Home Selling in Denver>Question Details

Maria Morton, Home Owner in Denver, CO

How and where do I market my green built, energy efficient home?

Asked by Maria Morton, Denver, CO Mon Mar 10, 2014

I'm getting ready to sell my house. It is the greenest built, most energy efficient house in Denver, made of ICF's and SIP's. Haven't found a realtor yet who knows what those are, let alone how or where to market my home. Even appraisers don't know how to adjust for the way it's built. Any suggestions?

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In the end, almost no matter how unusual, your house will sell to a buyer who's looking in the area where your house is. Your chances of convincing someone who's not in your market to buy your home solely because of its ultra energy efficiency is slim.

I would look for an excellent agent who's successful and smart. He or she should be enthusiastic about your house but expecting the agent to be as well versed as you (or even close) on your specialized materials or construction methods isn't realistic. I confess to not knowing off hand - I won't cheat and look them up while I write - what the acronymns you list refer to - but if I were listing your house I would make sure I understood enough about it to do it justice during the marketing process.

You'll want to provide your chosen realtor with information and material about your house. It's always a good idea for sellers to put together a blurb or more about their home for buyers. In your case you might want a short version that can be part of the handout for the property with additional info in a binder left out for buyers and their agents. Make sure you include your utility bills - a copy of those could be included in the handout for buyers. When it comes down to it that's what most buyers are interested in - saving money.

Don't fall into the trap of making your agent go overboard with super specific info in the MLS listing or in ads etc. You want to stress the energy efficiency for sure - but in broad terms with the specifics saved for your binder. Buyers are looking for numbers of bedrooms, a layout that works for them, outside space, etc. The energy efficiency will likely be the icing on the cake. You may attract some buyers who are specifically very interested in energy efficiency but they're only going to buy your house if it works for them in all other respects.

I would let your agent do his or her thing in terms of where to market your house (presuming they have a good success record with their online and offline marketing program) rather than get too hung up on thinking that specialized magazines, sites, etc are the answer. That being said, ask your agent if he or she can see about getting it featured in the local newspaper's real estate column. It sounds like just the sort of interesting, not-your-average house that editors like to feature in their weekly real estate special.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2014
I do have tons of pictures of the building process, so I can definitely put together a binder with some of those along with utility bills. And I love the idea of a newspaper feature. It might let others know just because we don't live up in the mountains, we can still build homes in the city that are just as energy efficient. Excellent suggestions! Thank you.
Flag Wed Mar 12, 2014
Hi Maria,

Our MLS system just made great changes to accommodate the features of green built and energy efficient homes. These features are now visible to home buyers in their search.
It helps to have an agent who can personally show buyers your home, too. I find that when selling unique homes that the listing agent being present for showings is key.

We should chat and see if we could work together.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2014
My husband is a green architect who spends much of his time educating buyers/clients on the importance of building green. More and more appraisers are being educated on the additional expense of building green, and are taking that number into consideration when determining home values.
The are many buyers out there that appreciate the green aspect of the home, and will pay to get it.
Marketing will be everything.

Please call me with any questions.
Amie Morozs - Realtor
Cherry Creek Properties
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2014
You can easily list those things in the MLS, which is the best place to market because this sends the info off to every other website that lists properties.

There are some special places to market these types of homes where people understand what you are selling.

And a good realtor can explain to an appraiser exactly how to give adjustments for these type of things. They don't always give you large adjustments but will give you something.

If you'd like to talk more about it shoot me an email or a call.

Daniel Herron
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2014
I'll be honest with you - I don't know that much about energy efficient house, however I do know to ask questions to my broker to make sure its marketing is correct - I'd be happy to meet with you and discuss it

Rochelle Landau
The Peak Properties Group
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2014
Because of my background in construction, and as an over of a net zero home, I am familiar with both insulated concrete forms and structural insulated panels, but as a Realtor, it is harder to market the property solely based upon these superior building concepts. Pricing the home also takes into account whether the appraisal with also acknowledge these building materials. The neighborhood in which the house is built and the available comparable properties will need to accommodate these products being absorbed into a Comparative Market Analysis. I would love to walk you through the process, as a Realtor moreover an Ecobroker, and owner of a Passif Haus certified net zero property. Let me know if can be of help!

Carl Larson
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 23, 2014
Start by marketing your home in the MLS with a Realtor who actually knows what SIPs and ICFs are. Any NAR Green Certified Realtor (I happen to be one) should have some understanding about your construction, but we are not construction experts...We are marketing and negotiation experts.

When it comes to pricing and appraisal we can make the argument to an appraiser that your value should be as much higher than the non-green competition as it is in other similar markets. That is what appraisers do when they don't have the local information to support a price adjustment and there is a major factor that needs to be taken into account.

