Is Going Green Good for Your Home Resale Value?

The term “going green” can be somewhat nebulous, encompassing a vast scope of activities with varying levels of impact on the sustainability of our tenure on this planet. Some people recycle used bottles and cans and call it a day while others purchase hybrid or electric vehicles. And some hardcore individuals even go so far as to make sure that every aspect of their existence does less to harm the environment (from energy consumption to socially responsible buying of only locally produced goods). So when you ask questions about the effect of “going green” on the resale value of your house, the answer will obviously vary. That said, there are many benefits to adopting an eco-friendly attitude on the home front and one of them may be an increase in your resale value.

In truth, it depends almost entirely on what you do and the cost (initially and over time) that you absorb. Installing solar panels may well show a return on investment, but considering you could spend as much as $50,000 on a system that will power your home, you might not necessarily see the value of your property increase enough to cover your expenses. Of course, alternative energy is a good selling point in that the utility bill will be lower than other homes (or nonexistent), potentially saving the new owners a substantial amount of money over time. But like many pricy upgrades, you’ll be marketing a home that runs on green energy to a certain segment of consumers (who may well be willing to pay more for the privilege).

But you don’t have to take such a huge gamble with your expenses in order to go green. Although marketing an all-green home to particular buyers with deeper pockets to match their ideals is one way to go, it is definitely risky. By taking smaller steps to make your house more eco-friendly you can appeal to a much larger group of buyers while adding value and still keeping your own costs low. And there are plenty of ways to do so.

Water conservation is a big bonus in any home (not only saving our precious supply of clean water, but also lowering the utility bill) and it doesn’t have to cost you a lot. Low-flow toilets can be had for about the same price as the regular fare and you can often get a rebate from your local DWP by sending in receipt of purchase (as much as half-back). Plus, you’ll have toilets that use half the water with every flush. You can also consider installing a tankless water heater, which heats water on demand rather than keeping a tank heated day and night. And if you really want to go the extra mile, install aerated faucets (with sensors on taps that turn them off automatically). You may be surprised to find that adding air actually improves your water pressure, and all the while you’ll be using a fraction of the H₂O you normally would. And of course, you can always install a system that pumps recycled water to your lawn.

Of course, this is just one example of how you can make your home more environmentally friendly without exorbitant costs, and these upgrades will almost certainly allow you to up the sticker price when it comes time to sell. The best changes are those that are simple, inexpensive, and provide added value to the new homeowner. So do your research and curb your spending if you want to get more out of your green home when you’re ready to turn it over to a new family.

About the Author

Sarah Danielson writes for Justin Doyle Homes, a custom home builder in Cincinnati since 1976 offering luxurious homes for every lifestyle.