Real Estate Transactions Are Not Green

by Owner on July 28, 2009

As I continue my quest to buy a house (which explains my light posting lately), I’ve come to realize what a non-green business real estate can be. First is all the energy expended in gasoline as your realtor takes you around to one property after another until you find “the one.” Once you do find a house there are several more trips just to be sure.

When you decide to place the offer, you find that the sales contract is many pages long full of boiler plate language that most people probably don’t read. Then after the contract comes many more pages of addendums, disclosures, contingencies, and everything else. You sign it all and fax it over to the buyers’ realtor, who then prints out yet another copy for perusal by the sellers. You can almost hear a forest’s death screams after one of these transactions.

Next up is the home inspection, which consists of the inspector putting a house through its paces. That often means turning on and leaving on appliances at full blast, filling bathtubs with many gallons of water that then drains away uselessly, and otherwise wasting a huge amount of energy and resources. Once he’s done, a multi-page report is issued in triplicate (for you, for sellers, for himself.)

Meanwhile, your mortgage broker has sent you an application packet that’s about as big as the sales contract. If you shop around like you’re supposed to, that’s even more paper.

Then comes a flurry of more paper faxing and printing as the parties wrangle over what the inspection found and what sellers should fix. Parties often walk away at this point, making all of the above a tremendous waste.

If they don’t, they eventually proceed to closing, where another mountain of paper awaits your signature.

Stop the insanity! I feel very guilty for the environment as I go through this process.

I know a lot of it is unavoidable, but hopefully some of this waste will disappear as we continue moving towards a paperless society. Communications are now mostly through email, which is an improvement over letter and courier.

Now back to my loan application…

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