How do you make your investment property into an energy-efficient place that will save you money when you rent it out and attract young and hip people who are concerned about the well-being of polar bear cubs and baby seals?
Go green, of course.
The thing is one of the surest ways to make your house a place that will be able to survive everything Mother Nature throws at it AND satisfy the standards of modern-day energy preservation efforts would be to equip your investment property with certain energy-saving products, as well as change the structure of your house itself.
In this article, we’ll give you a couple of suggestions for how you can go green with your house exterior renovation so that your property increases in value and becomes more attractive to wide audiences of potential rent-payers.
1) Deconstruct Instead of Demolishing
Here’s a repurposing lesson 101:
Never smash to smithereens what you can salvage. Whether it’s an old tin roof or a bunch of wood you’ve gathered by dismounting some of those old and bulky window panes, don’t just throw the stuff away, because you may make good use of it, who knows.
For example, your tenants can use the wood for the woodstove, thus decreasing the amount of money spent on heating during the winter. Also, you can gather the remnants of your old and rusty roof and sell it as scrap metal. You probably won’t make a fortune this way, but why not earn a little bit of extra money you could reinvest into that same rental property.
So, no matter how tempting it might feel to simply get rid of some ancient structure that’s been ‘uglifying’ your entire front porch for decades, consider carefully deconstructing it instead. May be worth a couple of extra bucks.
2) Repurpose and Refresh Instead of Buying New
Even though the first thing people think about when they hear the words ‘green’ and ‘house’ in the same sentence would be solar panels and other modern-day gadgetry, renovating your house so that it’s more green at the end of the day is more about salvaging and repurposing old stuff.
The thing is, buying new materials and home appliances is relatively easy, but if you’re trying to save money (especially if you’re attempting to flip the house), turning on your creative side can be an excellent idea.
For example, instead of stripping down the entire façade of your house, how about just fixing the missing chipped pieces of brick or whatever material it’s made out of, and then repainting it some vibrant color? This way, you can not only save money you would have otherwise spent on expensive remodels but also make your rental investment property look unique.
Also, if you’ve just bought the investment property with a noble intention to flip it, sometimes all it takes to bring it back to its former glory (or at least some of its parts), would be to clean it up. For example, if there’s a stone driveway, all you have to do is wash it up thoroughly and chances are – it will be as good as new.
3) Add Insulation
Although this entry is more of a common-sense move than a ‘green’ suggestion per se, many people tend to forget about the importance of some good ole insulation.
Once you’ve thoroughly insulated your house – the living room and all other rooms, attic, basement, warts and all, you can save a fortune annually on heating costs, as well as ventilation costs in the summer. What’s more, even if you don’t intend to live in it yourself, receiving below-average bills every month is certainly going to look appealing to more than one renter or a potential buyer. (If you’re flipping the property.)
4) Install Solar Panels
Last but not least, you should not avert your eyes, so to speak, from the novelty and technical brilliance of exterior solar panels.
The toughest part of setting these up would be the task of sorting out the paper stuff with the local authorities, of course. Depending on where you live, the local paper-pushing folks may or may not be entirely up to date on how these work and more importantly – they may not be sure how to incorporate these into the municipal electricity grid, which can be a pain in the neck.
So, if you have the dough to do it and you’ve figured out all the necessary papers for it to happen, you should go forth with this because it is going to increase your property’s value sky-high.
5) Implement Rainwater Harvesting Systems
The average person in the U.S. spends approximately 100 gallons of water on a daily basis.
If you do the math, it won’t be hard to conclude that being such a spendthrift is bad both for your budget and our planet. 25% of the world’s population is affected by extreme water shortages, while many people in developed countries waste water mercilessly without even being aware of it.
With a rainwater harvesting system, your tenants will be able to collect water, store it in a tank, and later use it for different purposes. That way, for example, they won’t have to waste clean water for toilets and sprinklers. Besides, it will also prevent flooding and soil erosion.
When talking about watering plants and gardens, there’s one more way that people are being reckless about spending water – hosing down patios or driveways in order to keep them clean.
You can easily lay a patio to have a cozy outdoor space without the need for water-hungry grass. But, think twice if you’re in the habit of giving your patio a rinse as a regular garden hose can emit almost 65 liters of water a minute. Instead, grab a broom and sweep your patio and driveway.
6) Opt for Energy-Efficient Windows
Replacing your old windows might seem like an expensive task, but the thing is that you can actually save a lot of energy (and money) in the long run.
So-called Energy Star Windows come with a number of benefits such as:
- Protection of your furniture. Energy-efficient windows come with a protective filter that blocks UV rays. These rays can damage your carpets, floors, furniture, and other items.
- Lower costs. Given that these windows provide better insulation, your cooling and heating costs will drop.
- Less noise. Energy-efficient windows are also soundproof which means that your tenants will be able to enjoy some peace and quiet in their rental home.
All in all, whether you’re flipping a home, or fancy renting it for a while, renovating the place with a special green bent on the undertaking can be an excellent way to attract lots of customers who value an effort to save money and preserve the planet at the same time. As long as your investment property has all the necessary amenities, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to live in, chances are the interested parties will be coming to your porch in droves.
This article has been contributed by Michael Deane.