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Erin Davis

Ep 2 Chris Chopik

Chris Chopik

Episode 2/April 2020

Chris Chopik – Real Estate and the Environment

In celebration of Earth Day we’ll speak with REALTOR® Chris Chopik, a passionate environmental advocate about how climate-risk directly impacts the industry, the role REALTORS® can play protecting the environment, and what REALTORS® need to know about selling greener homes.
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Episode Transcript

Erin Davis: Hello, and welcome to REAL TIME, a podcast for REALTORS® and everybody who's interested in the latest real estate news trends and insights, so you. We've got some fascinating people and great information you can put to use in your life. No matter what line of work you call your passion. I'm Erin Davis, very happy to be your REAL TIME host and my life's work has been waking up radio audiences in Canada's biggest market.

With this podcast, we're all awakening to ways we can grow our business, improve the life we've chosen and learn all kinds of ways to protect what we stand on and what we stand for. In this case, our beloved tiny blue dot as Carl Sagan so beautifully put it. Earth Day is April 22nd, but if 2020 has taught us anything and we have learned a lot, it is that we are truly all in this together. Grab a copy, recycle that pod and here we go with episode two of REAL TIME brought to you by CREA, the Canadian Real Estate Association. His name is Chris Chopek and he's green.

We usually, when we refer to someone is green, it means they're new or they're envious, but Chris truly is green in the best ways possible. In fact, so green, he makes me a little envious. He works hard to help us all to understand how climate change affects the homes we live in, where we want to be and how we can save and even make money by moving towards sustainable energy.

Chris is a master of design studies and has served as an advisor in many capacities, but today he sharing his wisdom, his passion with us. Oh, and he's also been working as a REALTOR® for a couple of decades. Let's spend some REAL TIME with Chris Chopek. Chris it's such a pleasure to be talking to you today. Thank you for making the time to join REAL TIME.

Chris Chopek: It's a pleasure to be here and thanks very much for having me.

Erin: We love guests who are passionate about in this case being green. Why is green your passion?

Chris: It's interesting for me green is everything. I think of quality of life as being the center point of the purpose of real estate, where we live, why we choose to live there. It's because my life is centered around where I live. For me being green includes going out to my front yard, to the tree lined street on my Boulevard, going out to neighbourhood parks and enjoying my natural time and having lots of places to recreate. Being green for a much to me is about an integration of quality of life and everything that I do.

Erin: Isn't it encouraging in so many ways that people, a lot of people have stopped rolling their eyes when you say green? I mean, where it's becoming integrated into everyone's lives, not the outliers anymore.

Chris: It's funny. I agree with you. I used to ask who believes in climate change and that's a moot point now and very much when I think of green, I think of context. Green for a commercial real estate investor is about saving green because the return on investment is there. The green for an individual in a neighbourhood might be very much about a local community garden.

Erin: Can you discuss the overall housing industry, Chris in relation to being green? Where are we now?

Chris: In Canada, more than 10% of houses have either been built to a relatively high standard or have undergone significant retrofits in order to be relatively green. That is, they're leak-free, they've been sealed up, they've got good insulation in the attics and they've got efficient heating systems. That collage of things makes a green home. In addition, many of our homes are located in towns which are walkable, where there are amenities locally available.

We see the emergence of walk score as a prominent feature in the listings today and because that's a feature that buyers are looking for, so generally we're doing better than we have ever before. It's really more relevant to more of our buyers, more millennials care. As the marketplace becomes more aware of the value of a solar panel and how it works, of course, more people then can seek us out. There's certainly a growing demand market for that.

Erin: Chris, we're seeing more solar panels on roofs, so aren't we?

Chris: We're seeing more solar. The feed-in tariff program in Ontario was a big push on that front. Also, remote properties that have, either less reliable electricity grids or no electricity conductivity are places where solar is becoming very practical because the price is much lower than it ever has been. We're seeing more of it. What that means is that more people get comfortable with making those investments.

Erin: You've stated that historically 7% of the Canadian marketplace has been interested in energy efficiency. You mentioned your tree-lined boulevard and being green, has that been a very slow curve or do you anticipate it, shooting up higher in the very near future? Where do you see that 7% going? I know we're jumping into the future right now, but it lays the foundation for our discussion today about being green and environmentally smart with your home, whether you're living in it or trying to sell it.

