Green Real Estate Toolkit

“The main reason I chose to pursue LEED certification on the custom home I am building in Chicago is because my lender’s appraiser said they could support a higher value for the construction loan if I had a third-party certification on the project. With the green MLS in place, I believe LEED will make my home more competitive in the market when I go to sell it in the future.”

– Brian U., LEED homeowner in Chicago, IL

AES has designed this Green Real Estate Toolkit as a resource for real estate professionals and developers that need to make the economic business case for green homes. Here we’ve assembled resources on real estate, appraisal, lending, insurance and more.

Location, Location, Location

The old real estate phrase is enjoying new light in the phrase, Location Efficiency, which directly correlates to sustainability, bringing both economic and environmental benefits. Some tools: shows you how transportation impacts the affordability and sustainability of where you live. Abogo measures the money an average household from your region living in your neighborhood would spend getting around, including car ownership, car use, and transit use.  It also tells you what the CO2 generated by this car use would be.  With this information, you can measure the true cost and impact of where you live. shows you the heel-to-toe distances (not as the crow flies) to community services and resources such as stores, libraries, transportation, as well as parks too, giving you a score and feel for how walkable the location is. Also has options for a specific location’s map to be embedded on another web site – perfect for green real estate listings. And Walkscore is now automatically added into listings on some MLS systems (such as Chicago area MRED MLS).

Incentives for Green

Federal and State, renewable energy & energy efficiency incentives:

Local Incentives for LEED

Green Financing

Energy Efficient Mortgages

Green Lenders that work AES:
Dae Sung – provides construction and gap financing for single- or multi-family projects

Green Choice Bank – lending on several LEED homes in Illinois

Green Insurance
Learn how green homes are eligible for insurance premium discounts.

Green Market Value and Appraisal

Toolkit to help you transform your multiple listing service (MLS) into a Green MLS that supports green features and third-party verification for homes. Green home values always start with data. If your MLS tracks green building characteristics, then appraisers will have the data needed to support adjustments to market value for green homes.

MRED Example Green MLS

MRED searchable fields  – example Green MLS from the greater Chicago area

The latest version of the GreenMLS Toolkit emphasizes using document back-ups to verify the data put into green fields. The impact will support fair value for green homes at resale. It ensures the flow of information from green home builder/contractor to home owner to Realtor to appraiser.

Find a green Real Estate Appraiser
Find a green appraiser or educational courses to recommend to your lender so the appraiser hired has demonstrated competency in valuation issues related to green building.

Resource: Strategies for Valuing Green
This academic article discusses four techniques appraisers can use to value high-performance homes with green features.

Green Addendum Appraisal Form – encourage your real estate agents, appraisers, and lenders to use the optional AI Form designed to quantify the value for a high-performance, green home. Learn more how this is used or download the Green Addendum.

Green loans less risky – Did you know that owners of green / energy efficient homes are 32% less likely to default on their mortgages? You can take that large research of 25,000+ homes to the bank – and to their underwriters!

Green building and municipalities

Green Infrastructure
CNT and American Rivers have released a new guide that quantifies the economic value of green infrastructure’s benefits – the key to helping municipalities adopt this innovative and cost-effective stormwater management approach. The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Social and Environmental Benefits is a broad analysis that is the first to place an economic value on the numerous benefits provided by green infrastructure. The guide fills an information gap that has hampered widespread deployment of green infrastructure—the practice of managing stormwater with natural systems.

Tax Credits for Energy Efficient Improvements

If you completed energy efficiency improvements in 2010 you may be able to claim them on your federal tax return. Here are some great resources for filing your tax credit.

* Find a how-to for claiming credits in 2009 or 2010
* Credits available for work done in 2011

The credits cap at $1,500 for work done between 2009-2010. For 2011 the credit is $500. And, if you capped out in 2009-2010 you are not eligible for the 2011 credit. Be sure to ask your tax professional for more information!