Companies to Watch: Hasson Co.
Companies to Watch: Hasson Co.
You’d think that the one city in the United States where you’d see ads specifically for energy-efficient resale homes would be Portland, Ore., which the Christian Science Monitor in a recent article called the “new capital of the ecohouse movement.” But, remarkably, a year ago, home buyers had no way to find houses in Portland with environmentally friendly features, such as high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, high-efficiency insulation, and sustainable materials like bamboo flooring.
That changed in June 2006 when local independent Hasson Co., REALTORS®, with some 300 associates in eight offices, launched a multitiered program positioning itself as the go-to place for buyers looking for green housing. Although green listings are still a tiny part of its inventory, the company offers:
- A green-educated sales force. About 80 associates have completed sessions on green home features, sustainable retrofitting options, and green mortgage financing, which enable them to position themselves as a resource for green-conscious buyers.
- A green-only home sales ad. Participating associates teamed up to run an ad featuring green listings — that is, houses that have environmentally friendly features, such as energy-efficient windows, low-flow toilets, filtration systems that improve indoor air quality, and sustainable materials. The listings featured in the ad averaged about five calls each, according to Joe Menashe, ABR®, manager of the company’s Northeast Broadway branch, and the driving force behind the company’s move into green.
- A Web site that includes extensive content on green housing. Resources include tips on the use of sustainable products, energy- and water-conserving renovations, and improving indoor air quality, as well as an explanation of eco-friendly labels, such as Energy Star. Consumers can also link to environmentally committed architects and designers and connect with advocacy groups.
It’s still early for the company to trace new business directly to the initiative, but the popularity of the green-only home sales ads suggests the company has tapped into something for which there’s strong consumer demand, Menashe says. “The response to our green marketing initiative has been huge,” he adds.
What’s more, the initiative has caught the attention of new-home builders, a handful of which have reached out to the company to represent their lines of green models. And Hasson is enjoying a hike in ad revenue from its consumer magazine with the addition of several green-oriented advertisers. At the same time, the company has received a bounty of positive press. In one case, a local radio station named the company to its “green team,” which includes local businesses that are doing something to make the planet healthier.
The company is also finding the favorable publicity a boon to recruiting. Since the initiative was launched, a number of licensees have moved to the company specifically to position themselves as green specialists.
“Here we were living in one of the green-building meccas of the country, and the residential real estate community had no information or connection to the green movement,” Menashe says. “That was the lightbulb that went off in my head.”