Green Real Estate
By Scott Huver
Kermit the frog had it right: It's not easy being green. But when Los Angeles locals are looking to put down roots in eco-friendly homes, realtor Karen Nation makes it a lot easier.
A licensed EcoBroker at Teles Properties, Nation specializes in energy-efficient, eco-conscious properties across the region. Her desire to help home owners find healthier dwellings sprung from her own love of Southern California's most stunning natural resource: the ocean. "I love to surf and swim," says Nation. "When I'm out there and [I see] trash in the water, it's just the saddest thing. So when the EcoBroker program became available, it was just like, AH-ha! Finally something for me!"
The homes Nation specializes in— currently about a dozen in the region, primarily on the West Side— feature eco-conscious elements such as solar panels, energy-efficient windows, metal roofing, spray-foam insulation, recyclable countertops, radiant-heat floors, tankless water heaters and water-recycling plumbing systems. Most fall in the $1 million to $3 million price range. "Only in the past six months have I heard buyers say, 'I only want a green home,"'says Nation of this new real estate frontier. "we're working to build on the EcoBroker movement to try to get more realtors educated about green homes and energy-efficient features. The more realtors are involved, the more the public will be involved as well."
Nation predicts that in the next couple of years, there will likely be five times as many green homes on the market as there are now. "One of the difficulties in a really densely developed city like LA is finding property that makes sense to build on," says Nation. "But since there are so many great deals for developers to dig into right now because it's a buyer's market, I think we'll see a lot of the happening. Green is definitely the future of the housing market."