By Mike Baird
A few years ago, if you’d asked me if “going green” was a good idea for your flip houses, I might’ve hesitated. Some things, like energy efficient appliances, fixtures, and windows, have always made sense, but others— like green roofs—seemed like they might just be fads that would fade away in time. But with more and more people paying attention to the environment and their impact on it, I’ve found that those details are anything but fads. In fact, they may be the future of house flipping rehabs.
You don’t want to necessarily set your entire design strategy around the “latest and greatest” eco-friendly details. Some of these are just too expensive to be feasible, and others might actually make people skeptical about buying the house. That’s why I’ve gone back and forth on green roofs for a long time.
What Is a Green Roof?
If you’ve been paying attention to the different options to make homes and other buildings more eco-friendly, you’ve probably run across the concept of a green roof, but do you know what it is? Also called a living roof, a green roof is designed and constructed to be completely or partially covered in vegetation.
Some green roofs are more elaborate than others, with drainage, irrigation, and root barriers, but when we’re talking about residential roofs, we’re mostly talking about roofs that are designed to have grass, moss, or other vegetation with shallow root systems. Basically, they create a cool way to add more green space to a property or neighborhood without adding extra land. But are they a good idea for flip houses?
Always Look at Your Budget
Green roofs aren’t really a new phenomenon. They’ve been around for residential properties since the 1940s, and it’s actually not very hard to create a waterproof membrane and irrigation system to keep a green roof healthy and leak-proof, even for homes with sloped roofs. The question, though, is how much more will it cost you to do a green roof instead of a tile or shingle roof?
Does the House Actually Need a New Roof?
If you weren’t planning on replacing the roof already, you probably shouldn’t go with a green roof. Yes, it’s a cool and environmentally friendly detail, but it will cost money. That’s one of those things you can leave up to your buyers if they decide to replace the roof down the line.
Will It Fit in With the Neighborhood?
When you make updates to the house, you need to think about the neighborhood and the market. If you’re selling a modern or contemporary home with a flat roof and distinctive architecture in a neighborhood with a lot of unique homes, you might want to go with a green roof because it will look good with both the house itself and the whole neighborhood.
On the other hand, if you’re selling a house in a neighborhood with a more uniform look, you might want to go with a more traditional roof. Remember, your neighbors will help sell your flip houses whenever they can because they want that property to be occupied and kept up. But they might not be excited about an over-developed and “weird” looking house going in. So pay attention to the styles and designs of the houses near yours.
Green roofs are a really great idea, and they can add a lot of vibrancy to almost any home. In a few years, they may be the standard, but we’re not quite there yet. For now, you do still have to make some decisions based on budget and location. If a green roof makes sense for your location and budget, go for it. If not, you can make some other eco-friendly decisions to make your flip house greener and more energy efficient.