Q&A: Green Realtor David Popoff

| by David Serchuk
Q&A: Green Realtor David Popoff

David Popoff has been a real estate broker since 1988, and received his first “green” certification in 2010. He is a National Association of Realtors Green Designee, a Certified Green Professional by the National Association of Home Builders, and a LEED AP for Homes, accredited by the U.S. Green Building Council. He is also a partner at DMK Property Management, in Darien, Conn. We asked his thoughts on the value of his having “gone green” and what non-green brokers could learn.

What do most non-green realtors misunderstand about the actual green homes?

Pretty much everything, because they’re not builders. They pass along the misinformation. A broker said the other day that the house needs to breath, and that it was too tight, and over-insulated. The real estate agent told me that. But when you let the house breathe the heat and AC go straight out to the street.  

What do they get wrong when they try to sell a green home?

They just don’t understand what they’re selling, and the seller misses out on getting the best price. When you ask them questions they shrug their shoulders, and send you to a website. If they don’t have green-certified sellers the owner or builder should sell it themselves. 

How can this be corrected?

Through education. In Darien, in the spring, they held a three-hour continuing education course. The realtors were amazed by all the things they didn’t understand. Close to 100 realtors attended.

When, and why, did you get your first green accreditation?

Probably about three years ago. A lot of customers had questions about green homes, and I didn’t have answers. No one could find anything about it.

What has your various green certifications meant for the profitability of your business?

It’s really an extra service I offer my clients. I can’t put a dollar figure on it. Maybe it’s added an extra 20 percent (to my business). It’s all about service in real estate, and giving clients what they want. It’s been evolving so much, it’s part of social life now, everyone knows about it.

What impact does the green-ness of a home, for lack of a better word, mean to its desirability on the market?

It’s everything, it's healthier living, cheaper to operate. If you have two houses and one’s green and one’s not, why not buy the green home and get a better quality of life? It’s not just about money, it’s also about health.

What about how much value green-ness adds to the actual homes?

Here a green home demands about nine percent more. Right off the bat the heating and AC is about half what a regular home’s is.  

How much more are customers interested in green homes now versus five years ago?

I would say two out of 10 customers are interested in my area. Here there are $5 million homes, and the people in those homes don’t care how much they spend in heating oil. But in the homes that are under $1 million the people do care, because they do live on a budget. 

How many more green realtors are there in your area versus five years ago?

It has easily doubled, or even more.

Topics: Certification / LEED

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