By Geoff Ramsey, CRS, GRI
President, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®
Sustainable home features and environmentally friendly neighborhoods are becoming an even more important factor for homebuyers when choosing a home.
According to the 2018 Realtors® and Sustainability Report, 61 percent of surveyed members of the National Association of Realtors® reported that consumers have an interest in sustainability when it comes to buying a home. The report surveyed Realtors about sustainability issues facing consumers in the real estate market and ways Realtors are setting their own goals to reduce energy usage.
As consumer demand trends toward green and sustainable home features, Realtors continue to work to promote environmentally responsible features and better business practices. For the second year in a row, data has shown that more Realtors are marketing energy efficiency in property listings to homebuyers, with more information fields in the listing to identify a property’s green features.
To keep up with the growth in consumer interest in green features, four in 10 Realtors stated that sustainability and green data fields are included in their Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Among those that have green data fields, almost 40 percent use them to promote green features, 27 percent to promote energy information and 16 percent to promote their green education certifications.
Consumers look hard at the transportation and commuting option in a community as important environmental considerations when purchasing a home. Realtors find that consumers want easy access to highways (82 percent), short commute times and distance to work (81 percent), and walkability (51 percent).
Realtors are growing their expertise in home performance and efficiency, as 39 percent are comfortable or extremely comfortable in the subject. Nearly half of Realtors say they are confident or extremely confident in their ability to connect clients with green home lenders.
Realtors are also beginning to have a more in-depth dialogue about sustainability and commercial real estate properties with their clients. Seventy percent of agents and brokers indicated that promoting energy efficiency in their commercial listings was very or somewhat valuable. The top building features that clients specified as very or somewhat important are utility/operation costs (80 percent), efficient use of lighting (64 percent), and indoor air quality (62 percent).
Realtors with commercial and residential expertise alike are building their understanding of sustainability as a greater wave of green properties and sustainable home features are hitting the market. Realtors® are leading the way to promote sustainable practices to better influence potential homebuyers and communities across the country.
NAR initiated the Realtors Sustainability Program as a platform for dialogue on sustainability for Realtors, brokers, allied trade associations and consumers. The program’s efforts focus on coordination and articulation of NAR’s existing sustainability resources, while also supporting a growing area of interest for consumers, helping Realtors® to assist home buyers and sellers.