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Measuring the Value of Eco-friendly Property Rehabs

12 Jun

There is a growing school of thought on the value of rehabbing properties to make them more eco-friendly and sustainable. Rehabbing a property to meet some of the latest green/eco friendly standards may help give property owners a great primary selling point. In addition, green rehab projects may also help stimulate new pockets of real estate growth and help communities come together for common eco-friendly causes within cities that are in need of revitalization.


Initially, the rehab costs associated with eco-friendly materials are higher than standard materials used but they also give owners the ability to ask more on resale, from the increasing numbers of buyers that are becoming interested in eco-friendly properties that are both environmentally friendly and healthy to live in. With a growing number of properties on the market it might not be a bad idea to have unique, environmentally conscious features that can help a property stand out in the crowd as well.
There are many things a property investor can do to rehab an existing property with sustainable and eco-friendly features, it just depends on your budget, your target market and how far you want to take it. Here is a list of some of the things that can be done to make a property more sustainable and eco-friendly:

  • Compact fluorescent lighting
  • Solar powered outside light fixtures
  • Cedar wood for studs, decks, joists, etc. (pressure treated wood contains pesticides)
  • Solar hot water heater or on demand tanks
  • Low flow faucet fixtures and toilets
  • Non-VOC (volatile organic chemicals) paint, caulks and sealants Energy efficient appliances
  • Reverse osmosis household water filtration system
  • Recycled tile, bamboo or cork wood flooring with non-toxic underlayment, or natural fiber Carpeting
  • Greywater recycling or rain water collection system for plumbing
  • Insulated Panels
  • Natural insulation’s that are more chemically safe than average types of housing insulation
  • Solar Panels
  • Geo-thermal heat pump
  • Wind generators

“Green” building materials may not make a huge difference in the final selling price, but the right buyer is more apt to choose a property with green materials. A property owner is apt to get the most money from green assets that offer the most serious cost saving benefits to the buyer. For example, a buyer may not pay more for recycled tile but will pay for  expensive system features like- a geo-thermal heat pump that significantly lowers heat costs or a home wind generator that significantly lowers electrical costs.
For property investors new to sustainability and green projects, LEED construction is a good example of a rating system that is used for commercial building projects to rate how environmentally friendly a project is. Points are awarded for items on the building such as a rain water collection system, and also for the construction process -such as sorting trash to be recycled during construction. LEED for Homes has taken this program from commercial projects to residential. Projects are rated bronze, silver, gold and platinum, based on the number of points earned.
Rehabbing a property to meet some of the latest green/eco friendly standards may help give property owners a great primary selling point.

There are many things a property investor can do to rehab an existing property with sustainable, eco-friendly features, it just depends on your budget and how far you want to take it. The more value the new green features add to buyers the more they will be willing to pay.
In addition, green rehab projects may also help stimulate new pockets of real estate growth and help communities come together for common eco-friendly causes within cities that are in need of revitalization. Right now in Michigan the number of companies and networks that specialize in the field is growing.

Resources:
http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=1095, http://www.hinmancompany.com/sustainability.php

High Gas prices are triggering changes in buyer behavior. Is this change also leading to changes in what appeals to home buyers in Metro Detroit?

19 May

High Gas prices are triggering changes in buyer behavior. Will this change also lead to changes in what appeals to home buyers in Metro Detroit? According to a recent survey by Coldwell Banker, the spike in gas prices is driving more buyers to seek out locations that offer a shorter commute to work and to the places they frequent the most.

The gas prices appear to be playing a factor in the renewed interest in urban living. More than fifty percent of the real estate professionals surveyed are seeing a noticeable increase in buyers that are targeting homes in urban areas, as compared to five years ago. The main reason for the growing trend in urban-area migration was cited for the shorter commute times, short walking distances to more places, and the close proximity to public transportation.

The trend in urban-migration is anticipated to grow along with the growing gas prices. Michigan real estate investors may benefit by becoming more in tune with housing properties in down town regions as valid options for home buyers who may have previously only opted for conventional family style homes in suburban settings.

Source: “Coldwell Banker Real Estate Survey Finds Spike in Gas Prices Is Impacting Where Home Buyers Choose to Live,” MarketWire (May 18, 2011)