Interest Grows in California

I grew up in North Hollywood, California. I remember attending Monlux elementary school in Van Nuys when “Ecology” became big news. That’s 40+ years ago! Back then it was about recyling. We’d have huge newspaper drives to divert some of that trash for re-use. I didn’t really understand what was happening back then but now I realize that I was witnessing the birth of something important. California really was the birthplace of the “Green” movement. Sometimes it seems like the rest of the country is just catching up. And now that we are reaching the onset of the economic recovery we are beginning to see emerging technologies leading the way, and in the forefront of these technologies will be the development of green building products and real estate practices. Nowhere in the United States are they more focused on developing environmentally responsible practices than in California. This focus will create a growing opportunity for green real estate in California that will be something people will want to be a part of in the years to come.

As a seller of homes or commercial properties, environmentally sound additions are always a major selling point. Being able to point out the smaller carbon footprint of one home compared to another will be a desirable feature to a homebuyer. Californians have led the way in developing green practices such as solar and wind generated power and energy saving building materials and techniques. Any property in California that can state the energy efficient inclusions in the home is far more likely to sell before homes that have no environmental awareness at all. Taking into account the importance of environmental responsibility is imperative if a seller wishes to be successful in the state of California.

As a buyer in California, green real estate is just another of the enormous number of incentives to purchase a home in 2010. As if the extraordinary home prices and interest rates together with the tax incentives to purchase a primary residence were not enough, there will now be added seller competitiveness to offer green options in the homes they are selling. The climate of environmental concern is prevalent in California. Many homes have either been built or retrofitted with more environmentally friendly features and products than in any other state. If the choice comes down to two homes in the same price range, it would make more sense for a buyer to purchase a home that will save them money continuously with the energy savings that are provided in a green home. With California’s awareness of the need to become ecologically responsible, there is no reason for a buyer to choose a home that is not environmentally sound.

One of the most important industries in the future of our economy will be the usage and development of green real estate practices, and California those holding a California real estate license would be wise to learn all they can about the subject.. In doing so, California will set the stage for the nation to create stronger economic opportunity in environmental responsibility. Buyers and sellers alike will not be able to ignore the absolute importance of green real estate to the overall state of the economy in California. For decades, ever since there has been discussion about the need to protect the environment, California has been a leader in environmental and ecological issues and will continue to push forward in environmentally responsible real estate practices.

What Is Green Real Estate

Over the past decade, more people have become interested in helping the environment than ever before. One of the best ways to help the environment is to focus on consuming as little as possible while avoiding using energy when it is not necessary. As a result, a number products of come on the market that can help people do more using less energy. There are, however, other techniques set up been employed in recent years. Today, green real estate has become popular, and buyers often look to purchase homes that designed to operate as efficiently as possible. Here are a few common elements of green real estate.

– Insulation
Insulation is a crucial component of green real estate. Homes that are not properly insulated will lead to higher bills for heating and cooling. Even small cracks in a home can lead to significantly higher energy bills, which are indicative of a home that is consuming more energy than is necessary. When looking for green real estate, it is important to see how well insulated a building is.

– Green energy
When it comes to green real estate, the most obvious component is solar panels. In the 1990s, solar panels were generally considered to be unattractive, and real estate agents were often advise sellers that homes with solar panels will sell at lower costs. Today, solar panels are viewed as valuable additions to homes, and the amount that they will increase a homes value by generally exceeds the cost of buying and installing panels. Those interested in green real estate developments may wish to install solar panels.

– Environmental integration
Green real estate also deals with building homes that mesh well with the environment. When building a home, some developers are now looking for ways to avoid cutting down trees. In addition, environmental themes are now common in homes, and buyers often look for homes that seemed to blend with their surroundings. It primarily deals with issues of energy usage and conservation, but the aesthetic elements cannot be ignored.

– Small steps everyone can take
Environmentally-friendly products are coming to the market every day, and many of these products target homes. Fortunately, there steps everyone can take to reduce how much energy they use, and green products are more affordable than ever. While newer homes are generally more energy efficient than older homes, installing new windows or new insulation can lead to a tremendous reduction in energy usage. Going green does not always entail purchasing a new home; in some cases, the best way to be green is to look toward one’s current home and focus on incremental improvements.

