Hi, I live in Ellicott City and I'm considering switching from an oil heat boiler to a geothermal system

Asked by Deborah, Ellicott City, MD Wed May 14, 2008

which is a huge investment. Are there any stats out there on ROI from a real estate perspective not an energy perspective? I know the energy savings are very worthwhile but I'm not sure how the conversion would impact the resale value of the house.

I still have to update my kitchen and two bathrooms in my 1958 rancher. So I don't know if I should spend the big bucks on this geothermal project and delay the real estate essentials that sell a house. Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

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Chris Highla…, Agent, Frederick, MD
Wed May 14, 2008
I just happened to see this article on MSN's real estate page about kitchen remodels:

I thought it was informative.
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Chris Highla…, Agent, Frederick, MD
Wed May 14, 2008
According to http://www.dailygreen.com, which is a good starting point for finding more info., homes that are "green homes" are getting 4 to 11% more than other homes. I can't verify that, but, as an agent who is trying to sell homes in a slow market with too many overpriced, underconditioned homes on the market, I'm thinking that it might just help a home stand out from the rest. There are more and more people who are concerned about rising energy costs, and if you are going to replace an old system anyway, you might be wise to consider it. There are a few online listing services that specialize in green homes.
It is huge on the west coast, and it will make its way here eventually. I would definitely do my research, though.

If you can do the essentials that really sell a home, (updated kitchen and baths) and have enough $ to do some green updates, that would be the perfect mix.
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Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Wed May 14, 2008
I suggest that you consult with a local Realtor. Look at other homes in the area that are similar to yours and see what features they have. I can tell you that buyers are looking for VALUE, so anything that adds value (such as lower heating bills) a buyer will appreciate. However, there are tradeoffs.

How long do you plan to stay in yoru home? Long enough to enjoy the improvements?
Generally speaking the value of investments are recouped in bath and kitchen remodels, because who make the buying decision? Other necessary, but less noticeable investments, like the roof, plumbing, have value, but the return on investment is lower.

Are you making your home more livable? Or treating is like a flip?

A Realtor can help you work through those questions.

Good luck!
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Brian Pakulla, Agent, Ellicott City, MD
Wed May 14, 2008
I would not pay for the updates. I would work on the cosmetics. Buyers usually buy based upon on emotions rather than logic. Therefore, you are better off saving your money and using it for what "impresses" buyers on the surface.

If the oil/boiler system is old, a simple home warranty may give them piece of mind. I would recommend doing more research on a home warranty plan for the boiler to make sure it can be covered.
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Marie Wester…, Agent, Evans, GA
Wed May 14, 2008
If you are already in the process of updating your home one of the PRIMARY updates you can make are to the functioning aspects of your home. Buyers want the peace of mind they can get from knowing that they will not be spending big $$$$ on the component that are necessary for a home i.e.: furnace roof hot water heater electrical systems etc. Cosmetics are affordable and easily done, the items that make a house operate are very carefully considered by buyers.
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