I wrote an article here a couple of weeks ago about what motives a green buyer and one of the survey questions from the the Shelton Group report I referenced was about the Green Realtor Designations. More specifically how likely would the respondent be to use a Realtor who had invested in additional training and education to assist them with a home purchase. 13% of the respondents specifically said they would indeed want a Realtor with specific green credentials.
I know that’s not a huge number but based on the relatively small amount of Realtors with the training per the number of buyers looking for them, the ratio is becoming heavily stacked in the green Realtor’s favor. I can affirm that over half the buyers I have picked up in the last year specifically chose me because they have stumbled in to my green blogs or saw my credentials on my company’s website up from 0% two years ago.
I was recently speaking to Curtis V. Hall, an instructor for NAR’s Green Course about October’s upcoming course in Nashville. I helped him with local resources, MLS information, lenders etc. last year and will be doing some presenting for him at this year’s classes as well. We ended up briefly comparing notes on the EcoBroker course verses the NAR’s Green course and it occurred to me it would be helpful to provide some first hand insight in to the course curriculum and how I have utilized both designations in hopes it might help you determine which is a better fit.
I took the EcoBroker course on line about 3 years ago before NAR even had a green course. You can request the course materials be mailed though frankly in hindsight, you don’t need the books because on line curriculum is always available to you even after you complete the course work. It took me a solid month at about 1.5 – 2 hours a day to get through that course because I did every bit of the online field trips and studied diligently. This course is extremely detailed and you will become familiar with terms like fenestration, brown fields, building envelopes, BTU’s, SEER Ratings, and R Value. It’s broken up in to three parts, green building components including builder certifications, an air quality section including pollutants, and a marketing section. I gave myself a few headaches and grumbled a few times to no one in particular about it being sort of dry but the education I received from them has been invaluable in giving me the confidence to converse intelligently with green builders and was a huge resource for figuring out what green features to get incorporated in to our MLS.
I like the name “EcoBroker” and I was impressed when I went to reup for this year, I had to do some continuing ed which was indeed quite relevant and challenging. I found the marketing section of the course to be completely useless for my geographic area but could see states like Oregan, California, Arizona, Washington, or Colorado might find it more applicable. I would recommend this course for anyone who already has some basic understanding of green ideals within our industry or anyone who will be working selling a green certified project and really wants to be able to go in to detail with potential buyers. In addition, it should give you the skill set to start providing market data and that sort of thing to builders if you have access to statistics through your MLS.
I don’t really hear from them very much accept the occaisional newsletter. The course is $395 an $129 to reup every year. I reccomend on line version o the course over the in class session because while I have never attended the in class ones, I hear there is no way to squeeze the amount of curriculum the course can offer in to the 3 days so you don’t get as much from it. My state did recognize the continuing ed so I got 18 hours of credit for it.
NAR’s course was rolled out in 2009 and I took it in the fall last year. My impressions at first was that it was very compulsory compared to EcoBroker because there was not as much time devoted to the actual studying of building components or the builder certifications. However, the course does take a great deal of time explaining why environmental issues are becoming increasingly relevant in our industry and how we can start to incorporate this in to our business plans. Curtis Hall, the instructor who has been teaching the fall course here, actually prepares for the cities he’s teaching the class in and spends time lining up local experts on energy efficient mortgages, green builders supply shops, energy auditors, etc… Even if the meat of the course is not as in depth, it’s a great intro to the concept and the local stuff is invaluable in helping you create a solid database of information about what is green in your community. As I learn more about green buyers, I understand that a green lifestyle extends far beyond household features and having a healthy grasp about public transportation, green infrastructure, local tax incentives, local farmers markets, etc.. in your area is equally as important as being able to spout off the benefits of radiant barriers or reflective roof coating.
Through the NAR’s green course you are then a member of the Green Resources Council and it is only $99 to renew each year. In the under a year that I have held the designation, the most amazing part of the GRC is that they are very interactive with their members and provide monthly webinars that are about the most useful for green minded Realtors I have seen. The most recent was how to help your clients navigate and take advantage of green tax credits. The Shelton report I referenced above was given to us in the August webinar. To that end, I almost feel like the NAR’s designation for the cost has become the better resource for me in terms of continuing practical application for my business and marketing.
I have to say that both are going to be useful and depending on how you intend to use them, hopefully this will give you some idea on which one might be more suitable. My next goal is to get my LEED Green Associate certification and being that no Realtors in our area have it yet, I am curious how any of you who may have it are incorporating it in to your business model.
Authors Note: In the original post of this article I misstated that NAR’s green designation cost $50 a year to renew but it’s actually $99 and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t create any confusion in my effort to be informative. I still stand by my assessment that the designation and resources offered to it’s members by the GRC are profoundly useful and well worth the cost.
Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home
When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?
Looking at the bigger picture
(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).
That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).
They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.
“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”
Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?
With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.
The average home age is higher than ever
(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.
With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.
Prices of new homes on the rise
Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.
Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?
The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.
Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes
(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.
Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.
So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.
1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues
It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.
Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.
2. Two major media brands emerge
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