The eco features that add value to a home are, unsurprisingly, more on buyers' and sellers' radars than ever before. The drive to switch to renewable energy and to make our homes more energy efficient is no longer seen as a niche pursuit.
We've spoken to experts in both the renewable energy fields and real estate to help sellers understand the best ways to add value that involve eco home improvements.
1. An energy efficient heating system
It will come as no surprise to potential home sellers that an eco heating system is the most sought-after feature that buyers are prepared to pay more for. And – they're not just for hot places; eco cooling options are just as important for buyers in hotter locations. Jason Legat, Founder & President of Model Remodel, says: 'There's a couple home heating features that are not only luxurious to live with, but are also big selling points. Smart thermostats, heated floors and radiant heating panels are all energy-efficient home upgrades that add comfort and value. Each of these features has a different price point, so there's an eco-friendly heating upgrade for every homeowner.'
Jason breaks down the appeal of each of these options: 'Smart thermostats can help you monitor you energy usage and heat only the areas of your home in use during a certain time. Heated floors can make occupants feel warmer through direct contact, instead of running less efficient systems like baseboard heaters or forced-air. Radiant ceiling panels use the same technology to direct heat from above.'
Whichever one you choose, 'they do an excellent job of heating spaces that are normally part of a remodel, such as attics or basements. Warmth plays a big role in overall comfort, so having these energy-efficient heating features is good for the planet, your wallet, your well-being and home value.'
2. Energy-efficient windows and doors
As Andre Kazimierski, CEO of home improvement service Improovy, puts it, 'it may seem simple, but good windows can increase home value and make your
living more “green.” Windows have two major impacts on a house - lighting
and insulation. Windows are one of the main points of entry in your home that allow in hot and cold air. Any windows will lose effectiveness in their insulation over time if they are not replaced. If your windows lack quality insulation, you are forced to use more air conditioning or heating to accommodate for the temperature let in.'
Andra DelMonico, the Lead Interior Designer for Trendey, also reminds sellers not to ignore energy-efficient doors: 'This home upgrade tends to get overlooked, but replacing old exterior doors improves the curb appeal of the home and reduces home heating and cooling costs. Look for a door that has multiple glass panes, a tighter fit in the opening and weather stripping, and insulating core materials. New exterior doors also offer some of the best returns on investment.'
3. Smart electrics
This is a broad category, but one that is increasingly important to buyers, so well worth exploring in full. Andra emphasizes the potential of smart appliances: 'Replacing regular appliances with smart versions gives the home an upgrade.
This could include the stove, microwave, and fridge. This makes the
homeowner’s life easier by integrating them into an entire smart home
system. Smart appliances can help streamline meal preparation or ensure you
never forget another item when you go grocery shopping.'
Christopher Haas, owner and Master Electrician at Haas & Sons Electric in Pasadena, MD, often does electrical-themed home renovations. He is pointing to electrical vehicle charging points as the must-have feature buyers are increasingly asking for as more and more private vehicles are going electric. Chris said: 'One of our most requested home improvement projects is for homeowners wanting to install an electric vehicle (EV) home charging station. While EV options are popular already thanks to Tesla and most of the majors releasing new models annually, they are only going to get much more popular in the coming decade and beyond. California, as an example, already has a goal of only having EV models sold in the state by 2035 and they tend to be a precursor to national policy changes. Due to the rising adoption from consumers and the writing on the wall via these policy changes across the nation, installing these EVSE units is a safe bet for return on investment.'
Finally, if you want an inexpensive and super-easy update, look no further than LED lighting throughout your home. Chris said: 'This one is really simple, DIY-friendly, and not that expensive. LED lights are awesome, way better for energy use, and last forever, so they're more convenient for homeowners. You'll have an upfront expense purchasing the new bulbs for all your cans or fixtures, but once installed they should last you for years without additional expenses.'
From a complete home overhaul that includes a brand-new eco heating system to a simple swap of light bulbs – there are so many options for making your home for environmentally sustainable while adding value.
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Anna K. Cottrell is now a freelance writer, having previously been a Content Editor for Future's homes titles. She writes about interior design, property, and gardening. On H&G, she specialized in writing about property – buying, selling, renting – sustainability and eco issues.
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