Green elements sell houses

When the homeowners came to Botond Laszlo, CR, CKBR, GCP, president of Marvelous Home Makeovers LLC, they had no intention of selling their home any time soon. In fact, they were taking a phased approach to remodeling, slowly updating their home while making it more efficient with green remodeling.

“They wanted to make their house more comfortable,” Laszlo says. “Every year was a new update, with a focus on how green and efficient we could make the space given the budget and design specifications.”

The final leg of the phased remodel was a master bathroom transformation. The high-level goals for this project included increased functionality and flow, and increase natural light and staying within the existing footprint.

The new design flipped the locations of a poorly placed tub with the shower. The previous placement of the tub made it the focal point; replacing it with a frameless glass shower instantly opening up the room.

Laszlo also added a door leading from the first-floor bathroom to the backyard pool, aso it was accessible to pool guests.

The green elements in this remodel included adding high-performance insulation to the attic and exterior walls to tighten the envelope. Window openings, wall cavities, plates,can lights, exahaust fans, duct work and exterior openings were all caulked and sealed.

Windows, light fixtures and bath fixtures were all Energy Star-qualified. Laszlo attempted to resuse as many materials as possible on the project, including masonry from the brick exterior as the door opening and the cabinetry and doors were all salvaged for reuse.

New cabinetry and trim came from domestically grown wood sources, and all products and materials used were formaldehyde free, with low-VOC finishes. Even the cleaning products used at the end of the project were non-toxic.

The project earned Laszlo an award in the Residential Bath $30,000 to $60,000 category as well as a Green Recognition honor in the 2012 NARI of Greater Dallas CotY Awards program.

Green listings

After six years  of phased remodeling, Laszlo was surprised to hear his clients were selling their home fall 2012.

Though they had expressed concern with certain apsects of the home, Laszlo never believed it would drive them to move so soon.“They found a home that they fell in love with and decided to move,” Laszlo says.

As it turns out, selling a green home in a recovering housing market was actually quite easy.

“The green recognition honor brought tremendous value to the house, which sold after a few weeks on the market,” Laszlo says.

Terri Gum, Realtor with Ebby Halliday Realtors in Dallas, Texas, has been selling homes for the past five years. She says today’s Dallas buyers are looking for energy-efficient homes.

The trend has put green up there with other top home-buying factors—school systems, neighborhoods, condition, size and price all play a part in the ultimate decision to buy. Now her clients are gravitating toward homes with dual pane windows, insulation, and energy-efficient appliances and  HVAC systems.

“New or efficient improvements to a home helps with the sale because buyers consider green to be more cost-effective,” Gum says.

The trend, according to Gum, is largely due to homeowners being more educated today than ever before. When a home like Laszlo’s earns a green recognition, Gum puts that information front and center on the listing.

The biggest resale impact has been on older Dallas homes that have been updated with green elements. One of Gum’s recent Tudor-style home with green upgrades sold after one day.

“The low interest rates have made it sellers’ market, and many times there are multiple bids on the same home,” Gum says.

As was the case in Laszlo’s clients who sold their home $3,000 to $5,000 above the asking price because of a buyer bidding war.

Client motivations for remodeling may vary, but Laszlo weaves this success story into his sales conversations, even if resale is not top of mind. “Everyone wants to know if it [green remodeling] will pay off,” Laszlo says. Now he has an answer. –Morgan Zenner

NARI’s Green Certified Professional (GCP) education program digs deeper than defining green remodeling. Remodelers gain an understanding of the principles of building science and how to change an old system into a high-performance home. Register for the next course beginning May 8, 2013.

| 4/8/2013 12:00:00 AM | 20 comments
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