Bank Deal: Earn 1.00% APY on an FDIC-insured savings account at Barclays.
A study released in February of 2013 by the National Association of Home Builders says one of the most important qualities new home buyers want is an energy-efficient home. They add, “Nine out of ten buyers would rather buy a home with energy-efficient features and permanently lower utility bills than one without those features that costs 2 to 3 percent less.”
The problem is that some sellers boast “energy-efficiency” without really having the goods to back it up. And just because the home has energy-efficient appliances doesn’t necessarily mean it’s saving energy in other areas.
Having a holistic approach to energy-efficient homes is a much better way to go for both savings and reduction in energy dependency. So when you start your house hunting adventures, bring this list with you and look for these features:
- ENERGY STAR appliances
- Air leaks around windows and doors
- Energy-efficient windows and doors
- Low-flow fixtures and toilets
- Digital thermostat controls
- Properly insulated attics and walls
- Low-energy lighting systems
- Well-maintained heating and cooling system
- Eco-friendly carpet, paint and building materials
- Energy- or water-efficient landscaping plan
- Tankless water heater
- BONUS: solar panels, geothermal system, wind turbine or any other alternative energy source
After you’ve gone through the list above you’ll want to ask some these questions:
- When was the last energy audit conducted and can you see the results?
- Can you see past energy bills?
- Do you have maintenance records for any of the energy-efficient appliances or alternative energy sources?
- Are there any local or state tax credits for owning this home?
- Do local energy companies buy back energy created by my home?
- Does the current homeowner work with the ENERGY STAR home program?
LEED Home Certification
In some cases, homes will feature LEED certification as a key selling point. A home with LEED certification means that it met specific environmental standards established by U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Ask to see the documentation from their LEED inspection and the certification.
Your new energy-efficient home doesn’t have to have all of these qualities, but each of them can help lower your energy dependency and monthly bills. Not only are these types of homes a smart buy, but energy-efficient features can also increase your home’s value if you decide to sell the home later on.
In July of 2012, USA Today reported that homes featuring energy-efficient upgrades sold for 10% more than non-energy-efficient homes in the surrounding area. They added in an earlier story that, “In Seattle, homes certified as eco-friendly sold for 8.5 percent more per square foot and were on the market 22 percent less time than other homes, according to a new report that tracks new home sales from September 2007 through December 2009.”
Buying an energy-efficient home is a smart investment that can pay off each month and later in the future. Just make sure to ask the right questions and look for the right features so you don’t get stuck in a home that doesn’t meet your expectations.
See more articles from QuickenLoans.com:
- How to Become a Millionaire
- How to Get Out of Debt
- The Best Dollars I've Ever Spent
- How Our Estate Plan is Structured
- How We Paid Our Mortgage In Less than 10 Years
- Money Making Ideas
- How to Manage Your Asset Allocation with Multiple Accounts
- Consumption Smoothing - Save While the Saving's Good
- How to Save on Groceries
- How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?
- Eleven Great Books About Money
- Dave Ramsey is Bad at Math (693)
- Dish Network Customer Service SUCKS (537)
- $8,000 Homebuyer Tax Credit (429)
- Pay Off Mortgage Early or Invest? (424)
- How to Claim the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit (352)
- Termite Control: Sentricon vs. Termidor (330)
- How Much Should You Pay a Babysitter? (292)
- Ethanol Blended Gas = Lower Mileage? (273)
- Reduced Credit Limits? Share Your Experience (256)
- $15,000 Homebuyer Tax Credit (242)
- Buying Furniture off the Back of a Truck (237)
- Will Mac OS X Lion Kill Quicken 2007? (191)