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~ http://www.welovesouthflorida.com/results/?status=A&sort=importdate&photo=1&minprice=300000&proptype=SFRealtors take ''green'' classes to help buyers save cash and planet too!By Tom Bailey Jr. (Contact), Memphis Commercial Appeal
Tuesday, October 6, 2009Memphis' first class of "green" real estate agents has hit the streets.
The 32 agents are talking with confidence to buyers and sellers about the direction houses face, insulation ratings, energy tax credits and other issues that may save both the pocketbook and planet.
Early in the summer, they took two days of core classes and a six-hour elective to receive the "Green Designation" from the National Association of Realtors.
Realtor Molly Phillips is one of 32 local agents who took classes this year to earn a ''Green Designation.'' This residence for the Vesta Home Show at the Villages of White Oak subdivision in Arlington is filled with energy-efficient features.
"It's just something I foresee coming," agent Molly Phillips said of the interest in reducing energy demand and costs.
The Re/Max On Track agent and her classmates took the courses at Memphis Area Association of Realtors.
"I think the younger generation will be more into these green features," Phillips said. "When it catches on, everyone will be focused on trying to save more money, have more energy-efficient features, things that make houses look better without a whole lot of maintenance."
She will use what she's learned next week at the VESTA Home Show at the Villages of White Oak in Arlington.
Showing an energy- efficient home built by Jon Ruch, Phillips will expound on "green" features like the tankless water heater, the radiant roof barrier, the natural wood cabinets and paint that has low or no levels of volatile organic compounds.
The National Association of Realtors created the Green Designation last year.
The course includes two days of core classes and electives in either residential, commercial or property management. The only elective offered in Memphis this summer was the residential.
"The plan is to offer these classes again next spring," said Scott Sherrin, spokesman for the Memphis Area Association of Realtors.
Retired carpenter Delbert Metcalf and his wife, Peggy, have benefited from their "green" agent's expertise.
They recently bought a house in rural Alcorn County in Mississippi.
"It needs some updating," Metcalf said.
He credited "green" agent Ron Burger for helping him make the 41-year-old house more energy efficient. For example, Burger suggested that when Metcalf drills holes to run wire up to the attic, he seal them.
"I kind of lucked out when we hooked up with Ron," Metcalf said.
Burger is with ERA Crunk in Savannah, Tenn., but works out of his house in Michie.
He made the 90-minute trip (one way) each day for three days to get his certification.
"I didn't know what all was going on until I got that education," Burger said. "And that's the tip of the iceberg, the starting point."
Burger always had an interest in well-built houses and hated high utility bills, but still had to warm up to the "green thing."
"Part of it was ignorance. When you hear 'green,' you think about (actor) Ed Begley and the people in California, you think of environmental concerns.
"One thing I'm trying to tell people is that green is also green as in the money you save."
Burger doesn't see any one energy-saving "home run," but all the little things add up.
Like helping Metcalf get the paperwork in order to claim tax credits on energy saving products he's buying.
"You can have an existing home and turn it into a house that's got a lot of green features," Burger said.
When the old furnace breaks, replace it with an energy efficient one, he said. Replace the light bulbs with energy-saving bulbs. And when the opportunity arises, install energy efficient insulation, he said.
"You may not want to be one of these California tree huggers, but I don't know anybody who's not interested in saving money," Burger said.
Another "green" agent is Steve Heathman of Hometown Realty in Atoka.
He's been helping a client build a new, 2,400-square-foot house that has many of the green upgrades.
The energy-efficient features add about $12,000 to a new home's costs "to do it right," Heathman said.
But he expects the client's energy bills will be 33 to 40 percent lower than most in the area.
"Also, they were looking for resale value in the future," he said. "As people become smarter with the way all this works, I think there will be a lot more people looking for this when they purchase a house."-- Tom Bailey Jr.: 529 2388
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