It's becoming the buzz word in housing -- "green" homes are what many buyers are interested in these days. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), as much as 90 percent of home buyers think that energy efficiency is a very important factor when shopping for a home. These same buyers are also very interested in environment-friendly features including having housing close to parks, public transportation, and well-designed neighborhoods with sidewalks.
The National Association of Home Builders Remodelers (NAHBR) -- a council of NAHB -- says that most homeowners choose green remodeling projects to help conserve energy. NAHBR recommends the following top ways to increase energy efficiency.
- Install appropriate insulation in area to be remodeled.
- Install high-efficiency windows instead of those that minimally meet the energy code.
- Seal all exterior penetrations in areas being remodeled.
- Purchase only Energy Star®-rated appliances.
- Install only low-flow water fixtures.
- Upgrade to at least an Energy Star®-rated water heater, or better yet, a tankless water heater.
- Purchase the highest efficiency HVAC system you can afford and make sure it is correctly sized for the area you want to condition.
But going green can seem like a huge challenge. There are so many products and things to consider. And if you're selling your home you may wonder if going green is going to give you more or less green in your bank account. NAHBR says that "72 percent of consumers report energy-efficient features in a home would influence their purchase decision." The council also adds that "61 percent of consumers would spend more than $5,000 upfront to save on utility costs." And, consider this, there are approximately 125 million single-family homes in the U.S. but most were built before energy-efficiency developments, which means if your home has newly renovated green remodeling, it can be a buyer's dream. Featuring your green renovations when you list your home for sale could give you that added value and unique market advantage.
How to get started. Deciding to make your home green doesn't have to be overwhelming nor do you have to make the entire house eco-friendly. Try things like installing energy-efficient lighting such as compact fluorescents. Also, change out any old appliances that are using up lots of energy.
Once you've done this, compare your utility bills so that you can show the reduction to your real estate agent. Your agent can then point out the energy-savings to potential buyers. With utility bills on the rise, any savings can be a major influence on buyers. If they see that similar homes cost more to operate than yours, you will at the very least grab their attention.
Get rid of energy-hog appliances. Sometimes homeowners don't want to replace an appliance because they are selling their home, but replacing an energy-hog appliance can be a cost-effective way to increase the value of your home. Energy Star-certified appliances use less energy and are more efficient to operate. Many of these appliances are 10 percent to 50 percent more efficient than standard models.
Don't forget to sell what you can't see. Insulation isn't something homeowners often think to promote, but, if your home is well insulated, it can be a big selling point.
Make it a healthy home. Going green isn't just about saving money; it's also about preserving the earth and our lives. Many people suffer from allergies, asthma, and chemical sensitivities. For instance, if you have placed pollen screens on your home, be sure to promote that feature. It will likely be considered an added bonus.