The Secret Formula to Green Real Estate Strategy Consulting


‘So what are you ACTUALLY going to do?’

This is a question I get asked a lot by new clients once we’ve begun a project.  As I am always focused on the results I provide, I spend less time describing my actual methods.  Some call this smart, others might call it foolhardy.  Either way, it works for me.

For the sake of clarity, below is a partial list of what I do when working on green real estate and what you should do on every house that you rehab green.  My comments are in [ ].

  1. Video exterior of property [You want good ‘before’ videos because you’ll use this with future buyers/renters/appraisers]
  2. Video interior of property [Spend a minute a room and make sure you get all walls and windows]
  3. Take minimum of 20 pictures (all sides) of exterior of property. [Again, you’ll use this in your ‘before’ examples.
  4. Take minimum of 20 pictures (all rooms) of interior of property.
  5. Assess entire property including: exterior, interior, appliances, plumbing, building envelop, HVAC, etc. [A simple way to do this is to use a checklist and give each item a letter grade]
  6. Create comprehensive green retrofit strategy [Answer these three questions: 1. What absolutely must be done? 2. What should be done? 3. What can we get rebates/incentives on?  Those will form the basis of your strategy]
  7. Schedule energy audit [If applicable.  Some cities will give you a 100% rebate on the audit and then a 100% increase in rebate on the materials if you do an audit first.  Check this out before you schedule one]
  8. Identify any applicable ‘green’ city incentives
    1. Expedited permit process [Most cities have this]
    2. Fees waived [Many cities have this]
    3. Variance approvals
    4. Etc…
  9. Create Materials List DRAFT [what do you need to complete the rehab?]
    1. Include contractors initial list [What do they need?]
  10. Initial rebate/incentive/credit/grant/Stimulus funds research [What’s available, how much, what’s the application process?]
  11. Identify Materials supplier [Where are you getting the stuff, what discount did you get?]
    1. Conduct in-person meeting
    2. Discuss potential discounts
  12. Identify green vendors [Who is doing what on your project?]
    1. a. Insulation [if needed]
    2. b. HVAC [if needed]
    3. c. Painter [if needed]
    4. d. All others (Solar, Rain-harvesting, Irrigation, Carpet, etc.) [Make sure you know your paypack periods on this-don’t spend money on things you don’t need]
  13. Area utility expense research (gas, electric, water) [Have your intern do this]
  14. Area comparables for both sales and rentals [Same thing, have the intern do it]
  15. Create FINAL Materials List [Final materials, with discounts and where you’re buyin them]
  16. Site walk-through with contractor
    1. Answer questions [Answer any green questions about construction they have]
  17. Site visit within 3 days of construction commencement
    1. Video exterior and interior of property [Good to use as a comparison between before video and after video]
    2. Photograph exterior and interior of property [Use for future marketing purposes]
    3. Perform Quality Control checks on work [Is everything being done correctly? Is it being done in the correct order]
  18. Identify prospective media outlets for press possibilities
    1. TV [Local stations-contact the morning show producer, evening news contact appropriate reporter]
    2. Print [Contact local editor]
  19. Identify local city officials for local publicity
    1. City Mayor [Call first]]
    2. City Manager [Call next -typically knows everything going on with the city
  20. Marketing Process launch [I use a specific Marketing Process, too long to post here]
  21. Appraisal Process launch [Same thing]
  22. Site visit upon construction completion
    1. Assess final project [Is everything done?]
    2. Video exterior and interior of property [Get your ‘after’ video]
    3. Photograph exterior and interior of property [Get your ‘after’ pics]

If you follow these 22 steps you’ll set yourself up for success on every green project.  As always I appreciate your questions and comments.

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 Comment

  1. Good timing! I’m looking at buying a leaky turn of the century Victorian. I know that recycled denim insulation is considered green but are their any blown-in alternatives? I plan on keeping as much lath and plaster as possible (less waste in the landfill) even though it will be more work with the plumbing and electrical rewire.

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