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Eco-Friendly Homes Are Taking Over The Real Estate Market. Ready?

Real Estate Technology with Realty Sage

 So you’re a real estate agent and you just received a call from a homeowner who wants to sell their home. Yippee! Every real estate agent loves those phone calls, right? 

You arrive at the home to take a look and to get interviewed by the homeowner, but something is different. You had prepared a comparative market analysis and brought along all your marketing materials and ideas, but this interview is unlike any other you’ve ever had. 

green home with for sale sign

Instead of the typical questions of “How well do you know the neighborhood?” or “In what newspapers and media will you market my home?” you receive a different line of questioning. “How familiar are you with eco homes and products?” Suddenly you realize real estate is becoming a whole new world and sellers are speaking a whole new kind of language. “My home is ICF construction and has PV solar panels. My home also has two green home certifications. Can you help educate buyers about the certifications and its features? Will you be able to market my property accurately and bring me the best offer for my premium listing?”

If you haven’t already received training or education about sustainable or eco-friendly homes, then I think you can pretty much guess that this listing is now lost to another agent who is better qualified. And if you think that sustainable homes are a rarity and that this type of conversation won’t happen any time soon, then you need to pay attention to the numbers.


Eco-friendly Homes: The Numbers Don’t Lie


According to the assessment by the Union of Concerned Scientists nearly 400,000 households in 2013 had rooftop solar panels and that number will grow to 900,000 by 2020.  Built Green helps to confirm that figure by estimating that “30% of new homes sold are green.”


If you add to those figures the number of homes that have eco and healthy products throughout; like recycled materials, green label flooring, finishes with zero off-gassing, energy efficient appliances, water saving fixtures, high efficiency heating and cooling, water saving landscaping, homes built with recycled or natural materials as well as the newest technology for energy efficiency and alternative energies, you are talking about millions of homes across the country that would be considered by many as “green” or “sustainable.” Marketing these features properly and by a real estate agent who is qualified, can make a big difference in the listing’s outcome.


solar and wind


Green Home Certifications


Understanding green products and building techniques is just one part of understanding a green listing. A growing number of homes are being certified as “sustainable properties” through a local or national green certification program. In January 2014, “The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced the 50,000th LEED-certified green housing unit.”  

Each certification has a different focus for evaluating a green home. Some focus on energy efficiency, specifically.  Other certifications focus on the “cradle to grave” sustainability of the home; where the products were sourced and how much waste was produced during construction, for example. A real estate agent should understand the importance and differences of these certifications and the value that they bring to the listing.


The Value of an Eco-Friendly Home


If you’re still are dragging your heels about incorporating eco-friendly homes into your real estate practice, then let me speak to you in a way that may make you sprint towards the sustainable homes market. “New research by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory finds strong evidence that homes with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems sell for a premium over homes without solar systems…This corresponds to an average home sales price premium of approximately $17,000 for a relatively new 3,100 watt PV system…” That’s right! That sustainable listing that you lost because you weren’t qualified to list it, very likely would’ve sold for premium price over a similar home that was not sustainably built or with green features.

Real estate is changing and there are many options for agents to learn and gain credentials as knowledgeable agents in the sustainable homes’ market. Don’t think that a phone call for selling a green listing or to work with buyer clients wanting a sustainable home won’t come your way sometime soon, because it will.  So be ready.


By Kari Klaus, N. VA licensed real estate agent and CEO and Founder of www.VivaGreenHomes.com: Buy, Sell & Market Eco-Friendly Homes.

Photos contributed by Viva Green Homes.

Posted by
Kari Klaus
Founder and CEO of RealtySage.com
Website: www.RealtySage.com Email: Kari@realtysage.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/realtysage Twitter: www.twitter.com/realtysage1
Instagram @realtysage1
David Popoff
DMK Real Estate - Darien, CT
Realtor®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct

Great article, it is commons sense, if your green energy efficient homes cost less to live in then it is a win win... plus the health benefits you cannot put a price on. Great article.

Jun 09, 2015 11:59 PM
Kari Klaus
Realty Sage - Arlington, VA
Founder, RealtySage.com: Intelligent Real Estate

David Popoff Thank you. More and more people realize that they would like at least some energy efficiency and water saving features in their homes-- it just makes sense (cents).  Please be sure to add any eco listings you may have to www.VivaGreenHomes.com-- it's free to market them on this site. 

Jun 14, 2015 02:10 AM