Chris: That's 7% of Canadians who have traditionally always spent extra money on renovating for energy efficiency that has shifted, green with the advent of the Tesla Powerwall and electric vehicles everywhere. The electric vehicle of today is not, doing the right thing for the right reasons. The electric vehicle of today is a high-performance vehicle. It is faster than a gasoline-powered car, it's sexier. The same goes with home energy efficiency, more and more people are understanding that if I can spend less on energy, I can spend more on my kids' hockey tuition, or I'm buying a new guitar, or going on vacation. That's a better quality of life by making the right kinds of investments.

I think that we've crossed the chasm in marketing terms. The early adopters are the first to go. the chasm happens afterwards. I think that we're seeing a main streaming of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and all of the things that we consider as green.

Erin: We talk about passive houses too and that's not a passive-aggressive house. That's the house that sits there and says, "Yes, your Christmas lights are okay, I guess." but what is a passive house, Chris? Why do we want to aim towards one?

Chris: Passive house is an emerging standard that is really about utilizing as little mechanical energy as possible in retaining a comfortable indoor air environment. It starts with a really well-insulated building envelope. It then goes to solar orientation. Is the house letting the sun in, in the winter and keeping the sun out during the summer so that there's minimal air conditioning load and maximum heating benefit and then minimizing the size of the mechanical systems so that the energy use is very low.

This is a building standard that is emerging across the world as the next standard. All my clients who are undergoing significant renovations or building new today, I suggest going to a passive or net zero energy standard because it is going to be baseline building code in the relatively near future. Today, if you have a high- performance house, passive house that's to be listed on the market, it's very important that a REALTOR® representing that product can explain the benefits to the buyer, create good marketing materials around that. That's some of what we're talking about today.

Erin: Coming up, how as a REALTOR® you can green your business and separate yourself from everyone else, even though these days more than ever, we're all looking for connection?

REALTOR.ca is the most popular and trusted real estate website in Canada, connecting local REALTORS® with Canadians to help with the biggest purchase of their life. Visit REALTOR.ca to meet a REALTOR® near you or just to connect as we're doing right now with our REAL TIME guest, Chris Chopek.

Let's talk about how REALTORS® can green their real estate business. How do you go about educating people? I guess you could put in some ways, because there are people like me who are green for dummies, if you will, on what makes a house even more saleable?

Chris: It's a challenging business. We are in a very competitive business. It's a "me too" value proposition. It's very hard to distinguish one REALTOR®'s brand from another. We're all going to sell your house for more money in less time, with less inconvenience to you. When you have a home that has green features, it's very important to be able to speak to those features in order to captivate the interests of the buyer market that is going to care about those things.

I had a listing in Toronto, about a year ago, we had solar hot water and solar photovoltaics on the listing and we did a great job of creating a green feature sheet in the listing. As a result, two of the many parties that were interested in the solar panels decided to go in above and beyond, pay more, offer more for that house and my client was certainly rewarded for that. There's a lot of different contexts. It's important to be investing in the right green for the product.

Erin: The right green. I think you've really hit on something here, because lime green, obviously not good. What we're talking about is, take, for example, a swimming pool. For some people, seeing a pool in a listing is an absolute thumbs up. For others, it's run in the opposite direction. Are there people who see things like solar panels, for example, as a negative? How do you go about disabusing them of old ideas that it's going to cost too much, that it's not going to pay off that-- All of these things, and the lease or the rental or whatever the solar panels may come with? How do you explain to people how they're going to win in the long or not so long term, Chris?

Chris: That's interesting. It all comes back to this; no matter what green we're talking about, it's about context. A tree-lined street is a good example of this conversation. Very rarely, and I would say close to never, do my very green clients come to me and say, "I want to buy a house on a tree-lined street." They will say, I want this many bedrooms and this many bathrooms, but they rarely come and declare that they want a tree-lined street.

