The key to mainstreaming green homes is to make sure that consumers understand the value of green upgrades — how cost-effective energy efficiency can be in the long run. Consumers want homes that are environmentally friendly and home values should reflect the increased savings.
Better Homes and Gardens
Recent poll results of 2,342 people who plan to purchase or do a major home improvement in 2010 show (numbers have been rounded):
- 2% of consumers are planning to have high-efficiency heating and cooling in their next home
- 3% are planning to have high-efficiency appliances
- 3% will have geo-thermal heat
- 5% said energy-efficient heating and cooling will be more important to them
- 6% said Energy Star appliances will be more important
Appraisals need to better reflect the value added to energy efficient green upgrades. Legislation is pending which will require the consideration of any renewable energy sources, or energy-efficiency or energy-conserving improvements. Appraisers will tell you they have been considering green improvements for 15 years, typically, double paned windows, insulation and solar hot water heaters. The value normally attributed is the installation cost. But that is just the beginning of the direct savings to the new owner. The ongoing savings of operating a greener home is not being reflected in the appraisal and yet it can be significant when compared to a home that isn’t energy efficient.
To reflect true value buyers need to recognize the increase savings when comparing homes. Appraisers will tell you that when the energy cost savings can be documented, home buyers are more willing to pay a premium. They understand the lower monthly cost of ownership and better resale value.
Green Marketing Incentives
Most state energy and public utilities offer incentives, rebates and tax breaks for energy efficient upgrades. Realtors should suggest that sellers take advantage of these incentives. Consumers clearly want greener homes and agencies offering rebates can document the projected savings. This can be a powerful sales incentive in a market where value is king.
View the Top 9 Do It Yourself GREEN Home Improvements
Green is an extremely important part of our real estate future as well as the independence of our country. I would love to have appraisers, and lenders who approve financing, understand how to appropriately give value to solar, efficient appliances, etc. Keep the voice of green alive.
February 5th, 2010 at 8:23 pm
Green homes are a great concept. I hope more people start considering the idea.
February 9th, 2010 at 10:47 am
The sooner that we begin to assign a reasonable value to these “green” features, the sooner we can look forward to living on a healthier planet. It’s very odd that appraisals aren’t taking these sorts of things into consideration already, don’t you think?
February 9th, 2010 at 1:16 pm
It is odd. Green has a true cash value and its quantifiable. I was a financial planner and understand cash flows. Perhaps the industry doesn’t really consider operating costs because its a home and not a business. But If I could show documented savings of $100 or $200 monthly and expect to own for ten years – thats real value added
Thanks for reading
February 9th, 2010 at 4:29 pm
May be hard to put number on Green still.
February 9th, 2010 at 6:48 pm
No doubt thats the problem. All the soft variables, like how people use energy etc. Still the utilities and many Govt agencies give average use savings. We should use these numbers more, not as hard facts, but as concept driven ideas. Its a fact that people would prefer a green home over a similar comp that wasnt at least energy star upgraded.
February 10th, 2010 at 1:39 pm
Although the whole green movement is HUGE, I wonder if it’s somewhat over-hyped. I mean, of course we want to take care of the planet, but I feel like a lot of people are only on board because it can make them money (businesses in particular).
That said, it’s a hell of a market to target yourself at.
WP Mortgage Calculator
February 10th, 2010 at 4:49 pm
Well said Jack. Its not a deal breaker but it is a great emotional hook. People do want to do good.
Being able to talk about saving 30,000 gallons of water annually and using programmable thermostats, energy efficient appliances amounts to real savings and should just be part of the dialogue..
February 10th, 2010 at 5:38 pm
Intriguing article. The green revolution will likely play a greater role in the Canadian real estate market. For example, owners can realize savings due to energy efficiency, and sellers can use the fact that a home is eco-friendly as a selling point that could attract more buyers.
February 15th, 2010 at 11:34 am
Canada yes, but I think its of real value in all very cold and very hot areas. I have a friend in Maine that spends $300 or more each winter month.
Things like this are as much a function of media as anything else and we are getting a lot of green media motivation…it will change peoples perception
February 15th, 2010 at 1:00 pm
Green homes is a great idea. My thought is most people understand the cost of technology tends to drop in a hand full of years, so why not wait a little and get cost benefits and future savings.
July 15th, 2011 at 12:16 pm