Green Real Estate
Green homes are hot. And their heat index is rising.
Today, being a real estate agent and not having a working familiarity with green technology is akin to being stuck in the middle of the ocean without a life jacket. Though you may find your way to land, odds are far more favorable if you have the right resources at hand. This means that, as an agent, it is your responsibility to educate yourself so that you’re consistently aware of the ever-evolving green industry. It is vital that you don’t fall behind your colleagues in this competitive market.
Popularity of Green Homes
Nowadays, green not only means energy, water, and cost-savings, but also the health of the overall environment. Coupled with smart technology, green homes today bear little in common with homes built a mere decade ago. Environmental awareness is an intrinsic part of worldwide culture and concern in 2017. And smart home sellers are taking notice and making green upgrades before listing.
While the scientific cause and effect of environmental issues continue to be debated by some, what is indisputable is that there is an increasing consumer interest in environmentally friendly business practices and products. More than half of home buyers rank green and energy-efficiency as top priorities for their next home purchase. To be sure, going green means selling at much higher rates than comparable homes without green features. According to a 2016 report, “What Is Green Worth? Unveiling High-Performance Home Premiums in Washington, D.C.,” homes with green features in Washington, D.C. will sell for 3.5 percent more than those without green features. While these returns are certainly cause for celebration, they are typically found in smaller, incremental changes rather than in the big budget improvements.
Moreover, industry experts predict that within the next year, green, single-family housing will represent approximately 40 percent of the real estate market, and 84 percent of all residential construction will contain sustainable features.
The Willingness to go Green by Buyers
Interestingly, even if going green means making personal sacrifices, 81 percent of consumers are prepared to do so in order to address environmental and social issues. What those sacrifices entail involves different things to different people, of course, but one aspect overrides all others: The vast majority of people are willing to compromise in order to live in environmentally friendly homes.
Results from a recent survey by Realtor.com indicates that the types of trade-offs home owners are willing to make include a willingness to:
- Sacrifice square footage for a more eco-friendly residence (40 percent);
- Give up ownership of a swimming pool (75 percent);
- Say goodbye to a game room (74 percent);
- Pay more money for an eco-friendly home (68 percent).
Buyers are Going Green for Multiple Reasons
With clear advantages in cost, and customer appreciation, many builders are embracing environmentally friendly practices. Governments at the local and national level encourage such businesses with incentives while enforcing more stringent environmental standards. In this time with greater public and private support, it’s no surprise that we see more green housing options available.
Yet what is driving this trend? Why are people going green?
Though the reasons are varied, some commonalities exist. Not surprisingly, they aren’t all altruistic.
Eco-friendly homes aren’t merely good for the environment; they are also good for the bank account. Sustainable materials last longer, thereby reducing the cost of replacement and regular maintenance. Some states also offer incentives, including tax rebates, for eco-friendly living. By using energy-efficient appliances, homeowners can enjoy lowered utility bills, and when going to sell, they appreciate a substantial increase in home value.
By using non-toxic materials during construction, less toxic waste is released into the air. Over 90 percent of greenhouse gas emissions stem from fossil fuel combustion. This combustion results in other air pollutants as well. With more eco-friendly ventilation systems, the air is cleaner. By circulating fresh air from the outdoors rather than continuously recycling stale indoor air, the air quality is healthier for residents.
Of course, eco-friendly brings an advantage to the environment as well. By using renewable and clean energy sources, we use fewer fossil fuels and other depleting resources. Recycling materials for building lessens the negative emissions on the environment.
Real Estate Agents Need to Follow the Market
For real estate agents interested in remaining competitive, becoming well-versed in green construction and living is a necessity. The Green Resource Council by the National Association of Realtors is a great place to start. The industry is ever-evolving and subject to new changes every year. The result is an emphasis on self-education so that real estate agents remain up-to-date.