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Greening your MLS – Yes You Can!

I just got back from REBar Camp Nashville (woot!!) this week where I ended up leading a discussion on “anything green.”  Ok, so my group was small I mean quaint but  we spent 30 productive minutes talking about how the sustainability movement is impacting our industry.  One poor fellow kept lamenting. “my city is just a couple of years behind everyone else.”  I have to admit,  I was a lamenter a couple of years ago and at some point had an epiphany that lamenting it wasn’t going to change it.   I thought it would be fun to rehash my crowning acheivement in hopes it might help a few of you see it’s really not that hard to green pimp your MLS.

In 2008, our local Realtor Board (GNAR) formed an environmental committee made up of member volunteers.  I am chairing that committee this year but have served on it, since it’s inception.  I really reccomend all active boards make an environmental committee, there are some really super smart Realtors out there folks and they get things done.   In our first year, we determined that our MLS had no relevant green features.  I discussed with our committee chair how we could pursue this and after getting approval from our MLS committee chair and Association CEO, petitioned our MLS for green features to be added.

I was pleasantly surprised they wanted to do this already but needed some help with what terms to incorporate and how to best structure it.   With their blessing, I began polling MLS’s with green features already in place across the country and started compiling some data about who had what and how they structured the input fields.   I then made a nice clean report with a couple of different scenarios of how it could be implemented and from there we made a collaborative decision on what best suited our MLS system.

Our MLS system now has an “energy features” field with 24 individual features including all the major builder certifications in our area.  In addition, there are some other green things sprinkled in fields (such as flooring, framing material, etc..) already in existence.  In structuring it this way, we hoped to create a system that was favorable for custom searches and that can honor homeowners that have gone to the added expense of putting in an energy efficient product.   Either way, it should and does differentiate between a green home(3rd party certified) and a home with green features.

It’s been about 16 months since we went live with this and we are now able to pull some valuable data for builders about how green homes are performing in our market and what  certifications and or features seem to be gaining the most traction.  Obviously, it’s a resource for appraisers as well and should lend it self to a more accurate evaluation of these types of homes.

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As time more builder certifications spring up and as my understanding of our market increases, there are some minor tweaks we are working on this spring and that’s where having a cohesive environmental committee in place is very handy to trouble shoot with.   In addition, the Green Resources Council (they weren’t around when I started this process) offers a green MLS tool kit that has some great suggestions and direction for anyone with the shoozpah to take this on.

I am also always happy to answer questions or exchange ideas so go green a way!

Written By

Anna Altic – Village Real Estate Services. I’ve called Nashville home for the last 15 years and have been practicing (practice being the key word here) real estate for just over 6 years. In the fall of 2007, I went to a local German Festival that had a home tour, including a LEED certified property, and I instantly became enamored with the idea of eco friendly living (ok, so I’d had a little beer and the dual flush toilet rocked my world). I have since devoted much of my time and energies in to studying and espousing the benefits of better building technology within our local residential market and my proudest accomplishment thus far has been successfully leading the initiative to get over 25 green features added to our MLS search fields.



  1. Benn Rosales

    May 1, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Anna, this is so smart and just so simple it just doesn’t make sense not to do it. I’ve sent this article out across my board exec network – let’s see what happens!

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