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Should buyers care about green?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis March 21, 2014 08:43 AM

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Just busting to buy a home with lots of green features? Dreaming of solar panels and super-insulated walls and windows?

If so, you are likely in the minority out there.

Apparently there is only one type of green out there that most buyers and sellers care about, and it has to do with the color of money.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors recently polled its members to find out how many had been involved in sales of homes over the past year were green features played a significant role.

More than three quarters of the agents surveyed could not recall any sale where environmentally sensitive features played a role.

In fact, only a tiny minority of Realtors reported any regular experience with sales of homes touting their earth friendliness.

Just 4 percent of agents tallied said they had been involved in three to five sales where green features played a role, with just a percent or two regularly involved in selling green homes.

"Although we are seeing growth in both construction of homes with "green" features and existing homes with "green" features being added, the survey results show that there are other factors in the buying/selling process that are more important when it comes to closing the deal," said Peter Ruffini, MAR's president and regional vice president at Jack Conway & Co., in a press release.

One problem with the whole green home pitch is that it does cost more upfront to build and buy in a market - Greater Boston - where the cost of housing is already backbreaking.

Here's a cautionary tale out of blue state Minnesota, where officials in Minneapolis of have lost money subsidizing the construction and sale of green homes.

And here's another aboutt a well-heeled developer and green building fanatic who drove his family crazy creating his eco-friendly dream house - at a cost of $500 a square foot.

I am a skeptic when it comes to the idea that we all have to obsess over our carbon footprints, from worrying about whether to have a third child to paying up for some expensive hybrid car.

Such worries are the luxuries of those who have enough money to indulge in them.

For most buyers, making sure you can truly afford what you are buying - financial sustainability - should be the overriding goal.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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