Fort Myers Florida Weekly

Realtors make note of consumers’ increasing interest in sustainability

As consumer demand trends toward green and sustainable home features, real estate professionals across the country continue to work to promote environmentally responsible features and business practices. According to the results of a survey by the National Association of Realtors as part of its Realtor Sustainability Program, 61 percent of Realtors report consumers are interested in sustainability.

“Consumers continue to make it clear that environmentally friendly features and neighborhoods are an important factor in deciding where and what home to buy,” said Elizabeth Mendenhall, NAR president and the CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty in Columbia, Mo.

When asked what they consider to be the top market issues and considerations regarding sustainability, agents and brokers listed understanding lending options for energy upgrades or solar panels (36 percent), improving the energy efficiency of existing housing stock (34 percent) and the lack of information and materials provided to real estate professionals (30 percent).

To account for growing consumer interest, 40 percent of respondents reported their MLS had green data fields. Among those same respondents, 37 percent said they use those fields to promote green features, 27 percent to promote energy information and 16 percent to promote green certifications.

A majority of respondents (80 percent) said solar panels are available in their market, and 39 percent said solar panels increase the perceived property value. Twenty-three percent of brokers indicated that tiny homes (600 square feet or smaller) are available in their market. Among transportation and commuting features survey respondents said are very or somewhat important to their residential clients are: easy access to highways (82 percent), short commute times and distance to work (81 percent) and walkability (51 percent).

The most recent NAR Sustainability Program survey also included questions about commercial real estate for the first time. Seventy percent of agents and brokers indicated that promoting energy efficiency in their commercial listings was very or somewhat valuable. The top building features clients specified as very or somewhat important are utility/operation costs (80 percent), efficient use of lighting (64 percent) and indoor air quality (62 percent).

NAR initiated the Sustainability Program as a platform for dialogue among Realtors, brokers, allied trade associations and consumers. The program’s efforts focus on coordination and articulation of NAR’s existing sustainability resources, while also supporting a growing area of interest for consumers and helping members to better assist home buyers and sellers.

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