How an Eco-friendly Home can Boost ROI When Selling?

Greening your home isn’t only beneficial for the environment and reducing energy costs, if you are thinking of selling it in the future, environmental upgrades can also help your ROI. Some green home improvements have a better ROI than others (think solar panels), and doing your research before your start any project can help you get the most bang for your buck. We’ve outlined a few of the best options that you might want to consider when determining the ROI of eco-friendly homes:

1. Tankless water heater

One of the easiest and least expensive upgrades you can make to take your home in an eco-friendly direction is buying a new water heater, especially if it hasn’t been changed in the last decade. Water heating is responsible for 16% of a typical home’s energy costs and swapping out an old, inefficient water heater, for a tankless version could cost a couple thousand dollars, and will save you money every month. It will also be an attractive selling point for your home.

2. Upgraded windows

If your home has drafty windows, they are the next feature that you want to turn to for an energy-efficient upgrade. The cost of windows will depend on the size of your home and the quality that you go for, but there is no doubt that this is likely worth your investment.

The Department of Energy says heat gain and loss through older windows is responsible for 25 to 30% of energy usage for heating and cooling. According to Consumer Reports, Energy Star-certified windows can lower your home’s energy bills by up to 15%, and that translates to attractive savings for a potential buyer.

3. Solar panels

Solar panels can save you money, but not right away, so they may not have the best ROI if you are planning to sell soon. That’s because installing solar panels have major upfront costs. The good news is that homes with solar energy systems typically garner higher selling prices than homes with other types of systems.

One study found that homebuyers were willing to pay a premium of $15,000, and, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, homes that feature solar panels may also sell faster than homes that derive their energy from fossil fuels.

However, determining the ROI of installing solar is complicated. According to Energy Informative, a five-kilowatt system — the average size of a system in the United States — can cost around $20,000. But the exact size of the system you’ll need will depend on how big your home is and how much power it uses.

Another consideration is your home’s location, as there may be state rebates (such as in California, Arizona, and Colorado), in addition to federal tax credits. Evaluate the number of years that you intend to stay in your home, and compare the average monthly savings of using solar with how much of the system you’ll have paid off by your projected moving day.

With one or more of these strategies in mind, you will be well on your way to greening your home to make it more attractive to potential buyers.

These Telltale Signs Will Show Buyers Just How Old Your House Is!

Although we absolutely love our homes, there will be a day where we have to pack our belongings and find a new place to hang our hats. Homeowners who have older homes may experience a bit more of a challenge getting that “sold” sign because buyers aren’t too keen on buying a house that looks like it’s from the 70s and can become a money pit sooner than later.

Below is the list of common signs that will show prospective home buyers just how old your house is so if you have an older home, here are a few updated design tips for getting your home ready to sell:

1. Old appliances

One of the biggest tips from top agents we’ve come across is to update your appliances! Buyers do not want outdated appliances and that includes any appliances that aren’t stainless steel. Buyers love the look of the sleek metal and it just gives the kitchen a modern appeal.

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2. Loud paint and/or wallpaper

Paint colors and wallpaper is a personal choice, but if you’re going to sell, you will appeal to a much broader base if you’re giving them a neutral base. Neutral colors will allow the buyers to envision their belongings in the home, rather than being put off because their traditional dining set would look odd in a deep purple dining room.

3. Brass hardware

When you walk into a home, you can tell it’s age by the color of the fixtures. Shiny brass or silver hardware and door knobs are fine and well, but polished nickel, matte black, and oil rubbed bronze are best.

4. Old windows

Older windows not only date the home, but they are also a drain on energy! Buyers want windows that are energy efficienttriple-pane glass windows are preferable as they are the most energy efficient, but they can be costly, ranging between $500 to $1,085 per window.

5. Popcorn ceilings

Whoever thought popcorn ceilings were a cool feature to have in a house must have been really into texture. Smooth ceilings are much more preferable simply because they look cleaner. If you have popcorn ceilings, you can remove it fairly easily, except it will be a big mess. Fortunately, you can hire a contractor to do the work and cleanup!

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6. Tile or laminate countertops

When you bought your home, you probably didn’t mind tile or laminate countertops, but buyers aren’t going to be so charmed. Instead, buyers prefer granite, marble, concrete or custom epoxy countertops.

7. Wood paneling

Wood paneling was popular in the 70s and it makes your home look dark, old, and severely dated. You can remove the paneling, install drywall, and slap on a fresh coat of paint and you’d be amazed by how much more welcoming your home will feel!

