Can Green Updates Help a Home's Resale Value?
"Green Homes" is a topic on everyone's mind these days. Vancouver is considered one of the greenest cities in North America. But how far a home owner is willing to go for a "green home" is really a personal choice. However, lower energy bills of a property is always an attracitve feature at this economic uncertain time. At minimum, make sure your doors and windows are not drafty.
By TIM McKEOUGH
Q. Can green updates increase the value of my home? If so, what are the most cost-effective options?
A. “If you do just one thing, it’s probably not going to add value,” said Jeffrey Schleider, managing director of Miron Properties, a real estate company specializing in green properties, in New York.
But when a number of environmentally friendly updates are implemented all together, they can help your home stand out from the crowd. “If you do five or six things as a package,” he said, “it really makes your property more appealing.”
That said, he added, “there are some investments where you won’t see a return on your investment, because they’re too expensive relative to the value they add.” So he advises starting with easy low-cost changes that target energy savings, clean water and clean air.
To cut energy consumption, he recommends motion-sensor switches in bathrooms and closets that will automatically turn lights on and off when people come and go. Basic models often cost under $20 at hardware stores.
To improve water quality, he suggests installing an under-counter filtration unit by a company like GE or Kohler, for filtered water at the kitchen sink.
“That’s something that people, both environmentally conscious and not, are interested in,” he said. “It stops the use of bottled water, but it’s also a convenience to have clean water at your tap. Even a very good system can be added for a few hundred dollars, and that adds value.”
To improve air quality, he said, sellers should use paints with low or no volatile organic compounds. “It’s not significantly more expensive,” he said, “but can be a huge appeal to buyers. Certain buyers are especially sensitive and can’t even look at homes that don’t have no-V.O.C. paint.”
Ellen Hanson, a New York interior designer who focuses on sustainability, echoed Mr. Schleider’s advice about using low- or no-V.O.C. paint.
She also suggests adding Energy Star-certified kitchen appliances, low-flow bathroom faucets and showerheads, and dual-flush toilets to the list of possible upgrades.
All these items save energy and water, she said, while giving your home a fresh new look.
“We also like to use multilayered window treatments to control solar gain and heat loss,” Ms. Hanson said. “You end up consuming less energy, but whether a buyer of your home would perceive that or not, I’m not sure.”
Indeed, many of these upgrades may go unnoticed if not spelled out in promotional materials. “A lot of them are choices you don’t see,” Ms. Hanson said. “But you can brag about them when you describe your property.”
Mr. Schleider also stresses the importance of marketing these upgrades, pointing out that they could give sellers an edge on the competition.
“It’s pretty tough to sell in some markets right now,” he said. “So any edge you can have is a positive.”
Questions about repairs or redecorating done in preparation for putting a home on the market may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Unpublished questions cannot be answered individually.