The REsource Newsletter

April 2018

In This Issue


Speed Learning for Clients
Webinar: NAHB Data and Effectively Collaborating with Builders
How to Help Your Clients Breath Easier Indoors
Spring Upgrade: Refresh Your Data, Have More Meaningful Conversations 
Tips: The Last Straw

 

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Newsletter Archive

Previous Issues


Speed Learning for Clients 

There’s nothing better than educated clients. 

The GRC’s Green Client Handouts – free with your GRC membership -- can help you get clients up to speed on green topics quickly. Plus, they have a fresh new look to catch your clients’ eye.

When buyers or sellers come to you already having an understanding of green, part of your work is done.

Instead of running prospects through the basics of green home features and their importance, you can move to some of those higher-level conversations more quickly. Talking about possible home updates and the benefits that can come from green upgrades helps layer green concepts into your existing real estate business.

Beyond the basics 

The Green Client Handouts may be especially helpful to you as this spring buying and selling season gears up and you’re short on time. 

The handouts – short and easy to read -- take clients on a walk through the most basic green concepts, including what a green home is, the value energy efficient appliances, and ways to green their lifestyle. 

And for clients who are ready for more sophisticated topics, the handouts also cover things like home energy audits, indoor air quality, and insulation and caulking. Referencing existing articles and resources direct clients away from the handouts to reputable sites that include additional information, best practices, or tips on the topics. And since the handouts came from their REALTOR®, you become instantly more valuable when the client lands on a decision to upgrade to efficient lighting based on the resource you provided.

Boost your green brand
Using the handouts also can boost your green brand. 

You can customize the flyers with your logo, photo, and contact information and make printed handouts available at client meetings, open houses, and community events.
 
You also have the option of simply sharing them digitally out without customization. 

The library of topics is set to expand, and you can expect a new crop of handouts, including one about solar basics, later this year. Have a suggestion on a missing Green Client Handout topic? We’d love to hear from you.

Find the downloadable, customizable handouts under the Member Benefits tab.

 

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“Indoor air quality is important to consumers who are looking for healthy, efficient, and comfortable buildings. You can level up from a real estate professional to a REALTOR® Rockstar by becoming familiar with the concerns and solutions that are associated with good indoor air quality."  

 

            --Eileen Oldroyd, broker/owner of Oldroyd Realty, is a current director of Orange County REALTORS® (OCR) and a former chair of OCR's Green Committee   

Webinar:  NAHB Data and Effectively Collaborating with Builders 

During the April webinar, Michelle Dusseau Diller provided a deep dive into the data found in the National Association of Homebuilders’ (NAHB) 2017 SmartMarket Report: Trends in the Green Residential Market, published late last year. 

 

In addition, Diller, P.E., PMP, a program manager in sustainability and green building at NAHB, suggested how you can collaborate with builders in your city in ways that may improve your business and theirs. 
 
Here’s some insight from the webinar.  
 
Recouping first costs 
Builders tend to focus on first costs, and there’s a long-standing perception that green buildings cost more. 
 
The opportunity for you?  Work with builders and remodelers to strategize on how to recoup some of those higher initial costs. For instance, although high efficiency systems and thoughtful planning may cost more upfront, bulders can be eligible for rebates or incentives in some markets. Expand the conversation you have with buyers to include not just the cost of the home, and PITI, but also the total cost of homeownership. While building in a more walkable area may require higher costs than a plot further outside of a town center, the reduced cost of driving, commuting, or auto maintenance over the course of a year could be factored into your work with clients. Some additional upfront costs could result in lower utility bills and greater comfort. Show them the long-term value they’ll realize by investing a high-quality home with the features and community they desire. 
 
Effective language
Communicating the value of green home features has been challenging both for the real estate industry and for builders. 
 
The NAHB report includes a tidy chart that outlines which marketing words work and which don’t.
 
