April 22 is the 48th anniversary of the first of Earth Day. What better time to do a few simple and inexpensive home improvements to make a home a more comfortable, energy efficient, and less expensive place to live? Few people realize that, in addition to making a home’s carbon footprint smaller, energy efficiency home improvements can also increase a home’s value and make it sell faster and for a higher price.
It’s hard to pick up a newspaper, do an online search, or turn on the television without hearing something about climate change, energy exploration and delivery costs, power bills, sustainable energy, or a strong recovering real estate market. With home purchasers being a pretty good representation of the population in general, it’s not surprising that buyers today are demanding more value for their purchasing dollar.
“One of the places they’re looking for value is in home energy efficiency.” Brad Emond, Sales Executive with the Trembley Group Real Estate in Myrtle Beach and former owner of a Home Energy Evaluation company in Canada says, “Today, homebuyers are looking for added value in every purchase they make, but especially in real estate. They either want an awesome price or extras – extras like the ones found in a more energy-efficient house.”
Can Eco-friendly Changes Make a Difference When It’s Time to Sell?
With so many houses to choose from, sellers are always looking for some way to make their home stand out from all the rest. Many new-home builders have discovered that offering a highly energy efficient home is the competitive advantage they need to be successful. And to compete with energy efficient new construction, many Realtors have discovered that encouraging their sellers to make a few eco-friendly, relatively inexpensive, and highly effective energy efficiency home improvements is all it takes to get a competitive edge.
According to Tom Woods, Nation Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Chairman, a study of the home features most desired by buyers “… is an incredibly useful tool to help builders and remodelers determine not only consumer attitudes towards green homes, but also which green features consumers care most about. We have seen incredible growth in green and sustainable building over the years, and the results of this survey only further solidify the continued consumer interest in green building, and which attributes matter most these buyers.” The NAHB study indicates that for 88% of buyers, a home’s energy efficiency influences their decision to purchase.
Since 2002, “Remodeling,” a trade magazine for contractors and builders, has been tracking common home improvement projects and the return-of-investment each project recoups when the home sells.
Home Energy Improvements that Offer Bang for Your Buck
Looking at years of past results, it is pretty easy to determine which projects give the most “bang for the buck.” Comparing the “Remodeling” information with the data from the National Association of Realtors’(NAR) “Remodeling Impact Report” that includes project costs and cost recovery percentage, a few common findings and conclusions stand out. The Realtor’s report also measures the satisfaction of homeowners with the finished projects.
Today’s buyers are most interested in the amount of money they will save on energy bills over the course of them living in the home. Home sellers shouldn’t hesitate to highlight any energy-efficient amenities they’ve made. Homebuyers are interested in anything that will save them money in the long-run, including low-flush toilets, attic insulation, double-paned windows and anything else that will reduce both their carbon footprint and energy consumption and lower their utility bills.
They study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) asked what factors were most important to home purchasers. The study reports, “Environmentally friendly features remain a significant factor: 88 percent of buyers said that heating and cooling costs were important, 71 percent desired energy-efficient appliances, and 69 percent wanted energy-efficient lighting.” The real estate sales professionals at the Trembley Group Real Estate don’t find this surprising at all.
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 Brad Emond. “The key is making improvements to a home’s energy efficiency and documenting how the monthly bills change over time – highlighting the savings to any potential buyers and providing comparisons to typical bills for similar-sized houses in the Myrtle Beach area.” A call to a utility company can help put a report together.
While home energy efficiency upgrades result in utility cost savings, the greatest benefits are often found in improvements to a family’s quality of life – the family’s health, safety, and comfort. Energy efficiency home improvements reduce sources of dust and other allergens entering a home, improving indoor air quality. A home is less drafty and conditioned air is more evenly distributed, making all of the rooms more comfortable. The energy efficiency upgrade process also finds potential safety hazards that could put a family in danger.
The good news is that sellers can get a leg up on the other houses for sale in their price range by making inexpensive, smart and quick eco-renovations. These green remodeling ideas can help slash monthly energy bills, reduce water usage, clean up indoor air quality, and leave the planet a better place. And in the process, the sellers make their home stand out from of the rest.
What About Cost?
Home energy efficiency does not have to be expensive. Solar hot water and electric generating solar panels and geothermal heat pumps all save a lot of energy but cost a lot of money too (Although, with all the power company rebates and Federal tax credits, probably not as much as you think.). There are lots of low-cost or no-cost energy efficiency home improvements that a South Carolina homeowner can do that will dramatically reduce their carbon footprint, reduce energy use, and lower power bills. Wherever a home is located in Myrtle Beach or anywhere along the Grand Strand, energy efficiency home improvements may be easier and save more money than a homeowner thought possible.
Watch for next week’s The Trembley Group Real Estate Blog for some specific low-cost and no-cost energy efficiency home improvements that will make a home more energy efficient and a less expensive place to live. In the process, the home will be a more pleasant place to live. Why not make the improvements now and enjoy the benefits of lower utility bills yourself? Why wait and do it for someone else?
Need help? Call The Trembley Group at 843.945.1880 ext. 100 and we’ll help you look for the perfect listing or buyers agent!
At The Trembley Group, we pride ourselves on being the experts at more than just selling real estate. We are local residents, some of us have been here for a lifetime. The rest of us will be here until the end of time. We love living, working, and playing in the diverse backyard of Coastal Carolina, and look forward to helping you live and love your dreams soon too. Please reach out to us by phone or email for personalized service and one-on-one advice.