If you’re buying, selling or renting a property you probably have to choose an estate agent. There are lots of things you may take into account. Perhaps you’ll look at their reviews or base your choice on the valuation they gave, their fees or their success rates. But why should you choose an estate agent who claims to care about sustainability? Is it just a gimmick, or is this an important new criteria that you need to take into account? And how can an estate agent be sustainable anyway?
Is sustainable estate agency just a gimmick?
Absolutely not. The energy efficiency of our UK housing is really important for two major reasons. The first is that an energy-efficient home costs less to run. The current energy crisis may not last forever, but if 2022 has taught us anything, it is that we need to futureproof our homes against the sort of spiraling costs that we’ve seen this year.
Making a home more energy efficient can mean a number of things from making sure we build new homes in a more sustainable way, and which are heated using renewable energy to making sure a house is properly insulated. At the moment, 90% of our homes are still heated by fossil fuels, accounting for a third of UK total gas use.
And that brings us to the second reason that sustainable estate agency matters, which is that there is, of course, the bigger picture to take into account. The UK government and indeed, countries around the world have set some ambitious targets to tackle global warming, and emissions from our homes are a major contributor to overall UK emissions. Without being trite, we all have to do what we can to live in a more sustainable way and help reduce our emissions.
But what’s that got to do with my estate agent?
In a nutshell, quite a lot. If an estate agent cares and talks about sustainability with their clients, this can change perspectives, and more importantly, this can affect demand and property trends. Some house buyers may never have considered sustainability as a criteria or may not know what to look for. When house buyers and renters start to demand more sustainable housing, then landlords and developers have to listen. An estate agent is often the one who operates in between house buyers and renters on the one hand and landlords and developers on the other, and therefore estate agents have a responsibility and role to play in changing the attitude and habits of the property market.
You’ve got to mean what you say
It is of course easy to say that you’re a sustainable estate agent, but you do have to lead by example. Estate agency has historically operated in quite a non-sustainable way. Think lots of brochures printed on paper, lots of petrol or diesel consumption used for viewings, very little recycling, lots of plastic.
But just like everyone else, as estate agents, we have to start changing our habits. And there are lots of small ways we can do that. Using suppliers who use of 100% renewable energy, using recyclable materials in our offices and in our marketing materials. Offering more online viewings and using digital marketing materials, investing in TerraCycle bins, and compostable covers for property brochures. Taken together these things add up.
Are we sustainable estate agents?
We’re not operating 100% sustainably yet but we are working hard to make changes. We’ve already taken some significant steps in the right direction. If you’d like to know more, why not get in touch, or come into our new office premises in The Carfax in Horsham or in Storrington and see what we’re doing?
For more information visit: https://www.athomeestates.co.uk/
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