Spring is traditionally the time of year when most home sellers place their home on the market. If you (or folks you know) are selling your home, here's an article I wrote for move.com that has lots of helpful information.
If you'd like additional help to sell your home faster for more money, get my Home Staging Guide.
Green Steps To Attract Home Buyers
For many people, green living is simply a way of life. However, not every home buyer interested in green living requires a LEED Certified home with an off-the-grid energy system, a living roof and a compost area. As wonderful as that would be, there’s usually a hefty price tag attached.
Buyers today understand that going green is a journey. If you share with them all the little green steps you have already taken, chances are your efforts will be most appreciated. And who knows, it could be just the thing that distinguishes your home from the competition.
So when it’s time to sell, it’s time to add up all that you’ve done to go green. If any enhancements are needed before the sale, definitely choose eco products to add to your list.
Here are some of the features and product choices that make your home green. Check to see what your home already has and what you can add before your sale. It’s possible that you have a longer list than you realize.
Location. If your home is close to public transportation or within walking distance to stores, schools and parks, that’s definitely green. As a matter of fact, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) lists “location” first on their Green Home Checklist. Let buyers know that the kids can walk to school and bike to parks. And that you regularly walk to the shops in the neighborhood. Less car trips equal more green.
Building Design. Is your home situated on a site or landscaped in a way that’s energy efficient? The USGBC recommends that natural daylight reaches at least 75 percent of the home’s interior. Take a good look at your home. If your roof gets shade and you have abundant windows, then you don’t need to use your energy systems as often. If natural breezes flow due to your home’s design, thus eliminating the need for air conditioning, let your buyers know. Buyers love easy solutions for keeping utilities bills, and therefore CO2 emissions, down.
Energy Star. Definitely let buyers know if the home includes any Energy Star items such as appliances, windows, lighting or heating and cooling systems. And of course, if you need to replace any of these items before the sale, look for the Energy Star label. Did you know that Energy Star saved enough energy in 2008 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 29 million cars, all while saving Americans $19 billion on their utility bills? Yeah, it’s that important.
No-VOC paint. If you are doing any painting in preparation for your home’s sale, use No-VOC paint. Who will know the difference? Everyone! VOC’s are volatile organic compounds, the toxic odor-causing gases in chemicals such as paint. No-VOC’s, no odors. With all the new green technology, No-VOC paint’s quality has gone up and the prices have gone down.
Sustainable Flooring. If you already have 100% wool carpet, then you have some sustainable flooring. However, if you’re changing the carpet before you sell, consider sustainable or recycled carpets. There are many on the market, some are even made from recycled soda bottles. If you used flooring with Forest Stewardship Certified or reclaimed woods, or perhaps a sustainable material such as bamboo or palm, that’s definitely worthy of tooting your green horn.
Recycling Area. Most towns nowadays have a recycling program in place. However, not all homes do. If you’ve created space to store your recyclables before they head for the curb, let
buyers know. A clean, organized home is a turn-on for buyers. If you’ve found a way to keep the recycling area clean and organized, Hallelujah.
“Dark Green” Items. Got any of the following? Then you’re not just green, you’re dark green. Tell your buyers if your home has any items such as: solar or wind powered anything, LED lighting, a light reflecting roof, water capturing systems, recycled building materials such as insulation, recycled countertops or tile, motion sensor lighting, or drought tolerant landscaping.
The whole truth, and nothing but. All that being said, do not lie, embellish or exaggerate. Folks in the green world are very well-informed and can spot ‘green washing’ in a blink. What’s green washing, you ask? Lying, embellishing and exaggerating your green status. Better to leave items off the list than stuff it with phony info.
Once you’ve completed any replacement or enhancement projects, add up your green list and share the information with your broker. Then print the list and put it in a frame near the sign-in area during Open Houses. You’ll be surprised how effective your little green steps can be.