Selling Your Green Home

There has been a significant increase in consumer interest in purchasing "green" homes. People are finally starting to realize the importance of sustainable homes and the health and cost-saving benefits that come with them. With the economy in the shape it's currently in, energy efficient homes are considered to be a vital factor in swaying buyers to make a purchasing decision.

In fact, the National Association of Home Based Recruiters (NAHBR) has stated that "72 percent of consumers report energy-efficient features in a home would influence their purchase decision" and that "61 percent of consumers would spend more than $5,000 upfront to save on utility costs."

This makes selling your green home much easier.

If your home isn't already eco-friendly, you might want to consider some renovations right away, even if you are not selling.  Many of the easiest updates, like CFL bulbs, may not add to resale, but begin to save you money the moment you install them.   Others, like extremely efficient HVAC and hot water heating systems, not only save money today, but could also add $$$$$$ to the bottom line on the sale too!!

Making Your Home "Green"

So what can you do to make your home "Green?"

Quick steps:

Go through your entire house and replace all of the light bulbs with compact fluorescents, also known as CFLs. CFLs can save up to $30 over the lifetime of the bulb and more than 2,000 times its weight in greenhouse gases.

If you have older appliances in your home, replace them with Energy Star appliances. You can replace items such as your washer and dryer, oven, microwave, refrigerator, dishwasher and so on.

Installing energy-efficient windows can greatly reduce the amount of heating and cooling necessary in your home. If you don't want to install new windows or already have energy-efficient windows, go around your house and look for leaks or cracks. Seal any leaks with caulking.

Replace all water fixtures in your home with low-flow fixtures. You can find low-flow faucets and shower-heads that can reduce water consumption by up to 50 to 70 percent. Installing a low-flow toilet can reduce flushes from using up to five gallons of water down to less than one gallon.

Water heaters aren't necessarily cheap, but can be a quick update that could add much more value to your home in the long run. Replace your water heater with an Energy Star approved tank or go a step further and even replace it with a tank-less water heater.

Put a fresh coat of low-VOC paint on your walls. High-VOC levels contained in older paints reduce the air quality of your home, so using low-VOC paint can help reduce exposure to "volatile organic compounds."

Install a programmable thermostat. Most homes can save up to $150 a year because programmable thermostats maintain the heating and cooling levels and can be programmed to turn off at certain times of the day when nobody is home.

Larger Steps:

Replace HVAC and ventilation systems with the highest efficiency systems you can get. You should also make sure that these systems are correctly sized and are built to heat or cool only the necessary areas of your home.

If you plan on remodeling a room, such as the walls, ceilings or floors, make sure to use non-toxic building materials. You should also try to use recycled and resource-efficient materials that are manufactured locally.

Solar power is growing in popularity, but it's still very expensive and not as cost-effective as you might think because short-term savings are minimal. Solar power may add value in some cases. It still does not add the same value as the cost of the system, but there is some ROI on the latest and greatest photovoltaic systems. If you do decide to install solar power, make sure to mention the long-term savings to potential buyers.

If you have an unfinished room or basement, instead of using cheap insulation, consider using spray-foam insulation. Spray foam can reduce the maintenance of HVAC equipment, seal your home from air and moisture as well as protect your family from mold and allergens.

If you have hardwood floors hidden beneath your carpet, rip out the old carpet and expose the hardwood. If you don't have hardwood floors beneath the carpet, instead replace the carpet with new eco-friendly carpeting.

As you can see, there are quite a few steps you can take to make your home Green and eco-friendly. Keep in mind that you don't have to make your entire house eco-friendly to market it as Green. When selling your house, make sure to highlight the green features that your home does provide.

Marketing Your Green Home

Now that your home has gone "Green," there are also some steps you should take to market it.

Talk to your real estate agent and discuss the importance of the Green features of your home. Make sure your agent understands that you want this to be a main selling point and insist that advertising reflects the ecofriendly features.

In your listings, make sure to list any new Green renovations. Since energy-efficient developments have mostly been used to develop newer homes, green renovations are great selling points for older homes.

If you've replaced your older appliances with Energy Star appliances, compare your bills and note the savings. Show this to your real estate agent so they can point this out to potential buyers.

Don't forget to list any smaller details as well. Mention if your home is close to public transportation and if you have maintained the home with non-toxic cleaning supplies. Also mention that no pesticides have been used in or around your home, if they haven't.

Lastly, take pictures. The chances of selling your home when pictures are included in your listing increase dramatically. Show off the greatest features of your home and include photos of your Green upgrades where you can.

 

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