Green Features: Can They Help Sell A Southern Maryland Home?

Kimberly Bean
Kimberly Bean
Published on April 27, 2016

Installing a geothermal system and solar panels may seem to give your home bonus points when it comes time to sell — but will potential buyers see it the same way?

Most Southern Maryland buyers today like to hear about a property’s LEED certification, solar panels, geothermal systems, and Energy Star-rated appliances. And, developers like to tell them about their property’s green features because of the expense invested in upgrading the property. As a seller, you may be wondering if these features really affect the way a buyer feels about your property. Will a buyer be willing to pay more for a home because of its green features?

Can green features get buyers to part with more cash?

Buyers will spend extra money for physical features in a home that they can show off to impress family and friends – think entertainment rooms, spa bathrooms, or a chef’s kitchen. But most buyers will probably have reservations about paying extra for features that are concealed or not easily appreciated like a new boiler, plumbing system, or roof.

Green features lie somewhere in the middle. Solar panels or a smart phone-controlled thermostat definitely have a “cool factor” that can be seen and shown off. If a Southern Maryland home’s green features have a cool factor, a buyer will be willing to pay extra for the property. But, if the property’s green features fail to excite a buyer – like a concealed air filtration system – you may find that they are not likely to spend more than they would on a home without that feature.

Money-saving green features

If the buy isn’t excited about the green features of the home, they are unlikely to spend more to purchase the property. But – show them how those features will save money over the long- and short-term, and potential buyers are likely to be more interested.

When they sell the property, the seller is unlikely to recover the full cost of their investment in green features like solar panels and environmentally thermostats. These features are like a kitchen redesign or a bathroom upgrade – the cost gets built into the total value of the property. This situation is very beneficial for buyers – they can reap the benefits of the green features and the cool factor.

New builds: Include green features?

On a new build, the buyer needs to make a detailed cost vs. benefit analysis of including any green features. Southern Maryland developers usually offer a choice of floor plans and custom features, including, in some cases, geothermal systems for heating and cooling the property. The extra cost of these systems is usually about $50,000, but the federal government offers a tax credit that immediately returns $30,000 to the buyers. Plus, the initial cost of the system is included in the mortgage, so the buyer doesn’t have to make any initial investment of cash.

You can expect that the energy bills of a property with a geothermal system will be hundreds of dollars lower than that of a property without the feature, so within five years the buyer would recuperate the cost in energy bill savings.

The decision to include green features is a personal and financial decision for each individual buyer. A buyer who doesn’t plan to live in the property for the long term may feel that they will not benefit from the saving in energy bills or that future buyers won’t want to pay extra for the feature, especially in a slow housing market. Buyers who plan to spend a long time in the property – or are committed to having an environmentally friendly home – might make a different decision.

A growing market

There’s a growing niche of the Southern Maryland housing market that is willing to spend extra on green features. They are less concerned with the cool factor or cost savings of the feature. While the cost saving is a bonus, their decision making is driven by their concern for the environment.

Ultimately, whether to buy a home with green features is a personal decision for each buyer. One thing you can be sure of, though, is that green features are here to stay and will become increasingly important in the housing market.

La Plata MD Homes for Sale and Real Estate Services in Southern Maryland. You now have a search engine to help you with your Southern Maryland home search! And I’m ready to provide you with a custom home valuation if you’re considering selling your home. Let’s connect to discuss how I can help you. Contact Kimberly Bean at 301-440-1309

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