Listing and Selling Your Green Home

Home for sale with solar panels on roof
You can ask your agent to search a green MLS to look for homes with green features, such as solar panels. Image: SolarCity

If you want to get the full value for your green home when it comes time to sell, use a green real estate agent and a green MLS.

You’ve upgraded your home with the latest green features and there’s an eco-friendly buyer out there looking for a green home. How can the two of you connect?

How can the two of you connect?

Choose a green real estate agent

Hire a real estate agent who knows as much about green homes as you do. About 5,000 REALTORS® nationwide have earned the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Green Designation by taking classes in green building, sustainable business practices, and green home marketing. A private company offers the EcoBroker designation.

Questions to ask a REALTOR® who specializes in green homes:

  • Have you had special training in selling green homes?
  • Do you serve buyers seeking green houses and do you have a list of buyers actively seeking green homes?
  • How many green home sales have you completed in the past year?
  • How do you market a green home differently than a regular home?

List your home’s green features

You can trumpet your home’s greenness in two ways in the typical green MLS.

Your real estate agent can note if your home or its features have been officially certified or designated green. Then, agents for homebuyers interested in green homes can search for local designations as well as national designations and certifications like:

  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

Energy Star

  • Enterprise Green Communities
  • The Environmental Protection Agency’s airPLUS Guidelines and Water Sense programs
  • Home Energy Rating System (HERS Index)
  • Living Building Challenge
  • National Green Building Standard

The other way to highlight your house’s green features is to specify them in the home MLS’ searchable fields. For example, if you have solar panels, water-saving devices, or geothermal heating, your agent can check those fields. Real estate agents helping buyers interested in a green home can also use the search function to find green homes with specific features.

In some green MLSs, your agent can highlight the brand and model of energy-efficient appliances and building materials. The result is a movement toward a more standardized and accurate way for buyers to find the type of home they want and for you to highlight your home’s green upgrades.

Use the home MLS comments section

What if your local home MLS isn’t green? Your agent can market your home’s green features in the home MLS by listing them in the additional remarks space. Work with your agent so she knows which features you’d like to highlight, which feature she recommends highlighting, and how those features contribute to your home’s energy efficiency and eco-friendliness.

Can you get more money for a green home?

Data show your green home could sell faster and at a higher price than a similar house without green features. In 2009, certified green houses in Atlanta sold 31 days faster than traditional homes, according to the Earth Advantage Institute, a Portland, Ore., nonprofit that certifies green homes. Certified green houses in Seattle built from 2000 to 2008 sold for 8% to 9% more per square foot than traditional homes, according to local sales statistics.

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G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who just added energy-efficient windows to her Chicago condo. A regular contributor to many national publications including, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

G. M. Filisko

G. M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer. A frequent contributor to publications including Bankrate, REALTOR Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, personal finance, and legal topics.