Back in the ‘80s, the Center for Neighborhood Technology and others helped the City of Chicago pass a residential utility disclosure ordinance that required the disclosure of heating bills when residential properties are sold or leased in the city. Why? Heating expenses constitute a significant home expense, and it’s important for consumers and Realtors to have access to this information.
Until now, complying with the ordinance could take up to two weeks: a Realtor submitted an application to individual utilities which processed the request and then delivered it via mail or fax. Technology has changed a lot since then, and the City of Chicago and the Multiple Listing Service that covers Chicago—Midwest Real Estate Data, LLC (MRED)— have allowed compliance of the heat disclosure ordinance via an electronic database. Chicago is the first city in the nation to provide this information on home listings.
The modernization benefits consumers, Realtors, and utility companies. Consumers benefit through improved information about home energy use and costs, real estate brokers face less paperwork and delays, and utilities spend less time and resources in processing and delivering the requests.
When a home in the City of Chicago is listed for sale on MRED, Realtors access the utility disclosure report for the specific property from an online, third-party database called MyHomeEQ. This report is immediately uploaded to the listing. Consumers are interested in knowing not just heating costs, but also gas and electric usage. Via MyHomeEQ, Realtors can also attach a user-friendly report to the listing, making it easy for potential homebuyers to understand the energy use of a property they are considering. At left is a sample report.
The modernization is a joint effort from the City of Chicago and MRED, with support from CNT Energy, Chicago Association of REALTORS®, MRED, the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, Baird & Warner, @Properties, Prudential Rubloff, and Coldwell Banker. As part of the ordinance changes these and other partners will be providing additional communications, training and continuing education to help real estate brokers better understand home energy use and how properties can improve energy efficiency.
MyHomeEQ was developed by CNT Energy and RW Ventures in 2011 as an interactive, digital resource to help improve the value, comfort, and energy savings of homes. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) also supported MyHomeEQ as the online assessment tool for Energy Impact Illinois.