Selling on the Green Spectrum


No two environmentally-conscious clients are alike. They range from eco-warriors to those who think sustainability is the mode du jour. You may waste energy on research and showings if you don’t understand where your clients fall on the green spectrum.

During your first meeting, toss in a few of these sample questions to learn more about your client. Learning about clients’ existing habits can help you determine what they will realistically invest in their new property.GOOOOOOgreen

  • Which is more important, acreage or pedestrian-friendly accessibility?
  • Does your private vehicle run on conventional gasoline, diesel, electricity or biodiesel?
  • Does sustainable and ethical sourcing determine where you shop for groceries and clothing?
  • Does your current property have an alternative energy source (i.e. solar panels) or a gray water recycling system?
  • Do you recycle? Compost?

If your clients are Millennials or otherwise technologically inclined, consider creating an online survey!

Based upon your clients’ answers (and how much they are willing to elaborate on their interests), your clients may fall into the following categories:

Baby Spinach These buyers do the basics (like recycling or buying organic produce at the supermarket), but they aren’t prepared to invest much time or energy into a green lifestyle. Their property can address basic green interests: quality insulation, energy efficient appliances and fixtures, low VOC-paints and finishes. They likely won’t mind if their neighbors aren’t green. Emphasize the money that they will save on energy efficient features and the home’s long-term ROI.

Runway Green They’re green, and they know it—and want everyone else to know it, too! They want everything that Baby Spinach wants in a property, but they’re also willing to put in some effort. Aim for a property with vegetable garden space and a space in the basement or garage for creating biodiesel. A nearby car charging station will earn points. But unlike Baby Spinach, the surrounding community is a huge factor. Pedestrian access, locally-owned and sustainably sourced businesses, farmers markets and an engaging community atmosphere will make a home an easier sell. Emphasize the progressive nature of the surrounding neighborhood.

Green Elite These buyers expect to put in personal effort. They may fall into two subcategories:

1.) Minimalists, who don’t mind working a bit harder to make less of an impact. They will sacrifice on niceties for a more efficient lifestyle and smaller carbon footprint. A prefabricated house with sustainably-sourced interior materials, energy efficient appliances and fixtures, and a low-maintenance lawn will seal the deal. If that’s not available, aim for properties that minimize excess and have the potential for the aforementioned upgrades.

2.) Idealists, who will appreciate a turnkey LEED certified or net-zero property. Since those are rare, they’re usually willing to work with a property that can grow with them. Agents can make a sale by emphasizing a property’s potential for transformation: north-south orientation for solar power and natural interior climate control,  few obstructing trees for abundant solar power, acreage for subsistence farming, a working well and rare features that could help clients live with minimal dependence on the grid.

What is your experience with green buyers? Do you meet more baby spinaches or green elites?

Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, a writer for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog — as part of a post exchange.

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