The REsource Newsletter

December, 2016

In This Issue

Green Skeptic No More
Green News Bites
Important Smart Tech
Tips: Remember Summer. Grow Windowsill Herbs




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Green Skeptic No More 

By Bill Lublin

Taking the GRC’s “Green Day 1: The Resource-Efficient Home” was never high on my priority list. 

I don’t like taking courses that don’t have some relevance or immediate application to my real estate business. 

Don’t get me wrong. Like most people, I love energy efficiency, want the planet to survive, and like to operate my real estate investments as efficiently as possible. 

But because I live and work in Philadelphia, where much of the housing stock was built more than 60 years ago when materials were less costly and energy conservation was of little concern, the course didn’t seem all that applicable to my business. 

And though I love me a zero-carbon footprint, I thought that the GRC training was the stuff of high-end commercial properties and aspirational design for new homes. 

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Translating green into buyer benefits

I took the Green Day 1 course, taught by John Shipman, at the 2016 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando.

It covered a lot of information about remodeling and retrofitting existing houses, along with ways for real estate practitioners to translate the features of a building's energy use into benefits for clients. 

A discussion of solar panels included how Tesla’s new affordable solar panels -- that look like and cost similar to conventional roofing -- may make luxury property owners more likely to adopt solar alternatives, now they don’t make their houses look like a mad scientist's test lab. 

The Green class provides knowledge that enables us to explain to clients just what information to look for, where to look for it, and how it can help them create a property that improves their life and comfort at home. 

And we all know that people look at features but buy benefits. 

Deeper client relationships

In my market, few sellers of 60-year-old properties make energy improvements before listing their properties. So for me, it’s a tremendous service to be able to help both sellers and buyers understand building equipment -- HVAC systems, water heaters, and so forth – so they buy properly-sized equipment and aren’t overcharged by installers. 

In addition, providing such insight can create immediate consumer loyalty and deepen relationships with clients. It transforms the real estate professional into a resource who can be tapped for years. 

And all that increases the opportunity for repeat business and referrals. 

Appealing to my inner nerd

Given that I’m a huge nerd, the course’s introduction to smart technology and its relationship to energy efficiency was the most fun. 

Most consumers consider a home “smart” if it has smart locks, thermostats, and lighting.

But savvy professionals can help sellers really enhance a home’s smarts by suggesting relatively minor investments in things like a Philips Hue starter system ($199.99), an August Smart Lock ($229), and the Nest Thermostat ($249). For less than $900, they can really create a point of differentiation for their properties.
I’ll be adding these devices to the newly renovated homes in my investment portfolio so they operate more efficiently and reduce my costs, and I’ll add them to properties that I fix and flip. When I’m ready to sell, such features will appeal to the growing number of buyers who are interested in smart home technology.

And now that consumers are learning more about such smart technology, real estate professionals really need to understand it and stay ahead of the curve.

Disclosure, security, and liability

In addition, more consumers using devices to measure temperature, air quality, humidity, and more, raises new issues of disclosure and security. As real estate professionals, we need to be aware of the emerging liabilities that we may face. 

For instance, what smart technology information will sellers be required to disclose to buyers? Who has passwords to equipment in a property? How can a house be secured against hackers? 

The Green course introduces real estate professionals to these questions and some of the issues they’ll need to consider when they encounter a smart house. 

Enhanced credentials

Taking the green course was a worthwhile way to spend a day and it was more relevant than I expected it to be. 

It enhanced my product knowledge, gave me a way to provide additional services and information to my clients, and it will help me to stand out as a forward-thinking real estate professional. 

I can't wait to see what's involved in GREEN Day 2. 

Bill Lublin is CEO of CENTURY 21 Advantage Gold and of the Social Media Marketing Institute.  He’s been recognized as a thought leader for his insights regarding technology, social media, ethics, and risk management in the real estate business.   


 “The green course was more relevant than I expected it to be. It enhanced my product knowledge, gave me a way to provide additional services and information to my clients, and helped me to stand out as a forward-thinking real estate professional."

--Bill Lublin


Green News Bites 

Here a some recent stories you may have missed.

Marketing strategies, environmentalism during the Trump era, and creating greener cities are among the topics. 

1.    Instagram a must to reach younger buyers.
2.    Emoji 101: Use them to help, not hinder, your marketing.
3.    Where 30-somethings are headed.
4.    TransUnion finds post-recession renters a better risk.
5.    Building a green city from scratch.
6.    Re-engineering cities for livability, green space, human connectedness.
7.    Scientists’ open letter to Trump.
8.    Could you power your home with a bike?
9.    Mapping three decades of global water change.
10.  Way forward for environmentalists during Trump era? Emphasize job creation in a green                   economy.
11.   Trade jobs, building hands-on careers.  


Important Smart Tech

How Important Are Green Benefits of Smart Technology to Clients?

You already know that smart home technology is becoming increasingly important to your clients, whether they fall into the category of tech geeks who just love smart gadgets or those who look to the devices to save money and create a more comfortable home. 

NAR’s debut report, Smart Homes and REALTORS®, looks at the importance of smart home technology to REALTORS® and the value practitioners see clients placing on certain pieces of technology. 

Especially interesting are findings about topics -- including cost savings, energy savings, air quality monitoring, and comfort -- that closely relate to the green elements of your business. 

The data may be helpful when you’re outlining the benefits that clients could derive from an investment in smart home technology.

The NAR report found that 52% of REALTOR® clients weren’t familiar with what’s available in the smart home technology arena. 

So though many of your clients may be up on smart technology, know that your conversation may be the first introduction that some buyers and sellers will have on the topic. 




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This Month's Tips: Remember Summer. Grow Windowsill Herbs.

During the dead of winter, wouldn’t it be nice to have a taste of fresh basil or be able to nip off some chives to toss on a potato? 

Try growing a few herbs on your windowsill as you await spring. 

Here are some basics

1. Plants, not seeds.  Head to a nursery and pick up some baby herb plants. Ask for staff recommendations about the best soil, pots, and so forth, and for advice specific to your climate. 

2. Sun. Find the sunniest spot – preferably on a south-facing windowsill that provides six hours of sun a day -- for your pots. 

3. Don’t overwater. Check to see if the soil is dry before you water herbs. Don’t add water if the dirt is still moist. 

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All articles written by Elyse Umlauf-Garneau unless otherwise noted

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