The Green MLS: How it Helps YOU and YOUR Clients
A key part of any real estate transaction is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). For sellers, it’s the foundational start for marketing their home, as its data feeds popular consumer sites like Zillow and Realtor.com. For buyers, it’s where to find accurate information on a home and its features.
We expect to see certain features like square footage and number of bedrooms in most listings, but as homes have changed, so have the fields that represent them. Carbon monoxide detectors, for example, now have their own field in the MLS. It’s the same for LED lighting, smart thermostats, foam insulation, solar panels and more. Ten years ago, features like these were rare or nonexistent, but not anymore.
The MLS has a special set of data fields called “Green MLS” fields which capture these attributes and others that contribute to sustainable living and increased home performance. Energy efficiency assets are considered performance features of a home in the same way that cars might have a performance package that improves its comfort and efficiency.
Agents: Don’t Leave Money on the Table
The US Department of Energy found that 40% of homes have energy related features which could be included in a Green MLS. Unfortunately, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and Appraisal Institute (AI) have found that most homes are not properly valued due to a lack of verifiable data on their high-performing, energy efficient features.
Given that third party certified homes sell on average for 4% for more in most markets (Pearl Certified homes have been shown to sell for 5% more!), this is a huge missed opportunity that collectively costs American home sellers hundreds of millions of dollars in lost home value. For an individual homeowner, this translates into $15,000 left on the table at closing when the home has upgraded, efficient features that aren’t captured in the listing and marketed with the home.
Tools for Agents to Master the Green MLS
NAR, the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO), the Council of Multiple Listing Services (CMLS) and the Appraisal Institute worked with the energy efficiency community to align MLS data fields with available technical information on a home’s green and energy efficient features. Information for these fields ultimately usually comes from a contractor, manufacturer specs or a firm like Pearl Certification. Data can include a visual inspection or diagnostic testing of the installation.
The tricky part for agents is that these features are not always obvious. An agent may know that the home has newer air conditioner, but is it energy efficient? What’s the SEER and EER of the unit? What is a SEER and EER anyway?
Fortunately, there are resources agents can access to help them win more listings and market them properly - and Pearl Certification is one of them. Pearl’s free “Certify My Home” app has a guided question set that helps agents identify Green MLS home features, pre-qualify a listing for certification, and provide information that can be used to make adjustments to a Comparative Market Analysis.
When Pearl issues a certification on the property, agents also receive an MLS Listing Report which identifies verified features that are data fields in ARMLS.
If you haven’t gotten on board with Pearl yet, here’s a good place to start.
Savvy agents who understand how and when to use the Green Fields have an advantage that can help them win a listing. And, of course, today’s listing is tomorrow’s comparable.
Entering important data on a home’s performance and green features enhances the accuracy and professionalism of the whole industry – it helps buyers find what they’re looking for, appraisers properly value it, and puts more green in your sellers’ pocket.
Pearl Certification is your easy button to using Green Fields in ARMLS and market differentiating both you and your listing.