The nation's capital has seen difficult months for real estate. The region has also been confronting some water shortages, as well as East Coast cost of living issues.
Toto Low Washington
Install Low-Flow Fixtures
Recently, the Washington, DC, area has suffered from droughts, so wise water use is in the minds of many potential homebuyers. Reassure them, and promote lower water bills, with efficient, low-flow hardware, like this elegant design from Toto. Don't worry: There will still be more than ample water pressure.
Similarly, a low-flow showerhead can slash bathing-water consumption 50 to 70%. The devices are simple to install and start around $8. Many styles and features are available, including flow-adjusting dials and a pause button.
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 areas like Washington, DC, 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.
Energy Star ACDC
Get an Energy Star Air Conditioner
A well-balanced cooling system can go a long way toward making people comfortable, especially when they come to look at your house.
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. Room air conditioners (like this model from LG) must be at least 10% more efficient to achieve Energy Star, and central air 14%.
Low VOC Paints
Put on a Coat of Low-VOC Paint
You may have heard that painting doesn't increase the value of your house, but real estate agents say it absolutely can help make a sale, especially where you need to cover scuff marks. These days, it is smart to use a low-VOC (volatile organic compound) color, which will release much lower levels of potentially toxic fumes.
More and more people are insisting that their homes be decorated in a way that provides for the most healthy indoor air, and by being proactive with paints you give yourself a nice gold star to tout.
Many major manufacturers now offer the non- and low-VOC paints in a range of colors, such as Benjamin Moore's Eco Spec and Sherwin Williams's Harmony line.
Rinnai DC Water Heater
Get a Tankless Water Heater
The cost of heating water is about 13% of a typical energy bill. Unfortunately there's a lot of waste built in with conventional water heaters, since so much of the time water just sits in the tank unused, slowly losing heat.
A smarter device is a 'tankless water heater,' or 'demand water heater,' such as this one from Rinnai, which heats water as you need it. This also means you won't run out of warmth in the middle of a shower. Typical energy savings are therefore 24 to 34% versus standard tank heaters, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Note that experts recommend gas-fired tankless heaters over electric models, which require a substantial amount of juice to run.