Eco Tips for Cosmetic Remodels and Getting Houses Ready for the Real Estate Market the Green Way

Home buyers are increasingly concerned about green features in a home & the desire for more eco features will continue to grow in coming years. If you’re considering any repairs or remodeling to your property, it’s in your best interest to go as green as possible. If you’re not selling any time soon, it will still boost your future resale. And, if you are getting ready to sell your house, it can be a huge marketing strategy.

Here are some simple eco-savvy changes to implement into your upcoming cosmetic remodel. For the most part, they are budget-conscious too:

You’ve heard the hype about CFL’s (fluorescent light-bulbs). We all know we need to replace all our incandescent with them. But what about their hideous appearance? Especially the cheap corkscrew type? One worthwhile option is to switch out the actual light fixtures to ones that will accommodate and hide the CFL’s. For example, in the bathroom, choose a light bar where the glass bells face upward instead of down. Conversely, if you choose bells that face down, you can buy the more expensive CFL’s that look like regular incandescents. Most flush mount overhead lights will hide CFL’s. Chandeliers also often have glass bells that point downward – instead, choose the upward type. Also, in the case of chandeliers, make sure to choose larger glass bells, with frosted glass. Take a look at all the varieties of CFL’s available at one of the big box hardware stores – for example, you can buy a shorter, compact corkscrew type CFL that might fit some chandeliers better than the standard size.

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Paint is one of the easiest ways to go green. In one fell swoop, you can make a choice to reduce or nearly eliminate Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) from the air of your home. Three examples of NO-VOC paint are Olympic (sold at Lowe’s), Fresh Aire (sold at Home Depot), and Green Cote/Enviro Cote sold at Kelly Moore. With these paints being easily accessible and in myriad colors, there is no reason not to use them. Again, if you’re getting ready to sell your home and you paint with no-VOC’s, you can use this as a stellar feature on all of your marketing collateral.

Flooring for bathrooms has been a thorn in the side of eco-remodelers, but there are some interesting choices. My favorite is Marmoleum, which is made of all natural materials like linseed, among others & is completely sustainable and renewable. It comes in a plethora of designs, colors and textures, but is not, alas, inexpensive. You’re looking at around $20 a square foot. A more budget-friendly but slightly less eco idea is Rams Home Loans Renting to go with a floor that has some post-consumer content (e.g. Tarkett) which also affords many style options-this would be about half the cost of the Marmoleum. These floors can also be used in kitchens and other areas of the home. Cork flooring is a great, sustainable choice as well, though not suitable for bathrooms. A great store in the Silicon Valley for looking at what is available is Interiors and Textiles in Palo Alto.

Speaking of flooring, carpet has historically not made it onto the eco radar until recent years. There are two types that I know of – those made of plastic bottles and those made from corn. The latter is Smart Strand, which is a carpet technology that is used by many of the major brands. Smart Strand carpets are typically recyclable and have the information of the plant where they are to be re-purposed stamped on the back. Eco-friendly carpet pads are also available. These are easy choices to make, and are only pennies more than traditional products. Again, a huge selling point for real estate.

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Almost every green-related article you read will tell you to buy Energy Star appliances. This article is no exception. Check each appliance’s Energy Star rating as well, to try to get the best rated one for the buck. In addition, if you’ve never heard of induction cook-tops, it’s worth a bit of research and self-education. You can view them on websites like . The general gist of induction is that the burner reacts with the metal on the bottom of your pan (glass and copper pots will not work). Because if is not pumping out as much electricity, it is a greener choice than other cook-top options. They are not cheap, but the energy savings monthly may make sense if you plan on living in your home long term.

For more eco-remodel tips, please Who Sets Real Estate Commission Rates visit our blog (listed below).