In October, 2007 at an office meeting, my office manager reminded us of the upcoming National Association of REALTORS® convention to be held in Las Vegas. Perusing the calendar and schedule, one session popped off the page. An EcoBroker was speaking about her business. What the heck is an EcoBroker? Intrigued, I read the paragraph and decided I’d attend.
I knew the real estate market was changing and I had to adapt by selecting a different niche. I had been selling converted condominiums but that niche was drying up as the market slowed. Considering which way to change my business had been top of mind.
Normally, I’m not one to travel to a city by myself for a convention, let alone one with thousands of strangers. But onward I pusehd. The flight was scheduled; the hotel booked; and I was registered to attend the 2007 National Assocation of REALTORS® convention.
After hearing that EcoBroker speak, I decided right then I’d earn my EcoBroker designation. Her entire business aligned with my upbringing. You see, my mom was more than sustainable. She worked tirelessly at refinishing all of the wordwork in our house, making the pinch pleat drapes, and reupholstering the furniture. The woman bought and sold antiques out of our garage after refurbishing them. What a business model!
Of course like most families back in the 1960’s, we had a garden but also a goose house. Even though we lived within the city, the largest one in Kansas, the methods of sustainability with our own well taught me a lot about sustainability.
So with those life lessons of canning vegetables and fruit from our garden, among many other projects, I started the journey that is my current niche to this day. The difference is I don’t have well or a garden, but practice MANY sustainable practices in my personal and business life.
My dining room table is over 100 years old, along with many other furniture pieces I’ve owned for decades. I search for items to purchase from others instead of shopping retail stores, including my office furniture.
Sustainability in business means working from home with an Energy Star rated computer, printer and power strip. In fact, my entire home is about to be Pearl certified because I’ve retrofitted every energy efficient measure, except solar panels, and am now reaping the rewards. My average utility bill is $77 year round for a 1979, 1500 square foot block constructed home in Phoenix!
Sharing these methods with my clients is top of mind in almost every conversation. Some aren’t as warm to the topic so I start by asking if they’d like to learn ways to lower their utility bills. That typically gets the conversation started.
Just this morning, I was interviewed on Channel 15 in a short segment about reducing energy bills in our summer heat. 2 weeks ago I was interviewed on AM 960, Real Estate Matters on the same topic but also how I help my clients sell their homes for more if they have energy efficient or upgraded features.
It’s been very rewarding to also serve on the following committee’s and board:
Residential Committee Chair, US Green Building Council, Arizona Chapter
Advisory Board Member, Efficiency First Arizona
Director, Instructor, and Committee Chair for the Sustainability Committee, Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS®
Making real change has been rewarding and fulfilling. My clients appreciate my level of involvement and my commitment to improve their homes, our MLS, our broker tours, and I’ve made wonderful relationships in the process. The Riches in Niches is more about all of the above than any paycheck!