There is nothing like that deeply satisfying feeling of living in a green built home. You may also be one of the thousands of folks who have retrofitted and older home and remodeled it with sustainable materials. Undoubtedly, this type of home is not only a a true haven but also a much healthier place to live.
Life moves on though and you may find yourself in a situation where you must part with your much beloved house for good. The only predicament is you’ve put so much money into it and now have a bit of an anxiety whether you will be able to recoup the investment. So how do you find a buyer now that will literally buy into your passion and cash out extra dough to purchase your eco-friendly pad?
Well, the good news is that the market will be on your side. Even though solid data showing that green homes sell faster and for more money throughout the country is still lacking there have been a few very promising studies to indicate that this in fact is the case.
For example, according to an analysis completed by GreenWorks Realty in the Pacific Northwest, new environmentally-certified (ECert) or green homes in King County sell in up to 18% less time and for 28-37% higher value per square foot. The reason this type of data is not available from all Counties yet is very simple – local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) have not integrated the energy efficiency and “green” features into their data search fields. Eventually, all MLS systems will catch on, and the proof that green homes receive higher offers will be very abundant.
Here is what you’ll want to keep in mind when getting ready to sell your home. There are three types of green home buyers out there and you will want to makes sure you have a plan to market to all of them:
1. Economizers. This is the type that is interested in savings on the operational costs and energy efficiency. This also includes investors who are looking at life-cycle cost analysis and the value of various green features that can increase their cash flow. For economizers the mighty buck is the king and all the rest of the environmental drooling is secondary.
2. Idealists. This is your typical Organicsons family. They take green living very seriously and believe that conservation of resources and preserving the planet is a social responsibility. They are willing to make sacrifices for green lifestyle choices. The Organicsons are also very health conscious and easily understand health benefits of living in a green home.
3. Eco-Chic (pronounced – Eco-Shique) – these are the label chasing Paris Hilton types who follow the latest fads and believe that living green is just plain cool. They are interested in the status and prestige of green living but may not necessarily truly subscribe to the green philosophy (mind set). The latest green gadgets or installing the latest green feature in their homes and looking in vogue is more important than having a positive impact on the environment. Hey frankly, who cares… they get to be hip and the planet benefits also.
When designing a marketing plan keep in mind that green choice is not a one-size-fits-all type of approach. Some buyers may fit neatly into one of these categories and some will have characteristics of all three. They key is consider all of their needs and wants when selling a home to them.
Here are the steps you’ll need to take to sell your property fast and get higher value:
1. Find a Realtor who gets it. Look for either NAR’s Green Designation or an EcoBroker. They have formal training and understand the mindset of a green home buyer. More importantly seek out an agent to whom green is not just a marketing word but a passion. Ask probing questions and get a feel of who they really are.
2. Collect all the receipts and proof of green remodeling or construction and put a binder together for the buyer. Do present a HERs rating report if you have it; it’ll show how much more efficient your home really is. Make it evident and tangible information that they can take to the bank.
3. Clearly identify the value and Return on Investment (ROI) for the green improvements you’ve made. Make sure a five year old can understand why they should pay more for this home. For example, show that the house may have 200-300 dollars in energy savings when it comes to a typical outdated mammoth down the street. This could add up to 2,000 in savings per year. Make sure your Realtor has the skills to present this data and sell the value. Make a video explaining all the benefits of owning this home and offer resources like links or magazines for the buyers to get more education about the features that your homes has to offer.
4. Don’t market your home with general terms like “green” or “eco friendly”. Most agents make this mistake. Many people are simply fed up by this term and it can only trigger their resistance because of all too common “greenwashing” in the market. The idea here is simple yet very important – sell benefits and not titles.
5. Create excitement. Don’t sell your home in the traditional way. Green buyers are typically a younger crowd, who like to have an experience with anything that they do. Stage your home mindfully to show very obviously that you cared for it very much. Most realtors advise to depersonalize the home and in most cases it is true but here the opposite works. Tell a story why you decided to make this home green and what benefits it brought to your family and your health.
Bottom line is people will pay more for your home for the same reason they will jump on a waiting list and pay a premium to get a hybrid car. It just makes sense on all levels. If you choose the right agent to represent you and follow these steps you should have no problems selling your home for at least 5% higher than the market value and at least 25% faster than a standard time frame. Much success!
About Author: Tadas is a professional Realtor, GREEN, an avid activist, a networker, and a supporter of many noble causes. He’s a member of the USGBC (US Green Building Council) and is an active promoter of eco-smart real estate practices in the Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area.
You can find more articles and advice on his Green Home Blog: http://sanjosegreenhome.com/