8. Carpet in the bathroom

Water and carpeting are mortal enemies and carpeting has absolutely no place in the bathroom. Buyers know this and will avoid houses with this feature, unless they were already planning on renovating the bathroom. If you don’t want to keep your fingers crossed you’ll have a buyer who’s going to renovate, you can roll up your sleeves (or hire a contractor) to rip up the carpet and lay down new flooring, such as tile, vinyl flooring, or wood.

bathroom-carpet

It can be hard to go through your house and see the areas where buyers may not appreciate. You may have loved the countertops you installed 10 years ago, or your ivory washer and dryer have never let you down… But buyers want homes that are updated, modern, and have as little fixing up to do as possible. If you do even a few of these changes and you may see the start to offers roll in.

Eco-friendly Upgrades to Make Your Home Attractive to Buyers

If you are looking to sell your home or are just thinking about doing some upgrades to make it more attractive when you do finally sell it, studies show that making your property more eco-friendly will make it more attractive to potential buyers. If you want to get specific, there are some eco-friendly upgrades that not only help the environment by reducing the home’s energy consumption, but at the same time provide a return on the investment of more than 100%. This is not just an empty promise as every year sees an increase in home construction that includes the latest in environmentally friendly technology.

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It is no secret that technology is helping every industry develop at supersonic speeds. With the continued threat that rapid urban development brings to the environment. it only makes sense to use new technology to create better construction methods that are less harmful to the environment and more affordable to the homeowner. Jump on the go green opportunities available today and commit to making a better tomorrow.

Be Both Ambitious and Realistic

As you might expect, some eco-friendly upgrades are going to cost more than others. Want to add solar panels on top of the roof? First you have to check with your HOA, if you have one. Then you need to check the financials of the project. The upfront cost will vary from one installer to the next, and the rebates and incentives that encourage you to change in the first place will also vary depending on your home state.

If installing solar panels on your roof is not in your budget, there are plenty of other options to choose from. Everything from changing your insulation to never buying bottled water can have an impact. Changing the number of days you water your lawn or the amount of time for each sprinkler. Try reducing the amount of time you spend in the shower by just a few minutes each day.

All of these savings can add up and help reduce your carbon footprint over time and not only do you not spend money, but you can save money when it comes to your utility bills.

Don’t Forget Tax Season

Using your home as a tax write-off is so obvious it’s a huge reason many people buy homes in the first place. The important thing to remember is that you aren’t the only one who has a vested interest in making your home eco-friendly. The IRS has entered the discussion and extends tax credits based on different upgrades made to the home for environmentally friendly purposes. And since employing a special tax attorney may not be in your budget, there are other feasible ways to examine your financial situation as it impacts your taxes, and whether or not there are any discrepancies that need to be taken care of.

Once you have your overall financial situation looking a little clearer, don’t just be content with the usual write-offs consisting of interest payments and the like; consider all of your options and make a home upgrade that pays for itself. The point is, being proactive and taking the initiative to make your home more eco-friendly is not only affordable, it is also rewarding.

How Modern Technology is Transforming Urban Development?

Australia is famous the whole world over for its incredible scenery and stunning countryside, from the arid yet beautiful outback to the shimmering sands of the Gold Coast, but the country is also home to some of the world’s favourite cities. Australia’s population is growing, and so urban development and planning is becoming ever more important. The way we plan, design and build our urban centres has changed rapidly over the last decades thanks to evolving needs, environmental concerns and rapidly advancing technology.

It is this combination that is helping Australian towns and cities lead the way when it comes to urban generation and regeneration.

More Accurate Surveying

Thorough surveying is the key to successful development, and it was once a laborious and time-consuming process, and therefore by necessity, an expensive one too. One modern invention has transformed this task completely, as the most forward thinking planners now utilise unmanned aerial surveying techniques.

Using the latest high-powered drones, planners and developers can now get a much more accurate and holistic picture of the land that they plan to build on. The highly detailed maps produced from the air allow clients to make more informed decisions quicker than they would otherwise have been able to, thus helping to ensure that projects come in on time and on budget.

Greener Developments

Many Australians are becoming increasingly concerned about the effect that mankind is having upon the environment, and the effects of climate change can be seen across this nation and beyond. That’s why surveyors and designers have to be very careful when planning urban developments, as it’s imperative that expanding urban centres don’t adversely impact upon our ecology or the incredible animal life that also calls Australia its home.

Today’s leading urban surveying companies put green issues at the heart of the work, using the latest computer modelling techniques to thoroughly assess the impact of an urban development upon the environment surrounding it; in this way, it’s possible to maintain the equilibrium between the need to develop new urban spaces and the need to protect our ecosystems.

