The benefits of green homes are numerous, both for builders and buyers. With eco-friendly construction practices, you can reduce a property’s carbon footprint, increase its value, and feel good about your sustainable contribution to the planet. One study showed that houses with green certification labels sell for 9% more than their counterparts, while a Realtor.com survey revealed that 85% of people would like to live in an eco-friendly home.
As a real estate professional, you can reap the rewards with simple and affordable tweaks to your next fix and flip project that will build your reputation as a smart, trustworthy investor and increase the value of your renovated home.
Upgrading the Exterior
If the property you are renovating needs a new roof, deck, or driveway, then you have a few great options to reduce the home’s carbon footprint.
With a cool roof, you can ensure that your house will reflect the sun’s energy rather than absorb it, reducing the energy used to cool the home – and the homeowner’s electric bill. Solar reflective shingles will end up costing you about $1 extra per square foot. However, you can achieve similar results by either installing a metal roof or painting an existing roof with reflective paint.
Instead of a traditional deck, consider installing a patio using eco-friendly pavers. Not only will this be cheaper and easier to install than a deck would be, but it will also have a much smaller footprint. Materials to consider include bamboo, stone, and cork, all of which are natural and non-toxic – and look beautiful in a healthy, green yard.
A final outdoor eco-friendly option is solar-powered lights along walkways. Stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s offer a wide variety of styles to fit any budget, so you can easily add charm and energy saving features.
Improving the Kitchen, Bath, and Laundry
The first step you should take in these rooms is installing ENERGY STAR appliances if the home does not have them already. While more expensive than other models, these appliances are widely recognized as staples in any green home and the vast majority of buyers will recognize their value – and pay for it. These appliances are highly efficient and will save the homeowners money on every load of dirty dishes they run, a quantifiable reward that makes them easy to sell.
Construction-wise, if you are doing a full-gut renovation in the kitchen or bathroom, you can choose environmentally friendly materials like bamboo, cork, or linoleum tile for the floors. Additionally, for kitchen and bathroom counters you can switch out traditional materials for paper-based, bamboo, or glass options. Glass is the most high-end eco-friendly option, with a price tag similar to that of granite. However, since glass is such a versatile material, you can choose from a variety of long-lasting styles that make it well worth the investment.
Designing an Energy-Efficient Home
Choosing the right heating, cooling, and lighting is crucial in green development. By choosing an ENERGY STAR HVAC system, you can improve the efficiency of the home’s temperature regulation system so much that the future homeowners could save 30% on heating and cooling costs. By adding fans throughout the home, you can also reduce the need for air conditioning and save by installing a low power unit.
If you need to replace an old water tank, consider switching it out for a tankless system. Although tankless systems are more expensive than water tanks, they use a lot less energy to heat water. The reason is that with a tank, the water is heated beforehand, so as long as it’s sitting in the tank heat is seeping out. This means that you need more energy to heat the water and to cool the house. However, installing a tankless system – especially if you are retrofitting it to a tank system – is much more expensive than installing a new tank (think $2800 compared to $600), so only take this route if you are sure it will pay off or if you are committed to building a maximum-efficiency home.
When you are purchasing lights and lightbulbs, always choose LED. They are far more durable and efficient than fluorescent or incandescent lights, so anyone looking for an eco-friendly home will expect these.
By implementing some or all of these green updates to outdated properties, an environmentally conscious investor can execute a highly profitable fix and flip with minimal detriment to the environment. Choose sustainable materials and focus on energy-saving designs and your renovated property will be at the top of any eco-friendly homebuyer’s list.