Robert Freedman is the former director of multimedia communications at NAR.
How Green is Your House?
Get to know--and sell--green housing.
May 1, 2001
The growing interest in environmentally friendly houses means good business for real estate practitioners--particularly for those who get up to speed on what's happening with energy-efficient mortgages and the latest in selling green housing benefits.
We can help. Much of what you need to know is available on the Internet, so you can become familiar with the basics of energy-efficient houses, energy-efficient mortgages, and trends in the green housing industry fairly quickly. Here are a few key sites that can get you on the road to selling green houses, both new and existing.
To read about the green housing trend and the benefits to real estate practitioners, see "Green Housing -- it's no illusion" in the May issue of REALTOR®Magazine.
Hot sites on green housing:
1. Energy-efficient homes and energy-efficient mortgages, the basics.
The closest thing to a bible on energy-efficient mortgages may be "Financing Energy Efficiency: An EEM Handbook," by Randy L. Martin. The entire contents of the book, which was originally developed for the Iowa Energy Center but later developed as a national resource, is available online. The book talks about what energy-efficient mortgages are (loans with relaxed credit standards and favorable interest rates for houses meeting prescribed energy standards), EPA home energy-efficiency standards (part of the Energy Star program), and FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage requirements.
RESNET is one of the principal groups of green housing-minded practitioners, lenders, builders, and others in real estate. The group is guided by a steering committee of mortgage lenders offering energy-efficient mortgages. The group's Web site contains basic information on energy-efficient mortgages and links to many of the key green housing sites.
EPA's Energy Star program is used by many lenders as the standard for determining energy efficiency. Borrowers whose houses meet the standard qualify for the favorable terms of energy-efficient mortgages. EPA's existing-home site contains information on the top energy saving improvements and how to save money by using energy-efficient improvements as part of the remodeling process.
EPA provides information on its Energy Star program as it applies to the new-home market. Its Web site features resources on finding a new-home builder, lender, energy-use rater, and utility programs that promote energy efficiency. Click here: .
NERA is an association of professionals who rate and verify home energy efficiency and consult with practitioners, lenders, buyers, sellers, and others on improving home more energy efficient and indoor air quality. More information on what energy raters do is available on the Web.
A national association that promotes home energy ratings and energy-efficient mortgages as an opportunity to increase homeownership (by making it more affordable to buy and own). The group also works to educate homeowners and the real estate industry about the benefits of improved indoor air equality, among other environmentally friendly objectives. Information is on the Web.
EEBA is a principal association for builders and others, including real estate professionals, concerned with development of environmentally friendly buildings. Its 2001 national conference will host, for the first time, a training session on green building directed at real estate practitioners. The session will be conducted by Patricia (Pattie) Glenn, senior vice president of Bosshardt Realty Services, Gainesville, Fla. Information on the group and its national conference, held in late October, is on the Web. Pattie Glenn can be contacted at 352/371-6100.
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