illustration of green house on half earth with colorful butterflies

If you would like to implement energy-efficient upgrades on your home, but don’t know where to start, a home energy audit is a great place to begin.  Many of these upgrades not only make your home more efficient, but will make your home more comfortable and healthy.  If you find your home is too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, or if you know your bills are too high for the size of your home, you should definitely consider an energy audit.  Also, homes with green features are quickly rising in popularity and sell faster and closer to asking price.

Certified Energy Auditors use various tests and tools to produce a detailed diagnosis and specific solutions to make your home more efficient and healthy.  Auditors will do a visual inspection of your home to find leaks in doors and windows and to check your insulation levels.  Blower door and infrared camera diagnostic tools can measure the air leaks from inside your home.

Energy auditors seek to find improvements that are specific to your home, as every home and region are different.  For instance, a home in a more humid region should take caution before sealing leaks, as this could cause a potential humidity build up.

Colorado residents are eligible for rebates from Xcel energy for energy-effiicient upgrades.  Also, customers using Xcel energy are provided with a list of Certified Energy Auditors.  Please note:  auditors on this list are registered with Xcel, but are not necessarily recommended, so consumers are encouraged to conduct their own research before choosing an auditor.

Groundwork Denver, a nonprofit whose mission is to bring about the sustained improvement of the physical environment and promote health and well-being also have BPI-certified energy specialists to investigate your appliances, furnace and insulation to identify and prioritize energy-saving improvements. They then provide education and resources on how to implement those improvements, connections to other resources (weatherization funding, home rehabilitation programs, rebates and local contractors), and a summary report of findings and recommendations.

Just by identifying simple changes, audits can save you $5 to $300 a year on energy bills.  This energy audit will cost $150, and for another $50, they can implement minor upgrades during the audit.

     Graph made of green grass and blue sky

As a homeowner, adding green features to your home can quickly increase your home’s comfort and levels of health, while saving you money.  However, for real estate investors, there are also many benefits for adding green features to your properties.  Green real estate investments are quickly becoming popular due to their high profit ratings and are attractive to future renters and buyers.

Tenants or potential buyers of homes and commercial properties will save on their energy bills, so owners can justify increases in rent or the listing price.  Tenants who prefer energy-efficient homes and commercial spaces are likely to be more conscientious, so these folks may be better tenants – paying rent on time and taking better care of your property!

Many green improvements also require less maintenance.  Repairs and replacements that can be done less often will quickly lead to savings for the property owner.  Also, green homes and commercial properties create healthier environments, which sets green properties apart from others in the market.  The ability to market your property as healthy can result in quicker sales and rentals, which is a goal of investors.

So, help yourself while doing some good for the environment – Green up your investment real estate!

illustration of board for rent

Denver rent averages have reached levels not seen since metro Denver’s apartment boom days in the dot-com era.  A report released in October 2013 from the Apartment Association of Metro Denver and the Colorado Division of Housing states that the area’s overall vacancy rate is 4.4 percent, which is a pretty tight market for renters.  Ryan McMaken, an economist with the Colorado Division of Housing, believes that many apartment units are sitting longer than normal only because they are being updated, repaired, or renovated.

Supply of rentals from new builds is finally beginning to push up the vacancy rates a bit.  However, even with 2900 new units, rents continue to rise.  Average rents are currently at $1,049, up 6.3 percent from Q3 2012.  2014 is expected to bring 10,000 new units, which may slow rent growth.  However, population growth hasn’t slowed much in Denver, so we will see how the numbers even out, if at all.

While interest rates remain low, it may be a great time for you to buy.  Through much of Denver, if you were to purchase the exact same property that you’re renting, your mortgage payment would likely be lower than your monthly rent.  Contact us at Conscious Group to see if buying in Colorado is a good move for you!