Are Green Homes Finally Gaining Momentum in the U.S?
Homeownerschoosing to generate some of their own electricity with renewable energy systems are benefiting from how the Multiple Regional InformationService (MRIS) spotlights these features in homes it lists for sale inthe Mid-Atlantic U.S. region.
While home searchers have been kept in the dark about such featuresby the initial form online that selling agents prepare about theirclients’ listings, owners now can check off whether their homes havesolar, geothermal, small wind and other ‘green’ advantages such as solar hot water heaters.
However small this change may mean, it is one of several importantsteps by a tradition-bound industry to reflect investments that makehomes more sustainable and enhance the marketability of a property. More real estate appraisers and market experts are concluding the moreenergy efficient a home is the higher the price it can fetch at sale.
> The ‘movement’ toward green home features adding market value is gaining momentum in the U.S.
If a prospective buyer or buyer’s agent knows where to look on the MRIS system – which can be a challenge in itself — shoppers can determine how the“cooling fuel,” “heating fuel,” and water is heated. While renewableenergy systems won’t ever trump location as the leading discriminator,this movement toward green home features is gaining serious momentum.
In the past this has been difficult to assess a home’s energyperformance because appraisers have difficulty finding comparables toassign a market value to the high performing home. The NationalAssociation of State Energy Officials and Energy Rated Homes ofAmerica founded the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) to develop and launch national a system to rate a home’s energyperformance. In addition to a higher resale value, a high performancerating can lead to a more affordable energy-efficient mortgage.
MLS is already in Alaska, Florida, Vermont and Washington state withthis product. The Appraisal Institute is trying to make this a national trend. The Institute recently launched a resource that will help realestate appraisers provide more reliable valuations on homes with energy efficient features called the Green Multiple Listing Services Tool Kit . It provides guidance for enhancing MLS data, to empower appraisers tomake well-supported comparisons, analyses and adjustments.
The Institute also has educational materials about appraising homes with green features, the link to which is here.
An often-quoted article from a study conducted by the Appraisal Institute in 1999 helped ramp up the discussion about the savings to homeowners on comparable homes with lower utility bills.
There have been attempts in some states, including Maryland andCalifornia, to require energy audits AND certain energy efficiencystandards to complete the sale of a residential or commercial property.But REALTORS® thus far arebeating back such proposals due to the costs they would impose on buyers and / or sellers and the weakness of those states’ housing markets.
Jim Pierobon is Founder and principal author of The Energy Fix. Heis a policy, marketing and social media strategist who has reported on,testified and consulted about fossil fuel shortages, price spikes andthe rise and fall and the rise again of nuclear and renewable energysources. He is currently helping forge policies to explain and promoteenergy efficiency and scale up clean energy systems in Maryland in theUnited States. Articles l Homepage
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