I've heard stories from REALTORS® who have moved into energy star certified houses, and they didn't really get it until they live there. They started receiving the bills and calling the gas company and saying, "Wow, is this real? Like, is my heating bill only $50 a month?" That's really- that experience is what you have to convey when you're listing a property like that, that this house is going to be very low cost to operate. That's where the benefits lie.

For me, the context of all of this, the context of green is how it affects the individual property owner. If it's going to affect them by a lower cost of operation. Great. If it's going to give them a more luxurious living environment, because it's going to be warmer and cozier and quieter than these are the benefits that we want to explain to the buyer.

Erin: Should homes with green attributes be marketed differently? Chris Chopek answers that question and how you might do it coming up.

Hey, have you seen our living room? No, not mine, REALTOR.ca/livingroom. It's the source for free engaging content for your social feeds from key 2020 housing trends to design tutorials, living room is here to bring you entertaining and inspiring articles. Now back to Chris on REAL TIME.

Should homes, green features be marketed differently from traditional homes in terms of maybe tying into the emotions you mentioned earlier? You're going to have more money for your kids' hockey equipment and all that. Maybe you take that family vacation you've been putting off. How do you go about tying in emotion to green, Chris?

Chris: You're right. The emotion is what wins the day in the sale of real estate. A good emotional experience that is, the flowers and the bake cookie smell, all of that's part of listing a green home. What you're doing is you're adding to that value proposition. You're adding peace of mind against the cost of living. that is if energy prices go up, your cost of living will be relatively stable.

Also, peace of mind. There is a thing called climate change anxiety. We're all feeling it. We see the changes that are happening outside. What do we do about it? Investing in a home that works better, that's more comfortable and luxurious, and that also happens to do the right thing by using less energy. That's a way that we can ameliorate the stress of climate anxiety.

It's all about framing these things to our target buyer. When I'm listing a home, I always define this is the market we're going after. This is a primary market. This is a secondary market. Let's say primary market is about love and family. Let's frame this as a great place to live. That's going to give you luxury and costs less, and then an investor buyer. This is a place that's going to provide you with better math. It's going to produce more profit. When we tell those stories in the way that's context-based for the buyer, then we're going to win on behalf of our seller.

Erin: I think what you're talking about too, Chris is demystifying the language around green because so many of us again are not really up on our terminology or all of the facts. We're not all nuclear physicists and all of that. It's a matter of making it user friendly for the person who is listing their home with a REALTOR®.

Chris: That is so true. A few years ago, I was working with natural resources, Canada on the new EnerGuide rating. On that committee panel were a lot of engineers who were really specifically knowledgeable about how buildings work and they all wanted to explain everything. I said to that group of people, what really matters is that the homeowner can look at this information and understand it. The EnerGuide process allows a homeowner to take a look at how a building is using energy in a way that's very easily understood.

That's another path to treating this demystification because all I really care about as a homeowner is will it continue to work and will it work well? Is it going to cost me less than that's great? Those are the things that I care about. Separately, I'll say the geothermal heating systems, which have become more and more common, the people who choose to invest in this also take the time.

A seller who chooses to invest in this takes the time to understand the technology and understands why it works. One of the things that REALTORS® can fall victim to is allowing that technical information into the sales process. Really what we want to be doing is saying, "Mr. Seller, we know that that information is there and let's create a package that if somebody wants to, they can ask for it."

One of the things that I think is true is that when people see an energy rating or homeowners to go that extra mile and take that extra bit of care, they expect that care to be reflective of everything that's been done to that house. I think that's part of what green is. Green is, this homeowner has gone the extra mile to make sure that things work well, and that they're very thoughtfully done the same as I might've statically look at a renovation and look for clean, minor cuts in the corners. Those clean, minor cuts are going to tell me that somebody was also attentive about insulation in the walls. Green is the same.

Erin: Going the green mile, to quote a movie title. What if somebody pulls up in a Tesla or a Prius and wants to go look at a property that ought to tell you that they're going to be looking for a charging station? How do you go about maneuvering that little dance?

Chris: My first experience with this particular scenario, I had a condo-listed and we had a buyer who drove Tesla and, we had to explore whether we could get a charging station into the spot in the condo at the time the condo board said no. The regulations have been changed so that it's not possible for the condo board to say no anymore. However, there are considerations.

