A study that was recently conducted by national appraisal experts has stated that implementing “green” features to your home can result in a buyer paying a premium for your home. Enhancing your home with energy efficient products, systems, new windows and other green improvements can show a return by a better selling price.

The research compared “high performance” energy and resource conserving homes against similar homes in the area that did not have any green improvements over a stretch of a two year period. They calculated the additional increments that buyers were willing to pay for the green features and determined that they ranged between $10,000 and $53,000 or an average of 3.46%. In select instances premiums reached as high as 6 or 7% when homes had solar panels which reduced electricity costs.

The study shared that green features being added into new construction is a quickly growing trend. Homes that are Energy Star rated or LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) are increasing. LEED certification requires an evaluation that the dwelling meets high energy efficiency and resource conservation standards set by the United States Green Building Council. Similarly, Energy Star homes must meet energy-savings standards set forth by the EPA.

The study reports that once buyers learn about certifications and the cost savings with energy efficiency, they can often be convinced of paying a premium for the benefit. Tanya Topolewski, a Washington D.C. green developer who rehabbed two homes selected in the study shares “The vast majority of people who come to see our houses are just interested in real estate,” she said in an interview. But once they see the advantages of buying a home with extraordinary energy efficiency, fresh air 24/7 and a positive environmental impact, “it’s kind of a no-brainer.”

One of the biggest challenges is to educate buyers on the programs and advantages of owning a green home. Additionally, some MLS networks feature searchability by green features but attachments should also be allowed for this in attempts to educate the masses on the certification descriptions.

The message for sellers is to be sure they are actively promoting the features in the marketing of their home otherwise they could be leaving money on the table. The reality is that paying a premium for a green home can potentially save you money over a period of years in energy costs and a healthier place to live.

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