Going Green

While the wearing of the green is associated with the middle of March, going green should be on the thoughts of homeowners towards the end of the month, whether actively looking or not to sell their home in 2010, as spring officially arrives across the country.

Never Underestimate Your Buying Audience

When it comes to selling a home, you have to understand what buyers are looking for – what is important to them in terms of how they are choosing to live their lives, as well as where they are choosing to live. The trend towards ‘going green’ and environmental friendliness and compatibility is no passing fancy. The world and the buying public are smarter regarding green awareness, and thus, anything you can do, to make your home trend towards this path will benefit you twofold.

  1. It provides yet another built in and tangible value that can be reflected in the asking price of a potential home sale.
  2. It provides you the seller and your agent will something of real marketing value. In a soft market, a home with a healthy respect and care for and about its environment is a home that will attract attention.

Your personal opinions regarding environmental awareness aside, there is no doubt that homes ‘gone green’ have a decided appeal towards today’s home buying audience.

Going Green – Some Easy Updates

You have surrendered and changed all the light bulbs to CFLs (compact fluorescents). That is actually a great first step because that one little change affects about 20% of a home’s lighting cost!  Step up your plans and look for any way that you can show your utility bills decreasing after changes occur.

  • Check the sealing of windows; if you cannot afford new windows, then look at weather stripping, caulk, and fresh paint.
  • Check your attic insulation
  • Have the foundation of your basement and garage checked for cracks.
  • Consider finishing your basement to improve heat loss.
  • Trim hedges and bushes to improve air circulation around your home’s foundation, as well as provide a natural windbreak.
  • Update appliances to new energy efficient ones.

When going green also think about the quality of life potential small things can have for a potential buyer.

  • Use paint that is low in VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). Many people who suffer from asthma and allergies, or who have small children will certainly appreciate the fewer use of chemical paint additives.
  • Start a garden, even if it is a container garden on a deck. While you are at it, invest in a composting container (many easy to use one cost under $200).
  • Wall to wall carpeting is less appealing than it was for homebuyers these days. Carpeting attracts and retains dust, allergens, and dirt. If you cannot replace all your carpeting, consider doing so in smaller areas such as, entryways, hallways, and at least one bedroom. Make sure you have your current carpeting professionally cleaned prior any home showing.
  • Search out hidden pockets of mold and mildew in bathrooms and basements. It is time to grab the bleach, be prepared to replace tile, and make sure the toilets in your home are fastened securely and sealed properly against leaking. If necessary, consider installing a sump pump as well as longer drain spouts to wick water away from the foundation and the house.

There is always something green you can do to improve your life in a house, which will make it attractive to a potential buyer.

Free Solar Panels

Adding new solar panels to a home in a remodel is still quite expensive. If you are looking into adding solar panels to your home or even a backyard greenhouse, then consider going to commercial installers and asking them to let you have the solar panels they have replaced in commercial buildings. Panels that become chipped or scratched in commercial buildings are swapped out for new panels. Yet, even damaged solar panels can deliver most of their original output and still be perfectly safe for a home project or renovation.

Be prepared to ask politely and it is good form to offer to pay something. Getting rid of old solar panels will save commercial installers the recycling and disposal fees, but it is still good business to acknowledge their helpfulness.

You can purchase a multimeter that measures amps and watts and attach it to the used solar panels while they are in the sun to determine if they are still producing energy.

Green Mortgages

Homeowners can refinance into and homebuyers can qualify for a ‘green mortgage’. There are mortgages that will offer a discount or qualify the buyer to make energy efficient improvements or buy a house that meets or exceeds current energy efficient standards. These mortgages are called EEMs for Energy Efficient Mortgages or EIMs for Energy Improvement Mortgages. A homebuyer/owner will see their current mortgage payment increase slightly, but this will be offset and even have buyers/owners come out ahead on saving money with reduced utility bills.

Now is a good time to talk to your Real Estate professional and Lender about obtaining a Green Mortgage.