The Green REsource Council teamed up with a number of green industry groups and real estate associations earlier this year and developed guidelines and a tool kit to help MLSs green their systems.
Al Medina, during the March Webinar, talked about how the “Green MLS Tool Kit” emerged, discussed the importance of a green MLS, and outlined the key components of the toolkit, along with strategies for launching a green MLS program.
“This came about because of a need in marketplace. Not only our members, but builders and appraisers as well have been asking for it,” commented Medina, the director of the National Association of REALTORS’® Green Designation “It’s not a mandate for MLSs, but a free tool for MLSs that are ready to go through the process,” he emphasized. In addition, he pointed out that the toolkit was a collaborative effort with numerous organizations and an industry-wide initiative, not a solo act by the GRC. After all a green MLS benefits everyone.
Consumers looking for green homes, for example, can locate properties with green features quickly in an MLS that highlights sustainable features.
MLS participants have an easier time locating green properties for home buyers and best promoting green homes for home sellers.
Appraisers can use a green MLS to better value properties with green features.
In addition, builders have an incentive to build green when they see that green homes are in demand and are selling. And being able to quantify the return on green investments and having a stronger method to market green properties also can motivate more people to go green. Thus, a green MLS can contribute to a better environment in the long term.
The MLS Toolkit offers recommendations for navigating everything from the approval process and developing green data entry forms to localizing the MLS to a particular region.
It also includes links to information, examples of MLS greening successes, and ways to plan, roll out and promote a green MLS.
Here are some key aspects of the toolkit, including:
- Case studies–Entails write-ups of various ways that MLSs have gone green and the challenges that participants encountered. “The common element among them all was that realtors® were the ones who spearheaded the effort,” said Medina. He pointed out that those with the GREEN designation can be the ones in a community to organize an effort to green the MLS.
- Snapshot of the Green Home Industry–Includes statistics, along with questions and answers about green homes.
- Why an MLS with Green Fields— Outlines the social and economic demand for greater efficiency and the ways that a green MLS benefits everyone involved in a home transaction.
- Recommendations for a Successful Green Program–Offers strategies for establishing goals and objectives for greening the MLS, assembling a team and cooperating with other green organizations and professionals.
- Green Home Certifications–Addresses incorporating green home certification programs, such as LEED® for Homes, Energy Star® and NAHB Green, the legal concerns that can ensue after any change to the MLS data. It also illustrates how to best deploy and promote a green MLS and educate users.
- Recommendations for Data Entry Forms–Outlines various strategies for representing green in an MLS in ways that make it simple for users to search for specific efficiencies. It also makes suggestions about avoiding the legal pitfalls and risks of overstating a home’s greenness and avoiding green washing.
- Green MLS Data Entry Form Examples–Offers specific ways to express green features in the MLS. Examples include intermingling green attributes with other attributes and using color to highlight green features.
- Glossary of Terms
For those committed to green real estate, a green MLS can help in marketing and selling sustainable properties and making a case for the value of green. For example, practitioners in Atlanta discovered that green-certified homes sold more quickly and closer to list price than non-certified homes. Without a green MLS, tracking such data either would have been more difficult or wouldn’t have been possible.
He also made the point that residential real estate is changing and though short sales and foreclosure are dominating many markets, green soon will gain prominence. Those with NAR’s GREEN designation will have a leg-up when that change happens, and he encouraged practitioners to get involved in any MLS greening efforts that emerge in their cities.
The toolkit will be rolled out and promoted in the coming weeks and you’ll see an array of marketing blitzes through the media, e-mail and social media. All NAR Green Designees will be notified when your MLS receives this Tool Kit. You can see a preview of the toolkit at the GRC website.
And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection
Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI
2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900
For more information please visit http://greenresourcecouncil.org