To environmentally conscious homebuyers, eco-friendly features can help your home stand out in a competitive real estate market. In addition to environmental benefits and the promise of lower electric bills, green upgrades like installing a solar energy system on your roof can actually increase the resale value of your home.
A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, part of the U.S. Department of Energy, found that installing solar panels adds an average of $20,000 to your solar home’s value. Other “green” and energy-efficient home upgrades also increase the selling price of your home – in California, homes with green labels sell at an average price premium of nine percent.
To ensure that you get the most out of the eco-investments you make in your home, you need to effectively communicate all their benefits to prospective homebuyers. Here are a few tips that can help you get the most out of your eco-friendly home when you list it for sale.
1. Advertise the many different value propositions of a “green” home
The same eco-friendly home feature will attract different homebuyers for different reasons. Some prospective homeowners may be interested in the environmental benefits that green homes offer, such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions and sustainably-sourced materials. Others may be motivated by the financial benefits that result from eco-friendly upgrades like solar. A home with green upgrades can also be a selling point simply because it means that homebuyers won’t have to spend time or money to update the property themselves.
You should advertise all of these different value propositions in your home listing to make sure you’re attracting as wide a pool of potential buyers as possible. Communicating the many benefits that your green home offers will ensure that you see strong financial returns on the eco-friendly upgrades you make to your home.
2. Get specific! Highlight tangible benefits to homebuyers
In addition to their environmental benefits, eco-friendly home upgrades can result in tangible benefits for prospective buyers. For example, solar panels provide a very real financial incentive in the form of dramatically reduced electricity bills. Other energy efficient home upgrades offer similar financial savings. In your home listing, sales materials and elsewhere, make sure to use specific numbers that communicate the economic value of your home’s green upgrades to prospective buyers. For example, if your solar panels reduced your electricity bills by 90 percent last year, or your energy-efficient HVAC system cut your winter heating costs in half, share that information as clearly as possible.
There are a number of independent programs that offer “green labels” to verify your home’s eco-friendly characteristics. Educated homebuyers who are interested in green homes will search for recognizable green labels like the LEED certification when shopping online. If your home recently went through an energy efficiency upgrade, you can also share its HERS Index rating in your property listing.
3. Make your real estate agent your biggest “green” advocate
Environmentally friendly home upgrades are a worthwhile investment that can pay off in no time, but they don’t always come cheap – for example, solar panel costs can range from $10,000 to $15,000 for an average-sized solar panel installation. Even if you already appreciate all of the benefits that these eco-friendly upgrades offer, make sure your real estate agent understands the competitive advantages that make your green home stand out from the crowd.
Green homes are more popular than ever, and many real estate agents already have experience marketing them. If your agent doesn’t, work with him or her to ensure that they understand the distinct advantages of your home so that your eco upgrades are effectively communicated to every prospective buyer.
This also extends to the real estate appraiser that evaluates your home’s value. For example if you want to ensure that your home’s listing price includes the value of your solar energy system, consider using a tool like PV Watts to calculate the specific dollar value of your solar PV installation. Taking these simple yet effective steps will help ensure that selling your eco-friendly home is as successful as possible.