Buyers want 'green' real estate

DeWayne Bartels
John Ginder, owner/broker of Re Max Unlimited, and Vicki Napoli, a broker, are both certified in “Green” real estate.

John Ginder has nearly four decades of experience selling real estate.

The Metamora resident said what is selling today are homes with “green” features.

Ginder, owner/broker at Re Max Unlimited in Peoria, has a “green” designation from the National Association of Realtors. Ginder said he needed the training.

“To me it’s about staying ahead. There’s a lot of other (real estate) business owners who don’t have it,” Ginder said.

“There is huge amounts of information coming on board about green homes.

Ninety percent of people are now aware a green home is advantageous to them — health-wise and bottom line-wise.”

To be on top of the green accessories people are now interested in Ginder said he needed to be familiar with things such as air exchangers.

“An air exchanger addresses indoor air quality. People didn’t see the value years ago. They cost $600 to $800 in the 70s and 80s,” Ginder said.

“In the past 10 years people have become more interested.”

Vicky Napoli, a Realtor with Ginder’s company, is a LEED Green Associate, an advanced green real estate designation.

Napoli said green real estate is becoming “extremely important” because buyers are asking about green features.

“Ninety percent of people who look at homes today ask about energy costs,” Napoli said.

“Sixty percent ask if the furnace is high efficiency. The questions don’t come up about the environment and health issues as much as costs.”

Ginder added, “People are becoming more aware.”

That includes builders, Napoli said.

She said, while building projects are down in number, those who are building are willing to spend more in the initial building process to reap economic benefits later.

But, Napoli said, going green in a building project does not always add costs.

She said if higher costs are encountered it is usually below a 10 percent increase in costs.

“By going green you can virtually fix your utility rates and water usage as rates go up over the years,” Napoli said.

Ginder said he could vividly illustrate how going green can make an economic difference.

Ginder said in July 2002 he put almost $5,000 into green upgrades into his building.

He spent six months and $3,000 on the design of a high- efficiency heating and air conditioning system.

Since then the highest energy bill has been less than the cost of the design work.

That, Ginder said, made the process and cost well worth it.

Napoli said in Central Illinois economics, not concern about the environment, is driving interest in green real estate.

“But, we find that once people see the economic impact they begin to buy into the environmental aspect,” Napoli said.

Ginder added, “The younger generation is thinking about it a lot more than baby boomers. We’re all garnering more insight all the time. We’re all learning as we go.”