You’ve seen those buttons that people wear, right? “Ask Me About” something or other. I think I want an “Ask Me About EcoBrokers” button. I’ve been an EcoBroker for three years and have had the National Association of Realtors Green Designation for two years. I proudly announce this on my website, on my email signature, on Facebook and Twitter. But buyers and sellers never ask me about it, or how having these designations make me different from other real estate agents. Yet they do make me different. When I’m showing houses buyers don’t tend to ask me about the things that will affect their bottom line once they’re in a home—like “how energy efficient is this furnace or do you think I should replace the windows?” When I talk about how the home’s orientation will affect their energy use for better or worse that information doesn’t seem to enter the equation. Likewise, when I discuss walkability and potential resale value there is a clear disconnect.
Yesterday at an open house I had on my name badge and a button that said EcoBroker (not “ask me about” though). I had booklets on energy efficiency and my cards which say I’m an EcoBroker. Not one person asked, “What’s an EcoBroker. Not one person picked up the energy efficiency booklet or asked about them. Maybe I’m just nosy, but I would have asked.
Now I’m not expecting buyer and sellers to become tree huggers necessarily. I mean, they don’t have to build straw bale homes and put solar panels up to bolster their “green” creds. And I’m perfectly okay with my role as educator—to reach out to my clients and help them to be more informed about the personal environmental consequences of their home buying and selling decisions. I would like to see the conversation around home buying and selling include questions like “Can you find out if the seller has made any energy efficient upgrades in the past few years or, “Will you advertise the fact that I’ve put in dual flush WaterSense rated toilets and EnergyStar rated appliances?” The answer from me would be YES to both of those questions.
There is no doubt that the future of home building and home renovations are moving toward more sustainable practices, especially in energy and water use. Buildings make up 40% of all the energy used in the US. Buyers and Sellers should understand how these new practices will impact their buying and selling decisions. They should also be aware of greenwashing, the practice of making questionable green claims in order to sell a product. As an EcoBroker and NAR Green Designee, I can help to sort through the new world of thinking sustainably as a home buyer or seller. So the next time you see me, ask, “What is an EcoBroker?” Here’s a video of me describing why I became an EcoBroker.
Gayle Fleming 703-625-1358 www.goinggreenhomesva.com firstname.lastname@example.org