In a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, over 61% of home-buyers said they were interested in homes that had sustainable features—such as smart features, lighting efficiency, and lowered utility costs—and energy efficiency and “low-maintenance” features are within the top 5 selling points for most first-time home buyers.
While there are hundreds of factors that go into the value of a home, Realty Sage has compiled 12 Livability Categories that show how the features of a property can benefit a homeowner both while they are living in the home and if they plan to put the home on the market. These categories range from Comfort and Health, to Cost Savings and Unique Features, but all of them can be positively enhanced to increase the value of your home. Another perk of these categories is that many of them are related, so renovations in one area may have additional bonus benefits in another!
For example, let’s say you upgrade your thermostat to a newer, smart model to try and save money on your electric bill—not only does this fall into the Cost Saving category (which all homeowners and buyers prioritize), but it is also an Eco-Friendly upgrade, it allows for Low Maintenance living, and can positively impact the Market Resale Value. So that one improvement you made actually makes a mark in 4 different livability categories!
Eco-Friendly Ideas To Increase the Value Of Your Home
There are so many ways you can increase the value of your home, from a complete remodel to new appliances to simply swapping out your lightbulbs; thus you can effectively make a positive environmental impact and earn brownie points with potential buyers regardless of how much you can financially invest right now.
Don’t Flush Away Your Savings!
Water is one of our most precious, natural resources, yet on average each American uses 80-100 gallons of water daily!! That being said, other nations with a comparable standard of living use less than half that amount, thus it is clear there are water-saving solutions and we simply need to adopt them!
Personally, I think that cutting back on water usage is one of the easiest, most budget-friendly ways to have an eco-friendly home and also save money. While you can invest in a smart washing machine or dish washer and drastically cut back on water usage, you can also spend under $100 for a low-flow shower head or water recirculation kit and start saving immediately, with a relatively low up-front cost. The EPA calculates that 17% of most people’s entire water bill is simply due to showering—so this quick fix is really a great option for homeowners looking to make a change that is good for the environment and the wallet!
Check out more water-saving hacks here!
Energy-Saving, Smart Home Ideas
Saving energy is another great way to save money, lessen your footprint on the environment, and make your house as competitive as possible in the housing market! As almost a third of the electricity used in a home goes into space heating and cooling, targeting how the temperature is controlled in your home is a great place to start. There are many smart thermostats currently on the market that actually recognize patterns in your living habits and can suggest more efficient ways to heat and cool your home!
Upgrading your appliances to Energy Star appliances is also a fabulous way to cut back on those energy bills! The Energy Star program was created by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the goal of reducing nation-wide energy consumption, and as a result any products that bear the Energy Star symbol are held to a much higher standard of efficiency and are certified by the EPA to save you save you both on energy usage and on monthly bills!
Looking on the Bright Side—Solar Solutions!
Installing solar panels, while it does require more of an investment up-front, is one of the best decisions a homeowner can make, regardless of if you are planning on staying for years to come or looking to sell soon! Solar panels really do pay for themselves, however research has also shown that the addition of solar panels to a home means that home is typically on the market for fewer days than conventionally powered homes and solar homes sell at premium prices—additionally adding $15,000 or more to the selling price!! Not only that, but having a solar system means that Real Estate Agents have even more marketing options at their fingertips to highlight just how eco-friendly your house is!
While calculating the wattage, capacity and power output you might need in a solar array for your home may be daunting, don’t worry! Here are a few resources to help you on your journey to a more eco-friendly home:
Here’s an article to help you with the math of the matter—what size panels you need, what output power makes sense, how many panels makes sense, and more!
Here's a platform, Pick My Solar, that allows you to discuss your electrical needs with a Solar Professional and compare offers from top solar providers in your area!
Capitalize On Your Eco-Friendly Upgrades—Get The Sage Score
Last, but certainly not least, you need to make sure all your time and hard work is recognized!! Just as other areas of life get more tech-savvy, the real estate market is going from basic home-hunting to intelligent real estate search engines, databases that can accurately compare how sustainable features can positively impact your lifestyle and save you money.
Realty Sage is one such search engine and is refreshingly data-driven—each house featured on the site is scored based on the 12 Livability Categories that matter most to home-buyers and this rating can automatically elevate a home’s listing by providing easily-understood, accurate data to seller, buyers, and real estate agents.
By calculating a Sage Score for your house, you will be able to actually quantify how “green” your home is and truly showcase how the special features of your property positively impact the quality of living in your home!
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