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#269223 - 01/14/09 02:02 PM Some green resources for Canadians
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
Hello all!
Here are some resources I have for those wanting to make their homes more sustainable or eco-friendly.
The only way the market will ever change is if people start demanding it. Right now other renovations produce higher returns on investment than sustainable options. The only way we can change this is if the market and those working in the market (Realtors) begin valuing these type of changes over more superficial ones.

You can switch over to sustainable energy sources in Ontario and Alberta today. It is slightly more expensive than traditional energy supplies, but means that you are not using polluting and non-sustainable solutions such as natural gas, or coal; or using potentially dangerous raditation producing nuclear supplies. You can check it out at www.bullfrogpower.com to learn more.

The governments of Canada and Ontario offer rebates and programs to help assist you in retrofiting your home to be more energy efficient and sustainable. There are nearly $10,000 worth of grants available for many households to do this. Take advantage of them. Check out Natural Resources Canada at http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/corporate/incentives.cfm to learn more about these programs.

For Realtors, you can become more educated on the subject by taking online courses through the National Association of Green Agents and Brokers found at http://www.nagab.org/

If you need more information, message me and I'd be happy to share my resources or experiences in the "green" market.

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#269518 - 01/15/09 08:46 PM Re: Some green resources for Canadians [Re: RC21]
SaltspringRE Offline
Member

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Gulf Islands BC
Thanks for the list I will check them out but I must say that I like nuclear energy. It gets a bad rap from three mile island and old east block reactors.

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#269660 - 01/16/09 12:16 PM Re: Some green resources for Canadians [Re: SaltspringRE]
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
I don't have a problem with nuclear-- per se. It does use radiactive material, which is highly dangerous-- and the long term effects of this aren't really known. There are many safety precautions that they take to make it safe to use, but to be quite honest, I don't really trust them completely.
The biggest concern I have with nuclear is that it has the potential to be dangerous-- and is incredibly expensive to maintain. Reactors which are non-properly maintained have the potential to devastate-- just ask those living near Chernobyl!

Renewables to me just makes more sense. Long term energy sustainability will have to look to many options though, and not just rely on one energy source. We must diversify.

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#273796 - 02/05/09 12:46 PM SUSTAINABLE LIVING
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
We are fortunate to have RC21 to help get the sustainable living thread jump started. She has considerable knowledge and interest in this topic.

In the coming weeks, look here for some good input from her and other posters on a topic that should be of interest to most real estate agents.

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#274027 - 02/06/09 12:37 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: Darlene Bitner]
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
Thank you to Darlene for getting this started! I'm very excited to be a part of this.

The time to change your business practice is now! We are living in a new world, and sustainability is the future. We must begin looking to the ways our actions, our purchases, our services affect the rest of the world.

What can we as Realtors do? First and foremost, we must educate ourselves on the options that do exist. We have the option to make a difference in the way we are building, living and running our businesses. We, as Realtors or property owners can make a change-- but often we feel helpless or overwhelmed.

Builders are building based on demand. We are not demanding sustainable solutions in the building industry in strong enough numbers. We value rennovations and upgrades such as fancy kitchens and bathrooms, so often ignoring other options that may actually save our money and our health in the long run.

So how can we change things? As Realtors we need to educate ourselves and our clients on the importance of sustainable solutions. One of the greatest energy wastes in our society is because of space-- heating, cooling, lighting space for us to live. We can change this. Energy efficient furnaces can reduce this impact significantly in our own homes and offices. This can also reduce our energy bills. We can reduce our water use by simple means-- low flow shower heads or faucets are simple, relatively cost-effective solutions. So suggest to your clients the importance of these features and encourage them gently to think of these things when they go to purchase a new home. This is our first step to change.

As consumers-- ask your Realtor for these options, begin voicing your opinion on the matter. If you demand sustainable options in the market-- they WILL come.

We can all help to encourage these solutions by using our democracies to our advantage. Contact your government and ask them to take steps to regulate the building industry. To encourage them to begin building in new ways.

There are lots of options, and I hope that we can all work together in this forum (and others) to discuss ways that we can make this change happen more quickly.

Change is already happening. If you do not get into this market now, as a Realtor-- you will soon be left behind. So start educating yourself and get ahead of the game.

It takes baby steps-- but we can get there!

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#274261 - 02/07/09 05:47 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: RC21]
SaltspringRE Offline
Member

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Gulf Islands BC
This is a good topic. Two years ago I found a developer who was about to start selling lots on our island. I sent him numerous letter, emails and phone calls. None where returned. I had a simple marketing ideal. Alter the Building Scheme to make it an eco subdivision. I had two reporters from various news papers and a producer from the CBC radio who where ready to write some articles about the development and or do a radio show on it.

The building scheme was not going to be that harsh but little thinks like 15% recycled lumber, low flow toilets, passive solar if it could be incorporated, etc... just simple things that make sence.

The developer thought I was crazy and listed with another firm. Just lots no green development for him, no press, no zing. At last look only a few have sold. He missed the boat.

I still think developers could do this by using the mechanism of the "building scheme" and making it a green development. I know it has been done over the last few years but there are still lots of opportunities that make since in a green way both financially and environmentally.

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#274313 - 02/08/09 06:01 AM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: SaltspringRE]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
That is sad that he would not take the time to even discuss what you were offering him...free advertisement, free media coverage, a chance to do some good and draw some attention to his development. These developers need to wake up and start researching how they can make a difference in these new communities. It's not all about the playground. Once a subdivision is built, it's there for 50 years or more. One small change for the better will reap benefits for years to come. Too bad you were met with such indifference.