The most effective terms are: 
 
Long-term utility cost savings
Operating efficiency
 
The least effective are: 
 
Durable construction
Sustainable
 
One perspective is that the words labeled as “most effective” evoke emotion or more instant outcome. The less effective terms are much more abstract. So, based on some of the NAHB research, you can use the right words to help prospects understand the value of specific, unseen features like a tight building envelope and enhanced insulation. Many times these features will lead to an emotional benefit for homeowners, like comfort or security, or provide tangible outcomes like cost savings. 
And communicating that with a listing will help both you and builders. 
 
Dispelling lender, appraiser misperceptions 
Builders view a lack of understanding about green building among appraisers and lenders as an obstacle. 
 
Again, you can be a bridge between the two groups and help lenders and appraisers better understand a builder’s product and its value, as well as the demand for it among buyers. 
 
Demographic targets 
Millennials, baby boomers, and the up-and-coming Gen Z – all value high-performance home attributes like efficiency, low-maintenance, and connectivity. 
 
Younger buyers may view multi-family properties as good starter homes. Boomers may see them as a desirable downsizing option. 
 
Use your skills and marketing know-how, in addition to the findings from the NAHB report about marketing terms, to help builders tell a story and market their high-performance multi-family properties to these three demographic groups. 
 
Bright future for renewables, net-zero homes
Even though renewable options and net-zero homes may be limited options in your market today, this study showed that the cost to install solar pv and the costs to build net-zero are coming down. Public acceptance of renewables is helping to fuel growth of residential installs. You may notice this taking shape on new construction homes or through local ordinances, like the one in south Florida that will require new construction homes to include solar pv starting in 20XX
 
So getting up to speed on local ordinances or even the basics on technologies that can contribute to a NZE home would be a smart business move. 
 
One way to brush up on renewable energy technology? Take Elevate Energy’s class, Selling the Sun: Establishing Value for Solar Homes, which is geared to real estate professionals. 
 

How to Help Your Clients Breathe Easier Indoors

By Eileen Oldroyd
 
Recently, the National Association of REALTORS® Center for Real Estate Technology Programs (CRT Labs) asked me to be a beta tester for Rosetta Home, an open-source home automation system. What the heck is that? 
 
To quote CRT Labs, Rosetta Home is “a technology platform to enable real-time and historical analysis of a building’s health.” Still no help? Let’s break it down so us muggles can comprehend: Rosetta Home measures indoor air quality. 
 
Indoor air quality is literally the health of the air inside a home. Healthy air is free of pollutants, dust, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and mold. 
 
Whether it be at home, at school, or at work, the quality of the indoor air we breathe should be a top priority for all of us and here’s why. It is estimated that most people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that indoor air has exponentially more pollutants than outdoor air and causes health issues such as allergies, asthma, auto-immune disorders, and even cancer. 
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control, asthma ranks as one of the most common chronic conditions in children and causes the largest number of sick days in schools. In addition, the number of new cases of asthma has been rising since the early 1980s. And here’s the kicker: studies have shown that the asthma epidemic among both children and adults is directly related to indoor air quality. 
 
Have you ever walked into a building and soon thereafter gotten the sniffles? The reason for your nasal discomfort is probably poor indoor air quality. Or what about when you show a home that has fresh paint and new carpet? Before I became an NAR Green Designee, I enjoyed opening the door of a turnkey home, taking a deep breath, and exclaiming, “I love this smell!”
 
Well, let me tell you something. That “smell” contains toxic pollutants such as benzene and formaldehyde, solvents such as styrene and toluene, and other big words ending in  ene that I cannot spell or pronounce, which is why I was president of the Pep Club in high school rather than of the Science Club. 
 
Which reminds me. Did you know that NAR employs a team of scientists, engineers, and self- proclaimed nerds? Seriously, if you haven’t been to the CRT Labs website,  you are missing an opportunity to learn from and about their cutting-edge research, which is advancing our industry. 
 
Moving along to discuss those nasty VOCs. They are in more than just carpet and paint. They are in fabrics, bug repellents, wood preservatives, cleaning products, aerosol sprays, degreasers, and air fresheners. Wait! What? Air fresheners that make a house smell nice are bad for you? Yup! Kind of ironic. 
 
