I just read an interesting article written by Kenneth Harvey on energy audits and their value to selling a home more quickly and for a higher price.  He quotes Steve Baden, executive director of RESNET, as saying 40% of all new homes get HERS ratings.  Check out the article at:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/energy-audit-can-alert-hom...

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I dont know if it was good or bad.  Most said they dont push an audit.  They only cite 1 case of an audit.  Based on the comments it is really hard to tell what impact it had on the sale.  Yes they provided an audit and did some retrofit. But how extensive was the retrofit and what was the cost?.  How did the home appraise for more than any other home in the area?

Lenders dont really like homes that fall outside of the norm. The highest priced home in the neighborhood can cause a lot of difficulty with underwriters. What market data was used to support the added value of the retrofit? 

I think a glaring problem facing appraiser is how to value energy efficiency since it can take many different forms.  I have seen many cases where a home owner has had more insulation added to the attic but still suffer from comfort issues.  Without air sealing nothing was really gained.  I think it will take an audit and something like a HERS rating for the subject and the comps for an appraiser to compare efficiency and contributory value.  It's also more work for the appraiser and with AMC's  beating down fees and diving good appraisers from the industry I am really skeptical.  Until the day appraisers get autonomy, market fees and their work valued by lenders I wont have confidence in appraisals.

I suspect that the problem of appraiser comparables is ultimately with the lenders and their knowledge or lack there of, of the industry.

I talked to FannieMae about this, they mandate underwriting guidelines to lenders on the mainstream of Federally related Mortgage transactions to lenders who want to pool their mortgages to sell to Fannie Mae for more money to fund loans, they said, quote "they're data didn't show enough increase in the sales price of an Energy Star Home compared to a Standard New Home to justify a substantial adjustment to value", unquote. This was during the worst of the recession. Duh?  Write to Political Activist and Congressman about what's up with FNMA telling underwriters to ignore energy.

Many of the spec builders out there I talked to couldn't justify the cost unless they had a buyer who wanted to pay the difference. This was all during the worst of the recession period. Custom builders however, were finding there were some people in the market that were willing to pay the difference and who were generating the interest enough for the builder to learn more about it. Now spec builders are starting to come on board because the competition is doing it. HERS Rating Certificates allow them to market homes with a Performance HERS Rating and cost less than the more stringent additional green guidelines of Energy Star V.3

Also, our state adopted parts of the new 2012 IECC. Energy building codes that requires a ResChek Certificate at a minimum performed by a HERS Rater or BPI Envelope Cert. to test and enter into ResChek the building envelope to 5-ACH@50pa and the duct leakage to outside to 6-cfm@25/100sqft  or 6% of floor area. We're still following ASHRAE MVR.

Recently our MLS changed to requiring a "Green Certificate" attached to the listing if you recorded a Green status on the house or a HERS Rating. I think this is a good idea but I think they should accept any Green Certificate that shows testing results and not just Energy Star Qualified Certificates which is the only thing our local Duke Energy in NC will accept for a better electric Rate.

It is important that Insurance companies, FNMA and Realtors realize the importance of the 2012 IECC building codes and how HERS Ratings and Energy Star and LEED for Homes and NAHBG and NEHA Healthy Homes impacts the performance, comfort and durability of a home over it's effective life. Certificates from all these organizations should be acceptable. 

Effective Life is the time/condition the property contributes value to the land AND the homeowner. A Warranty Deed on a Home gaurantees the owner Quiet Enjoyment of the property. Maybe it should gaurantee Quiet, Healthy and Comfortable Enjoyment of the Home.  Home is where your Story Began.

Also write to the people who report the news especially the political news programs. Law makers listen to the media.

Chris Folse - AltruEnergy Building Performance


After watching a recorded webinar on EEMs that showed less than 25% of attendees had worked on a 5 or less EEMs, I made an appointment with a local federally funded Richmond Housing Services manager. From the very start she was rude, defensive and plainly stated that it was too much extra burden on the "borrower"? Right before leaving she told me I should try to do something with the banks on already foreclosed homes. I guess she felt like I needed to buy a lawn mower

Be careful trying to find a buyer to purchase a Short Sale before it closes to you for more than what you're paying. That is considered Flopping and is illegal. On foreclosures you can bid on them at the courthouse and already have a buyer lined up willing to buy a remodeled energy efficient home to move into turn key. If  you can find a bank to do a FHA-203k loan to cover purchase and remodeling. Their energy efficient rider that pays up to $8,000 of energy retrofits that doesn't have to appraise. So if the purchase price is $108,000 and the property appraises at $100,000 they will do the loan. That was the way it was the last time I checked the HUD website.

I'd just like to say one more thing about $200 HERS Ratings. I don't know where that came from but I just did a RESNET STANDARD Performance Energy Audit on a 4,000sqft Cape Cod without blueprints. It took me 5 hours to measure all sloped angles, dormers, skylights, interior wall angles to attics, ceiling heights and areas and knee walls and count inumerable light fixtures. You can't do a good energy rating and workorder without doing good measurements. Computers are only as good as what you put into them. I'm good at measuring a house as I've been an appraiser for almost 20 years but measuring for a HERS Rating is a lot of extra measuring without blueprints. I'll tell you that $200 plus $0.10/sqft is a lot to some people but it is worth doing a Performance Audit or a  HERS Rating with no blueprints. Granted I don't have people knocking my door down for them but I think it is more honerable than soliciting for a Energy Survey and wowing people with a blower door and IR scan just to push the retrofits on them before you have done the measuring and calculations. How are you going to know what the savings are and can you justify a Green Certificate with a $100 survey.

Small homes are easy but when you get near or over 3,000sqft with two systems or more and with slope ceilings and basement chases to attics and have to do caz testing it's a different animal. No way I'm going to do that for $200


It is mandatory now in Austin, Texas to have an energy audit done before selling a home. That's why there is at least twice as many energy auditing companies in Austin compared to the Dallas - Ft. Worth area where I am at. In my opinion, somehow the energy audit needs to be combined with the home inspection when selling a home. Right now, people have to pay seperate for both. That's a main complaint down there in Austin. Not sure how to accomplish that feat. Those are 2 completely different entities at this point.


There is a new form out by the Appraisal Institute (Form 820.01) that adds resources to the evaluation of energy upgraded properties. It does add extra home value for energy efficiency measures, such as, a solar energy system, energystar windows, etc... Just visit www.appraisalinstitute.org to download the form.


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