These days looking green and being green are two very different things. As the eco-friendly movement has picked up momentum over the last twenty years, a shift has occurred where it is now fashionable to be green. Bamboo floors, native landscaping, reclaimed barn wood — it looks good, but it may or may not be eco-friendly. Some home buyers want to appear as if they are up on all of the eco-friendly real estate trends, even if they really aren’t into it at heart. This leaves real estate professionals with three types of eco-friendly home buyers:
It’s all about appearances
This group practically salivates at the sight of reclaimed wood, open cabinets, and slick-looking “eco-friendly” appliances. They like the look of open, airy, clean and somewhat green, but they probably don’t care about where those materials came from. That’s fine. For this buyer, you will want to show them:
- Both new and existing homes of just about any size
- Traditional communities and subdivisions
- Energy-efficient appliances, hot water heaters, home heating and cooling systems
- Anything that is controlled by a smartphone
- Durable, updated flooring, windows, and finishes
The money-conscious eco-friendly home buyer
This group is easy to spot: it’s all about the bottom line. This eco-friendly real estate trend follows the school of thought that waste and money go hand in hand. Present energy and water bills going back at least two years. You will also want to hit on these points:
- Energy-efficient appliances
- Energy-efficient cooling and heating systems
- New energy-efficient water heaters
- Floors and finishes that will last for decades
- Solar panels
- Water-friendly landscaping (low water cost is the motivating factor here)
- High-performance insulation like Thermowool, a combination of sheep wool, recycled carpet wool and regenerated polyester that is sustainably sourced
- Landscaping that provides shade to keep cooling costs down
The educated idealists
This group of eco-friendly home buyers takes the “trend” out of eco-friendly real estate trends. They live eco-friendly, and they are not afraid to pay for it. They have read more articles than you could possibly get your hands on and may be a little hard to impress.
They want more than just a slick new energy-efficient dishwasher — they want a gray-water collection system connected to the back end of that dishwasher. Other wants and needs may include everything we have listed above in the previous two categories, as well as:
- Eco-friendly communities
- Shared community garden space
- Proximity to work and school so that they don’t have to use a car
- Existing homes or new construction that can promise zero-waste
- Smaller homes that use very little energy
- Sustainably sourced materials like floors certified by the Forest Stewardship Council
The educated idealist and location
Another interest to eco-friendly home buyers is the advent of eco-friendly neighborhoods and communities. Communities like Serenbe near Atlanta, Georgia combine suburban living with farm living. The community of roughly 200 homes participates in a thriving farm that provides fresh produce year-round to its residents. Other components of eco-friendly location include:
- Access to parks
- Bike paths
- Storm water retention equipment
- Mandatory recycling
- Fruit and vegetable gardens
- Community preservations programs
- Buildings and homes certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and
- Environmental Design (LEED) program.
For the sellers:
Sellers will need to update their homes to appeal to all of these categories that are part of eco-friendly home buyer trends. That means that the bare minimum should include landscaping that is water-friendly, native and appears as such. Sellers should update appliances, and be prepared to show energy and water bills going back one to two years.
As your sellers prepare to sell their homes, be sure to offer them a Seller’s E&O Policy that can give them peace of mind — no matter what type of eco-conscious buyer you may find.
Tell us below what eco-friendly features your clients tell you they want most?