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High-Performing Homes: What They Mean to Homeowners and Real Estate Agents in Grand Rapids, Michigan

If homebuyers and their agents had a clear understanding of the benefits and features of high-performing homes, would they pay more for those homes? Would this launch a cycle of market transformation in which owners upgrade their homes not just for comfort and savings, but also because they can expect to capture the value of these improvements at the time of home sale?

In 2021, Elevate conducted virtual interviews with residents of the Grand Rapids area who had bought single-family homes within the last two years to learn: 1) what features buyers are prioritizing when they are shopping for homes, 2) what energy efficiency messages are most compelling to buyers, and 3) buyers’ expectations of their real estate agents. Elevate also interviewed two Grand Rapids based real estate agents who have built home performance into their business models.

Key findings include:

  • Homebuyers would benefit from learning about the full range of benefits energy efficiency upgrades provide. People tended to understand that these upgrades provide lower energy bills, but do not know the range of benefits.
  • Homebuyers do put value on homes that seem well-maintained homes, but do not translate efficiency upgrades to mean a well-maintained home.
  • Homebuyers frequently mention wanting their homes to be warm, comfortable, and welcoming but do not think of those qualities in terms of room temperature or air quality.
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