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The following information is provided by the Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD).

The MLS is an essential part of the real estate business. Both real estate professionals and appraisers (and other allied professionals) rely on its data to price properties and identify the value of the features within. They know that the sale price of a home today will influence the price range for similar homes tomorrow.

In the future, as more resource-efficient homes are retrofitted, sold, resold, and built, their valuation will become second nature. In the meantime, real estate professionals, appraisers, sellers, and buyers of resource-efficient homes have the responsibility to include data about homes with green features in their listings. This will help agents face two main challenges that affect pricing: (1) presenting consistent listing data representative of a home’s green features, and (2) using that data to locate comparable properties, thus helping assign a more accurate value.

One of the first things you can do when working with resource-efficient homes is to check your MLS to see if it already includes data fields for green property attributes. If your MLS has not yet implemented green fields, standard fields will be made available to all MLSs beginning January of 2018. The good news is that according to the recent REALTORS® and Sustainability 2017 survey, 43 percent of respondents stated that their MLS contained green fields; 19 percent indicated that they didn’t; and 38 percent were not sure. These figures show that there is a great opportunity here for real estate professionals to get educated, involved, and become agents for change.

Having green fields in your MLS is beneficial for several reasons:

  • It enables real estate professionals to list and find homes with resource-efficient features.
  • The richer the stream of data, the larger the pool of comparable properties for real estate professionals and appraisers to use in calculating property value.
  • When resource-efficient features are reflected in the MLS listing and the home’s value, homeowners can see the payoff for their choices and efforts.
  • Buyers can use the green data fields to search for properties with specific features, like home certifications, solar panels or ENERGY STAR® appliances.
  • Data can be aggregated to show market trends, such as time on the market and sale-to-list price ratios for resource-efficient homes.
  • When their listings appear on the MLS, real estate professionals who specialize in resource-efficient homes can enhance brand marketing and reputation as go-to green practitioners.

“MLSs around the country have really embraced the move towards green data fields,” says Laura Stukel, REALTOR® with L.W. Reedy Real Estate in Elmhurst, Ill. “Organizations like the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) and the Council of MLS are looking for us to make the transaction smooth and they understand the value of representing the fields consumers need consistently.”

If your MLS does not have green fields, it may be a challenge to find comparable properties for now; however, consider getting involved with your MLS and its leadership to start the conversations necessary for implementation and spearhead its “greening” in the future.

How does an MLS start the greening process? By tapping into existing data fields from the Data Dictionary. Due to the progress in this area, several green fields have been included in a new Silver Level Certification for MLSs. These fields have been documented in the Data Dictionary for several years and many MLSs are currently working towards third-party certification of these fields with the first round of certification due in January 2018.  That’s great news for homes with green features looking for an accurate representation of value. It’s also great news for MLSs looking for an easy way to include green fields.

Now that MLSs have a standard to follow through the RESO Data Dictionary, a tool creating common definitions for MLS fields around the country, there’s already a head start for many areas. REALTORS® who work with their MLSs can do so through the Green MLS Implementation Guide, which helps MLS staff include green fields already written for listings.

For more education about greening the MLS, green homes, and sustainability, check out this month’s featured online course at the Center for REALTOR® Development, NAR’s Green Designation: Day 1 & 2 Online Bundle, which is on special for 25% off this entire month of April and is the educational requirement for NAR’s Green Designation.

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