Over the past decade, environmentally sustainable homes have reached a new level of excitement in the real estate profession. Individuals looking to purchase a new home often weigh the property’s utility costs, environmental building standards, and comfort in addition to the square footage and layout. Real estate professionals have had to adjust to these new demands, with consumers demanding greener and more energy-efficient homes.
Facts About Home Performance
A recent survey suggests that over 50% of all prospective homebuyers in the United States are interested in homes that adhere to environmentally-friendly building standards. There are several such standards, such as LEED certification and GreenPoint-rated buildings.
Today’s realtors are expected to be able to answer questions about a home’s energy performance and energy-saving features. Realtors have undergone specialized training in order to provide their clients with the answers they seek. In California, a nonprofit organization called Build It Green has provided training to over 1000 realtors in the state. Many of those realtors have gone on to become certified with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Green Designation.
In general, homes that have lower utility bills or energy-saving features sell substantially faster than homes without such features. Even in the hottest real estate markets, such as Los Angeles, Miami, and Las Vegas, prospective homebuyers favor homes with features like LED lighting, solar panel systems, and water-saving amenities. Unfortunately, there is high demand but low availability of energy-smart homes on the market.
To counter the lack of available energy-smart homes, many realtors are guiding their clients to fixer-uppers. These older homes tend to be surprisingly affordable, leaving money in the budget for energy-saving home improvements. Programs like Property Assessed Clean Energy in California and other U.S. states provide low-cost financing to property owners for adding improvements like insulation, energy-saving lighting, solar panels, and water-saving landscaping and irrigation systems. In addition, many utility companies offer homeowners substantial rebates on equipment that saves electricity. Purchasing an older home and retrofitting it to become more energy-smart makes a lot of sense for prospective homeowners. Realtors trained in green building practices and sustainability considerations can provide homeowners with the information they need to make informed home investments. An added benefit of adding energy-saving features to an existing home is that these improvements can raise the home’s value in resale situations. With smart investments and an eye toward environmental sustainability, today’s homeowners can increase the value of their homes dramatically.