Environmentally friendly homes are not just good for the planet but also are a huge draw for conscientious buyers with green houses typically selling 20% faster than traditional houses. More and more homebuyers are interested in living a greener lifestyle and you do not want to miss the opportunity to market your home to those potential buyers. There's even a dedicated worldwide multiple listing service for green properties, hosted at listedgreen.com. Here are some simple ways to mini mize your impact on the environment and make your house stand out from all of the rest
Home utility bills have seen double-digit growth in the past few years, spurred by record-high oil and gas prices and water shortages. "That means if you can show lowered utility bills to potential buyers, it makes a big difference in today's market," explains Kerry Mitchell, the president and founder of Green Real Estate Education, and a real estate broker with more than 14 years of experience in Maryland and Florida.
Mitchell trains real estate professionals about the benefits of going green, as well as how to apply for various regional and national green certifications (such as the EPA's Energy Star for homes and the U.S. Green Building Council's emerging LEED for Homes program).
The key is to make improvements to your home's energy efficiency, and document how the monthly bills change over time. Highlight the savings to your broker and any potential buyers, and provide comparisons to typical bills for similar-sized houses in your region (call FPL or visit http://www.fpl.com for details on FPL's Home Energy Survey and controlling your energy costs).
Small Steps Add Up
So, how do you get started? It may sound trite now, but Mitchell says the first thing you should do is to replace as many light bulbs as you can with CFLs (compact fluorescents). CFLs use a quarter of the electricity as regular bulbs, and lighting accounts for 20% of home energy use.
Upgrade Your "Energy Hog" Appliances
The next step is to upgrade any old or questionable appliances with new Energy Star-certified models. "There is a definite payoff with Energy Star," says Mitchell. The EPA's blue and white label indicates models must be 10% to 50% more efficient than standard offerings. It's also a good idea to install a programmable thermostat and motion detectors, suggests Mitchell.
Insulation Can Be a Selling Point
Make sure cracks are tightly caulked and leaks are sealed. Just doing that can drop your annual heating bill by $100, according to Department of Energy figures. Also consider if your insulation might need beefing up.
Going Healthy Sells
Another potentially untapped market is to capitalize on making your home as healthy a space as possible. There are many people with allergies, asthma, chemical sensitivities and so on who consider top indoor air quality a necessity. In addition, more and more people are interested in cutting down on their exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
So putting on a fresh coat of the new and now-widely available "low-VOC" paints can go a long way toward attracting buyers, says Mitchell. "It gives Realtors something to market," she says.
You'll also want to deal with what's underfoot. Old carpets can be a real turnoff, and can emit allergens and toxins. Exposing any hardwood floors is a good way to bring out your home's beauty and value, but if you don't have that option consider new, eco-friendly carpeting.
Any opportunities you have to replace polyvinyl chloride (PVC) will also improve indoor air quality, since the plastic is known to off-gas fumes. It may be present in flooring, shower curtains, plastic board material and more.
If your home is older, you'll want to assess the situation of possible lead paint and asbestos - issues much better left to qualified professionals.
Call the Pros
Speaking of pros, the best thing you can do when considering selling your home green is to call in experts to make recommendations. They may start with an energy audit, for instance.
Remember that you may also qualify for federal, state or local tax credits by going green.
Contact Kari A. Battaglia, GRI, Realtor®, Broker Associate, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, Licensed Realtor® in Florida at 941-270-1851 to list your property for sale or to purchase a property in Venice Florida, South Venice Florida, Englewood Florida, Nokomis Florida, Laurel Florida and for Tennessee real estate investments. I am currently accepting referrals.
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Copyright © 2008 By Kari A. Battaglia. All Rights Reserved.
Helping buyers and sellers since 2004. A Venice/Englewood Florida resident for almost 40 years, put my local real estate knowledge to work for you today. My coverage areas include Southwest Florida include Venice, South Venice, North Venice, Nokomis, Osprey, Casey Key, Manasota Key, Englewood, Rotonda West, South Gulf Cove, Grove City, Placida, Cape Haze, Port Charlotte & North Port which are located in Sarasota and Charlotte Counties
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