Should home-performance ratings be required on property listings?

Recognizing that this group may be a bit biased, I invite your responses for a survey on whether home-performance ratings should be required on property listings, as they are in the U.K.

Please click here to go directly to the survey.

For a bit of background info, and another link to the same survey, please go here.

I'll report findings on d5R next week as well as right here on Home Energy Pros.


Leah Thayer


Tags: MLS, certificate, energy, estate, home, performance, ratings, real

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Home cost, cost per square foot, monthly mortgage. 


Real estate tax, cost per square foot, monthly cost. 


Why not Annual energy cost, cost per square foot, monthly cost?  

It seems dishonest that this is only disclosed if asked for. 

As a Realtor, I believe this is an important feature to be listed on properties in the US.  Unfortunately, until lenders are also willing to accept home-performance ratings when qualifying buyers it will be an after thought and not worth the time for agents and sellers to obtain.

On a separate note, at least appraisers are now receiving the training and ability to include home-performance retrofit details to lenders:

You friendly Eco-Broker would like to see it. Mortgage companies will drive this bus. If they see the value in terms of homeowner discretionary income as well as the quality of the home they are financing they might go for it. Unfortunately most lenders today are so emersed in new Federal lending regulations they are not interested in energy based mortgages.

In Georgia, legislator introduced a bill to add average utility costs to numbers used to qualify mortgage.


In GA now it is just mortgage, insurance, and taxes. I saw this in last 2 weeks. I'll update when I find link.

Simply yes. It should be disclosed at time of offering the "Home" for sale 
because it is a monthly cost associated with household operation. We all
know that the best one can get from this is a snapshot, or point in time
display of whats occurring in the system. We buy a System that helps
us create a Home in which we have a Home base to operate from. So Yes!

The more definite the information we can gain about a property condition
the quicker we can make a choice about purchasing and the upgrades
we can make to improve the Home's Performance. Sellers may consider 
it an unnecessary expense and anything past present condition reporting
is but it allows the market to presort and actually appraise relative value
in a fair and more accurate manner.

Affordability still remains only partially addressed until we incorporate 

the location of needed services ,amenities and work. A holistic system
may be ignored but it can't be avoided. Minimums are many times the
only established maximum anticipation allowed for our expectations. 

The flow of the economy will speed up as this impediment to clear
thinking and rational decision making supports intuition .


I believe that if the buyer wants to know what the energy costs are they can get the information from the sellers utility bills for the past year if they want to share them. However, if they want an energy audit for the purpose of renovation then they should pay for an audit as part of the inspections associated with buying a house.


I talked with some folks at FNMA and they were considering forcing HERS ratings on conventional transactions but they could not see that energy efficiency was bringing a higher price in new construction. Of course builders are not charging up much for that in the contracts because they have to stay competitive right now.  When things were booming, so to speak, builders had price increases every other week which, in my opinion inflated the market because the existing home market had to go up for people selling an existing home to get into a new home. I remember when builders introduced granite counter tops into the market and had that $3,000 to $4,000 dollar charge up for them. Now, you can go to the box stores and buy granite for almost the same price as a post form counter top.

Let the market decide, that would be the buyer. Give them the option for an inspection if they want it or not. This is not the time of economics to be forcing people to pay for things they don't need. You can ask your home inspector to spot check for things he thinks would constitute an energy efficient defficiency.


CJ Folse

CJ getting seller's utility bill history is not related to the buyer's usage in any way.  The purpose of a HERS rating is to get a clear understanding of the home and its energy loads as a whole compared to other homes.  The reason why New construction builders do not charge a premium for HERS rated homes is because Title 24 and many local building codes already require certain systems to be installed in homes to make them more energy efficient.  That would be like charging $3,000 to $4,000 for a granite countertop upcharge, when it was already specified in the plans before the home was built!  

