real estate

7 tips for buyers who want a green home

Look for the signs of a green home
Look for the signs of a green home © fasphotographic/Shutterstock.com

Are you looking at a truly green home? Finding the answer could be more complex than you might think.

According to Bergman, buyers can usually tell quite a bit about a home just by looking at the appliances (Energy Star is a big plus), the windows (double pane), and the heating and air-conditioning system. But to learn about the insulation -- which can make a big difference on the utility bill -- buyers will often have to ask or rely on an energy audit, which could run about $500.

"Asking to see past utility bills is an option," Bergman says, "but the bill won't tell you everything you need to know about energy efficiency because human behavior is such a big factor."

Likewise, it's a good idea for buyers to ask about documentation on green features. But they shouldn't be surprised or dissuaded if the seller can't provide paperwork.

"The certification process for a lot of green features may not be standardized yet, but if it's there, it's a good idea to use it," Turner says.

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