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Eco-Friendly Houses Are Expensive, and 4 Other Green Home Myths You Should Stop Believing

July 30, 2020

green home myths

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Have you ever dreamed of buying a bit of land and building your very own green home on it? Maybe you’re already invested in a property, and are just looking for a way to make it a little more Earth-friendly.

Going green, and doing it well, might be a whole lot easier than you think—which is why we’re here to debunk the biggest, baddest myths about green homes. Here are the top five misconceptions about green homes that you should stop believing immediately.

1. Only new houses can be green

While you can go all out building the most eco-friendly Earthship your neighborhood has ever seen, you could also just make a few subtle changes to your existing property.

“Helping the environment doesn’t have to mean building an entirely new, expensive green home,” says Craig Ricks Jr., president of Acadian Windows and Siding.

“It’s possible to renovate an existing home to become greener, such as by altering the wiring and plumbing.”

You can also go green in your existing home by installing low-emissivity (“low E”) windows, reinsulating the house, or even just purchasing more energy-efficient appliances (like those made by Energy Star), Ricks says.

2. Green homes are too expensive

We’d bet our next stimulus check you’ve heard this one before.

“One of the biggest myths and misconceptions about green building and eco-friendly construction is that it’s too expensive to be truly scalable,” says RJ D’Angelo, owner of JWE Remodeling & Roofing. “This is untrue.”

In fact, if you want to save on your home energy costs, you can start right away, with small steps that reduce your carbon footprint, D’Angelo says, rather than building a brand-new home with the latest cutting-edge advancements in green building technology.

Among those incremental steps: Upgrade your roofing system to something with recycled metal that reflects the sun’s heat, D’Angelo suggests.

“This, coupled with a properly insulated attic and thoroughly ventilated roof structure, can reduce a home’s heating and cooling expenditure by as much as 34%,” he says.

3. Sustainable homes are ugly

There’s no rule that says sustainable homes have to look a certain way—and they definitely don’t have to be ugly.

“There are so many delightful, well-planned, and well-considered sustainable homes—from adorable and modern tiny houses to net-zero luxury homes,” says Matt Daigle, CEO and founder of Rise, a leading online authority in sustainable home improvement.

4. Going green means going off the grid

When people think about going green, they have a tendency to imagine the extremes—as in, wearing handmade clothing and living in a recycled shack with a bunch of goats. In reality? It’s a lot less intense than that.

“A sustainable home can be accomplished without going off grid,” explains Daigle.

He cites solar panels and recycled-water systems as two ways that modern homeowners can get in on the sustainable-living lifestyle—minus the farm animals.

“Sustainable homes aren’t off-grid houses that rely solely on their own power and resources,” he says. “These homeowners just enjoy lower energy and water bills as a result of their sustainable practices.”

5. It’s hard to make your home eco-friendly

As you’re probably starting to realize, going green doesn’t have to be complicated. And while more and more companies are coming out with sustainable building products and designs, there’s an even easier way to make your place green—and it starts in the garden.

“There are so many simple actions any homeowner can take to make their home more environmentally friendly,” says Cassy Aoyagi, board member of the leading L.A. chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Try replacing annual foliage with native perennials, watering less, eliminating pesticides and fertilizers, or even just reducing the size of your lawn, which tends to require extra chemicals and water consumption.

Looking for more tips on going green? We’ve got the ultimate guide to owning a more eco-friendly home.

The post Eco-Friendly Houses Are Expensive, and 4 Other Green Home Myths You Should Stop Believing appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Don’t Fall Behind! Here Are 5 Essential Home-Selling Moves You Might Not Be Doing

September 5, 2018

To get your home sold, you have to tackle a rather long to-do list. Some of these tasks are well-known, and some are just good ol’ common sense—like finding a real estate agent and spreading the word that your house is up for grabs. But some other steps in the home-selling process aren’t quite so obvious.

So to keep these less apparent home-selling tactics from falling through the cracks, here we’ve highlighted five things you may not even realize you have to do. Just in time to start prepping for the busy fall selling season!

1. Reach millennial home buyers

In 2017, for the fifth year in a row, Americans aged 20 to 37 were the largest group of home buyers—at 36%, according to the annual Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report from the National Association of Realtors®. So get smart: Find ways to appeal to this (huge) generation when marketing your home.

