How to Buy an Eco-Friendly Home: Tips and Buyer's Guide

How to Buy an Eco-Friendly Home

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Being environmentally conscious is becoming an important trait in our ever-changing world, and housing is just another industry which is quickly becoming more aware of this. Sustainable homes are not quite considered a standard yet due to their high up-front building costs, more and more buyers want an eco-friendly house. Joining this growing movement will do more than greatly reduce your carbon footprint, you will actually save money! Allowing you to become both environmentally and money-conscious.

Be Prepared to Spend Time Searching

Person Holding Magnifying Glass Outside The House

If you want an easy, and straightforward home-buying process, then taking on the search for an eco-friendly home may not be for you. Eco-friendly homes are not yet mainstream. Therefore the demand for them on the open housing market is quite slim, making them exceptionally difficult to find at times. Even in large metropolitan areas, the available supply can be virtually non-existent.

Utilizing eco-friendly home-buying tools such as can be helpful though, and may be able to present you with a few options but you still have to be patient. You should expect to spend around 6-12 months searching for your perfect eco-friendly home rather than 6-12 weeks. This is no reason to be discouraged though. With determination and the right real estate assistance, you will be living in your dream eco-friendly home in no time.

Related Article: The Environmental Impact of Solar Energy

Expect to Spend

The materials and construction techniques that are used to construct eco-friendly homes are expensive. Sustainable homes employ the use of advanced technology such as solar panels, as well as unique materials such as recycled steel and insulation packing made of recycled denim jeans. These innovations in home construction and sustainability quickly add up, therefore those costs are placed upon you when you purchase the home.

While in the long run, you are sure to save money on your energy bill, the initial costs for sustainable homes can be anywhere around 20% to 30% higher than conventionally constructed homes.

Pay Attention to Your Home Inspection

Home Inspector Looking At New Property

Be sure to get a quality home inspection when buying an eco-friendly home. An inspector will not only be able to inform you that everything in the home meets regulations, but they will also be able to notify you if any system within the home could be working more efficiently. This information can prove to be very beneficial for many reasons. Knowing which key systems are not working to maximum efficiency can prepare you to make upgrades and replacements in the future. With this information from the inspector, you may also be able to negotiate a better price for the home.

When viewing an eco-friendly home it is also important to be aware of a few influential characteristics the home may have. The front door should be the first thing you make a point to check. Does the door fit snugly into the frame? If the door is a good fit it can be a strong indicator that there is quality weather stripping in other areas as well. While you are touring the house be cautious and aware of sliding doors. There are very popular features of homes and many even have more than one. They are notoriously leaky though, and can easily lead to energy loss.

Once you make your way to the backyard take account of the number and size of trees that are present. You should expect to have at least a few trees on the property and openly embrace them. Trees protect your home from the intensity of the sun and wind present in the environment. Lastly, make sure to ask for previous utility bills so you and your real estate agent can properly review them. Energy use is often what buyers consider the most important factor when buying an eco-friendly home. Therefore it is necessary to have access to at least 2-3 years of utility bills in order to effectively determine if the home is meeting the energy use standards you are searching for.

Hiring the Best Team to Help You

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Finding a great eco-friendly home is very difficult and time-consuming, but the process can be much more relaxed and enjoyable if you have an experienced team behind you. Real estate teams are small teams of agents that work together in order to give you the best real estate experience possible. First and foremost it is important to note that when hiring a real estate team you do not pay more in commission than if you hired a singular agent. A team is able to take on more clients at once therefore increasing their profits while keeping your costs low.

Real estate teams are able to divide and conquer in order to give you the best results as quickly as possible. Teams specialize in different fields such as marketing, buyer’s representation, and transaction coordination. Thus utilizing every team member’s strengths in order to give you the best service. Teams experienced with finding sustainable homes will be your best bet if you want to attempt to close on an eco-friendly home in a reasonably timely manner.

Consider Building

At the end of the day if you were unable to find your dream eco-friendly home do not be disappointed in yourself. There are very slim pickings when it comes to sustainable housing on the open market, but don’t forget you always have the option of building. While building an eco-friendly home is an expensive commitment, it may be the only way for you to attain the sustainable home you always imagined. Be cautious though and make sure you have researched the builders you choose if you decide to build. Many builders will promise an eco-friendly home but when the time comes they fall short on the small details. Your builder needs to understand your expectations when it comes to the efficiency and sustainability of your home.

Your Perfect Eco-Friendly Home

Child holding house and tree in hands against spring green background. Real estate concept

Embarking on the journey to find an eco-friendly home can be intimidating, but with determination and the support of some experienced agents, your chances of finding a sustainable home you love greatly increase. Stay positive, trust the professionals you hire, and be prepared for an uphill climb. The search for an eco-friendly home may be a lot of work but the payoff will be well worth it.

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