As you prepare to put your home on the market, make sure that energy efficiency in your home is a consideration. In our unique real estate market, homes with substantial energy efficient features both stand out and command a higher price than those without. Studies have shown that existing homes with third-party designations like, LEED and Energy Star, sold for as much as thirty percent (30%) more than their uncertified competition!
While obtaining a third-party designation like LEED or Energy Star may not be feasible, there are energy efficiency options that you can make and have highlighted through marketing and in showings by your real estate agent. Some ideas include:
- Get a home energy evaluation to find ways to make your house more efficient in all seasons. In Massachusetts, MassSave is a great resource and provides free evaluations in most areas. These home evaluations include a variety of energy efficiency options – including free efficient LED light bulbs!
- Swap bulbs for LED light bulbs to help cut your utility bills immediately.
- Improve insulation – Add insulation in attic or blow insulation into the walls. This can trim up to 20% off heating and cooling bills, according to Energy Star. This has the fastest payoff of any green feature.
- Ensure that seals around exterior doors and windows are intact. Weatherstripping around doors and windows can provide an immediate and tremendous savings on energy costs.
- Install low-flow faucets and shower heads. Save 25-60% on water.
- Use programmable thermostats or smart thermostats to help cut heating and cooling costs by 5-15%.
- Smart programmable thermostats cost more than regular programmable thermostats, but they can pay for themselves within two years, in most cases.
- Solar panels – although solar panels increase the home’s value the most, the return on investment does not show up for the homeowner for many years due to the high costs of the panels and installation. Some companies also finance or lease the panels over a long period of time which could get complicated if you sell the property before the time period is up and the new buyer does not want the panels!
- Document your improvements and energy savings so that your real estate agent can provide that information to buyers.
There are a lot of things to think about when selling a home. Over the past several years, buyers have become more aware and savvy about energy efficiency and being “green”. Consideration of the energy efficiency features in your home and proper marketing of those features by your real estate agent should help your home stand out in the local market and should help it to sell for a higher price than similar properties without these features.
If you have any questions about energy efficiency features in your home or how to properly market them, please contact me. I spent 10 years working in the environmental industry, specialized in energy efficiency and “green” construction and am a Certified EcoBroker.