You’ve carefully staged your home for selling by putting away toys, adding some plants, and painting the walls a neutral color. You’ve done all the aesthetic work to spruce up your home, but you want to make it stand out more from the other five houses for sale on your block. So you start thinking, “What can I do to make my home more competitive in my local real estate market?”
Recent findings of real estate experts all over the United States show that making green upgrades to your home can help it sell faster and for a higher price. In July of 2012, USA Today reported that homes with green upgrades sell for almost 10% more than homes in the same area without energy-efficient features. Back in 2010, USA Today also said, “…homes certified as eco-friendly [in Seattle] sold for 8.5% more per square foot and were on the market 22% less time than other homes.”
Now that I’ve got your attention, what kinds of upgrades should you consider installing in your home? Small changes to large overhauls can help you save money immediately and make your home unique when you plan to sell it.
Small projects, like eco-friendly wood floors and programmable thermostats, are great places to start. Programmable thermostats can help you save money on heating and cooling bills each year. Alternative flooring options, like cork or recycled wood, are just as durable and comparable to wood floors, but they use reclaimed materials. However, larger items, like energy-efficient appliances, can help increase your odds of selling.
Some home buyers like the fact that they don’t have to spend time or money installing green upgrades. The National Association of Home Builders Remodelers (NAHBR) notes that seven out of 10 buyers are influenced by green upgrades when looking at homes. If they don’t have to worry about purchasing appliances or heating and cooling systems, particularly efficient ones, it’s a huge selling point.
The bad news is the federal tax credits for energy-efficient appliances closed as of February 2012; however, many states decided to continue incentives. Check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) to see if your state still offers the appliance tax credits. This site can also connect you to information about other state tax credits, loans and grants for green home updates on a larger scale.
Bigger energy-efficient upgrades like geothermal heating systems or solar panels cost a lot of money upfront. However, if you purchase your system and have it installed before December 31, 2016, you can get a 30% federal tax credit. EnergyStar.gov has more information on what you need to do and how to apply. On top of federal tax credits, you may be eligible for state credits and incentives. Check out the DSIRE for more details. To cap it off, you’ll save money on your energy bills.
Why are homes with energy-efficient upgrades selling faster than normal? One reason has to do with an emerging consciousness of protecting the environment and living more sustainably. This can mean simply using less energy generated from fossil fuels or making homes built from recycled materials.
Other people might care less about the Earth and more about saving on their energy bills. Having an extra few bucks at the end of every month can go a long way. It can be used for other necessities, like groceries, or put into a savings fund.
With more advantages of installing energy-efficient upgrades emerging daily, why wait to start making changes to your home? They’ll help save you money through tax incentives and cheaper energy bills, and, according to many real estate experts, these improvements help sell your home faster.
Would energy-efficient upgrades sway your decision on buying a home? Share your thoughts with other Zing readers!