In addition to the common home staging techniques sellers can implement adding on some easy but effective energy- and water-saving options can greatly improve the attractiveness of a home. Savvy buyers will want to know utility costs especially in older homes and will be impressed at measures taken to reduce those costs.
Here are some easy projects that can increase a home's appeal in a time of high energy costs a competitive housing market and a growing focus on being green. With these quick improvements you can market the home's green features to attract more buyers:
Replace regular light bulbs in permanent fixtures with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs use about one-fifth as much energy as regular bulbs and last about 12 times longer).
Install low-flow showerheads which will save on water heating and use.
Install an ENERGY STAR qualified programmable thermostat.
Close the damper on the fireplace. It sounds simple but is often forgotten season to season and causes drafts and high energy loss.
Add insulation to an attic.
Seal basement rim joists. This is along the top of the basement wall where the cement or block comes in contact with the wood frame. This is a common area of air leakage.
Insulate water heater tanks for energy savings.
Repair water leaks in tubs showers and sinks. Not only are they big water wasters but a leak really shows the home is not cared for anymore.
Perform duct sealing or hire a contractor. Twenty percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks holes and poorly connected ducts.
A unique visible change that may attract a buyer is to use renewable sources in any flooring you might replace prior to listing. Options include recycled carpeting bamboo cork or other flooring from fast-growing wood sources.
You can also recommend a home-energy audit to help your clients identify other easy but important fixes. This will also demonstrate to potential buyers that the sellers are serious about home maintenance and improvement. It will give buyers a fun jumpstart too on accomplishing more efficiency improvements in their new home.
Being willing to partner with buyers creates an air of security that the home is still cared about and all parties want the buyers to have as great an experience in the home as the previous family did.
Home Warranty of America's Green Plus option can be added to complement all the green efforts made by the seller. For details click here.
Encouraging these smaller but important green ideas with your clients can be very beneficial to a quicker home sale.
Monica O'Neill is marketing manager for Home Warranty of America.