In February of this past year, the National Association of Home Builders conducted a study which showed that one of the most important qualities new home buyers seek is an energy-efficient home. They went on to add “Nine out of ten buyers would rather buy a home with energy-efficient features and permanently lower utility bills than one without those features that cost 2% to 3% less.”

With this high percentage of home buyers seeking a home with energy-efficient features, many sellers have started to pitch their sale as having a green thumb. However, when push comes to shove, these features are not actually as money-saving and environmentally friendly as their owner seems to think.

So what should you look for when going for an energy-efficient home? Bring this checklist along with you on your house hunting explorations; the more you can check off, the greener your house will be. The greener your home, the more money and energy you will save.

Going Green Checklist:

  • Energy-efficient doors and windows
  • Energy Star appliances
  • Air leaks around the doors and windows
  • Low-flow fixtures and toilets
  • Digital thermostat controls
  • Properly insulated attics and walls
  • Low-energy lighting systems
  • Well-maintained heating and cooling systems
  • Energy or water efficient landscaping plans
  • Tankless water heater
  • BONUS=Solar panels, a geothermal system, or any sort of alternative energy source (ex. wind).

In addition to having some (hopefully most) of these features, be sure to ask the current homeowner these following questions:

  • When was the last energy audit conducted and can you see the results?
  • Can you see past energy bills?
  • Do you have maintenance records for any of the energy-efficient appliances or alternative energy sources?
  • Are there any local or state tax credits for owning this home?
  • Do local energy companies buy back energy created by my home?
  • Does the current homeowner work with the ENERGY STAR home program?

Buying an energy-efficient home could be a great investment for you and can continue to pay off in the near future. With a heavy shift towards a “greener-earth”, homes with such energy-efficient features will separate themselves from the pack and be more appealing on the market. Make sure to bring this checklist along, and don’t forget to ask the current home owner those specific questions.