As the U.S. housing market continues to stall, homeowners looking to sell their homes need to identify the best steps they can take to make their property stand out.  The right home improvement projects can increase property value and help homes sell faster, but the impact of home improvements on property value varies widely. This is no time to throw away money on something that won’t help close the deal. 

For example, while kitchen remodeling usually delivers a good return on investment, the impact of adding a swimming pool can be hard to predict because of the additional expense pool maintenance adds to the existing cost of homeownership.  Several sustainability measures that developers and real-estate agents can recommend are energy-efficiency improvements, such as weatherizing homes, replacing outdated appliances with energy-efficient models, and installing renewable energy devices, such as solar panels, solar powered water heaters, or geothermal heat pumps.  

Studies are starting to show that solar panels help homes sell.  According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, energy-saving improvements “attract attention in a competitive market.” In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy states that a solar home will sell twice as quickly as a home without solar panels.  And this makes sense; a home with solar power lowers monthly electric bills because it requires less traditional electricity from the utility.  Homebuyers now realize that solar delivers monthly cost savings while helping the environment, so homes with this built-in cost-saving mechanism will stand out in a tough market. 

Further, lower electric bills can positively impact property values.  A widely-referenced study by ICF Consulting concluded that reducing electric bills by $1 a year can add $20 to a home’s value.  This means that cutting yearly electric costs by $1,000, could increase home value by $20,000. 

Read entire Sustainable Industries Magazine article by Lynn Jurich here…

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