Thinking about selling your house? One aspect to consider before putting it on the market is what kind of energy-efficiency features you have to showcase. If you can demonstrate to potential buyers that your home is equipped to save energy and keep utility bills to a minimum, you can sell it for a lot more money -- and faster, to boot.
As many as 90 percent of people shopping for a new home consider efficiency “very important,” according to the National Association of Homebuilders. A survey put out by the association found that efficiency features would influence the decision of 72 percent of buyers, and 61 percent would be willing to pay $5,000 more for a house if it meant lower utility bills.
The news gets even better: According to another study, green-certified houses in California sell for $34,800 more than their equivalent non-green counterparts. Similar studies from Seattle, Wash., and Portland, Ore., found that green houses sold at a premium of 8.5 percent and 12 percent, respectively. Furthermore, the study in Seattle also found that green homes sold 22 percent faster. So not only can you make more money, efficiency upgrades could make your house so attractive that it jumps to the front of the line for prospective buyers.
Make sure that your real estate agent is aware of all the work you put in to “green up” your house, and that it's highlighted in the sales listing. Keep copies of your utility bills to show to buyers and let them be amazed at how low you’re able to keep your monthly costs.
How Can I Increase My Efficiency?
Before it's time to sell, there are a whole host of ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home:
- Start with simple steps like sealing any drafty areas and making sure your insulation is up to par.
- People often sell their appliances together with the house, so when it's time to upgrade, purchase models that are Energy-Star certified to meet strict efficiency standards.
- Use energy-efficient light bulbs like compact florescents or LEDs to illuminate your home on the cheap.
- Upgrade your windows to double or even triple-pane models to keep the heat in and the cold out (and vice versa in the summertime).
- Look for an instant or tankless water heater, and make sure your faucets are all low-flow so you keep the water bill down as well.
- Install a smart thermostat to automatically find efficiencies and garner savings from your heating and cooling bill.
- Solar panels on the roof can reduce your electricity costs dramatically.
You should also consider hiring a qualified professional to conduct an energy audit and help you find other ways to cut down on your utility spending. The best part is, even if you aren't planning on selling your house any time soon, you still get to enjoy the savings yourself every month.