Efficient windows save money and energy. Just be sure they fit the house. Although there are no guarantees that the money you spend on replacement windows will be recouped when you sell your house, there are several good reasons to do it anyway. The choice is either to refurbish the existing windows to make them work as they were designed or to replace them with more energy-efficient models.
First, you need to look at each window in the house to see whether it operates as it was designed. Sometimes windows in new construction have been installed too tightly, so they pinch the screens, which won’t open and close easily. In older houses, you usually find that the top sash has been painted shut because people rarely move it up and down.
In new construction, standard windows are not that expensive compared with the total cost of the house. Special windows—transoms, half-moons, and Palladian—add a considerable amount to the cost, however. Windows in new houses, in fact, can approach 3 percent of the sale price. For a $300,000, 3,200-square-foot house, that means $9,000.