Why eco-certification is driving value in luxury home sales

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As real estate agents specializing in luxury markets, most of us are at least somewhat familiar with the eco-certifications awarded to sustainable homes. In fact, such certifications are quickly becoming must-haves rather than nice-to-haves in the eyes of affluent buyers, as it’s assumed that any world-class construction is built to optimize quality, longevity, and energy efficiency.

But while you’ve likely encountered eco-certifications for homes, there are also eco-certifications for real estate agents. And at a time when consumers are more environmentally-minded than ever, this also provides a desirable proof-point that drives trust and sales.

Today, eco-consciousness is expected

Do you recall how, just a few years ago, an electric vehicle charging port was considered a novelty? Fast forward to today, and the ports are considered a given. In fact, this holds true for green infrastructure and industry standards in general.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) notes that buyers are increasingly fluent when it comes to rating and certifications — over 70% consider the Energy Star certification desirable or even essential, ensuring that the home meets or exceeds the EPA’s energy efficiency markers. according to 2020 data.

It comes as no surprise that qualifications such as Energy Star have become mainstays of the luxury market, as many spec builders test sustainable features in state-of-the-art homes before they reach a broader consumer base. So as luxury agents, it’s up to us to understand eco-certifications and the benefits they provide, so we can better communicate this value to our clients — and that’s where certification for agents comes in.

Eco-certification isn’t just for properties

Dubie Breen – Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty

Homes with eco-friendly features require a different marketing approach than traditional homes, and this becomes imperative as clients become more engaged and informed on environmental standards and design. This is why real estate agent certifications such as the GREEN Designation exist.

GREEN was rolled out by the NAR in 2008 when consumers were gaining a new awareness of sustainability. Now, with energy efficiency and environmental stewardship top of mind for homebuyers, it’s delivering a real competitive advantage for accredited agents because of its educational tools and a directory that connects prospective clients with certified professionals.

Sustainability is about the small details

Mary Renfroe – Premier Sotheby’s International Realty

For agents aspiring to a GREEN Designation, all it takes is two courses, which can be taken in a classroom or online, followed by an exam. And if you’re working in luxury real estate, chances are you’re already an expert on sustainable construction and design.

That’s because as luxury agents, we’re used to paying attention to the tiniest details, and ultimately, that’s what creates a sustainable home — numerous little features that cumulatively make an enormous environmental impact.

Low-flow plumbing, gray water reclamation, and rain collection systems can help reduce a home’s carbon footprint, as can yards landscaped with local and drought-tolerant plants rather than resource-intensive lawns. Integrated smart home systems can use sensors to ensure lighting and heating are turned on and off at the right time. Materials can be responsibly sourced, and selected for staying power.

These are factors that luxury agents are already considering — and our clients are thinking about them as well, especially with the cost savings that accompany water and energy efficiency. Eco-certification can help you go the extra distance in demonstrating that your knowledge is comprehensive and up to date.

Saving the environment is not a luxury

Mick Night – Premier Sotheby’s International Realty

Clients aren’t just thinking about savings. While eco-friendly homes reduce costs and appreciate in value faster than their conventional counterparts, their biggest selling point is that they align with people’s conscientious views.

The same applies to us as agents. Sustainability is inherently satisfying, whether it’s collaborating with an innovative architect to market the latest LEED-certified development or the simple pleasure of separating the compost from the trash. When it comes down to it, it’s all about how a healthier, happier lifestyle can benefit the environment — that’s what we want for our clients and ourselves.


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Carla Parker

With nearly 20 years of experience as a REALTOR® and a lifelong passion for all things real estate, Karla Parker embodies the quality service and commitment to excellence her clients deserve. Whether they’re a first-time homebuyer, a growing family in need of more space, or a senior looking to downsize, Karla truly enjoys working with clients to demystify the sales process. She is a sophisticated negotiator and has a keen understanding of the economic dynamics that influence both macro and micro-housing markets. Karla has a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is a Senior Real Estate Specialist and has a National Association of Realtors Green designation.

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