11 Ways To Green Your Home Sale and Purchase in Northern Virginia
1. Utility Records
Selling: Ask your utility company to provide you with the last 24 months of utility records. You can mark out the account number and provide the report as part of the information booklet at your listing. This will help potential buyers understand the monthly costs involved in owning this particular home. Without this information, buyers may over-estimate the monthly utility costs.
Buying: Ask your agent to request the last 24 months of utility records from the sellers. Remember to take into consideration that homeowners have varying degrees to which they use energy. Sometimes they can be provided in electronic format. There are free tools available to track your utility records such as www.earthaid.net, which integrates with your utility companies to automatically pull usage data.
2. EcoBroker or NAR Green Designation
Selling: You may want to seek a Realtor that can provide you with suggestions for how to prepare your home for sale in a way that will attract buyers conscious of saving money on utility bills, indoor air quality, improved comfort and environmental impact.
Buying: EcoBrokers and NAR Green Designees are trained on energy efficiency and cost savings of proper insulation, windows, appliances, heating and cooling systems and other home features that affect your comfort and your energy bills. Their network of green professionals can help you improve environmental aspects of a home including indoor air quality and ventilation.
3. Public Transportation
Selling: Provide a list and possibly a map of the local public transportation options for the home you are selling. This is one way of adding value to your home without having to spend a single penny.
Buying: Ask your Realtor to help you find the local public transportation options. Below are a few good places to start. Alexandria - www.dashbus.com Arlington - www.commuterpage.com/art Fairfax - www.fairfaxva.gov Falls Church City - www.fallschurchva.gov Washington Metropolitan Area - www.wmata.com
4. Walk Score
Selling: Show potential buyers how walkable the area is where you home is located. You can input your address at www.walkscore.com and print out the results to leave behind for buyers. Or, save paper and include a link to your walk score in all of your web marketing.
Buying: When comparing homes it is helpful to input the address into www.walkscore.com and find out how walkable the communities are. You will also learn about local shopping options, parks, schools and workplaces.
5. Photos or Video Tour
Selling: We highly recommend providing an abundance of visual aids to go along with your listing. When evaluating listings agents for your home, ask about their plan to provide photos and/or video tours of your property. It will help your home stand out and is more likely to be considered by potential buyers.
6. Home Energy Audit & Green Living Consultation
Selling: If you have a home that is energy efficient and/or has features that improve the air quality, this may be a good way to showcase your investment. Home buyers are becoming more and more savvy when it comes to understanding the benefits of a home with green features so why not provide them with a third-party evaluation to back-up your claims.
Buying: A home energy audit will help you discover the areas of the home where you can get the largest energy efficiency gains and improve the air quality and comfort of the home. A green living consultation can help lead you in the direction of making choices that will benefit you and the planet.
7. HOA & Condominium Disclosure Documents
Selling: Most home owners association and condominium associations now offer the condo disclosure package in electronic format. It saves paper and is easier to distribute. Check with your association to see if they are offering electronic format yet. If not, they may just need a little nudge from you.
Buying: When filling out the Virginia Jurisdictional Addendum you and your agent have the opportunity to select that you prefer the HOA or condominium disclosure package to be delivered in electronic format. By simply checking this box, you are saving hundreds of pages of paper and saving yourself a trip to pick up the package.
8. Paperless Contracts
Buying & Selling: You can save hundreds of pages of paper and countless trips to meet your Realtor by using electronic signatures. This is an inexpensive option that your Realtor can choose to use. Electronic signatures are easy to use, secure and legally binding. They also help preserve the readability of the contract.
9. Preparing the Home For Sale
Selling • Simply using no-VOC paint will eliminate the offensive and potentially harmful odors left behind when painting the interior of your home. • If you need to replace an appliance or HVAC system, look for a replacement that is EnergyStar certified. • If you need to modernize your kitchen or bath, consider earth-friendly options for your counters, cabinets and plumbing.
10. Pick The Most Efficient Route
Buying: Whether you are enjoying a Sunday afternoon visiting open houses or getting ready to go out with your Realtor to see the homes you have narrowed down, it makes sense to follow the most efficient route between the homes you are visiting. Save time, gas and pollute less. There is a free online tool that you can use to enter the addresses you will be visiting and it will plan the most efficient route for you: http://www.idealroute.com/
11. Upgrade Your New Home With An Energy Efficient Mortgage
Buying: An Energy Efficient Mortgage can help you roll into your mortgage, up to 100% of the cost to upgrade energy saving features in your home such as: heating and cooling systems, water heaters, appliances, storm windows and doors, insulation and weather stripping. Energy Efficient Mortgages are based on normal FHA loan requirements such as a 3.5 percent down down-payment. This is a great way to start saving money on your energy costs as soon as you move into your new home.