Finding Value in Green Built Homes

Green-Built Homes

Nest Realty Steps Up to Help Educate Appraisers on High-Performing Homes

By Keith Davis

In the last 27 months, more than 200 existing homes built since 2015 have been listed for sale in Charlottesville and Albemarle. While not every one of these homes has features that would qualify as high performing, the vast majority of builders in our area have long been focused on reducing long-term ownership costs. Compared to other areas in state and even across the nation, the Charlottesville area has been on the cutting edge of implementing some of the greenest building practices available. But a home owner’s ability to recapture that value at sale time has been hampered, and at Nest we are working to change that.


When any home is re-sold, a listing agent has a duty to explain the benefits of the home or property and justify a valid market price. And then, during the contract phase, a lender will send in an appraiser who has to verify the value. And therein lies the problem with high-performing homes. Buyers who walk into a house and see a gourmet kitchen immediately recognize a higher value. When buyers see a master bathroom with a 4’ x 6’ shower with multiple massage heads and waterfall, they understand why this house might cost more than another. But when the home has open cell foam insulation inside the walls, it isn’t so obvious. When the HVAC is a 3 zone ducted mini-split, it isn’t so immediate as to the value. But a great agent with the right tools can help explain it to them. Extensive research by the Appraisal Institute has demonstrated that homes with demonstrated lower operating costs sell for more.

Green-Built Homes

But, appraisers must be able to justify that higher price, and many appraisers simply aren’t qualified to make that determination. To appraise a specific property, appraisers must possess a “demonstrated competency” in that category of home—whether that is a historic home, or a multi-family investment property, or in this case, a high-performing home. An appraiser who has never worked with solar panels is not necessarily qualified to value a home with a 15 kWh system on the roof.

And in our market, there are many of these high-performing homes being sold. And that is why Nest Realty has joined together with Pearl Certification, three local lenders and three local builders to sponsor an event to increase the number of qualified appraisers in our area. The event will be run by the The Virginia Commonwealth Chapter of the Appraisal Institute.

On June 26th and 27th, 2019, Charlottesville will play host to a two-day state-wide appraiser training specifically focused on high-performing homes. We’re bringing in Sandy Adomatis to lead the class. Sandy is the foremost expert on valuing homes that feature solar, high efficiency HVAC, superior insulation, and other green materials and construction techniques. Click here for further details about the event.

Consumers have led the push for greater energy efficiency, and Nest has long been a leader in the local real estate market, advocating for our buyer clients and pushing builders to adapt these higher standards. And we’re proud to sponsor this event to be a part of helping close the loop by now bringing superior educational opportunities to our appraiser partners. It’s just another way that we provide value to all our clients, from builders to buyers to sellers.

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