Going Green with Real Estate: How Environmentally-Conscious Improvements Can Help Home Sellers

In recent years, real estate agents have noticed a growing interest in clean energy features and green home improvement projects. Green living and green home improvements have impacted the real estate market and many sellers are not only making changes to reflect personal standards and financial objectives, but to potentially boost their home’s value.

What has become apparent is that green projects are becoming a selling point to segments of buyers in various areas in the United States. Understand more about how going green in the home may help sellers down the road today.

Green Features and Green Remodeling

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Green features are not only beneficial to owners while they live in a home, but can often become a selling point when it comes time to sell. More buyers are interested in a healthier living environment and increasing their quality of life. Some traditional homes may have one or two green features while other owners may have made the switch to complete sustainability. What are some of the green improvements that can help home sellers?

Sustainable Energy Systems

Solar panels are a flag to potential buyers that current owners may share their eco-friendly values and may have outfitted a home with other green features. Of course, there is a difference between those who have purchased a system outright or who have chosen to lease their system. Overall, buyers who have purchased and paid off their solar system have an easier time selling their home and may be able to get a decent ROI for their purchase. Buyers are more willing to pay for homes with a solar system, as it will offset their long-term utility costs.

Easy Energy Star Upgrades

Photo credit: KOMUnews on Visual hunt / CC BY

Photo credit: KOMUnews on Visual hunt / CC BY

At a certain point, most homeowners need to replace their appliances. Choosing a home with Energy Star appliances is a win for homeowners while they live in a home, and attracts potential buyers looking for an energy-efficient kitchen. According to a National Association of Realtors® survey, a significant number of buyers report that energy efficient appliances are of importance to them. This upgrade in appliances helps the environment by drawing less energy from the grid while providing reliable service to homeowners.

This is only a starting point for the many green improvements homeowners may choose from. Improved insulation works to reduce energy costs. Smart lighting is another feature worth considering and has also been found to be attractive to buyers, according to reports. New, energy-efficient windows can save new owners money over the long term, and water-saving fixtures may be useful in drought-prone areas.

Home Value

Depending on the area, the market for green improvements may be mature or in its infancy. However, more buyers are becoming knowledgeable about the benefits of green-home features. Many variables come into play when assessing the value of a specific green project when it comes time to sell. For a project such as a solar energy system, a homeowner may be able to expect as much as an $18,000 bump in their home’s value. According to a joint study from UCLA and the University of California, Berkeley, green-labeled single-family homes—those with GreenPoint, LEED or Energy Star—sold 9 percent more on average than those without such labels. Another study comparing homes in San Antonio, Texas showed that “energy efficient” homes were priced 5.8 percent higher. Much comes down to the agent and how knowledgeable he or she is about upgrades without underselling, or “green washing” and overselling a property.

Home Sellers and Green Homes

Many homeowners are investing in their homes to reduce current bills and decrease their carbon footprint. The benefits are becoming easier to assess as the trend of sustainable home improvements continues in different regions of the United States. Speak with a trusted agent to learn more about how green improvements may boost home values, which projects are most attractive in a specific area.

Gary Ashton is a Realtor with the Ashton Real Estate Group of ReMax Advantage in the Nashville, TN area. Find out more about Gary and his group of realtors at http://www.nashvillesmls.com/


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