How to Find Off-Grid Land To Build Your Home

A recent Forbes report states that nearly one-third of Americans are considering moving to less populated areas, in wake of the pandemic. Besides safety, off-grid living offers the chance to become more self-sufficient and less reliant on others. Off-grid living can mean a less stressful, healthier lifestyle.

If you are comfortable with doing things with your own hands and enjoy privacy and quiet, off-grid living in the State of Texas, or another state, may be an ideal lifestyle. But how can you find an appropriate property? Here are some things to consider, before we discuss finding the ideal location.

How to Find Off-Grid Land To Build Your Home

Proximity to Civilization

Ideally, you want to be away from the hustle and bustle, but realistically, you want to be close enough in case of an emergency. There are some good reasons for this. At some point, you will likely need to utilize a hospital. Some communities offer emergency flights to metropolitan hospitals. At any rate, you shouldn’t be terribly far from medical care.

Even though you may grow a vegetable garden and hunt, you will still probably want to have a grocery store less than an hour away. From buying gas to propane, from hardware stores to pharmacies, there are things you will need. According to professional Texas brokers, a property with too long of a drive will be impractical. Look for a property near a town that offers amenities.

Look for land with a water source

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of having a water source on your property. This may be a pond, a spring, a creek or river, or a well. Hauling water is impractical and difficult. You may be able to install storage tanks, but then you are still reliant upon finding a water hauler.

Drilling a well is not inexpensive, so unless you know others in the area have had success with drilling, this is not a good solution. Even if there is a creek, laws may regulate how much you can draw. This is vitally important to check on.

Check the Road Conditions

Has a road been bulldozed to the property you are considering? Is it paved, or does it have gravel? Could a fire engine get in and back out? Can a propane truck deliver propane? If you are going to have snow and heavy rain, having a good road is extremely important.

You may be planning to build your own, but remember, it’s an expensive proposition. If the above hasn’t scared you off, then you can begin the process of looking. When looking at various states, remember to check to see if off-grid living is allowed in that state or county.

Places to Look

Craiglist offers some intriguing deals, but it’s buyer beware. If you are considering a Craigslist purchase, our advice is to thoroughly do your homework. It is a site known to attract scammers. Never buy anything without seeing it and confirming the ownership records with the County. Traditional real estate firms offer a safe, and legal, method to search our properties. You have the advantage of employing someone to do the legwork. However, you will also pay for that privilege, in the form of a real estate commission.

Ebay, surprisingly, has some interesting, legitimate real estate offerings. Again, it’s recommended  that you actually go to the property and do your homework. People can take great photos, but reality can be something quite different. Auctions are another good source of inexpensive land, but you need to research the parcel prior to putting in an offer. Remember our advice: water, roads, proximity to towns. You will also need to be prepared to pay for the land, right away, at an auction. There may be a small grace period but cash is king.

sustainable forestry

Meanwhile, off-grid publications often contain advertisements for off-grid properties. As these are folks who understand the lifestyle, these ads can be intriguing. Social media often has “groups” or people to “follow” who are living off-grid life. This is a good opportunity to join and read about the lifestyle and see what properties are for sale.

Off-grid living has its challenges, but the rewards more than outweigh them. Make sure you do your homework before purchasing and keep in mind the above recommendations for success.

6 Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home

When it comes to increasing the value of your home, you have to keep a couple of things in mind. It is important to make changes to your home that you will love, but will also keep your home’s resale value high. Plan out the renovations you want to make and create a budget that works for you. Invest in additions you can enjoy but will also increase your home’s value in return. Even if you aren’t thinking about selling any time soon, this is something you should remember when renovating your home.

By making changes like repainting, building a deck, renovating your kitchen, or making your home more energy-efficient, you can increase the value of your home with ease.

Keep everything budget-friendly, making investments in your home that are worthwhile. Make changes that you will love, but will increase the value of your home too. This will come in handy if you ever decide to put your house on the market in the future.

If you’ve been looking for different ways to increase the value of your home, these ideas can inspire you and help you begin transforming your home into an appealing, innovative, and valuable space.

ways to increase the value of your home

1. Paint

If you are looking for an easy, do-it-yourself project that will increase the value of your home, get ready to bring out the paint and rollers.