Bringing Greater Benefits to Urban Dwellers

There are many factors to be considered when planning an urban development, as well as the green concerns mentioned above. It’s essential for planners to be able to make accurate assessments of what benefits their development will bring to the people who live within it and upon its neighbourhood, and this involves careful study of a wide range of metrics and projections.

The highly detailed maps produced from the air allow clients to make more informed decisions quicker

Whilst this remains a specialist and highly important job, the appearance of specialist computer programmes now allow planners to make an economic and demographic assessment that’s more accurate than ever before.

Expert urban planners know how essential it is to use all of the technological innovations now available to them, from unmanned aerial surveying, to high tech demographic assessment tools and greener planning software. This is why new urban developments bring benefits for residents and businesses, and for the economy as a whole, while still protecting the rural areas and environment that make Australia the envy of the world.

How’d the Housing Marking in College Towns Fare Post-COVID?

Distance learning and COVID-19. This combination is every parent’s worst nightmare. It creates the perfect storm of stress, madness, and desperation. But, parents are making the best out of a terrible situation because education can’t be put on hold due to a global pandemic.

The real question is what if you have kids in college? The question many people have is regarding COVID-19’s impact on college towns.

HomeLight’s Q3 survey reveals that the coronavirus has left college towns in a tough spot. Local businesses such as bars and restaurants rely heavily on college students to keep business afloat. However, 2020’s fall semester has proven to be more detrimental than some would expect.

housing-college-towns

University towns become ghost towns

Many colleges and universities have shifted from in-person learning to distance learning and sent their students home. The result of the mass exodus has rendered many of these towns a proverbial ghost town.

According to insights from top agents who participated in HomeLight’s Q3 2020 survey, this student housing market in these cities are predicted to increase from 5.2% during the 2019 fall semester to 7.4% in 2020’s fall semester. Unit vacancies have increased by 1% during that time and because of this, property owners will have no choice but to lower their rental fees just to get people through the door.

Some towns are unaffected

Although some major universities said they were discontinuing in-person learning in favor of remote learning, there are universities who are keeping in-person classes. In these towns, landlords are likely to see an influx of rental applications if/when on-campus housing closes.

Real estate investing is on shaky ground

For real estate investors, buying rental properties in college towns seems like a gold mine – especially if the rent is going to be cheaper than an out-of-state student paying for room and board on campus. For example, the average monthly rent for Ann Arbor, Michigan is about $1,600 and room and board at University of Michigan is $11,996.

Now, room and board at the university may be cheaper, but when you factor in other living expenses, it could add up quickly. However, if four students rent a 4-bedroom apartment that costs $3,300 per month… Each student would pay $825 per month or $9,900 per year, which is quite a bit cheaper, especially when you factor in that the students aren’t staying on campus the entire year.

Inventory fluctuates

Thirty percent of real estate agents that participated in the survey state the rental vacancies in their area have either stayed the same or are starting to decline. Even though the housing market in a particular area may differ from others, 81% of agents said their inventory is at an all time low, despite the fact that many landlords are selling their rentals.

The truth of the matter is this, COVID-19 has affected almost every aspect of our lives and the housing market in university towns remains on shaky ground. As more students and faculty contract the virus, universities are closing their doors and students are going home. Even students who live off campus are leaving the area and are going back home to save money.

Local businesses in university towns are suffering due to a lack of patronage. Unless schools open back up in a safe manner, who knows what the 2020 Spring semester will fare. Will students return to university? Will real estate investors start investing again? Will the economy pick back up?

There are just so many questions that cannot be answered right now. But, we’re keeping our fingers crossed and are hoping for the best.

What Does A Good Property Management Company Do?

Are you a landlord or a real estate investor? One of the biggest decisions you will ever have to make is whether to use a property management company to maintain and oversee the daily operations of your property. Compared to landlords who prefer the do-it-yourself approach of management in order to save money, working with property management companies increases your chances of growing your properties bottom line and enhancing your rental portfolio.

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But what does a good property management company do? Here is a list of essential services you can expect from a good property management company.

1. Effective Collection of Rent from Tenants

If you own many rental units, you understand how cumbersome it can get when trying to collect rent from every tenant all by yourself. This is why you should use a reputable property management company. A good property manager will ensure that all your tenants pay their leases in full and at the right time.

If you have limited time and you want to focus most of your efforts on growing your business, hiring a property manager who is fully committed to the day to day running of your property will be a great investment.

2. Regular Property Maintenance

Dealing with frequent calls from tenants is probably the biggest reason why landlords enlist the help of a management company. Sometimes the tenant’s needs are not very big but the timing and the urgency are. You may receive a call in the middle of the night from a distressed tenant who has misplaced their keys and can’t get in.

