Metrolist, Colorado's 800-Pound Gorilla, Goes Green

On March 8, 2012, Metrolist, Denver’s real estate colossus, will finally unveil its “green-field addendum.”  And it’s been a long time coming, says Jamil Dillon.

 

Dillon would know because he helped hatch the idea.  He was the Residential Program Senior Associate at the Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) in 2010 when he and green home builder Sean Smith began conversations with some Colorado MLSes, including Metrolist, to provide “green” and energy-efficient home-listing info.  Dillon says that even GEO management was at first hesitant about promoting and helping fund such a far-reaching initiative, affecting all the state’s listing services.  But like Tim Tebow  spotting an upfield opening, Dillon and Smith grabbed the ball and bolted for it. 

 

“In hindsight, people commend it.  But at the time, they were like, ‘They’re doing their own thing.  Can we do that?’” Dillon recalls.  “Sean and I formed our own [working] group [within the GEO], started talking to Metrolist, to the folks on the western slope and with the U.S. Green Building Council.”  Fast forward to today, and their conversations have become bricks-and-mortar reality.

 

Metrolist is the 800-pound gorilla in Colorado real estate with approximately 50 percent of the state’s REALTORS and almost 70 percent of the real estate transactions.  Compiling this data in Colorado is critical because green-building advocates say it will mirror what’s been happening in the Pacific Northwest – that, in fact, green homes sell faster and for more money than conventional, code-built comparables.  Cities like San Antonio, Santa Barbara, Phoenix and Charleston already have green-field addenda (GFAs) in place. Though several MLS’s in Colorado already have GFAs, when Metrolist snaps this new lens in place, nearly everyone will see green.

 

Kirby D. Slunaker, Metrolist’s chief operating officer, says the organization had to cover ground quickly against the backdrop of other sea changes – rolling out new software and real estate tools to Metrolist members, plus a rental property database.  Also, Metrolist’s founding president of 27 years left the organization in fall 2011, and the organization is exploring a possible merger with IRES – Boulder and northern Colorado’s MLS. 

 

Slunaker identified two major reasons why he and Melissa Olson, Metrolist senior manager for marketing and sales, recently punched the gas on the GFA.  “Social responsibility – it’s the right thing to do,” says Slunaker, noting that buildings consume 39 percent of the nation’s energy use.  “And REALTOR differentiation – there’s a value proposition here,” he says, noting that anything REALTORS can do to differentiate themselves is good.

 

Until 2009, there was a disconnect between hearth-and-home green improvements, and increased appraisal values.  And in fact, some additions like solar panels historically decreased the value of a home.  One Boulder banker and appraiser aptly named Elizabeth Million says all this re-tooling and data capture is largely focused at loan underwriters. 

 

“The ultimate decision maker in the green real estate chain is the underwriter,” says Million.  “An owner says, ‘This home is worth 20 percent more because it’s energy-efficient.’  When it gets to the underwriter, the underwriter says, ‘What’s a PV panel?’  We need these data points because underwriters make decisions based on the data they have in front of them,” she says.  And that translates into higher appraisal values for green features.

 

Million also notes that GFAs don’t just benefit listing agents (with bigger commissions) and sellers (with higher sales prices), but GFA data can also help buyers’ agents.    That, however, hinges on two critical words – searchable fields

 

 “If someone is here from California, they want to see four properties, and they want them to be energy-efficient.  That client has half a day.  You have to be able to search quickly,” she says.  “Addenda are great for documentation, but really what we need is more searchable fields.” 

 

Slunaker points to a couple of issues that could significantly slow adoption of the GFA.  The first is the age of Metrolist members, 40 percent of whom are 55 years old or older.  Many may not be earth-friendly natives like younger REALTORS. 

 

Also, real estate agents may be slower on the uptake to learn how to use the GFA.  MLSes across the country, and even IRES, deep in the heart of Boulder, have experienced a much slower adoption than expected.  

 

Slunaker also says some of these older brokers feel like their older, affluent buyers don’t care about lower utility bills or other green benefits.  Yet hardly anyone, even the wealthiest, wants to pay Xcel Energy $800 (or more) every month because their homes are energy hogs.  “If you miss an opportunity to help buyers and sellers, hey, you’re glossing over something.” 

 

Dillon agrees that it’s up to Metrolist to make this a bottom-line concern.  “I consider myself an environmentalist, for sure,” he says.  “But the primary benefits have to be about the bottom line – saving money on utility bills and health.  Money’s very in-your-face.  Explaining to people about formaldehyde and paints is much more abstract.”

 

-          Melissa Baldridge

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION …

  • ATTEND – Metrolist’s RE Bar Camp, “Greening the MLS,” March 9, 2012, 9 – 10:30 a.m., Denver Metro Association of Realtors (central office), 4330 E. Warren Ave., Denver, CO  80222.  For reservations, call 303.756.0553 or email at janet@tbgdenver.com.

 

  • READ – Ann Griffin, “Certified Home Performance:  Assessing the Market Impacts of Third Party Certification on Residential Properties,” Earth Advantage Institute, May 29, 2009.

 

              

Views: 274

Comment

You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros

Comment by Tom Delconte on February 29, 2012 at 1:17pm

Melissa: love your post!

I also love Denver, because it has Wildsage: http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Designing_a_Great_Neighborhood/70... 

The main takeaway from Designing a Great Neighborhood is that south facing glass should not be low-e, or at least soft coat low-e, for overall max solar gain This is not in the design books!

A real estate agent with GFA certification is definitely going to be an improvement over your average real estate agent. Tell me, I've tried to instruct them: conduction, convection, radiation...

Home Energy Pros

Home Energy Pros was founded by the developers of Home Energy Saver Pro (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy,) and brought to you in partnership with Home Energy magazine.

Latest Activity

Ethan Bukowiec replied to Ethan Bukowiec's discussion Thoughts on energy startup's new propane smart meter
"Wanted to give everyone an update on how things are doing with our Kickstarter campaign. We have…"
13 hours ago
Tom White's video was featured

Unlocking the Power of Grey Water in a Living Building Challenge Home

Rob Nicely, President of Carmel Building & Design talks with Tom Wood, Nexus eWater System's Chief Technology Officer, about Unlocking the Power of Grey Water.
13 hours ago
Griffin Hagle's discussion was featured

You're designing a Home Performance dashboard. Which 6 metrics do you include?

Credit Karma got me thinking about this. For those who are unfamiliar, it's a free* online credit…See More
13 hours ago
Bud Poll's discussion was featured

Inconsistant Local Authority

It becomes frustrating to give people modern advice and then have to backtrack and tell them to do…See More
13 hours ago
w d's discussion was featured

Managing Solar Energy

What's the state of the art on managing solar energy (esp. at the home)?There's surely no…See More
13 hours ago
Ethan Bukowiec's discussion was featured

Thoughts on energy startup's new propane smart meter

Hello,I wanted to introduce you all to a new energy startup I am working with called …See More
13 hours ago
George Kopf's discussion was featured
13 hours ago
John Porterfield replied to Dave Robinson's discussion Can We PLEASE Stop Calling Them “Ductless” in the group 1000 Home Challenge
"Any update on this work?  Seems manufacturers would provide an indoor coil that would…"
15 hours ago

© 2014   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service