Real Estate Investors can see a new era coming in the green revolution. It is no longer business as usual. Years ago, all professions in real estate were forced to become part of the information age, a new information revolution. Fifteen or so years ago, in many areas hard copy paper descriptions of homes for sale and lease and commercial properties were hand delivered. When the information highway came about, computers delivered property information and allowed people to access public records and tax information, providing up-to-date statistical property reports.
We now look to the next 20 or so years from a real estate investment standpoint. In an age where values are declining, it is time to know why green can cause a major shift in a buyer’s decision. A selling price is and always has been what a buyer is willing to pay. Well, thanks to the media — through newspapers, websites and TV, especially HGTV and other stations — education for consumers is being offered. The days of accepting a piece of real estate with the the risks of unhealthy indoor air quality are becoming fewer as consumers become educated.
Through our company, Green Real Estate Education, those in the industry have a green certification program that close to 5,000 now see as an excellent first step to understanding why green building is growing so quickly. Green Real Estate Education is educating those professions such as Real Estate Agents, Home Inspectors and Mortgage Professionals and even government professionals who are planning infrastructure for the future to spread the news that going green while considering renovations and upgrades can save money. If I think back to when I was practicing real estate, if you could give me a property to market that had special beauty, or an attribute to stand out in the marketplace, I was glad. If I showed a property that had “more to offer” than others in the neighborhood, it was exciting. A home that showed lower utility bills would not have stood out as it would today.
When we teach our certification classes, we hear agents say over and over that buyers are asking about more energy-efficient product and systems in properties. Energy Star from EPA and the Department of Energy initiatives are helping consumers realize the tax incentives available to them. Those in the industry are embracing our courses for many reasons. They want to know their part so they can become leaders in the Green Revolution.
The Realtor must understand what a green certification is. Agents and home inspectors must allow energy raters into their circle of influence. All in the real estate arena must begin to help building code officials offer fast-track permitting for those who want to renovate to become more energy efficient. Mortgage professionals, underwriters and loan processors must get in the game to understand green underwriting standards coming down the pike. Appraisers are scurrying to substantiate these green renovations and upgrades for higher value. Taking the actual direct savings in utility bills is a great start for the mortgage industry. There are special forms for energy-efficient mortgage loans for consumers.