As a green real estate agent with my EcoBroker Certification, I hear a lot of buzz about green homes. But if you are like most Americans, buying a new home, let alone a green-built new home is not in the cards for you. That’s why I think a home retrofit – an energy efficiency makeover – is such an important real estate tool.
A retrofit is important today, at tax time and in the future when you go to sell your home.
Today a retrofit is important because it will cure what ails you. Whether you have hit GreenHome’s website because you want to save money on your energy bills, stop that annoying little draft in the baby’s room or help the planet, a home retrofit can help. Best is the saving money part. Other home remodeling projects like an updated kitchen won’t love you back with money-savings every month the way a home retrofit will!
If you act by December 31st, your retrofit will pay off at tax time too. You may be able to claim a 30% credit for many of the materials you have installed as part of your retrofit. It’s a great opportunity to see a payback even sooner on your improvements!
Studies are starting to emerge that show the value of energy-savings in a home at resale. One early study shows that home buyers are willing to pay up to $5000 more for a home with good energy efficiency improvements. Buyers know they will save while they live in a home like that and are willing pay a bit more for that benefit upfront. Be sure to share before and after utility bills with your real estate agents so you can showcase your home’s utility savings when it is time for you to move.
When you look at all the figures, the numbers add up nicely! Today, the typical retrofit saves an American family between 10-30% on their energy bills. At tax time, the tax credit could help you with a $1,500 maximum discount on improvements completed in 2010. That means a $5,000 project would cost you only $3,500. In the future, trends are saying a buyer might be willing to spend up to $5,000 more for an efficient home like yours. When is the last time you came out $1,500 ahead for something that saves you money and makes you cozier every day?
Laura Reedy Stukel is an EcoBroker Certified real estate agent and nationally recognized consultant, writer and speaker on home energy efficiency. She is a market transformation expert, focused at accelerating home retrofits at key real estate leverage points. Her work is unique, focused on energy efficiency projects fueled by the power of consumer choiceSM.