Upgrading a few of your home’s features can greatly improve your home’s selling value as homebuyers are increasingly interested in the benefits of energy efficient homes. Not only will green updates decrease your current utility bill, but when it comes time to sell, you’ll find that homebuyers are usually willing to pay more for your energy efficient home. According to Nerdwallet.com, there’s “a growing trend in the real estate industry to make energy upgrades visible.” This means that it’s important to market your home as energy efficient and be as transparent about your utility costs or energy rating in your listing.
The first thing to consider is getting an energy audit for your home before spending on the latest and greatest green upgrades. An energy audit will help you to identify the areas of your home where you can improve your efficiency. Your auditor will complete their assessment and provide you with an audit report that will show you different areas of your home and options to improve them. Most municipalities will have either free or affordable energy audit services, but professional auditing services may provide a more comprehensive assessment.
Your energy audit will give you a sense of where you need to invest your time and money to upgrade your home. The easiest and least expensive upgrade you can do, even if you don’t get an audit, is to seal your home. Plugging up leaks that allow air to enter your home—and drive up your heating and cooling bills—is an important first step to increasing your home’s energy efficiency. Be sure to consider sealing your attic and basement in addition to all windows and doors.
According to U.S. News Money and Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, about half the homes in America are underinsultated. Another easy and relatively inexpensive upgrade to your home is to ensure it is properly insulated. Nerdwallet.com reports that a 2016 Cost vs. Value report from Remodeling magazine “found that an average attic air-seal and fiberglass insulation job costs $1,268, with an added value to the home at resale within a year of completion of $1,482.” In other words, an average insulation job amounts to a 116% return on investment and saves homeowners approximately $200 a year in heating and cooling costs.
Finally, upgrading your heating and cooling system—which accounts for approximately 43% of your energy bill according to the Department of Energy—is another comparatively affordable upgrade that will quickly pay for itself within months. Replacement costs will vary greatly depending on equipment brands and sizing, but a few thousand dollars spent to replace your current system can save you approximately 30% in heating and cooling costs. If you upgrade to a programmable thermostat, controlling your home’s temperature could save another 10% on your energy costs as even changing the temperature by a couple degrees can impact your monthly bill.
These are a few affordable and incredibly beneficial green upgrades to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Remember, however, that as you plan your improvements, some upgrades will offer wonderful returns on investment while other options will not. When it comes time to sell, keep in mind that homebuyers are looking for energy efficient homes, so provide details about your home’s green benefits when describing your house in listings.