ECO-Agents are trained real estate professionals who also have important environmental knowledge for green homes but also for any real estate transaction. There are several different ways green real estate agents are identified.
Instead of ECO-agent, one may be called an EcoBroker® and specialize in green properties for environmentally conscious buyers and help current homeowners connect with like-minded builders for green remodeling projects. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) offers a green real estate agent designation called the Certified Green Professional. The National Association of Realtors has member agents with the green designation.
Whatever eco-certified name they go by, choose a green real estate because they:
- are aware of green-living practices that can affect buyers' health and all clients' money. The more money saved on energy efficient home utility bills, the more available for other things.
- have taken many classes in an energy and environmental curriculum to acquire the knowledge and resources to become Certified.
- know there is more to a green home than just being Energy Star or LEED certified--like using building materials free from formaldehyde, non-VOC paints, location in a green community, and much more.
- have knowledge about resource-efficient building materials and processes without driving up construction cost, as well as actions that reduce energy and water waste. Most Americans do not buy green products for the environment but focus more on their own comfort or convenience according to REALTORMag.
- can identify homes that are truly green and save on energy use, not just being marketed as green to command a higher price. "Green washing" is false advertising of environmental benefits of products and services or using misleading environmental practices.
- know ways to retrofit existing older homes to lower energy use or improve indoor air quality.
- know the eco-friendly communities of like-minded neighbors.
- understand the green-building certification and can help find the best green-built home.
- know the best local environmental experts to call for help in buying or selling property.
- are knowledgeable about green financial opportunities like federal, state and local tax rebates and special mortgages that may make or break a sale.
- know organizations and stewardship opportunities like land conservation groups that help property owners interested in conservation possibilities or deeding land away to be released from tax liabilities.
- are aware of bad indoor air quality dangers, how to solve them and the professionals to call for help.
- can advise land purchasers on site considerations, choosing green designs, materials and builders, and obtaining additional professional help.
- really care about the environment and ecology, take classes and read the latest news so are informed on the new technology, materials and general information and can have better communication with like-minded buyers and sellers.
- usually have waiting buyers and sellers for special green properties who may not be in the multiple listing service or advertising publicly.
- being members of a special ECO network, know where to get answers they do not already have.
Make sure to ask for an agent's green certification and research just what that designation means. Some may pretend to be more eco-minded than they really are. A true eco-agent will know facts like houses are the cause of way more than 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and that the cost of getting a green building could cost less than 5 percent more or even the same cost as a traditional building as shown in the attached video.