What’s All the Hype About Green?
April 28, 2014
By Jan Green
Why is it important for agents to know anything about “green” features? To begin; The National Association of REALTORS conducted a survey and found that nearly all consumers are concerned about their energy bills. What does this mean to you and I as a real estate professional? If consumers are focused on energy, educating ourselves to differentiate between an inefficient home and an efficient home is of great importance particularly with one’s monthly budget. It also means if consumers are interested, in this topic, they are willing to spend real dollars on green and energy efficient features for their home. When they go to sell these homes, with multiple energy efficient features, we should be able to market them to home buyers in a manner that enhances the value and savings.
In order to us to market homes with these energy efficient features the MLS has been updated in 2009 and then again in 2013 to include energy applicable fields. The green and energy efficient fields were added to the MLS as offered and typically exist in custom and production built homes. During the process of adding green features to the MLS, GreenTheMLS.org site was reviewed to compare Phoenix to other cities in the nation. This site was created in 2009 by the National Association of Realtors in conjunction with USGBC, EcoBroker and many other entities. The process of redefining features into categories for ARMLS was based on reviewing other U.S. cities and their case studies. Green features are now integrated WITH other conventional features to encourage conversations with homeowners. For example, the Window category shows single pane, dual pane, and low E windows listed together. That begs the question, “What type of windows are included in this home?” You’ll also see several other defined categories, thus separating features from the ‘Construction’ field. Energy Star Certified homes have been built in the Phoenix Metro Area since 1998 and total over 118,000 to date. Furthermore the Scottsdale Green Building Program began in 1998 for newly built homes in Scottsdale. This program recently transitioned to an even more advanced certification. To add to the equation there are also LEED and NAHB Certified homes. Custom builders have been building energy efficient homes for a long period of time in all areas of the Valley. If we are to market these homes effectively; giving them as much value as possible, then we need to be armed with information and education. Homes with energy efficient features require specific steps to ensure maximum value in the sales process. A way to do this is to create an “upgrade” list with these features and their cost and add it to the “Document” tab. Utility bills before and after solar should also be added, as well as solar leases. A copy of the Green and Energy Efficient Addendum, that can be found on the Appraisal Institute website, can be uploaded as well. This addendum may be completed from Institute’s website. The form may be completed by the listing agent, builder or homeowner by listing the specific features to be appraised. Providing this information publicly for consumers and appraisers to review is a valuable addition to the disclosure and appraisal process. When the house is appraised, it’s imperative to ask an appraiser BEFORE THEY ARRIVE at the home, what their level of experience is with regards to appraising homes with green and energy efficient features. If minimal experience, ask the lender to request another appraiser. The number of appraisers with necessary education is growing, but it’s still wise to ask. Meet the appraiser at the home with the feature list, Green and Energy Efficient Addendum, comparable sales, copy of the contract and a copy of the Sellers Property Disclosure Statement. Review these documents with the appraiser to ensure they have as much information as possible to allocate value to the extra features.
By becoming aware of green and energy efficient features and their benefits, you will be in better position to represent your clients at the point of sale. In addition you will contribute to “raising the bar” of value and appreciation for homes with green and energy efficient features.