Five Keys to Successfully Marketing a Home with Green Features

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Speed is a key component of any successful real estate deal.  Sell (or rent) a property faster at the price you want, and you have less holding costs and more money available to do your next deal.  The speed at which you sell your real estate investment is a crucial component and is closely tied to your marketing efforts and methods.

With a green home your marketing needs to be different than what you would do for a typical home.  Typical homes compete on price (comps) and features (granite counter-tops).  Green homes compete on value (lower utility bills, less toxins).  There are more options available and more opportunities to build value above and beyond a typical competing home.

With that in mind . . .

Here are five keys to successfully marketing a home with green features:

  1. Replace ‘green’ with ‘high-performance’.  Green is too ambiguous, high-performance sounds better and is more accurate.  A home that is extremely energy efficient is high-performance.
  2. Sell the steak, not the sizzle.  Sell the real world green benefits of the home not the pie-in-the-sky stuff.  Buyers/renters care more about lowering their utility bills and keeping their families safe than they do about the polar bears. They may agree with the environmental reasons but they NEED the real world utility bill savings.  Sell them on their needs first, their wants second.
  3. Optimize your flyer*.  Most real estate flyers look the same: big picture of house, smaller pics of different rooms, short description, agent picture, phone #.  95% of flyers show the features of the home, not any of the real benefits.

     Here’s a few simple suggestions to maximize your flyer:

    1. Use the back of the flyer to list the green benefits of your home.  List both the benefits  AND the value of that benefit.  For example: Benefit: EnergyStar water heater, Value- Reduce water bill by 25%.
    2. Little the projected monthly utility bill savings for your property.  Also list the projected  annual savings and the projected 5 year savings. For example, if you save $150/month, that equates to $1800/year; $9000 in 5 years. That’s not chump change.
    3. List the projected increase in appraised value (due to green features).  For example, lets say you have a property where comps are $200k. Green homes tend to appraise for at least 10% higher than comparable homes so your home would be worth $20k more than comparable comps. Extrapolate that out to get to a 5 year projection.

      *On a green home project in LA (where DOM were averaging 20 days), the use of flyer like this resulted in 2 solid offers for the RE investor and getting the property into escrow in 48 hours.  Both the investor and real estate agent had no experience in ‘green’ and largely used the green flyer to sell the home.

  4. Use the terms ‘non-toxic’ or ‘low toxins’ instead of ‘eco-friendly’.  The latter is nice, the former is needed.  Again, sell on the needed, not just the nice.  I need oxygen to breathe, a Bentley would be nice.
  5. Use wall placards within the home to highlight different areas/methods.  For example, stick a placard that says ‘Non-Toxic Paint’ on a wall painted with no-VOC paint.  You can even put a little blurb underneath the title explaining the value.  For example: ‘Non-toxic paint was used in every room in this home to ensure that you and your family are not breathing in harmful chemicals found in most interior paint like ammonia, benzine, etc. which are all neuro-toxins and have been documented to be harmful to your health.’.
    A few areas to put placards: energy-efficient water heaters, dishwashers; around foam gasket light switches; around high efficiency sinks/shower-heads; near insulated exposed water pipes, etc.  These will help sell your property whether you or your agent are there or not.

Successful marketing is not about clever jingles or cool graphics.  It’s all about showing the value in your product to your prospect.  Green properties are no different. Show your prospects the value (to them) of your home.  Be clear and sell them on their needs.  Remember, comps don’t sell homes, value sells homes.

About Author

I help real estate investors increase profits and property values through a variety of green strategies. I help clients find hidden rebates, tax incentives and credits to maximize returns on any property.


  1. Hey Jim — Off topic a bit, but still green. Just below the gym each day the last year or so, I watched the new apartment project goin’ up, hard against the trolley tracks, at a stop. They’re been up and rentin’ for awhile now. They’re green. 1-bedrooms in the neighborhood typically go for $850-1,100 or so. Theirs? They start at over $1,300. They have 2-bredrooms at over $2,000.

    They’re already 78% rented. Amazing.

  2. Jonathon Buder on

    I’ve seen those ones too, Jeff. I looked into them and the reviews are pretty bad. They say the walls are thin and there’s too much noise, and most of the standard complaints about apartments are there too.

    Makes me wonder if they’re doing so well, maybe the high prices enable them to make a profit even if they don’t keep tenants for so long.

  3. Jonathon — Don’t know about the walls, but it appears they may’ve been thinking very long term and built them to condo specs. If so, by definition the walls wouldn’t be all that thin. That’s pure speculation on my part though.

  4. Well done Jim! Your tips are really useful. I can see now that home buyers are more sensitive about technologies that are used to increase resistance of the building structure and together with lowering expenses to obtain higher energy efficiency. It is a serious matter for those who want to invest money to buy a property. You don´t need to be a scientist to explain some technical details just simply be honest and the clients always come back to you.

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