There is a saying that the eyes are the window to the soul. Eyes are often the first thing you notice in a person. Do they have kind eyes? Intelligent eyes? Cold eyes? We make instant impressions.

Windows are also significant in a potential homebuyer’s first impression of your property. Windows can have a huge impact on a home, both in terms of energy efficiency and aesthetics. That’s why window replacements are a great use of your rehab budget. They can create an instant good impression and, looking deeper – peering into the soul of the house – they can add huge value to a property. Estimates show that some window replacements provide a 78% ROI over the long-run, and even that ROI may be even higher for a quick turnaround.

What Makes a Good Window

There are two major factors to weigh when considering window replacements: energy efficiency and aesthetics. Both are important when drawing in a potential buyer. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering a window replacement on your fix-and-flip property:

Energy Efficiency

Windows are a deciding factor when it comes to a home’s energy efficiency. For much of California, especially in the southern part of the state, the concern isn’t just about heat escaping – it’s about heat coming in. Luckily, the same windows can address either issue.

To prevent excess heat from coming in and baking a house, you can rely on Low-E storm windows. “Low-E” stands for “low-emissivity.” The storm windows can be lowered during the summer to reduce the amount of heat that comes through. Of course, they will need to be raised if you want the window open, but for houses that rely on air conditioning, this keeps the AC from fighting a losing battle against the sun. You can also lower them during winter months in colder climes to keep heat trapped inside. Low-E storm windows are a less expensive route than replacing all the windows, making them an affordable option and a good selling point.

An even better selling point is replacing all or some of the window entirely. When doing so, you have to keep in mind some important factors in terms of energy efficiency:

U-Factor: Maybe the most important way to rank windows, the U-Factor is the rate of heat loss for any window. Zero is the best rating, although it is essentially impossible. One is the worst rating, which is basically an open window. Everything else falls in between. An energy-efficient, double-paned window can have a U-Factor as low as .15. Heat loss is less important in Southern California, but important at times, and very important in other areas of California. During the winter months, windows with a low U-Factor are very handy. If the heat that’s pumping in through vents or radiators simply escapes through the windows, a homeowner ultimately wastes money. Being able to advertise that your new windows can reduce energy costs is a great selling point.  It’s important to note that this has nothing to do with a window being “drafty,” which is based on the integrity of the pane.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): SHGC measures the amount of heat from the sun that can come in a window. It’s also measured on a scale between 0 and 1. This is more-or-less the correlation to U-Factor, and it’s extremely important in Southern California, especially for east- or west-facing windows. A house can get very hot at certain times of day if it has a bad SHGC. Windows that can keep a house cool and help the owner save energy on their AC can be a great selling point.

Air Leakage: This is related to the U-Factor. Air leakage isn’t a matter of the frame being leaky, but of the window pane being too thick or too thin. A thin pane lets in a lot of hot or cold air regardless of how snugly it’s fitted.

Windows with a great U-Factor and SHCG start for as low as $120.


The way a window looks is obviously the second factor you should consider, and while upgrading windows based on looks alone is not as important for homeowner cost, it can still be a very valuable use of your loan. After all, it can have a huge impact on a person’s first impression of the house.

Two of the most popular window treatments are wood and vinyl. Wooden window panes are more expensive, sometimes costing up to $12,000, but they add a sense of luxury to the house that can up the “wow” factor of your property. Vinyl can be up to $10,000 less than wood and is still very popular. Regardless of what you choose for your window replacement, making sure that you do it correctly and align it properly is of absolute importance. You don’t want to hear the whistling of wind during your open house or pretty soon, that’s the only sound the house will be making. You certainly won’t hear the chatter of prospective buyers.

Whatever you decide to do, you can afford it with an equity-based hard money loan from Socotra Capital, California’s premier hard money lender. Socotra helps you put money into your fix-and-flip or residential rehab project and get it on the market for a quick sale. Window replacement has always been a great idea, and now that you can add eco-friendly, energy-efficient windows, it seems like the eyes have it.

Your real estate assets are your best investments for the future. At Socotra Capital, we’re proud to be the premier direct hard money lender for California real estate. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.