More new homes are 'green,' but do appraisers know how to value them?

“Green” homes are expected to account for around one-third of new home construction by 2016, but do appraisers know how to value them?

Genworth Mortgage Insurance’s chief appraiser, Adam Johnston, says green features and benefits that drive value can influence how the company underwrites borrowers and values homes. Lower utility bills can make a home more affordable over the long term, for example.

But there’s no standard definition of what features make a home “green” — Genworth thinks the definition should include sustainable construction practices, use of energy- and water-efficient appliances, and energy-efficient windows and insulation (including retrofits).

Efforts are underway to develop education, standardization, measurement and verification guidelines that would allow homeowners to reap the benefits of green design.

The Appraisal Institute, the largest group representing real estate appraisers, publishes a “Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum” that includes an online tool to compute the market value of solar photovoltaic systems.

The addendum is designed to help appraisers, but is also a potential marketing aid for Realtors, Inman News columnist Ken Harney reports. The addendum can be attached to any listing in an area where the local MLS hasn’t added “green fields” to their data input forms.

Only about 210 of the 860 MLSs in the U.S. have done that so far, Harney reported in March. The National Association of Realtors, homebuilders, appraisers and environmental groups strongly support the move to properly recognize the value of green improvements, and have sought to encourage MLSs to add green fields to listing forms through a campaign called “Green the MLS.” Source: