- Lenders, appraisers and Realtors® need to be involved in green building. Realtors® need to include a “Built Green” section in their listings. Green construction and energy efficiency categories should be included in appraisals. And green building needs to be included in continuing education courses for housing professionals.
- Home builders need to play up products that save buyers time and money. Also, “buyers want to buy sexy things, they want to see their money,” said Potter, which is why hot tubs spark more enthusiasm than formaldehyde-free cabinets. Water-saving dish washers and other green appliances may be a good place to introduce the concept.
- Eco-friendly building products aren’t always that much more expensive than conventional products, and sometimes they are even cheaper. Low VOC paint sells for $30 a gallon, compared to $25 for designer latex. Carpet that is 100% recyclable is $19 a square yard compared to $25 for 100% nylon. Wood flooring from sustainable forests is $3.89 a square foot, compared to $6 for pine. A dual flush toilet is $245, less expensive than a 1.6 gallon commode that sells for $260.
- Builders tend to underestimate some of the green items that are important to buyers. A survey in 2001 by David Johnston found that on a scale of one to five, where five is the most important, home buyers ranked energy efficiency a 4.1, indoor air quality a 4.0 and resource conservation a 3.7. Those were all significantly higher scores than those builders expected from their customers.
- Under Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac programs, buyers of efficient homes can get an extra 2% spread on their mortgage qualifying ratios, “but so much of underwriting is now about the credit scores of the consumer” that it makes sense to create value “that resides with the property, not the borrower,” said Porter. For example, “any buyer buying green gets a break on discount points. We’re doing it because it gives us an incremental gain in the business.”
- Lenders have no problem with alternative products that are a good value. That excludes straw bale construction and hemp roofs. Both are "off the grid," Porter said. “If there is a foreclosure on the house, it has to be mainstream enough that it can be sold to anyone."
- Building green means building a better, more durable house, and that can enable builders to reduce their insurance risks. In general, builders need to do a better job of educating their buyers about maintaining their homes.
- Construction jargon can confuse home buyers. Take “envelope,” “header” and “CABO-MEC” out of your language, Porter suggests, and “start to speak English to your trades and especially to home buyers.”
BuilderBooks.com offers a variety of green building publications online. To view or purchase these publications, click here.
[ Go to Top ]
Need to Buy General Liability Insurance?
Are You Controlling Your Exposure to Moisture, Mold and Fungus?
Structural Defects, Can They Happen to You?
Insurance Coverage a Challenge?