The National Association of Realtors’ annual Profile of Home Buyers/Sellers is out. The 2011 results are impressive not because of anything new, but because of consistent results about homebuyer interest in energy efficiency. Over 5,000 consumers particpated in the research.
Since 2008 the survey has included questions on the importance of heating and cooling costs, commuting costs, and efficient appliances and lighting. The chart below shows that rankings for these items have remained relatively stable year-to-year. It is noteworthy that the importance of commuting costs have dropped even though high gas prices have made headlines in recent years.
Another interesting – and stable – trend in the reports year-to-year is that since 2009, about 62% of buyers have purchased homes built prior to 2000. This means that most buyers move into homes built before modern energy codes were introduced.
What does this mean for energy efficiency programs? First, know what sells. While monthly savings won’t close at the kitchen table, it is critical to homebuyers who are scrutinizing monthly bills before locking into a home.
Empower your clients with pride and marketing ammunition by confirming before and after energy savings. A user-friendly recap is MLS-friendly as a listing attachment and helps spread the word about your program. Go the extra step to specifically highlight measures implemented, and the related QA standards to reduce heating/cooling demand, and upgrade appliances and lighting. Better yet, record it twice, first in marketing language the typical homeowner can understand. Then again on the Appraisal Institute’s Green & Energy Efficiency Addendum to encourage a resale premium.
What does this mean for real estate agents? Your clients might not be asking specifically for green features, but they are eager to get the best value. This means purchase price as well as the operating costs for their next home. The MLS in your area may offer a green addendum or green fields that highlight efficiency features. Or, the Appraisal Institute addendum could be used by the seller to share those details with your buyer.