Visit the website of just about any builder or new home community and you will see a list of the environmentally friendly attributes of the homes. Going green, making sustainable choices, reducing our carbon footprint and environmental impact – these aren’t just buzz words – they are extremely important to today’s consumers, to our communities, and our planet. Don’t let the new home builders get all the credit for their eco-friendly policies. It doesn’t matter how many ENERGY STAR® appliances they put in a home, it will almost always be better for the environment to buy an existing home than to build a new one.
Environmentally friendly features are likely to save home owners money as well, as they are often related to energy savings. The financial benefit is especially great when the green elements are already in the home – there are no up front costs such as replacing existing appliances or light bulbs, or installing new systems such as solar panels.
Appeal to conscious home shoppers by highlighting the green aspects of your listings. Be on the lookout for items such as these that may be already present or easily and inexpensively added:
- ENERGY STAR® appliances and water heater
- Low-E Windows
- Programmable thermostats
- CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs
- Increased insulation in walls or attic
- Efficient air conditioner
- Sealed ductwork
- Solar energy system
- Good use of natural lighting
- Effective cross ventilation to cool home with windows open
- Use of plants in landscaping that are native to the region and don’t require extensive irrigation and watering
- Water saving toilets, faucets, and shower heads
- Water saving washing machine and dish washer
- Rain barrel which collects rain water for use in garden or landscaping
Healthier For Residents:
- High efficiency air filters
- Low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints
- Low VOC carpeting, or no wall to wall carpeting
- Pollution fighting indoor plants (if they stay with the home)
One final thought for buyer’s agents: If an eco-conscious home shopper falls in love with a property that is in need of some green updates they may want to consider an Energy Efficient Mortgage Program. This specialty FHA loan allows 100% of the cost of eligible energy efficient improvements to be financed into the mortgage.