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 EcoBroker.com, 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, www.gotgreen.info.
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!