Today's buyers are more concerned than ever about living green, and that means finding an eco-friendly home. How do you know the home you want is truly green?
Green means the different things to different people. Buyers focused on energy cost savings prefer homes that have basic energy-efficient features such as Energy Star appliances, weatherproofed windows and good insulation. Buyers concerned about personal health issues prefer homes that use non-toxic materials such as low VOC paints and bamboo flooring. Still other buyers want to contribute to a more sustainable future. They look for building materials that are produced locally or use reclaimed wood.
At the most basic level, Energy Star appliances, double-pained windows and efficient heating and cooling systems can lower energy bills and give buyers peace of mind. Other factors to consider include:
* Cost: Expect to pay more for a green home. A recent study by the University of California finds that green-certified single family homes sold for 9 percent more than a comparable home that wasn't green.
* Square footage: The larger the home, the more energy it consumes. Buying a smaller home is more economical.
* Paint: Use water-based paints that contain lower levels of VOC's than conventional oil-based paints. VOC's emit gases that can cause health issues.
* Carpeting/flooring: Choose carpeting made from recycled or renewable materials. For wood flooring, bamboo or reclaimed wood are popular choices.
* Utilities: Review past utility bills to determine typical monthly energy costs. Also request documentation on any green features that have been added to the property.
* Landscaping: Choose plants and trees that don't require the same level of maintenance as a lawn.
If in doubt, as questions. The more questions you ask, the more confident you will be that you are getting a truly green home.