Characteristics of Green Real Estate

The face of the real estate industry has changed over the fast few years. These changes are primarily due to the changing preferences of home buyers. Today, it is very common to see advertisements from real estate agents and brokers highlighting that homes on their lists are classified as eco-friendly or environmental friendly. Sounds good because you could be helping the environment but what are the characteristics of green real estate that you should look for when you are buying your own house.

Insulations are made from recycled materials

Home insulation is necessary because it affects the hotness and coldness of home’s interior on given times of the day. Insulations have gone far from bearing the color of pink because they have learned to be greener or eco-friendlier. Common house insulations made from recycled materials include old shredded denims, hemp, and cotton. These materials are known to have reduced noise. They also have sealing capabilities. A top-notch choice among green home buyers is insulation made from icynene – derived from used castor oil. It forms spongy-cake substance which can reduce a home’s energy bill to as much as 50%.

Furniture close to nature

When buying a green home, you should also consider the furniture that composes the home’s interior. From tables, chairs, cabinets, shelves, and other fixtures – you should ensure that they are made from sustainable materials. For instance, there are tables made from FSC-certified bamboos and reclaimed teak. Consider the space-saving values of chairs. There are types that can be folded and stored flat when not in use. There are also cabinets and shelves made from corks or the renewable barks of common hardwood trees.

Availability of solar water heater

Water heater is a great necessity in American homes. However, it contributes to a higher energy bill when in regular operation. Green real estate homes have found a comfortable solution to this need with the installation of solar water heaters. With this feature preinstalled in the home you are going to buy, you don’t have to be afraid of paying high energy bill. Solar water heaters utilize the heat of the sun to kill the coldness of the water in shower rooms, bathrooms, and bath tubs. Solar energy-operated water heaters have shelf lives of about 15 years.

Water-saving bathroom, toilet, and kitchen fixtures

There are many plumbing products and fixtures like faucets, toilet bowls, and shower heads that claim they are water-savers. However, it is difficult to prove such claims until you have used them. Some of them were just mere advertisements of the respective manufacturers but the fixtures are actually water-wasters. To be sure that the house you are going to buy is true to its sense of being eco-friendly, look for the WaterSense label on them. The label is an assurance from the EPA that the products will help you save billion gallons of water during the lifetime of the fixture.

If the house you are going to buy has these features, then it is a certified green real estate home. The house will not only offer comfortable living and convenience but it will also be one that is contributor to help save the environment and its resources.

Why Are Reallionaires Chasing Green Real Estate Assets

Real estate investors who have been battered by the 2007 financial crisis and subsequent recession have become increasingly frustrated with buying traditional property assets. Yet they remain in no man’s land when making attempts to revive their fortune. To the contrary, investors who have successfully survived the financial crisis, knows that in times of economic turmoil, they must jump ship to stay afloat. As traditional property assets lose their appeal, it is time to look elsewhere. Generally, the average investors typically tend to sit back and wait for the next big booming economic wave. Whereas, savvy property investors spend time creating that new wave in a safe boat.

During the rubble (or collapsed economic cycle 2007-2012), reallionaires have been switching to new property sectors, in particular, green real estate, whilst novices are still buying traditional assets. This newly emerging property sector, green real estate (GRE) may be defined as a convergence between green technology and the reinvention of ageing property assets, such as, car parks reinvented into solar car parks or EV recharging stations. The green property sector consists of property assets, such as, solar farms, agro-fuel estates, landfill gas sites, energy from waste facilities, solar car parks and bio-fuel plantations to name just a few. An astonishing US$211 billion was invested in this asset class in 2010, up by US$51b on its 2009 figures. As a result, green property is the most highly sort after property asset among reallionaires and there are some lucrative reasons why.

