Real Estate Gets Greener

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When it comes to buying or selling a home, it can pay to be green.

Those are the results of a new study released by the National Association of Realtors. The 2017 Realtors and Sustainability report found that over half clients (56 percent) express interest in sustainable issues and practices.

Four out of five realtors (80 percent) reported homes with solar panels being part of their local market. Nearly three quarters (71 percent) have found that promoting energy efficiency in listings gave increased value to clients. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of realtors reported that tiny homes were available in their market.

“As consumers’ interest in sustainability grows, realtors understand the necessity of promoting sustainability in their real estate practice, such as marketing energy efficiency in property listings to homebuyers,” said NAR President William E. Brown, a realtor from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties. “The goal of the NAR Sustainability Program is to provide leadership and strategies on topics of sustainability to benefit members, consumers and communities.”

Real estate agents are responding to this changing market by educating themselves and including additional information in their listings. Sixty-one percent reported that they’re comfortable answering questions from buyers or sellers about a home’s energy efficiency. Seven out of ten believe that promoting energy efficient features will positively impact a home’s performance on the market. Entries in the Multiple Listing Services are also seeing some changes with additional fields to promote green features. More than two out of five respondents (43 percent) have included green data fields in their listings.

When it comes to choosing a property, the most important feature to consumers is energy efficient lighting (reported by 50 percent of realtors). Smart or connect home technologies are also important (40 percent), as are community features such as bike lanes or green spaces (37 percent), water-conscious landscaping (32 percent) and renewable energy sources like geothermal or solar power (23 percent).

Transportation that doesn’t require an automobile is also important. Realtors reported that 51 percent of clients considered walkability very or somewhat important. Bike lanes were desired by 39 percent of clients, and access to public transportation by 31 percent.