Real estate can see a new era coming in the green revolution. It is no longer business as usual. Years ago, all professions in real estate were forced to become part of the information age, a new information revolution. Fifteen or so years ago, in many areas hard copy paper descriptions of homes for sale and lease and commercial properties were hand delivered. When the information highway came about, computers delivered property information and allowed people to access public records and tax information, providing up-to-date statistical property reports.
We now look to the next 20 or so years from a real estate standpoint. In an age where values are declining, it is time to know why green can cause a major shift in a buyer's decision. A selling price is and always has been what a buyer is willing to pay. Well, thanks to the media -- through newspapers, websites and TV, especially HGTV and other stations -- education for consumers is being offered. The days of accepting the risks of unhealthy indoor air quality are becoming fewer as consumers become educated.
Through our company, Green Real Estate Education, the real estate industry has a green certification program that close to 4,500 now see as an excellent first step to understanding why green building is growing so quickly. Green Real Estate Education is educating those in the real estate professions such as Real Estate Agents, Home Inspectors and Mortgage Professionals to spread the news that going green while considering renovations and upgrades for your home can save money and create a marketable product. If I think back to when I was practicing real estate, if you could give me a property to market that had special beauty, or an attribute to stand out in the marketplace, I was glad. If I showed a property that had "more to offer" than others in the neighborhood, it was exciting. A home that showed lower utility bills would not have stood out as it would today.
When we teach our certification classes, we hear agents say over and over that buyers are asking about more energy-efficient product and systems in properties. Energy Star from EPA and the Department of Energy initiatives are helping consumers realize the tax incentives available to them. The real estate industry is embracing our courses for many reasons. They want to know their part so they can become leaders in the Green Revolution.
The Realtor must understand what a green certification is. Agents and home inspectors must allow energy raters into their circle of influence. All in the real estate arena must begin to help building code officials offer fast-track permitting for those who want to renovate to become more energy efficient. Mortgage professionals, underwriters and loan processors must get in the game to understand green underwriting standards coming down the pike. Appraisers are scurrying to substantiate these green renovations and upgrades for higher value. Taking the actual direct savings in utility bills is a great start for the mortgage industry. There are special forms for energy-efficient mortgage loans for consumers.
We'll keep training so those responsible for your real estate investment can offer suggestions that can only add to its value. Make sure you look for an agent, mortgage professionals or home inspector who displays our GREEN HOUSE LOGO as a Green Certified Real Estate Professional with our Green Leadership title to lead you in the right direction. Go green save money!
Kerry Mitchell is the founder and course developer of Green Real Estate Education, which is on target to educate more than 20,000 real estate professionals in going green by 2009. Mitchell established the recognized certification for the real estate industry, the GCREP.GL. She worked for 14 years as a licensed real estate broker in Maryland and Florida, where she now resides.
Also by Kerry Mitchell:
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.