Blazing the Green Home Trail: this change of season brings green changes to Asheville's Multiple Listing Service, shares Michael Figura.

Author:Figura, Michael

Last year, NLJ interviewed Peter Pollay, an ECO Consultant, and Michael Figura, also an ECO Consultant and planner, about a group of their green home colleagues who were taking on the difficult task of making the vague concept of "green building" tangible and then integrating that concept into Asheville's MLS system. This year, Michael says their work is done, and that big changes are being made.

The green building movement has gained a lot of ground in the last few years, and Asheville has been on the forefront of that wave. This spring, the Asheville Board of Realtors is helping to ensure that the city stays on the cusp of the movement by being the first local Realtor board in the nation to incorporate green features into their Multiple Listing Service (MLS). MLS is the database where Realtors list and find homes that are for sale. Until now, the only green features of a house that a Realtor could list in Asheville's MLS were HealthyBuilt or Energy Star certified. This vagueness left many Realtors, sellers and buyers dissatisfied, because they couldn't adequately convey or search for specific green features. Now, the Asheville Board of Realtors and the Western North Carolina Multiple Listing Service are adding Green Elements into Asheville's MLS.

Here's how the program will work:

MLS will have a "Green Elements" section with over 50 different green features and their definitions listed. Some of the features will be site related, such as "Edible Landscaping" and "Proper Solar Access," and others will be related to the house itself, such as "Use of FSC Certified Wood" and "Proper Solar Design."

What does it mean for you if you're a seller or buyer?

It allows sellers to list and buyers to search for very specific eco-features. By defining green features and listing them in MLS, the fuzziness of what it is to be a "green house" can disappear. Buyers can define "green" for themselves and choose the shade of green they want. For some, it will mean they'll be able to find an efficient home without all of the newest green bells and whistles. For others. it will mean they can find the home with the largest number of green features on the market.

What does it mean for you if you're a real estate agent?

When listing a house, you can go through the list of green features with your sellers and determine what features their house has. If your sellers believe they can retrofit their house to have more green features, potentially making their house more...

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