Energy Efficient Real Estate Options
Are you struggling to find an energy efficient home on the market? Does your real estate agent even know what features are important to look for in these homes?
Most agents get the standard features like high ceilings, floor heating, granite countertops, but if you ask them about features like insulation or maybe a geothermal heating system, they don’t know what to say. Not only that, many companies don’t really care about the green features and they only give value to standard features like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
If you want to buy an energy efficient home, there are some things you will have to look for. Never mind what the agent is telling you, be the one that’s asking the right questions.
1. Make sure that the property has the necessary features of a Green Home
Sellers often claim that a property has all those energy-saving features or that it’s eco-friendly, even though they are not. Always check the fine print first. If it says that a house has insulation, that doesn’t mean that it’s adequate. If the insulation doesn’t have an R value, it’s not sufficient and can’t be regarded as a green home. So, look for homes with an R value rating.
2. Check the bills of previous owners
The utility bills can tell you a lot about a property. Ask for the water, cooling and electricity bills and compare the numbers to a green house of the same size. If the difference is bigger than 30%, the house is probably not insulated well.
3. Check the age of all appliances that come with the house
The water heater, home furnace, and other appliances that come with the house should all have an ENERGY STAR rating for energy efficiency. Also, make sure that the appliances have all the warranties. Some warranties expire in case the property changes owners. Good energy efficient houses for sale are hard to come by these days.
4. Check the builder’s background
If the home you are buying was just constructed and looks awesome, you should still ask around about the contractor and his previous work. If he doesn’t have a license for building LEED houses, you could be risking problems in the future.
5. Beware of Flippers
Even the Discovery channel had a show about two guys who buy old ruined homes and resell them for three times what they paid for. If a house looks brand new in a neighborhood of older houses, it has probably been flipped. The sellers often claim that the flipped house is green, but that’s rarely the case.
6. Check the local laws
Some neighborhoods have laws that forbid the use of some appliances because they are too ugly. Buying a house only to realize that you can’t install any solar panels on the roof can be a nasty surprise. Make sure to check all the local laws for things like solar panel installation, geothermal heating and so on. If they are not allowed, you can’t have a completely green house.
These are some of the basic things to look out for when buying an energy efficient home. Do some research on each property you review and you should be just fine.