Greening the Home-Buying Process

8253623510_cb9268d85b_k Buildings, between construction and operation, are responsible for 70% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Global Green USA has long been working on policy, projects, and education to reduce carbon pollution from the built environment. To further this work in the residential realm, Global Green’s New Orleans Office has partnered with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Louisiana Chapter and the New Orleans Metropolitan  Association of REALTORS® (NOMAR) Green Committee to educate REALTORS® and other real-estate related professionals like appraisers about the new green fields and tools in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  Translating the value of energy efficient, sustainable home features into higher sale prices, better financing opportunities, and quicker home sales is critical to the process of transforming the green home market.

You may already know that weatherization and energy efficiency can add value to residential properties.  However, without information from comparable properties, appraisers cannot easily determine this value. In November 2013, new “green feature” fields and a Green Building Attachment were added to the MLS both to enhance property listings and document these features for comparison purposes. One of the new “green” fields adopted by NOMAR and the Gulf South Real Estate Information Network (GSREIN)—which provides MLS services for the 10 parish New Orleans Metro area with over 5,400 participating subscribers is called “Energy Efficient Features.”  This includes:

  • Solar
  • Water heaters
  • Energy Star appliances
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 16 or greater
  • Improved insulation
  • Windows
  • Low flow fixtures
  • Energy efficient lighting;
  • Enhanced air filtration
  • Native/drought resistant landscaping
  • Green building certification, such as LEED for Homes

But this new field only gives a hint at what a homebuyer can expect.  NOMAR’s Green Committee consulted with a variety of local experts and conducted research on national trends, also, to create a new “Green Building Certification, Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Attachment” that gives sellers an excellent opportunity to expand on the more generic categories above.

Global Green, in conjunction with the local Advocacy Committee of the USGBC and NOMAR’s Green Committee, presented to more than 100 agents at the following offices: Dorian Bennett Sotheby's, GARDNER REALTORS®, REMAX, Keller Williams Realty and Latter & Blum Inc., and more than 4000 REALTORS® and affiliates via the NOMAR Green Committee Newsletter. The agents learned that using the new fields in the MLS and encouraging sellers to complete the new attachment detailing eco-friendly improvements documents the added value of green improvements, which can then be reflected in higher sales prices. They also saw that they can serve eco-buyers more easily and professionally when they can search for and show listings that more closely meet these buyers’ demands.

With benefits to homebuyers, agents, and the environment…it’s a win-win-win! For more information about using the new green tools in the Multiple Listings Service (MLS) in New Orleans, please contact: Jodie Manale, NOMAR Green Committee Chair, at [email protected].