Eco-staging, or green staging, has captured the hearts and minds of home sellers in Europe and Canada. You've heard it here and elsewhere that, all things being equal, consumers will favor green or sustainable homes in a depressed market. And why shouldn't they? You get more bang for your housing buck with energy-saving features and appliances.
Curb appeal is still king. However, sustainable staging means that internal appeal improves dramatically with low-E washers, dryers, water heaters, multi-paned and coated windows, low-flow toilets and sinks, and energy efficient lighting. For many of you, the price of all these upgrades may be more than your budget allows. But if you're prepping to go on the market at all, there are small, important maintenance and home remodeling projects that can help your house remain competitive.
Quick, easy green building fixes and upgrades
Start in the bathroom(s). Fix those leaky bathroom faucets already! Imagine walking past a running tap during a home tour. You can't get back to the car quickly enough. Install a low-flow aerator into your faucets and shower heads. So far you've spent between $3 and $7 and your home is that much greener. Next, swap out any of your remaining incandescent bulbs for LED or CFL bulbs.
Green stage the kitchen
You don't need to complete an entire kitchen remodeling project. Touch up or complete repainting can transform your kitchen in time for sale. Use low or no- VOC paints that won't off-gas hazardous materials into your home. You'll find green paint from even the largest brand name manufacturers. Install low-flow aerators in your kitchen faucets. Swap out your old bulbs and, if you're considering spot or under-cabinet lighting, chose low-watt fixtures and LED bulbs. You can itemize these and other sustainable improvements on your listing. If need be, upgrade your appliances one at a time, if you're on a tight budget. Go for ENERGYSTAR-rated washers, dryers and dishwashers.
Lawn and garden staging
If you live in a drought-sensitive climate, consider planting with native grasses that thrive in local conditions. If you have garden lights, swap out those bulbs and install timers. In wet climates, put up recycled wooden catchment barrels to store up water for your garden. Homeowners shopping specifically for green features tend to love gardens. That said, consider adding a composter.
Finally, when it's time for show, don't stink up the house with artificial air fresheners. Strong chemical smells of any kind can sour a potential buyer. Put your green foot forward.