Last week we discussed predictions for 2011. To take that a step further here are four suggestions for you to get off to a fast green start in 2011.
1. HERS rate your house. Find a HERS rater here. Here’s what happens during a HERS audit (from the Resnet.us site)
“During an energy audit, an auditor evaluates your home to determine where and how energy is being lost, what systems are operating inefficiently and what cost-effective improvements can be implemented to enhance occupant comfort, make the home more durable and lower utility costs.”
There are a few reasons to get a HERS audit First, it will save you money on your utility bills. You’ll see where your losing energy and throwing money out the window (literally). Second, it will give you a much deeper insight into how a typical home functions. This can only help you as work on your investment properties. It’s an inexpensive way to get a fundamental understanding of basic green building concepts.
2. Green your team. For a real estate investor, your team can mean the Realtors you work with to your contractors, painters, plumbers, etc. Ask them the following question:
“How are you prepared to handle ‘green’ in your business in 2011”
Make sure you are comfortable with their answer. If they sound like ‘green’ isn’t a big focus for them in 2011, I’d be careful. If nothing else, they should at least know the rules and regulations that are being enacted that are required to follow. For example, there is a new Rental Property Ordinance in Memphis requiring all rental property owners to comply with certain energy efficiency standards adopted by the city. If you are a plumber/contractor/painter in Memphis and you don’t know about this you are putting yourself at risk.
3. Get Green info pushed to you. Use Google Alerts to get the most relevant green content pushed out to you rather than trying to stay on top of this daily. Pick several green real estate topics, set up a few alerts and get the info in your Inbox. There is so much green info out there, it’s nearly impossible to sift through it all to find the stuff that matters most to you. Set up the right searches and you’ll be set. I’d recommend starting with the following*:
“[your city]green building regulations”
“[your city]energy efficiency rebates”
“[your city]green real estate investing”
“green real estate”
*These are a few of the ones I use personally and I can attest to value of setting these alerts up. It will save you time and keep you up to speed.
4. Drucker your business. Peter Drucker, famed management theorist, once said, “What gets measured, gets managed”. Like any successful business you need to determine what you’re measuring this year (net profit, cash flow, DOM, ROI). Once you know your baseline numbers you can run your business in a way that ensures you’re managing the areas that are most important to you. Additionally, once you know your starting numbers, you can directly measure the value and profit that green brings to your business.
These four steps are simple to undertake and were designed with the busy real estate investor in mind. There are obviously many more things you could do but these are a great start.