Upper Midwest BPA Conference


I am sitting in the airport after having attended the Building Performance Association’s (BPA) upper mid-west conference in Bloomington, Minnesota waiting to fly home. It was a great conference and unlike anything I have ever attended before.  The BPA is an association that, in their own words:

“To advance a thriving industry delivering improved energy efficiency, health, and environmental performance of buildings. Our current area of focus is existing residential buildings, including multifamily and manufactured homes.”

The sessions that I saw and the people that I met were awesome.  The folks there are genuinely interested in high performing homes.  I was asked to attend to co-present with Pamela Brookstein from Elevate Energy. Pamela is someone that I have worked alongside and adjacent to for many years.  It was a real pleasure to spend some time with her and share ideas.  Her job at Elevate is to work within the real estate community to try and educate and inform real estate professionals. She does focus group work and writes education for agents and appraisers. 

Our panel went very well.  We had about 22 people in the room besides ourselves and the moderator.  The group came with great questions and seemed thoroughly engaged.  Pamela discussed the research they have done with consumers and agents and highlighted the major points that my work with the high performing home community seems to support. 

The big take away is that real estate agents are a key component of capturing any additional value that may exist in a home that has been retrofitted or built as a better than code home.  My most recent project on the matter was the multi-market study that I led in four distinct markets that was underwritten by Peral Home Certifications. The paper, “Valuing High-Performing Homes: The Impact of Pearl Certification on Home Sales Prices in Boston, MA; Grand Rapids, MI; Charlottesville, VA; and Phoenix, AZ”, shows support for the importance of agents and their marketing capabilities when representing consumers with these kinds of homes.

Speaking on the panel was an opportunity to discuss with a major stakeholder in the high performing home space: the contractors and companies that do the work.  Being able to share the process that goes into valuing a home and how important it is to work with dedicated and knowledgeable agents and ultimately competent appraisers is super important.  There is a circle of stakeholders in the process and we talked about how important it was to understand each of the stakeholders and their part of the process.

We discussed how homeowners struggle with refinancing and selling homes because lenders are normally uneducated with what a high performing home is will hire appraisers that that do not understand how to value a home like this.  Often this results in appraisers failing to recognize or even understand how the market really reacts to these homes. 

The audience seemed engaged and asked so many great questions.  It really was a thrill to attend and present.  I am looking forward to attending their national conference in April out in Seattle. 

Published by Woody Fincham, SRA, AI-RRS, ASA, RAA

Residential appraiser in the Charlottesville and Shenandoah Valley specializing in high-value homes and properties that include equestrian use, hobby farms, High-performance homes (HERS, LEED, Pearl, Earthcraft), large acreage and any residential style property.

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