A few months ago we announced the top 12 do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvements for people selling their home.
With the environment and sustainability in the hearts and minds of many Americans, HomeGain has also surveyed Realtors for the top 9 GREEN DIY home improvements. Nearly 1,000 REALTORS® responded to the survey.
While the results show that green home improvement projects may not be as popular as traditional non-green improvements (percentage of Realtors who recommend them), the GREEN trend does seem to be catching on as people realize the benefits. (See Realtor comments below.)
According to a McGraw Hill study, 70% of homebuyers would rather buy a green home than a non-green home in a down economy. The Management Information Services/ICMA has said that “landscaping, especially with trees, can increase property values as much as 20 percent.” According to Move.com, to date, around 1,100 Realtors have earned the NAR Green Designation (out of 1.3 million registered Realtors in the U.S.).
Based on national average cost and return on investment (ROI) to sellers…
The top 5 GREEN home improvements that Realtors recommend to home sellers are:
- Plant native trees and plants ($141 average cost / $399 average price increase / 284% average ROI / 65% of agents recommended)
- Replace air filters ($76 cost / $201 price increase / 266% ROI / 63% recommended)
- GREEN home staging ($223 cost / $445 price increase / 199% ROI / 47% recommended)
- Weather strip and caulk doors and windows ($169 cost / $313 price increase / 185% ROI / 68% recommended)
- Install programmable thermostats ($146 cost / $249 price increase / 170% ROI / 62% recommended)
The complete 9 GREEN home improvements are as follows:
Realtor, Jeffrey Bastress, and HomeGain member, has been an advocate of Green real estate for the past few years:
“Startpoint Realty is totally designed as eco friendly, as we have no bricks and mortar, use virtual office websites to communicate with customers and a transaction platform to post all documents once for all parties. We give trees as closing gifts to our Buyers and donate trees to the Arbor Day Foundation in the name of our Sellers as a closing gift. My website is a GREEN resource center for buyers and sellers, and I advise my agents and others on how to GREEN their websites and better consult with their clients. I am also a builder and working with a LEED certified team of architects and contractors and have 2 GREEN LEED certified homes we are planning on building with clients that have indicated they are hiring us to do so.”
Green Home Staging
Green home staging is focused on environmental sustainability. It is geared at reducing waste that is may be added to landfills and other environmental benefits. In addition to traditional staging advice, Green stagers offer education and guidance to the seller by developing ways to effectively “green” market their home. Green stagers reuse props; create props from recycling materials from partnerships with other local businesses; recycle old and worn out props by donating them. In a green staging assessment, they also suggest how to incorporate ways to repair or upgrade in regards to the conservation of resources, water efficiencies and recycling.
Conventional paints contained high levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that produced a breathable gas when applied. VOCs diminish air quality and may be detrimental to your health. Today, alternative manufacturing techniques have allowed the development of low- and no-VOC paints that release no, or minimal VOC pollutants, and are virtually odor free.
Comments From Surveyed Realtors (by region):
“Clean air returns, not just replace filters.”
“Most of these things aren’t going to be looked at up front so they don’t add value but you should go ahead and take care of weather strippinig and replacing air filters so that it doesn’t come up on inspections and then make the home appear to be unkept.” – Karen Harrison RE/MAX of Orange Beach www.karensgulfproperties.com
“Being ‘Green’ is usually more expensive than the immediate short run savings will offset and therefore this is still a very hard area to push in our area.”
“Energy saver electricals, use energy star appliances.”
“My market is older construction and mostly not refit to ‘Green’ standards. Market does not recognize value for these improvements – yet – but I believe they will become more important in the future.”
“I did this to my own home and I have to tell you the monthly savings was very impressive. It would be helpful if the owners could show the difference in their bills with Green energy. My latest is to try to study design and how to add green products as much as I can. I think new buyers are young and savvy with regard to this. I sell California but i am from New Orleans, LA originally. Now this is an interesting phenomena because California has made me ‘green friendly’ but New Orleans is hungry for this technology and doing loads of rebuilding with green products.”
“Buyers cannot see most of these items so there would be no value in a selling doing them unless they did them all and were advertising it as a totally green house.”
“Unless I know that my market is GREEN I do not make any of those recommendations. If I were the buyer it would mean a lot to me to have these things done.”
“I also advise my clients with older water heaters and/or furnaces to take advantage of tax credits and replace them with new energy saving models and get the tax advantage plus make the home more appealing to potential buyers. Also, taking advantage of any passive solar the home may have that is being under-utilized. I also offer a home audit and/0r whole house inspection to help owners see what can be done to make the home more energy efficient, which can help sell the home faster with a higher offer.”
“Have energy certified appliances and air handlers, plus hot water heater.”
“Check and renew insulation!”
“I haven’t found green improvements to be a sought-after element yet. However, a new energy efficient HVAC system, windows and roofing definitely makes a difference to most folks as they are such expensive items to replace. “
“If homeowners were to get tax credits on ‘green’ improvments it would be easier to make them motivated to do so and then easier for us, Realtors, market them as green…”
“I hadn’t thought of suggesting these Green improvements before, but now I will!”
What’s Your Opinion?
WEST: AK, CO, HI, MT, WA, OR, CA, NV, ID, UT, AZ, NM, WY
MID-WEST: IL, ID, IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, OH, SD, WI, MI, IN
SOUTH: TX, OK, AR, LA, MS, AL, TN, KY, GA, FL, SC, NC, WV, VA
EAST: PA, NY, MD, NJ, NH, CT, DE, MA, ME, VT, RI
HomeGain received survey responses from nearly 1,000 real estate agents in each of the U.S. regions. All agents might not necessarily agree on the same pre-sale strategy. See “% of agents recommending” column above. Differences of opinions may vary based on the climate of the market, region of the country or condition of the home in question. The percentage of agents that agree on the positive impact of a particular pre-sale activity is summarized here.
Try the Home Sale Maximizer Tool below: