The REsource Newsletter

January, 2017

In This Issue

From the Director
Insight at Your Fingertips
A Vision for 2017
Tips: Rodents Not Welcome

 

 

 

Newsletter Archive

Previous Issues

 

From the Director 

Amanda Stinton, Director, Sustainability & Green Designation 

I’m on the road a lot for my job. The travel -- attending industry conventions and seminars and meetings of state and local associations – puts me in touch with a lot of professionals working to advance the green housing industry. 

My latest trip to the NAHB 2017 International Builders’ Show® (IBS), IBS, was especially eye-opening. 

Though there was a specific section of the show floor devoted to high-performance homes, throughout the expo the focus was on sustainability, energy efficiency, smart home technology, and home performance management. 

To me, that was a shift. 

Where once these conversations and technologies were limited, sustainability now has become more seamlessly woven throughout builders’ and suppliers’ businesses and it’s a central thread in many discussions. 

I see that as a sign that we’re moving to a place where green is standard operating procedure. 

Though we’re well on the way to having green be the expectation, not the exception, to get there, all the industries must work hand-in-hand and share information, knowledge, and strategies. 

One route is through education. 

For instance, I took NAHB’s Advanced Green Building: Building Science class at IBS. It gave me a more in-depth understanding of the home as a system, how builders weigh each decision they make -- whether that entails design, systems, or materials -- and the ripple effect that each choice has on a home’s comfort, quality, performance, and efficiency. 

Just as it’s important for REALTORS® to understand what builders are learning about home performance, the reverse is also true. In fact, in November the GRC welcomed NAHB staff in the NAR Green Day 1 class at the 2016 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando. 

This reciprocity of education reflects a deeper connection between GRC and NAHB. 

All industries – MLSs, REALTORS®, builders, appraisers, and architects – need to continue this kind of collaboration. 

Community-level bonds

You too can strengthen those industry bonds at the community level. 

For instance, it’s more crucial than ever for you to work with builders at the start of their projects, not just when they’re getting ready to sell their product. 

You can advise them on what buyers really want and are willing to pay for, and figure out the best way to market those features to a target audience. 

Builders can help you understand the new practices and products they’re putting in that make for a better home. That early involvement positions you to funnel that information to clients in terms that they can understand and transform those sometimes vague concepts into concrete benefits for homeowners.  They can also shine some light on any local building codes that might have a direct effect on home performance. This type of knowledge will help you with all clients.

Knowledge gap

Yet there’s still work to be done.  

During a presentation of the Shelton Group’s consumer research, Suzanne Shelton mentioned that 30% of consumers associate energy efficiency with solar.

That’s striking and speaks to a knowledge gap among consumers. 

How many homeowners who aren’t in the market for solar just disregard energy efficiency entirely and ask, “I’m not a candidate for solar, so what do green improvements have to do with me?” 

So even though we think consumers know what we’re talking about, they may not. 

That’s an opportunity. 

An opportunity to keep explaining benefits of small fixes in new or existing homes, the new smart home products, and the rebates. Keep driving home the financial benefits that energy efficiency changes bring. Stay in touch with clients and help them find value in better home performance. Show those clients that they can help improve their health and the overall environment. 

Together, we’ll work toward a better, stronger, healthier, smarter, and more efficient housing stock.  And create a better world. 
 

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 “Agents can expect to see more competition in 2017. Those of us with the NAR Green Designation will stand out because we help clients make their homes smarter and more efficient."

--Melisa Camp, Realtor®, LEED AP-Homes, M. Ed., HomeSmartEliteGroup, greenhab & Elite Education, Phoenix, Ariz."
 

 

Insight at Your Fingertips 

 

When you need to better understand a building science or business topic answer a tough consumer question, or you need marketing insight, look to EBSCO.

It’s a database containing the full text of over 6,000 scholarly and trade journals and magazines.

It’s just one of the many services available to you through the NAR Library, which also offers print, digital, and audio books, field guides, business letter templates, and research services. 

