The REsource Newsletter

December, 2017

In This Issue

Data, Stats to Help You Shape 2018 Marketing Plans, Answer Client Questions
Looking Forward to Brighter Green Future
Smarter, Greener Gifts
Get More Business, Close More Deals, and Transform the Industry
Tips: Winter Fire Safety






Newsletter Archive

Previous Issues

Data, Stats to Help You Shape 2018 Marketing Plans, Answer Client Questions 

As you shape your 2018 marketing, you’ll probably be looking for ways to shore up your talking points during listing presentations and client meetings.
We pulled together some 2017 research to help you when you’re talking to clients about energy efficiency upgrades and their value. 
NAR members’ views 
REALTORS® weighed in on sustainability issues, wind and solar topics, and the home features important to clients in the REALTORS® and Sustainability 2017 Report
Green home features that clients listed as very important to their agent or broker include a comfortable living space (71 percent), proximity to frequently visited places (40 percent), windows, doors, and siding (39 percent), and a home’s utility bills and operating costs (28 percent).
Neighborhood features that clients look for include access to schools (79 percent), access to shopping (72 percent), parks and outdoor recreation (60 percent), and affordable housing (38 percent).
Transportation and commuting features that clients listed as very or somewhat important include easy access to highways (82 percent), commute times and distance (81 percent), and walkability (51 percent).
Eighty percent said solar panels were available in their market, compared to 13 percent that said there were no solar panels in their market.
Design trends
The U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study outlines home features, colors, finishes, materials, and appliances that in demand.
Key takeaways: 
Kitchen renovations helped usher in a healthier lifestyle for 1/3 of homeowners, including more produce and cooking. 
Open concepts are hot and more than one-third of those renovating a kitchen are expanding the space. 
Look and feel of materials and durability are highly prized. 
Millennials opt for modern or farmhouse kitchens and baby boomers are more likely to go for traditional styles. 
Dated designs
A survey by Wakefield Research for Taylor Morrison Home Corporation, found that 70 percent of new or prospective homebuyers say they have outdated design features in their current homes. 
The biggest offenders include linoleum floors (40 percent), popcorn ceilings (29 percent), and wood paneling (28 percent). 
Key takeaways: 
Millennials value better energy efficiency (62 percent), floor plans that can be personalized (58%), and easier maintenance (56 percent), more than the latest technology. 
Wood flooring (65 percent) is considered the most essential feature, followed by USB and Ethernet ports (44 percent). 
More than half (59%) of millennials want darker, rich paint colors inside their homes. 
Remodeling's Impact
NAR’s 2017 Remodeling Impact Report looks at top remodeling projects and the ones that bring the most financial and emotional value to homeowners. Thirty-six percent of owners say the single most important result from remodeling is better functionality and livability. 
Key takeaways:
The report looked at some projects focused on energy efficiency, including: 
HVAC replacement: 
  • Top reason for doing the project: to improve energy efficiency (56 percent) 
  • NARI Remodelers’ cost estimate: $7,475
  •  Percent of value recovered from the project: 67 percent
Insulation upgrade: 
  • Top reason for doing the project: to improve energy efficiency (81%)
  • NARI Remodelers’ cost estimate: $2,100
  • Percent of value recovered from the project: 76 
Consumers’ views on climate change 
The Pew Research Center’s “The Politics of Climate,” looks at people’s perceptions about climate change.
 It includes some compelling data about the support that exists for expanding wind and solar power. 
Key takeaways: 
Thirty-six percent of Americans are deeply concerned about climate issues. 
Three-quarters (75%) say they’re “particularly concerned about helping the environment” as they go about daily living. 
Only 20 percent say they make an effort to live in ways that protect the environment “all the time.” A majority (63%) say they sometimes do, and 17 percent do not do it at all or not too often.
Residents in the West are especially interested in solar panels, and some 14 percent of homeowners there have installed solar panels at home. Another 52 percent say they’re considering them. 
Environmentally-friendly home features by generation
The National Association of REALTORS’® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends includes statistics on the value buyers and sellers place on environmentally-friendly home features. 
Key takeaways: 
Most recent buyers who purchased new homes were looking to avoid renovations and problems with plumbing or electricity at 34 percent. 
Heating and cooling costs were the most important environmental features for recent home buyers, with 84 percent finding these features at least somewhat important. 
For buyers age 36 years and younger, commuting costs were more important that heating and cooling costs at 39 percent and 31 percent respectively. Only 12 percent of buyers aged 62 to 70 said commuting costs were very important, but 34 percent said heating a cooling accounted for 34 percent. 
Buyers will pay more for green, say builders, remodelers 
At least one third of builders of single- and multi-family homes surveyed in the Green Multifamily and Single Family Homes 2017 SmartMarket Brief said that green building is a significant portion of their overall activity. That number is expected to increase to nearly 50 percent by 2022. 
Key takeaways: 
Most single-family builders (71%) believe customers will pay more for green homes, with over half (58%) believing consumers would pay between 1 percent and 4 percent more. 
Two-thirds (66%) of remodelers believe customers will pay 5 to 10 percent more for green.
The most effective marketing terms include long-term utility cost savings and operating efficiency. The least effective terms are durable construction and sustainable. 
More builders, especially single-family builders, expect to offer renewable energy options in the next three years. (See this month’s charts for more details).
Subhead) Built Green homes slash electricity use
How much better do certified homes perform over non-certified ones?  
A Built Green study (see the full report https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws or an infographic  2.amazonaws compared actual electricity use in homes certified by Built Green and non-certified homes.  
Key takeaway: 
Those living in Built Green homes can save over $500 per year in electricity bills and prevent over half a ton of carbon emissions per home.

