Sept. 10--The vast majority of home buyers who perceive their home as environmentally friendly say their home builder did not identify the house as "green," J.D. Power and Associates reported Wednesday.
Although 28% of new-home buyers in the 2008 New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Study called their home environmentally friendly, 75% of those buyers said the builder did not market it as such, the research company.
"Builders are concerned about over-promising and under-delivering," Jim Howland, senior director in the real estate and construction industries department at J.D. Power, tells EcoHome. "They may also be concerned that it may cost them a lot to market."
"One of the suggestions we often make is it doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg to tell the customer what you put into the home and what are the benefits," Howland says. Touch points such as pre-settlement walk-throughs can be an opportunity to tout green features like low-E windows and high-efficiency HVAC equipment, not just put problems on a punch list, he adds.
Furthermore, the study found that the top green features buyers believe should be included also tend to be cost savers: energy-efficient HVAC, appliances, and lighting, and temperature-controlling windows.
"That was one of the more interesting things that came out of this," Howland says. "[Respondents said] it's not just the environment, it's 'What do I get out of this?'"
A lot of consumers are even willing to spend more for green features, Howland notes. Just about half (48%) of respondents were willing to pay up to $7,000 for green attributes.
The Customer Satisfaction study, in its 12th year, is based on responses from buyers of new single-family homes who provided feedback after living in their dwellings for four to 18 months and includes satisfaction ratings for builders in 33 markets. For full results, see Builder magazine's coverage here.