Going Green: How energy savings can help you afford more house
We all know going green is good for the ol' third rock from the sun, but it's also good for the other kind of green: cash.
Unfortunately, there are currently no standards when it comes to home valuation and energy features. But going green is something you need to be prepared to discuss with your agent.
Its very easy for home buyers to concentrate solely on the monthly house payment when in reality there are so many other costs associated with home ownership. Consider the following example. It doesn't include costs like insurance or maintenance, but it illustrates an interesting point:
The moral of the story? When purchasing a home that has $150 in monthly energy and water costs instead of a home with $300 in energy and water costs, you gets an additional $33,403 in purchasing power.
Is it possible to save $150 per month on energy and water in every home? That depends. Homes that do not currently have double-paned windows or an energy-efficient furnace could easily be upgraded to save $150 per month. Homes that were built with modern construction techniques and little to no landscape may have fewer features that would benefit from energy-saving upgrades, and finding $150 in savings may be more difficult.
Regardless, it's an important factor to discuss.
Out-of-town buyers: If you're looking for vacation homes or moving to a job in a new city, there's a good chance that viewing homes will be difficult-you could be a long drive or even a plane ride away. With today's video messaging apps like Skype or Facetime, your agent can walk you through a property virtually. It's not the same as walking through in person, but it will at least give you an idea about whether a property is worth pursuing further.
When life is just too crazy: If you're just getting too busy with everything else going on in your life, a good buyer's agent should be able to recognize the situation and help you take a step back. They can suggest that you take a few weeks off from your home search to recharge, or only focus on properties that exactly fit your wants list.
Inspection issues: You're dreaming about move-in day, and then some unforeseen issues turn up during inspection. A good agent can work out those issues by negotiating a lower offer-to cover costs of repairs-or by getting the seller to fix the problem.
1. High quality ceiling fans: In a recent National Association of Home Builders survey, ceiling fans ranked No. 1 as the most-wanted decorative item. If your ceiling fans are outdated, replace them with something in the $400 range-it'll make a big difference when it's time to sell.
2. Trees: Mature trees can be worth as much as $10,000 toward the value of your home. Trees also protect your home from the elements and prevent erosion.
3. Energy efficiency: Buyers are increasingly interested in saving energy, so any efficiency update is worthwhile. Switching from a wood to gas fireplace is a great start.
4. Outdoor lighting: Exterior lighting is great for highlighting the accents of your home, and you can typically expect a 50 percent return on investment.
5. Molding: You can finish a room with crown molding or railing for as little as $1.50 per foot if you take a DIY approach, and it's extremely desirable among prospective buyers.