If you can imagine owning a Tesla and having street parking in the City of Toronto and running an extension cord from your front door to the sidewalk, that's probably not a very practical approach. You either want to be close to a public charging station in, let's say, if you go to Montreal, there's charging stations all-around at public places like libraries, and you do not need to be in charging for 24 hours straight they're Phase 3 charging stations. They charge very quickly. One idea would be, be close to a charging station. The other would be, make sure that you've got autonomous control over a power source, like a garage, where you can put a charging station in order to have that on your own property.

Erin: Coming up. Do you know what NAR stands for? Is it new and renovated? Nice and roomy? Not a risk? The answer in a moment, but here's a hint. If you guessed none of the above well done, you're on your way to the tournament of champions. Speaking of winners, not only are they experts at finding you the right home. A REALTOR® can help get your house-discovered. Find a local REALTOR® by visiting realtor.ca today.

Now back to our CREA REAL TIME, special guest; green guru, Chris Chopek. Now you mentioned EnerGuide. That got my attention, of course, because everybody sees that sticker. When they're looking for an appliance, what is the NAR green designation? Is that like a big EnerGuide sticker on the house? Explain that to us, which please?

Chris: Absolutely. NAR is the National Association of REALTORS®. It's an American organization and they have something like a million members who are REALTORS® across the United States. A few years ago, the NAR approached me to Canadianize the green designation. That's not only about spelling colour in the Canadian way, but it's also about being relevant to colder climate zones because as you head north in Canada, it does get colder and more installation is required at walls. We also have regional differences in energy mix. If you live in BC, most of your electricity comes from hydro. in Ontario, we have nuclear, very different energy mixes across the country so we Canadianize that.

An NAR green designation is a designation for REALTORS® who are interested in understanding how sustainability impacts our business. I'll put that in really quick terms. We have a car intensive business, so there's a carbon footprint, blue paper, intensive business.

There's trees coming down and how do we green those practices? Then how do we represent products in the market that are green? Products with solar panels or well-insulated building envelopes or electric vehicle charging stations? The green designation equips REALTORS® to tell those stories as effectively as they can be told to green our own businesses and then to become part of a referral network that is across the continent where we can be in touch with other green NAR green designees and other marketplaces to learn from them, to share data and to refer business.

Erin: You've come up with just a couple of really quick and simple fixes, just in passing almost there, Chris. Let's go back to those for a second. You talk about, the trees that are being used in all of the paper and driving, just staying at home, which is something with which we are all very familiar now, but working from home is a huge first step. Would you let your clients know that that's what you do say one day a week?

Chris: I love that solution. It's amazing how much time efficiency we find when we actually allow ourselves to have some discipline around scheduling. One of the things that I've always taught when I'm teaching the NAR designation is that the most fuel-efficient car is not a particular car. It's one that is parked. A parked car is the most fuel-efficient car. Why not make Mondays Work-at-Home-Mondays, and let your clients know it's very rare that we're going to get new listings that come on Monday.

We don't have to be panicked about missing something. You can put that into your communication strategies and say, I've decided to do the right thing. Every Monday I'm working from home. You could also call yourself Fairweather, bike to work. you can there's, there are many ways that we as REALTORS® can integrate green in these small ways, which are excellent contributors to good communication strategies and marketing.

Erin: Chris what do REALTORS® need to know when listing a home that operates or is subsidized by solar energy. We've talked about, educating people gently or simply, but there's an example that you give of the happiest place on earth. That's still there and is doing just fine, thank you, in terms of their solar panels.

Chris: The Epcot center is a great example of a solar installation that's still working many, many decades later. At the Epcot center, they've had less than 1% failure rate on those solar panels. Obviously, the technology has come a long way since then. Today a solar photovoltaic panel had very few moving parts, very resilient piece of technology that is expected to last and is warrantied typically for 20 to 25 years and beyond. It is a very reliable technology.

In fact, many of these green technologies are very reliable and very proven. It's just a matter of finding an expert who can verify that the system is working well, who knows what to look for in terms of flaws, but for the most part this is a technology that works is proven and that homeowners can rely on.

