Wednesday, October 15, 2014

GREENing Your Home in Maryland - Do it for a discount!!

 Did you know that the state of Maryland, by way of the Maryland Energy Administration has been charged with the task to reduce energy consumption by 15% by the year 2015?  Yes, that's right.  Our Governor has enacted an EmPOWER Maryland initiative to help make the plan a reality.  
What does this mean for you?  
Free stuff, discounts, and rebates on energy saving measures for your home.

What do you need to do?  
1st - Sign up with Elysian Energy to receive your Quick Home Energy Check Up (QHEC).  This is a service that is already included in your utility bill so if you don't take advantage of it you are really missing an opportunity to use what you've already paid for and also an opportunity to save money on your utility bills with this service.  You will receive a call from Elysian Energy to schedule your QHEC.  There is, again, no additional cost.  They will come to your home and provide CFL light bulbs, faucet aerators, low flow shower heads, power strips and pipe wrap for your hot water tank.  This small step toward living GREEN can save you hundreds of dollars per year off of your utility bills!  (Currently servicing Pepco and BGE customers)

Here is the Quick Home Energy Check-up link:  Put your agent's name at the bottom and if you don't have one put my name Angel Brown.
2nd -  The next level up would be to have an Energy Audit.  This is the more comprehensive way to tell where your home is losing energy/money.  There is a monetary cost to the audit.  They are $400; however, the utility companies will subsidize $300 of that so you only pay $100!  The intrinsic value of having this audit done however is priceless.  In addition to energy findings your home will be tested for health and safety issues.  Once you know how your home performs you can take steps to remedy any deficiencies.  Plus, having this audit unlocks the rebates up to $3,800 offered by the Home Performance with Energy Star (HPwES) program when you get the recommended work done on your home by an approved contractor.
3rd - If you've been considering updating and/or improving your home and comfort we would suggest making GREEN choices on the work you do.  Fact: there are Energy Efficient Mortgages to help you finance the improvements to your home.  Fact: GREEN improvements add value to your home. Fact: There is increasing buyer demand for energy efficient homes.  Fact: Some of our clients have been able to secure solar panels at no cost!
Winter is on its way.  Why continue to shovel unnecessary money into the utility company?  Listen out for that call from Elysian Energy to get your QHEC done and take the steps necessary to put money back into your pocket.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

What To Talk About At The Water Cooler

Real estate has always been the number 1 hot topic in a business and social setting.  Most would agree that even when the conversation doesn’t start there it naturally flows there at some point.  So what is the 2nd hottest topic in a business and social setting that everyone is expected to be able to intelligently discuss?  It is sustainability; or as you may know it, energy efficiency and going GREEN.  So how do we link the two?
When talking real estate what is the first item on the list?  Value.  There are countless third party websites that estimate the value of a home.  If you ask any real estate professional; however, they will tell you that 99% of the time those estimates are way off.  They only take into account one thing; the other sales in the surrounding area, not the style home, size home, or improvements to the home.  Energy efficient improvements are a smart way to help your home's value catch up with the inflated values on the world wide web.

Let's look at the facts:

 Homes that have energy efficient improvements can gain a higher value for the upgrades in an official appraisal. 
The Appraisal Institute has a specific certification program that instructs appraisers on how to recognize and valuate GREEN features siting it as a "specialized topic" that should be valued accurately.

The National Association of Realtors has encouraged the use of and developed a GREEN MLS Implementation Guide to help multi-listing service companies implement GREEN fields and search criteria in the MLS siting that "the demand for GREEN is growing."

The National Association of Realtors has a GREEN Designation that educates realtors specifically on consulting, marketing, and selling GREEN homes.

New home builders must build all homes to a certain energy standard and many new home builders opt to specialize in Energy Star and LEED building.

Mortgage lenders offer energy efficient mortgages so that homeowners in existing homes can make energy efficiency improvements which help them compete in the housing market.

Multi-listing services like, Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc., track trends in home buying and consumer wants and expectations on energy efficiency. Andrew Strauch, Vice President of Product Innovation and Marketing stated that “With higher energy costs and an overall concern for the environment, more homebuyers increasingly factor in environmental efficiency when searching for a new home.”

Utility companies are part of the movement to reduce energy consumption in Maryland and offer discounts and rebates to homeowners that take advantage of energy efficient improvements to their homes.

We've made our case for being educated in GREEN real estate talk so what's next?  Use the programs that the State, County, City, and utility companies have put in place to make the improvements that will create a more sustainable lifestyle for you.

Angel S.
The Eco-Friendly Angel