Green Home Improvements Take Root with the Right Buyer

By ForSaleByOwner

Tammy Young says she spent at least five years and more than $25,000 making her house as environmentally friendly as possible. “Before I bought the house, I spent a few years traveling overseas for my job and was always horrified at the way Americans wasted so much of our resources,” Young says. “I vowed that I would do everything I could to live as resourcefully as possible when I returned for good to the States.”

When it was time to sell her home, Young says she soon learned that the environmental add-ons were part of a filtering process for prospective buyers. “You know what kind of people will enjoy your home,” she says. “Our real estate agent viewed anyone with the money to buy the house as the same. We went a little deeper, and it worked out incredibly well for us.”

Young, who was born in Australia and moved to the United States to attend Stanford University when she was 18, eventually moved to Minneapolis, where she lived with her partner, Valerie, until the two decided to go their separate ways in 2012. “We both loved that house, and we knew it just made sense to sell it,” Young says. “The thing was that Val and I learned a lot and put so much care into that house that we were both determined to sell it to someone who would appreciate the changes we made and would continue to work on making the house as green as possible.”

Young says the house was listed initially with a local real estate agent, who assured them that she would target the exact sort of home buyer they discussed. In a matter of weeks, Young knew that the decision was a mistake. “When she looked at our house, she loved all the things we’d done, but as soon as one week went by, she had asked us to move the compost bin, move the rain barrels essentially get rid of all the things we worked so hard to create.”

Young maintained the house and tried to accommodate the agent but soon realized that it wouldn’t be possible. Young decided to stick firm to her higher asking price and immediately opted out of the deal when the contract with the real estate agent had expired. “I took the house off the market, made some changes, waited a few months and then listed it again, but this time on my own,” she says. “Val and I planted a garden, painted the shutters and added a couple more rain barrels.”

The rain barrels, of course, collect rain that is then used to water the grass and plants. The compost bin was moved back to the side of the house to serve as a green option for food scraps, coffee grounds and biodegradable trash, but now does so for a new homeowner.

“When we listed the place ourselves, we actually targeted environmentally conscious people through some ads, through some organizations I belong to and through word of mouth,” says Young. “Turns out there is a pretty large group of people who are very interested in homes with amenities like our old house low-energy lighting, radiator heat, low-flow faucets and toilets all of those things and more.”

Within two months of listing on their own and advertising through an online property ad, the house was sold to a University of Minnesota counselor who had just started a family. “They are the cutest couple with the cutest two little boys,” Young says. “The mom and dad were all about teaching their kids how to respect the earth in all aspects of their life. They found our home on Craigslist and made an offer less than an hour after walking through it. It was this perfect little bow on our house and our relationship, a perfect little ending.”

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