Erin: In a moment. We've all heard of staging a home, but what about energy staging? Is that a thing? If so, how do we pull it off? Created for REALTORS® in Canada? CREA Cafe is a cozy place for REALTORS® to connect and share thoughts and insights. Just like we're doing here today with Chris Chopek on the latest industry, happenings over a virtual cup of coffee or tea if you like. With insightful new content created weekly, join the conversation at CREACafe.ca. Oh, and stick around to the end of the show today to find out how you can be part of our podcast. We really want you to do that. Back to Chris Chopek. Chris, what exactly is energy staging?

Chris: Oh, this is a service that I offer to my clients with green features and to other REALTORS®. Essentially, it's a way of understanding and explaining in simple terms the green features of a home, which may include solar or geothermal or well-insulated walls and energy staging is no different than any other kinds of staging. You take your product before the energy staging. You might make some improvements or you just do a good job of explaining and unraveling it so that a buyer can understand what they're looking at, understand the benefits and then internalize that for themselves and make it part of their dream of homeownership.

Erin: The green dream. Have prices gone down for things like solar panels and the ways we can go green in the past decade, would you say.

Chris: The price for solar panels has gone down consistently over time and it has spiked in the last 10 years in terms of a progressive reduction in costs. We could even go to Canadian tire today and you can get enough solar panels to power your RV or your work shed in the backyard or your sailboat. this was not the case 15 years ago. All of that contributes to a lower cost of install.

Erin: Across Canada, we have different regulations, don't we, that dictate where panels should be installed? It's not one size fits all across this great land of ours.

Chris: We have a regional energy mix, which is very diverse. If you're in BC, or if you're in Ontario, we're going to have a very different experience. However, the sunshine's everywhere. Solar is practical and implementable in any energy regime.

The idea of payback though is based upon the offsetting of costs. The payback period might be longer if your electricity costs are very low. Province of Quebec has remarkably low energy costs for electricity. It might take you a little longer to pay back the investment in solar in Quebec, but generally speaking, it will pay off and it'll pay off well within the life of the technology.

Erin: Are the governments, the regional, the provincial governments keeping up, do you think or ideally what would you like to see Chris?

Chris: There are a couple of things, with respect to regional governance that are really important. One of them is, in Ontario, there was a feed-in tariff program that created an incentive for individuals to pay for the capital costs of solar as a contribution to energy production. That was in my view, a very good policy. If you're fortunate and you get a listing that has a feed-in tariff contract, that home will be coming with an annual paycheck related to energy production.

It's important to be very specific and articulate about how to do that. I invite anybody to give me a call if you need help with that. You should be able to reach out to the local distribution company and to get a record of how much energy is being produced by that solar array annually and get a very fixed number on what you can include in the listing from that authority.

Beyond Ontario, anywhere where there is a remote situation where you're approaching off-grid, solar is becoming a way more practical way to get power. That could be an Island in Georgian Bay, where the cost is prohibitive to get a hydroelectric power or it could be a very remote place in a mountain in BC. It's very easy to get solar installed and to create the infrastructure to be off-grid.

Erin: As a buyer, I can access that information. I just ask the homeowner or hydro and the information on costs and productivity and my rewards as a potential home buyer will be available to me. Is that right?

Chris: In my experience with folks that are having have chosen to install solar at home is that they have a very clear understanding of what it is that they're getting in terms of benefit and generation. That makes it really easy for the REALTOR® representing that product to get that information from that homeowner, if it's not available from the homeowner, then we can certainly find a third-party who can demystify that for us.

Erin: We're demystifying and talking with Chris Chopek a seasoned REALTOR®. Who's helping us all to see the values that come with buying, selling, and living green while saving and making green at the same time. Next, Chris's big five when it comes to climate change and how that's going to affect how you buy and sell from here on end.

Off the top, I said that we've all been reminded, just how much connection matters and how we're all in this together. No one knows that more than REALTORS® by volunteering and raising funds REALTORS® across the country play meaningful roles in the communities where they work and live. Let us know how you give back by sharing your story at realtorscare.ca.

