We celebrate Earth Day each April, but that doesn’t mean you and your clients can’t think green year-round. In an article for The Virginian-Pilot, Realtor Cindy Caskey of the Hampton Roads Realtors Association, discussed how you can help sellers by including any green amenities in their property listings and buyers by providing tips on what to look for before purchasing a home.
For you: According to Caskey, when listing a home, be sure to list all energy-saving aspects of the property, including types of insulation, whether there are storm doors, LEED certifications, tankless water heaters, geothermal and Energy Star home certificates and HERS (Home Energy Rating System) by a qualified energy rater who inspects, tests and certifies with documentation.
For your buyers: Here are Caskey’s tips for home buyers, whether they are considering purchasing an existing home or building from the ground up:
• Ask for utility bills. If the seller is bragging about how their costs have decreased with efficient upgrades, you should be able to see it in black and white.
• Inspect the HVAC. Newer models have become more and more efficient. Caskey also suggests you consider geothermal, wind and solar.
• Look closely at materials. Newer does not always mean better, Caskey wrote. Cheap flips may have chemical-laden carpet and VOC cabinets. Hire a company to check for chemicals in pressed wood just as they would for mold and lead.
• Look for sustainable materials. These include anything made from bamboo, cotton insulation, reclaimed wood and sinker logs milled for flooring.
• Check out the appliances. Look for branded ones with the Energy Star rating.
• Consider square footage. How much space do you really need? And how does the space of the home make use of the land, light and prevailing winds?
• Have a HERS inspection done. It could allow you to get an Energy-Efficient mortgage.
• Seek incentives. There are government programs that provide energy incentives, rebates and rewards. Check Energy.gov and your energy company for local incentives.
• Check for air leaks. HVAC efficiency doesn’t matter if all of your heating and cooling is leaking out of the house. Be sure to inspect gaps, doors, windows and baseboards.
“Buying green – and staying green through everyday actions once you own the home – helps our planet while saving you money,” Caskey wrote.