As a real estate professional, it’s imperative that you keep up with the latest housing trends. After all, the features that buyers are looking for are constantly changing. If you want to stay relevant in a competitive real estate market, you’ll need to keep your ear to the ground and understand how your buyer works. In 2018, buyers are looking for homes that have been designed with the environment in mind, specifically with an increased capacity for energy efficiency and sustainability. Here are the energy-efficient upgrades that buyers are looking for this year:
Smart Tech Upgrades
Home automation has finally reached mass distribution for residential consumers. Many homes are now equipped with smart technology, such as home hubs, smart lighting systems, energy meters and thermostats, security systems, and other appliances. Because these devices learn your individual preferences and can be linked together for peak performance, they can actually help homeowners save money on energy bills. In 2018, buyers want homes equipped with the latest smart tech devices.
New and Updated Solar Panels
It’s no surprise that homes with solar panels sell for more than homes without, but the latest developments in renewable technology mean that just having rooftop panels isn’t good enough anymore for eco-conscious buyers. However, by upgrading existing units to incorporate a more streamlined look and efficient performance, homeowners can make their already eco-friendly properties more enticing for potential buyers. This can be done by investing in integrated solar roof tiles or battery storage systems (both of which were introduced by motoring company Tesla in the past few years) in order to prepare a solar-clad home for the future and attract buyers.
Natural Materials and Furnishings
As far as interior design is concerned, the simplicity of Scandinavian design is still trending. Here are some of the hallmarks of this minimalist style:
- Natural elements such as untreated wood, bamboo, wicker and other natural textiles
- Chemical-free paints and fabrics
- Sustainably-sourced materials like FSC certified wood
The most eco-friendly homes are better for the environment in nearly every way. Buyers with a vested interest in design trends and a serious passion for the environment will go to great lengths for a home with these kinds of features.
Ultra Efficient Windows and Doors
Although windows and doors aren’t exactly the most exciting part of a property, they make a difference in the minds of environmentally-conscious buyers. New energy-efficient windows equipped with two or three panes of glass offer added insulation, security and soundproofing for a home. They can also substantially lower energy bills. These multiple layers of glass—when coupled with low-emissivity coatings and insulating gases—can prevent heat from entering the home in summer and escaping in winter. This is a particularly useful upgrade for older buildings, and you can bet that buyers will notice when a period home has had its windows tastefully upgraded.
This applies more to new builds, but it’s worth noting that the design of a home can affect its energy efficiency rating in a significant way. Homes that have natural shade, for example, will generally stay cooler in the summer than homes that have no surrounding trees or shrubbery. A home’s exterior can also affect privacy and noise pollution levels. Although eco-conscious buyers have embraced the idea of passive design for new buildings, they will still be interested in existing properties that take steps toward increased sustainability in other ways (i.e., by improving landscaping to add shade and privacy or installing shutters and awnings to minimize solar heat gain).
Current trends certainly suggest that eco-friendly living is here to stay, so buyers will only become more attracted by energy-efficient homes as time goes on. Therefore, it is crucial that real estate professionals understand the best ways to make a home more energy-efficient and the ways in which these upgrades can positively affect buyers. Just remember to keep an eye on developments across the industry, since technology changes at lightning speeds.
Kaitlin Krull is a writer and mom of two girls, originally from the U.S., now living the expat life in the UK. Her writing is featured on Modernize.com and a number of home decor sites around the web. She can also be found blogging from time to time on her personal blog, A Vicar’s Wife.