It may be the best-kept secret in home real estate: For a relatively small investment, a prospective buyer can add a formal energy audit to the standard inspection.  According to a story by Ken Harney in the Washington Post, “That audit might save the buyer thousands of dollars in future operating costs by pinpointing features of the house that need correction to improve efficiency. It might also be a tip-off to a sobering reality: This house is an energy guzzler. And that might prompt the buyer to say: Either the asking price comes down, the seller fixes the problems, or I walk.”

Since energy costs rank high on the list of ongoing expenses for many homeowners, and since energy-efficiency renovations more than pay for themselves in utility-bill savings, why aren’t more audits performed? Realty agents who primarily list houses and represent sellers say buyers almost never ask for them. Nor do sellers, who prefer to avoid giving purchasers ammunition to make lower offers during negotiations or costly demands for repairs before closing. Not only can these audits pinpoint opportunities to improve energy efficiency, they can also identify health and safety issues in the home, such as combustion safety, infiltration and duct leaks, and other serious problems that are often overlooked by traditional home inspectors.

Harney even provides an example of a seller using an audit to help promote their home: The sellers of an 87-year-old New England colonial that had significant energy leakage and efficiency problems agreed to do an audit. They spent money putting insulation in the attic, replacing the leakiest windows, upgrading interior lighting and replacing some low-efficiency appliances. The result: Shoppers loved seeing the energy audit, the upgrades and the seller’s full disclosures. The house sold six days after listing for $50,000 more than any nearby comparables. Doing the audit turned out to be a great marketing benefit for the sellers.

Whether you are buying or selling a home, BelRed can provide you with a comprehensive energy audit that will pinpoint issues within the home that impact efficiency, comfort, health and safety. We give you the information you need to prioritize any repairs or upgrades, and will give you a thorough proposal to correct any issues we find. For more information on our Home Safety and Energy Audit, click here, or call us today.

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