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Residential Department: Q&A: John Beldock, Association of Energy and Environmental Real Estate Professionals: July 2013

 

Q&A: John Beldock, Association of Energy and Environmental Real Estate Professionals

John Beldock, executive director, Association of Energy and Environmental Real Estate Professionals

Whether they’re shopping for a hybrid car or an energy-efficient furnace, more and more consumers are interested in environmentally friendly products, including those related to their homes and mortgages. Along with its operating contractor EcoBroker International, the Association of Energy and Environmental Real Estate Professionals works to educate housing-market professionals about green industry products, services and certifications. To learn more, we spoke with the association’s executive director, John Beldock.

What are your association’s overall goals?

EcoBroker and the Association of Energy and Environmental Real Estate Professionals were founded in 2001 to address an absence in the real estate and fiduciary services industries of a consumer and sustainability advocacy training function. [It aims to provide] training for fiduciary-service professionals — including real estate professionals, mortgage lenders, etc. — who really want to set themselves apart by watching the consumer’s back more effectively on property disclosure.

How has green financing changed in the past few years?

Energy and environmental financing has been the most fascinating, most well attended, most intriguing part of our curriculum and our work over the last dozen years with EcoBroker. And one of the things that’s been very refreshing over this last dozen years has been to watch some of the great innovators in the mortgage industry get in the game on green financing without pulling a muscle — getting innovative by making simple moves that open their products to a wider range of consumers and/or building owners and investors.

How can this segment of the market remain viable?

The green industry is going to have to stay competitive. The utility funds are still there for energy-efficiency retrofits and the federal funds look like they’ve been very beneficial over the last three years, but they may not be as ample or as plentiful in the next 24 or 36 months as they have been in the previous 36 months. So, the green-contracting industry — the building industry — is going to have to remain very competitive, very light of foot, very innovative as it relates to financing.

What are some of the challenges in green lending today?

Credit scores have become an understandably important component in modern-day mortgage-lending practices, but not without a price. There are a lot of good people who don’t qualify for a 720 product. There’s an even larger number of great people who don’t qualify for a 730 product. There’s a lot of people who have houses that represent quality assets or have ideas in mind for houses that would represent quality assets with loans that are better loans and less likely to default because they’re for properties with green and sustainable features, [making] the borrowers less likely to default because they’re paying $100 less per month on their utility bills. So, there’s a lot of room for the mortgage industry to innovate in areas [that address these credit problems].



 

Raymond Fleischmann was editor of Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition. For questions about this article, call (800) 297-6061 or e-mail articles@scotsmanguide.com.

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