Green Real Estate Improves Home Values

Today’s competitive real estate market is making it extremely difficult for owners to sell their existing properties. One way property owners can set themselves apart in this tough market is through green certification. As the green building movement continues to gain momentum, ever-scrupulous buyers will be drawn toward properties that have their green credentials, while shying away from those that do not. Therefore, instead of investing in new kitchen countertops or ceramic tiles for the bathroom, home improvement budgets might be better allocated toward improving the overall energy efficiency of your home.

A report released by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies states that the median price for existing single-family homes dropped by 28.5 percent from 2005 to 2009. Tighter credit markets and high national unemployment have also shrunk the pool of potential buyers. For those looking to break even on their existing homes in this tough market, extra care and deliberation should be taken when deciding how to spend limited home improvement dollars.

Today’s market savvy building professional might suggest that “greening” one’s home is money well spent, compared to other piecemeal improvements focused on esthetics. Taking the necessary steps to improve and certify the energy efficiency of your home will instill much needed confidence with potential buyers. Furthermore, today’s buyers are looking for customizability, with the option to choose the look and feel of their bathrooms and kitchens. Putting in the initial investment to guarantee an energy efficient core can work as a selling point across all buyers, regardless of their preference in color and building materials.

One way of quantifying your home energy performance is by getting it Energy Star certified. The Energy Star certification is commonly associated with electronics and other durable goods, but the EPA in partnership with the Department of Energy also offers certification for homes through Energy Star. The cost of certification will depend on your home’s current energy usage, and how it compares to the US Department of Energy benchmark standard, often referred to as the Energy Smart Home Scale or e-Scale.