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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Life for Older Homes

If you're in the market for a greener home, you've got plenty of obvious options, from purchasing new construction with LEED certification to designing your own house from the ground up. Still, a new home isn't always the most practical or appealing, and there are steps you can take to green the process even when considering a traditional real estate purchase.

First, keep in mind the major ecological factors in choosing a home. If it's in a climate that must be heated or cooled for comfortable living throughout the year, this is generally the largest consideration. The more moderate the regional climate and the smaller and better insulated the house, the smaller the ecological footprint. In addition, check on the convenience of walking or public transportation, on whether the building is relatively free from toxins such as lead, and on particular green features like efficient appliances.

EcoBroker's real estate search is a good place to start this process. You can choose a variety of environmental attributes to include in your search. Of course, the number of properties listed in your desired area depends not only on availability, but on local brokers. You can also search directly for real estate professionals to help you find a property that meets your needs.

Finally, whether you want to buy a green building or choose something traditional and make alterations, consider a green mortgage. These loans, depending upon preexisting or agreed-upon environmental features often have better financial terms than traditional mortgages, based on the idea that the less owners are paying for utilities, the faster they'll be able to pay off a mortgage. In situations involving renovation, the cost of the updates can generally be included in the mortgage, making this green option a perfect example of efficiency of cost and resources going hand in hand.

Creative Commons Image by Pacific Northwest Regional Architecture

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