Picture this: you’re trying to sell your home. You’ve had tour after tour and while your potential buyers are all quite charmed by the layout and the neighborhood, you’ve yet to receive an offer. Why? One woman declined to buy because your home doesn’t have solar panels and she will only live in solar powered houses. Another couple said that they will only buy homes constructed of reclaimed materials. Even more potential buyers cited your not energy efficient enough appliances, the lack of a programmable house monitor (the kind that will turn off power to rooms that aren’t being used), lack of windmill, and the fact that you still have a water heater instead of a tankless water system.
Those days aren’t here yet. Most potential buyers are still fine with having to make those upgrades themselves. Still, those days probably are not that far off. Study after study shows that people are choosing to buy homes that are green over those that still need “greening up.”
Going Green is no Fad
It wasn’t that long ago that a house with solar panels or reclaimed flooring was seen as odd or even quirky. This isn’t the case anymore. In fact, now people will think it’s weird when a homeowner doesn’t upgrade to more energy efficient options.
The growing acceptance of the reality of climate change plays a large role in this. As major governmental bodies pass legislation governing things like carbon emissions, energy efficiency and consumption, etc those changes trickle down to the household level–as we’ve seen with the drought in California (people are now encouraged to call the local authorities when they see someone else wasting water).
People who are on the market for a home want to save as much money as possible. They work hard to take advantage of any benefit that might be available for them–from HUD funded down payment assistance for the income-challenged to the assistance offered to veterans through sites like lowvarates.com. A few years ago, they would have been happy to make the upgrades themselves because they would have been offered government funding to do so, but that’s not true anymore.
The government, to help their focus on sustainability and reducing carbon emissions trickle down to the household level, offered homeowners some major tax incentives for upgrading their homes. Homeowners were given tax credits for upgrading windows, siding and even appliances. A lot of those tax incentives have since lapsed, returning the burden for the expense to homeowners. This means that someone who is trying to buy a home is going to be looking for homes that have already had these upgrades installed.
On the seller’s side, having those upgrades installed helps elevate the home’s value. By having energy efficient windows, tankless water heaters, etc, sellers can ask for more when they put their home on the market and they can list those upgrades as the reason for the hike in price.
What This Means for Sellers
Make your upgrades now. While some of the tax incentives have lapsed, a few are still active. You can find out which ones by checking out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency. This means that you can reduce your tax liability (and increase your refund) when you make these upgrades. You’ll also be able to increase the asking price for your house and not feel like a heel for doing so.
Concentrate on big upgrades like the installation of solar paneling, windows, your flooring and the major appliances. These are expensive, sure, but as long as you install them before the end of 2016, you’ll qualify for a huge tax break. Small, cheaper upgrades like installing rain barrels, programmable thermostats, etc are also a good idea but not as likely to increase the value and asking price or salebility of your home.
Whatever you do, don’t just assume that we’re making a big deal out of nothing. The green movement is not a fad. It’s getting stronger every day and that scenario we talked about in the introduction? It’s going to become a reality before you know it!