By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine
Some recent studies suggest that green homes sell faster and for higher dollar than their non-energy saving counterparts. For example, in Seattle, new homes certified green (such as from the government’s Energy Star or U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED) sold for 22 percent more per square foot and spent 12 percent less time on the market, according to the ECert report by GreenWorks Realty in Seattle, which analyzed data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service of new homes sold from September 2007 to February 2010. (Green homes made up 6 percent of the market.)
Similar results were found in a separate study of “green” certified homes in Portland. New homes in that region sold for 18 percent more while existing-homes with a certification sold for 23 percent more compared to non-green homes, according to Earth Advantage Institute, which pulled data from the Portland area Regional Multiple Listing Service of homes sold from 2009 to 2010.
While more buyers are expressing an interest in “green” energy efficient materials in homes, they’re finding that going “green” can be expensive. For example, solar water heating systems can cost between $1,500 to $3,500 and solar panels upwards to $15,000. (It’s important to note that cheaper “green” alternatives for your home exist that can still offer savings to your utility bills, such as changing out your light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs can reduce electricity costs.)
Some home owners or buyers are turning to Energy Efficient Mortgages or EEMs to curtail the costs of installing green features. EEMs, which are separate from a regular mortgage but get rolled into your primary mortgage, allow home owners and buyers to get extra money to pay for energy efficient upgrades, such as double-paned windows, tankless water heats, and energy efficient heating and cooling.
To learn more about what EEMs are, how they work, and the different kinds of EEMs, visit Mortgageloan.com’s EEM resource guide at www.mortgageloan.com/environment.