These tips will help you attract younger home buyers:

  • Promote your listing on social media. As digital natives, many of these would-be buyers are glued to Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media networks. Make sure your real estate agent is marketing your listing on these platforms.
  • Showcase your smart home technology. Millennials love smart home devices—and they’re looking for these products when searching for homes. In a recent Coldwell Banker survey, more than half of homeowners (54%) said they would purchase or install smart home devices if they were selling their homes. Of that group, 72% said they would be willing to pay $1,500 more for a home that was “smart.”
  • Make your house more energy-efficient. Making even small changes to your house (e.g., installing a programmable thermostat, adding attic insulation, or plugging air leaks around doors and windows) can make your home more appealing to Gen Y buyers. In fact, 84% of millennials say they’re willing to pay up to 2% to 3% more for an energy-efficient home, according to a recent study by the National Association of Home Builders.
  • Show off eco-friendly features. It’s no secret that this generation is environmentally aware, but you don’t have to shell out tens of thousands of dollars on solar paneling to make your home green. Strategically planting trees around your home can reduce your air-conditioning costs by 15% to 50%, according to Energy.gov. They look nice, too.

 

2. Make your home move-in ready

Unless you’re selling a teardown, you need to do whatever it takes to make your home move-in ready for buyers.

This means tackling not only large home repairs but also small ones like replacing ripped screens, fixing leaky faucets, unclogging gutters, and mending damaged shingles.

Pro tip: If your house is in lousy shape, consider ordering a pre-inspection, where an inspector scrutinizes your property for problems before you put it on the market. This would give you the ability to fix problems ahead of time—while also presenting buyers with a clean bill of health on the property. Buyers love it, and a home inspection costs only about $200 to $500.

3. Order professional listing photos

If you have a good eye and a good camera, you might be tempted to take your own listing photos. But we’re not talking about selfies here. If you’re looking to sell your home quickly, using an experienced professional photographer is a must.

There’s proof. In one case study, real estate photography company IMOTO compared 350 listings using its professional photography with 350 similar listings without professionally done photos in the same ZIP code. According to the company’s data, listings using the professional photography sold 50% faster and 39% closer to the original listing price than those that didn’t.

4. Prepare for open houses

Your agent is hosting the open house, so it’s her job to make sure your house is ready for the big event, right? Wrong! It’s your responsibility to prep your home before strangers show up at the door.

Here’s a handy checklist to get your home ready for an open house:

  • Remove all prescription drugs from your medicine cabinet. This includes even the ones you think are harmless. After all, “you don’t want people knowing your identity. Also, you don’t want people stealing your meds,” says home stager Alice T. Chan.
  • Tidy up. Clear clutter, take out the trash, and do a thorough clean. Don’t have time to get these things done? Hire a professional cleaning service, which costs $90 to $150 on average, according to HomeAdvisor.com. It’s money well spent.
  • Organize closets. Overstuffed closets can make your home appear to have insufficient storage space.
  • Protect yourself from theft. Secure jewelry, art, heirlooms, and other valuables. (You knew this one already, right?)
  • Open curtains and blinds. Letting natural light in will not only brighten up the space, but it can also make rooms appear larger.
  • Hide family photos. Buyers need to see a neutral field where they can put down their roots. Having your family photos on display can make that a challenge.
  • Prepare refreshments. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, but buyers love being greeted with a warm cookie or a cold bottle of water. It’s a home-selling cliché because it actually works.

 

5. Pet-proof your home

If you have pets, be warned—their presence can be a huge turnoff to some home buyers, says Diane Saatchi, an East Hampton, NY, real estate broker with Saunders & Associates. So, take these steps to make sure your furry family members don’t hinder your sale:

  • Clean the yard. Be prepared for buyers to walk around your yard—a stroll that will be ruined if they step in poop.
  • Remove odors. To banish traces of cat or dog urine from carpets or rugs, try a bacteria-eating pet odor remover. If the odor lingers, you might have to hire a professional cleaning service.
  • Vacuum up hair. Pet hair can trigger allergies and send potential buyers sneezing and wheezing out the door. So, vacuum and dust to remove any settled hair or dander around the house.
  • Remove pet paraphernalia. Before showings, tuck away any leashes, collars, toys, water bowls, and food.

 

The post Don’t Fall Behind! Here Are 5 Essential Home-Selling Moves You Might Not Be Doing appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.