Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Q&A With Evan Little, A Green Real Estate Agent

Check out this great interview featured in The Daily Voice and written by Jim Fitzpatrick with one of our very own green Realtors, Evan Little.

I met Evan over four years ago. I was starting my business and googled “orange county green.” He and Casey Cochran of Green Guide Network, were the two and only relevant references. We and about a dozen others would grab a beer at OC Green Drinks events, now at almost 200 attendees.

I can say lots great things about my green friend who is also a green real estate agent, but I thought his answers to the questions I posed were exceptional. Follow Evan Little on Facebook ...

Evan, thank you for being my first interview.

    Q: How did you become a green real estate agent?
    A: I became a real estate agent to learn more about real estate investing and struggled to find a niche that held my attention. In early 2007, I started attending all sorts of green building and solar expos and events and became hooked.

      Q: How do you Vote Green every day?
      A: I really enjoy voting whenever I consume! When comparing items I'd like to purchase, I look for how far away it was made, what it's made out of, how the workers or animals have been treated during its manufacturing and how will this item and its packaging break back down into the environment.

        Q: How do you use social media to market yourself?
        A: I enjoy using social media to build and maintain relationships, but I think the idea of empowering someone I may not know or not know well to spread the word about a new green home listing or event I'm personally involved in or simply support is what I enjoy most.

          Q: Tell us about some of the events and projects you are involved with?
          A: One of the events that I'm most proud of was the "Green Made Easy" event that the Green Task Force Committee of the Orange County Association of REALTORS® (OCAR) organized. I was so pleased with our mix of speakers and their performances. The event was geared entirely toward other REALTORS® and was even exclusive to OCAR members, so it was a little strange helping to educate the competition, but it needs to be done. While the green building industry is booming, the real estate sales force has been left in the dust, for the most part since it's nearly impossible to make a living selling exclusively "green" homes at this time.

            Q: What are some of the best ways a homeowner can green up their homes?
            A: Learn before you start buying and renovating! Invest time in learning about things like passive solar and cooling. Start with the low hanging fruit and work your way up to the sexy stuff like solar. Also, what works for your friend's home in Mission Viejo may be overkill or not work well at all for you in Costa Mesa. Even the orientation of the building itself can make a dramatic difference in its performance and comfort.

              Q: When buying a house, what do you look for from a green perspective?
              A: The building's orientation. Shading elements that could help cool during the summer or possibly prevent an efficient solar system. Is the building's foundation a concrete slab or a raised foundation? How does the home's heating and cooling systems work and how they can be improved? Is there living space above a garage or mechanical system like a hot water heater that could potentially pollute interior air or make regulating temperature difficult?

                Q: What can residents do to get involved in the green scene?
                A: Visit the City's web site or call the City's Building Dept. for information about improving energy efficiency, indoor air quality and comfort. (Build it Green Costa Mesa, Newport Beach Green Building Task Force) Many cities have a wealth of information online, and the more calls they field, the more interest they'll see in it. There are also a lot of educational workshops happening in Orange County where you can learn about solar, composting, growing your own food and recycling.

                  Q: What is your favorite way to conserve water?
                  A: Native landscaping. An enormous amount of our water feeds our ridiculous obsession with turf. My favorite way to conserve water though is to replenish Orange County's Ground Water Basin. Rainwater harvesting does work, but only if we actually capture it passively through our landscaping and store it in our fresh water aquifer instead of rushing it out into the Pacific Ocean with all of our prescription medicine and garbage. (Back to Natives)

                    Q: What else do we need to know about buying or selling green real estate?
                    A: Buyers should understand that a modern green home is leaps and bounds beyond normal homes in terms of comfort and amenities. You're not moving into a tree house and you don't have to eat hemp cereal every day, even if it does taste delicious and nutritious. With a green building you get increased energy efficiency, improved interior air quality and typically a more comfortable environment to live in.

                    Selling green real estate is much trickier than buying at the moment. So, if your goal is to flip or renovate a home and sell it for a profit and you want to do the greenest home your city has ever seen, you may be in for a rude awakening in today's market. Due to our sales force being so far behind, especially our real estate appraisers and banks, it's very difficult to cash in on your extra green features right now. Make sure you're not pricing yourself out of the neighborhood or are going overboard with every green widget under the sun. Another big cost that home buyers aren't aware of is how much change a given builder may have to make to build green, such as adapting to the USGBC's LEED or Build it Green's GreenPoint Rated Certifications, hiring consultants, researching new materials, learning new building techniques, hiring different sub-contractors, etc.

                      Q: Where does your passion for green come from?
                      A: Before jumping into the real estate sales world in 2004 I was working at an architecture office with the intention of becoming an architect myself, so I certainly have a passion for good design. Getting into green stems mostly from my passion for doing what makes the most sense, such as not putting in a five-ton HVAC unit when a 2.5 ton will work more efficiently once the duct system has been properly sealed ... not polluting ever place on Earth with hazardous bi-products from the petroleum industry ... getting the real cost of energy in front of consumers ... and stopping dirty energy lobbyists from gobbling up subsidies that shouldn't exist in the first place.

                        Q: What else do we need to know about Evan Little?
                        A: Evan Little
                        "Green" Real Estate Sales and Consultation
                        REALTOR®, EcoBroker®, GPR, CHEERS® Certified Rater
                        Surterre Properties Inc.
                        1400 Newport Center Drive, Suite 100
                        Newport Beach, CA 92660
                        949.939.9687 phone/text
                        CA Real Estate Lic #01450867

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