One trend is coming across loud and clear for home sales this year - demonstrate lower monthly bills and you will attract buyers! Fifty to 75% of home buyers shop utility bills when looking for their next home.
Chicago Magazine made this their leading advice for selling your home this season: staging for energy efficiency is a great way to make your home stand out to value-conscious buyers. The first bit of advice in the article Boost Your Home's Value - If you want to sell this summer was energy efficiency.
A sampling of other articles says the same:
- Realtor Magazine: 5 Ways to Sell a Home Faster, For More Money - “Talk about energy efficiency: Many buyers don’t fully understand “green” homes but they understand savings. Sellers should point out any features in their homes — such as energy-efficient windows or appliances — that could save buyers money with utility costs.”
- Trulia: 5 Shockingly Selfish Reasons for Going Green at Home - Top 3: ”Save Money Now. Sell Faster. Boost Your Net Worth.”
- USA Today: Builders – Energy Efficiency Greens Most New Homes - “Two-thirds of builders and remodelers say customers request green homes to lower their utility bills — more than twice as often as any other factor”
So what are some steps you can take if you want to attract value-conscious buyers? Here are some great staging tips for your home - and they will help you save a little money while your sale comes together!
- Install a programmable thermostat. This is now a prerequisite for "well-maintained" homes. The good news is that a basic $50 programmable thermostat can save over $100 per year on heating and cooling! So why not install (or use) one for yourself right away?
- Replace light bulbs in five key areas. Ditto above - another prerequisite. Focus on the five most used lights first to see the savings start to add up on your next ComEd bill: 1. Outdoors 2. Kitchen 3. Family/living room 4. Dining room/eating space 5. Bedrooms.
- Get the perfect color light bulb! You can get all sorts of "normal" shaped bulbs now too. A warm, yellowish light is just like the incandescents buyers are used to. Look for bulbs that have a color temperature around 2700 degrees kelvin for the best ambiance. The new light bulb label (right) make it easy to find color temperature and pick a bulb that really enhances your home.
- Earn rebates on CFL bulbs. Use a ComEd retailer and earn a rebate on replacement bulbs!
Once your home is under contract the home inspection is a big next step. Many items that become home inspection hot spots are good places for energy efficiency improvements. The Energy Impact Illinois program is supported by a Department of Energy Grant and makes it easier than ever to understand the best way to replace key systems in your home, and also identifies qualified rebates and loans to cover the work. Check out their "Make Improvements" list to see if any of their tips and rebates relate to home inspection issues. Who knows, by empowering your buyer with great resources "big problems" might becom much less of a concern and actually improve the way your deal is coming together!
Finally, if you want to really highlight your home's affordability and maximize the benefits of home improvement, you can participate in the Illinois Home Performance with Energy Star program. You follow a home improvement process focused on cutting your energy use. The program follows a quality system that starts by qualifying contractors and ends by testing the results of your improvements to make sure they actually worked. Once complete, you will receive a Silver or Gold certificate, depending on savings achieved. It's a great document to share with prospective buyers to show that your improvements meet the high standards of Energy Star. Plus, the certificate is even a searchable field in Chicagoland's multiple listing service.
Whether you've made big efficiency improvements to your home or you are just getting started on the basics - now is the time to showcase how your home is not just a great value to buy, but to operate too!