A collaboration of green minded real estate professionals from across the country have even formed an online community and web-site called The Green MLS Tool Kit to help other associations improve their own MLS services. Unfortunately their efforts still fall drastically short of where we need to land.
The big problem is not what we do on our own MLS. That's just the tip of the iceberg. We need realtor.com, trulia and zillow to get up to speed on this and include certifications and green features in in their advanced search criteria or at least be displayed as a feature. Otherwise, what's the point of having our info on SoCal MLS, if no one is able to search for or view it?
We also need to have a section in our SoCal search, at least on the real estate agent side, for these green features and certifications. Currently, it's not possible for me to search for LEED certified property with SoCal MLS. This makes it extremely difficult for agents to find certified homes for our buyers. Appraisers also won't be able to tract down these homes which can be crucial when they need to reach outside of the neighborhood for like property that may have similar certifications and features. This problem most likely does not exist with all MLS' that have been "greened" because their programmers got it right unlike our unmotivated SoCal MLS.
Even when certifications and features are entered into SoCal MLS they're lost when they hit Realtor.com. Check out this GreenPoint Rated listing and see how few of the features made it through SoCal MLS and onto Realtor.com.
Now check out Zoopla, a popular real estate search engine in the UK, and see the two charts that consumers are able to view when comparing properties! Not all listings have this information available because they haven't all been tested for their efficiency so it's optional as it would be here in the US as well.
Our (United States) best version of this efficiency scale is the HERS Index or EnergySmart Home Scale which should be used on all of our search sites. Watch the video at the upper right corner and see how wonderful this rating system is!! What home buyer wouldn't want to have this information available to them?
You want to have a web-site business like Trulia that makes money by helping people find homes? Then you must be able to import the HERS Index or EnergySmart Home Scale scores!
... I'm so jealous of the Brits. Angry too. Obama, can you please get to this before you throw any more money in subsidies to fossil fuel and nuclear? Look, I know you ran your campaign on "clean" coal and nuclear from the start even though most of your voters paid no attention to it, but maybe you could through a little attention towards something like this that's VERY EASY to improve. Bring some people together and get a win like you proclaimed yourself an expert of.
By doing this it will allow banks to take the estimated utility costs into consideration when deciding how large of a loan or at what rate a borrower can qualify for and what their risks are.
So how do we get Realtor.com, Trulia and the rest of the gang to get on board with this idea? How do our programmers at SoCal MLS and the rest of the MLS' across the country need to set things up so these 3rd party online search sites can find and use the data in their search criteria?
It's a poor use of time to haggle over which features are green and which ones should be included in our MLS Data Input Sheets when the end result is Mary Joe Homebuyer has no clue how or even the ability to search for these features or view them if she happens to stumble upon a green home by coincidence online.