10 Steps in Buying and Building a Gorgeously Green Home

A New and Creative Approach to House Hunting  

What is a green home?  A green home is a home that uses less energy, water, and natural resources. It creates less waste, and is healthier for people living inside.  

As a home buyer, you may have wondered how you would go about purchasing a green home or even finding one in your area.  It’s easy to be overwhelmed as you diligently scour the Internet and find endless tips on how to green your home and live greener.  But as a real estate professional specializing in the green home field, I have provided a creative approach to help you search for your gorgeously green home.  I am certain that you will find this guideline rewarding and easy to follow.  


Photo by: Jano De Cesare

Here are 10 easy steps to follow for green house hunting in Pasadena.  These steps may also be used in any city and states.  Please check the local Multiple Listing Service and the local City Hall or County for more information.  

1.    Set Goals:  Your goal is to buy a home according to attributes that cannot be changed.  Some examples would be land, school district, neighborhood, and building orientation.    

2.    Assemble a green team to find and build your gorgeously green home.  Your Realtor® who eases you through the buying process should have the knowledge and understanding of environmental and energy advantages in residential homes.  To locate an educated Realtor®, I recommend you hire an Ecobroker®, and/or a Certified Residential Specialist in or near Pasadena.    

3.    Get pre-approval from a
lender to determine the right type of financing for you.  There’s also green financing available, and residential rebate programs offered by the City of Pasadena to finance and build green.  It’s important to know this in advance so you can budget your green home accordingly.    

4.    Now here’s the fun part.
Search for your gorgeously green home.  Start by looking for land that can ultimately be built green because it is the location of the lot, building orientation, and ½ mile neighborhood surroundings that will affect your health and the environment.  Here are some features to search by:  
 

  • Area(s) you narrow down in step #1.

  • Price range you can comfortably afford.

  • Choose a home according to building orientation.  Look for lots that are aligned north to south if solar panels are going to be used for electricity or hot water and choose a home that is oriented with long south facing walls.

  • Look for lots that are aligned north to south if solar panels are going to be used for electricity or hot water and choose a home that is oriented with long south facing walls.

  • Choose a home with minimal pavement to reduce storm water runoff and reduce heat islands which attract heat.

  • Choose a home on a flat site rather than a steep slope. Steep slopes increase erosion potential.  

  • Choose a home close to public transportation to reduce automobile dependence.

  • Choose homes near community resources such as grocery stores, banks, and restaurants to encourage walking or biking.

  • Consider other green attributes when you preview the properties by using a guidelines and checklists provided by green certifiers.  
     

5.    Once you and your Realtor® find potential properties, have your Realtor® write and negotiate competitive offer(s).  Have the offer accepted and put under contract. 

6.    Continue assembling your “green” team.  You should have certified professionals that are familiar with green construction and practice.  Your green team should include professionals such as a green contractor, a green architect, a certified energy rater, a green designer, solar panel professionals, and a green landscaper.  They will give you an rough estimates and the time frame for the renovations for your potential gorgeously green home.  Compare the cost and the time frame to see if it matches your budget.   

7.    Usually under contract, you have contingency period where you and your
Realtor® need to do your due diligence.  Hire a professional inspector to inspect the property to see if there are any necessary repairs.  Remember to obtain not only the usual natural hazard disclosure report, but also EnviroCheck report which includes known contaminated sites in proximity to the property.  Review all disclosures, tax, title, and improvement costs to renovate green.  If there are any repairs needed to be done, request the repairs to the seller. Some repairs may not be necessary because your team will repair it by using sustainable methods.   

8.    Once you have reviewed and approved all disclosures, put the remaining down payments in escrow, approve and sign the loan documents, and close escrow

9.    Start building your gorgeously green home!  How green do you want your home to be?  There are different standards in determining your green home.  Currently these organizations have standardized criteria in determining a green building. You can go to these websites and consult a local professional on how to convert your home to these standards.  It’s also a good idea to ask the appropriate professional before your home search or under contract so you can get an ideal of the cost and time frame.    
 

10.    If you feel steps #1-9 are too difficult or too time consuming, consider searching for new construction projects that already have an Energy STAR®, Build It Green™, LEED® certifications, or is a part of the California Green Builder Program. 

Remember, green home buying process is very much similar to conventional home buying process.  The difference is the team of professionals you assemble and the resources these professionals and the city provides.  Buying a gorgeously green home is easier than you think.  You too, can have a gorgeously green home in no time!  

Happy House Hunting! 
 

From Your Gorgeously Green Realtor®,    

May Hsu
Realtor®,
CRS®, EcoBroker®, CGBP  626-329-6999

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