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“Real estate agents are the nexus between taking information they may be given by clients and helping to get that information out into the market in a place where buyers can find and understand it." 



--Cynthia Adams, Pearl Certification CEO



Looking Forward to Brighter Green Future  

A new year always brings hope for fresh starts and new opportunities. 

And a stiff dose of uncertainty. 

At the GRC we’re squarely focused on the former. And we have reason for such optimism. 
After all, 2017 brought a steady flow of studies, statistics, and indicators that make us upbeat about our mission and the future of our industry. 

On a macro level, mayors, cities, corporations and universities all remain committed  to battling climate change even though the U.S. has withdrawn from the Paris Agreement.  

Internally, the GRC is looking forward to a burgeoning membership, a new website, and fresh opportunities to interact with you and for you to engage with your clients. 

NAR’s sustainability commitment
NAR recently made a commitment to a more sustainable future with the formation of the Sustainability Advisory Group, which will refine and advance NAR’s sustainability strategy. The new committee, announced by NAR president Elizabeth Mendenhall during the 2017 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in November, is another indication that NAR leadership is solidly behind such efforts. 

In addition to the announcement of the Sustainability Advisory Group, the 2017 REALTORS® Conference & Expo illustrated the vast opportunities — courting corporations, advising clients on solar installations, and spearheading placemaking projects-- that exist for someone with your skills. 

And that’s true even if you’re living somewhere where people and institutions appear indifferent to all things green. For more details, see “NAR Establishes Sustainability Advisory Group” issue of the newsletter.  

Collaboration, strong industry partners
Through strong industry relationships it has formed, the GRC has seen significant inroads in making it more appealing and viable for homeowners to seek green features. 

For example, because of the Appraisal Institute’s Green Addendum—updated this year --homeowners can get credit for the green upgrades they’ve made. 

And thanks to a years-long effort to get green fields into MLSs, more practitioners have been able to promote green home features in their MLS listings. 

The Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) has been refining its data dictionary, and by January, 2018, MLSs across the country will be adhering to the RESO Data Dictionary Silver Certification, which include green fields. 

With such fields in MLSs across the country, consumers will be able to search more easily for homes that have energy scores and green and energy efficient features. 

Such developments make it all the more attractive for homeowners and buyers to consider projects that both improve a home’s comfort and efficiency and diminish its long-term impact on the environment. 

Wide world of prospects
It’s also clear that green upgrades and the lower monthly energy bills and maintenance costs they bring have potential to make homeownership more of a possibility for the Millennials, a generation struggling to become first-time buyers. 

And at the other end of the age spectrum, green upgrades can aid seniors – and baby boomers who are on the way to their senior years – in their quest to live in greater physical and fiscal comfort. 
Your expertise, of course, can help everyone in between who’s looking for the health, comfort, and financial benefits that come with green home strategies. 

