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The New Stimulus Package Changing the Face of Real Estate Marketing



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By : Kristine Squiers    99 or more times read
With the new stimulus package (www.recovery.gov/Pages/home.aspx) encouraging companies to sell, invent, and manufacture products that will produce more energy efficient usage of nearly everything we own, the real estate market appears to be looking at a growing need to make changes in the way listings are created. Currently, homes listings feature amenities like fireplaces, garages, and spa tubs. Yet in 2010 the Energy Star Program takes on even more of a role in our everyday lives as we see the stimulus package pumping money into businesses that promote the energy efficiency of homes.

To earn the ENERGY STAR,(www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=new_homes.hm_index) a home must meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes are at least 15% more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC), and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 2030% more efficient than standard homes.

Remodeling contractors and homebuilders are now moving toward better use of materials, better selection of energy efficient windows, and appliances as means to provide incentive to homeowners and homebuyers. Along with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which has been amended, the benefits of saving money long term on energy efficient housing paired with the tax benefits, a greater focus will be placed on homes which provide recently remodeled energy efficient features and new homes constructed to be Energy Star Qualified. Real Estate sellers will need to begin refining their listing programs to better feature these new demands.

Realtors should become more familiar with the tax benefits of energy efficient homes in order to assist their clients in making smart purchases. The Tax Incentives Assistance Project (TIAP),(energytaxincentives.org/) sponsored by a coalition of public interest nonprofit groups, government agencies, and other organizations in the energy efficiency field, is designed to give consumers and businesses information they need to make use of the federal income tax incentives for energy efficient products and technologies passed by Congress as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and subsequently amended several times. The Stimulus Package extends and enlarges Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives. (energytaxincentives.org/general/legislative.php)

Historically, remodeling projects are a loss to current homeowners who find that although the project makes their home more marketable and attractive to homebuyers, the money used to remodel the home is rarely recouped in actual dollars at closing. Realtors need to become more aware of the benefits of Energy Star home improvements for the upcoming trends in this decade. ENERGY STAR qualified homes offer homebuyers all the features they want in a new home, plus energy-efficient improvements that deliver better performance, greater comfort, and lower utility bills.

With these energy efficient features, a Realtor needs to be able to market the value of the energy efficiency of remodeling projects, like lower heat bills, stable home temperatures, and lower electric bills. Currently homeowners see a return of 50%-80% on projects that focus on aesthetics or additional usable space. If that project also features Energy Star Qualified improvements, realtors can capitalize on that to gain additional interest by the homebuyer. As a Realtor, presenting to the homebuyer that purchasing an Energy Star home can save them as much as $100 a month on utilities enables the homebuyer to free up additional funds from their monthly budget to pay for the mortgage.

In the next ten years there will be an increase in homes offering a wide range of new technology that goes beyond having an extra layer of insulation in the attic or an energy efficient dishwasher. Realtors need to become aware of all the benefits of having an energy efficient home, the tax incentives, and the marketing techniques for these new features. The trend is being reinforced in America and as we see the innovations of the auto industry changing the face of American gas usage, we need to be prepared for the growth in the Energy Star housing market.
Ann Arbor Michigan Realtor
Steve Wickland
www.wicklandgroup.com


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