 

Some of what you’ll find includes:

  • Authoritative, peer reviewed information 
  • Academic studies with methodology, data, charts, and difficult-to-find statistics
  • Free, full-text articles from leading marketing, business, and trade journals
  • U.S. and international publications for a global perspective on the industry

 

Among the publications you can read for free are:

 

When you’re searching EBSCO, try using these phrases to find the most relevant stories.

  • Consumer behavior -- Environmental aspects
  • Green business
  • Green marketing 
  • Green products
  • Green technology -- Social aspects
  • Housing
  • Renewable energy sources
  • Solar energy
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable buildings

 

Here are some examples of green business-related articles that are available through EBSCO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accessing EBSCO

 

And as a NAR member, EBSCO is free.

Access EBSCO and watch tutorials here.

Log on to nar.realtor to view the EBSCO password.

 

If you have questions, get in touch with infoservices@realtors.org or call 800/874-6500.

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A Vision for 2017

Though 2017 has opened with some feeling trepidation about the unknowns that the year will bring, our members, advisors, and friends weigh in with some predictions that reflect a solid sense of optimism for our industry’s future.

 
Here’s what they envision. 

Melisa Camp, Realtor®, LEED AP-Homes, M.Ed.
HomeSmart Elite Group * greenhab & Elite Education
Phoenix, Ariz. 

Agents can expect more competition in 2017. Those of us with the NAR Green Designation will stand out because we help clients make their homes smarter and more efficient. Millennials will continue to drive the market, and there will be opportunities to connect with them because many are unrepresented by an agent.

Steve Francks, CAE, RCE, CEO, Washington REALTORS® Olympia, Wash. 

There’s a reason we still read Shakespeare after 500 years: Some aspects of human nature just don’t change. Each generation has looked for the security and stability that comes with homeownership, and I believe that American Dream will remain relevant.  

If my three young adult children are any indication, GRC members are smart to stay ahead of trends that matter to Millennials.  

Though my kids may enter the market later than my Boomer generation did and they may value different things like walkability and more efficient floor plans and systems, eventually they’ll want that house. 

Real estate practitioners are wise to be thinking strategically about sustainability issues and staying relevant to their clients. GRC members can be leaders in providing a new generation with the service and expertise they expect. 

Eileen Oldroyd, GREEN
Broker-Owner 
Oldroyd Realty, Mission Viejo, Calif. 

We’ve all met Alexa. She is small and smart. But let’s take our relationship to the next level and look at a fusion of indoor air quality and smart technology.

Asthma and immune-system related diseases are on the rise and we’re all beginning to realize that our homes could be a culprit. How can we measure our indoor air quality?  How about with special sensors that can be linked to Alexa so she can tell you how much moisture, carbon monoxide, and so forth, is in your home. 

That data is key to showing the benefits of a healthy home and that is information you could share on the MLS to promote listings and illustrate why a house is worth more money. 

We missed the mark with energy efficiency. The promise of reducing energy bills isn’t compelling enough to get homeowners to make energy efficiency upgrades. But addressing concerns about improving a family’s physical health may have universal appeal to homeowners and could convince them that those upgrades to have value. And that could be the route to greening our industry.  

John Shipman 
NAR Evergreen Award Recipient, Instructor of the Year 2014
Realtor, Director of Green Operations 
Coldwell Banker George Realty
American Green Home Real Estate, Inc.
Energy Efficiency Management, Inc.
Community Home Energy Retrofit Project (CHERP)

Home Labeling will be a topic of great importance. An informative, credible, and consumer-friendly label could give homeowners a sense of the energy efficiency performance of their homes. That label could be the HERS Index or the Department of Energy's HES (Home Energy Score) Label. 

I see the emergence of PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) as a national player and I expect that more than half the states will be offering PACE financing for commercial and residential properties by the end of the year. 

There will be great interest smart homes and healthier homes. Technologies that help homeowners determine how healthy their home is will really take off this year and we’ll see a certification for healthy homes emerge. 

