By Steve Graham, Hometalk.com
Recent studies suggest that solar panels and other sustainability upgrades can help a home sell faster and fetch a higher price. Still, an experienced real estate agent said the true value really depends on smart investments and the right staging.
The Earth Advantage Institute has determined that existing homes with third-party environmental certifications sell for 30 percent more than comparable homes without such ratings. In another study, the National Bureau of Economic Research found a 97 percent return on investment for solar panels. Moreover, they can boost a home sale price by three to four percent.
Colorado real estate broker Lara Williams urges homeowners to choose their green upgrades wisely, then market them properly.
Energy Star appliances or even simple, discrete features such as low VOC paints can tip the scales for a buyer considering two otherwise similar homes. But somebody has to publicize these features.
If a listing agent can clearly convey to the market the green upgrades that a buyer has installed, and especially the energy upgrades, the home will get special attention, and probably sell faster and at a premium, said Williams, who started the Green Team Real Estate, which focuses on buying and selling eco-friendly homes.
Green realty is a growing niche market, and those who have made substantial green upgrades should seek out a specialized green real estate agent.
Williams said she provides potential buyers with a page listing all the eco-friendly features of the home, and the benefits of each feature. She also places cards around the house pointing out specific green upgrades, creating a little self-guided tour.
She also recommends providing specific dollar values for energy upgrades. For example, show the heating bills for the same month in the year before and after installing a more efficient furnace. This will help buyers realize the annual savings as compared to a similar house with an older furnace.