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#274351 - 02/08/09 10:43 AM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: Darlene Bitner]
SaltspringRE Offline
Member

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Gulf Islands BC
Their loss not mine. It would have been nice to pull it off but had I a big years the last few years and really did not miss the business. That's what ironic that they did not sell at the top of the market and now his profit is sitting up there depreciating and it is to late to change the development. As far as I'm considered he is getting what he sowed. Last year before the downturn people where looking for green projects. If he had thought about marketing out side of the box and taken a chance that some people want to do their part he would have (my assumption) sold out.

There is no reason why green can not make economic since if it is done is a practical way. Most of the green revolution is just basic ideals. Just look at passive solar as an example it just simple design concepts that same money/energy in the long run.

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#274430 - 02/08/09 03:41 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: SaltspringRE]
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
You've hit the nail on the head Salty. I think that is the biggest misperception-- that it is much more expensive to be sustainable, which is why the builders avoid it.
What they don't realise is that it can actually be incredibly profitable to the builders, AND money-saving in the long-run for the consumers.
Simple things like passive solar, or grey-water systems or low-flow water attachments or efficient heating can be similarly priced to other building materials, but have the added bonus of being able to be extensively marketed and sold at a higher price.
Check out these links if you are unsure what greywater systems or passive solar are: Passive Solar
Grey Water Sytems


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#274451 - 02/08/09 05:02 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: RC21]
SaltspringRE Offline
Member

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Gulf Islands BC
Yes and there is even a role for the government to amend the building code such as grey water systems which do not meet code in BC I do not know about ON or other states/prov.

The development I was talking about happened to be on top of a wind swept mountain and I had a quote for a small wind turbine that would produce approx 5% of the power needs. This was not cheap but would of taken the development to the next level.

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#274476 - 02/08/09 06:43 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: RC21]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
Good information. Glad to see that the power to operate the pump was included in discussion and equasion. Very interesting diagram. I'm going to show it to my plumber, which unfortunately, I need right now.

I have learned a lot about grey water and black water since moving into my travel trailer last month. Before that, I don't know if I had ever heard the expressions before. Some RV folks wash out the black water tank with the grey water but it does require a little retrofitting. This process does more than conserve water, according to the article I read. It keeps the black water tank clean. If it works on an RV, it would be a real time saver. Some trailers (like mine) have a sewer washout nozzle but others have to run the hose (NOT the fresh water hose, of course) from the water faucet through a window into the bathroom whenever they empty the black water tank. I can see the plus in not having to handle all that mess and risk contamination of the faucet if proper procedures are not followed. So I guess I am saying that RV folks would see a real benefit from this retrofitting, whereas homes have no holding tank so it may be more of a socially responsible project that saves them on their water bill, also. We need more homeowners who think like that.

I'm showing the diagram to my plumber when he comes next week to fix my leak.

As far as solar is concerned, I do have solar heating. Unfortunately, it only works when the sun hits my windows on a very warm day. I hope to learn a lot from this trailer about conservation before I buy another house.

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#274532 - 02/09/09 12:02 AM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: Darlene Bitner]
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
The grey water system is a pretty good one-- saves a lot of water.
I have heard that it is actually not considered up to code in certain places Salty! Craziness, I cannot understand that.

The more companies and people who start thinking outside the box and start thinking of and creating better options-- the better for us. Imagine never having to pay an electricity bill again because you generate your own? I'd sure love to.

These things make economic long-term sense. The overall cost-- including environmental costs-- is much much less.

One thing we can do in real estate (and other businesses) is get a virtual fax. You probably already have a cellphone or blackberry and a computer. Have all your faxes sent electronically to you, and print only that which is needed. Ask your office to implement a paperless fax. Save copies of all your faxes in a file. You just saved energy, paper and money-- and you can get it anywhere.

My office went to a virtual fax system. At first it was frustrating, because I had to go and print some parts of it out (because they were contracts that needed to be signed)-- so it seemed like extra work. But once you get used to the system-- it's actually quite useful. You have to go into the office less to pick up paperwork-- it's always with you.

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#274578 - 02/09/09 10:37 AM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: RC21]
Bigtoe Offline
Major Contributor

Registered: 10/14/07
Posts: 2238
Loc: Outer Banks
Originally Posted By: RC21
The grey water system is a pretty good one-- saves a lot of water.


Have you ever experienced the use of grey water? I showed some houses with it being used in the irrigation system for the neighborhood. The water was frozen on the grass about 2 inches thick and it was a brown color. Very nasty looking and I would not want automatic sprinklers in my yard spewing waste whether is was disinfected or not.
_________________________
Your Outer Banks real estate agent. Helping people buy and sell OBX real estate since 1989.

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#274592 - 02/09/09 11:11 AM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: Bigtoe]
SaltspringRE Offline
Member

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Gulf Islands BC
Just curious was the house in a town called three mile island? Was the water glowing? I think there are some good applications but it is not a cure all. I prefer a double wall heat exchanger that pull the heat off the waste water that pre heats the incoming water.


Edited by Salty Agent (02/09/09 11:15 AM)

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#274603 - 02/09/09 12:23 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: SaltspringRE]
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
I have experienced the use of grey water systems-- and if installed and maintained properly, they are quite effective. In fact, you would hardly notice a difference from any other system.
It is not the water from your toilet that is used to spray your lawn... so I'm unsure why the water was frozen, brown and full of waste and several inches thick. This seems quite strange to me.

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