Sustainable Home Improvements Before Selling

With sustainable home improvements, it’s hard to decide what to do before selling a home. Many home buyers are enticed by the idea of sustainability.  Moreover, home improvements that address concerns about energy savings and efficiency can give your home a huge boost in value. But what’s going to give you the most return on investment (ROI), while addressing concerns on sustainability? Here are a few ideas to consider before selling your home.

Energy Efficient Upgrades

This is one of the easiest ways to help make your home more sustainable!   There are ways to get reimbursements on your improvements if you live in the state of Maine. This includes improvements on boilers, heat pumps, water heaters, insulation, and more. Updating to Energy Star appliances like fridges and ovens also help save money over time with bills. Let your Real Estate Agent know if you have made these upgrades to explain the value to potential buyers.

Low Flow Plumbing

Another easy way to improve value and sustainability in your home is changing out those plumbing fixtures. You can find options that include this like toilets, faucets, shower heads, washing machines, dishwashers, and more. Making these improvements will help improve on water usage significantly without necessarily breaking your budget. Your Real Estate Agent can go over these features with potential buyers during an open house or home visit.

Durable Finishes

Hardwood flooring is one of the few high value home improvement items that can give you a huge ROI. Compared to products like carpet or vinyl, homeowners find that hardwood floors are easy to clean and durable. Plus they look amazing! This is also something to consider when you think about your kitchen countertops. Compared to laminate, natural or composite stone (ie granite, quartz, sintered stone) last longer, which means higher ROI. Even wooden countertops can make a huge improvement on ROI, but keep in mind they require extra maintenance. The visual impact when your Real Estate Agent takes pictures for your property will help bring buyers in!

Sustainable Windows/Lead Abatement

Redoing all of your windows to more energy efficient varieties can improve energy bills over time.  However,  ROI is fairly low if the existing windows are in decent shape.  You should replace your windows if they are severely damaged, ill-fitting, or rotting wood. In addition, if your home is older than 1978, you should test your windows for lead paint before making improvements. Talk to your Real Estate Agent about going through the lead abatement program, as well as hiring a lead-safe certified contractor.  Doing this can help you open up your potential buyers to include families with children.  Avoid selling your home at a lower price to compensate for the repairs needed to address lead paint issues.

Solar Panels

While solar panels save a significant amount of money per year on electricity usage, the initial installation is expensive. Some companies offer leasing programs which can help you save up front.  However, you may run into problems when trying to sell your home. Thankfully there are tax credits that you can get if you do decide to install your own solar panels. In this case, the ROI as far as home value is more dependent on two things:

  1. How long you plan to live in the home after the installation to reap the energy savings
  2. The home buyer’s market in your local area

Talk to your local Real Estate Agent on the desirability for solar panel improvements in your region.

Thinking about selling your home and want to know the best improvements to make? Reach out to us at The Real Estate Store to get started!

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My brother Jack and I co-own The Real Estate Store. I grew up and live in Scarborough, ME. I became a real estate broker in 2005, but Real Estate is a family business for us. We are second generation Real Estate Brokers. My experience working with apartments and with residential construction has given me insight into cost-aware construction and green construction and design.

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