When it comes to real estate, “going green” isn’t just a fad. It’s an investment in the future. The benefits to potential buyers are many, and having money-saving, energy-efficient upgrades in your home can mean the difference between selling quickly and lingering on the market.
A study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found that 90 percent of homebuyers take energy efficiency into account when shopping for a home. Add the fact that most of the 125 million single family homes in the United States were built before energy-saving regulations were enacted and you’ve got two compelling reasons to consider “greening up” your property before putting it on the market.
Here are some of the advantages a green home offers buyers:
Lower Utility Costs
Eco-friendly appliances, such as Energy Star units, can save homeowners hundreds of dollars annually and significantly more over the long haul. Similarly, making sure your house is well insulated may not seem like a selling point, but it saves potential buyers money. So, added insulation is a feature worth highlighting.
Natural and chemical allergies are serious issues for millions of people. Greening your home with pollen screens on the windows or low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint can be a dealmaker for buyers affected by such issues.
Federal, state and local governments offer incentives to owners of certified green homes. Programs vary among jurisdictions, but federal programs in place through 2016 offer rebates of 10 to 30 percent for energy-saving improvements. Check the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) for programs in your area.
Greening up a home you want to sell doesn’t have to be complicated either. Here are some quick, low-cost, eco-friendly additions:
Investing in new appliances can make a big difference to potential buyers. Energy-efficient appliances can help set your house apart from comparable homes for sale. And it isn’t necessary to replace every appliance either. Start with the refrigerator, for example, and shop for an energy-efficient model on sale.
Light It Up
Make the switch to LED lights. Yes, the bulbs are more expensive, but they use 75 percent less energy and last 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs. When you point out to potential buyers that they won’t have to replace any bulbs for the next decade, you'll get their attention.
Stop the Leakage
Caulking windows is a simple and inexpensive way to keep the cool air in and the hot air out, or vice versa, depending on the season. It saves on energy costs and should be noted to prospective buyers.
Cut Water Waste
If you’re planning to remodel a bathroom or kitchen prior to selling, go with low-flow fixtures. They can reduce water usage by as much as 50 percent, without cutting water pressure. If you have a yard that needs upgrading, consider replacing grass with gravel or native plants that require less water. Adding an attractive receptacle to catch rain water that can be used to water plants is a nice touch as well.
Are you thinking of selling? Find a local RE/MAX agent and ask about other ways you can get your home market-ready.