The number of realtors involved with buying or selling a property with green features have significantly increased in the past year, according to a recent study released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Many real estate investors are considering making their projects more “green” not just to protect the environment but also to protect their wallet. If you’re going to hold the property as a rental, you can save on energy costs by investing in energy efficiency appliances. If it’s a flip, you can increase resale value by making your project more green with some of the tips below.
“Sustainability continues to play a growing role in consumers’ purchasing decisions, and this is becoming even more prevalent in the real estate market,” said NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith, a Realtor from Plano, TX, and a broker associate at Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate in Dallas. “With the residential property market, in particular, home buyers have expressed increased interest in eco-friendly factors like solar panels and energy efficiency.”
The biggest challenge investors face when trying to make their real estate fix and flip more environmentally friendly is simply not knowing where to start. In addition, many people think making a project green is expensive and difficult, But in reality there are a number of simple and affordable ways to reduce your environmental impact.
Following these simple tips is a great way to get started:
- Keep an open mind during the design process
It’s important to keep an open mind during the design process when you’re trying to make your real estate fix and flip more environmentally friendly. There are many different ways to make your investment more sustainable, and what works for one person may not work for another. The important thing is to be open to new ideas and willing to try different things until you find what works best for you.
- Fix any environmental hazards before beginning construction
One of the most important things you can do to make your real estate fix and flip more environmentally friendly is to fix any environmental hazards before beginning construction. This includes things like asbestos, lead paint, and other dangerous materials. If these hazards are not fixed before construction begins, they can release harmful toxins into the air and water, which can have a negative impact on the environment and human health.
- Use environmentally-friendly materials and products whenever possible
Utilize environmentally-friendly materials and products whenever possible. This includes products like recycled materials, energy-efficient appliances and low-VOC paints.
Low-VOC paints: are earth-friendly and better for you and the new home-owners. The paint is practically odorless, 100% acrylic and splatter resistant.
Using these types of materials can help reduce your environmental impact and save you money in the long run.
- Install energy-efficient windows and appliances
Installing energy-efficient windows and appliances is another great way to make your real estate fix and flip more environmentally friendly. Nearly two out of three of respondents, in the NAR survey, said that energy efficiency promotion in listings was very or somewhat valuable.
Energy-efficient windows help keep heat in during the winter and cool in during the summer, which can save you money on your energy bills. Homeowners who invest in higher efficiency windows generally save around 12% on their electric bill every year.
Energy efficient appliances and equipment use technologies that are less energy intensive to reduce the amount of electricity used per product. Therefore they save money for the new home-owners and help reduce the environmental impact.
Of course, you can also take your green initiatives to the next level with things like solar panels and geothermal heating. Those can be expensive and whether it makes sense depends on each project.
- Properly dispose of any hazardous waste
Properly disposing of any hazardous waste is another important practice. Hazardous waste includes things like asbestos, lead paint, and other dangerous materials. If these materials are not disposed of properly, they can release harmful toxins into the air and water, which can have a negative impact on the environment and human health.
Specific laws and regulations vary from state to state, so be sure to double check your state’s requirements ahead of time.
- Educate yourself and your team on green building practices
Another challenge can be getting everyone on board with the changes you want to make. If you’re working with a team, it’s important to educate them about the benefits of going green and get them on board with your vision for the project. The EPA has an abundance of resources and links for your team to review (click here).
In short, following these tips can help reduce your environmental impact while helping to increase your bank account. By fixing any environmental hazards before construction begins, using environmentally-friendly materials and products whenever possible, installing energy-efficient windows and appliances, recycling or donating unused building materials, properly disposing of hazardous waste, educating yourself and your team on green building practices, and keeping an open mind during the design process, you can make a big difference in reducing your environmental impact.
By following these tips, you can make sure that your next real estate fix and flip is as green as possible.