Are you putting your home up for sale on the Portland real estate market this fall? You may be looking around for low-cost improvements you can make to boost your home’s value. Or maybe you’re a new Portland home owner who felt the cold air seeping through your single-pane windows last winter and thought “Ouch, this is definitely hurting my heating bill.”
You’re not alone. Ninety percent of home buyers these days are looking for energy-efficient homes, with features like good insulation and efficient appliances. Even in Portland’s relatively temperate climate, energy costs can be high.
Unfortunately, measures to reduce the amount of energy it takes to run your home can often be costly. Don’t let that stop you, though. Tax credits and rebates allow homeowners to make energy-efficient improvements for a lot less. Follow these steps to learn how to get cash back for greening your home:
1. Do an energy audit to get an idea of where your home needs the most help. It’s free through Energy Trust of Oregon and you can do it online or over the phone. You can also start watching your electric bill through Portland General Electric’s Energy Tracker to monitor your energy use over the year.
2. Let’s say that the energy audit confirms your suspicions about those windows and recommends replacing them with double-paned glass. The next place to go is to PMAR’s (Portland Metro Association of Realtors) client resource page for a list of cash incentives and state and federal tax credits for energy efficiency home improvements. They also link to assistance opportunities for those with low to moderate incomes.
3. State and federal tax credits are always changing, so it wouldn’t hurt to check these lists also to see if your windows (or other improvements) are eligible: Oregon residential energy tax credits and federal tax credits for consumer energy efficiency
4. Find a licensed independent contractor to install your new windows through Energy Trust of Oregon’s database.
5. See Portland General Electric’s list of low-cost improvements you can do yourself to see if there is anything else you can do to make your home more efficient. Don’t forget to check for tax credits and rebates for any of these (you can even get money back for planting trees!)
Don’t forget, you can not only get money back for greening your home through cash incentives and tax credits, your home’s value will reflect energy efficient improvements as well. Talk to your Portland real estate agent to find out more!