Multiple Listing Service Going Green

The Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service is hoping to go green this year, probably before summer.

Details are still being worked out, but the SOMLS plans to add a dropdown menu to its listing forms to denote houses that have been built to energy-efficient or environmentally-friendly “green” standards.

“It’ll probably happen before summer,” says Gary Stine, CEO of the Southern Oregon Multiple Listing Service. “It’s just a matter of getting the descriptions down and getting that information out.”

The SOMLS is the central repository for information on the housing market in Jackson and Josephine counties. Realtors use the database to list properties, and to search for properties that have features a buyer wants. A realtor can use the SOMLS to easily search for houses in certain neighborhoods, in a specific price range, and with a certain number of rooms or square footage. The new dropdown menu would also allow them to search for specific “green” features, such as energy-efficiency or certification by an organization such as Earth Advantage.

It would also allow appraisers to search for comparable homes built to green standards, giving them the ability to determine whether the standards give homes a pricing edge in the local market.

The move would keep Southern Oregon on pace with Portland and Bend-area realtors, who have recently started highlighting homes built according to green standards.
Portland’s Regional Multiple Listing Service launched its new “green” feature February 27. That same week, the Central Oregon Multiple Listing Service announced plans to follow suit.

“This will make a difference,” says Don McCoy, a Medford realtor who is credited by Stine as being one of the motivators behind the new SOMLS feature.

“We’re behind the curve in our valley when it comes to green-built homes and energy-efficiency, but we can catch up, and this will help,” says McCoy, who underwent a training program to become a certified EcoBroker. “It’s going to raise awareness. Builders will have more incentive to build energy-efficient homes if they know realtors will be able to market those features efficiently.”

Some components of environmentally-friendly homes include sealed ductwork, energy-efficient appliances, tightly sealed doors and windows, use of non-toxic materials, water-wise landscaping and efficient ventilation.

Once officials at the SOMLS have decided on the criteria needed to define a “green” building, the agency would embark on an educational program to make sure local realtors know what the standards are, Stine says.

“We’ll need to have classes so the agents understand what it means,” Stine says. “It’s a learning process.”

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