Friday, October 3, 2008

Want Your Next Home to Be Green?

Green homes are selling faster and commanding higher prices than other properties in many markets. For example, Alyson McNutt English reports that “Solaire, a green residential high-rise in New York, commands rents 10 percent to 15 percent higher than market rates. In Rocklin, California LEED-certified homes in the Carsten Crossings development outsold the competition 2 to 1.” That reflects a trend that's grown since 2006.

Turn to an EcoBroker who is trained to assess the green features of a prospective home.

There are many benefits. From helping you qualify for grants and tax credits for energy-saving improvements to ensuring that your home will have healthy air inside, an EcoBroker’s training may help you. That Realtor has chosen to take courses about what makes a building “green”, healthy and more attractive to energy-saving or otherwise eco-minded buyers. Hugh Morris, the community outreach representative for the National Association of Realtors says interest in "green" properties has surged.

There are now 4,000 certified EcoBrokers.

Here’s ways they can be helpful:

• Some EcoBrokers will connect interested buyers to homes with eco-friendly features, like an electronic air cleaners (EAC), solar power and energy-efficient appliances. Even if the property does not have green features, EcoBrokers can, for example, show seller or buyers example retro-fits to lower their energy bills.

• Celeste Karan hosts a web site that not only lists homes for sale but provides, help for “home buyers understand what truly constitutes a 'green building.' "

Ecobrokers Karen Sutherland and Jennifer Spivey use their sites to provide “green” news and tips to homeowners. Spivey, for example, reported that “October 2-5 Georgia residents can purchase energy and water efficient products state and local tax free. This is the first year water efficient products have been included in the tax holiday.”

• If the home you want to sell has many green features, an EcoBroker may be more adept at selling it to the growing niche market of green buyers. That’s what EcoBroker Carson Matthews has found. He uses his blog to help make the connections. Plus he and his colleague, Cotten Alston, “successfully lobbied the First Multiple Listing Service (FMLS) to include green features in their search engine.”

• When looking at a home for sale, Baltimore's first EcoBroker Amanda Lee Lopez “checks the indoor air quality, the cost of utilities and how the owners, both current and new, can make green improvements.”

• Among other things EcoBroker Larry Weiss can help you with indoor air quality, ventilation, use of low VOC paints, quality radon testing, and reliable water testing.

• Gary Greene offers a free Property and Environmental Profile on any domestic property in his Houston market.

• Maui’s first female EcoBroker, Meghan Clair writes that “It pays to think Green when investing in Real Estate.”

• A sign this healthy green home trend is growing in popularity: the U.S. Green Building Council -- a nonprofit that rates commercial buildings on things like energy use and indoor-air quality -- introduced similar rating systems for people's homes.

• For more ideas about how to make your home more energy and resource-efficient (an a healthy place in which to live) visit a partner of EcoBroker, Build It Green.

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