Home Improvements
Real Estate

Go green doing it yourself

(04/29/2010) Simple do-it-yourself home improvements can turn your listing into a much more valuable sale this spring.

Make those upgrades "green" and some of the work will both extend value to the planet and put a tax credit in your wallet.

The time is right.

May is National Home Improvement Month and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry says whether you are selling or staying put, now's the time to beat the rush and book the work before demand for contractors pushes up prices.

HomeGain surveyed real estate agents for the top green do-it-yourself home improvements most likely to provide a return in terms of value added to the home.

The top five green home improvements that real estate agents recommend to home sellers were:

• Planting native trees and plants at an average cost of $141 can add an average $399 to the value of the property.

• Replacing air filters for $76 boost property values by an average $201.

• Green home staging for $223 pumps up the value by an average $445.

HomeGain says green stagers reuse props; create props from recycling materials; recycle old and worn out props and also suggest how to incorporate ways to repair or upgrade in regards to the conservation of resources, water efficiencies and recycling.

"Going green is cool. My favorite way to go green is to use recyclable materials. Much of the redwood discarded in California ends up in at the dump. Once the decayed parts are cut away and the nails or screws removed, one can use the recycled wood with a personal touch," said Anthony Burchill a general contractor and feng shui consultant from Berkeley, CA

• Weather stripping and caulking doors and windows for an average $169 cost has a retuned value worth $313.

• Installing a programmable thermostat for $146 cost is worth an average $249 in added property value, according to HomeGain.

Rick Willinger an accountant at the Mercadien Group, in Princeton, NJ, says some green improvements can land home owners a tax credit.

"Adding insulation, replacing storm doors and installing energy-efficient windows will not only help cut down on energy bills in the hotter months, but will also help you qualify for a tax credit of up 30 percent of the cost," Willinger said.

Larger improvements, like installing solar panels or wind turbines, can recoup up to 30 percent of the improvement cost.

"The credit has no limit on the reimbursement amount," he added.

Check for additional tax credits and rebates from state governments and local utilities.



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