Redfin Green Home and New Construction Class - Ballard, WA
Buying Green Homes
& New Construction
Hosts: Sabrina Booth & Aaron Fairchild
Redfin Listings and Green Canopy Homes
May 15, 2014 – Ballard, WA
● What is a green home?
● Why buy green?
● Costs of green living?
● Green vs. “Green Washed”
● Pros & Cons Green Homes
● Pros & Cons of New Construction
● Working with Builders
● Upgrades & Changes
● Preferred Lenders
About Redfin & Green Canopy
Redfin is a real estate brokerage on a mission to make buying
and selling a home better for you. 97% of Redfin customers
would recommend us to a friend!
● Accountability: we’re on your side, giving you honest advice
● Technology: sellers get more traffic; buyers tour homes first
● Value: a full-service brokerage that saves you thousands
Green Canopy’s mission is to inspire resource efficiency in residential
What is a Green Home?
● Green Homes are typically high-performance homes that
are built with resource conservation, longevity and the end
user’s health in mind.
● Green homes tread lightly on the planet.
● Typically, a green home will have
► Cleaner, healthier materials
► Better performance
► Less maintenance
► Less impact on the environment
► More locally-sourced materials and labor
Why Buy Green?
● Sustainable properties are the future of real estate industry
► Consumer demand
► Federal government incentives
► A 2013 report from the National Association of Realtors noted that
36% of buyers considered heating and cooling costs “very important”
to their purchase
● Green homes have less toxic particulates floating around in the air,
which means they are typically healthier homes.
● They use less energy to run, and sometimes produce their own
electricity, which means they are more comfortable, less drafty and cost
less to operate.
● Green homes are built to a standard that exceeds local permitting
codes, which means they go above and beyond.
The Costs of Green Living
There is a misunderstanding that simply because certain
homes are green they cost more, and that is generally not
● Green homes are more efficient they cost less to operate
than a normal home of the same size.
● As a result, green homes can end up costing less over the
time a homebuyer lives in the home.
● Even though green homes are better quality homes they are
generally priced the same as their non-green competitors.
● The savvy real estate agent can help buyers navigate this
challenge by getting to green homes ahead of the market
Environment and Health Effects
● Green homes are built with
healthy protocols to preserve
air quality, such as:
► Low or no emission
► Diversion of roof top and
surface water way from the
home to prevent mold and
mildew growth inside
► Installing durable products
that can be cleaned with
► Planting native and drought
tolerant plants to reduce
use of toxic chemicals
Green vs. “Green Washed”
● Occasionally, builders and their real estate agents make the
claim that their home is a green home when it really isn't.
● Be sure to verify if a green home is CERTIFIED or not.
● Certified green homes must adhere to a rigorous
certification checklist that ensures these homes achieve a
standard that exceeds local building codes and incorporates
green methods and materials throughout the construction
● Certified green homes take a whole-house approach to
building a home that is healthier verses the builder that just
installs Energy Star appliances and calls the home "green".
What percent of buyers
considered heating and
cooling costs “very important”
to their purchase?
Local Builder Websites
Local Green Builders
Green Canopy Homes
Hammer in Hand
National New Constrution Builders
● Centex Homes centexhomes.com
● DR Horton drhorton.com
● Toll Bros/CamWest tollbrothers.com
Pre-Sale or Under Construction
Pictures from the MLS
How far along is it?
• City permits
• Most options for
• Longest timeline
• Limited changes
• Pick colors possibly
• Timeline varies
Construction • No changes
• Upgrades limited
• Close quickly, like
a resale home
Presale: Picking Your Lot (new
● When in the pre-sale stage, you can choose your lot from
lots that have been ‘released’ at the time.
● Builders release lots in phases in a development and start
the permitting process only on selected lots.
● Some floor plans will only fit on certain lots.
Basic Build Process 4.5-7 months
• Permitting Process (floor plan and lot permitted by the city)
• Foundation poured
• Framing/Roof/Windows Stage (inspected by the city)
(order for cabinets/plumbing fixtures/furnace/H2O tank, trim, doors)
• Exterior Siding/Painting Stage
• Electrical/Plumbing/Heating/Insulation Stage (re-inspected by the city)
(order for flooring/appliances/fixtures)
• Drywall/Interior Painting/Doors/Millwork Stage
• Cabinets/Plumbing Fixtures/Other Fixtures Stage
• Flooring/Appliance/Landscaping Stage
• COO (Final ‘Certificate of Occupancy’ Certificate from the city)
• Private Inspection and Builder ‘Blue Tape’ Walk-through with Buyer
List Price = “Standard” or “Spec”
● List price is for the builder’s “standard” specification of
● “Standard” specs will vary from one builder to another
● Upgrades/options will add onto the price of the home
● Upgrade prices are the difference between the price of the
“standard” and the actual cost of the upgrade
● Other options, such as air conditioning, or adding features
are straight prices the builder charges
● You can easily spend 15-20K on upgrades/options, adding
to the cost of the home
If there is a model home, it will probably have a number of
Every builder should be able to provide:
● A list of what upgrades are present in the model
● A standard list of specifications or ‘specs’ for each
● If the lot you are considering has any upgrades pre-
selected and included in the price
They may or may not have:
● A list of common upgrades
● A price list or master list of
● A cost associated with quoting
● Limits on changes that they are willing
Front End vs. Back End
‘Front End’ means on the purchase price:
● An offer of $545,000 on a list price of $550,000
‘Back End’ means on concessions or upgrades:
● An offer of $550,000 on a list price of $550,000
● Asking for the builder to include certain upgrades or credit a
certain amount towards upgrades or closing costs.
What works best?
Builders prefer to negotiate on the back end. Why?
● Avoid setting a precedent of discounting for future sales
● Avoid upsetting prior purchasers who paid full price – these are their
customers and future referrals for their company
● May be able to control material and labor costs
The best approach varies case by case. Builders
have certain styles. An experienced agent can lay out
your options and make a recommendation
● Market demand – How many homes has the builder sold
this month, last six months? What are the current market
● Phase of construction – May be willing to negotiate more
if an completed home has been sitting
● Health/size of builder – Do they need to sell it? Some
small builders don’t have the flux of $ that larger builders
have and are more willing to negotiate to sell a home
● Willingness to use a “preferred lender”
● Number of requested upgrades
What can you get?
● Allowance – some builders allow a buyer to specify a
certain dollar amount in the offer that they can later specify
how it will be spent. This amount will go up and down with
the market. Most builders are giving very little away now.
● Redfin credit – typically the rebate from Redfin must go
towards your closing costs – it’s good to keep that in mind
during negotiations with the builder.
● Is this builder reputable?
● Can I tour new homes with a Redfin Agent? Yes!
● Can I still get the Redfin Refund if the home is not listed on
the MLS yet? Yes!
● Can I change anything in the builder contract?
● When do I have to tell them I am working with an agent?
● The agent in the builder’s model told me they are a buyer’s
agent. Are they working in my interest?
● Can I get a better deal by going with the builder’s buyer’s
What percentage of Redfin
customers would recommend
Redfin to a friend?
(closest answer accepted!)
Thank you for attending!
Check out our schedule of upcoming classes at
Aaron Fairchild, CEO
Green Canopy Homes
Redfin Listings Agent