North Florida Chapter tries to nudge the residential market forward
Unless you're a realtor, most people don’t realize that there is not one big Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database for the whole U.S. but rather over 860 small regional databases. In the NE Florida region, we have five different MLS databases run by five different Association of Realtors Boards. Having seen green homes selling faster (22%) and higher (8%) in King County, WA (according to USA Today), the USGBC North Florida Chapter decided that greening the MLS would be a great mechanism for applying market forces to the promotion of green building and long-term sustainability.
To start this process, the Chapter built upon the success of one of its superstar volunteers, Jeannette Moore. Jeannette is an ecobroker who runs Green Florida Properties, is completely passionate about green homes, and who single-handedly got one of the AOR Boards in our region to adopt 22 green database fields. Jeannette’s success with St. Augustine and St. Johns County encouraged us to apply for a 2012 USGBC Chapters Advocacy Grant so we could replicate her process and approach the 4 other AOR Board’s in our region. Using a single powerpoint, Jeannette's personal perseverance and local contacts, 4 out of 5 Boards to date are committed to adding green feature database fields to their MLS.
The 4 Boards are currently working with their software companies to upgrade the database so we can begin educating realtors on how to enter accurate data as soon as possible. We are still working on getting the 5th AOR Board to adopt green features for their database. Our next steps and deliverables for the 2013 USGBC Chapters Advocacy Grant are to a) create a realtor workshop series (ideally with CEU’s) and b) create a task force or forum that involves stakeholders in the larger and whole value proposition of the green home including property assessors, home inspectors, residential real estate appraisers, lenders, insurance inspectors, and more.
As we continue to build relationships and have dialogues about accurately valuing the green home, we are slowly gathering data and creating supplemental information and materials (such as a form for both the buyer and seller to complete that discloses the green features of a home).
This journey will be a long one but well worth it!