When you begin your buying journey to build a net zero home in Vermont or New Hampshire, where should you start? What resources should you employ? Typically, buyers and even more so, sellers, of conventional residential homes will contact a real estate broker early in their journey.

But what about a net zero energy home? Are realtors capable of advising you about the newest technology or point you to a qualified builder? An article in Forbes calls the question: “Are Real Estate Brokers Obsolete?” We tend to think not, and for two reasons: 1) While a broker should and will have business relationships with builders specializing in net zero construction in Vermont, a broker is not their employee so you should get more of an objective opinion and 2) real estate brokers today often are highly knowledgeable regarding new energy-saving technologies.

Both the National Association of Realtors and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) are onboard with green energy homes. The MLS provides “green” data entry fields so that agents can enter energy-saving features into listings. And both buyers and realtors can utilize the help from the Green MLS Tool Kit. While these tools are new additions to the real estate market, they suggest that net zero construction in Vermont might just be the coming new norm.

How to Find a Net Zero Realtor

With Vermont and a few other states setting the goal of having all new residential construction built to net zero standards within the next decade or two, realtors must come up to speed with the new technology. While there are training programs and certifications, not all agents are in the know. Here’s how to find out.

According to Zero Net Energy Homes, currently there are at least four training and certification boards:

The peace of mind you’ll get is worth it. So when hiring an agent, find one who is certified or who has attended training seminars.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Realtor

As you begin the process of searching for a realtor or, for that matter, a builder who specializes in net zero construction in Vermont, there are key questions you can ask. Here are ten to get you started:

  1. How much experience have you had with net energy homes?
  2. How can owning a zero energy home benefit my family?
  3. What are the costs associated with building a net zero energy home?
  4. Can a net zero energy home impact future resale value?
  5. How will I know if I’m getting a true net zero home or just a conventional energy-efficient home, or just a home with solar panels on the roof?
  6. What energy tax credits or rebates are available and will my new home qualify?
  7. What is an “Energy Star” home?
  8. Can I get financing as easily as I can for a conventional home?
  9. How are the technical requirements to be assessed (e.g., number of solar panels, output of heat pump units, performance of HRV systems)?
  10. Do you know about the local power company’s net metering policy?

These questions and more will give you the confidence that you’re hiring a broker or builder who knows the difference between true net zero construction in Vermont and something that may pose as it.

A net zero home is an investment and an opportunity to live better—in a healthier indoor environment. A green home will show a return on investment from energy savings and, in addition, help lower your carbon footprint.