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Most homebuyers Seek Green Options When Buying, NAR Says

By Michele Dawson | October 22, 2013

Most homebuyers seek homes that are energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, according to the National Association of Realtors.  In fact, nine out of 10 surveyed said heating and cooling costs are important factors in considering a home.

Indeed, heating and cooling costs account for about 56 percent of a home’s energy use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

© Vadym Tynenko -

© Vadym Tynenko -

“As energy savings and green building features are becoming more important to buyers, sellers and businesses, it comes as no surprise that consumers are placing a higher value on properties with those features,” said NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, Calif.

Specific findings from the NAR’s 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers include:

  • 39 percent said that a home’s heating and cooling costs is VERY important when thinking about buying a specific home.
  • 24 percent said they are most concerned about energy-efficient appliances.
  • Another 24 percent is primarily concerned about energy-efficient lighting.
  • Energy-efficient and environmentally friendly landscaping was cited as important by about half of those who took the survey.
  • Buyers from the North and South proved to be more interested in heating and cooling costs than home-seekers in the other regions of the country.
  • Those who said they are more interested in energy efficiency tended to buy newer homes. Almost 60 percent of those who bought homes built in 2011 said energy efficiency, specifically heating and cooling costs, is very important.  Of those who purchased homes built before 2010, just about 30 percent was as favorable about homes with great energy efficiency.

If you’re a buyer or homeowner who places elevated importance on energy efficiency and keeping utility bills down, you should install and consistently use a programmable thermostat. When used, they can save you about $180 a year. And, if it’s time for a new heating and cooling unit, look for one with the ENERGY STAR label. This can cut your bill another $200 a year.

It’s also important to seal your ducts, change your air filter every month during heavy usage, and get regular maintenance and tune-up every year. Not only will you help to keep your own energy costs down, but your home will be more attractive when it comes time to sell.

Michele Dawson is a freelance writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. She spent seven years as a newspaper reporter and has written for various magazines and web sites specializing in real estate and home improvement, including Realty Times, SmartHomeowner, California Builder, and the Sacramento Business Journal.
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