By adding a fresh coat of paint, changing up the entire color scheme of your home, or bringing interest to a room with an accent wall, you can completely update the interior of your home. Not only will this bring a refresh to your space, but it will increase the value of your home instantly.

If you enjoy the current colors in your home, go for a quick coat of the same color to prevent the walls from looking dull. But, if you’re wanting to switch things up, consider going with an entirely new color scheme. This can completely transform the interior of your home, elevating the style you create in this space. You could even add an accent wall in your home, adding a point of eye-catching interest to any room.

The options are endless, but whatever you decide to do with the paint in your home will be sure to increase its value.

how to increase the value of your home

2. Focus on the Kitchen

One of the most valuable spaces in your home is the kitchen. This is a major selling point for most, making it important to keep this space modern and up-to-date.

Not only will you be able to enjoy the benefits of having a sleek, stylish, and functional kitchen, but making investments in this space will benefit you in the future if you did decide to sell your home.

You can start with simple, budget-friendly renovations like repainting, adding a backsplash, changing the color of the cabinets, or adding new hardware to your cabinetry. But you could also make bigger changes like changing out the flooring, adding an entirely new countertop, or replacing outdated appliances. There is so much you can do in a kitchen to make it stand out, so look for inspiration from modern design while bringing in your own style too.

stainless-steel-kitchen

3. Build a Deck or Patio

Another way to increase the value of your home is to simply build a deck or patio, making this a major selling point for your home. Having an outdoor space like that will instantly increase your home’s value, giving you a space you can enjoy with friends and family year-round.

If you love grilling out, hosting parties, or gathering around a fire pit – a deck or patio space might be the perfect addition to your home! Not only will this give you the perfect space to relax outdoors or entertain, but it will increase the value of your home.

Choose the color or stain that you want the wood, making sure that it matches the exterior of your home, then you can get to building the deck or patio of your dreams. This will bring aesthetics and character to your backyard, adding value instantly.

This is a space you can enjoy for years to come, but if you ever decide it’s time to sell, the deck or patio will be a major selling point to any future homeowner.

4. Replace Garage Heaters

It is becoming more and more common for homeowners to turn their garage into a functional space, for working out or extra hobbies. But, one thing that makes this space hard to work in is when it gets cold in the winter months. This usually means investing time and money into finding the perfect garage heater, and while they usually have many benefits, there are always disadvantages you have to be conscious of.

To keep your garage space warm, hazard-free, and safe to use year-round, you may want to consider using an alternative heating source to keep your garage warm this winter.

While it is most common to see electric fireplace inserts installed in homes, there is no reason you couldn’t keep one in your garage, for a safer way to heat this space and utilize it all year long. Electric fireplaces are not only hazard-free with no risk of gas emissions or fumes, but they are energy-efficient, they heat more effectively, and they’re easy to operate, making this the perfect way to keep your garage warm.

If your family’s safety is a priority along with the longevity of your home, put an electric fireplace to use instead of a garage heater. You’ll be more than happy you made the switch, especially when considering how much safer and hazard-free this alternative is.

5. Lower Your Home’s Energy Costs

An innovative way to increase the value of your home is to make it more energy-efficient and green, lowering your home’s energy costs in turn.

Some easy ways to do this are to utilize high-efficiency windows, install LED lights, or exchange your current appliances for a more green alternative. These changes will not only increase the value of your home, but they will help cut your typically high energy bill as a result. This will benefit you while you are living there, but it will also be a plus for new homeowners if you ever decide to sell.

 

You could even invest in solar panels if this is something you have been wanting to do. While this is more of an investment than the other alternatives listed, since you won’t see a financial kickback immediately. But, if you plan to stay in your home for a while then solar panels will be worth it in the end.

solar-powered-home

This will increase the value of your home, keep your home energy-efficient, lower your bills, and help with resale value in the future too!

6. Add Curb Appeal

Another easy way to add value to your home is to work on your landscaping and add curb appeal to the exterior of your home. Not only will this make your home more beautiful, but it will increase your home’s value too.

By re-doing your current landscaping or installing something entirely new, you can transform your front lawn into an aesthetic and appealing place. This will grab the attention of neighbors and passersby alike, making your home an interesting and eye-catching place.

curb appeal of home

With the simple addition of flowers, bushes, trees, and greenery, your home will be elevated and its value will increase instantly. This will give you an outdoor space you can love and cherish while using this appeal to your advantage if you ever make the choice to sell.

Increasing the Value of Your Home with Ease

If you’ve been looking for ways to increase the value of your home, now is the time to take some inspiration and get started on new renovations. Plan out projects that will make you fall in love with your home while adding value at the same time. Remember to keep your budget in mind too, making sure every investment you make will be worth it.

Even if you aren’t ready to sell, there is still plenty you can do to your home to increase its value and update its style, making it a more innovative and appealing space. By repainting, updating the kitchen, adding curb appeal, or lowering your home’s energy costs, you will begin to see an increase in your home’s overall value.

To update your home, making it more functional and appealing, use these ideas to increase your home value and love the space you’re in even more.

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 eco-friendly priorities are also affecting property investment, with an increasing number of tenants looking for eco-friendly properties.

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 home 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 eco-friendly home improvements, research is the seller’s best tool. Understand the options, costs, and benefits. An experienced real estate agent can advise on what green home 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.

Collaboration of Green and Technology: Hobbit Hole, Yggdrasill, Veldt Can Become Real

For many centuries, architects have continued to amaze the world as they continue to design more complex buildings thanks to fast advancing technological development. Architecture and nature have been closely related to building design reflecting a certain part of nature or being inspired by nature.

Recently, biotechnology architecture has begun taking root with structures that intertwine with nature being designed and thereby creating harmony and favoring natural equilibrium. What has for many years be seen as stories only achievable in fantasy and sci-fi books is now a reality.

Nature contributes a lot to building materials

From traditional homes, complex modern squares to places to spend holidays, you will find natural material in every square inch of any building. Cement is mined from limestone, metal ore is processed to produce metal, trees are cut for wood, and so on.

green home on a mountain slope

Without natural material, it would be impossible to build any lasting structures. One thing will always remain as truth and it is the fact that all houses are built in collaboration with nature.

From books to reality

The Hobbit was written in 1937 by J.R.R Tolkein. The fantasy novel was awarded by New York Tribune as the best novel for children. Hobbits lived in houses that looked like holes in the mountains. The fantasy book inspired the writing of Lord of the Rings, followed by Hobbit movies, cartoon characters, and games.

Architecture lovers inspired by the fantasy novel have to date put some greatly striking house projects around the world. Some of the projects are Woodland Home – West Wales, Hobbit Hotels – New Zealand, and the Dune House, USA.

Another important novel is Hyperion, a Novel by Dan Simmons, published in 1989. He describes a creature named Shrike that is worshipped by some, some want to destroy it and some fear it. Yggdrasill, which connects the seven worlds, inspired some architects to designed Yggdrasill homes, bringing them to reality.

The Veldt by Ray Bradbury has a lot of lessons that college students can learn and turn into practical lessons. The themes presented in The Veldt college essay samples on EduZaurus provide an even greater way to better learn the lessons contained in this book.

There many more books and essay examples that contain lessons about the future and students can study them and write wonderful essays. Even after referring to the essay examples and books, a student can seek help from a writing service if they want more quality work.

Importance of biotechnology architecture

For many years. Biotechnology has been applied to improve plant species for better production. The technology later advanced to include animal species where cross-breeding was first adopted before technology advanced to the use of genetics.

Today, biotechnology is used to develop better products, fight diseases, reduce harm to the environment, produce cleaner energy and promote safer manufacturing processes. Biotechnology architecture relies on information instead of form. Its recommendations are not based on the structure of a building but its behavior.

Living homes

Using biotechnology in architecture, bio architects envision future homes as homes that are alive. When biology and engineering are brought together, building structures that are part of nature can become a reality. Recent technology has discovered mycelium, a fungus that can grow fast and create material with important structural performance.

use of biotech in architecture

Veldt – a good example of a jungle room

In his book titled The Veldt, Ray Bradbury describes a scenario where some children created a fully automated house. They are living a leisure life and then Peter and Wendy create a nursery, which is a virtual reality room. Interestingly, the room can create any environment-friendly living for the children to live in. The house performs all chores like cooking, laundry, brushing their teeth. Soon, the parents and children realize the nursery is too real.

The sci-fi book is currently 70 years old but its stories continue to live. The fictional stories of a happy life home are today’s real stories. Inspired by the Veldt story, Krista Kim created the first NFT digital house and offered it for sale. Although it’s virtual, the house opened a new door for green homes realty. More real green homes are the Hobbit Holes in New Zealand that have been turned into hotels.

