Heading Towards a Greener Real Estate and Housing Market – By Home Star Research (Guest Blog)

By Guest Blogger, October 25, 2012, Green, Moving

Heading Towards a Greener Real Estate Market

Real estate markets have been in considerable trouble for the last five years. Indications are suggesting that the housing slump has finally touched bottom and the market is starting to come back. This recovery appears to be moving upwards gradually. While that can be frustrating to people who want to sell their house immediately, it does present an opportunity to others who want to make home improvements that will make their house more attractive to buyers. Green real estate is something that is starting to be noticed and homes that are environmentally friendly are becoming quite appealing.

The guiding philosophy of a green home environment is to leave a very small carbon footprint. It means that the property does not produce high levels of carbon emission into the environment. Furthermore, the house has a higher than ordinary energy efficiency. When it is functioning at optimal levels, a green energy house uses only the amount of energy needed to function comfortably. Nothing is wasted.

Making a home more efficient would require investment an in both time and money. A preliminary energy audit is recommended to guide all of the effort. ENERGY STAR is a consumer-oriented program which is a result of collaboration between US Environment Protection Agency and US Department of Energy. While the program does recommend various ways to perform an energy audit, ENERGY STAR can also direct you to a professional Home Energy Auditor. The auditor will help a you analyze energy use in the home and make recommendations for improvement. Aided by such information, the you can then proceed to make the house more energy efficient.

Sellers will often do some remodeling to enhance the market value of the property. Preparing a home for sale may mean that a new addition is added onto it. Positioning new windows so that they better reflect rays from the sun can both warm and light up a room with minimal energy. The air-conditioning can also be more effectively managed if a ceiling fan is installed. The use of solar panels to harness the energy of the sun is a green strategy that supplements the existing energy use or heats the home entirely. Either option results in substantially reduced dependence on fossil fuel based energy.

The heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, or HVAC, system in the house becomes increasingly less efficient when it is over 10 years old. There are furnaces, heat pumps, and air conditioners available that have considerably Annual Higher Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) than older models. Consumers are aided in shopping for these energy products by the ENERGY STAR program. Products that meet the standards specified by ENERGY STAR are given a label, testifying to that product’s ability to effectively heat or cool a house without major energy use. Those who don’t want to spend a great deal of money on a new HVAC system can make the house more energy efficient simply by putting programmable thermostats in the rooms; monitoring the use of energy so that less heat or air conditioning is used at certain times of the day.

Naturally, there has to be a bottom line to all this activity. The house has got to sell and the owner has to experience a profit to justify all of the remodeling done. Do green energy efficient modifications affect the selling price of a home? Research suggests they do. A study conducted on California home sales between 2007 and 2012 suggest that a green certification will add as much as 9% to the selling value of a home. The price can be even higher if the home it is to be in an area where consumers are more environmentally conscious. Even if you are not thinking of selling the house in near future, making it greener can drive utility bills way down. Anyone wishing to remodel their homes along energy conservation, low carbon impact, guidelines should be aware there are tax incentives and rebates available depending on location. Green real estate is not just a fad. It is legitimate means by which you not only take control of your energy bills, but also create a more environmentally friendly home environment. Both benefits are worth any green remodeling costs.

About the Author
JD is a contributor who works in the lease to own housing sector with Home Star Search. JD regularly writes on topics ranging from green energy to personal finance matters. He can additionally be followed on twitter.com/homestar_search

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