Energy Efficiency: Pick Upgrades that (Actually) Drive Down Costs
By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon
Published: November 3, 2011
A new study says home owners won’t see their utility bills drop until they’ve conducted four or more energy upgrades. Here are projects that will give you the greatest bang for your energy buck.
I’ve long suspected that saving energy is like saving calories: Small measures add up, until a Thanksgiving pecan pie — or a dazzling holiday light display — wrecks a year’s worth of small though consistent efforts.
Evidently I’m right, according to a new study claiming that doing a couple of small, energy-saving measures actually increase utility bills. And that a home owner must perform at least four energy upgrades before their utility bill drops.
The 450-page study, conducted by the eco-curious Shelton Group, found that energy-efficient home owners think they should replace water heaters and install a higher-efficiency HVAC system, though they actually replace windows and add insulation.
We think they’re half right: Adding insulation, especially in the attic, is a low-cost way to reduce utility bills. But replacing windows requires a huge upfront cost, which you probably won’t live long enough to earn back.
To see net-net savings — in your lifetime — select upgrades that reduce energy consumption by 5% and require modest initial investments. We suggest:
Seal and insulate ductwork through unfinished and unheated areas, such as the attic, garage, and crawl spaces.
Install a programmable thermostat so you don’t overheat your house when you’re away or asleep.
Seal air leaks around windows, doors, attic access, and recessed lights.
How many energy-efficient improvements did you make last year? Did you see a drop or increase in your utility bills?
With the current state of the Real Estate market you would think that sellers would do everything they can to get their house sold. Yet time after time I see sellers doing things that result in buyers walking away and going to buy another property.
1) Curb Appeal- Make the outside of the home desirable. You often hear that a home has to have “Curb Appeal”, this has never been more true that in the current buyers market. Additionally, the curb appeal has to shine through on the MLS system and in the listing photos on line. If the home doesn’t look appealing on line you won’t even get a buyer to take the time to drive by. If the street views of the home looks well kept and inviting, buyers will want to take the time to come and see it. Remember you can only make a first impression once and now a days the 1st impression is made on-line.
2) Access to the Home – Sellers need to make it as easy as possible for buyers and their agent to set up showings. Some sellers won’t even let their agent install lock boxes on the door. Sellers need to adjust their schedule to accommodate showings. Remember the buyer is the customer and there are many homes on the market, the buyers are only going to look at homes when they have the time. Sellers should always have their homes in showing condition and have a lock box on the door so that agents can show the home while the sellers are at work.
3) Go Away– You’ve made it through the first two stumbling blocks now you need to make sure you are not home when the buyers come to look at your home. Nothing makes a buyer more uncomfortable than having the seller home during a showing. When the seller is home during a showing the buyer will rush through the home and don’t really get a good look. The vast majority of homes that I have sold were viewed by the buyer when the seller was not present during the showing.
I would love to hear your comments and experiences on these items. I’m sure there are other ways for sellers to kill the sale of their own properties, these just happened to be the top three that I have seen. If you are considering selling you home visit my home seller site at www.SelMyMichiganHouse.com