Begin with the End in Mind: Design for the Right Audiences
Green MLS often begins as a grassroots effort, driven by green-minded real estate agents, appraisers, builder or contractors. While these professionals represent just the sort of experts needed to design and rollout a Green MLS, these are not the ones to have in mind when designing the platform. The two most important groups to think about when designing Green MLS are:
- Traditional agents (without any additional green training or designations)
It's important to start by understanding how traditional agents will use Green MLS simply because there are so many more traditional agents than green agents. The more agents that use the green fields and document attachment the more effective the data will be.
Things to think about: If you offer a HERS field are other agents looking for HIS? If you list ENERGY STAR do MLS users understand if mean a building method or a specific product?
Appraisers are the ones that are verifying value. We are all working toward fair value for green homes at closing. Green MLS must empower appraisers to verify that value. As with agents, there are many more traditional appraisers than those with green training. There are two concerns to think about for appraisers:
- Do they know to look at the green fields in the first place? Make sure your outreach and communications plan includes this specific audience.
- Can they trust the data in the green fields? As explained above, document attachments give appraisers more confidence that information reported in green fields is reliable.
Things to think about: Have you built-in a process to ensure data integrity? If an appraiser isn't clear what makes your home or the comparable green home "green" he or she won't be able to properly value it.
Don't forget to design for consumers, too. Remember to align your Green MLS design with the standard green building approaches and products in your area. Be sure to list the most popular programs for certifying or verifying the new construction or existing home improvements in the area and confirm what the most common backup documents are.