My Niche in Green Real Estate, Switched My Niche!

Real Estate Agent with Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 SA5376460000

Back in 2007, one of the break-out sessions for the National Association of REALTORS® was presented by an EcoBroker.  Now I don't know about you, but my first thought was and is for many people, "What is an EcoBroker?" Even today I still get that question, much less what is a NAR GREEN designee?   

I had heard that an EcoBroker was going to present her business model.  I was so intrigued that I started researching this presentation.  Visiting, I soon learned that this was a green designation for real estate agents.  The site also hosted affiliates in the industry and a lot of information about energy efficiency, toxic finishes, water quality and other related topics.   


I was immediately intrigued because I had recently downsized my home at the top of the market in 2006, but my condo niche was waning due to the downturn as condos dove head first down the value scale! 


Driving to Las Vegas by myself in November 2007 from Phoenix gave me lots of time to think through how I was going to approach this new idea of a niche.  I wasn't sure how I was going to proceed, much less include it in my business.    


My background in banking, insurance, securities and property management made it all too clear we were headed south in 2007, but how far I don't think anyone realized and if they did, not soon enough.  So it was time to switch my niche!


The EcoBroker that spoke from California  detailed how she had gotten started with adding her designation to her business.  She had created her own green networking group, green website, and offered value added service.  All of those things just SCREAMED at me - DO THIS.  And so I did!


After attending that session, I earned my EcoBroker designation in April 2008.  Soon after that in 2009 I began volunteering with the US Green Building Council where I still volunteer and chair the Residential Green Building Committee.  I've since been added as an Advisory Board Member by Efficiency First Arizona and created a speaker panel on the topic, which I still produce.  


It has been a constant uphill battle for 9 years.  There are loads of naysayers, lots of people poo pooing climate change, but there are others who are advocates of saving energy and lowering their carbon footprint. 


And as of this month, I switched my teaching certificate from a real estate school to my association, the Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS® so that I can share this gift of value.  Reaching out to realtors on this topic includes seminars, lunch and learns, continuing education classes, green home tours, food truck events, and reaching out on Facebook and other social media sites. I've probably held 50+ events during the last 9 years.  


Even though we realtors are competing for the same business, it is an act of good will to raise the bar for everyone in the industry to share knowledge and tips to help close sales.  This includes adding 65+ green features to the Arizona Regional MLS.  


My clients love the extra attention to detail.  They know they'll receive complimentary energy audits and value added service from me.  It's typical for me to ask for copies of energy bills from sellers, to be on the lookout for possible energy hogs, and I have a wealth of vendors on my green website for clients to use,



Because of my social media efforts on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google and ActiveRain (of course), I've connected with architects, builders, and gained a reputation for being the go to person in this field.   And I'm hoping to be involved in a net zero project here in Phoenix. 


Being contacted by the NAR to review the new solar course that is coming out in May, 2017, was especially humbling.   I guess they heard about my efforts in hosting appraiser courses as a volunteer with USGBC!  


The personal cost is high, but the personal reward is great!


I'm super excited for the future of this niche because it's only going to grow as construction techniques continue to get better and better.  New products and services are also helping to raise the bar for energy efficiency and if we aren't ready for it, sales and relationships will pass us by!  


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HomeSmart Elite Group                                  

8388 E Hartford Dr., Suite 100

Scottsdale, AZ 85255                                                         

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Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Jan - You work your niche as well as anyone I've ever seen, but what really stands out for me is your enthusiasm for teaching and sharing. It's truly inspriational and a model for all of us.

Apr 12, 2017 03:33 PM #1
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Thank you Dick Greenberg !  I appreciate your feedback.  Copying that agent is flattery for her!  I loved her entire business model so much that I copied it.  She had it nailed down.  Thank you for your very kind comments! 

Apr 12, 2017 04:00 PM #2
Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Arizona's Top Banana!

Jan I am so excited for you and your new direction in teaching and sharing all you know about 'Green' things. You are the go to gal for anything GREEN! I look forward to taking one of your classes!

Apr 12, 2017 04:36 PM #3
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

I have read your posts in the past about "green" and it spurred me on to starting my green designation. Now I just have to finish it! Great entry!

Apr 12, 2017 07:17 PM #4
Rashida Furniturewalla
Spectrum Real Estate Group LLC - East Brunswick, NJ
Short Sales, BPO, REO Agent

Jan, You did a great job of putting together this green resource for your association. Looking forward to your solar energy course. With so many people going solar or looking for ways to reduce their energy consumption weather it be to save money or doing their part to save the world, we as agents need to know how to evaluate this new technology. Thank you for posting on this topic. I will look into the eco broker designation now that I know of it.