For starters, reallionaires are putting their money into the green real estate sector because it has pulling power when it comes to attracting capital. Not only are the World Bank and Sovereign wealth funds lending millions to developers and owners of green property projects, but many financial institutions and private equity firms are also throwing cash at developers of such property assets. As reported in various UK’s Newspapers, property tycoon, Vincent Tchenquiz through his acquisition vehicle, Consensus Group, raised over £71 million from sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors to acquire and develop solar farms, wind farms and bio-fuel refineries in South Africa. Likewise, in 2010, Vattenfall secure £150m from the European Investment Bank to develop a wind farm in Thurness Point, Kent UK.

Another reason why reallionaires are adding GRE assets to their property portfolio is due to the knowledge that it attracts near zero taxes and other types of investment incentives. It is now common knowledge, that the acquisition of green real estate is largely a tax free investment. Under Governments’ legislation in the UK and Europe, investors operating in the GRE sector pay less taxes, in comparison to their counterparts investing in mainstream commercial property. Additionally, capital gains tax is waived on most green property assets, such as, recycling centres. Further, other benefits reallionaires accrue from buying GRE, include, tax rebate, tax credit, carbon credit, Government loan guarantees, grants and feed-in-tariffs. Such incentives and promotional policies helped in making this sector recession proof over the last five years.

Third, but not last, reallionaies are in love with green property assets because, unlike other assets, it offers property investors three to four sources of income. Generally most property assets give investors a rental income (depending on the type of owner structure used). Nevertheless, in addition to rental income, GRE provides investors with carbon credit income and feed in tariff income. Reallionaires become mega rich by acquiring high performing assets that provide them with multiple streams of income. To this end, it is abundantly clear why reallionaires and other super rich investors are chasing green real estate assets.

To date, most of the world’s richest property investors have bought into to the green real estate phenomenon. Reallionaires, such as, Samuel Zell, Vincent Tchenquiz, The Duke of Westmister and John Whittaker and more, have all invested millions in this fast growing lucrative sector. In addition to reallionaires, there are a number of super rich entrepreneurs who have also jump on the green property bandwagon, including, Michael Dell, Warren Buffet and the Google founders.

Green Real Estate and Education Go Hand and Hand and the Timing Couldn’t Be Better

What a better time to think of value in residential real estate than in the present challenging times. Most are still wondering if the projections of a turn around in the current marketplace are just fiction or truth. Five steps forward and two back, then three forward and three back. So what is really going to drive value for the buyer to buy again? What does a buyer consider in today’s economic climate for the decision to buy a home? Do they think of a home for their family in terms of how their parents looked at the purchase? Do they still think a home is the American Dream where investment returns will be offered in the 6-8% in annual growth patterns as in the past?

The current climate offers a new sales technique for mortgage and real estate companies in moving property. The “short sale” market is of value to the investor, but counter productive for future community values. So, if you want to sell a home in this market, what are your options? The appraiser will always look at recent sales, and there have been several homes foreclosed and resold as short sales in your neighborhood. The bad thing is the family that wants to move across town into a nicer home, but the short sales will affect the value of their home dramatically. Appraisers will look at the most recent sales using the cost approach to determine value. This gives you only one real option to take less for your home, and hopefully buy a short sale across town if any are available. I mean why should we take such a loose; we were always on time with our mortgage and taxes, why are we being so affected by others hard times.

So you don’t sell, because you do not want to take such a loss and there are no foreclosures in the area you want to go. What do you do to build value for the future? What do you honestly think will help your home stand out in front of the others? What do you think a buyer is thinking about today? Low utility bills? Are they considering looking into solar or energy savings? Are they curious about green building and green renovation products? Here is an idea. Put $15,000 in energy efficient upgrades in your existing home, taking advantage of the tax incentives and rebates. Now, depending on the upgrades you have chosen, the property stands out in this development. With offering up to 65% lower energy bills alone a buyer desiring your neighborhood may lean towards your home even if there is a short sale for less money. The timing couldn’t be better as most are curious on how to renovate to lower utility bills. Green renovations, can make a difference in real estate values. Using healthy materials and installing more high efficiency systems will making a difference in quality of life. While economic times are challenging those involved in the energy sector hold promise for growth. Our company, Green Real Estate Education is educating all sectors in the real estate industry to bring these points to those is there markets. Our educational programs are in demand even in these economic times.

