Green Rehabs Give a Fresh Start for Older Homes

Do old homes have a future? With the green rehab trend spreading fast, they certainly do.

Homes with a few decades under their belt have several perks over their younger counterparts: they have endured the test of time, they usually have better foundation, wiring and supporting structure, and they mostly come with a spacious backyard attached.

In some cases, older houses are even cozier than modern ones, so it is no wonder some renters and would-be homeowners prefer a time-honored home to a 21st-century flat.

Nevertheless, old homes are not made with environmental consciousness in mind: from poor insulation, mold and traces of asbestos and lead to the lack of eco-friendly power features, every old home could use a few sustainable upgrades. And that is precisely what green rehab companies are doing: greenifying old homes to give them a green future.

The green fix

Eco-flipping essentially involves replacement of conventional home features with energy- and water-efficient ones, such as revamped HVAC, LED lights, insulation upgrades, low-flow faucets, dual-flush toilets, extensive foam sealing, and double- or triple-glazed widows. Environmentally friendly house flipping projects allow the future owner to substantially reduce utility bills – and for most people, long-term savings are a reason enough to pay a little extra for a rehabilitated home.

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The clean patch

During the green revamp, materials containing allergens and toxins are eliminated and replaced with clean, healthy alternatives. Asbestos, mold, and lead are also ousted, reducing the risk of long-term health risks – and fortunately for green rehab companies, an increasing number of homebuyers is starting to realize that their health is priceless. In addition to minimizing safety concerns, green renovations also curb the home’s negative impact on the environment, and that is a hot feature in the real estate market characterized by multiplying eco-conscious clients.

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Is it worth it?

Some investors still frown at home greenification: one of their most common arguments in favor of starting construction from scratch rather than remodeling is that a new home is easier and more profitable to build than the work required in overhauling an ancient one. In some cases, they are right: before launching the makeover, green rehab startups have to conduct an energy audit to establish where and how savings can be made. Then there are also the costs of repair, replacement, fresh paint, and post-overhaul audit. All expenses combined, the green renovation can be pricey, but all of these steps are necessary to ensure the greenified home is more cost-efficient and thus more marketable.

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Location is an asset

From another standpoint, green-flipping an old home can be much more lucrative than taking the place down and building a new structure in its stead. This is especially true of old houses in premium locations: the cost of demolition, building permit procurement, construction, and furnishings would make every homeowner squeal in agony, whereas greenification would entail lower total investments. For old buildings with historical importance, demolition would not even be viable due to the property’s cultural value. In this regard, the eco-flipping project is worth every penny, and an increasing number of homeowners are becoming aware of it.

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The green label: A blessing and a curse

Unfortunately, the market is being constantly bombarded with eco-friendly labels, and some conservative-minded clients seem reluctant to invest in estates bragging greenwashed features. This is why green rehab companies are forced to invest extra effort when creating marketing strategies and provide detailed explanations to the benefits of green features to win clientele trust. For those in the know, green is an asset – let us just hope everyone will come round to the idea of long-term real estate sustainability as a well-substantiated perk and not just catchy advertising.

Do old homes have a future? With the green rehab trend spreading fast, they certainly do.

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Zoe Clark, the author of this article, is a proud mom of one baby girl and a miniature schnauzer. When not obsessing about designing perfect homes, Zoe is spending time with her family.

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