Craig Foley
Associate Broker, REALTOR®, GREEN, OICP
Chief of Energy Solutions
RE/MAX Leading Edge
RE/MAX New England "Agent of the Month" March 2013
National Association of REALTORS® Green REsource Council EverGreen Award 2013

Passive House will continue its emergence as an important green building certification. The importance for more high-performance home education of real estate market actors will continue to grow. The risk of agents, brokerages, appraisers, lenders, builders, and remodelers, realizing they could be left behind because they’re not up to speed on high-performance home features and products, will grow.

The word "net" will be removed from the vocabulary of the zero energy home.

Kimberly R. Pontius CAE, RCE, GREEN, E-Pro
Executive Vice President, Traverse Area Association of REALTORS®, Traverse City, Mich
.

Water and water quality issues will raise their ugly heads, despite the rains in California and the snow in the Sierra Nevada. Aquifer drawdowns, water quality in cities, and disputes over water leaving the Great Lakes watershed will top the list of water-related challenges.

Consumers will embrace green but perhaps retreat from smart home technology. Having devices that monitor and record your movements, buying habits, conversations, and lifestyle may creep some out and stall the market for these devices.  

Unintended surveillance, both by known and unknown entities through such devices will seem counter-intuitive to private property and privacy advocates. Are consumers wiretapping themselves and thus inviting marketers, government, law enforcement, and hackers into our homes and bringing disruption at the most basic level?

James W Mitchell 
CEO, Renewablue® 
Partner, The Group Real Estate, Fort Collins, Colo.  
2016 National Association of Realtors®, Evergreen Award 

Green homes will continue to grow in value due to increased consumer understanding and demand. 

GRC members will have the opportunity to showcase their expertise because more buyers and sellers across all generations are asking questions about green. 

Each conversation is an opportunity for GRC members to maintain their role as the trusted advisor for all things related to home values and to increase the adoption rate and associated values for green features and benefits. 

Green homes will continue to offer a better quality of life, and homeowners are telling that story louder and louder, ensuring that green is here to stay. 

And if lending institutions would devise some great loan products for green-built homes and begin offering conventional loans that include dollars for updating older homes' energy needs, we'd see exponential growth in not just green real estate, but all real estate. 

Danielle Bowden, GREEN
RE/Max Solutions, Merritt Island, Fla. 

This is the year professionals get on board with change. The trends have become obvious: More MLSs have gone green, resource-efficient homes are in greater demand, and the focus was on high-performance homes during the NAHB 2017 International Builders’ Show® in January.  

I foresee many more REALTORS®  joining the Green REsource Council, and appraisers making it a priority to invest in the continuing education that gives them greater understanding of these green trends and the skills to support them.

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This Month's Tips: Rodents Not Welcome

Sure, the rodents in “Ratatouille” and “Stuart Little” were kind of cute.  
They’re much less cute when they get inside your house. 
Here’s how to prevent mice and rats from making your home their home. 

1. Look, listen. Rodent droppings, holes chewed through walls and floors, chewed food packages, and scratching and running noises in walls and ceilings all are signs of a rodent infestation. 

2. Seal entry points. Mice can squeeze through holes the size of a nickel and rats can get in through a hole the size of a half dollar. Outside, look for openings around the foundation, roof and attic, crawl spaces, and where utilities lines enter. Inside, look for holes behind kitchen appliances and in utility rooms and around utility lines. Seal small holes with steel wool and caulk. Use cement and lath screen, lath metal or metal sheeting to seal up big holes. 

3. Roll up the welcome mat. Move bird feeders and compost bins far from the house. Keep food in thick plastic or metal containers with sealable lids. Wipe up spilled food and don’t leave pet food and water out overnight. 

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2017 Kitchen Trends
Before you dive into your 2017 kitchen renovation, take a peek at the “U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study” to get a handle on what design, features, colors, finishes, materials, and appliances are hot.

 

 

 

 

 

All articles written by Elyse Umlauf-Garneau unless otherwise noted

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