Eco-friendly features can help a home stand out in a competitive real estate market, especially to environmentally conscious homebuyers. In addition to the promise of lower electric bills, green upgrades such as installing a solar energy system on the roof actually can increase the resale value of a home. According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, part of the U.S. Department of Energy, installing solar panels adds an average of $20,000 to a solar home’s value. Other “green” and energy-efficient home upgrades also increase the selling price of a home—in California, homes with green labels sell at an average price premium of 9 percent. Here, Redfin offers a few tips that can help you get the most out of your eco-friendly investments when listing your home.
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 such as solar. A home with green upgrades also can be a selling point simply because it means that homebuyers won’t have to spend time or money to update the property themselves. Be sure to 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 also can 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. This also extends to the real estate appraiser that evaluates your home’s value. For instance, if you want to ensure that your home’s listing price includes the value of your solar energy system, consider using a tool such as 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.