Greetings…today brings our first guest post from the folks at EnergyLink in Columbia, MO. And here we go…
In today’s downturned economy, it is no secret that right now may not be the best time to put your home on the market. However, home sellers do not always have the time to let a house linger while the economy bounces back. For those who are looking to sell their homes or other real estate properties over the next several months, one of the best ways you can increase the value of your home is to consider increasing the energy efficiency of the house.
New buyers are looking more and more for structures that are green and incur minimal energy costs. Certainly, few would suggest installing solar panels or wind turbines before putting a home on the market. However, there are lots of quick methods of energy conservation in which a home can become more marketable, quickly and easily.
1. Clean filters in pools or hot tubs.
Keeping the filters clean on pools or hot tubs keeps the system from working harder to perform its task. This will keep energy costs at a minimum. Clean filters are not necessarily a hot ticket item for buyers, but it’s a way to keep energy bills low, and many buyers will ask about your average monthly energy costs. Certainly, the lower that number, the more attractive a home will be.
2. Replace all light bulbs.
Buy newer compact florescent bulbs. They use as little as one-fourth the energy as standard incandescent bulbs, and they last longer – as long as 10,000 hours. This is probably the simplest method of reducing energy costs, and it can be done with one quick trip to the store. As your providing tours of your home, be sure to mention that all the light bulbs have been recently replaced and should not need attention for several years. You can use it as one more perk to the package.
3. Get an energy audit.
Energy retrofitters can do a great job of zoning in on areas where your home may be wasting energy. Many will recommend a variety of improvements, specifically for your house, that will allow you to cut energy bills and be more comfortable in your home. Having made these improvements before putting your house on the market is a great selling point for new, energy-conscious buyers.
4. Install a programmable thermostat.
Depending on how many bells and whistles you want in a thermostat, one can purchase one for as little as $20 to $100. Use it to turn down the heat or air conditioning during the day while at work, and program it to kick on during your evening commute back home. This can slice 10% off your yearly heating and cooling bill, according to the U.S. Energy Department. They are easy to install and are a great update to mention when giving buyers a tour of your home.
5. Check the walls, doorways and foundation for cracks and gaps.
If you can feel a small draft or see hints of light coming from any spot in your house that should be sealed, that is evidence that your energy bills are, in part, going towards compensating for a drafty door or cracked foundation. Consider weather-stripping around windows and doors. This can be done cheaply with plastic weather strips or caulk. As a part of this step, any cracked windows should be replaced both for the sake of preventing drafts and for cosmetic reasons. Even if it’s just a small crack, buyers will notice these flaws.
6. Replace older toilets.
This one might be a bit more expensive, but it will cut your water usage drastically. Older models of toilets can use up to seven gallons of water per flush. Newer, high-efficiency models use as little as one gallon. A new toilet can run you about $200-$300, but it will have large effects on your water bill. Plus, it’s great to be able to tell prospective buyers that an appliance has been recently replaced.
About the Authors: EnergyLink is a business of home energy auditors and retrofitters based out of Columbia, Missouri. They audit homes and recommend a package of improvements, custom fit for each individual home. They are dedicated to delivering the most appropriate and cost effective solutions for its clients.