2014 Green Real Estate: Advice

When we reached out to our friends on social media for ideas of how to go green, REALTORS® responded with some great tips.

April 18, 2014

I have NAR’s Green designation, and my Facebook page helps to get the green word out to all current and future buyers and sellers. I host a TV show called “Green Living for Real Estate” on Sandwich Community Television to educate and inform buyers and sellers about saving energy and green features that can add value to their homes. —Deborah DC Huntley

I bought a new Honda Insight hybrid back in 2010 and traded it in for another one last summer. I’ve saved around 3,500 gallons of gas so far, compared to the non-hybrid that I drove before. That amounts to a dollar savings of around $13,000… It's not the big SUV, Lexus, or Mercedes that many agents drive, but in another two and a half years, it will probably pay for itself,  and it helps reduce emissions in the environment as well. —Mike Karras

I'm a broker, so my role is a bit different. I try to constantly teach ways to be greener through the use of digital signatures, PDF printers, and Evernote. There will still be a need for paper in certain situations, so I give agents latitude to slowly adapt. —Joanna Williams

I am paperless. Clients go to my website and can upload all their documents via a secure network. If they come to my office, I scan their docs and do not make copies. We've been paperless for two years —Jessica De La Roca-Barrientos

Starting in 2014, all of my clients get free memberships at Save Energy for Kids and pledge to save as much energy in their homes as possible and teach their kids to do the same. #soproud —Lovly Mya

Dropbox! And I send all my clients a live plant. —Stacy Diana Green

I use my iPad on showings and no longer print MLS sheets. —Lisa Ramos

I am personally vetting and recommending services that I know use green techniques wherever possible, and that are transparent in their dealings. —Wynn Creasy

As I show buyers older homes for sale, I suggest specific ways to increase insulation, replace older appliances with high-efficiency Energy Star models, water conservation measures, maybe solar, and non-VOC paint to improve indoor air quality. —Davena Gentry

I ride my 40 mpg motorcycle whenever possible, or drive my 38 mpg clean diesel car when necessary. I also limit my driving distance with GPS routing. —Mason Saxton

I use Dropbox for information, GoConnect for staying on tasks to be done, VoicePad for instant information instead of flyer boxes, and CRM to keep in touch with past clients. —Susan Robertson

If my seller has a dated property, I advise them to maximize asking price by getting a HERS rating with a suggested upgrade package which we could market to the potential buyers. We could also partner with a lender, and even add upgrades in a energy-efficient mortgage loan, should it be required. —Christopher Rogers

NWMLS just implemented a totally paperless transaction manager that includes cloud storage and virtual signing ... LOVING IT. They already provide us an app direct to listings so we don’t have to print listings for showing. —Sarah Cazier

Trying to go paperless on contracts using BackAgent, using DocuSign for signatures via e-mail, not showing homes we know in advance have an issue the buyer does not like, using the USPS vs. making deliveries of flyers. Thinking ahead to combine tasks. Visiting office only when necessary. Recycle files when possible. —Mark McNitt

Dropbox! Dropbox! Dropbox! —Jennifer Langston-Justus

Went to paperless files in 2013 … It has been a very difficult transition but it's crazy to think of how much paper we have all wasted during a real estate transaction. —Heidi Wills

Digital contracts and digital closing packages. Not to mention a digital deposit of my paycheck. Saving trees and fuel! —Right Choice Realty, LLC

I use a system called SkySlope for digital signatures and digital escrow files; it's very user-friendly! Our brokerage said “bye-bye” to paper files a couple years ago and it’s really made life easier and has saved hundreds of trees. —List With Bliss

Meg White

Meg White is the former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine.