Elain Szu, Home Buyer in 94123

Homeowners: What green changes will improve the value of my home?

Asked by Elain Szu, 94123 Thu Apr 2, 2009

My family owns several properties between the five of us - two in California, two in Maryland, one in Austin, TX and a few condos in Providence, RI - so we are always looking for ways to "green" our homes and make them more eco-friendly. And with the current housing market coupled with growing concerns about limited energy/water resources, I'm especially concerned about sustaining our home values.

I'm interested to hear what has worked for other home owners to 1) improve their home value and 2) save some cash on energy or water bills. Do home buyers look for these kinds of improvements? What do you value if you're currently looking to buy? Love to hear the opinions of other homeowners and buyers.

Thanks!

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Answers

3
Elain,

You posted this in the "Remodel & Renovate in Seattle" area, but don't mention homes around here... so I'll talk about our market - Seattle is considered a very "green-conscious" area.

I work with buyers every day and "green" is one of the questions I ask in our interview process.

As much as I'd love to say that green features make a difference, they aren't going to make the impact on a dollar-for-dollar basis. "Green" tends to be a label that people associate with charging more for a home for little benefit and in these challenging times, price is king.

That's not to say that there isn't a market. There is a niche market for green-conscious consumers who are willing to pay more for these options, but in the Seattle area, it's still a "relatively" small group of people.

As far as sustaining your homes' values...

Generally, your biggest bang for the buck is to keep "deferred maintenance" to a minimum. That will also help the environment. Keep insulation tight and dry. Upgrade older homes to double-paned windows. Keep water away from the wood siding. Keep gutters clean and draining right. Do regular pest inspections to ensure nothing's eating your house away!

Interior: watch for trends in finishes and appliances. Granite and stainless (or brushes metal) appliances have been the big differentiator in many home sales for recent . Staging is crucial at selling time.

Exterior: clean or fresh paint and a clean or new roof make a huge difference to a home. A neatly manicured front yard will sell a home in a moment.

I hope this helps!
Web Reference: http://www.dugaldallen.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 5, 2009
Buyers do look for green features, just make sure to make the upgrades that are "obvious" to the eye if you're upgrading for selling purposes. A solar panel on the roof is an upgrade that every potential buyer will see when touring the home. Others might be more subtle, and could be missed if not specifically pointed out by the agent.
Web Reference: http://SeattleHome.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 4, 2009
Unfortunately the "Green" concept is not one that has been completely embraced by today's consumers and is viewed as more of an elective that they can take or leave. This in time will change especially as more and more government regulations are placed on manufacturers.

At this point, "Green" features will serve to make your home more attractive to some buyers but for the most part will not greatly impact the value of your home. A home constructed as a totally "Green" home is another matter and would have value.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 5, 2009
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