There are many energy efficiency considerations to think about when buying a home. Energy efficiency is better for the environment and can make your home less expensive to maintain over the long term.
The first consideration are the major mechanics such as the water heater, furnace and air conditioner as they are generally the largest users of energy in the home. Check to see how old they are and what their energy ratings are. Many older units have are well beyond their peak level of performance and could add costs to your energy bills.
The stove, refrigerator, washer and dryer, and dishwasher create small daily drains on your energy that can really add up. Look for the age of the units as well as any energy ratings you can find. Check to see how much water the dishwasher and washer use for more savings.
- Windows and Siding
No matter how much we try to control the temperature inside the home, the conditions outside the home can play a major role in our energy costs. Check to see if the home has updated windows and siding. Features such as double-paned windows can make a huge difference in your heating and cooling bills.
No one wants to look in the attic, but one of the most useful energy savers might be up there. When you decide to purchase a home, have your inspector look at the R value of the insulation. The higher the R value, the more efficiently it will help your house stay warm or cold depending on the season.
- Check the Numbers
Ask your agent to find out what the average monthly energy and water bills have been for the past year on the property. If they seem really high, you might want to run back through your checklist of energy efficient upgrades to see if you can hone in on where the energy loss is occurring. If you can, decide if it is worth it to move ahead with the purchase and correction of the issue or if you need to keep shopping.
As highlighted above, energy efficiency is something many buyers are looking for in a home. While you make not be able to do a complete energy efficient renovation before you sell, there are a few things you can do to appeal to buyers.
- Check Your Mechanics
Buyers will often look at the mechanics of the home as a potential deal breaker if the cost to replace them is too great. Before you list, take a look at the mechanics of your home. Is the furnace original? Is the water heater older than you are? If so, it might be time to consider replacing one of the units or offering an upgrade credit as part of your sale. Talk to your agent to see if replacing some of your mechanics makes sense in helping your home sell.
- Analyze Your Windows
If you have older windows, consider having some or all of them replaced before you sell. Air leakage from old windows is one of the most common causes of energy loss in a home and buyers are often looking for newer windows.
- Do Small Things
Details such as upgraded lights with energy efficient bulbs, programmable thermostats, LED track lights and updated entry doors can all add value to your home. Look for small energy upgrades you can make before you put your home on the market.
- List Your Upgrades
Sometimes sellers forget how much they have improved their home since they have lived in it. Be sure to tell your agent about all of your energy efficiency related upgrades and approximately when they were completed. Sharing that information with your agent give them more tools to market your home and help you stand above the competition.