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Platinum group makes energy efficiency part of the story

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The Power Smart Home label is a plus, but buyer education is important

How does a new homes developer get its project to stand out? In the case of Platinum Group, it’s by adding a combination of features – some that may be obvious to the prospective buyer, others that require a bit of an explanation.

“They [Platinum] do a little extra, like beautiful moldings, option for gas barbecue hookup, and additional storage space under the stairs,” says Luana Matteazzi, a realtor who has handled sales for a number of Platinum projects. “Platinum’s owner tries hard to do everything he can for the price they ask. That’s what people notice.”

There’s another Platinum feature – energy efficiency - that Matteazzi knows helps boost her sales, even though it can be less easy to notice.

 Matteazzi is currently touring buyers through Yorkville, a fee-simple row home project in Langley In which all homes are rated at EnerGuide 80 or higher and have earned the Power Smart label.

“To get this rating, the builder has learned what he has to do to make it more liveable and more energy efficient,” says Matteazzi. “Good quality windows, making sure the seals are good and there are no drafts, an efficient furnace, energy efficient appliances. It’s a real benefit.”

The realtor plays a vital role

'I tell people to look at it as a free mini-holiday each year'

Platinum has been offering efficient homes since 2008, including its Montebello and Murray’s Landing developments. And according to Matteazzi, it’s up to the realtor to hammer home the benefits of efficiency.

“The buyers don’t always understand it, but I tell everyone who walks through. I actually hand out the Power Smart sheet attached to my price sheet. I say, ‘You may not understand this, but I will explain.’”

Matteazzi says there are several key benefits she draws buyers’ attention to. First, there is the general comfort factor. Then, there are savings on energy bills every month for as long as people live in the home.

 “That adds up,” she says. “I tell people to look at it as a free mini-holiday every year. That usually rings a bell for people.”

CMHC loves Power Smart homes

Matteazzi also says the reduction in CMHC fees that’s available on the purchase of a Power Smart home is a compelling sales point.

“I had one young man who came back and told me, ‘I only have 5 per cent down, and CMHC reduced my rates by $2,000 because I bought a Power Smart home’,” she recalls. “That’s huge. CMHC is saying we’re going to give you a reduction in your fee, because they see it’s a better home to own. It’s a win-win.”

 Matteazzi includes the CMHC incentive in her print advertising, reminding buyers that this means saving up front at the time of purchase on top of monthly savings on bills.

The Power Smart brand, coupled with the overall quality of Platinum homes, creates a positive feeling that helps sales.

“They [buyers] perceive everything together,” she says. “They like what Platinum has done, they like the quality, and they appreciate that Power Smart is just one more feature for them and it’s a real money-saver.”