By KARI KLAUS
This article is reposted with the permission of the author. You can find the original article here.
The web is now the primary information resource for homebuyers. According to a National Association of Realtors 2015 report, 42% of home buyers said they looked at homes online as the first step in their house-hunting journey. A whopping 94% of millennials used the internet as part of their home search. Add to those numbers 84% of baby boomers aged 60-68 who also consulted online resources during their home search.
Real estate websites are game changers for the whole industry
Zillow created a powerful and historical shift in real estate by opening up the traditional real estate industry to the public, offering home listing information directly to consumers via their website rather than sellers and buyers having to rely on real estate agents and brokers, who had exclusive access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and home data.
This remarkable effort by Zillow to bring real estate listings and information directly to consumers has unmasked previously hidden information, so that home buyers are now more educated and confident in their home buying and selling choices. Consumer trust has shifted from real estate agents to publicly accessible data, helping buyers and sellers better understand market trends. And website visitors now have tools like Zestimate for valuing homes.
Sustainable homes still hiding in the shadows
While Zillow helped bring an opaque portion of the real estate industry to light, sustainable homes are still hiding in the shadows. In fact, most well-known national real estate websites do not offer the ability to search for sustainable homes in any direct or accurate way. Even though sustainable homes are almost always a better investment when compared to traditionally built homes, tracking and understanding their features has been nearly impossible. The data about sustainable homes is, for the most part, unavailable, inaccurate, or difficult to trust.
Bringing the sustainable homes market to the forefront on the web
Viva Green Homes has stepped in to fill that void in the market with a real estate website that focuses primarily on sustainable homes. Structured differently than its predecessors, Zillow and Trulia, this revolutionary website delivers innovative marketing and education that specifically focuses on sustainability and new building technologies available in the real estate industry. It gives homebuyers, sellers and real estate professionals a new online home shopping experience and provides innovative tools to help them better understand the value of sustainable homes.
VivaGreenHomes.com provides detailed and educational information about eco and energy-efficient homes for sale, including many high-tech features, renewable energy, advanced building techniques, energy rating scores and third-party certifications like Energy Star, Passive House, and the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home, in addition to all the standard home listing information.
Homebuyers can easily see verified information on the sustainable qualities of homes they may be considering. Sellers can more accurately market their homes for a better return on their investment. And industry leaders can track and understand how their listings are performing in the real estate market.
Showcasing detailed eco features and certifications, verified information, cost savings, value of clean technologies like environmental impact, cost savings, and more on each listing.
Shining a bright light on solar
Every single-family home listing on VivaGreenHomes.com shows a solar system estimate through Viva Green Homes’ partner Geostellar, whether the home currently has solar panels or not. The estimates are individually tailored to the home’s roof profile, the area’s solar potential, and local utility rates. This helps buyers understand the cost savings of adding solar to a particular home and offers resources to get them started with the process of adding solar to their new home. Sellers with solar homes have an instant estimate provided of the cost savings to home-buyers, which helps sell their home.
More trust in eco claims for home listings
Viva Green Homes works to verify the eco claims about each home listed on the site, including energy efficiency scores and third-party certifications, such as LEED for Homes, Earth Advantage, and Passive House Institute, so consumers can be confident in the seller’s claims. A proprietary VivaGreen score of 1-5 stars is applied to each home based on the quality and quantity of eco features the home has. Homebuyers receive trustworthy information on the sustainability of a home and sellers’ sustainable listings are clearly identified and marketed.
Highlighting zero energy and zero energy ready homes
Zero energy homes go beyond simply being a sustainable home, or a home with solar panels. A zero energy home combines advanced design and superior building systems with energy efficiency and on-site solar panels to produce a better home with almost no energy bills. Zero energy homes are ultra-comfortable, healthy, quiet, and longer lasting homes that are more affordable to live in. Since zero energy homes are the most sustainable homes, VivaGreenHomes.com allows website visitors to search specifically for zero energy homes in their advanced search under Types of Eco Homes.
Or search from Viva Green Homes’ main page which has specialized categories of “renewable energy” “cost savings” and “energy efficient” homes for results that include zero energy homes in your city.
Making sustainability easy for buyers, sellers and realtors
Viva Green Homes supports a culture where home buying is not just about price, location, and finishes. Selecting a home that delivers a positive homeowner experience also includes cost savings, comfort, health, quiet, durability, smart technology, functional design, environmental impact, and renewable energy features. Buying a home is one of the most important and most expensive purchases a person may ever make, so having access to all the information about the home is critical to homebuyers.
- A platform for home buyers to search thousands of sustainable homes for sale across the country
- Search homes by type: energy efficiency, renewable energy, certifications, healthy and much more.
- Free property listing website for sellers and real estate agents with advanced marketing opportunities
- Hundreds of more detailed property fields than many local multiple listing services
- Prominent publication of sustainable features and green certifications
- Information on long-term value, cost savings, and environmental impact of sustainable homes
- Resources for buyer’s financing
- Sustainability and eco feature description
- Easy connection to real estate professionals who are knowledgeable and experience with sustainable homes
Viva Green Homes has been featured in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Silicon Valley Startups Radio, an Arlington Virginia Premiere business and more. They have also been honored with a number of business awards from Cleantech Open, including a 2016 Cleantech Open Southeast Regional win, National Finalist standing, and a National Business Award for the “Business Model with the Best Chance of Immediate Investment and Commercialization.”
The next time you venture into the housing market, visit VivaGreenHomes.com and let us know how it helped you. And if you are a realtor with a zero energy or a zero energy ready home to sell, be sure to post your listing on Viva Green Homes.
Kari Klaus is the founder and CEO of VivaGreenHomes.com.