Additionally, there are many very green-built homes in Denver, although not as many as there will be soon. We can find a lot to compare your home to even if the exact construction is not the same.

What I would be most concerned about is finding a Realtor who knows how to market a home that is on a busier street, directly across from an elementary school. Please send me an email or give me a call if you would like to discuss your sale.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2014
Thank you for the response. I did not know there were green certified realtors. As for the busier street and school, the way this house is built, you would be amazed at how quiet it is. I did find a realtor who loves my house and is excited about selling it for me. Thanks for the offer.
Flag Tue Mar 25, 2014
I am very intrigued by your home. I would love to learn more, and would make you an offer you can't refuse for the opportunity to work with you. We are a green company, always looking at ways we can be more environmentally friendly and I think by your post, there is more that could be learned from you and your dedication to the environment and energy efficiency. As far as marketing, I would recommend marketing where the buyers are. There is not a good consumer site where green conscious home buyers can go to search for just green homes, so they are pushed to the more common top real estate sites, where the green features can be emphasized in the marketing of the home. I would love to also market your home to our database of 4500 buyers (not only to market your home, but that would go right in line with emphasizing we are a green company). I personally drive a prius which is now a PHEV done by Boulder Hybrid Conversions, and am also in the process of having our office be 100% powered by solar energy.

Feel free to check out our profile at http://www.trulia.com/profile/wisdom-real-estate-team-agent-…

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 12, 2014
Thanks for the reply. I did find greenhomesforsale.com, just don't know how many buyers would know to look there or if there are other sites like that to list on. But I was told in some of the other responses that MLS now has a green built designation. That should help.
Flag Wed Mar 12, 2014
What is the location and size of your house? Chris Bender 720-987-7433
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2014
The size of your house has a large affect in determining where to sell your home. Usually, energy efficient homes tend to have a better market value since people appreciate green homes. You can still list it on normal home listing sites and databases. There are also other "green home" specific sites that your home might be better noticed on.
Flag Wed Nov 12, 2014
Platte Park and almost 2,000sf plus about 1,000 sf unfinished basement.
Flag Wed Mar 12, 2014

The first place is the MLS. There are specific designations now for green built homes. There are no specific places to market a green built home. I am a 25 year top shelf Realtor in Denver and i don't know what ICF's and SIP's are. There will be fewer buyers who will not have to look this up on Google like I would or 90% of Denver Realtors. You have a great home with state of the art green elements; but you are a little ahead of your time. The right people looking for this level of green built features will find you. Or a normal buyer who likes the home, location ans price will purchase it. Best of success.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2014
Thanks for the reply. Did not know MLS had a green built designation. I did find greenhomesforsale.com. Don't know how many folks would know to look there.
Flag Wed Mar 12, 2014
Some buyers are willing to pay more for a green built home but it may not be what it cost you to have it built. When selling a house, the green features are a piece of the marketing and you can include any certifications like LEED or Built Green. Location, neighborhood, architectural style, condition and quality of construction are also important factors in pricing your home so don't think the energy efficiency will be the only factor. I recently added many green features to my own home including passive solar, rigid foam insulation, high efficiency boiler, etc. For the appraisal, I prepared a report with all of the green features and found a list of comps so the appraiser was able to adjust for this. If an appraiser is assigned to a home that doesn't know the area or type of home, the listing agent can push back and request an appraiser familiar energy efficiency and construction. I am a local Realtor passionate about the environment so feel free to call me for recommendations on how to best market your home.

Nina Kuhl
Cherry Creek Properties
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2014
Thanks for the reply. As far as I know, my home is the only house in Denver city or county that is made completely of SIPs and ICFs, not to mention all the other green features, so there are no comparables.
Flag Wed Mar 12, 2014
What are the energy ratings and r-values? Your best bet is to come up with some selling points your agent can use to market your home, but not go overboard as Elizabeth pointed out. A good agent should know how to spin your homes attributes to bring in top dollar.

We do live in an area where buyers would appreciate a green home, however don't expect to get back the full cost of the ICF / SIPs if you spent outrageous amounts of money during your homes construction. What you paid and what a buyer is willing to pay are probably not the same. At the end of the day you could have the most energy efficient home, albeit if the costs are 2x higher than a home not as efficient, most people would chose the cheaper home.

Appraisers know how to make valuations for "the way it will sell", not necessarily the way it was built. Your dollars in over improvement aren't always to be accounted for.

Make it a big selling point but don't consume your listing with the homes green features..a buyer who will appreciate these things will also do their research when they come to look at your home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2014
I believe the walls are R24 and the roof is R38. The cost to build wasn't that much higher than a stick frame and I recouped that by only having about $1,000 a year in utility bills. If I had had the money to put up solar panels I could easily be off the grid. You made some excellent points. Thank you.
Flag Wed Mar 12, 2014
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