I'm Erin Davis and we hope you're enjoying this REAL TIME podcast. Our guest, Chris Chopek is someone who has focused on the environment as a REALTOR® and just a good neighbor and who has done a lot of research on climate risks for Canadians. Specifically, Chris, can you look at the real estate industry in Canada?

Chris: Absolutely. Here's what I did. I examined across North America, five categories of climate impact on property. I looked at flooding, wildfire, wind, so hurricane or tornadoes and those kinds of things, drought, and heat and sea level rise. All of these characteristics are affecting property everywhere. On the Eastern Coast we see that there is a rising sea that the storms are becoming more severe and more erratic and that is affecting property owners.

In the northeastern part of North America, we're getting more rainfalls. We see very commonly, more heavy, severe impacts to property owners around spring flooding. We certainly saw that in 2019, in Calgary, we saw the Bow River rise in 2013. Delta, BC is a river Delta, it is very close to sea level. We're going to see different kinds of impacts across the markets. These impacts are going to be very context-specific. Sea level rise probably doesn't matter much to somebody living in Toronto, but to somebody living in Delta, BC, somebody living at the mouth of the Fraser River in Richmond, that that might be important to them.

It's very important to understand context. From an insurance industry perspective. We are very comfortable in real estate with understanding insurance risk and communicating that to clients. I think of flooding as Canada's new knob and tube. Fire is no longer the biggest risk to property in Canada, flooding is. If it rains where you live, then you have the potential to get flooded.

One of the things that we're seeing out of the changing weather systems is that we're seeing things called microbursts, where you get this very intense deluge of water in a very short time period. No matter how resilient your location is when that much water falls, some of it's going to get into the house. That's where we're seeing some of our risks emerged from places that are near a river or on a coastline are going to have a little bit more potential for severe impacts because they're already susceptible to water. Flooding is the new fire as it relates to insurance and that's going to be something that we're going to see more and more of in the next 10 years within the Canadian real estate context.

Erin: Are you foreseeing a time in the not-too-distant future when information like water rising, the history, the susceptibility, the charts that show going to be happening more and more in a particular area are going to be market-wide that the consumer is going to be more protected in terms of caveat emptor if you will?

Chris: Caveat emptor is a great way to understand this so buyer beware, a buyer can only be aware of risk that's publicized. There is a lot of knowable risk related to flood in particular, that is currently held quietly by conservation authorities and municipalities so that that's not currently disclosed. I think that we're already seeing court cases where developers and REALTORS® and others are being named, and that is going to create the requirement of disclosure.

I think we're going to see some climate risk index disclosure within the context of real estate across the continent. Certainly, within Canada the government has promised that they're going to release flood maps and many municipalities have access to that data. Now it's just a question of who assumes liability. If we release that data, nobody wants to make anybody's property worth less. However, in the release of that data, we may discover that parts of our marketplace are more susceptible. There is a question about what the impact of value is going to be.

Erin: Coming up, some fun with Chris, a lightning round we call open house and should REALTORS® have a say in where homes are built, from informative neighbourhood guides that span the country to key moments in history that influenced interior design share the latest trends and insights from your source for all things home, REALTOR.ca Living Room. Now back to Chris and stick around for your own moments of inspiration as shared with us.

Let's wrap up before we get to our open house, Chris, with a look forward, look to the future, look at positive impact can or should REALTORS® influence how homes get built and what role can REALTORS® play in the bigger picture of home construction?

Chris: Let's take the first question first. Can and should REALTORS® get involved in how and where houses get built? I think that we have a real opportunity, if we pool our knowledge of what makes people happy in their homes, together we probably have greater insights that no amount of market research data can supplement. We know more about the dream of homeownership as an industry than anyone else and who's better positioned to offer good advice on how to do it better?

For me, what I see are that my clients like to be in neighbourhoods with tree-lined streets, local parks, and places that they can walk to, where they can get the basics of everyday life. Those neighbourhoods connected by transit and other sorts of intermodal connections. I don't always have to get in my car to get places. Those are the kinds of things that I see making people happier. My clients walked in asked could they please be close to a subway stop so that they can read a book on the way to work instead of, making hand gestures at the people in the next car.

