Homeowners Should Winterize Now – Appraisal Institute

The nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers today advised homeowners to winterize their properties now for cold weather ahead to improve comfort, reduce costs and potentially increase value.

“Fall is a great time for consumers to make improvements that likely will pay dividends in the winter and throughout the year,” said Appraisal Institute President & Acting CEO Jim Amorin, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS. “Basic renovations can make the colder months more comfortable and possibly increase the value of a home.”

According to Remodeling magazine’s 2017 Cost vs. Value Report, home improvement projects with the highest expected return on investment are attic insulation (fiberglass), entry door replacement (steel), manufactured stone veneer and minor kitchen remodel.

Other winterization steps that homeowners might consider are protection for landscaping, decks and roofs, which can potentially add to property values.

The Appraisal Institute encourages consumers to check with a qualified, competent appraiser before making decisions on which winterization projects to complete. “Home improvements can add to the enjoyment of a property and might increase its value,” Amorin said. “An appraiser can share ideas on renovations, keeping in mind community norms.”

For an unbiased analysis of what their home would be worth both before and after an improvement project, a homeowner can work with a well credentialed real estate appraiser – such as a Designated Member of the Appraisal Institute – to conduct a feasibility study.

According to the Energy Saver Guide, produced by U.S. Department of Energy, weatherizing a home can save money and energy. For example, by sealing uncontrolled air leaks consumers can save 10-20 percent on heating and cooling bills which comprise approximately 35-40 percent of a property’s annual energy use. The Energy Saver Guide also says homeowners should:

  • Use smart and programmable thermostats, which can help lower energy bills by as much as 10 percent per year.
  •  Replace the home’s heating system if it’s more than 15 years old.
  • Use heat pumps instead of electric furnaces or electric baseboard heaters to reduce electricity used for heating by up to 50 percent.
  • Determine their eligibility for weatherization and home energy assistance.

For additional information on home improvements, see the Appraisal Institute’s Home Improvement Tips fact sheet.