move from city to city every two years with no promotion or raise. I felt that this was an imposition on my family life. If employees are having a hard time selling their homes, or if they will loose money on their homes, they may not accept changes of location for a job. Telecommuting will be a better alternative for corporations, and with broad band technologies becoming more prevalent, telecommuting is more feasible.

Telecommuting may put an emphasis on Google’s cloud computing ideas, but certainly it will also spawn improved technologies to be used over the internet for employees to do their job. Businesses may see an added benefit to telecommuting, since they will not have to deal with the physical presence of the individual in their buildings: less space needed; less energy use; and less water use.

Another fact stemming out of our current situation is the quality of good that we will receive. Affordable housing is built to a higher energy efficiency standard than a home for a middle class family. With many in the middle class losing good jobs because of the housing meltdown, home builders will have to consider how to make all of the homes that they make contain more value for the customer. Oddly enough, as we become concerned with global warning, the housing market problems may have put us on our way to reducing greenhouse gases by being more efficient.

I think that recent history has shown us though that firms will continue to find ways to part with our money, while finding ways to give us less. Even though I make the argument for quality coming back into products as a way to induce us to spend, it may take a further shock to the economy for the government to realize that they need to protect the consumer just as much as the firms who donate to their campaigns. I think there is a good chance for recession and inflation troubles to cause this issue to remain in the spotlight throughout 2008, and therefore something the next president will have to deal with.

My guesses may come about for other reasons, but I think that some good in unexpected places may come of our current crisis.

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