Multiple Listing Service goes ‘green' with updated forms

The Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors is expanding its multiple listing service forms, adding fields that will help buyers zero in on green features that were relegated to the “remarks” section before, making them unsearchable.
BY DYRINDA TYSON dyrinda@gmail.com Published: September 10, 2011
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The design art and building science of being “green” did not come naturally to the Multiple Listing Service.

It took some green people.

The Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors is expanding its MLS forms, adding fields that will help buyers zero in on green features that were relegated to the “remarks” section before, making them unsearchable.

With the changes now rolling out, buyers can compare homes by — among other things — energy certifications and Home Energy Rating Scale scores, which Realtor Sarah Bytyqi likened to the miles-per-gallon stickers plastered on the windows of new cars.

“It's the only true way a consumer can identify how efficient or how green a property is from one property to another. It's comparing apples to apples,” said Bytyqi, founder and managing broker at Verbode, an Oklahoma City real estate firm specializing in green and energy-efficient properties.

She also heads up the Realtors association's Green Resource Council, which helped spearhead the MLS changes. The modifications to the MLS are the key to greening Oklahoma City's housing scene, said Michelle Foy, a Realtor with Verbode, since MLS listings can be searched only by field. Foy helped draw up a list of changes last spring, consulting with homebuilders and energy auditors to tweak it.

“So we just started kind of pushing forward, trying to get some changes made slowly,” Foy said.

The first changes rolled out in July with others going online this month.

The association voted to form the council in 2009, prompted by the increasing buzz over green building and green renovating, Bytyqi said. She volunteered to lead the group from the beginning.

“I personally live a pretty green life — support ideals of sustainability and organic,” she said. “I'm pretty organic. I'm a vegetarian. You know, it just kind of fit with my personal lifestyle.”

It started with four people. “And we realized this was a much broader topic than ourselves,” she said. “So I started recruiting other agents that I knew had interest in the green field.” The council has grown to 17 members, the maximum allowed for association committees.

The idea of adding fields to the MLS forms might seem like a simple one, but the implications go far beyond tweaking a search engine. The “roof” field, for example, will allow up to two selections, one of them steel.

Steel lies at the core of the roof at Chris Wright's Old World-style home on NW 55 — it's stone-wrapped steel, technically. Elliott Roofing, where Wright works in estimating and sales, has been installing stone-wrapped roofs for about 10 years. It looks like Old World tile to the naked eye, but there's a major difference.

“It's at least a 50-year roof,” Wright said, able to withstand hurricane-force winds unlike the previous crop of wooden shake shingles that fell victim to a 2010 hailstorm. Those shingles remain underneath, though, acting as a layer of insulation.



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