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‘Energy Efficient’ a Selling Point for Older Homes

Sometimes buyers’ general desire for a newer home can be countered by an older home that has been upgraded to be considered “energy efficient.”

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today’s homebuyers put energy efficiency high on their “must-have” list, and many also want something that’s no more than 10 years old, yet many homes are at least 30 years old. That means owners should consider adding energy-efficient muscle to their marketing plan.

A recent survey found most homeowners thought they were not using as much energy as they did five years ago. At the same time, a little more than half said their energy bills had gone up. The outlook for 2022 and beyond is for energy costs to continue increasing.

A strong selling point for today’s new homes is dramatic improvements in energy efficiency due to improved materials, better building standards and advances in appliance technology. But there are things owners of older homes can do to mitigate the new vs. old energy use issue.

They can start with an energy audit. There are local firms that offer this service. Another source is power companies. Audits usually offer short-term and long-term options. The short-term is lower-cost improvements for immediate results. The long view typically includes big-ticket items.

Here are a few primary options:

  • Insulating or re-insulating attic spaces. It has a major impact on both heating and cooling costs.
  • New windows and doors score high on the upgrade wish list but can be a big-ticket item.
  • Many older homes can make big energy efficiency gains with new technologies. Digital controls are one example. They make it possible to automatically adjust heating and cooling levels in concert with peak need-and-use times. Another example is the ability to set those digital controls heating a home’s downstairs during the day and the upstairs at night.
  • Hot water heaters and piping are big energy users. While better insulation helps, tank-less water heating units can be good upgrades, but like the energy-efficient windows, there’s an upfront investment. The payback comes over time because the tankless systems heat water only when needed.
  • If an older home also has older appliances, consider newer energy-saving models. Compared to things like replacing windows and doors, this can be a less expensive alternative, resulting in some energy-efficiency eye candy.

As with any home upgrade, it’s important to keep tight control on costs and return on investment expectations. If the project involves contractors, multiple estimates are prudent and be sure to check out the contractors’ references. To expand on your library of tips about saving on energy costs for any season check out the National Association of Realtors®’ House Logic website under “Save on Utilities.”

The 2022 housing market outlook is for a market that will cool from last year’s harried pace. It should continue as a strong sellers’ market, but they’re likely won’t be as many multiple offers, and buyers will also likely begin resisting foregoing contingencies and inspections to seal the deal.

Source: Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors