A Greener Future: Eco-Friendly Real Estate

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From construction to design features, the future of real estate is pointing in the direction of increased sustainability and eco-friendly features. What was once viewed as perhaps trends in home building and design are now clearly here to stay.  What was once a niche is now the norm, and according to a survey by Nielsen, 81% of global consumers believe it’s important for companies to include environmental improvements as one of their primary objectives.  Specifically, how does the push for increased sustainability translate to real estate?

What Do Homebuyers Want?

According to the National Association of Homebuilders, there are certain sustainable features homebuyers are willing to pay more for. These include energy-efficient appliances and windows, as well as features that will improve their home’s air quality.  As younger people enter the homebuyer market in greater numbers, the National Association of Homebuilders predicts there will be more demand for green features and built-in sustainability. Other preferred features are higher insulation than is required by code, efficient lighting using bulbs that require less energy, and the use of low volatile organic compound materials. For homebuyers, it’s often about not only green features that help them reduce their carbon footprint, but also lower their costs. 

Paying a Premium for Sustainability 

Almost half of homebuyers, according to the NAHB, said they would be willing to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $9,999 more to save $1,000 yearly on their utility bills.  74% of homebuyers said they would rather pay for longer-lasting features and finishes that cost more as opposed to cheap materials that are less sustainable and need to be replaced more often. For example, this includes the use of locally sourced materials, which is growing in popularity and helps reduce the pollutants of transporting materials for construction. 

Real Estate Investors

Real estate investors are similarly looking for green and eco-conscious features when they’re buying or upgrading properties because their target demographic will often be millennials and the even younger and possibly more environmentally-conscious Generation Z.  Investors might consider upgrading properties with the use of energy-efficient appliances and HVAC systems, moving to energy-efficient LED lighting and using eco-friendly paints that don’t have VOC emissions.  For forward-thinking real estate investing the first places they look as they’re making updates to a property are often related to sustainability. 

Community Features

Along with homes themselves, in neighborhoods and the surrounding communities, people are seeking out a greener overall lifestyle. For example, some neighborhood developers are offering things such as community gardens.  Renters and homebuyers might find low-maintenance and low-water landscaping and walkability. Bike-sharing and on-site recycling can also prove appealing to renters and buyers alike.  More than likely, the real estate community will continue to lead the charge when it comes to sustainability issues. The industry is often ahead of governmental policies in terms of social responsibility and working to meet the needs and interests of consumers. Builders and real estate professionals who emphasize sustainability may find there’s a business advantage that allows them to stand out among others in the industry also.  If you are looking for a top-selling Realtor® to help you with buying or selling, contact EffectiveAgents.com.   Photo Credit: pexels-alex-qian-2343470

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