Some of these you are probably aware of and some you might not be. These are far from all of the things that you need to think about when making one of the biggest purchases of your life, but one or more of these could end up being very important to your future indeed.
Let’s start with something invisible, without a detectable smell or taste, and very common all over. Radon, the thing about Radon is that as common as it is Radon is in most cases, relatively easy to deal with. Radon a naturally accruing gas is radioactive and usually dissipates to very low levels in fresh air. These days with “tight” houses being more and more common due to their great energy savings, Radon can actually be trapped in tight houses and become even more of a threat than it has been in the past. EPA estimates that 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year are caused by Radon.
From a seller’s point of view, testing early and fixing your house is a great way to go. Often the fix for high levels of Radon in a house only costs in the range of $500.00- $2500.00 and can often do a great job of lowering levels. Being able to advertise that your house has been professionally tested and passed is a great way to get your house to stand out in today’s very crowded marketplace.
From a buyer’s standpoint you can ask for a Radon test and negotiate for a fix if the levels are high. People are naturally scared of things like Radon, and being in the know can put you in a strong bargaining position. Radon need not be a deal breaker, but you should know what you are dealing with.
On a bit more upbeat and popular issue, How about passive solar? Do you know enough about the technical end of house placement and solar heating, Do you know how to look at trees and know if they will help or hurt your winter heating and summer cooling? I know people that live here in the foothills of Amador County, who by placing their home correctly and planting the right trees and plants, hardly use their active heating or cooling systems at all, year in and year out. While it is common knowledge that West facing walls usually should be kept as small as possible and the South wall usually should have the most windows, but statements like this are just not enough to make the statement that a home is “passive solar”, this is another place where using a professional to determine the solar efficiency of a house can make a big difference. If you can back up your claims your house can stand out from the crowd. If you are looking for a house that has great savings, both of energy and energy bills, you also want to know what you are looking at. Energy efficient homes are not uncomfortable; they are comfortable using less energy (and less energy cost). That is often one of the big misunderstandings in green real estate. This is not something just for fringe folks. We all should be thinking about these issues. Whether you think global warming or peak oil are the most important problems of our times, or just political spin. Who wants to spend more money on energy than they need to?
One interesting thing about these savings, they can actually help you afford a better house. Many Green Financing Programs;lending programs that can take your savings on an efficient house into account when deciding how much you can afford. That’s right if you save a dollar on your energy bill you can spend that dollar on a bit more mortgage, so shopping for green real estate can net you more house for your dollar at the same time as saving you money! Win Win! That is what it’s all about.
I hope that these quick points get you thinking about a few green real estate issues that you might not have thought about before. If you would like to talk about these or any other green housing ideas or issues, please feel free to get in touch with me; Michael I. Pulskamp, Amador County’s first EcoBroker®, of Mainstreet Brokers in Jackson, CA.
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