Letting the market/buyer decide would leave lots of room for litigation.  For instance, if the seller lived in the home and knew the Mbath had leaky plumbing for the last few years and sold it 'as is' without the buyer having a property inspection done on the home would show negligence.  Same could be said for a home's energy efficiency.  The seller solely used the fireplace for heating because the furnace was costing too much.  This would not be reflected in the utility bills.  Even if the home inspector found the furnace to be old he could not determine its efficiency without conducting an energy assessment.  Unfortunately, most home inspectors do not have the knowledge to perform an audit and are more concerned with the Structure, Electrical, Plumbing, and Mechanicals when performing the inspection.

This is what slows down transactions and is why so many Realtors are against legislation for Energy Assessments to be done at time of sale.  If a home inspection and energy audit could be done at the same time, I do not think this would cause much pushback from buyers or sellers in real estate transactions. 

Slowing down transactions has been as much the Seller's contribution as have the Buyer's slowed things down.  A newer home will usually sell for more money and may be young enough to have upgraded systems as par for the course expectations. Thats when a Standard Home Inspection could include  Energy Spec's about the home.   Minimum standards of reporting and disclosure give a level starting point. A complete Home study might give your listing a competitive advantage especially a Home best suited for update and renovation.


Maybe we ought to have a "super committee" of half Seller's Agents and Half Buyer's Agents discuss the validity to Energy Inspections in relationship to time and money, Convenience versus Efficiency,and
EFFECTIVENESS as we disengage from imported oil and towards "free Energy" .  The event of Sale is about the only moment that a group of common interests can work together and move forward. Establishing a minimum standard of some sort of report and disclosure  gets the ball moving.

Facilitating the unimpeded flow of a transaction is as much a goal as is refining it to it's simplest
elements as they apply to the whole process. A Rehab loan ought to demand it while a simple refinance might only address the potential with a minimum statement of condition.


Nearly Nothing to an expansive all so that it serves our needs and the goal at the same time. 


Classic?? :)

The utility bills will tell you a lot about how the house performed for the seller. If they are an average user and they buyer is an average user then most likely it will be close. The utility bills will tell you a lot more too if you know how to analyze them. By separating the heating and cooling from the other electric costs it can tell you a lot about how the HVAC systems are functioning. 

Okay, granted CA has a title 24 for energy efficiency, CA has run itself in the ground with regulation and will not recover before half of it slides into the ocean, its the mind set of politicians.  HUD Title 24 is lead paint renovation.

Most new tract homes across the country aren't designed with high energy efficient standards. RESNET has been getting builders on board with a HERS rating label to show how much over a standard new home it accomplished. A HERS rating is not compared to other homes, unless you have them all done. That may be accomplished accurately if the same rater did all the homes and they were all the same style & design and maintenance with the same family lifestyles (think about it) and if you had a pulic accessible database of efficiency for every home.

I know people are trying to get HERS on the MLS but that hasn't gone over very well in most places; I wouldn't want anyone to force me to get one. If you list a home that claims high efficiency then you bear the burden of proof not the buyer. HERS ratings for new or existing homes are modeled against the plans or existing structure, it can be done to the 2009 IECC to see how much better the energy efficiency can be designed or was designed. If the whole neighborhood was rated you'd still have a hard time comparing without the public accessible database. Most building codes are not to a very high energy standard so far and none that I know require a HERS rating from the building standards dept.(hopefully someday). New homes that are HERS rated are usually for Energy Star but they're getting a little out in right field in my opinion.

I can usually spot energy efficient problems by looking at average energy bills, that's one of the first things a rater learns doing existing homes.  I've done a few energy retrofits which didn't include new windows or heating units, the two largest cost. Air sealing and insulation increase efficiency for the biggest bang for the buck.

If a home is sold "as-is" then that's what it is, you take it or leave it and there is no negligence or litigation. We have a Seller Property Disclosure Form for selling real estate but unless you're a good inspector you probably want to hire your own - not the realtors home inspector, check with ASHI. Checking a HVAC out by a home inspector should let you know some effieciency problems like a heat exchanger or moter need replacing. A HVAC Mechanic can do the efficiency check, they do it better than home inspectors or raters. 

You don't have to have a home inspection or an appraisal unless you're getting a loan; the bank requires the latter.


Buyer BEWARE.....a buyer always has the option; unless someone tells you that you don't - then run....


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