During a home search, you may come across properties with “green” or “high-performance” features. How can you identify which homes are truly “green,” and how exactly can these features affect a buyer’s decision?
What is a “green” home?
“Green” or “high-performance” homes are typically designed to improve the home’s indoor air quality, use reduced electricity or water, or a combination of all three.
The wide variety of energy-efficient features has made the appraisal process more tedious nowadays. Thankfully there are new rating and certification systems that have made it easier to identify green properties. It’s important to keep in mind however that these ratings aren’t that accurate yet – there are many green features that still aren’t covered by these programs, making them difficult to correctly identify.
How are green features recognized by appraisers?
To correctly identify a home’s green features, appraisers use different sources such as the MLS, permits, specifications, building plans, interviews with owners, and other sources. They’ll take a first-hand look at these features during inspection, and cross-check with third-party sources such as the US Green Building Council, the Residential Energy Services Network, or Energy Star.
Is a green home a good investment?
Just like any other home feature, green upgrades may be sought-after in some markets, and not so hot in others. The good news is, new ratings and systems are constantly being developed, which helps appraisers accurately recognize these features allowing them to develop credible opinions regarding their value.
It still depends largely on both the buyer and seller when it comes to determining how much specific features contribute to a property’s value. Appraisers and real estate practitioners should work together closely and be on the same page with consumers in order to have a successful transaction.
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