Growing Trend Shows Baby Boomers as Active Real Estate Consumers
ASHI Home Inspections Help Safeguard Investment/Second Home Appreciation


Sheena Quinn
Public Communications, Inc.

Recently released statistics from Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the National Association of Realtors(r) (NAR), suggest that baby boomers are increasingly active consumers in today's real estate market.

According to the Harvard study, baby boomers, or those consumers over the age of 50, represent one of the fastest growing demographics in the U.S. and are expected to make up 20 percent of the population by the year 2030.  Baby boomers already comprise the single largest group of homeowners - nearly one-quarter of all homeowners - with 75 percent of those over the age of 50 owning their own home.  

Seniors are also expanding their home ownership beyond their primary residence. Research shows that boomers are looking to second home ownership as a smart investment opportunity.  Considering that boomers are starting to think differently about real estate investments as part of their retirement plans, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts second home purchases for boomers to reach 6.4 million units by 2010, up from 5.5 million units purchased in the 1990's.  According to NAR, investment homes accounted for a quarter of all home purchases in 2004, and vacation home purchases an additional 13 percent.

"The increase in second home purchases by older Americans, coupled with their significant representation in today's home ownership population, makes boomers prime candidates for obtaining professional home inspections as both an educational resource and investment safeguard - especially considering that these second homes are more than just investment properties," said Don Norman, 2005 president of the American Society of Home Inspectors, an organization that represents nearly 6,000 professional home inspectors.  "Boomers are purchasing properties they can use year-round, which makes pre-purchase inspections designed to enhance their changing lifestyles a top priority."

In fact, the NAHB predicts that boomers anticipate spending about $5,800 annually on both first and second-home improvements and/or remodeling projects.  Obtaining a quality, objective home inspection prior to such projects can help uncover safety concerns and other issues that should be addressed before hiring a professional contractor.  Statistics show that too often the elderly are victims of home improvement scams when pressured by contractors to perform unnecessary work. A proactive pre-remodeling ASHI home inspection provides homeowners with an experienced analysis of the visible condition of their property, allowing them to make smarter, more comfortable choices pertaining to home improvement. 

Furthermore, home inspections as part of the pre-purchase process, and as a value-added component of remodeling projects and routine maintenance, can help to preserve the property's appreciation value.  "Addressing minor repair issues before they turn into major, and more expensive, problems can only serve to benefit the homeowner in terms of value when it comes time to sell or even leverage the equity of a home for retirement or other purposes," according to Norman.

Qualifying ASHI

To support its commitment to setting the industry standard for consumer education, customer service and technical expertise, ASHI Inspectors subscribe to the ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, both of which are nationally recognized guidelines for the home inspection profession.  They are required to successfully complete two written examinations that test their knowledge of building systems and components, and of the ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.  Their reports are verified as meeting the ASHI Standards of Practice, and they must perform a minimum of 50 fee paid inspections - becoming a full Member after completing an additional 200 fee paid inspections.  ASHI Inspectors must also obtain ongoing education to stay current on the latest information pertaining to buildings and their systems.

Consumers can visit to locate an ASHI Inspector and to learn more about the home inspection process via the site's Virtual Home Inspection (VHI) tool.  The feature offers an interactive home inspection, based on the ASHI Standards of Practice.  Additionally, a "Rate Your ASHI Inspector" segment of the site also allows consumers to provide feedback on their own ASHI home inspection experience.  
For More Information

Formed in 1976, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is the oldest and most respected non-profit professional society for home inspectors in North America. Its mission is to promote excellence and exemplary practice within the profession. ASHI's Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics are the recognized guidelines for the home inspection profession.

For more information on the American Society of Home Inspectors, contact the association at 932 Lee Street, Suite 101, Des Plaines, Ill. 60016. Phone: 800-743-2744. Or visi t the ASHI Web site at While online, experience ASHI's Virtual Home Inspection tool, which provides an interactive overview of the 10 main areas of the home that are part of an ASHI Inspection.