Friday, March 16, 2012
From the March/April 2012 issue
Tips for cultivating your ability
to serve green-living clients
As the topics of sustainability and green living continue to gain momentum, clients and customers interested in green features and amenities will become more and more common. But who is the green buyer, tenant, owner, or seller? And how can you determine what green means to them?
As with any real estate transaction, the green client is motivated by a variety of different factors and preferences. These individuals can be categorized into one of the following general types:
Economizers are those who are interested in saving on operating costs through resource management.
Investors are individuals interested in life-cycle cost analysis and the value proposition of various green features.
Health-conscious are folks who believe that potential health benefits of green living.
Idealists are people who believe that conservation of resources for future generations is a social responsibility.
Lifestyle-focused are those who believe that living by overall sustainability principles contributes to a more meaningful and comfortable personal lifestyle.
Eco-chic are people who are interested in the status and prestige of green living. They may value the idea of living in a green certified home or building more than the unique green features and associated environmental or sustainable benefits.
As you can see, the green choice is not a one-size-fits-all approach. And since existing homes don’t have the advantage of being able to incorporate green features into design and construction. However, if your clients are looking at existing houses and buildings, some aspects of a structure cannot be changed, such as its site orientation, you will need to help a buyer or tenant see the green potential. You’ll want to be able to point out ways to decrease a property’s negative impact on the environment or suggest upgrades and fixes that will increase resource efficiency.
Of course you’ll have to do your green research first. There are tons of online sources that discuss options and price points for green products (green builders and other green experts are also helpful resources). Then, go through listings with a green-toothed comb: Note potential features or opportunities for green improvements and review potential pros and cons.
When you’ve gathered the appropriate information, prioritize showings to focus on your client’s high-priority features and factors, use checklists to find all potential features, and offer observations. Get feedback from your clients after each showing to gauge their priorities.
Understanding the latest features, technology, and development in green real estate will afford you a unique perspective into the needs of this rapidly growing client base.
Source: Green REsource Council, National Association of REALTORS®
Green House Effect
Green-oriented buyers are also going to want to make the move to their new home in a green fashion. Here are some tips you can provide them:
*Scavenge cardboard boxes from grocery stores, etc., instead of buying new (and, save some greenbacks at the same time).
*Forego cardboard boxes entirely in favor of renting reusable plastic moving boxes. Not only will they avoid the hunt-and-haul for used boxes, they won’t have to deal with a mountain of post-move boxes to dispose of.
*Choose an eco-friendly moving company that, for example, uses biodiesel trucks, has solar panels for electricity for their warehouses, or uses moving pads made of 100 percent recycled cotton.
*Substitute Styrofoam peanuts and bubble wrap with your own sheets and blankets, towels, and rags. If Styrofoam peanuts are a necessity, buy the biodegradable corn-based peanuts.
Provided by Bob Cannon, BungoBox. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.