Advantages to future generations

A green home will save future generations from pollution, environmental destruction, and unhealthy lives. Green homes will be able to produce their own energy to power them, heal themselves and provide a healthy environment to live in.

In his book, Ray Bradbury envisioned a future generation that would create a living corner of wildlife in the house. Back in his time in this book, Ray Bradbury raised the question that against the background of developing technologies, a person should be closer to nature and not live in a “concrete jungle” and that a person will try to be closer to nature.

Therefore, the topic of biotechnology will always be relevant. Even when a person colonizes distant planets and flies off the earth in a spaceship, he will still need nature to survive and maintain inner harmony.

Conclusion

Bioscientists and architects look forward to future green cities whose reality must start today. The once fantasy and sci-fi books have today inspired technology-driven green buildings. The hobbit holes hotels in New Zealand are real testimony that it is possible to bring the future to today and build green homes around the world. It calls for commitment from architects, bioscientists, and governments to bring this vision to reality.

Considerations When Buying a Vacation Rental with Solar Panels

It’s possible that one of the properties you’re considering for purchase as a vacation rental will have solar panels already installed. This can be a positive marketing point for your property in today’s increasingly environmentally conscious world.

Installed correctly, solar panels can be aesthetically pleasing. Their presence is also one of the first things people will notice about a property. So, when you get to the stage of when you’re ready to start the financing process of investing in a particular vacation rental property with solar panels, here are a couple of things you’ll need to consider as a part of your vetting process.

vacation rental with solar system

How Were They Financed?

Your first consideration will be how the panels were financed. The easiest scenario is when the owner of the property financed the panels themselves. Solar panels can add a lot of value to the property. Although the value of the panels decreases with the age of the installation, newly installed panels can add up to nearly $30,000 of value to a home.

If possible, see if you can get an idea of what the previous owner’s utilities ran prior to installation of the panels, and after. This will give you concrete information about how much the panels are saving on the electric bills.

What is the Size of the System?

You’ll also want to have an inspector give you an idea of the size of the solar system. If the previous tenants worked from home and had several family members, the installation is probably more than adequate for a vacation rental property. A smaller system for one or two people might need enhancements. Lower utility bills will allow you to charge less for your property.

What if the Panels were Leased?

Sometimes the property owner doesn’t have the money upfront to pay for the panels, so they finance them by leasing. This situation is not necessarily something that should cause you to automatically pass on the property. It’s important to find out the age of the lease. It’s possible the finance period is almost over. In this case, the cost of taking over the lease will be minimal.

There are a couple of points open for negotiation here. You can work with the finance company to see if you can reduce the amount remaining on the lease. Or you could have the remaining amount on the lease included in the selling price. The cost of solar panels is expected to go down by as much as a third by 2024, so the amounts under consideration can be expected to be less as time goes on.

Have the Panels Inspected

As in any potential property purchase, having the panels inspected prior to signing on the dotted line is mandatory. You’ll want to get an overhead inspection of the panels, which can be done by drone. Make sure the drone has a thermal camera to check for an initial check for defects.

You’ll want to perform the solar panel inspection on a sunny day. This way any defects, such as hot spots, will be more easily detected. The optimum time for such inspections is in the morning or late afternoon, to reduce glare off of the panels. If the sun is directly overhead, you may get too much glare off them and the inspection won’t be able to show you anything.

If possible, do a second drone inspection with an RGB (visible light)  camera. This inspection will turn up the presence of debris on the panels. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It can simply mean that the panels are due for a cleaning, something that hopefully has been a part of the regular maintenance of the panels.

Is There Enough Sunlight?

Another aspect of existing solar panels to consider is whether there is adequate sunlight to support them. If the panels were installed in an area shaded by trees, you not only may not be getting the full benefits of them but may have more cleaning costs associated with them.

If they are shaded because of geographical features on the property, you also may not get the full benefit of the panels.

Previously installed solar panels are not necessarily a negative when considering investing in that property as a vacation rental. They can be a great marketing point for your property as well as aesthetically pleasing. Just be sure to look into how they were financed, and get them inspected for general condition. This will ensure the panels are in good working order prior to you taking over the property.

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.

stainless-steel-kitchen

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!

popcorn-ceiling-old-house

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.

green-middle-east

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.