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Green features help to sell homes

More and more homebuyers in today’s property market are becoming increasingly interested in homes that offer green elements. 

This is according to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa. He notes that the term ‘green’ home has become somewhat of a buzz word in the housing market as a growing number of homebuyers consider energy efficiency as a highly important factor when searching for the perfect property.

“Buyers are looking for both energy-saving features as well as environmentally-friendly features. Other features at the top of many buyer’s lists are homes that are close to parks, public transportation and suburbs with walkways,” says Goslett.

“Most homeowners who decide to undertake green renovation projects do so to help conserve energy and reduce their utility costs. However, going green can sometimes be challenging and should be done correctly to ensure the right result is achieved,” says Goslett. “There are a great deal of green products available to homeowners, so it is important that they carefully consider the options and make the right choices when deciding which products to use.”

According to Goslett, homeowners should consider the following pointers when looking at green products:

- Ensure that the appropriate insulation is installed in the area being renovated
- Use high-efficiency windows rather than those that only minimally meet energy-efficiency standards
- Use only low-flow water fixtures
- Appliances are graded from ‘A’ to ‘G’ to indicate the energy consumption of the product, with the letter ‘A’ indicating it  uses energy most efficiently

Goslett adds that homeowners who are looking to install green features in their homes will be able to recover a percentage of the cost back when they decide to sell, as buyers are placing a higher value on homes that offer these features. “A survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) revealed that 72% of potential homebuyers reported that energy-efficient features in a home would influence their purchasing decision. Around 61% of these same buyers would be prepared to spend an additional R50 000 to R100 000 on a home that had features which would reduce utility costs,” says Goslett. “Considering that most homes were built many years ago before energy-efficiency developments, if a home has newly renovated green elements, it could be a buyer's dream. Featuring the green renovations when the home is listed for sale could give the buyer added value and the seller a unique market advantage.”

Making the decision to add green features to a home need not be an overwhelming process, and it is not necessary to make the entire home eco-friendly. “A homeowner can start by making small changes at first such as installing energy-efficient lighting. Installing an automated thermostat on the geyser will also help to reduce costs by ensuring that the geyser is only heating water at certain key times. Once these changes have been made a homeowner can compare their utility costs and show the reduction of costs to the real estate agent who is marketing their home. The agent will be able to use this as one of the selling points of the home to potential buyers. With the cost of living and electricity increasing, any savings can be a major influence on buyers. If the property offers similar features to others in the area, but costs less to operate, it will at the very least grab their attention,” says Goslett.

Remember that it is important to also market the things that potential buyers may not see when they first look at the home. Features such as insulation aren’t something homeowners often think to promote, but, if the home is well insulated, it can be a big selling point.

“While one of the reasons for going green is to save money on costs and attract buyers to the home, it is not the only reason. It is also about sustainability and reducing the household’s effect on the environment and its surroundings. A home with green elements will not only cut costs, it will also cut the home’s carbon footprint,” Goslett concludes.


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