• Homebuyers are willing to pay more for homes with solar panels.
  • Millennials see home automation features as a selling point.
  • Smart and sustainable home technology can add value and help sell a home faster.

Thanks to technology and increased environmental awareness, homes can be smart and sustainable as well as cozy and modern. Before putting a house on the market, homeowners should consider smart and sustainable upgrades. This might be new terrain for many homeowners, and they might not know whether smart or sustainable features will increase their resale value more. Here is some insight you can share with them.

Sustainable home upgrades pay off

This year, sustainable homes are expected to represent one-third of the total housing market, and about 90 percent of all residential construction will include sustainable building elements such as energy efficient appliances and hardware.

According to the 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study, by 2018, green residential construction is estimated to be a $100 billion industry. This is great news for those who already own homes with sustainable features such as solar panels — especially if they’re looking to sell.

Additionally, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy found that homeowner-owned solar panel systems add about $15,000 to a home’s value at the time of sale — which equates to about $4 per watt.

This makes a strong case for investing in solar panels or adding other half of buyers to a home. Along with a higher sale price, sellers will likely see more interested homebuyers — about half of buyers are interested in homes with green features.

Millennial buyers, in particular, value energy efficiency and renewable or reclaimed materials such as glass, barn wood and bamboo.

Smart home features attract buyers

Smart home technology is also an important factor for homebuyers. Nearly 30 percent of U.S. adults use smart home automation devices, and 81 percent of these adults are more likely to buy homes with pre-installed smart home technology.

Among parents with children under 18 at home, almost 60 percent said they are willing to pay more for a home that already has installed smart home technology.

Millennials are also very likely to make smart home technology a priority. Better Homes and Gardens found that 64 percent of women in the millennial age group believe smart tech makes their homes safer and more enjoyable, and 57 percent think smart home technology is a good investment.

Savvy homebuyers prioritize smart home automation devices in the bedroom, kitchen and living room. Buyers who are used to controlling most of their lives with the swipe of a finger don’t want to give up that simplicity in their homes, according to real estate professional JP Endres in ConsumerReports’ “8 ways to boost your home value.” He also says his millennial clients will pay 3 percent to 5 percent more for move-in ready smart homes.

Both smart and sustainable tech helps sell homes

Even though the market for homes with sustainable and smart technology is still relatively new, signs show that more buyers want homes that offer elements of both. Energy efficiency is one of the most sought-after features among homebuyers, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

At the same time, buyers also want the ease, convenience and reassurance offered by smart home technology. If your clients are curious about adding smart or green upgrades to their homes before they sell, sustainable homes currently bring in a wider profit margin than smart homes.

However, both types of upgrades offer an edge over conventional homes, so encourage homebuyers to add features that best suit their home and offer the highest return on investment.

Jonathan Deesing is a solar specialist with Solar Power Authority. Follow him on Twitter.
Email Jonathan Deesing.

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