Sustainability, thy name is REALTOR®!

“Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization. REALTORS® should recognize that the interests of the nation and its citizens require the highest and best use of the land … and the preservation of a healthful environment.” 

– Preamble of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of REALTORS®

In June 2019, the National Association of REALTORS® won international recognition from the Business Intelligence Group as a leader in sustainability promotion.

Accepting the Sustainability Award, NAR president John Smaby highlighted the primary goals of the Association’s Sustainability Project: raising awareness of sustainability issues, and modeling social responsibility Association-wide. Smaby also announced that the NAR “is committed to continue leading the industry in this direction.” (To see NAR’s 15-Point Sustainability Priorities, click here.

Forbes’ Real Estate Council recently posted (June 25, 2019) that “sustainability can no longer be considered a niche — consumers demand and expect it from most aspects of their lives. A recent survey by Nielsen showed that 81 percent of consumers around the globe believe it is extremely or very important for companies to have environmental improvement as an objective.”

“According to the National Association of Homebuilders, ‘as younger generations enter the homebuying market, this socially conscious group is looking out for green features and sustainability that is built in.’” (Forbes)

"Some people say, 'Give the customers what they want.' But that's not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they're going to want before they do." – Steve Jobs

Bringing Sustainability Home to You!
Inspired by NAR’s initiative, Columbus REALTORS® member and NAR Sustainability Committee member Jan Jedlinsky is spearheading the sustainability conversation here in central Ohio. 

With buy-in from Columbus REALTORS® president John Myers, the newly formed Sustainability Task Force represents leadership from all sectors of our membership.

The Task Force supports NAR’s vision that “REALTORS® thrive in a culture of sustainability that promotes viability, resilience, and resource efficiency,” and defines its mission as providing “education, leadership, and strategies on topics of sustainability that promote collaboration between members, REALTOR® associations, communities, and consumers.”

The immediate mission of Columbus REALTORS®’ new Sustainability Task Force is to engage our membership (you!) in sustainability conversations at all levels. So, let’s get started!

The Sustainability Conversation
Go ahead and google it. You kinda know what “sustainability” is and you kinda don’t, right?

Simply put, sustainability is “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” (Wikipedia).

The Sustainability Conversation implies a call to action, balanced across three broad and inter-related areas, endearingly referred to as “the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profits”:

  •  social conditions
  • environment, and
  • economic prosperity.

2019 REALTORS® Sustainability Report
In March of this year over 6,000 NAR members from across the country answered questions in a Sustainability In Real Estate survey. Some main take-aways from the survey include:

  • A majority of residential agents (69 percent) and commercial agents (70 percent) believe it is valuable to promote energy efficiency in listings.
  • 44 percent of residential agents and 49 percent of commercial agents did not know whether their MLS/CIE has green data fields. 
  • Only 39 percent of residential agents and 58 percent of commercial agents felt comfortable answering clients’ questions about home/building performance.

Similar responses in the survey suggest that REALTORS® want more information about lending options for energy upgrades, valuation of solar panels, and green/sustainability certification.

REALTORS® also expressed concern about the liability of misrepresenting a property with green features, and many indicated they were unable to search for green properties.   

Building Our Own Sustainability Program
As Chair of the Columbus REALTORS® Sustainability Task Force, Jan Jedlinsky finds inspiration in the Preamble of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. “It is our duty as REALTORS® to continually educate ourselves on issues affecting our local environment and how those issues impact the communities where we live and work. It is our duty to help our communities be strong and sustainable.” 

The Sustainability Task Force will work with existing committees and groups at Columbus REALTORS® to help reduce our “footprint” and support sustainability initiatives throughout the Association and community.

According to Jedlinsky, “some actions we should be taking now to meet our sustainability commitments include: 

  • Offering classes on energy efficient mechanicals and their short and long term benefits;
  • Making our GREEN FEATURES easier to search not only for REALTORS® but for consumers and appraisers;
  • Engaging other professionals from our communities into our conversations to gain additional insight and perspective;
  • Using our local builders for information on energy efficiency features they are using;
  • Adding a sustainability section to the Columbus REALTORS® website.”

To improve our members’ confidence and knowledge regarding sustainability issues, In Contract will present an ongoing series of articles on sustainability topics, beginning with an article on home energy audits in this issue.

"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."
– Albert Einstein

Join the Conversation!
We invite our members to join REALTORS® across the country in increasing sustainability awareness among consumers, clients, colleagues, and community leaders.

Contact Jan Jedlinsky for more information or stay tuned to the Columbus REALTORS® website and In Contract!