The Importance of Energy Efficiency in the Real Estate Market

In 2018, an energy-efficient home officially transformed from a nice-to-have feature to an essential one for interested home buyers and sellers alike. Why? As more consumers become eco-conscious and aware of their long-term environmental impact, they are looking for manageable changes they can make on a daily basis. To this end, many are investing in smart home gadgets and other systems that make conserving energy at home a breeze.

Gone are the days when just taking shorter showers was the only way to shave a few bucks off your utility bill. Now, there are more methods than ever before to help you save and repurpose that valuable and costly power. From smart thermostats that control your home’s temperature based on when you arrive and depart to auto-adjusting shower heads that reduce the flow to save water, the possibilities are almost endless.

Yet, just how does this innovation fit into the real estate sector? The answer lies in understanding the new buyer’s perspective. Today’s modern prospect isn’t just looking for curb appeal or a great price tag. Rather, they are also interested in how a particular home fits into their value system, their goals and their lifestyle. An energy-efficient one is topping that list, so let’s explore why.

Talking Points to Build On

Real estate agents are used to going over a home’s top features when selling it to a prospective buyer. They’ll wax poetic about the square footage, great backyard, school district and more. Yet, for a long period of time, little was said about how the home performs. Now, concepts such as building automation, energy-efficient lighting and general conservation are hot topics and as such, should be woven into the agent/buyer conversation from the onset.

Though EnergyStar released its efficiency program more than two decades ago, it took this much time for the general public to catch on. Why? When it was first debuted, the program took place at a time when the threat of climate change was not as prominent. There was also significantly less concern about rising energy costs. Yet, as time has progressed and these issues have become important criteria for homeowners across the country, it stands to reason that how efficiently a home runs is a top concern for today’s buyer. As such, the first way that energy efficiency is shaping the real estate market is that it’s become a new dialogue starter. Informed agents should be able to speak knowledgeably about a home’s energy-saving features and be ready to field questions that range from how much the monthly utility bill runs to whether or not LED lighting is installed on the premises.

Surprising Side Benefits of Going Efficient

Another way that this movement is making a splash in the real estate sector is that it allows agents to often surprise their interested buyers by detailing the added perks and benefits they can expect from an energy-efficient home. For instance, most will already be well-versed on the fact that such systems can lower their utility bill. That fact alone is often a major selling point. Yet, agents can also explain that there are myriad efficiency upgrades that actually pull double duty. For instance, a home that features a double layer of insulation on its outer walls isn’t just going to retain heat better. It is also better soundproof from outside noise. While this might not mean too much to those in rural communities who don’t deal with street noise as frequently, it can be a game changer for city dwellers looking for a reprieve from the clamor.

The Overall Impact on Home Values

Finally, agents can also detail to prospective buyers how certain energy-efficient home upgrades can positively affect its overall resale value. Though there are some exceptions to this rule, the fact remains that integrating almost any form of renewable energy, including solar or wind, onto a property will improve its value. Thus, if the home already includes solar panels, that’s an automatic plus. Or, if there is enough room to install them in the future, this is also a route that interested buyers can take.

These simple upgrades apply to all kinds of property types, from office buildings to mobile homes. If you’re interested in buying or selling the latter, you can learn more here about ways to add energy-efficient elements to mobile properties. The takeaway? Any time someone invests in making their home work smarter, better and more effectively, over time, that money, time and resources are returned in full, and then some. Agents can pass this information along to interested buyers, especially those looking at properties to restore and flip, as well as sellers who want to learn more about how they can get top dollar for their property.

Real Estate and Energy-Efficiency: Two Industries to Watch

The momentum behind the modern efficiency movement isn’t to be missed. It isn’t to be swept under the rug or shrugged off, either. Rather, this important milestone marks a defining shift in consumer culture. Today’s buyer has a different agenda and checklist than one just 10 years ago and that is to be expected. As we move forward into the next decade, it’s important for savvy real estate agents to be on the cutting edge of this trend. Staying abreast on what’s happening in the world of renewables, energy efficiency, smart home systems and more is key to answering client questions as thoroughly as possible and helping them find the new, green home of their dreams.

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Courtney Myers
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