They love it! your realtor says
And your heart, it swells.
We're going to sell,
Their financing's through, they love the pool...
But wait! Don't pop the cork too soon,
You're not done with the woo-and-court,
There's something new they want to see:
Your Home Energy Rating Report.
What if the report card isn't good?!
Your oldish house has uninsulated wood,
Your windows drafty, doors not sealed -
What happens then to your sweet
House selling deal?
This could describe your home selling scenario - and not that far in the future, if you live in certain provinces.
Ontario's Home Energy Rating Act takes effect in just 3 months - starting with building owners, and extending to owners of detached or semi-detached homes 1 year later (Jan. 2011). British Columbia starts a pilot project in energy performance labeling of homes and buildings in 2010.
The United Kingdom has already implemented time-of-sale energy labeling to protect consumers in the face of global energy inflation. Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) have been required there since 2008 on houses that are being sold, built or rented.
Something Else to Check While House Shopping
As a buyer - as if it wasn't hard enough buying a new home - weighing price, location and features - now you and your realtor have to also assess the difference in the energy performance of the house listings you like. Getting a home inspection won't be enough, not for most buyers.
And, as a home seller, you'll have to pay more attention to energy-staging your home now, rather than just prettying up the drapes and spraying muffin scent around the rooms.
That's right - these are mandatory home energy reports, and you cannot write them yourselves. Only government-sanctioned, professional home auditors can inspect your home for the state of insulation, appliances, heating and cooling systems, doors/windows, and lighting.
Getting a home audit and subsequent report isn't cheap - costing, on average, $350. The federal government will give you half that cost back - after you finish all your energy retrofits and submit them for review. (If you live in BC, you've just missed the cutoff for getting reimbursed by that provincial government for the cost of a home audit.)
You receive a long audit report, listing your home's current EnerGuide rating, the EnerGuide number you should be striving for, and all the steps needed to be taken to get there.
You don't have to make those retrofits and improvements to your home - that's your call. Not a bad idea, though, if you want to attract more buyers and get top selling price for your home. But you DO have to make the energy audit report available, so buyers can see what they're getting themselves into, energy-wise.
Energy is the 2nd Price Tag of any Home
Realtor Chris Chopik, who who writes the EcoHome newsletter, makes some interesting points - both for and against - the Home Energy Rating Act of Ontario (aka Bill 101), in his article, "Time-of-Sale Energy Labeling." He notes that there is an emerging understanding, globally, that “energy is the second price tag of any house”.
While Chopik recognizes that Bill 101 is "designed to protect the quality of life of Ontarians in the face of rising energy prices," he says the mandatory energy rating is an additional expense that home sellers and buyers can hardly bear, on top of "commissions, taxes, staging, and legal fees."
What do you think?