Energy Efficient Homes and proper marketing especially if they offer the added benefit of being green certified properties are some of the most sought after residences and gaining strength daily. The entire building industry is changing towards sustainable and green techniques; it’s about time we embrace the new green revolution.

It is our opinion that a home seller should separate their property from the short sales and get green products and systems into their home as soon as possible. Some may not be thinking of selling right now, maybe in the future. But all renovations need to have energy conservation and the concepts of offering healthier indoor air quality in all they do in the future. . To investigate the best and most affordable way is to do a green renovation that will produce future value, is to hire a one of the 5,000 Green Real Estate Education has trained. A GCMP-GL is a Green Certified Mortgage Professional with a Level One Green Leadership Certification and a GCREP-GL is a Green Certified Real Estate Professional with a Green Leadership Certification. These professionals will offer options many do not even realize exist. Preparing your home for your future and the future of others will be a key to a successful sale. As a buyer, using these professionals will bring you additional information for becoming more aware of what your investment can bring in the future. This can and will support value while separating your home from others.

How Green Homes Offer Many Benefits

Consider as many green building products as you can when building your home. You can consider things like bamboo wood flooring or recycled newspaper insulation, for example. There is some plywood or paneling that is made from wood chips and other wood products. Window treatments can include wicker or bamboo shades and used brick facades can add style to the front of your home. There are many green building products made from plentiful resources. This includes building products that are made from recycled plastic and metals, including siding, some kinds of decking, and other products that can be included when you decide to build green real estate.

Another consideration to make your new home friendlier to the environment is natural energy sources that are easily available, such as solar or wind power to lower your energy usage. It can be an easy way to save money on your utility bills and a way to add an energy system that can pay for itself very quickly. If you are not familiar with how wind or solar energy systems work, most builders in your area can advise you on which choice might be the best for your particular location. Most parts of the country are able to use one of these choices when building green real estate homes.

Considering your natural landscaping and shade trees should be one of the first things you think about when you are looking for the perfect building lot. Try to find a lot that has plenty of large trees near your planned building area and look for natural landscaping that can help save water. You do not need to have a grass lawn to water if there is plenty of natural gravel and rock. Boulders and rock gardens or native growing plants and flowers do not need much water to thrive. Large shade trees can save on your energy bill, as long as they do not shade your solar energy system, when making a green real estate investment.

Think about the placement of your home when you are looking at lots because southern exposure is the best placement for your home. This allows you to take advantage of the winter sun, which is in the southern part of the sky during winter and it can save money on your heating bill. Another thing to think about is whether you can take advantage of earth contact building on the lot you select. If there is a hilly area on the lot that faces the south, it might be the perfect place to build a home that is insulated by the earth, making it perfect green real estate for your home.

You might want to consider used building products when you are thinking about green building. If there is an old barn on the property, used barn wood trim, or panels can make an interesting wall. You might want to consider checking some of the used building supply yards that carry brick that can be used for patios. Antique stores might have ornate wooden doors and windows that can add character to your home. Even stained glass windows add character and can be found at some building suppliers and used salvage yards that specialize in salvaging old buildings. Part of building green real estate can mean recycling products that can add a personal touch, too.

When you are designing your home, make sure you consider the ways you can take advantage of natural lighting. Design your home with green building in mind. Make sure that windows take advantage of southern winter sun, but minimize the number openings that are exposed to cold northern winds. Consider that many storms can come from the west and the summer sun is hottest through these windows. For the best energy savings, careful planning of windows allows you to get natural lighting and save on your heating and cooling bills when thinking about green real estate.

As you can see, we have learned quite a few things about green building and most of it does not involve additional expense. In fact, you may find that you can build a green home for less than many kinds of homes and save money on your energy bills every month. Careful lot selection, location of your home and the materials you plan to use are part of the easiest things to do, when you are considering green building practices. Many people are wrong to think building a green home is more expensive. Your energy savings can pay for any additional costs you might run into. The next thing you should do is use these tips and find out more information to make your next home part of the green real estate movement.