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.


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Troystaten, Agent, Alameda, CA
Fri Apr 3, 2009
Hi Elain home buyers look at a home as a complete package and green upgrades do add apeal. As for which ones to do I would be careful. If you have a new waterheater I would not switch it out for a more efficient one but if you have old ugly drafty aluminum windows changing them to new double pane wood windows could ad a lot of value to your home. There are also some tax credits available for doing this kind of work, of course be sure to talk to your tax professional if that is a major factor. If you can upgrade and be green thats not a bad thing.

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Pacita Dimac…, Agent, Oakland, CA
Thu Apr 2, 2009

I know your question is addressed to homeowners and buyers only, but I hope you will welcome comments from realtors who are dealing with many buyers and sellers, and who have listened to what matters most to them

Before you do any remodeling, you should also review what improvements rate the highest payback. Here's a link to a feature of Remodeling magazine online where you can select the region/area of your properties, and see what is favored in each.


Of utmost importance are improvements in kitchen and baths, and the master bedrooms.

Also....if you have hardwood floors under carpet, by all means, uncover them and have the floors refinished. Buyers are always looking for this feature. But if you're thinking of changing floor coverings, do consider bamboo floors --- it's number one on the list of renewable resources for floors.

For kitchens, do consider changing out old appliances for energy-efficient ones.

For outdoor landscaping, research Xeriscape which is probably the most earth-friendly style of landscaping.

Good luck.
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