Home Buyers and Sellers Want Energy Efficiency

Posted by Amanda McCarthy on February 29, 2012
Home Buyers and Sellers Want Energy Efficiency

In today’s real estate market, buyers are increasingly looking for energy efficient features in homes. In fact, according to a survey done by the National Association of Realtors, 39% of all home buyers said that heating and cooling costs were a "very important" feature when they are looking to purchase a home. (See chart at bottom for other "very important" features.)

Additionally, when shopping for a new home, a buyer wants features such as efficient appliances and properly sealed windows, which for them translates into lower utility bills. What that means for those selling their homes is an extra opportunity to increase a home’s value. The following improvements can help you make your home more attractive to buyers and improve the odds of you getting the price you want when you put your home up for sale.

Saving Water

Water is a precious resource. Although the ease of access to water in the West makes people think there is plenty of fresh water to be had, a growing population is putting strain on fresh water supplies in many regions. Cutting back on water usage at home can alleviate the strain on this important resource and save money in the process.

  • Faucet aerators and efficient appliances, such as front-load washing machines, can help a family of four save one hundred dollars a year or more on their water bill. These devices also lower energy bills by several percentage points because they reduce the amount of hot water that is used, thereby reducing the amount of power used to heat water.
  • According to some estimates, toilet leaks and dripping faucets can waste up to 500 gallons of water a day. This translates literally into money down the drain. Fixing leaks can save cash and reduce the amount of water a home takes from the local water supply.

Energy Efficiency

We use a lot of power every year to heat, cool, and illuminate our homes. Making your heating, cooling and lighting systems more energy efficient saves money and reduces the electricity your home takes from your electric utility. Making improvements to various parts of your home can also reduce the electricity you need to maintain a comfortable indoor environment and power your home.

  • Some estimate that water heaters represent 20–30% of a home’s energy use. Lowering the thermostat on a hot water heater can therefore dramatically reduce power consumption. Tankless water heaters that heat water only as it is needed can also be a good way to reduce energy bills. These heaters can save homes $70 to $80 a year on energy costs.
  • Inefficient doors and windows make it hard to keep a home warm or cool in a manner that is energy efficient. Double-paned windows and other efficient doors and windows can help reduce a home’s energy use by as much as 15% a year.
  • Radiant barriers installed in the attic can do much to lower the cost to cool a home, particularly when the home is located in a region that gets a lot of hot weather. Attics can get quite hot during the summer, and this heat affects the entire home. Radiant barriers repel the heat, lowering the temperatures in the attic and the overall cost to cool a home.
  • Tinted windows reduce the amount of ultraviolet light and heat that comes into a home. If the tinting meets certain specifications, you may be able to file for a tax credit on your federal income tax return. Such credits reduce the initial cost to install the tinting on your windows, and the tinting reduces your energy costs over the long term.


The chart below shows you the importance of energy efficient features by age of the buyer, according to the National Association of Realtors.


Amanda McCarthy’s passion for reading, insurance, and interior design have allowed her to pursue a career in writing. She is currently working as a writer for a home insurance website.


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