13 May Does Your Realtor Respect Your Healthy-Home Questions?
“Green” real estate is a vague term. It is used increasingly these days to refer to multiple situations.
One of those is new construction being built to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or another “green” certification.
But a home doesn’t have to be new or certified to be energy-efficient or have indoor-air friendly flooring, cabinetry, finishes and furnishings. And studies show that today’s homebuyers are increasingly interested in the health benefits and long-term cost savings of finding a home that is — or has the potential to be — people- and planet- friendly.
“The long-term cost savings, health impact, and durability associated with ‘green’ homes continue to shape the real estate market,” the National Association of Realtors (NAR) wrote in publishing its Sustainability Report last year. “ ‘Green’ real estate is altering fundamental market dynamics and consumer interest.”
The National Association of REALTORS® is the largest realty trade organization in the United States, representing 1.4 million members, and it enforces a Code of Ethics. A real estate agent is not part of this. An agent has to become a member, and follow the Code of Ethics, in order to be a commercial or residential Realtor. ®
According to the NAR’s 2019 REALTORS® and Sustainability Report :
- Sixty-six percent of clients most valued a comfortable living space with 25 percent also wanting reduced operating costs, afforded by energy-efficiency.
- Fifty-one percent of agents reported that consumers were somewhat interested to very interested in energy-efficiency.
- Forty-one percent of respondents reported that their MLS had “green” data fields, compared to 14 percent who did not.
- Fields were used to promote ‘green’ features (36 percent), energy data (26 percent), and certifications (14 percent).
In understanding the trends, the NAR has implemented training for Realtors focused on improving resource efficiency in existing homes – not just new construction.
Finding the right Realtor
If you’re looking for a home that either has people- and planet-friendly features, or has the perfect infrastructure to accommodate these features, you need a Realtor who embraces your vision and respects the reasons for it.
How will you know? Does the Realtor show disinterest when you talk about the need for nontoxic flooring or finishes? When you find a home of interest, will the Realtor be willing to get answers to your healthy-home questions, such as what type of insulation was used in the home? Whether the home contains any vinyl flooring that was manufactured before the end of 2015 and if you’ll want to replace it? Or whether the HVAC system pulls in and circulates adequate fresh air and whether it should be inspected by a licensed HVAC specialist?
As you interview agents, ask a few test questions. If the response downplays your concerns, move on. If you are looking in the Greater Cincinnati area and would like to talk to an experienced Realtor who understands and respects such questions, contact us here. ©
— Freelancer Nancy Kibbee designs rooms, sources natural products, and sometimes writes about it for Natural Interiors.