The Sunshine State has been badly battered by falling home prices, in part due to overspeculation by developers in recent years. So how do homeowners there cope with the market, and attract willing buyers?
Energy Star AC Miami
Get an Energy Star Air Conditioner
Florida is legendary for its sweltering summers, and it's hard to sell a house if people feel miserable when they come out to look at it. That means having a functioning, well-balanced cooling system can go a long way.
'I call it the air-conditioning effect,' explains Kerry Mitchell, president and founder of Green Real Estate Education, and a licensed broker in Tampa.
By purchasing Energy Star-certified cooling equipment, you can demonstrate substantial savings in energy bills, as well as high quality of operation. Buyers appreciate that, says Mitchell. Room air conditioners, like this one from LG, must be at least 10% more efficient to achieve Energy Star, and central air 14%.
Mold Abatement Miami
Take Care of Any Mold
Nothing can kill a home sale faster than ugly, potentially toxic mold. If you have any, you have to deal with it, and if you live in humid Florida, it's a constant battle. Also note that mold frequently develops in places that are hidden from view, so it's best to call in a professional to do a thorough check before listing your home.
The best solution is prevention, so make sure you don't have any leaks or pipes that promote condensation, as well as cracks in basements or low-lying areas that can let moisture in.
Hurricane-Proof That Roof
Living in a hurricane-prone zone, it's a major advantage to offer a roof that is designed to withstand gale-force winds. The roof needs to be properly installed and maintained, and designed to minimize trouble (gables do not work well in high winds, for example).
In general, traditional asphalt shingles are not the best material, both in terms of the environment (they are petroleum products) and hurricanes. If you do have them, any tabs should be locked down. Many homeowners are now discovering metal roofs, which do much better in high winds, come in many styles and colors, and can be made of high recycled content.
Upgrade to Energy Star Appliances
Energy Star was designed by the EPA to take the guesswork out of appliance buying. Look for the blue-and-white label, which means the item is at least 10-50% more efficient than standard models (depending on the class of product). That means lower energy bills and less pollution, like you'll find with these attractive appliances from Bosch.
More than 18,000 products in 35 different categories are covered in the Energy Star program, and most major manufacturers participate. Energy Star is now a fixture in the showrooms of most retailers coast to coast.
Hepa Air Filter Miami
Put in a Powerful Air Filter
With allergies, asthma and chemical sensitivities on the rise -- as well as burgeoning awareness of the importance of good air quality -- homeowners can impress potential buyers with the best in filter technology.
Whole-house filters are definitely the way to go in terms of power, value and ease of use. Electrostatic models fit on HVAC equipment and collect particles with static electricity. They require no disposable parts. A high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter can remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles. HEPA filters are made of randomly arranged fibers and are based on Department of Energy standards.
Beware of so-called 'HEPA type' or 'high efficiency' filters, which can actually be up to 55 percent lower in efficiency than true HEPAs. It's also probably a good idea to avoid ozone-generating air purifiers, which are controversial.
Nontoxic Termite Control
If you're selling your home, you need to be aware of any possible damage from termites, or ongoing infestations. Get a professional to look for signs of damage.
Before applying conventional pesticides to knock out the invaders, consider that the residues can last for a long time, contaminating soil and wood. Sensitive potential buyers may have a problem with that. Instead, you are better off with nontoxic termite prevention, such as sand barriers or metal shields.
If you do have termites, it could pay off to hire a greener exterminator. Nontoxic treatments include use of nematodes (microscopic worms) that kill the insects. Boric acid bait blocks can also be used to limit the amount of chemicals, versus broader spraying. Drywood termites can be treated with thermal, freezing or electrical eradication or desiccating dusts.