The “Green” Features That Will Make Your Home Easier to Sell, According to Real Estate Agents

updated Mar 23, 2021
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The lockdown measures required by COVID-19 resulted in significant decreases in air and road travel, which means many cities have improved air and surface water quality. That said, like planes and cars, our homes have parts to play in the global climate crisis.

Homeowners are indelibly shifting towards a more eco-conscious world. According to research by the National Association of Homebuilders, the majority of homebuyers are in favor of greener home features, and many are willing to pay for features that could save on annual utility costs. This is especially true of younger generations, who make up the largest pool of buyers in the U.S. market.

While there is little dispute in the value of going green, sustainable home features tend to come at a price. To find out which ones are worth the investment, I asked real estate agents about the eco-friendly home features that today’s homebuyers actually want.

A heat-pump system

James Dwyer, a realtor and real estate advisor with Engel & Völkers Nova Scotia, suggests that homeowners start with an energy audit. “This is the most critical step as it will lay out a game plan to follow as you improve the home,” he says.

From there, he recommends switching to a heat pump, which is more efficient than electric resistance heating. “It reduces electric heat consumption by up to 40 percent, is cleaner than an oil furnace, and is better for the environment,” Dwyer says. “Not to mention the fact that when buyers find out the home has one it automatically improves the desire to purchase. It puts a premium on the listing and does add value.”

A tankless water heater

Traditional water tanks work by storing preheated water around the clock, resulting in steep monthly utility bills. They are also bulky, leak-prone, and have a shorter lifespan than their tankless counterparts. 

“One of the features that I’m always happy to see when showing a home to new clients is a tankless water heater,” says Toronto realtor Despina Zanganas. “An energy-efficient tankless water heater only heats the water when it’s needed, saving you a ton of money on gas. I installed one in my home when I renovated my basement and I saw savings in my utility bills immediately.”

For homeowners who want to take their water savvy one step further, Zanganas recommends getting ahead of the problem with home automation. “[Smart] water leak detectors can save energy and save you money by allowing you to control the device from your phone. They even notify you if there is a leak when you aren’t at home.”

Solar panels

One way to bolster the sustainability of your home is by replacing and improving upon existing systems. Another way is by introducing new systems entirely.

Danielle Lazier is a San Francisco-based real estate agent and the founder of Danielle Lazier Real Estate. She suggests green tech. “The most effective green home features to attract today’s homebuyers are solar panels and power walls (think Tesla), as not only a source of renewable, grid-independent energy but also a stepping stone to other green tech like electric vehicles.” 

She adds, “Inside the home, eco-friendly and non-toxic materials are a big selling point, from recycled steel and reclaimed lumber to novel materials like bamboo floors and PaperStone countertops.”