Many homeowners are hesitant to implement green improvements into residences based on the initial costs to do so. However, those who are more astute have recognized and are taking advantage of the benefits, including a boost to the home’s future resale value.
Another mistake when purchasing a new home is to focus solely on the home’s bottom-line price and not pay as much attention to green features designed for maximum efficiency and to save money over the long haul. Savvy homebuyers understand the value of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, which consists of a suite of rating systems for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green homes and neighborhoods.
Perhaps a way to get the point across is to give features such as improved energy efficiency and air-quality systems the same star billing as elements such as granite countertops and hardwood floors when marketing a home. It also seems not all types of green improvements or products have the same return on investment. Solar panels, for example, are quite good at recouping their installation costs because they can be seen whereas “hidden” enhancements such as insulation and air sealing are less obvious and thus do not attract the same level of attention from a homebuyer.
New Research Supports Trend
It is encouraging to note the public is becoming more aware of the advantages of green homes, as discovered in new reports based out of the Pacific Northwest; additional research shows this trend holds true across the US.
Homes certified as eco-friendly in the Seattle area sold for 8.5% more per square foot and were on the market 22% less time than other homes, according to a report that tracks new sales from September 2007 through December 2009. The homes that underwent the strictest certification -- being tested by third parties and thus likely to be the greenest -- performed even better by commanding prices 25% higher than regular homes, says the ECert report by Seattle-based GreenWorks Realty.
In another report last year from the Portland-based, non-profit Earth Advantage Institute in the city’s metro area, green-certified homes sold for 12% more -- an average of $408,915 -- than non-certified homes from May 2008 through April 2009. Regional Multiple Listing Service data also revealed a premium per square foot with eco-friendly homes getting $193 compared with $173 for other homes.
In both studies, eco homes make up an increasing share of the overall new home market. In the Seattle report, the 973 green-rated homes that sold made up 33% of the total market. In the Portland metro study, 674 such homes sold, representing 16% of all sales. In both studies, the homes are considered green with LEED certification.
The reasoning varies from homeowners who are enticed by the ability to lower utility bills to those who are keen on buying homes built with nontoxic materials, which makes the indoor-air quality cleaner than traditional counterparts -- and many other benefits to both the residents and the environment.
If you are remodeling, building or buying a house, why not stay ahead of the curve by embracing the advantages for both your bank account and health by investing in an environmentally friendly home?