Failure to address these issues can result in serious problems with your tenants in the future. Having a good property manager who responds urgently to all property issues will not only ease your burden but also ensure that all your rental properties are optimized.

A good property manager will also inspect the property regularly and make sure that all routine maintenance such as lawn care, plumbing issues, drywall patching, pressure washing, and all other services that tenants may need are handled at the right time.

3. Sourcing of Tenants

It is one thing to get tenants for your rental property, it’s another thing to get the right tenants. A good property management company will ensure that proper screening of prospective tenants is done so that you don’t end up with tenants who are bankrupt or have fully maxed their credit cards and will have problems paying rent every month.

A good property manager will also take time to call previous landlords and also look into the tenant’s criminal history. The last thing you need is a tenant who puts you or the entire neighborhood at risk.

4. Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is a vital part of property management. Proper bookkeeping ensures that taxes are kept at a minimum, and the cash keeps flowing. A good property manager will ensure that your books are kept properly but if they don’t offer bookkeeping services, they can advise you on where you can outsource a good bookkeeper who will add value to your business.

5. Effective Handling of Defaulters

Sometimes tenants get caught up in serious issues such as breaching of leases while others could be involved in criminal issues. While some issues can be sorted directly with the renter’s other issues require lawyers and even going to court. A good property management company can handle these problems for you and save you the time and agony of dealing with such stressful situations.

The Eco Revolution in Property Investment

Many of us are now making more eco-friendly and environmentally conscious decisions every day. Whether it’s taking our own carrier bags to the shops, having a reusable water bottle or recycling your tin cans – little changes are making a big impact. When it comes to property, the eco revolution has increasingly been making waves. From solar panels to energy efficient light bulbs, our properties are becoming better for the planet. These priorities are also affecting property investment, with an increasing number of tenants looking for eco-friendly essentials in their property.

Eco-friendly homes are becoming increasingly popular with a new environmentally conscious generation starting to look for rental properties. Young professionals who are living in the city are less likely to buy a home than ever before, so are looking for a rental property that meets their exacting requirements. With many of them choosing to make environmentally friendly choices, like going plastic free or cutting down on how much meat they eat, accordingly they are looking for eco-friendly homes too.

Environmental impact is increasingly on the agenda of consumers in every aspect of their lives. Many are also willing to pay a premium for eco-friendly purchases. Research has shown that UK consumers would pay an average 10% more if they were buying something they thought had a positive impact on society. Property investors would be wise to bear this in mind when looking for new property investments. In an increasingly competitive rental market, the ability to raise prices because of eco credentials is a lucrative option for investors.

Furthermore, 40% of consumers think that sustainability is important when they are making a purchase. The impact of this can be seen in the growing number of brands and businesses that are making their environmental commitments obvious to consumers. It is clear that savvy property investors can be both environmentally friendly and business smart when looking to purchase new properties.

In another study, 80% of tenants believed that their landlords should be considering the environment more, and suggested measures like double-glazing, insulation and eco-modifications. These simple measures can make a large impact on the appeal of a property to prospective tenants. Increasing energy prices are another concern for occupants. In addition, 55% of renters asked said they would prefer a rental property with a smart meter if it was the same price. Energy efficient measures are both good for tenant’s monthly costs and for the environment so buy to let property investors can be at an advantage if their property offers these.

As of April 2018, buy to let landlords are legally required to have an EPC rating of E or above in their properties. This means that property investors are increasingly looking at new build properties which are already energy efficient and don’t require costly renovations. Tenants can also legally request that a landlord makes property improvements if the EPC rating is F or G.

Developers are increasingly taking sustainability and environmental impact into consideration when building new properties. Properties with energy efficient specifications, like many by RW Invest  are providing investors with lucrative returns and high tenant demand. Recent changes to regulation mean that new build properties need to be energy efficient and this is making a huge impact on the buy to let market.

The trend towards environmentally conscious properties looks set to continue, with eco-friendly qualities high on the agenda of both potential tenants and investors.

Green Home Improvements to Attract Homebuyers

People’s desire to make a smaller footprint on a vulnerable planet affects the real estate market worldwide. In part this is due to the Internet’s power to inform and inspire, and it is partly due to who is buying the most homes. Millennials have made up more than half of homebuyers over the last few years. And millennials, surveys have shown, are willing to pay more for sustainability and the greenest possible living.

They often opt for new construction with the highest eco-friendly standards, but not every buyer will purchase a new home. Some millennials are not ready to make that financial commitment, and some will not be buying in trending locations that have lots of new green construction. So to attract buyers to an existing home, green home improvements can be a big win. Not only will the homeowner be doing the right thing by the planet, but also homes can sell faster and for more.

