Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with Laura Stukel, a Realtor with LW Reedy Real Estate in Elmhurst, for her tips on how agents can market green features to buyers.
7. Remember, “green home” is a verb, not a noun. Homes (noun) that are fun to walk through or talk about are interesting. But homes (verb) that solve problems or provide benefits close deals. Real green homes are high performance homes that work for you!
6. Target your messaging. Let’s be real – it’s hard to sell green on its own. First-time buyers need help controlling costs to qualify for their first purchase. Move-up buyers are interested in comfort and safety. Make sure that your listing remarks highlight not just the what, but the how. Emphasize the benefits that green homes deliver to specific buyer types.
5. If you are listing a home, condo, or small multifamily building in Chicago, be sure to take advantage of MRED’s handy Energy Cost Disclosure tool. You’ll comply with the city ordinance that requires sellers to share gas and electric costs at the time a property is listed for sale. Plus, preliminary results of a small sample seem to show that homes that disclose energy costs sell more quickly than those that do not.
In my humble opinion, empowering today’s home buyer with information gives them the confidence needed to step forward towards the closing table. Just ask your seller for their ComEd and People’s Gas account numbers. The rest is easy, with the listing prompts in connectMLS. Generate a disclosure report with the online tool, and then use the document attachment feature in connectMLS to comply with the ordinance. A summary of electric and gas costs will also be automatically saved to the listing sheet!
4. Be sure to ask clients or builders if they have participated in a program that verifies green or high performance features. Since 2005, nearly 12,000 new homes were built to a third-party green building standard, and another 3,000 completed an energy efficiency upgrade through the Illinois Home Performance program. MRED’s Green Room helps you understand how to use the fields available in connectMLS to disclose that information with confidence. Various studies in other parts of the country indicate that homes with third-party green verifications can sell for three to 10 percent more than their traditional counterparts, and a study in Boston revealed that nearly half of listings are under-reporting green homes and leaving equity off the table for their sellers!
3. The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) is one of MRED’s most popular green fields because it allows efficiency comparison of one home to another. That comparison approach helps trained appraisers with the valuation of green homes, too. If you’re working with a home built since 2005, there is a good chance there is one on file. Scores below 85 are much more efficient than their counterparts, and scores can even go to zero or below if the home features renewable energy like solar or wind.
2. Energy Impact Illinois is a resource that can be like an instant “get out of jail free” card for home inspection issues. A lot of things that go wrong during a home inspection can be replaced with Energy Star equipment that might be eligible for a rebate from the local utility. The experts at Energy Impact Illinois can help you navigate to find the best installers and bonus rebates for your clients; in some cases, financing for larger projects – such as an AC and heating system upgrade – may also be available.
1. The Energy Savers program is a great opportunity for clients considering a small multifamily building purchase, or for agents trying to keep in touch with recent clients. One program helps owners of two-to-four-flat buildings maximize energy efficiency to reduce monthly building operating costs. Another version is for larger multifamily buildings (five-plus units). Program participants have found the program helps attract and retain the best tenants.
Laura Stukel is a Realtor with LW Reedy Real Estate in Elmhurst and member of NAR’s Green REsource Advisory Council about selling green. Stukel is also a real estate consultant to Elevate Energy.