Let’s face it, ‘going green’ is gaining popularity among homebuyers and sellers. But incorporating green elements can mean a lot of things, and it’s easy to start with small changes like switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs and unplugging appliances when they’re not in use.
Getting a jump-start on green planning during the winter months will get you ahead of the game come spring, when homebuying traditionally picks up. Here are a few ideas to start:
- Insulation: Regulating the hot air your home lets in during the summer and lets out in the winter can have a short-term impact on your heating and cooling bills. If your attic is unfinished, it's particularly important to make sure that it's appropriately insulated to avoid wasting energy.
- Windows: Caulking and energy-saving window films are a great start. Replacing your existing windows with high-efficiency versions can be an expensive proposition, but the return on your investment can be dramatic (especially if you're hoping to attract buyers).
- Landscaping: Hopefully Punxsutawney Phil will not see his shadow and spring will be soon to follow. In the meantime, develop a plan for landscaping your yard; consider adding trees that will bring shade to the sunniest spots, like the west side of your home, to cut summertime electric bills. Trees that lose their leaves in the fall will let light in during the winter, as opposed to evergreens which will block it throughout the year.
- Water: The first step to take is turning down the temperature setting on your water heater. For more savings, consider replacing older heaters with energy-efficient models or even solar water heaters. Adding insulation to your pipes can also make a difference in how much energy is used to heat water.
For recommendations about what improvements can make a difference, talk to a knowledgeable real estate agent. Green agents at RE/MAX have a commitment to sustainability and specialized knowledge that you can tap into when making improvements. Find a RE/MAX agent in your area.