You already know that the vast majority of buyers seek out green features. Yet without realizing it, an efficient home is precisely what they want.
You also know that 42 percent of buyers start their home search online. At that early stage, they likely don’t have the benefit of your insight. But you still can influence them.
Share this quick list to help prospects understand the bare basics of healthy, energy efficient homes.
And by the time they do start working with you, maybe those future clients already will have added green features to their wish-lists.
5 Signs That You May Be Looking for a Green Home
If you’re just starting your home search, it may not be obvious that a home with green features would address some of the items on your wish-list, whether that’s lower operating costs or a healthy indoor environment.
Here are 5 signs that you may be in the market for an energy efficient property and the things to look for as you’re screening homes.
1. Healthy indoor environment. If you’re concerned about indoor air quality either to keep yourself healthier or to ease breathing problems, look for hardwood floors. Carpet can hide a host of irritants like dust, pollen, and mold spores.
Also look for cabinets, doors, shelving, and so forth, built with real wood, rather than pressed wood products, which can off-gas irritating chemicals.
2. Low operating costs. It’s not just the mortgage and taxes, but also operating costs, including utility bills, maintenance, and transportation, that need to be factored into your total housing costs.
The better a home’s physical envelope and systems are, the more likely you are to see lower utility bills. When these items (the home’s construction and systems) work well together, they create a more consistent temperature throughout the home.
Check the age of the furnace and air conditioner. One rule of thumb is that if HVAC equipment is more than 10 years old, it may not be performing as efficiently as it could be. It costs about $875 a year to cool and heat a house, and a new ENERGY STAR-certified unit could reduce annual utility bills by more than $115 and increase your comfort.
Appliances with the Energy Star label use less energy and cut costs associated with daily tasks, doing laundry and washing dishes.
And plumbing products – toilets, faucets, showerheads, and outdoor irrigation systems – with the WaterSense label (https://www3.epa.gov/watersense/) save both money and water.
3. Insulation and comfort. Ask about when the home was last sealed and insulated. A well-sealed and -insulated home can reduce outside noise, keep out pollen and dust, control humidity, and increase comfort. It also can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs.
4. Low-maintenance. If yard maintenance isn’t your thing, look closely at the outdoor space.
Those without lawns eliminate the need to mow. And ones featuring native plants, grasses, shrubs and flowers can thrive without lots of water, chemicals, and maintenance.
5. Walkability. Walkable communities let you perform the daily needs of life without getting into a car. If that’s important to you, take a look around the homes you’re considering.
Could you walk to work or to a train station? Could your kids walk to school? Is it possible get to a grocery store and to restaurants on foot?
Yes, suburbs far from urban cores frequently have lower home prices, but you also have to factor in commuting costs, car insurance, and maintenance, along with the value of your time.