How To Improve, Price and Market Your People- and Planet-Friendly, aka “High-Performing,” Home

How To Improve, Price and Market Your People- and Planet-Friendly, aka “High-Performing,” Home

Whether LEED, National Green Building, Passive or other, homes that have these green certifications usually are planned as such at the time they are built. 

So, ensuring that an existing home is energy-efficient with proper ventilation and non-toxic materials and finishes requires a different set of standards.

Fortunately, making health and energy-efficiency improvements is not as difficult or costly as it can sound. And, it can be done in stages, whether it’s extra insulation in the attic, a new heat pump or ventilation system, or new, indoor-air-quality-certified flooring.

The problem comes when you decide to sell. Most Realtors® don’t calculate or assign extra value for the healthful or sustainable aspects or your home that should be increasing the listing price.

But Realtors with National Association of Realtors (NAR) GREEN Designation know better. The have been trained to assess how anything from solar panels to GREENGUARD® Gold-certified countertops increase the value — and therefore the listing price — of your home.

Many of them even help their sellers obtain High-Performing Home Certification, through Pearl Certification, which, surveys show, increases listing prices.

“As an EcoBroker and NAR GREEN® designee, it’s my personal mission to raise values for homes with sustainable and energy-efficient features,” says Realtor Jan Green who serves the Phoenix, Arizona., area. “Following a specific process to make sure that homes with these features receive more value,  it’s critical to include a green-trained appraiser.”

 There is a specific path to follow and those with the GREEN Designation know that process, says Green, whose real estate business has been focused on sustainable living since 2008.

Realtors with GREEN Designation know value of health and efficiency improvements

Unlike real estate agents who think an investment in green features is difficult to recoup in a listing price, NAR GREEN Designees ensure each of these features is part of the value assessment and properly marketed in the sales process. 

“If the home qualifies, Pearl Certification can be sought so third-party verification makes the home stand out more and gain more value at the point of sale,” Green says.

Realtor N. Carol Kibbee, a NAR GREEN Designee serving Greater Cincinnati, Ohio, covers Pearl Certification fees for selling clients whose homes qualify. She partners with an energy-efficiency expert who can perform blower-door tests and assess ventilation, insulation and other features. Kibbee also helps clients assess indoor-air friendly interior products and finishes, and has more than a decade of experience in flooring and building products with third-party indoor-air quality certification.

“It’s not uncommon for a home to have marketable features that increase value that the seller is not even aware of,” she says. “Case in point are homes that, upon investigation, turn out to have previously been audited, and have HERS® ratings that document far greater efficiency than the average home.”

In this case, the seller might not have to make any upgrades to qualify for certification and can go on to list and sell at an enhanced price.

Realtor Alisa Morrison, a GREEN Designee serving the Temecula, California, area, says that many times, the Realtor can work with the homeowner to get certification without any need to call in anyone else.

Buyers who understand the benefits will pay more for a sustainable home

Depending on the level of certification, an on-site visit from a contractor isn’t required,” Morrison says. “My most recent certification for a listing is Silver level, and we submitted all the required data via the certifying company’s app.”

Still, Morrison says that these days, with energy costs soaring, affected homeowners should get an independent energy assessment that evaluates a home’s systems, ventilation and indoor-air quality. And tax credits available through the Inflation Reduction Act provide a good incentive for making improvements now.

An energy audit measures how much energy a property uses and locates where energy is being lost.  Common causes are an attic that is not sealed properly, leaky windows, ductwork tears, and hard-to-find cracks. 

 A home doesn’t have to be certified to be considered High Performing. These homes simply incorporate systems that ensure comfort and health, reduce utility bills and lessen their impact on the planet. And recent surveys show buyers are willing to pay more for a home with these improvements.

“Today’s buyers care about the environment and climate change,” says Realtor Mary Love, a GREEN Designee serving Asheville, North Carolina.  “They ask about indoor-air quality and energy efficiency.”

 A NAR GREEN designee understands these needs.  They have been trained in recognizing the sustainable aspect of a house.  A NAR GREEN designee is the best resource to help clients find a green-certified home or one that can accommodate becoming one, Love says.

“You spent time and money making your house sustainable and energy-efficient,” Love says.  “A NAR GREEN designee knows how to market the special features. They have tools to work with appraisers and lenders. Hire a Realtor who will help you get the added value your house deserves.”

— Natural Interiors can help you locate a NAR GREEN Designated Realtor in your area, in addition to an energy auditor in Greater Cincinnati. Contact us a (513) 200-9471 or


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