According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), more than half of consumers plan on going green when they look for their next home. It’s clear that the majority of prospective buyers are looking for green homes—and they’re willing to pay for them, too. In fact, researchers found that certain energy-efficient features can increase the value of a home by 6%.
Why are today’s buyers so interested in going green? For starters, it can help homeowners save a significant amount of money. Every energy efficient upgrade in a home can add more money to your pocket. As a matter of fact, even a simple switch from traditional to energy efficient light bulbs can save nearly $250 a year.
Green homes can also help homeowners reduce their carbon footprint. It’s estimated that 17% of all greenhouse gas emissions are produced in residential homes. By going green, homeowners across the country can do their part to reduce the emissions that are harming the planet.
REALTORS® that are not listing homes with green features are missing out on a huge opportunity to sell to these eco-conscious buyers. But, the green real estate market is becoming increasingly competitive, which means winning green listings is harder than ever before. How can you become the go-to REALTOR® for green listings in your community? Follow these tips:
Do Your Research
Before making a sales pitch to prospective sellers, it’s important to learn as much as possible about green homes. Start by learning about the various features that make a home green and why they are attractive to buyers. You should also research which green features are more popular than others so you understand what buyers are looking for on the market. If you are not knowledgeable on this subject, prospective sellers will not trust you to sell their home for the highest price possible.
There are programs available that will not only educate you in green real estate practices, but also provide you with a certification or designation that will immediately brand you as a go-to agent for green listings. Many of these programs also offer special benefits for their certified members to help them further their career.
The biggest accreditation in green real estate is the National Association of REALTORs® Green Designation, which provides “advanced training in green building and sustainable business practices so that you can seek out, understand, and market properties with green features.”
Build Your Online Presence and Authority
Of course, knowledge gained should also be knowledge shared. Demonstrate your familiarity with green housing and energy efficient practices by updating your website and any listing or social media accounts to reflect your area of focus. Mention it in your bio or any “About Me” sections, along with any certifications you may have.
You should also start sharing content on these subjects. Social media is a great place to regularly share content that builds your authority and brand as a green expert. You can start a newsletter sharing energy-saving tips with your email contacts, or even bring hands-outs to open houses. If any prospects are familiar with the benefits of green housing, you’ll have an immediate edge over the competition. And if they’re not familiar, they will credit you for what they’ve learned—and remember you when it comes time to list their property.
Connect With Eco-Conscious People in the Community
Someone who is living in a green home is most likely eco-conscious. A great way to meet eco-conscious homeowners in your community is to participate in local events that they may also attend. For example, eco-conscious homeowners may sign up for a beach cleanup or volunteer with local non-profits that are committed to protecting the environment. Get involved in activities like these so you can connect with eco-conscious members of the community. Even if they are not planning on selling their home, they may change their minds in the future, so it doesn’t hurt to build a relationship now.
Establish A Referral Network
Build relationships with other professionals in the community to increase referrals. For instance, it’s common for homeowners to make upgrades prior to selling their home so they can increase the sales price. Most homeowners will hire contractors to complete these upgrades. Therefore, it’s in your best interests to establish relationships with local contractors.
Ask the contractors to keep you in mind if they ever work with clients who are making green upgrades in order to sell their home. Be sure to return the favor by recommending these contractors whenever a buyer or seller talks about making changes around their home. Establishing this type of referral network is beneficial to both parties and makes it much easier to find sellers with green homes.
Search For Homes Listed By Owners
Some homeowners attempt to sell their home without the help of an agent so they don’t have to pay commission. Most homeowners that list their home on their own will find that it is much harder to sell a home than they once thought. The majority of these homeowners eventually become frustrated with the process and decide to hire a real estate professional.
Visit listing sites such as Zillow and Trulia to look for homes that are for sale by owner in your community. You should also look for “Make Me Move” listings on Zillow. Scan the listing to see if the home is designed with green features that are attractive to today’s buyers. If you find a green home, contact the owner to explain how you can help.
Homeowners may not want to hear your sales pitch at first, so make sure you emphasize how their unique green features may be worth far more than they think. Then, schedule an in-person meeting so you can explain how your knowledge of green homes will help them obtain the highest possible price for their home. A convincing sales pitch may persuade them to list their home with you instead of attempting to sell it on their own.
Talk to Sellers About Energy Efficient Improvements
Are you currently listing a home that does not have any green features? If so, use this as an opportunity to convert your client into a green client. Before listing the home, talk to the seller about the benefits of making energy efficient upgrades around the home. Explain that these upgrades add value to the home and draw in more buyers. Some clients will probably be under the impression that making these upgrades requires a huge financial commitment, but that’s not the case. Make sure your clients understand that many of these energy efficient upgrades are surprisingly inexpensive.
With HomeSelfe RE, you can come to the listing appointment prepared with branded materials that clearly show how a home’s value increases with various energy efficient improvements. You can perform a quick DIY audit of their home, and instantly get multiple reports featuring specific ways they can quickly improve their home and lower its operating costs—thus increase its value. This strategy gives you the chance to turn every lead into a green lead.
Green housing represents a huge opportunity for REALTORS®. By the end of this year, the USGBC believes that green single-family homes will account for 40% of the entire real estate market. The USGBC also predicts that this number will continue to grow in the years ahead. Now is the time to aggressively pursue green leads so you can carve out a niche for yourself as the go-to green REALTOR® in your community!