Seriously, green homes make sense

Sent to me by a client, this article is outstanding on a number of levels:

“I’ve lived through seven cycles in the housing industry, and this is one of the worst. But every time we come out of one of these cycles, consumers want something different in their homes. They don’t want the house they went into the cycle with,” said Charles Shinn, a Littleton, Colo., home-building consultant.

This is what I am telling my clients – buy a better house now. Use this market as a means by which to hedge your bets for the future. Upgrade the insulation, demand better construction, get higher-end features. You will thank yourself in five years when you’re either a) still living in the house and your house is more comparable to the inevitable competing new construction or b) you’re still paying lower utility bills and c) your house is just more comfortable.

I tell ya, this “green home” thing might catch on – and it’s not necessarily because people care about the environment or global warming or natural resources – it’s because buying a smarter home makes sense. Despite what the WSJ says, I don’t advise clients to “go green to get your cash” – I do it because it’s a common sense approach to living.

As an aside, I’d love to see our MLS have an option to search for green homes. As it is today, I am left to search by keywords such as LEED and EarthCraft in the remarks. Whatever it takes.

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12 Comments

  1. Heather February 21, 2008 at 11:06

    Jim, I couldn’t agree more with your comment about adding a field to the MLS in order to designate green homes; in fact, I made that exact request to CAAR a few months ago and was told that it would be taken into consideration the next time the board met. My suggestion was to create a drop-down field in the MLS by the type of green home: LEED, EarthCraft House, ENERGY STAR, American Lung Association, etc. It would probably be a good idea, too, to include an option for older homes with retrofitted green features.
    With more and more people looking for environmentally friendly, energy efficient homes, there should be a way to search for that.
    (In the interest of full disclosure, I represent a local EarthCraft House builder.)

    Reply
  2. Jeremy Hart February 21, 2008 at 11:10

    That’s a great point he made, Jim. Nothing else to add.

    Reply
  3. Jeremy Hart February 21, 2008 at 11:18

    Heather, I did the same a month or two ago. At least you got a response – our AE didn’t respond. It’s important that this be an option for agents to search, as our markets are going to continually demand it more and more. (full disclosure – I do NOT represent any EarthCraft certified builders, but would be happy to do so.) 🙂

    Reply
  4. Jim Duncan February 21, 2008 at 13:31

    Heather –

    Contact me offline, please. Let’s see what we can do.

    Reply
  5. Nightwatch February 21, 2008 at 17:40

    I agree that green is the smart way to have a house. I do not think we have anything like that in our area as of yet. I have not heard of it or seen green in the advertising. Saving money will be very much in favor if the economy goes south.

    Reply
  6. Michael Wurzer February 22, 2008 at 07:57

    Jeremy, in terms of the MLS software used by your MLS, adding this type of field is about a one minute point and click operation in the administrative module. I’ll contact the MLS to raise the topic again.

    Reply
  7. Blue Ridge Georgia Cabin Rentals February 22, 2008 at 10:54

    This is so funny I was talking about this on a blog yesterday. I to think people will want green homes. There are alot of states which have already been working with developers.

    I think this will be actually the new growth bubble as the industial age was. I see great things coming down the road with being ‘green’as the cornerstone.

    I keep asking on different blogs are people choosing energey efficient options when custom building or going for the traditional granite kitchen and master bath.

    Reply
  8. Chris Heath February 23, 2008 at 04:24

    The way gas in going up it not only makes environmental sense but commercial sense to go green.

    Reply
  9. Heather February 26, 2008 at 14:31

    Blue Ridge,

    It doesn’t necessarily have to be one or the other; one can build a certified green home that has both energy-efficient features AND granite in the kitchen/bath. 🙂

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  10. Alec Bobdon April 21, 2008 at 08:59

    It won’t be long before local goverment taxes are not just based on the size of your house, but how green your house is.

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  11. Lyn Smith May 1, 2008 at 00:00

    As fossil fuels get more expensive and technology for batteries and solar power improves, eventually people will be much more interested in self-sustainable houses.

    Reply
  12. Anthony Zimmerman April 7, 2009 at 08:48

    This past year as EcoBrokers my selling partner and I underwent a research and study to determine how to most effectively present a green section in our MLS. It is now in its first year and going excellent. What we did find is that 80% of the MLS’s that added green sections have failed miserably because a green standard was just thrown up on the MLS with out giving thought to the mind set and experience levels of the REALTORS in the region. I can recommend 2 ways of going about greening your MLS. Find out what works best for your region by working with the local Home Builders Association Chapter, NAR Green designated agents and brokers, EcoBrokers, and local organizations dedicated to sustainable growth. The other is have your association contact me if they are willing to pay for a consultant.

    Reply

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