Apr 12, 2017 07:33 PM #5
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Thank you Anna Banana Kruchten, CRS !  I'd love for you to attend my 5/12 course - first ever at SAAR!  I'll post a blog and make sure to notify you.  It will have multi-discipline CE for 3 different entities in real estate - all on Green! 

So glad to provide information for you  Evelyn Johnston !  Once you get started, you'll find that businesses are kean into what you are doing if they sell energy efficient products - a great way to start a new business partnership.  Good luck! 

Thank you  Rashida Furniturewalla !  The solar course is from NAR, I just previewed it and gave more content.  It will come out next month.  I do include solar information, but not as in depth as the course of course.  You are so right.  We have to keep up with the times or get left behind! Go for it! 

Apr 12, 2017 07:37 PM #6
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

I highly recommend finding a niche that fits you and your market.

I applaud you for your willingness to teach others.


Apr 13, 2017 04:43 AM #7
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Home and Condo Specialists

Your teaching to others in the business is outstanding. Seems like an intriguing niche, and hope you contiune to be successful in it.

Apr 13, 2017 06:59 AM #8
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hello Jan - you've found a nice niche, and got in on the ground floor. I think this will grow in importance in the coming years. I love your enthusiasm for 'going green' and your willingness to teach others. Nice!


Apr 13, 2017 08:15 AM #9
Anna Hatridge
Goodson Realty - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with Goodson Realty

Congratulations on your tenacity to go for your passion!  Keep up the great work.

Apr 13, 2017 09:56 AM #10
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Thank you John Wiley , Lottie Kendall , & Anna Hatridge !  It has been very rewarding and I love  attending green events as well. If you ever get the chance reach out to folks in your community.  Find out if you have a Green Chamber, US Green Building Chapter or green organization. You'd be amazed at how friendly people are, after all they are there to improve the community.  It's contagious!  Have a great rest of your week! 

Apr 13, 2017 10:53 AM #11
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Jan Green - Thank you for sharing this wonderful gift of who you are! From beginning to end of this post, I know this is still just the beginning of promising things to come. You are leaving good footprints here on earth!

Apr 16, 2017 09:26 PM #12
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Thank you Patricia Feager . I appreciate your support of efforts that aren't difficult, it's just awareness of what we must be doing for mother earth.  We as realtors are at the forefront to make a difference in gaining more $ for homes with special features!  It's a constant effort and worthwhile to both buyers and sellers ;)  Have a great week!

Apr 18, 2017 06:58 AM #13
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Thanks so much to share your experience helps us to be noticed.


Sam Shueh

Apr 21, 2017 09:37 AM #14
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Thank you for stopping by Sam Shueh !  It's always wise to set yourself apart in some way.  Have a great Friday!

Apr 21, 2017 09:44 AM #15
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
Samsel & Associates - Clark, NJ
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

A niche that's expanding all the time - especially on Earth Day!

Apr 22, 2017 08:31 AM #16
Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

Good for you.  I used to build near-zero energy homes here in Texas for about 9 years.  When the banks went south, so did the biz.  Underwriting guidelines made it next to impossible to get financing for the type of houses my clients wanted, so they either had to come up with 50% down or build something much less desirable.

The conversation around climate change is all wrong.  Tree-huggers vs nay-sayers.  Both are labels are wrong.  The conversation should be around resource conservation, not climate.  Deal with the resource issue in a responsible and non-intrusive way and the climate will be fine. 

But nobody wants to hear that.  It takes away all the "fun" of attacking others.

May 16, 2017 07:02 AM #17
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Thank you Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl !  Sorry for my late reply, no idea why I didn't before.  Good catch on Earth Day! 

You were ahead of your time building Net Zero homes Mick Michaud !  You're right about underwriters, but now the industry is evolving.  I'm involved in educating appraisers and there is much more information out there, which trickles back to the lenders.  We have a green list of appraisers by state on  Search under "Education" then "Green Building" and you'll see them as you scroll down. Also on that same page is the Green & Energy Efficient Addendum where we list the features you include in Net Zero homes!  

Spot on with your advice on focusing on the features. That's exactly the way I approach it.  The climate benefits when we reduce our energy bills! 

May 16, 2017 07:48 PM #18
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HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN
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