Home Buying in San Francisco>Question Details

Caroline, Home Buyer in San Francisco, CA

how can i find ecofriendly home listings?

Asked by Caroline, San Francisco, CA Thu Feb 7, 2008

Help the community by answering this question:


Here in San Francisco we have few "green" or LEED certified homes, but they are coming. There was the Sunset featured green home that was sold last year. I'd recommend checking out http://www.westcoastgreen.com
as well as http://www.buildinggreen.com; West Coast Green was an exciting event last year and should be even bigger this year with more green home building products exhibited. I'd also highly recommend http://www.greenbuildingblocks.com which is a resource to find appliances and other home products. You could consider purchasing a home and greening it yourself with new appliances and such. Good luck!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 7, 2008
Hi Caroline:

If you are interested in Green (eco-friendly) buildings, a good place to look will be the city of Novato in Marin county (north bay).

We are really big on nature, green, econ friend, ; sustainable is another buzz word; even the schools are going green. . .

We have several green builders. A new small subdivision (Virginia Grove with starter price new homes, completed last year, just recently sold out. http://www.marinij.com/ci_8121362.

For higher end properties, Olive Ridge is a good place to go, built by one fo the best quality builders, the houses kind of like an oasis sitting in the middle of a marsh with distant hill views right on a preserved marshland with gorgeous hill views. There are 19 homes in the development, 12 sold, only 7 left.

Best way to find ecofriendly home listings? Ask a local realtor who understand the housing supply well and let them find the green builidngs for you.

Web Reference: http://firstmarinhomes.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 8, 2008
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Marin, CA
In San Francisco the Realtor Association is working with the Department of the Environmnet to create a rating system for housing that is for sale. It is still a little bit away but it will eventually give a rating of between 0 and 100, higher being better, that will speak to how efficient the property is and what upgrades have been made by the seller.
I have been leading this effort for the Board and been working with Cal Broomhead and Jared Blumenfeld of the DOE. The system will soon be part of the Transfer Disclosure Statement. In the meantime you, as a buyer Caroline, will have to look in the marketing remarks for whatever features the seller claims to have made.
I have a follow up question though. If the choice for you was two properties that were not identical, because most properties in SF are not, what would you use as the deciding criteria? Can you rate them for us? Carbon footprint, location, view, proximity to a cool neighborhood, schools, transportation etc.
Web Reference: http://www.JedLane.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 7, 2008
Jed Lane, Real Estate Pro in San Francisco, CA

A good realtor or even a good search for some key words will give you the answer -- In this day and age where the buzz is about being green, you can bet you're bottom dollar that the advertising for the home will "Scream" about how "GREEN" it is. I could probably find a couple in the MLS and point you to them.

And because "GREEN" homes are a newer concept, you can also bet the price will reflect the concept at a premium. Drop me a ine in private and I'd be happy to point you in the right direction. There have only been a handful that have been built so far.

Michael Ackerman, Zephyr Real Estate "We're all about San Francisco"
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 7, 2008
Green Key Real Estate, http://greenkeyrealestate.com/. Talk to Chris Bartle or Tiffany Elston. Jennifer Smith at Hill & Co is a good source too.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 19, 2008
The Eco-Broker designation is a series of training seminars that teach agents how to market the property that is built that way. When we were discussing the rating system I mentioned earlier we looked at this designation for agents. First they misuse the term “broker”. In our industry a broker has a higher level of license then sales agents. The eco-broker designation is not reserved for brokers. Also they say in their literature that they are not recognized by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and go on to say that NAR doesn't recognize any third party designations, which is factually incorrect.
When we had the recent West Coast Green convention in SF I attended a class on LEED building and marketing of eco-friendly homes. I'd say it was interesting but the focus of the green building industry is new construction. As a former construction manager and life-long eco guy I'm disappointed with the retrofit market. I have a neighbor who has added solar, double paned windows and if I was marketing his home I’d be able to market those features and the benefit associated.
There was a beautiful home sold a few years ago on Clipper St. Rain catchment systems, it had everything. The builder was telling me about the difficulty he had in getting permits and that some of the features he wanted to include had never gone through the planning or building department before.
Things have changed quite a bit in the past few years. Look for more in the future and contact the Department of the Environment (SFgov.org) for more information on the rating system.
Web Reference: http://www.jedlane.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2008
Jed Lane, Real Estate Pro in San Francisco, CA
Hi Caroline,

You should talk to my colleague, Jennifer Smith @ Hill & Co. Real Estate. She knows alot about all of this and is certified as well. You can reach her at 415-921-6000 or 415-321-4237.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 10, 2008
Caroline, there is a distinct type of broker or agent that is actually trained and understands ecofriendly homes and how to identify them. Mainly, they are trained on getting current owners involved in eco-responsible habits and helping them understand about solar energy, and other ways to make your home eco friendly. As for finding ecofriendly home listings, it's possible that you may not find significant numbers of homes that fit your ideal ecofriendly definition. It is still a new-ish idea to have a home designed and built to ecofriendly standards. You can look for homes that are built with sustainable materials (man made granite, petroleum free materials, minimal use of plastics, non-wood materials, post recycled materials etc.) At the website below, you can find all sorts of useful information on ecofriendly subjects.

One thing to remember is that ecofriendly materials are not exactly inexpensive. The more ecofriendly resources that are used in a home or condo, the more expense it adds to the price of the home, and the more a home seller will use that distinction to market his/her home at a premium. Ecofriendly homes tend to stand out against their neighborhood counterparts and thus, bring unique values.

Hope this helps!
Web Reference: http://www.ecobroker.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 9, 2008
You should check on the site that
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 7, 2008
When I conduct a search, I will put some key words in a "Remarks Section"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 7, 2008
For the East Bay, one work around is that you can search by "Keyword" at http://www.MyHousingGuide.com to narrow your search. I pulls all of the comments remarks words that you type in. Note however that if you type "green" you will also pull wording that might include "green lawn" for example. Try it!

Try, "green, eco friendly, recycled, solar, etc" Think of the buzz words. You can save a search and it will automatically email you new homes the day they come on the market.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 7, 2008
Hi, Caroline:

Michael is right. Unfortunately, the MLS is not offering us that search criteria as yet. There are a very small handful of Realtors that specialize in green homes.

Hopefully, more and more people will go green and we will have the capability of searching for only green homes.
Web Reference: http://www.DotChance.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 7, 2008
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