Written by Bridget McCrea
When Hurricane Sandy ripped through Westchester County, N.Y., it left behind a devastating trail of death and destruction. A true ecological disaster, the hurricane uprooted and destroyed tens of thousands of trees that property owners then had to cut, clear, and chip just to gain access to their homes and businesses.
Known for its environmentally conscious building techniques, Cobble Creek Builders took some of the millions of board feet of destroyed trees and made scaffolding, form work, and underpinnings from the wood. It also used the recycled materials to make the wood-trimmed accents at a property listed by (and currently under contract) Kori Sassower, a salesperson with Sotheby’s International Realty in Rye, N.Y. Here’s how Sassower worked the “green” angle on this listing:
- Stress the home’s energy efficient features. Green homes may cost a little more, but their energy efficient features save owners money over the long haul. She highlights LED lighting, high-efficiency boilers, spray foam insulation, and high-efficiency windows right in the listing descriptions. “These features are more expensive to install than traditional options,” says Sassower, “but they can reduce an owner’s energy costs by 30 to 40 percent annually.”
- Put that savings in writing. To show buyers what they’ll be saving in black-and-white, Sassower comes up with a per-month potential savings ($300-$400, for example) for energy bills and multiplies it by 12 ($3,600 – $4,800) to show how much owners will be shaving off their energy bills. “Giving them the dollars and cents picture works particularly well,” she adds.
- Create a story around the property’s green features. Sassower created a story around some of the home’s unique features – some of which were made with wood recycled in Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath. “I talked to them about how the wood was refined, restored, and then used to make the property’s beautiful accents,” says Sassower. “It’s a great story to share, and one that shows how you can take a bad situation and turn it into something positive.”
- Make them fall in love with the home. Sassower combined the home’s backstory (in this case, the hurricane-generated materials) with its potential for energy efficiency to get buyers to “fall in love” with the property. “Focus on more than just the number of bedrooms or bathrooms, or the new granite countertops,” says Sassower, “and use the home’s green features to get them onsite for a tour. From there, the potential for energy efficiency will be the cherry on top of the sundae for the new owner.”
Sassower says green listings sometimes sell themselves. “Every listing needs a ‘catch,’ and because the market isn’t exactly oversaturated with green homes,” she points out, “focusing on a home’s environmentally-conscious features or building techniques gets attention.”