The following information is provided by the Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD), with assistance from Lauren Hampton and the Podfly editorial team.
Welch Mitchell is an award-winning REALTOR® in Fort Collins, Colo., who has deep expertise in selling green homes, and is also the founder of a company called Renewablue, which aims to consolidate the processes of buying a home and making energy-efficient upgrades into one seamless and easy process.
Welch Mitchell and Neubauer discuss the ways we are seeing a growing interest in energy efficiency in homes in general, as well as the more specific ways people want to improve their way of life with varied energy methods. As REALTORS®, it is important to represent these features as the benefits that they are, and maximize the financial benefits that come with them.
Green homes are becoming more mainstream, especially in the new construction world; however, Welch Mitchell and Neubauer bring up a good point that this movement is very regional. Sustainable features that are popular in one area may not be as prevalent or interesting in another region, so it’s important to get familiar with trends in your area.
How can REALTORS® help their buyers see the value of these features in a home? As REALTORS®, you can learn what to look for, and where (on appliances, for example), as well as obtain certifications and guides so that you can help your buyers understand what features are available, as well as what the benefits of those features are.
To assist sellers, on the other hand, you should definitely focus on the energy-efficient aspects of the home. By listing energy-efficient features, or ENERGY STAR certifications, you can increase the value of the home, as well as the value of the neighborhood. Getting the information out there accurately is a selling point, as well as an education point, for the marketplace and other REALTORS®.
It is the job of the REALTOR® to communicate the value; REALTORS® are the key to progressing the green homes movement, specifically as existing homes start to get updated.
Working with appraisers is an aspect of the green housing movement that is still being worked out. There is a document you can attach to the sale contract (Residential Green Appraiser Addendum) that can provide information about the green features of the home—and Welch Mitchell and Neubauer provide helpful information about how to use this form.
If you’re not already aware, there are loan options and energy-efficient mortgages for green homes. REALTORS® can help their clients by finding lenders that have programs that help people buy older homes and include costs for energy-efficient upgrades.
With these mortgages, it’s a traditional home loan that lets you borrow more money so you can put in energy savings measures. There are a few extra steps, but it’s important to know about these things to help your client. These loans create opportunity to put in features that are going to provide longevity for the house.
If you don’t yet have your NAR Green Designation, it’s a great place to get educated so you’re aware of what exists out there and how you can use that information as a REALTOR®. Start small and continue to educate yourself and experience these things so you can talk about them with your buyers. Green housing is a great opportunity to pay it forward.
For online education about green homes and sustainability, check out NAR’s Green Designation program offerings online, as well as the BRAND NEW Selling the Sun online continuing education course, which focuses specifically on residential solar installations and how to value them, and was developed in partnership with Elevate Energy and the U.S. Department of Energy.
For more information, please visit RISMedia’s online learning portal from NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD) and the Learning Library. Here, real estate professionals can sign up for online professional development courses, industry designations, certifications, CE credits, Code of Ethics programs and more. NAR’s CRD also offers monthly specials and important education updates. New users will need to register for an account.
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