Green Home-ImprovementWhich Green Home Improvements Really Pay Off?

Every homeowner has the goal of increasing the value of his property. And to this end he is likely to perform regular maintenance and repairs and possibly even undertake upgrades and all-out renovations in order to ensure that when he decides to sell this asset, it holds the greatest possible value. To that end, most homeowners want to make sure that the money they put into projects around the house is going to come back to them at the time of sale. In short, they want to opt for upgrades that have the greatest potential return on investment. And as most of us know, kitchen and bathroom overhauls tend to top the list. But what about green home improvements? With a growing marketplace clamoring for amenities that reduce their carbon footprint, perhaps eco-friendly improvements are a good way to increase the appeal (and asking price) of a property. The only real question: which green home improvements are likely to show the best return?

Although the green movement is nothing new, having been around for several decades at this point, the mainstream popularity of eco-friendly living is a relatively recent phenomenon. So there is not exactly a lot of data out there to tell you which green home improvements are going to produce the greatest payoff at the time of sale. That said, you can probably make an educated guess as to which upgrades are more desirable to prospective buyers. It doesn’t take much common sense to realize that anything that saves a new homeowner money is going to tip the scales in your favor when it comes to selling, so you need to look at what each home improvement actually adds to your property.

Consider, for example, the difference between adding reclaimed wood flooring, which is a green way to get the hardwoods you want without denuding more forests, and installing solar panels in order to cut back on energy consumption. Which do you think will hold more value for a prospective buyer? While it’s true that the average homeowner may be drawn to hardwoods, the truth is that the potential return on investment for flooring is quite low. At best you won’t have to drop your price to account for the buyer’s desire to install new flooring. And it might make your house more appealing. But when you have solar panels on your list of amenities, it reads as dollar signs for a new owner because it implies that they can alleviate some or all of the burden of paying an electric bill. That’s a major bonus for most buyers.

Other features that might fit the bill, so to speak, are the inclusion of items like double-paned windows, low-flow toilets, aerated faucets, a tankless water heater, and even a gray-water system. You might also include native and drought-resistant landscaping to cut water consumption. These types of add-ons will appeal to a large portion of prospective buyers. Of course, there is a growing group of greenies that is looking for eminently eco-friendly homes of the LEED certified variety, so if you want to go all out there is a market for extremely green homes (and they often fetch a fantastic price since devoted eco-enthusiasts are willing to pay top dollar). But if you’re merely looking to attract the eye of the average person seeking New York, Chicago, or Philadelphia real estate to purchase, then green upgrades meant to save the homeowner money are sure to show the best returns.