Put More Energy Into Your MLS

March 24, 2021 | By: Meg Garabrant

Over the last five+ years, RESO, CMLS and NAR have all recognized that home performance information is valuable as part of the real estate transaction. RESO adopted standardized fields for this information in 2016 with the addition of the Green Verification and Power Production field collections to the data dictionary. CMLS has published several resources for the MLS industry about adopting these fields within MLS databases and best practices about doing so. NAR continues to offer the GREEN Designation training program for agents through green.realtor, publishes annual research on REALTORS® & Sustainability and has recently partnered with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to launch the Home Performance Counts website. There are now several (1) research publications available in different parts of the country that shows including this information in a listing can result in a higher sales price and shorter days on market.

So why isn’t more of this information making it into listings? I wish I knew the answer to this question, however I do not believe there is just one reason why. There are many people who still feel that these homes do not exist in their market. With active listing inventory at historic lows, some feel they don’t need to include this information on a listing to get it sold. Others may not feel comfortable in understanding this information, so they don’t enter it. It may be that they don’t know that their MLS has fields to support this information or how to effectively market a home with an energy label (building certification). And many likely don’t know how to find this information to include it on a listing.

This list of reasons is not finite, but I think you get the point. Sam DeBord, CEO at RESO recently published a five-part series “MLS 2021: Earning Trust Through Transparency” in REALTOR® Magazine highlighting some important and tough topics that MLSs should be considering in the year ahead. A few quotes that stood out to me and are admittedly self-serving include:

“Give brokers a unified set of services and data that present a true picture of the market, and leave consumers with a high level of satisfaction with their professional service provider.”
“Providing MLS participants with more data isn’t just about technical capabilities. It’s also about thinking in a more holistic way.”
“But all information, if accurate, is good information.”

The data you can provide OUT of your MLS system increases in value with the data you bring IN to your MLS.

Isn’t it time we prioritized increasing transparency, data accuracy, reduce liability concerns and help buyers make a more informed purchase?

The Green Building Registry (GBR) was created to provide a solution for all these items, and more. With more than 1.7 million building certifications and growing every month, there is data available in every state and most major markets. Using the free public website at us.greenbuildingregistry.com is an easy way to provide a VISUAL representation of the availability of this data. Promoting this resource to your members may be a great first step for your members as a viable single source resource for this information so they can enter it on listings.

Why GBR?

  • Homebuyer needs trustworthy data at the time of purchase

  • Critical that information is accurately displayed in a real estate listing

  • Necessary to value green, renewable and energy efficient assets

  • Reduces liability concerns with data auto population

  • Single source solution - We connect to multiple data sources, so you only connect to one

GBR utilizes secure data transfers from the original source of data ensuring its accuracy and legitimacy. We then display this data within the GBR which you can connect to with our secure RESO compliant API. All home data appearing in the GBR has been evaluated and verified by certified third-party professionals. While each of the national and regional data sources included in GBR have their own rules and process for ‘rating’ a home, all the information contained in GBR has been confirmed by a trained professional and has met the quality control standards of the relevant certifying body. It’s good data.

Data auto-population is certainly an ideal scenario to ensure the right information gets entered, and as much information gets entered as possible. It also helps alleviate any liability concerns because the ‘source’ is accurately identified and not on the agent. If data auto-population isn’t an option for you right now, there are still many ways this data can be conveyed in a listing and marketing of the home; some examples are included here:
real estate progress matrix
Implementing the RESO standard fields for Green Verification and Power Production provides for a consistent and comprehensive representation of this information across markets and throughout the industry.

RESO PropertyGreenVerification Collection:

RESO PropertyPowerProduction Collection:

You may already provide the ability to indicate a type of building certification in your MLS such as a HERS Index, or a Home Energy Score. That is a good start, however it does not provide enough information – when was the certification obtained, what was the rating/score? What is the source of this information? This is important information as building certifications evolve over time and knowing WHEN it was obtained and how it rated are important factors in the overall efficiency of the home. Some certification programs include an expiration date.

You may find it is necessary to implement more than one set of these fields to support a home with more than one building certification, or a home with different types of power production or more than one of a given system. We can help you identify the programs in your market (the Green Verification ‘Types’) and recommend the number of sets of these fields to capture this information at time of listing for the most holistic and accurate representation of a home.

We can also help you identify the best point of implementation. If you already have a data auto-population process in place from a tax or public records database, it may be most efficient for you and your members usability to bring this data into that environment. It would also provide this data on the homes in your market regardless of if they have become a recent listing. This has many benefits for your members. One MLS we work with has a button in their listing add/edit process that a member clicks on to pull this information into a new listing; it pulls directly from the GBR API and is not available in their tax/public records database.

Documentation is required in some MLS systems when a building certification is entered. We provide that also! Any home with a Home Energy Score includes the Green Verification URL to the documentation and the HES Scorecard can also be downloaded. Some local programs have their own documentation, and we provide that URL and download capability also. These can also be uploaded into a listing as a photo or included as a public attachment/document.

Through our partnership with the Appraisal Institute, we provide a pre-filled Residential Green & Energy Efficiency Addendum. This can be downloaded from the GBR public website or you can choose to add a field to bring in this URL. This is important information used during the appraisal and financing of the home and is a great resource and efficiency for your appraiser members to provide added benefit to that member segment.

We also provide an Energy Cost Estimate (ECE) on homes with a Home Energy Score (HES). This is a calculation that is derived after the home audit and included on the HES documentation. Through our partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) we produce a ‘Typical Cost’ estimate. The difference between a ‘base’ home (typical cost) and an improved home is reflected on the AI Green Addendum and can be considered as additional income to a potential buyer to improve affordability and provides insight into total cost of ownership.

This solution is affordable! We offer two pricing models for data auto population; one is a per subscriber per year rate, and the other is use-based, tiered by annual listing volume and hits to our API. Depending on your point of implementation, or preference for budgeting, we will work with you to identify the option that makes the most sense for YOU.

What is stopping your MLS from making a green data solution a strategic priority?

Bring visibility to home performance information to your market with the Green Building Registry (GBR). We make it easy for you to add this data service to your MLS by:

  • Sourcing data from across the country into a single platform, GBR

  • One API connection to receive all the data

  • Property Documentation - Scorecards/Certificates (a requirement in many MLS systems)

  • Pre-filled Appraisal Institute Residential “Green Addendum”

The rate of increase of building certifications is growing exponentially. This trend will only increase as building codes continue to improve, it is more affordable to build a more efficient home or make energy (weatherization) improvements to existing homes, and the focus of the new administration to combat climate change and reduce carbon emissions.

David Goldstein, National Resource Defense Council recently spoke at the RESNET 2021 conference about the role of energy efficiency in meeting climate change. He noted that the “key is energy efficiency to reducing climate pollution. It is the largest, cheapest, greenest and fastest resource. It is impossible to track without ratings.”

There is now an easy option to bring this information into listings using the GBR API. Chances are good a consumer does not have this information. We can provide training to your members about this data and how to use it most effectively in their listings.

What are you waiting for? Put more energy into your MLS!

  • Be the solution to increase transparency

  • Bring visibility to these homes in your market

  • Reduce liability concerns using data auto-population

  • Help buyers make a more informed purchase

To learn more about the data available in GBR, click here.
To learn about how agents are using this information in their businesses, click here.
To learn about how this information can be used in listings, click here.

Continue the Conversation:

Twitter: @MegGarabrant
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/meggarabrant
  1. https://austinenergy.com/ae/about/reports-and-data-library/data-library/energy-efficiency-solar