Certification
Real Estate and Appraisal Resources
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Recognize Green Home Features in the Appraisal and Underwriting Processes.

Green the Real Estate Transaction Process

Green homes certified by Home Innovation Research Labs are simply better built. Not only are the homes highly efficient and healthy to live in, but every green feature has been verified by a third-party NGBS Green Verifier to ensure quality and consistency in the marketplace.

Industry, policy, and appraisal professionals are working to “close the gap” and recognize green home features in the appraisal and underwriting processes. Here are some important steps that builders can take to help ensure that their homes’ features are recognized.

Specify a Qualified Appraiser

Encourage lenders to contract with appraisers who have previous experience and/or professional training on how to appraise green and energy efficient homes.

  • Some green builders stipulate in their contract of sale that the lender selected by the home buyer use an appraiser with experience appraising green homes. See our one-pager for some sample contract language.
  • Direct your lenders to the Green Appraiser Registry, a public database of all professionals who have successfully completed the Appraisal Institute’s green valuation courses and passed the exams for the Valuation of Sustainable Buildings Professional Development Program.

Complete the Green Appraisal Addendum

Be sure to complete the Appraisal Institute’s Residential Green & Energy Efficient Addendum (an addendum to the commonly-used Fannie Mae Form 1004) for every NGBS Green Certified new or remodeled home. This is the first green appraisal form developed by appraisers and serves as a tool to help ensure that home appraisals reflect home performance.

Builders and remodelers participating in the NGBS Green Certification program receive a pre-populated version of the Addendum with each single-family home certificate, as well as a detailed guide on how to complete and file/distribute the Addendum. We encourage builders to add additional information about the home's features and provide the Addendum to the assigned appraiser, to help ensure appraisals reflect the benefits of green features and lowered operating costs. The Addendum can be completed by anyone involved with the property, including the builder, remodeler, NGBS Green Verifier, or appraiser.

NGBS certification is one of only two national green programs recognized on the Addendum. A builder can complete the addendum to recognize the NGBS Green certification level achieved, as well as other green features, completed energy audits, and/or local energy incentives available to homeowners.

Completing the Addendum does not guarantee that a home will appraise higher than a similar property within the area. However, by equipping the appraiser with complete information about a home’s green features, he/she can be sure that the appraiser is well-informed to complete the evaluation. Home appraisals often involve a comparison to similar properties within the area, and thorough information about green features should guide an appraiser to pick only similar green certified homes for the comparison.

Work with a Green Real Estate Agent

Market research shows the homebuyers are looking for green homes. Be sure that you select a real estate agent who understands green homes features so that your homes are properly represented and stand out in a competitive market. Popular professional designations for real estate agents include EcoBroker© (a designation of EcoBroker International) and the National Association of Realtors’ Green Designee.
  
Benefits include:

  • Awareness of green home certifications, like NGBS
  • Ability to identify and discuss green building design and features
  • Specialized client base of green-minded homebuyers
  • Specialized marketing for green homes
  • Understanding of green tax credits and incentives that may be available to homebuyers

Green Your Multiple Listing Service

Many regional Multiple Listing Services (MLS)—real estate databases available for use by real estate  brokers—have already modified their MLS structure to feature green attributes and make green homes more easily searchable. In fact, research shows that 75 of the 100 metropolitan areas have already incorporated extensive green fields in their MLS structure.

A “Green MLS” makes it easier for realtors to sell homes based on green features and supports an apple-to-apples comparison of green homes on the market.

If your region’s MLS does not currently support green fields, consider connecting with other green builders, realtors, appraisers, and lenders in your community to work together and promote amendments to the MLS structure. View the National Association of Realtors’ Greening the MLS Toolkit for information to help you get started.

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