Sometimes trying to guess what’s on the mind of buyers can be a difficult challenge. Do they want the suburbs or city? Do they want single family residences or condos? While some of those answers vary, statistics are showing us that despite location or style of home, buyers have one thing on their minds: sustainability and climate change. According to a National Association of Realtors survey, 69% of their members said energy efficiency promotion in listings had value, and 59% of those Realtors found clients were had interest in sustainability. So, while you may not be able to change the style or location of your home, you can certainly cater to buyer’s sustainability wishes.
Climate Change and Flood Insurance
While the entire globe is affected by climate change, coastal cities are seeing dramatic impacts by the damage of climate change. In fact, in a recent study by First Street Foundation, rising seas eroded $15.8 billion in home value from Maine to Mississippi. And buyers are paying attention to this. They don’t want to be left holding the bag on a property that declines in value due to climate change. While buyers aren’t completely shying away from flood-prone areas, they are seeking solutions for possible flooding- including elevating the property, retaining walls, and site work. It’s important if a buyer is buying in a flood zone, they get accurate pricing for flood insurance; however, those rates can (and often times do) increase annually.
Energy Efficient Homes
In the National Association of Realtors 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, they found that heating and cooling costs were the most important environmental features for buyers, with 85% finding these features somewhat important. Buyers aren’t looking to replacing windows, HVAC, or duct work– they want these items not only in working order, but also upgraded to conserve energy and spending. Many local municipalities and utility companies are helping homeowners cater to this need by offering rebates for energy efficient appliances, thermostats, or insulation. These rebate programs can pay big to the seller by receiving the upgrades at a fraction of the cost while appealing to the 2020 buyer.
Steps to improve your energy efficiency:
- Have a professional energy audit conducted to identify areas of improvement
- Upgrade attic insulation to meet current standards and to help with heating/cooling costs
- Swap out dial thermostat with smart, programmable thermostat
- Replacing old, single pane windows can significantly help resell value
- Replace all light bulbs with LED bulbs
- Have existing HVAC units serviced seasonally
Recycled and Reclaimed Materials
Part of the appeal of sustainability to buyers is having the ability to reduce their carbon footprint on the globe, and one of the popular ways of doing that has been incorporating more recycled products within the home. Buyers appreciate upgraded finishes; however, the 2020 buyer is looking for more than that, they want recycled and reclaimed finishes in their new home. Not only can recycled materials decrease overall building or remodel costs, they are a better alternative for the environment.
Ideas for incorporating recycled materials:
- Recycled glass countertops
- Shredded tire mulch
- Reclaimed wood floors
- Salvaged vintage architectural elements
Buyer preferences from stainless steel appliances to open-concept designs vary greatly, but incorporating more sustainable features in a home is likely to appeal to the largest group of home buyers: millennials. When listing your home for sale with a licensed Realtor, be sure to focus heavily on the green features present in the home.