Cleaning the air inside a home creates a more favorable environment for the health of all who live there or visit. But how does this fact impact you as a real estate professional? And, yes, there is a difference between a real estate agent and a real estate professional. If you are reading this article, you’re the latter. 
 
Consumers are savvier than ever and are looking for more than just a great house that has granite countertops and an entertainer’s backyard and is located in a safe neighborhood that’s close to award-winning schools. They want homes that work for them—smarter homes, healthier homes. 
 
Indoor air quality is important to consumers who are looking for healthy, efficient, and comfortable buildings. You can level up from a real estate professional to a REALTOR® Rockstar by becoming familiar with the concerns and solutions that are associated with good indoor air quality.
 
Types of Indoor Air Pollutants
 
Dust
Mold
Pest contaminants
Volatile organic compounds 
Carbon monoxide
Radon
 
Three Steps to Becoming a REALTOR® Rockstar
 
1. Become educated.
  • Engage with CRT Labs: a magical place! crtlabs.org Where all good things happen.

  • Learn more about indoor-air quality.

  • Look for products with the Indoor airPLUS label. (Indoor airPLUS is a voluntary partnership and labeling program that helps new home builders improve the quality of indoor air by requiring product specifications and construction practices that minimize exposure to airborne pollutants and contaminants.)
  • Learn about indoor air quality monitoring devices.
 
2. Assemble your team.
  • Find a qualified mold remediation specialist.
  • Put a home auditor (HERS Raters or BPI Rater) on your speed dial.
 
3. Share the love.
  • Explain the health benefits of good indoor air quality and why it is important to homeowners.
  • Direct home buyers and sellers to where they can find more information about indoor air quality. 
  • Responsibly recommend expert indoor air quality service providers.
Six Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality
  • Check for water leaks and intrusions to prevent mold. 
  • Have HVAC systems serviced and pressure tested.
  • Clean or change the filters in HVAC systems, stove hoods, refrigerators, dryer vents, etc. 
  • Seal small gaps in attic, walls, and windows.
  • Remove carpets.
  • Use only nontoxic cleaning products.
 
 
Eileen Oldroyd, broker/owner of Oldroyd Realty, is a current director of Orange County REALTORS® (OCR), a former chair of OCR’s Green Committee, and the 2018 CHAIR, REALTORS® FOR AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT. She is a recipient of the coveted EverGreen Award, which is given each year by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Green REsource Council. A member of the NAR Green Advisory Board, she was recently appointed by 2018 NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall to the Sustainability Advisory Group. 
 
 
© OC REALTOR®. This article by Eileen Oldroyd appeared in the print and online editions of the March/April 2018 issue of OC REALTOR®, the magazine published bimonthly by Orange County REALTORS®, and is reprinted here with permission of the publisher and acknowledgment of the source. All rights reserved.

 

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Spring Upgrade: Refresh Your Data, Have More Meaningful Conversations ​

 
With the spring and summer selling season in full swing, it’s probably a good time to refresh the research data you’re using when talking with clients about green home features. 

Research organizations, including NAR, have rolled out some new studies and stats and you can pick the ones most relevant to your market and clients.

The information can help you make a stronger case for green and give your buyers and sellers a deeper understanding of what’s driving the housing market. 

In addition, be sure to listen to the GRC’s march Webinar, hosted by Kerry Langley, a loan specialist with First Landmark Bank. He reviews the loan products that can be used to finance green and high-performance home upgrades, requirements for approvals, and ways you can use the knowledge to improve your business. 

Here’s some recent research you can incorporate into conversations, your CMAs, and your marketing materials.
  
9.5 percent price premium for high-performance homes

The North Carolina Building Performance Association’s (NCBPA) recent study looked at 34,152 high-performance homes and buildings being built or retrofitted in the state and found that high-performance homes in three North Carolina metro markets commanded a 9.5 percent price premium between 2015 and 2016. 

Key takeaway: In just the Triangle market, high performance homes averaged 14.4% more square footage and a 22.0% sale price premium. The National Green Building StandardTM carried the highest average sale price at $143.44 per square foot.

D. Ryan Miller, NCBPA’s executive director, says that the takeaway for real estate practitioners is to continue building your green knowledge and to encourage MLSs to improve their systems and make it possible to automatically populate listings with green data, ratings, certifications, and so forth. The report includes some best practices for greening MLS directories. 
 

Residential and Commercial Interest
REALTOR and Sustainability Report 2018 Data from a new NAR report – the 2018 REALTOR® & Sustainability Report – offers a look at how residential and commercial real estate professionals encounter sustainability in their markets and with clients. 

Key Takeaways: Overall, data shows the promotion of energy efficiency in listings is important (71% of residential agents and 70% of commercial).

Forty percent of respondents reported their MLS has green data fields, and respondents typically used the green data fields to promote green features and energy information.

Sixty-one percent of residential respondents found clients were at least somewhat interested in sustainability.

Eighty percent of respondents said homes with solar panels were available in their market.
Thirty-nine percent said properties with solar panels increased the perceived property value.

Forty percent of homes with green certifications spent neither more or less time on market.
The home features clients listed as very important to their agent or broker included a comfortable living space, proximity to frequently visited places, and windows, doors, and siding.

Buyers seek green

The Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2017 shows that buyers do value energy efficiency and other green home features, including living close to public transportation (45%). 

Key takeaway: Nearly half (48%) of respondents list energy efficiency as a desired home characteristic. 

Smart home design
Smart home design, solar energy, and voice-controlled systems are among the top five trends for single-family home in 2018, says FIXR

Key takeaway: Solar panels will be the most popular way to incorporate renewable energy into single-family homes. 

Kitchen Trends
Check out the U.S. HOUZZ Kitchen Trends Study for the latest thinking on kitchen design.

Key takeaway:  Homeowners spent an average of $42,000 for major remodeling of kitchens that are 200 square feet or larger. 

Generational trends
See NAR’s 2018 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report to get a handle on how different generations view home buying and selling and what each demographic group values. 

Key takeaway:  Thirty-four percent said heating and cooling costs were very important. 

Climate change
Cities are addressing climate change as a priority, whether that’s by encouraging sustainable transportation, embracing renewable energy, or promoting low-carbon new buildings. That’s according to Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2018 American Mayors Survey

Key takeaway: Eight in 10 mayors think it’s important for their cities to address climate change, though financing projects remains a significant challenge.

Multigenerational living
Keep an eye out for buyers looking for homes to accommodate multigenerational living. Pew Research Center says 64 million Americans live in such households. 

Key takeaway: Home to 32.3 million Americans in 2016, the most common type of multigenerational household is made up of two adult generations, such as parents and their adult children.

Consumer sentiment
NAR’s HOME Survey Housing Opportunities and Market Experience gives you a read on how consumers viewed the housing market during the first quarter of 2018. 

Key takeaway: Sixty-eight percent of people think that now is a good time to buy a home. 

American dream
NAR’s Aspiring Home Buyers Profile finds that homeownership is still part of the American Dream. 

Key takeaway: Over half of non-owners (56%) said they couldn’t afford to buy a home. 

Builders’ views 
The National Association of Homebuilders asked builders about their green building activity, the costs and benefits of building green, and some of the drivers and obstacles they face. See the report, Green Multifamily and Single Family Homes 2017, and listen to a GRC Webinar about the findings. 

Key takeaway:  Consumers will pay more for green homes, and more builders expect to offer renewable energy options over the next three years. 

 

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This Month's Tips: The Last  Straw

Heard about the no-straw movement?

It’s estimated that 500 million straws are used – and disposed of – each day in the United States. They rank among the top 10 bits of marine debris, which affects both human and animal health. 

Here’s what you can do. 

1. Refuse plastic straws when you’re offered one and stop buying them.

2. BYOS. Bring your own glass, paper, metal, or bamboo straw.  

3. Learn more about plastic pollution.

 

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Green Building Trends

The National Association of Homebuilders surveyed builders and remodelers about their green building activity, green practices, and what consumers want and will pay extra for. 

Here are some findings. 

 

All articles written by Elyse Umlauf-Garneau unless otherwise noted

 

 

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