Despite what some people may tell you, there are degrees of “going green,” and not all of them require you to invest your life savings in renovating your home. Some green improvements will not only save you money in the long term, but they’re also less expensive up front and add value to make it easier to sign a sales contract or lease agreement on your property. The following improvements will help the budget-conscious still improve their home or investment property and save money, without breaking the bank over green real estate investing.
Green Real Estate Investing Tip 1: Saving Money on Electric Bills by Killing Vampires
Many electronics and appliances still use substantial amounts of energy even when turned off (a classic example is your laptop cord’s power converter). This electricity adds up to a startlingly high percentage of your electric bill each month – money that can be easily saved. Add power strips throughout your house, and instead of turning on the electronic device, just turn on and off the power strip. Additionally, you can help improve both the longevity and the efficiency of your furnace and air conditioning condenser by replacing your air filters every three months.
Green Real Estate Investing Tip 2: Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) Bulbs
There’s very little that needs to be said about these: they last four times as long as old incandescent bulbs, they use a quarter of the electricity, and you can buy them in bulk and simply replace your old school light bulbs as they each burn out.
Green Real Estate Investing Tip 3. Sustainable Kitchen Finishes
I agree with you: granite countertops are a must-have – kind of. Available today are composite countertops that are indistinguishable from granite, and come in a variety of colors that are often very rare and expensive to buy in real granite. Considering new wooden cabinets? You can buy cabinets made from naturally rot-resistant woods (like cedar) that haven’t been treated with noxious chemicals like formaldehyde. They look the same, last just as long, and don’t release all those toxins into the air and groundwater table. And, nothing shouts “Buy me” like new “granite” countertops and fresh wooden cabinets, to help pitch that sales contract or lease agreement.
Green Real Estate Investing Tip 4: Programming the Thermostat More Efficiently
Remember those old dinosaur thermostats that looked like dials? There’s a good reason we don’t use them any more: because we have better, programmable thermostats that allow you to only cool or heat your home when you’re home. Give your HVAC systems a break when you’re not home, and program to kick in about fifteen minutes before you arrive at home sweet home.
Green Real Estate Investing Tip 5: Hot Water Pipe Jackets
An oldie but goodie: pipe jackets for your basement hot water pipes cost only a few dollars and install instantaneously. You’ll save more money in one winter month’s utility bill than the total cost of installing them, including the cost of your time in installing them. Insulating the first five to ten feet of hot water piping leaving your hot water heater should do the trick.
Green Real Estate Investing Tip 6: Green Decking
Wooden decks are so Twentieth Century – they rot, they splinter, they warp, they fade, and they decay. Today, you can buy composite decking made from recycled plastics, that have none of the above drawbacks, yet they save landfill space and hardwood trees. If you absolutely MUST have wooden decking (don’t ask me why you would), buy cedar or ip wood for your decks, as they last longer than treated wood and don’t need to be treated with those toxic chemicals to resist rot.
Whether you want to save money on utilities, have an easier time finding a signature for your sales contract or lease agreement, or just help do your part to minimize environmental impact, all of the above green real estate investing techniques are cost effective and environmentally meaningful. Today: composite countertops, tomorrow, zero electric bills due to your new solar panel!
Real Estate Investing Articles – database of articles particularly helpful for landlords and rental investors.
Rental Agreement – customizable and state-specific, as you can otherwise only find through an attorney.