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Sometimes I ponder how home renovations got such a bad reputation. Very few people seem to realize that building an energy efficient house may not be as environmentally friendly as renovating an older home. It's true; the greenest house that you can buy may be an existing home. There’s no doubt that most existing homes, ancient as well as modern, can be made more environmentally friendly. But, it's rare for even the most extensive renovation to eat up even a fraction of the natural resources that building from the ground up requires. Why not devote your time and money towards bringing an older home up to snuff rather than engage in new construction that will leave an additional and unnecessary footprint?

Prospective buyers often say that it would cost more to renovate an older home and make it livable than to build a brand, new home. We have all seen the movies showing how those beautiful historical homes are bottomless money pits making home renovation seem a luxury afforded to only those who can afford to throw endless amounts of money at a property. However, as a person that has remodeled several homes with success I can tell you that the stories portrayed in the films were greatly exaggerated.

The key to home renovation where you buy an older home that can be made into a livable space is to make sure that the basic bones are sound and that the location is good. The rule of buying the worst house in the best neighborhood is sound advice. This is where the “money pit” myth may play out in your favor. Price the improvements that you want to make to the home and get reliable estimates on what the home will be worth once they are complete.

Leave yourself some wiggle room for fluctuations in the market and then rock back and enjoy the beautiful woodwork, the high ceilings and all that wonderful square footage that you would not have been able to afford if you have moved forward in building a brand new energy efficient house rather than to turn an old home into a green home. And give yourself a pat on the back for doing something positive for the environment.