In tumultuous economic times it’s rare to come across a home improvement strategy that makes sense whether you want to stay in your home or are ready for a move.
Thanks, in part, to the relentless increase in energy costs1 and the expanding environmental awareness of the average homeowner (or prospective homeowner), making energy efficient upgrades to your home can pay off in lower monthly costs and a higher market value for your home.
It just might be time for you to find out how increasing your house’s energy efficiency can pay dividends when it comes to the overall value of your house.
Rising energy costs
It’s no secret that energy costs have been on the rise. While energy use and the dollars required to pay for it have sharply climbed over the past two decades, paychecks haven’t necessarily kept pace.2 With an ever-widening gap between the bill for powering our 21st-century lives and the bottom-line realities of a recession hitting our bank accounts, rising energy costs continue to be a leading driver of energy efficiency awareness and action.
Increasing the energy efficiency of your home will not only put more dollars in your wallet today, but it can dramatically improve the market value of your home. In a time where it’s hard to predict from one day to the next whether it’s a good time to buy or sell, energy efficiency is practically a no-risk venture, which creates a win-win situation, whether you plan to welcome grandchildren into your current home or are looking to sell.
More eco-conscious buyers
Along with the tighter financial climate comes a wave of buyers who are not only fiscally savvy, but care about the impact their lives have on the environment and the future of the planet. The upside is eco-conscious buyers are more willing to lay out cash for a home that was made as energy efficient as possible, and they’re going to be more attracted to your home, thanks to the environmentally sound energy decisions you’ve made as a home owner.
If you’re looking to make eco-friendly upgrades to your home, here are the three best things you can do to increase your home’s value through energy-efficient measures.
What you can do
1. Get a home energy score.
First, find out how your home currently rates when it comes to energy efficiency. Having an evaluation by a reputable source will let you know where you need to put your home improvement dollars. An energy rater will do a review of your home and compare it to a “reference home” that is similar to yours in type, size and shape. Some of the factors considered in your home’s energy rating include
Ceilings and the roof
Doors and windows
Garage and/or cellar floors
Attics, foundations and crawlspaces
Vents and ductwork
HVAC systems and thermostat
2. Upgrade your windows.
Upgrading your windows is one of the best ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home,3 and it comes with the benefit of adding aesthetic as well as economic value. On the National Association of Realtors report about which home improvement projects make the biggest impact, window upgrades ranked high.4 To make sure you get the biggest bang for your buck, look for double pane insulated glass and reputable, well-reviewed installation.
3. Get energy-efficient home automation.
There is a lot you can do with home automation to help make your home more efficient. Each package comes with something different, depending on the provider, but there are a lot of great options out there. For example, Vivint offers easy energy management with a thermostat you can control from any web-enabled device as well as program it to turn off during peak usage hours to conserve energy. Their Energy Management package also includes 12 energy-efficient lightbulbs, which last 10 times longer and use 75 percent less energy than a standard bulb.
4. Consider an energy-efficient mortgage.
When it comes to increasing your home’s value while minimizing your consumption footprint, an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) gives you the freedom to make green upgrades that might otherwise be cost-prohibitive. Some of the improvements that an EEM will help fund include window upgrades, improving your insulation, making the switch to alternative heating like a pellet stove, solar panel installation and making sure everything is sealed up tight as a drum with weather stripping and air sealing, especially in attic and basement walls. One important thing to note is that an EEM is billed similarly to having a second home; however, you will not have an additional lien or second mortgage on your property.
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more