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agent-webRISMEDIA, February 14, 2009-For the environmentally aware buyer and seller, there’s increasing interest in working with an agent who not only shares a “green” mindset but also knows more than a thing or two about green properties.

The National Association of Realtors’ 2007 Profile of Buyers’ Home Features Preferences shows that buyers highly interested in energy efficiency spent an average of $12,400 more on their new homes. And a November 2008 report by McGraw-Hill Construction estimates that by 2013 green properties will account for more than $100 billion in the housing market-nearly triple that of today.

For the eco-focused agent, the green trend offers a long-term opportunity to expand your market, increase referrals and boost your bottom line.

Here are some strategies and resources you need to be aware of if you’re looking to help consumers sell and locate eco-sustainable real estate:

Walk the Walk. Show your eco-conscious customers that you mean business by making a green shift in your everyday business practices. Implement a recycling program in your office, outfit your workspace with products and supplies that are safe for the environment, and take steps to go paperless. Research data scanning and storage software that help you reduce and reuse. You also can stand out by sponsoring recycling and educational programs for schools and community organizations.

Do Your Homework. Familiarize yourself with environmental rating systems such as Energy Star, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and other programs that outline ecological benchmarks. Check into local and regional government programs, too. Refer to these resources often to solidify your understanding of what constitutes a green build.

Become the Expert. NAR’s new sustainable property designation, “Green,” provides agents with the credentials to put behind their eco-expert service. The comprehensive core course creates a solid foundation for developing your green business. Visit the Green Resource Council website at greenresourcecouncil.org to learn more. Other certifications to look into include EcoBroker, LEED Accredited Professionals (LEED-AP) and, for Canadian agents, Accredited Green Agent (AGA) and Accredited Green Broker (AGB).

Network in Green Circles. Be loud and proud about your new expertise. Connect with green builders, leaders of green community organizations and representatives in your area from groups such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). You’ll develop rapport that can translate into a steady stream of leads and referrals. RE

Margaret Kelly, CRB, is chief executive officer of RE/MAX International.

For more information, visit www.remax.com.

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