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Do Green Features Sell Homes?

Technology today has certainly afforded a much more convenient way of life, but also a more environmentally conscious one. It doesn’t matter how “green” a buyer may be these days, everyone values the increased efficiency that most often yields a savings of money.

As new construction is on the rise many developers are offering upgraded packages that cater to the environmentally conscious. These are often promoted in their marketing efforts as they differentiate their product from others. However, are most buyers willing to lay down more cash for these premiums? The truth is it all depends on the actual feature.

Fixture, Feature or Finish
Generally speaking, buyers will typically pay for things that they can physically feel or show off to their house guests. Features like these include an additional room for games or media, an upgraded spa-like bath or chef’s kitchen with higher end appliances. Items that are less visible like a special roof or high efficiency boiler are not appreciated as much.

Regarding green features, the value can fall somewhere in between depending on the true benefit. Technology items like controlling your HVAC via your smartphone or other similar convenience features are proving to be items that today’s buyers will sometimes pay more for. On the other hand, less exciting features like a unique air filtration system do not rank high upon the wish list for buyers to want to spend more for.

Cost Efficient Savings

Not all of the green features of today offer something particularly “cool” or have a “wow” factor. However, should any of these offerings come with a substantial cost savings due to efficiency, then that is where buyers become intrigued.

In some cases these upgrades may not necessarily recoup their expense dollar for dollar as in the case with solar panels or a high tech thermostat. However, these items should be regarded much like an upgraded or remodeled kitchen. They offer a concrete upgrade in function as well as the “cool” benefit.

New Construction

Sometimes it is a difficult decision for developers to decide to “go green” or not. The challenge is often times in educating the buyers on the cost-benefit of each feature so they can make their purchase decision.

A recent experiment was conducted by a developer in Somers, New York. They had built similar homes and offered custom finishes per each buyer’s preferences. One major option was an upgrade to a geothermal heating and cooling system. The up front cost for this was $50,000 but the buyer would receive a $30,000 tax credit from the government. In addition, the up front cost was also rolled into the mortgage making it even more affordable being spread out over the life of the mortgage. Ultimately the buyers would realize the savings with lower energy bills by a few hundred dollars per month within five years.

The results were interesting with only half of the buyers upgrading to this system. It had come down to a personal and financial decision for them. Some may have already been maxed out with their budget while others may not have planned on staying in the home long enough to realize the savings.

Green is on the rise
Green living is definitely becoming more of the normal way of life. The number of buyers that are in search of environmentally friendly housing is growing by the day and these individuals are prepared to pay extra for these features. As time goes on, the technology becomes more affordable as the features are increasingly more prevalent in the homes that are built today.

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