November 2019

Educating buyers on green home features

Eco-friendly homes are a hot topic, but can green features make or break a sale? The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) 2019 edition of “What Home Buyers Really Want” offers some insights.1

What features do buyers want?

The NAHB report is based on a nationwide survey of 4,000 recent or aspiring homebuyers, and shows there really is strong interest in eco-friendly home features, especially those that help cut energy costs. Here’s a sample of the features buyers are looking for.1

Features 75% or more buyers want:
Energy Star-rated windows 89%
Energy Star-rated appliances 86%
Energy Star rating for entire home 81%
Efficient lighting (less energy than traditional light bulbs) 77%
Triple-pane insulating glass windows 77%

Will buyers really pay more?

According to the report, the answer is yes, especially if you emphasize that these features can help save energy. Almost 50% of the people surveyed would spend between $1,000 and $9,999 more for a home if they could expect a $1,000 annual savings on their utility bills.1 Depending on the size of the home, such savings could be accomplished with better insulation and Energy Star-rated windows, or by adding solar panels.

According to Rose Quint, the NAHB’s assistant vice president for survey research, “Homebuyers aren’t as willing to open up their pocketbooks to help save the environment, but when you rephrase the question and talk about the savings that owning such a home would bring to them, then you get different responses.”

Should sellers add upgrades?

While energy-efficient upgrades are popular, we know it’s not always cost-effective for sellers to put money into improvements before putting their home on the market. Consult with your clients based on the condition of the home, the cost of the improvements, and the potential for adding value to the home.

Of course, if they’re already planning improvements, help them explore greener choices that you can promote when you market the home. In addition to adding top features mentioned above, possibilities include:

  • Newer, more efficient HVAC systems

  • Drought-resistant landscaping

  • Sustainable building materials such as bamboo flooring

Whether your clients are buying or selling, as your Bank of America lending specialist, I’m here to answer any home financing questions you may have.

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