You Built It Green; They’ll Buy It

We all know green building is hot–according to a McGraw Hill Construction study, the volume of green real estate is going to quintuple by 2010. It’s predicted to then be 10 percent of the U.S. building stock.

But just saying your multifamily complex or community of homes is green isn’t enough. Today’s consumers are looking for highly-efficient, economical homes, and they’re more educated than ever about what that entails.

So to sell a green home, you need to think green: And that means involving the homes’ ecological aspects in all your marketing and promotional materials and events.

A recent article in The Atlanta Journal Constitution offered some basic points for homeowners to ask about green homes. They’re also things homebuilders should stress, via a handout or conversation, including:

  • How you developed the site and how construction waste was removed.
  • The air-conditioning system’s SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio). Let potential owners know why you selected the unit size you used because systems that are too large won’t correctly dehumidify and will short cycle, causing more wear and shortening the life of the unit.
  • What the furnace’s AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating is. Reduced energy costs are a major reasons homeowners are looking at green homes.
  • Which items in the home–WaterSense  high-efficiency toilets, Energy Star appliances–conserve energy and water. Don’t make prospective buyers hunt for a brand name that they could easily miss.

Be ready to answer general green building questions, and make sure all your reps, employees and any affiliated real estate agents are, too. Consider adding a green logo or verbiage to all marketing guides, direct mailing pieces, ads and signs. Have materials ready to prove what you’ve promised–documentation from the appliances, recommendations for the materials you used, etc.

Homeowners, just like everybody else, have been reading about the rise of green building for more than a year now. They know about water drainage, solar energy–and in today’s tough market, they know they want a
home that’s going to give them the most ecological bang for their buck.

And real estate companies like West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Kitson & Partners, which is currently building a
17,000-acre green city for up to 45,000 residents, say savvy homeowners aren’t hesitating to ask for it.

"We’re finding homebuyers want green homes, are looking for them,"
Kitson CEO Syd Kitson told the Charlotte Sun. "From a marketing perspective, the market
is already there. Price is still a driving force, but people today
truly have a changing attitude–they want green."