Although making green changes to an existing home can be complicated and expensive, there are many levels of improvement that vary in cost and difficulty.

What Meets the Eye

Green upgrades the buyer can see in an existing home make a difference. If you are upgrading, you can go more sustainable and energy-efficient in these areas:

  • Non-toxic paint: The volatile organic compounds (VOC) in some paint can damage air quality and lungs. Choose a low-VOC paint to get that fresh, neutral look buyers want.
  • Sustainable flooring: Replace worn-out floors with highly renewable bamboo, with responsibly grown and harvested hardwoods, or with natural linoleum products.
  • A cool roof: Renovate the roof with light-colored materials that reflect heat.
  • Energy-efficient appliances: Update the kitchen with appliances, and even faucets, that run on less energy and/or use less water.
  • Native plants: Refresh the landscape with plants native to the environment, that will need less specialty care products and that will support local ecology.

Energize

Green changes that make a home energy-efficient will attract buyers and also give sellers the ROI of an eco-friendly home. Because they save money, these improvements also make money and bring return on investment.

  • Update to a Smart Thermostat: A programmable thermostat ensures heating and cooling meet your needs without waste.
  • New windows: The U.S. Department of Energy reports that 25-30% of energy costs literally get sucked right out of old windows, where leaks in both directions waste resources and money. New windows also beautify a home.
  • Weather protection: If new windows are not an option, caulking and weather-stripping are also efficient.
  • Tankless water heater: Upgrade an old water heater that needs to go anyway with a tankless one, that heats water as needed. Why waste energy heating gallons of water all the time?
  • Recycled water: Systems for catching rainwater, or holding water from sinks and tubs (greywater) can save waste and money. This water can flush toilets and water gardens, among other uses.
  • Renewable energy sources: Depending on the climate, solar panels and/or wind turbines can provide energy in place of using other, non-renewing resources.

Before making green improvements, research is the seller’s best tool. Understand the options, costs, and benefits. An experienced real estate agent can advise on what green improvements are most wanted and bring the best ROI in the local market. Also make sure the home is appraised by someone experienced with green features, to make sure their real value is represented in the appraisal.

Sustainable Waste Management in the Construction Industry

Construction is booming worldwide driven by population growth, urbanization and increased need for dwellings, business sites and commercial spaces with volume output expected to grow by 85% to $15.5 trillion by 2030. Unfortunately, it also means that there is a serious challenge to implement sustainable waste management in the construction industry.

It is not only the duty of waste management contractors and companies to ensure sustainable collection and management of construction wastes responsibly but also individuals who are doing their own DIY projects at home. Without a concerted effort to collect, recycle and dispose waste properly, there is real danger to the environment that will eventually spill over to people, vegetation, and wildlife.

Role of education and behavior change

On a global scale, over half of the world’s population have no access to a steady collection of trash. Illegal dumpsites hold over 40% of the world’s waste. It’s not only the lack of facilities but also inadequate information that is contributing to waste-related pollution all over the world.

Sustainable waste collection begins by educating people about reducing, reusing and recycling efforts or the 3R approach. From education and information campaigns to changes in behavior and attitudes, when people know and are aware of the benefits of reducing, segregating, collection, reusing and recycling, they become a collective and conscious effort.

Right materials and equipment

The availability of bins, collection containers, and recycling centers also has a great influence on how much a person and their communities recycle and reuse or dispose of construction waste properly. For people who are able to hire a 20 yard dumpster in West Chester, Lancaster, Norrington, Reading or any other town in the world, it is easier and convenient to remove construction and renovation waste knowing that the company will dispose of it properly by bringing it to approved landfills.

What is also important is for clients, contractors and recycling specialists to put their heads together to minimize construction waste according to Oyenuga and Bhamidimarri.

General awareness to reduce dumping is increasing as about 35% of construction and demolition waste (CDW) goes to landfills. Construction rubbish can contain lots of toxic materials such as lead, asbestos, and other dangerous substances that can find their way into the soil, groundwater, and the air that we breathe.

The construction industry has also recognized that reusing components and materials in making or erecting structures is sustainable and saves money. Most of the parts of construction consist of wood, sticks, steel, and concrete. Rubble can be compacted and reused. Demolition is carefully considered if renovation can be carried out.

The Way Forward

Waste generated from construction sites need not be a nuisance to the environment. With the right education to increase awareness to reduce/recycle/reuse, provision of collection and recycling points and the newer and better techniques to reuse construction materials, sustainable management of construction waste can become a reality.