Greening the MLS: Evolving Real Estate Systems to Meet Client Needs
By Mary Love
How do we showcase the green features of a home? With an increased understanding of how our actions impact our health and environment and a demand for greener products and services, the Multiple Listing Services (MLS) now offers an efficient way for sellers to show buyers the green features of their homes. This is a great way to meet the expanding desire for greener real estate.
The MLS is a collection of private databases used by Realtors®. The Realtors® pay to utilize this system and agree to share their listings. A great deal of information can be inputted into the system and shared with numerous websites that are free to the public.
In 2015 the MLS added energy efficiency and green fields to their system, enabling real estate professionals and home sellers to market properties effectively. Green features have been shown to increase property values and selling prices. The new matrix system allows more features to be available to Realtors® and for the public to efficiently determine just how green a property is.
This list of Green Building Features in the MLS places a small “g” in front of items that are currently considered green by most certification programs. These features are always subject to change. Most certification programs set standards 15 to 30 percent above current standardized building codes and as these codes improve green features improve.
Appraisers use the MLS as a guide to the current market value of a house. They look for special features and upgrades that will increase the value of the house. If the green features have not been marked, then the improved value will not be noticed by the appraisers and the lenders.
In 2013, the Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum was created for appraisers to use for Green Homes. Builders, contractors, homeowners and third party verifiers are encouraged to complete and present this Addendum to appraisers, agents, lenders and homeowners. Many of the features listed in the Addendum are also features in the MLS. Now, everyone can truly compare “apples to apples” and create real added value for Green Homes.
In order for Green Features to add value to a house, those features must be mentioned. Sometimes the educated buyer may know more about a certification program and its requirements than the Realtor®. It is critical that sellers, builders and Realtors® learn the advantages of certain products and materials. Once they start to promote the benefits of Green Features accurately, the market will respond with greater demand for sustainable and energy efficient homes.
WNCGBC, Land of the Sky Relators Association and Asheville Home Builders Association offers a class to Realtors® and builders, Knowing and Using Your MLS Green Features. Together, they are increasing awareness that green features are healthier for families, communities and our environment—carrying far greater value than cosmetic features.
Mary Love is a realtor and the team leader for Love the Green Team. She is a certified HERS rater and teaches the Building Green Real Estate Courses. She can be reached at 828-279-6723 or firstname.lastname@example.org