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Renters in America

HGTV Star Scott McGillivray Talks Sustainability and Property Value

Television host and real estate expert Scott McGillivray explains how sustainable design and consistent maintenance increase property values.

How can sustainable design help increase a property’s overall value?

It depends what kind of building we’re talking about. For commercial buildings, sustainable design can result in lower operating costs through reduced water and energy usage. There’s also evidence to support the claim that green buildings can command higher rents than non-green buildings. There are obviously a lot of factors involved in this, but it’s a positive sign and I hope to see the trend continue. But no matter how you slice it, reducing, reusing and recycling can contribute to both cost savings and waste reduction, which can help make your property more attractive to tenants, and therefore more valuable.

The other thing to consider is that green buildings tend to help differentiate a brand in they eye of the consumer. They are generally seen as more socially responsible and technologically advanced. Something to keep in mind for business owners.

What is the most common mistake property owners and managers make when it comes to property maintenance?

Waiting until something goes wrong to fix it. One thing that I’ve learned over my 20 years as a real estate investor is that there’s no better way to maintain, or even improve, the value of a property than with regular, consistent property maintenance. Waiting until things go wrong often means a more expensive fix, plus you’ve got ticked off renters on top of it.

What is one maintenance trend that is most attractive to prospective tenants?

It’s hard to pick just one. Clean appliances, windows that function properly, floors that don’t squeak — these are the kinds of things that really make a difference. But when it comes to home improvements and renovations, new kitchens and new bathrooms are always at the top of the list.

Why is it important for property managers and landlords to prioritize their home’s lawn and garden? How does this help increase the property’s value?

Let’s face it, we all judge books by their covers. When people walk or drive up to a property they instantly form an opinion. People assume (often correctly) that the outside of a property is a good indicator of what’s inside. A beautiful exterior with a well-kept lawn and garden silently indicates pride of ownership and lets people know that maintenance is a priority. And for the record, I always recommend a simple, well-kept lawn and garden rather than something that’s extensively landscaped but hard to keep up. Clean and simple is always the way to go.

What would you say to a property manager or landlord who is hesitant to make their property more green-friendly because he or she believes it will be too costly?
The thing about a lot of green-friendly options is that while they can be more costly to install, they can often save you money over time. Things like energy efficient windows or appliances save you money on your hydro bills, so over time it evens things out. If the idea of reducing your carbon footprint isn’t enough to sway you, consider the potential cost savings over the long term.

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