Cost effective efficiency improvements possible for investment properties?
I’m looking at purchasing some single or small multi-family rental properties and possible an occasional rehab. I would love to do my part in helping to reduce the energy consumption of buildings and hopefully provide a point of differentiation in my properties. Much of the properties I’m looking at, the owner pays for electric/gas. Unfortunately, I don’t think the market is willing to pay a whole lot more for energy efficiency as they don’t consider (IMO) the total cost of ownership or rent. Because of this, it’s hard to justify as an investor the considerable expense of a full deep retrofit on these properties. So how can I help to improve our existing, aging housing stock in a cost effective way?
The homes I’m looking at are in northern 4A (Cincinnati). A typical property will probably be built in the early 1950’s to early 1970’s. Construction is typically wood framed, often with a mix of brick veneer and vinyl/aluminum. Stucco can also be common. Insulation is not likely installed until some of the later homes. Ideally, we would rip off the exterior detailing or gut the interior and add foam, cellulose and air seal. However, this is obviously a costly solution unless the condition of the home warranted the demolition otherwise.
Is it worth just to dense pack the walls with cellulose along with blowing cellulose into the attic. Included could be some minor air sealing details in the ceiling and basement rim joists if accessible. Would this be a risky assembly without applying foam and leaving the exterior brick/stucco/vinyl intact? What would you do (besides tear the home down and start over)?
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