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The energy savings vs. resale value debate by Paul Bianchina
landlord helpQ: I have a 1950s home. Last year I remodeled, but did not change out the windows. I got an estimate yesterday (for new windows) at $8,200. Would that be a good investment? –Gayle H.

A: The answer to that question depends on exactly what you mean by it being a good investment.

First of all, I’m a big fan of changing out older, single-pane windows for new energy-efficient ones. They save on utility costs; they help conserve energy for all of us; and they’ll make your home quieter and more comfortable. So from the standpoint of comfort and reduced utility bills, it’s definitely a good investment.
Most of today’s buyers are looking for energy efficiency when they shop for a home, and many probably would rather not have to tackle a remodeling project as extensive as changing out a house full of windows. So as a selling feature to make a home more attractive to a buyer, again it’s definitely a good investment.

Finally, we would need to look at it from a strictly financial perspective, and that’s a much harder one to answer. If you’re going to stay in the home for awhile, you would need to look at what the monthly energy savings would be, then divide that number into $8,200 to determine how many months it would take to pay back the initial investment.

If you’re planning on selling soon, you should talk to your real estate agent and see what homes like yours are selling for with and without upgraded windows.

The difference in sales prices will be a pretty good indicator as to whether or not you’ll recover the full $8,200. It’s doubtful that you’ll recoup the entire investment, but the home should be easier and faster to sell with the new windows, so you’ll have to factor those savings into the financial mix as well.

Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at paulbianchina@inman.com.
Copyright 2010 Inman News
See Paul Bianchina’s feature, Tips on Remodeling to Sell.
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