Erin: We're all for that, making the world a happier place, and it can start right in your own backyard. You've talked about where you live. They put on a local green party home show and people show off their native plants and things like spray foam insulation, it's all just an exchange of ideas and helping to shop and invest locally.

Chris: The local economy piece, I think is becoming very acutely present for most people today. Our local food economy and all of that. What I say to REALTORS® when I teach the NAR green designation is they are already involved in their communities. The best thing they can do is to find their own passion and then connect with community members who are of like-mind to see what they can do to bring that passion to more of their clients and to their colleagues.

A colleague of mine, at my office, is very into trees. She is the urban forest evangelist, and she and I have great connections. When I see her marketing, her marketing includes talking about the value of tree-lined streets. I did a study in 2014 in Toronto and I compared four neighbourhoods and their property values. They're all in the same school district. What I found where that tree lined streets, produced nine and a half to 18 and a half percent more resale value. Discovering these things for yourselves as a practitioner in a neighbourhood allows you to tell great stories and to convey that to the marketplace locally.

Erin: Let's have a bit of fun before you go, Chris. It's a feature we here at REAL TIME call open house. You're ready to go?

Chris: I guess so.

Erin: All right. Open house. Was Kermit the frog wrong? Is it in fact not so hard to be green and you can't lose if you go chartreuse?

Chris: Chartreuse is my favourite colour green. I think it's most visible when you're on a bike in traffic. It's not that hard to go green and everyone can do it in small, incremental ways. This doesn't need to be perfect. It just needs to be something so choose to do something. Lots of little somethings add up to something meaningful.

Erin: All right, next, what's the least expensive step you've taken toward going green. You've already mentioned bike. That's off the table.

Chris: Least expensive way to go green is to use the power in your finger that is using your power to switch off, turn those lights off, turn that porch light off all night long and just use your senses and use the power in your finger.

Erin: All right. Finally, what sports celebrates victory with the green jacket?

Chris: It's the Masters.

Erin: Oh, sorry golf clap. Finding the soft golf clap. It's been a pleasure. Thank you so much, Chris, and all the best to you.

Chris: Erin it's been a pleasure to be here. Thank you so much for being such a great host.

Erin: If you enjoy today's conversation, wait till you hear what we've got for you next time. Steve Murray, he's president and co-founder of REAL Trends. What's changed what hasn't and how trust and communication continue to play a vital role, especially during times of change, in safeguarding REALTORS®’ success. I love this.

Steve Murray: Consumers look at real estate agents, and many, not all, say in their minds, they will go, "I really don't care about how much you know, until I know how much you care."

Erin: Don't miss it. Be sure to hit that subscribe button now.

Oh, hang on. Hi, you've reached the CREA REAL TIME Podcast. If you're calling for the actual time, just look at your phone. If you're calling for Chris, he's not here right now, he's planting a tree somewhere and planting some seeds of wisdom while he is at it, I'm sure. If you're a REALTOR® calling to share some of the best advice you've received during your career, leave it at the tone.

Len Wassill: Hi, my name is Len Wassill, I'm a REALTOR® from Melville, Saskatchewan. The best piece of advice I've received was early in my career. I was trained to take an hour every two weeks and make a phone call to all my potential listings and potential buyers and keep them updated on the market. Not an email, not a video, not a text, a personalized phone call. Later on, in my real estate career, as I became a broker and owner, that's the first piece of advice I give to people when they're new to the industry. It works, it's simple, and everybody loves to receive a telephone update.

Erin: Well, so do we.

Erin: If you're a REALTOR® and like Len Wassill from Saskatchewan, want to share the best advice you have ever gotten. Just call, leave us a message, here's the number, 1-888-768-6793. Got it? 888-768-6793. We hope to share your advice.

Meantime, we'll leave you with these words from George Bernard Shaw, "Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."

Thanks for joining us for REAL TIME from CREA, produced by Rob Whitehead at Real Family Productions and Alphabet® Creative. Don't forget for more REALTOR® resources be sure to visit CREA.ca. I'm Erin Davis and we will talk again soon. Don't forget to subscribe.