5 Ways To Increase Your Home’s Energy Efficiency Before Putting it on the Market

By Andrew Mitchell | Selling Real Estate

We live in world that is increasingly concerned with energy efficiency. We know that our resources aren’t infinite, and everyone wants to contribute to the creation of a sustainable future for our children and our grandchildren. Moreover, the idea of saving money while saving the planet has an especially appealing ring to it during these belt-tightening times. If you are thinking of selling your home, it’s a safe bet that your prospective buyers will be paying very close attention to the building’s power and heating bills.

The good news is that you can raise the property’s energy efficiency profile with just a little effort, minimal cash outlay and careful preparation. Here are some surefire ways to promote cost-effective coziness.

1. Insulation

Montreal’s notoriously cold winters cause drafty homes to use a lot of energy to keep it’s inhabitants warm. Electrical heating will undoubtedly be one of, if not, the largest costs in your energy bill annually. Adding insulation to an attic or within walls is one of the best and least costly improvements you can do to ensure your heating bill is minimized for yourself and future owners.

2. Leaky Faucets

A mildly leaky faucet in the kitchen or bathroom might not seem like a huge problem, but consider this: a slow drip (say, one drop per second) can waste more than 1,500 gallons of water over the course of a year. This can lead to significantly higher energy bills, and will definitely place an entirely unnecessary strain upon your municipality’s water treatment system.

An efficiency-minded buyer will know this – and may begin to form negative associations regarding your home. Fortunately, this type of problem can usually be fixed without calling in a plumber, Often it’s simply a matter of tightening a bolt, replacing an inexpensive washer, o-ring or seal, or applying a bit of silicone “plumber’s grease”.

3. Ceiling Fans

Montreal winters get a lot more press, but those sweltering July and August days can be hard to deal with too – and can lead to some pretty uncomfortable Hydro bills once an air conditioner enters the picture. Air conditioning is one of the greatest inventions of the modern age, and, quite understandably, few modern homeowners are willing to do without it entirely – but the presence of good ceiling fans in key rooms can go a long way toward lessening the burden upon your system’s energy consumption.

Moreover, good air circulation is essential to proper health all year round, and can help to ensure efficient heat distribution during the winter months. When you factor in the considerable aesthetic appeal that ceiling fans can bring to a house, this step takes on even greater importance for a home seller – although of course it does depend on the individual’s willingness to make a certain financial investment.

4. Lighting Fixtures

It’s always a good idea to use the most energy efficient light bulbs on the market, since an astute buyer will want to examine your previous bills. However, when you show the house, the prospect probably will not pay that much attention to the particular bulbs you happen to be using. After all, they’ll be picturing their own items in those spaces. On the other hand, your visitor will be very likely to notice inefficient kitchen or bathroom fixtures.

By installing LED lightbulbs in those busy rooms, you can save up to 75% on electricity and generate much less heat (cutting down on summer air conditioning spikes) while providing warmer, more pleasant illumination.

By installing LED lightbulbs in those busy rooms, you can save up to 75% on electricity and generate much less heat (cutting down on summer air conditioning spikes) while providing warmer, more pleasant illumination.  Most importantly, you’ll be furnishing the kind of environment that will make an energy-conscious buyer feel at home.

5. Programmable Thermostats

A programmable thermostat creates a home heating and cooling system that is infinitely more responsive to your actual needs and far less wasteful than a traditional set up. Of course, you can achieve the same effect simply by diligently adjusting the thermostat whenever you leave the house or go to sleep – but switching to an automatic system will eliminate one more thing from your busy to-do list, and is certainly less prone to error than human memory! You can always recalibrate things manually on days that deviate from your family’s normal routine. Studies have shown that a programmable thermostat can save more than $150 a year on energy bills – and this built-in flexibility will be very appealing to an efficiency-minded buyer.

These five simple steps will help to maximize your home’s viability on today’s housing market. Of course, not every buyer will be focused on these issues, but why risk alienating the many prospects for whom efficiency is a major concern? As an added benefit, performing this kind of troubleshooting will help you to evaluate other properties’ energy consumption profiles, once you begin your own search for a new place.

Anticipating the changing needs of homebuyers is an essential component of a successful venture into the real estate market, and this is exactly the kind of insight that an experienced broker can provide. To learn more about the kinds of resources and services I can put at your disposal, I invite you to contact me to set up a no-obligation consultation.

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An earlier version of this article I wrote appeared in the Montreal Times newspaper. 

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About the Author

I'm Andrew Mitchell, Chartered Real Estate Broker and Owner of Vistacor Realty Group. I help buyers, sellers and investors in the West Island, Montreal and Vaudreuil-Soulanges areas buy and sell homes. My goal is to provide you with useful, straight-forward insights and relevant real estate market updates. Contact me with any questions. Follow me on twitter here.