An Energy Audit Could Help Sell Your Home
Many people get an energy audit to learn how they can save on their gas and electric bills, but that might not be the only reason to get one. In fact, an energy audit with a positive outcome could help sell your home.
What an Energy Audit Does
Getting an energy audit means hiring a professional energy auditor to thoroughly check your home for energy leaks. The cost and time involved depend heavily on the size of your home, but in general, an audit takes a few hours and typically costs between $200 and $400.
In a few areas, energy audits are required before you sell. In Austin, TX—as well as in both Berkeley and San Francisco in California—sellers need to have an energy audit before they close on a deal.
While sellers would probably prefer to have an energy-efficient home, it doesn’t necessarily mean a seller can up the price of their house because of its efficiency. Ron Rovtar, a real estate agent out of Boulder, CO, says he hasn’t seen buyers who were “willing to pay more for energy improvements, even the more expensive ones like photovoltaic cells.”
However, not all buyers are alike. According to the Los Angeles Times, an 87-year-old home in the Boston area sold for $50,000 more than nearby, less energy-efficient houses after the seller completed an audit and upgraded the home with new appliances, cellulose attic insulation and upgraded interior lighting.
If buyers in your area are keen on green living, your energy-efficient home might be able to command a better price. But if it’s not a concern, you could end up getting a negligible return on your investment.
Always ask a REALTOR® for advice on trends and popular selling points in your area.
When you sell a house, you’re legally obligated to disclose anything wrong with it—otherwise known as the seller’s disclosure. These disclosures are usually big-ticket items including leaky roofs or dilapidated furnaces (which a home inspector should be able to spot), but the little things can, and do, add up.
For example, if the house you sold is leaking air from every corner, you might be getting a phone call from the aggravated new owners. Not disclosing a few leaky windows is usually fine, but selling a house with the wind resistance of Swiss cheese might lead to a lawsuit.
An energy audit spots those problems so they can be disclosed properly.
An energy audit might not come back as clean as you would expect. If you adhere to all the audit’s recommendations, it can become pricey and become a big commitment of time.
If you don’t have the money or resources to take the time to make upgrades, you may want to forgo the audit. There’s no need to advertise that your home isn’t as energy-efficient as it could be.
However, if your home is energy efficient, use it as a selling point. Put it in your listing and have a REALTOR® talk it up when your house is being shown. Consider adding in some facts about how much energy your home can save. If your energy bills are something to brag about in the winter, give the listing agent a crib sheet about these costs.
You’ll likely be able to recover any expenses—and then some—if your home sells for more than you expected.