How REALTORS® Can Make Green by Going Green

Transforming a home into a Green Home can add value to a property, making it more desirable for environmentally-conscious buyers and reducing overall energy bills. By making a few updates and quick fixes, such as adding energy saving light bulbs, appliances, and high-efficiency water heaters, sellers can add both enticing new features and legitimate value to a home. Here’s a place to get started, and why they’re important selling points worth mentioning to potential buyers.

Simple Green Updates to Homes

Add a Green Home Energy Tracker – Keep track of energy output of individual appliances and electronics for between $20 and $50 or have a home-monitoring device installed for around $250, which will track overall electrical usage and provide real-time feedback on energy consumption and waste. A large variety of in-home energy trackers and monitors are currently available on the market, and new technology is syncing them with devices like smartphones and tablets.

Update the Lighting with LED and CFL Bulbs – A single ENERGY STAR light bulb can save as much as $6 per year in electricity cost, and a CFL light bulb can save $50 over a traditional incandescent bulb in its lifetime. In addition, the maintenance of changing light bulbs will be greatly reduced, and the overall consumed energy can be reduced by as much as 75 percent.

Update the Exterior with a Rain Barrel – To reduce water usage for watering lawns and irrigating plants and gardens, rain barrels are an affordable green solution that can be purchased for under $100. Not only is this an affordable way to help the planet, even if they don’t drastically reduce overall water bills.

Big Green Updates to Homes

Go with Low-Flow Bathrooms – Low-flow toilets and showerheads can reduce water consumption by as much as 50 percent, and modern versions see almost no reductions in water pressure. The upfront cost of buying and installing new bathroom fixtures is well worth the value these efficient toilets and showers can add to a home.

Install Tankless Water Heaters – Because they don’t store water and reheat it consistently, tankless heaters can save up to 50 percent on a hot water bill. Even better, with a tankless water heater homeowners will never be without hot water, since the coils of a tankless heater warm the water as it passes through the system. This means no more coordinating laundry and dishwashing, or timing out showers for the family.

Update the Kitchen and Utilities ENERGY STAR Appliances – The upfront cost for ENERGY STAR appliances will soon be mitigated by energy savings, since these appliances use anywhere from 10 to 50 percent less energy. Let potential buyers know that a home furnished with these modern appliances will greatly reduce energy costs over time.

Green Home Certification for REALTORS®

If your property could benefit from Green Home Updates, you can stand out from the competition with NAR’s Green Designation. This designation was created to help REALTORS® understand and market homes with green features, like the ones outlined above. Adding the GREEN designation to your title alerts homebuyers and sellers that you have specific expertise in marketing energy-efficient homes properties.

For more on Green Real Estate, visit our blog post Go Green or Go Home, and head to the YPN Lounge where Crystal Webster offers more tips on how It’s Easy Being Green. And for listing on additional local and federal tax incentives on green properties, visit

Do you have experience making Green Home updates on a property you were working to sell? What features did buyers find particularly attractive?

  1. i have installed solar and am BPI ceritifed and I am selling the home now that has a 4.5kw system I installed last April. This home has had virtually no bills all summer long. Though its a selling point I am finding people are more attracted to the views. I have put it on Green Home and Green Listings but have not gotten any attraction from them. What do you suggest for marketing? Also I have tried to figure out when your next NAR’s Accrediation is but it is not showing schedules and dates can you please provide these for me? I am in St. Louis Missouri. thank you Jenifer Elam

  2. Interesting article. As a Energy Efficient Mortgage Lender we encourage more Realtors to learn how GOING GREEN PAYS to BE GREEN. You also can use the FHA203k Program and/or Weatherization/Energy Efficient Mortgage Program through FHA to make your house home with GREEN RETROFITS.