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Smarter Green Gifts 

Whether you have a small business – real estate, accounting, or yoga instruction – and give clients gifts throughout the year or you’re looking for more sustainable choices for family and friends, we’ve got you covered. 
Here are some gift options that will carry you through the coming year and make 2018 more eco-friendly.  
Beeswax sandwich wrap 
Reusable snack bags  and food wrap eliminate plastic and foil from your lunch routine and make brown bagging it much more ecofriendly. 
Paper – Sometimes email and texting are just too impersonal. Jot down your thanks or your expressions of love on seed-infused paper. Recipients can plant the paper and watch flowers spring from yur message. 
Pencils – When the Sprout pencil gets too stubby to use, plant it and wait for herbs, including basil, coriander, and thyme, to grow. 
Wrap, boxes, cards – Look for other plantables like gift wrap, boxes, and business cards
Reusable paper towels
Creative types have solved the paper towel waste problem by designing reusable cloth towels that fit on standard paper towel holders.  Use the cloth rags, wash them, and use them again. Search for “cloth paper towels” and pick your favorite pattern. 
Stainless steel straw
Drinking straws seem innocuous until you realize that 500 million straws are used each day in the U.S., and that generates a horrifying amount of waste. 
If you must use a straw, make it a reusable one.
Eco-friendly subscription boxes
Sign up for gift boxes that send your friends or clients regular green treats like bath products, kitchen gear, artisan food, and seeds. 
Here are four options: 
Bloomin Bin delivers seeds, plants, and herbs. 
Imperfect Produce rescues produce that’s ugly but tasty. By signing up, you reduce food waste and get produce for 30 to 50 percent less than you’d pay at the grocery store. 
Mighty Nest sends one product a month that’s designed to help people make incremental eco-friendly changes. 
Prospurly sends small-batch, artisan goods, including organic food and bath products. 
UrthBox features non-GMO food, snacks and drinks. 
Slow fashion
Look for recycled and organic materials, companies that embrace sustainable business practices, and handmade goods when you’re shopping for clothing. Some companies that fit the bill include:  
Also search for artists who specialize in upcycled clothes. 
DIY Kits 
Create your own gift basket of items -- weather-stripping gear, a water heater blanket, LED bulbs, power strips, and a radon testing kit—to  help someone minimize their environmental footprint, make their house safer and more comfortable, and reduce energy consumption. 
Smart home technology 
Picking the right gear to smarten up a home can be confusing for beginners. 
NAR’s CRT Labs offers the 101 on each technology, from thermostats to home automation, as well as a 2017 gift guide.   
No-gift gift 
Naturally the greenest gift is the gift is one that entails no physical object at all. Think tickets to concerts and movies, memberships to gardens and museums, and gift certificates for classes – art, gardening, and music. 

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Get More Business, Close More Deals, and Transform the Industry

“Real estate agents are the nexus between taking information they may be given by clients and helping to get that information out into the market in a place where buyers can find and understand it,”  said Cynthia Adams, Pearl Certification CEO, during the November 2017 GRC Webinar, MLS Green Fields – Your Secret Sales Strategy. 
It’s the perfect webinar if you’re struggling with understanding the value of green MLS fields and how to make that information valuable to your clients and your business. 
Adams provided practical information, statistics, and strategies that you can incorporate into your business immediately.
What you’ll take away: 
What green MLS fields are and why they’re valuable.
How to translate those green MLS features into buyer benefits.
Ways to use your green knowledge and green MLS fields to differentiate yourself from competitors and not leave money on the table.
How to increase client satisfaction, which leads to more business and referrals for you.
“The green MLS allows you to capture the information about high-performance homes, and get the information out there in the market so you’re not only differentiating the property but also justifying the price premium for these properties,” Adams commented. 
She also pointed out that such homes are no longer niche products. “There’s buyer demand for them, and these properties are becoming the new normal. The MLS should reflect that.” 
Translating green into buyer benefits 
Given that no buyer comes to you asking for things like a high-performance HVAC system, Adams illustrated how to translate green features into buyer benefits that clients understand. 
Sniffing out green features on your own
And since homeowners often don’t tell you about their green upgrades, it’s important for you to be able to spot green features in a house and follow-up with questions to be certain that every energy efficiency feature is accounted for. 
Three key steps: 
1. Ask your seller if the home has any efficient or green features 
2. Verify those features through documentation (3rd party is best) 
3. Market those features in MLS by checking applicable fields 
In addition, Adams talked about practical ways to use the Pearl Certification and translate green features directly into marketing strategies and weave green concepts into conversations in ways that resonate with clients. 
Transforming the industry
Adams also pointed out that to transform the industry, everyone must be responsible for going above and beyond, taking the conversation a step further, and making sure the green information out there – on CMAs and in the MLS, for example -- is accurate so that appraisers have what they need to do their jobs.
You can be one who uses your knowledge and green MLS fields to set the bar higher, differentiate your service, get and close more listings, and have more happy clients.  
Adams’ final message: “The “for sale” home of today is the comparable of tomorrow.” 
NOTE: Please keep in mind that unless you renew your GRC membership, this will be your final webinar. 
To keep the GRC benefits rolling in, be sure to renew for 2018. 
To sweeten the deal, we have an early-bird discount of 5% that’s good until 11:59 p.m. (CST) on December 31, 2017.
For complete information, click here. 

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This Month's Tips: Winter Fire Safety

Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths, with January, February, and March being the most dangerous months, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Here are ways to stay safe.  
1. Hire qualified professional  clean your chimney every year
2. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from fireplaces, space heaters, and other heat sources. 
3. Turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.

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The Green Multifamily and Single Family Homes 2017 SmartMarket Brief

The SmartMarket Brief from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) looks at the green features and practices builders are using, their perception of the costs and benefits of building green, as well as what to expect in future construction. 


All articles written by Elyse Umlauf-Garneau unless otherwise noted

Become an NAR Green Instructor