Perceived Value in HomebuyingMarch 31, 2012
Guest Author: CR Herro – Vice President, Environmental Affairs
History has shown that people do not always choose what is best for them, but what they know and understand. The higher the stakes, the more conservative we are in our choices. The challenge of getting each of us to choose to adopt a better behavior or product is twofold. The first challenge is that different is often perceived as risky, because we do not understand it as well as our current choice. The second is that even if we understand we will get an improvement from a new choice, we have to invest effort in changing. Let’s just say it: we can often be too lazy to do better for ourselves.
The challenge is apparent today as Meritage and other members of building industry have adopted superior building specifications to improve the quality and performance of homes. First, in building energy efficient homes the majority of the significant improvements in home building cannot be readily seen. In fact, if we do our jobs well, it is the last thing the buyer of a new Meritage Home thinks about. We want our homeowners to be impacted by how they live in the home, how they can better entertain their guests, and how they can relax after a long work week. The lower the utility bills, the clearer air, and quieter home, just kind of happen. Very few of us take note how we DON’T hear the neighbor’s kids new garage band.
Second, when buying a home, we clearly have a few things to think of to get the best home: location, floor plan, amenities, and price. The complexities of understanding the value between a home with or without low E windows or what the heck a HERS is can feel like an unnecessary burden. Most of us are clear that granite counters are great, but are not aware that significantly lower utility bills can add up to over $100,000 in savings over a 30 year mortgage. If we knew that, we could buy a lot more granite.
And that is the challenge for us all – to remember to consider the things we can’t see when choosing things we buy: How well is it built? How much will it cost me to operate? How good is it for my family? How good is it for the earth? It is work to ask the questions. It may take 6 or even 7 minutes. When the answers allow each of us to choose products and action that make every day better and put money in our pockets, it seems like a reasonable investment of our time.