Does Your MLS Do This?

Mortgage and Lending with Equity Resources NMLS 67179 Licensed in NC

Do your customers currently compare the energy bills of potential homes?  If so - then this might be interesting to you!

energyWe were fortunate to have Dan McFarland, Southern Energy Management in our office today to discuss "HBA Green Built" certifications and "Energy Star" certifications - and specifically how those ratings relate to the cost of home building and home ownership. 

In the conversation, he explained that "Home Heating Bills could be lowered by at least $500 annually" with an Energy Star home (as compared to a "regular" home), and that our local power company gives an additional 5% discount on utilites to homes that meet that standard!

But our local MLS does not show this as a feature... like a fireplace, or downstairs master.

Is that because homeowners are not interested in their energy budget? 

I don't think so - in fact I believe that Energy Efficient homes will have higher re-sale value as the costs go up... I believe that agents should be asking homeowners if the property is Energy Star (agents here for the meeting said they had not previously looked to see if they are).  The Blue Sticker should be located on the Fuse Box... if the homeowner rememebered to put it there.  I also think it would be a good idea to put Energy Star certification in the COMMENTS section.  Because as someone in our disscussion today pointed out...  "If enough people ask MLS to include this as a feature - they will!"


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Steve Shatsky
Dallas, TX

I think that having this info in MLS would certainly facilitate buyers being able to search for properties offering these benefits and for agents to use them more effectively in marketing!  Great idea!

Jun 23, 2008 04:07 PM #8
Leeshay Wright
Keller Williams Realty - Mauldin, SC

This is good information I will keep this in mind should come in very handy.

Jun 23, 2008 04:10 PM #9
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

We have a local program here called the "Hawaii Built Green" program.  The building industry and the state department of energy have been taking the lead in promoting it.

Jun 23, 2008 05:19 PM #10
Robert Machado
HomePointe Property Management, CRMC - Sacramento, CA
CPM MPM - Property Manager and Property Management

I think energy bills and usage is private information and owners will have to voluntarilly agree to release the info.  If most are willing it would be good to know for the  buyer.

Jun 23, 2008 05:39 PM #11
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate

Hi Eleanor - I just finished the EcoBroker certification. More and more consumers are looking at Energy Star and green built homes. Those agents who recognize this and can provide useful info and resources to their clients should have plenty of business.

Jun 23, 2008 05:57 PM #12
Diane Bell, Hilton Head Real Estate, Bluffton
Charter 1 Real Estate, Hilton Head, Bluffton, SC - Hilton Head Island, SC

We also don't have that option in our local MLS but it probably could change in the future.  Good idea!

Jun 23, 2008 11:29 PM #13
Chip Jefferson
Gibbs Realty and Auction Company - Columbia, SC

I wish I had that as a tool. Maybe soon as I forwarded this to our local board. Its a great idea and something that can help clients.

Jun 23, 2008 11:37 PM #14
Chip Jefferson
Gibbs Realty and Auction Company - Columbia, SC

I wish I had that as a tool. Maybe soon as I forwarded this to our local board. Its a great idea and something that can help clients.

Jun 23, 2008 11:37 PM #15
Stanton Homes
Stanton Homes - New Home Builder - Raleigh, NC
Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina

Eleanor - Congrats on your feature!  You've certainly raised an excellent point. 

Jun 24, 2008 12:27 AM #16
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

I think the energy star idea is still to "new" for most MLS systems.  Having worked in the technology industry for a number of years the idea of just adding a new field to an enterprise level system sounds easy to the average person but in reality it can be a programming nightmare.  All we can do is make the suggestion and wait to see how it rates on the next round of system improvements.

Jun 24, 2008 01:03 AM #17
Jim Fischetti
The Fischetti Group/Keller Williams - Wake Forest, NC

Great post!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the info.


As always, useful info.



Jun 24, 2008 01:35 AM #18
Carolyn Gjerde-Tu-Davis
Lyon Real Estate - Davis, CA
Ca Real Estate

I've seen energy star homes in the comment section of local MLS. If enough people ask for a change, I am sure it can be included.

Jun 24, 2008 03:11 AM #19
Eleanor Thorne
Equity Resources - Cary, NC
Equity Resources 919-649-5058

Hey Guys!  Thanks for stopping by!  WOW!

Couple of quick points.  Energy Star is "like" those applicances - but it's A TON MORE.  For a home to get the Energy Star designation, it must be 15 percent more energy efficient than the "base code" efficiency set by the Department of Energy. So it's Energy Star appliances, plus plus.  One concern is that this is a relatively "new" program (5 years?) and homeowners might not know the importance of putting that sticker on the fuse box!

NEXT - builders in this area are now offering "Energy Upgrades" just like they might for granite counter tops.  I would be watching for that, and considering if that is a good option for your buyer... with energy costs continuing to go up, it could be important.  That's why I felt that having the accumulation of data in the MLS system could help the re-sale of these homes!

Jun 24, 2008 05:15 AM #20
Karen Cooper
Karen Cooper | Sr Retail Loan Originator ! NMLS # 223305 | 360 Mortgage Group LLC Austin Texas - Leander, TX
Helping Homeowners w/Home Loans in 27 US States

Eleanor - Our Southern Oregon MLS added this (finally!) a couple of months ago, so agents are able to see when a property has these features for their prospective buyers. It's a great tool that helps meet the rapidly increasing demand for energy efficient features. Congratulations on the feature!

Jun 24, 2008 06:53 AM #21
Bonnie & Terry Westbrook
Westbrook Realty - Ada, MI
Grand Rapids MI Real Estate

Congrats on the FEATURE, E.!!!!

This is a great question and we should be thinking about adding this to our MLS data.

It always needs tweaking - thanks for the heads up.

Jun 24, 2008 10:43 AM #22
Trent Cluley
Jasper, GA

Starting in August '08 our MLS for the greater Atlanta area (FMLS) will have a field for entering 3 green building certifications . . .

EarthCraft Home, LEED for Homes, and Energy Star Home.

A field I'm sure that will be more in demand -- and used -- as time goes by.

I'm sure it was outspoken voices like yours that led to this feature . . . good post.

Jun 24, 2008 01:45 PM #23
Brian Wray
Wray Realty - Holly Springs, NC

Eleanor,  It was great meeting you today.  I agree and think this is something the MLS should Add as an available field.  we also have to get the brokers to buy into this idea.  This is a great start.  It is certainly becoming more popular for Buyers agent to start asking about the energy and other utility bills.  Buyers are becoming more aware of this issue and it will be a big one soon.  Great post.  Have a great week!!  Brian Wray

Jun 24, 2008 02:07 PM #24
Nancy Murray
Keller Williams Clients' Choice - Colorado Springs, CO

Great info!  Until we actually have a searchable field in our MLS, we can certainly add it to the comments section for both the buyer and the agent.

Jun 24, 2008 02:40 PM #25
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

This would be a good feature if it were included. People want to know about energy costs. Here in Arizona where summers are 114+ you can bet they want to know how much it will cost to run the A/C.

Jun 24, 2008 03:24 PM #26
Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist
Kingsbridge Realty, Inc - Hubert, NC

Hi Eleanor,
A very good point and even though Buyers may not ask, I believe it is information that will benefit them and they will appreciate receiving.

Jun 26, 2008 01:19 AM #27
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Eleanor Thorne

Equity Resources 919-649-5058
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