In This Issue
Tap the Power of Your NAR Green Designation
NAR Establishes Sustainability Advisory Group
Webinar: Use RPR to Make Your Green Knowledge Shine
Save $. Renew Your GRC Membership Now
Tips: Solar PV Considerations
Tap The Power of Your NAR Green Designation
If you’re thinking about how best to use your GREEN designation, here are some quick facts about the value of having the designation and some of the resources available to you as a GREEN designee.
What is the GREEN designation?
NAR's Green Designation gives you the skills, knowledge, and resources to address the increasing demand among consumers for the benefits provided by new and existing sustainable homes.
It puts you at the forefront of the green housing movement and allows you to service the growing pool of buyers and sellers demanding green, energy efficient, and healthy homes.
Are there member benefits?
The Green REsource Council provides the latest information, authoritative research, resources, a searchable referral network, marketing tools, and consumer awareness campaigns.
Some of the items you have access to:
• GRC’s e-Newsletter, The REsource
• Webinars (available exclusively for NAR Green Designees at no additional cost)
• Customizable marketing tools available to download at home
• An online searchable profile for your designation on GreenREsourceCouncil.org
• “GREEN” appearing with your name on both NAR.REALTOR and REALTOR.com
• Robust partnerships with industry businesses, national consumer and builder awareness campaigns, and much more.
• Lifetime discount on HomeSelfe RE
How does this education advance my career?
Increasingly, home buyers and sellers are interested in green homes and energy efficient features that can affect their health and wallet.
You’re well positioned to capture new clients by conveying your knowledge about the green strategies consumers can take to save money, increase a home’s value, improve a home’s indoor air quality and overall health, as well as how they can tap rebates and incentives to bankroll green upgrades.
The Green Designation gives you entrée to this cutting edge niche and prepares you to capitalize on new trends, technology, and systems. It also gives you the fluency to convey your knowledge to clients using language they can understand and that motivates them to implement green home improvements.
Are consumers interested in green homes?
Yes. And for many reasons, including:
Health Increasingly, consumers are eyeing health labels on food and other consumer goods to assess products’ health impacts on themselves and on the environment. Paying closer attention to a home’s effect on health and well-being is a natural next step
-Non-toxic building materials and cleaning supplies contribute to better indoor air quality.
-Clean air eases breathing problems and feels better for those with asthma and allergies.
Saving money. Many homeowners opt for green features because they’re motivated to save money by reducing energy consumption but without sacrificing comfort.
-Programmable thermostats can save 10 percent on annual energy bills.
-Energy Star-certified bulbs last 15 times longer that old incandescent bulbs and can save $80 in electricity costs during its lifetime
Environment. Sustainable home appeal to those with environmental concerns because green building materials are often recycled or come from renewable sources. In addition, taking steps to increase a home’s energy efficiency reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which protects the environment.
Comfort. Green homes are more comfortable--they’re quiet, humidity levels feel just right, and there aren’t drafts and hot and cold spots--than inefficient ones.
Quick fact: Respondents to the Green Multifamily and Single Family Homes 2017 SmartMarket Brief, a study conducted by Dodge Data & Analytics in partnership with the National Association of Home Builders say the most effective terms for marketing green homes are long-term cost savings and operating efficiency. Nearly half (44%) say the term “healthier homes” is also effective.
If I recommend home upgrades, how can I prove that they’re in demand and that they’ll pay off?
Green features are becoming standard in new construction through building codes and there’s a steady stream of research from the GRC, NAR, and other industry groups that illustrate the growing demand for green, the value of green homes, and the pay-off involved with making upgrades.
GRC webinars and the monthly e-Newsletter routinely highlight the latest thinking and research that you can tap to best position yourself to connect with green-minded clients and convey the value proposition associated with green features and upgrades.
Quick facts: More than 95 percent of builders of single- and multi-family houses say they use energy efficient practices around HVAC, lighting systems, and appliances, according to Green Multifamily and Single Family Homes 2017 SmartMarket Brief.
The report also found that net-zero homes are on the rise. Among those surveyed, 29 percent of single-family builders have built a net zero home in the past two years, and 44 percent expect to do so in the next two years.
