Agent Jan Green sat down with Real Estate Agent Magazine Phoenix for the Green Agent Spotlight to discuss how she incorporates eco-friendly business practices into her real estate business. She also tells readers how they can incorporate similar practices into their real estate business and how they can positively impact client relations.
REAM: Tell us what drew you to prioritize the environment in your business.
Green: In November 2007, I had heard an EcoBroker would be speaking about how she had changed her business, providing value added service to her clients by becoming an EcoBroker. So, I decided to attend the National Association of REALTORS® convention in Las Vegas. Intrigued, I researched the Ecobroker designation. This business model intrigued me because it held many facets that helped consumers and set my business apart from others.
Returning to Scottsdale, I immediately set about earning my EcoBroker designation through an online course. Twenty-four chapters, essays and tests later, I earned my EcoBroker designation in April 2008. My mission began at the home show meeting as many vendors as possible to learn about their products and services and to build a website of information for consumers, gotgreen.info. The site serves as a resource of information for anyone wishing to lower their energy bills, reduce water consumption, improve indoor air quality, and lower a buildings’ carbon footprint.
REAM: How can real estate agents steer customers toward a more eco-friendly home?
Green: Real estate agents have the great opportunity to educate and bring about awareness of the difference in our housing stock. At no time in history has housing become so vastly different in the supply of homes available. Whether they are for sale or not, there are homes in the Phoenix Metro Area that are made of the old and new adobe; strawbale; rammed earth, and they are being certified by different organizations. The various types of homes score differently in energy efficiency via HERS index score; think of it as miles per gallon for a home. You’ll see these ratings displayed by new home builders who compete in energy efficiency in new home construction. If agents understood the rating system and could explain it to homebuyers and sellers, they add value to their clients’ understanding about energy efficiency, how it relates to their energy bills and how to achieve energy savings.
REAM: Did you have a career in another industry before embarking in real estate?
Green: Prior to beginning a real estate career in 2002, my background included banking, insurance, securities and business ownership in Kansas, Alabama and Tennessee. Combining all of my background helps me to be aware of the limitations in real estate and to know when to refer a client to a professional for expanded service. This background also cements the need for a website to house energy and sustainable related vendors for the public to utilize. After all, we real estate agents must practice in our area of expertise.
REAM: How do you envision your career evolving over the next 10 years? How do you believe the changes in environmentalism will alter that both for you and the industry as a whole?
Green: In the next 10 years, I see my business expanding as the public becomes more aware that extra training and service is needed to sell homes that have energy efficient, water saving and sustainable features. There is a difference in the sales and appraisal process for these homes and the methods to gain more value for them. Having hosted courses as a volunteer with the Residential Committee, U.S. Green Building Council, Arizona Chapter, I can use my unique knowledge for these homes to appraise at a higher value.
The altering landscape of how renewable energy effects electric companies will cause more and more consumers to research and choose methods to reduce their energy bills. Consumers are becoming more aware of products and services that will enhance the existing housing stock. Having presented this information in lecture form, I can say that the questions I’m getting have become more and more advanced in nature as consumers become more educated.
REAM: When did you first notice a priority on ecofriendly concerns in the industry?
Green: After earning my EcoBroker designation, I started volunteering with the U.S. Green Building Council in 2009. Being engaged with other professionals in the energy efficiency industry has connected me with more and more consumers who are interested in this field. Today, the discussions are many and everyone seems to have some level of knowledge about energy efficiency. Whether it’s about light bulbs or solar panels, the public has been made aware through the internet, radio, television and their peers about the subject.
REAM: How are you involved in the local real estate community? In the environmental community?
Green: Currently, I’m the residential committee chair for the U.S. Green Building Council, Arizona Chapter; an advisory board member for Efficiency First Arizona; an instructor at the Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS® on this topic; and just recently elected to the board of directors for the Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS®.
REAM: Which of these organizations has had the greatest impact on your career? Why?
Green: Volunteering with the USGBC has been instrumental in many projects for the community and spearheaded my interest and involvement in this niche. In 2010, a form was created by a group, including Sandy Adomatis, past vice-chair of education for the Appraisal Institute. That form has helped to change the appraisal and valuation process for homes with energy efficient features. The Residential Green & Energy Efficiency Addendum was the impetus for a speaker panel course that I created as a volunteer with USGBC. If it hadn’t been for my involvement with this nonprofit, I would have never heard of the form, created a speaker panel, hosted appraiser courses, or come to know most of the people I engage with today.
I envision that in the future as our homes engage more and more smart features, energy efficient features, and those that provide for a more comfortable home, this unique knowledge will become even more valuable as consumers will understand the need for a real estate agent that can assist them with the sale and purchase of these types of homes.
REAM: Are there any changes coming in the future that you’re excited to announce?
Green: Recently, I was contacted by the organization Elevate Energy in cooperation with the National Association of REALTORS®, to introduce a new online solar course for real estate agents. Having been chosen to review the course prior to its introduction to the public was an honor. Being recognized for understanding and conveying this unique knowledge has been rewarding and fulfilling. It’s been a 10-year process, but the rewards are many and I love seeing that aha moment when an agent understands the message I work to convey in the classes I teach.