Work with a ‘Green’ Real Estate Agent: Jan Green describes the many advantages of using a "green" agent.
Mar 31, 2014 10:22AM
● By Jan Green
We all know that real estate agents offer services when homeowners need to buy or sell a home. But what are the advantages of enlisting the services of a “green” agent? There are many advantages to using an agent that has undertaken the course of study to either become an EcoBroker, like myself, or a NAR (National Association of Realtors) Green agent.
A “green” agent is trained to recognize green, sustainable and energy-efficient features. Defining these to buyers and sellers helps them to make educated decisions as to cost savings on utility bills and assisting consumers with health-related features by comparing one home to another. A green agent is also trained to work to gain the most value for a home with these features during the sales process.
During an initial interview with a buyer, questions are asked as to health-related issues, chemical sensitivity and interest in homes with energy-efficient features. During this session, it’s critically important to uncover what kinds of homes are of interest. Typically, energy saving is of concern, according to a National Association of Realtors Study in 2011.
During the purchase process, and specifically the inspection period, energy audits are discussed. If a home buyer is curious as to the efficiency of the home’s systems and components, an energy audit may be requested of the seller. Home sellers can order an energy audit at a reduced cost and be reimbursed by the buyer for this information. This will lead to a full disclosure of nearly every aspect of the home, much more than a normal home inspection.
Selling a home with green and energy-efficient features requires unique knowledge and marketing to convey these features to the public. Homes with solar panels require a specific process in order to gain any value for them at the point of sale. Utility bills before and after solar, solar leases and any green features are uploaded onto the multiple listing service (MLS) for buyers and the appraiser to view. If a home has a leased solar system, the buyer must qualify for that lease with a 680 FICO score or better.
It’s critically important for a green agent to discuss the home with the appraiser before they arrive at the home, asking if they’ve appraised homes with green features. If not, ask the lender to request another appraiser. Once the appraiser arrives at the home, provide a feature list, utility bills, contract, comparable sales, copy of the contract and the Green & Energy Efficient Addendum to record the features and attach to the appraisal. Armed with this data, an appraiser can work to gain as much value for the home as possible.
Providing value-added service for homes with green and energy efficient features requires skill and knowledge that is above and beyond the normal real estate agent’s scope, unless that agent has a construction background. It’s been rewarding providing value-added service, and clients appreciate it.
Jan Green is a certified EcoBroker with RE/MAX Excalibur Realty. Contact her at 602-620-2699 or GotGreen.info.