Homebuyers are willing to pay more for high-performance homes, and research continues to support that. In a 2016 study by the Shelton Group, a consumer research firm focused on energy and sustainability, 81% of consumers who expect to buy a new home in the next two years say higher energy efficiency would cause them to choose one new home over another. This same Energy Pulse survey says 40% of people who expect to buy a new home in the next two years say they’re very likely to pay more for a high-performance home, built to standards higher than ENERGY STAR®. There are also more focused approaches, like homes with green features in Washington D.C., sold for a mean premium of 3.46 percent according to the 2015 study, "What is Green Worth? Unveiling High-Performance Home Premiums in Washington, D.C.”
How do I find green-minded clients and convey this knowledge to them?
Few clients will say, “I want a green home.” Yet many do want just that. But they lack the language and knowledge to tell you. In any market, uncomfortable, ineffiencient, high-maintenance or costly homes are rarely high on client demand lists.
Listen for the subtle signs.
Clients may talk about their kids’ asthma or their own allergies; they may mention that theirs is a drafty, uncomfortable house; or they may complain about high energy bills.
Those are all challenges that can be alleviated with green home features.
Asthma and allergies frequently are linked to indoor air quality and often can be addressed by removing chemicals from the house or making HVAC system improvements.
Discomfort and cold and hot spots may be related to leaky windows, poor insulation, or something as simple as caulking and sealing.
A great starting point to identify problems is conducting an energy assessment.
I don’t feel confident about discussing sophisticated building systems. Can I still make this part of my business without being an expert on every aspect of green?
Yes, if you just got your GREEN Designation, start with the small steps that have an impact on clients interested in creating a healthier, greener lifestyle, saving money, and experiencing greater comfort at home.
Some of those basics include changing lightbulbs, using power strips, and installing programmable thermostats to reduce energy consumption and boost comfort.
You can use Walk Score to illustrate the proximity to the things – transit, restaurants, parks, bike trails, and retail – that are important to home buyers, which can cut down on transportation costs and vehicle emissions
Continue building your knowledge and gaining fluency on green topics by attending monthly Webinars, reading the GRC newsletter, building your network, and attending green-related events and seminars in your community.
Where do I go when I have questions about topics that I don’t fully understand?
NAR’s Green Designation Networking Community
on Facebook is a great starting point. It’s a supportive group of colleagues willing to share their knowledge. Members include those with expertise in everything from solar PV and green appraisals, to energy assessments and IAQ standards.
The GRC website features resources, including client handouts, webinars, statistics, and links to other organizations that can help you find information and answers.
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“We also know that consumers are more concerned about buying houses that are energy-efficient. They're understanding more of the real cost of owning a home, not just what they pay the bank."
--Elizabeth Mendenhall, 2018 NAR President, RISmedia interview
NAR Establishes Sustainability Advisory Group
You should be feeling pretty good about being a GREEN designee.
The GRC is approaching its tenth anniversary next year and some of the events, themes and conversations during the 2017 REALTORS® Conference & Expo confirm the wisdom of creating the GRC in the first place.
It’s a niche that more practitioners are seeing as advantageous--and even crucial to their businesses--and there was tremendous energy and enthusiasm surrounding the GRC, its members, and its mission at the REALTORS® Conference and Expo this month.
Here are five takeaways from the convention.
1. Sustainability Advisory Group. NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall announced the creation of the Sustainability Advisory Group.
The group will be instrumental in refining NAR’s sustainability strategy and furthering its goals of creating a culture that promotes resiliency and resource efficiency and provide sustainability strategies to benefit NAR members, REALTOR® associations, and communities.
“It could’ve taken years to put together. It almost brought tears to my eyes to see how quickly Elizabeth Mendenhall and Bob Goldberg prioritized it,” says Craig Foley, a GRC advisory board member and associate broker, GREEN, LEED Green Associate, chief of energy solutions at RE/MAX Leading Edge, Somerville, Mass.
“It will allow us to create a comprehensive plan for NAR, and I’m thrilled to see it come to life.”
2. NAR Leadership embraces green mission. “The establishment of a green [advisory group] and the realization that the leadership team is accepting this concept are the most significant things that came from conference,” observes John Shipman, a GRC advisory board member and director of green operations, Coldwell Banker George Realty, Arcadia, Calif.
Mendenhall has embraced the GRC’s mission and referred to the importance of sustainability, green housing, and energy efficiency on numerous occasions during the months leading up to her inauguration.
Most recently, she talked about energy efficiency in a RISMedia Q&A.
Shipman sees something of a perfect storm. “Leadership is backing this agenda, consumers are demanding it, and it’s all evidence that REALTORS® need to embrace it and get education around it,” he says. “This is the first time I’ve seen the ingredients of what’s needed for a transformation to take hold.”
2. Green prominence. One simple measure of green and sustainability gaining prominence was the brighter spotlight that was focused on the topic at this year’s convention.
Two green-focused REach® companies, HomeSelfe RE and Pearl Certification, got attention and traffic on the expo floor. The companies introduced practitioners to ways to capitalize on the growing market for high-performance homes and better service for clients.
3. Courting corporate America, Millennials. Several cities are scrambling to land the new Amazon HQ2, but opportunities to attract other less high-profile companies may exist in your community.
chief economist and senior vice president of research, talked about the importance of commercial practitioners positioning a city for corporate relos and illustrating that a city has and can attract an educated, talented workforce. He also mentioned the value of promoting a community’s energized downtown and walkability to appeal to Millennials—a crucial segment of that future workforce.
And though attracting new companies to an area seems like the business of city governments and commercial practitioners, you, too, are ideally suited to make the case for your city’s vibrant, walkable downtown, along with promoting the other amenities—bike trails, affordable housing, public transit-- that are magnets to this demographic group.
4. Student debt. The challenges of student debt was a pervasive theme across the conference.
Being saddled with student loans directly affects an entire generation’s ability to purchase a home. More than seven in ten student loan borrowers saying that student loan debt has impacted their ability to purchase a home, according to the Student Loan Debt and Housing Report 2017
As a Green Designee, you bring some unique skills to such prospects.
Rather than just addressing PITI, you can help such buyers see the total cost of homeownership by factoring in things like transit and energy costs.
Advising them on ways to tap rebates, incentives, and energy efficient mortgages could allow them to make buying a green fixer upper a reality.
And if you’re involved in your community government, you may be in a position to influence decisions on zoning and affordable housing and encourage the construction of affordable homes and energy efficient or net zero properties that can ease the challenges facing both young first-time buyers and low-to-moderate income buyers.
5. Exhibitors. There are certain real estate-focused exhibitors you always expect at a major real estate events. Then there are the unexpected ones. Here are three:
• AccuStar (AccuStar.com) – Radon is responsible for 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year. AccuStar was giving away radon test kits in an effort to convey the dangers of radioactive radon gas and raise awareness about its link to lung cancer. It also provided tools and information to help real estate practitioners promote radon-safe homes to clients. “Realtors can be leaders in our war against lung cancer,” says Carolyn D. Koke, director of market development for the AccuStar and RadonAway brands. “Radon-safe homes provide tangible value to sellers and buyers alike.”
• Moo (Moo.com)—Artists have been using Moo for years to design unique business cards and promotional materials that stand out and reflect their brand. You can too. Experiment with unusual shapes, colors, sizes, and artwork to make your business card, postcards, and stickers depart from tradition. Moo also offers some sustainable options, including tree-free cards made from recycled T-shirts.
The Salvation Army –The Salvation Army’s program, Real Estate for Rehabilitation,
can be your partner in helping homeowners get a house ready for sale when they do the all-important purge. By mentioning that you’re a part of the Real Estate for Rehabilitation program, the Salvation Army will prioritize the pickup of goods at clients’ homes. It sells the items to fund its 100-plus Adult Rehabilitation Centers. “When those clients donate their goods, the donation stays local and the profits stay local to help those in their community get back on their feet,” says David Youmans, the Salvation Army’s marketing director.
Many education sessions at the 2017 REALTORS® Conference & Expo were recorded. Access them here
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GRC Webinar: Use RPR to Make Your Green Knowledge Shine
You’re probably familiar with RPR. But did you know that you can use the tool to make your green knowledge shine?
RPR helps you do a better, quicker job of locating green properties, valuing green features, and developing more comprehensive CMAs.
RPR’s Jo Teeter, during the October 2017 Webinar--Meeting Clients' Green Needs with RPR's Energy and Neighborhood-- provided a detailed walk-through of RPR and illustrated ways to use the data sets to work more effectively with green-minded clients.
Teeter’s key points included how to:
• View walkability and energy consumption scores
• Identify specific home features such as solar panels or Energy Star appliances
• Use RPR mapping tools to locate properties within a certain distance or drive time
• Interpret energy consumption scores
• Maximize the value of green home features using RPR’s CMA and Refined Value tools
Zeroing in on green features
RPR keeps you up to date on market activity and provides a snapshot of a neighborhood, including its demographic makeup, its schools, commute times, and quality of life. It also allows you to zero in on homes with green features.
For instance, you can build a list of green features a prospect is seeking and the tool will return a list of properties that meet those criteria.
Maybe a client wants to be within a one-hour drive of a particular recreation spot and live in a home with solar panels and a high walkability rating.
By adding in those parameters, you can quickly find suitable properties in a given area. “It also helps your buyers see how a property performs as compared to other home in the marketplace,” says Teeter.
Tip: Less is more when you’re adding your parameters for a green home search. Real estate practitioners without the GREEN Designation may not know the language to use to properly identify a system. So rather than searching for low-e windows, search for “efficient windows” and type in “solar” rather than including the word “photovoltaic” or “solar PV.”
Upgrades that pay off
For properties that have some but not all the green features on a buyer’s wish-list or a lower than desired energy score, you can use RPR to add the upgrades they may be considering—Energy Star appliances or a tankless water heater, for example—and calculate the cost and impact of those potential additions. “You have all the knowledge to counsel people and help them raise the energy score,” Teeter adds.
Similarly, when you’re working with sellers, you can calculate how much added value a particular upgrade would bring. By using your green knowledge when generating comps through RPR, you may find that a home’s green features can justify a higher asking price.
In addition, you can use RPR to promote your brand. When you’re creating reports, RPR lets you automatically include your green skills, unique qualities, and client testimonials in all the reports you generate and share with clients.
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Save $. Renew GRC Membership Now
Tick tock. Tick tock.
Time is slipping by and you have less than a month to renew your GRC membership at a discounted rate.
For more details about the advantages of membership and ways to use your designation, see “Tap the Power of Your NAR Green Designation” in this issue.
A short recap of what to expect from the GRC during 2018:
• A redesigned website built based on designee feedback and comments
• Fresh client handouts on timely consumer-oriented topics
• Insightful webinars – Content that’s specifically geared to building your green knowledge and skills
• Monthly newsletters – An electronic monthly newsletter designed to keep you informed of news, events, legislation and trends
• Social Engagement Platform - – ready-to-use content that you can copy and send it out through your social media channels
• Customizable marketing materials such as flyers, postcards, and brochures
• A lifelong discount on HomeSelfe RE – Perform a Free DIY energy audit of your home and your clients, view the report, and find ways to save. Exclusive offer of 30 days free and a 70% discount forever.
Early birds save
If you’re among the early ones to renew, you’ll see a 5% discount. The discount is good until 11:59 p.m. (CST) on December 31, 2017.
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This Month's Tips: Solar PV Considerations
Thinking about solar panels? Here are three considerations.
1. Visit Google Project Sunroof to see if your roof is a good candidate for solar.
2. How long will you be in your home? Understand that it may take 10 to 15 years to see a return on investment.
3. PVWatts® Calculator can help you estimate of the cost and performance of potential PV installations.
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Courting Corporations, New Residents
If you want to get involved in positioning your community as a vibrant, green-friendly space to companies or employees relocating to your town, revisit NAR’s REALTORS® and Sustainability 2017 Report to refresh your knowledge about the green features in demand among homebuyers.
All articles written by Elyse Umlauf-Garneau unless otherwise noted